The birthplace of democracy, the home of Aristotle, the land of Zeus and in my opinion one of the most beautiful countries on Earth. Greece in the 21st century is ripe for discovery – or even rediscovery. It’s a country with many strings to its bow too. Reminders of both Greece’s recent and ancient histories are everywhere, add to that the modern culture and natural beauty the country has to offer and you have a perfect cocktail. Whether you like to be well prepared or want a more freewheeling trip, here are 4 essential ways to see Greece.
Travelling Greece by train is one of the most leisurely ways to see the country. The line between Drama and Xanthi is one I would particularly recommend to anyone wishing to see the some of the most beautiful sights Greece has to offer. This journey will take you along the side of the Nestos River, this route has been in existence for nearly 200 years and remains one of the most wonderful in the world. For the even more adventurous among you it’s possible to make the whole journey from London to Greece by rail, allowing you to see the whole of Europe through the window of a train.
Athens is the city from which western civilisation developed, a city of beautiful contrasts. In the morning you can be walking the Ancient Promenade, a two and a half mile walkway guiding you through every ancient site in the city from the Acropolis to the Temple of Olympian Zeus; and in the evening you can be traversing the city’s trendy bars, cafes and clubs. It’s not just Athens either, from Thessaloniki to Alexandroupoli Greek cities are brimming with culture and vibrancy, each one guaranteeing a friendly welcome.
If the fast moving train and the bustling city aren’t quite your thing then what could be better than a peaceful yet active holiday traveling Greece by bike? The region of Messenia in the southwestern Peloponnese accounts for some of Greece’s most striking green countryside and most stunning coastlines. If you don’t know the region already it would worth considering a cycling package holiday with a company who have an intimate understanding of the location like Artisan Travel.
If you want to get a real feel for authentic life on Greece’s islands the key is to stick to the smaller, less commercialised one. The Small Cyclades would be my tip, they’re easy to navigate and offer a laid back and easy going experience, with each island giving you something new and different to the one before. There are plenty of companies that can offer a great island hopping holiday if you prefer to plan things out in advance but if you want to do it off the cuff this can be even more fun. Rooms are easy to come by and cheap too if you look closely, going with the flow and allowing the islands to navigate you and not the other way round can lead to the most fulfilling Greek island hopping experience – as long as you’re up for a real adventure.
(Guestblog by Kate Lowe)