GREECE

GREECE

GREECE

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Name: Acropolis of Athens
Location: Athens, Greece
The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. The word acropolis is from the Greek words ἄκρον (akron, "highest point, extremity") and πόλις (polis, "city"). Although the term acropolis is generic and there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as "The Acropolis" without qualification.

While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, it was Pericles (c. 495 – 429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site's most important present remains including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon and the other buildings were damaged seriously during the 1687 siege by the Venetians during the Morean War when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was hit by a cannonball and exploded.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acropolis_of_Athens
Name: Meteora
Location: Thessaly, Greece
The Meteora is a rock formation in central Greece hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The six (of an original twenty four) monasteries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area. It is located near the town of Kalambaka at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains.

Meteora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria I, II, IV, V and VII. The name means "lofty", "elevated", and is etymologically related to meteor.

The exact date of the establishment of the monasteries is unknown. By the late 11th and early 12th centuries, a rudimentary monastic state had formed called the Skete of Stagoi and was centered around the still-standing church of Theotokos (mother of God). By the end of the 12th century, an ascetic community had flocked to Meteora. In 1344, Athanasios Koinovitis from Mount Athos brought a group of followers to Meteora.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora
Name: Santorini
Location: South Aegean, Greece
Santorini, is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast of Greece's mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago, which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 and a 2011 census population of 15,550. The municipality of Santorini includes the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 km2. Santorini is part of the Thira regional unit.

The island was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred about 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of metres deep. It may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (68 mi) to the south, through a gigantic tsunami.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santorini
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COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO GREECE.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Greek
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Time zone: EET (UTC+2) / EEST (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +30
Local / up-to-date weather in Athens (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Greece travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Greece, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO GREECE.

Greece uses the euro, like several other European countries. One euro is divided into 100 cents. The official symbol for the euro is €, and its ISO code is EUR. There is no official symbol for the cent.

All banknotes and coins of this common currency are legal tender within all the countries, except that low-denomination coins (one and two cent) are phased out in some of them. The banknotes look the same across countries, while coins have a standard common design on one side and a national country-specific design on the other. The latter side is also used for different designs of commemorative coins. The design on the national side does not affect the use of the coin.

The euro replaced the drachma in January 2002.

Currency exchanges are common particularly in larger cities and in any touristed area. In addition to hard currency, they also accept traveller’s cheques. There are also automated currency exchange machines in some areas of the country, particularly at Athens airport. Most banks will also exchange euros for some currencies -such as the US dollar and pound sterling- often at better rates than currency exchanges. Banks’ commission fees for these exchanges are usually structured so that it’s more economical to change larger sums than smaller. Usually, only the larger, international-standard hotels will exchange money for their guests.

Branches of the Greek bank Alphabank will exchange Euro American Express Travellers Cheques and US$ American Express Travellers Cheques into euros at their usual bank rates without fee or commission.

When changing money in large amounts at a bank or currency exchange, it’s a good idea to ask for mostly smaller notes, and nothing larger than a €50. Many businesses are reluctant to accept notes of larger than €50, partly because of a scarcity of change, partly because larger notes have a history of being counterfeited.

You may get better exchange rates by using credit and ATM cards. MasterCard, Visa, and Eurocard are widely accepted across the country in retail stores, hotels, and travel/transportation agencies (including ferry, airline, and car rental agencies), but are not accepted at some restaurants. Local souvenir shops usually require a minimum purchase before allowing you to use your card and may not accept it for special sales or deeply discounted items. ATM machines are present almost everywhere, with MasterCard/Cirrus and Visa/Plus being the most widely accepted cards. Many ATM machines may not accept 5-digit pin numbers; ATM card-users with 5-digit pins are advised to change their pin to 4 digits before leaving home.

BY BUS AND TRAIN:

Intercity buses are a very popular option for domestic travel. KTEL is the national government-subsidized network of independent businesses which cooperate together to form a dense route system serving almost the entire country. The system is efficient, reliable, and relatively inexpensive. It serves both long and short distances, including routes from major cities to islands near the mainland, such as Corfu and Cephalonia (in such cases, the ferry crossing is included in the price of the bus ticket).

Trains are a better way to get around, but the national rail system (OSE) is extremely limited. This is due to neglect after the arrival of large scale use of private vehicles and air travel, and also due to past technological difficulties in surmounting the country’s difficult terrain. The importance of rail travel is now being rediscovered, and the national rail network is under major renovation. The project’s completion is still a long way off. There has been extensive (and continuing) modernization of the Athens-Thessaloníki corridor, with travel times being slashed.

BY CAR:

Exploring the country by car can be an extremely rewarding experience, allowing you to explore the incredibly scenic and varied terrain of the country’s coastlines, interior, and islands, at your convenience. Roads are usually well-marked and well-maintained, and billions of euros are being poured into expanding the nation’s network of multi-lane freeways. Because of the rapid expansion and improvement of the nation’s road system, it is advised to have the most updated road map(s) possible. Many of the newer motorways are toll roads, and fees can be expensive. Road signs in Greek are usually repeated with a transliterated version in the Latin alphabet.

Car rental offices are present throughout Greece, especially in major cities and in highly touristed areas. The cars offered overwhelmingly have manual gearboxes; automatics do exist, but it is advised to reserve one in advance. Petrol prices are steep, but relatively inexpensive in comparison with many other EU countries. Some car rental agencies and insurance policies do not allow the car to be taken out of Greece.

Drivers who do not hold an EU driving licence must carry an international driver’s permit obtained in their home country. This may not be required when renting a car, but will certainly be required if the driver is involved in an accident or pulled over by the police for a traffic citation. Insurance policies may be void if the driver is a non-EU driver without an international permit.

For those used to driving in North America, driving in Greece can be a challenge. To them Greek (and other European) drivers might appear aggressive. Also the nation’s topographic reality poses challenges by forcing many narrow roads in mountainous regions to take several twists and turns. Roads in towns and villages can be surprisingly narrow as well. If cars meet on a narrow stretch of road it is customary for one driver to find a spot to pull over and let the other driver pass. At times, one driver will need to back up for the other. Adherence to this practice is expected and failure to do so will bring the ire of your fellow drivers. Drive slowly through villages and small towns, because there are often pedestrians in the roadway. Another major difference between driving in North America and Greece is the range of speeds at which vehicles travel, particularly on the highways. While speed limits are as high as 120 km/h (75 mph), some vehicles will be travelling as slowly as 60 km/h (40 mph). Other vehicles will travel at speeds well in excess of the posted limits and can come up from behind very quickly.

BY FERRY:

The frequency, reliability and availability of Greek ferries are largely dependent upon the time of year. For instance, during the winter off-season (January to March), the weather on the Aegean can be extremely rough and boats are often kept in port for days at a time. This type of delay is extremely unpredictable (it is not a decision of the ferry companies, but rather, that of the port authority) and determining when a boat in harbour will actually set sail is near impossible. Therefore, travellers in off-season should build some flexibility into their schedule and not plan on departing an island in the morning and catching a flight home in the afternoon. On the opposite end of the spectrum, ferries in August fill up due to the National Holiday (15 Aug), so travellers should plan ahead.

As for routes, during high-season there are extensive connections from Athens and quite a few in-between islands for “hopping.” Again, in the winter, some of these ferries run once, maybe twice a week.

Visitors to Greece planning to travel by ferry should be aware of some potential complications. First, it can’t be assumed that you can get from any given island to any other island every day of the week. The Greek ferry system is basically a hub-and-spoke system, with the spokes radiating from Piraeus out to the various island groups. As a result, boats within the groups are fairly frequent, but less so between the groups. Sometime islands which are geographically close together are in different groups: for instance, the Western Cyclades (Serifos, Sifnos, Milos) look very close on a map to the Central Cyclades (Naxos, Paros, Mykonos,) but these groups are on different spokes, meaning you can usually in summer get from one island to another in the same group on any day, but boats between the groups, e.g. Naxos to Sifnos, may be significantly less frequent. Second, trying to find advance information on ferry schedules can be frustrating: unfortunately there exists no single official comprehensive source for Greek ferry schedules either in print or on line, though there are a number private sites run by travel agents or other businesses which claim to give comprehensive schedules, and many of the individual ferry companies have web sites giving their schedules, in some cases offering the ability to book and pay for tickets on line. (Ferry schedules are also always posted at the boat ticket offices in departure ports.) Next, though getting a ticket usually isn’t a problem, some boats to the most popular destinations, especially those leaving at the most convenient times, do sell out in high season or on holiday weekends. Finally, though ferries nowadays usually run on schedule, weather, strikes, and mechanical breakdowns still can occasionally delay them. None of these problems are insuperable, but they do mean you shouldn’t try to micromanage your ferry itinerary too strictly in advance: be flexible, and always have a backup plan. And it’s always a good idea not to count on taking a ferry from the islands to get back to Athens the same day your plane leaves, even if boat schedules theoretically should enable you to do this: this will probably work, but there’s enough of a chance it won’t to make it prudent to plan on getting back to Athens at least one day before your flight.

There are three ports in Athens: the main port Piraeus and outlying Rafina and Lavrio port. These serve all islands, but central Cyclades islands such as Tinos and Mykonos, it is often better to leave from Rafina.

Ferries are about the one thing in Greece that leave on time so be prompt. New “fast ferries” are cutting distance times in half but prices are slightly more expensive. Sometimes, it is more practical to fly, especially to Crete or Rhodes. However, flights are usually more expensive. Santorini is 8 hour slow boat from Athens but the entrance view from the boat is spectacular.

The major ferry companies operating in Greece include:

  • Aegean Speed Lines (Cyclades)
  • ANEK Lines (Crete and international)
  • Blue Star Ferries (Italy-Greece and Aegean Islands)
  • Saronic Ferries (Saronic Gulf)
  • Seajets (Aegean Islands)
  • Minoan Lines (Italy-Greece and Crete)
  • SAOS Ferries (Aegean Islands and northern mailand)
  • Superfast Ferries (Italy-Greece)
  • Ventouris Ferries (Italy-Greece)
  • Zante Ferries (Cyclades)
  • Golden star Ferries (Cyclades)
  • Ionian Group (Ionian Islands)
  • Kefalonian Lines (Ionian Islands)

Schedules and web sites for some very local ferry services may be found on the destination pages for the relevant islands or ports, or you can also decide to rent a sailing boat, motor boat, catamaran or a gulet and explore Greece from a deep blue sea.

Though this guide usually doesn’t list transportation web sites unless they’re run by a government or by a primary transportation provider (like the shipping companies listed above), because of the great interest in Greek ferry schedules and the fact that there’s no single official source for them, in this case readers are referred to the comprehensive Greek ferry schedule sites at Greek Travel Pages and OpenSeas. Especially if you are looking for island-hopping and want to search for alternative indirect connections between the Greek Islands, then Ferryhopper,Ferriesingreece or Greeka are great sources to conduct your search.

BY PLANE:

The nation’s domestic air travel industry is dominated by Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines. Both airlines offer an extensive route network within the country, including service connecting several islands to the mainland. Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air offer e-tickets, which only exist as an e-mail or a web page with booking confirmation. It should be provided printed at the check-in desk at the airport (no need to visit the airline office).

BY TAXI:

There are many taxis in Greece. Over ten years ago, getting one could be quite a challenge, but not any more. You hail taxis on the street like in any other large city.

Transport from the airport to the center of Athens is fixed cost from the taxi line that is outside exit 3 in the arrivals level. Day time fare from 05:00–00:00 cost €38 Night time fare from 00:00–05:00 cost €54.

If you need a taxi from the ferry at night from Piraeus, it might not be easy. The drivers who wait outside sometimes are looking to take at least three different individuals going in the same direction so they can charge three fares! If you are two or three people, only one person should hail the cab and then if he agrees to take you, have the other(s) jump in. In Greece you don’t pay “per capita”, unless of course the other passengers are strangers to you and you just happened to stop the same taxi. In this case you pay separately -for example you, your wife and you pay one fare, and the others pay also one fare (one fare for each “group”, no matter how many there are in the same company). If you are 4 friends, you pay one fare. The taxi situation has improved since the debt crisis in Greece, but being a tourist might make you vulnerable to “extra” charges (see also the section about the cost of living).

BY BOAT:

Many major cruise ships visit the islands and there is also the option of hiring your own boat from any main harbour such as Athens, Kos and Lefkas.

For those sailors with experience, the Greek Islands provide an idyllic sailing experience with moderate winds and calm waters. An exceptional sailing opportunity with a chance to visit many places in one go.

There are several yacht charter companies where one can rent a boat skippered or not, such as Kavas Yachting, Vernicos Yachts, Egiali Yachting and Med Waves Yacht Charters Greece.

EAT:

Greek cuisine is a blend of indigenous traditions and foreign influences. Neighbouring Italy and Turkey have left a major impact on Greek cuisine, and there are shared dishes with both of these nations. The traditional Greek diet is very Mediterranean, espousing vegetables, herbs, and grains native to the Mediterranean biome. Being a highly maritime nation, the Greeks incorporate plenty of seafood into their diet. Greece is also a major producer and consumer of lamb; beef, pork, and especially chicken are also popular. Olive oil is a staple in Greek cooking, and lemon and tomatoes are common ingredients. Bread and wine are always served at the dinner table.

The cuisine in Greece can be radically different from what is offered in Greek restaurants around the world. Greek restaurants abroad tend to cater more to customer expectations rather than offer a truly authentic Greek dining experience. One example is the famous gyros (yee-ros), a common item on Greek menus outside Greece. While it is a popular fast-food item in Greece today, it is a relatively recent foreign import (adapted from the Turkish döner kebap) and is considered by Greeks as junk food. It is never served in the home and is generally not found on the menus of non-fast-food restaurants.

Greeks live to eat, and eating out is Greece’s national pastime and a rewarding experience for visitors; however, not knowing where to go or what to do can dampen the experience. In the past, restaurants that catered mostly to tourists were generally disappointing. Thankfully, the nation’s restaurant industry has grown in sophistication over the past decade, and it is now possible to find excellent restaurants in highly-touristed areas, particularly areas that are popular with Greek tourists as well. Thus, it remains a good idea to dine where Greeks dine (Go search them at the times Greeks dine: 21:00-23:00). The best restaurants will offer not only authentic traditional Greek cuisine (along with regional specialities) but Greece’s latest culinary trends as well.

A good sign of authenticity is when you get a small free dessert when you ask for the bill. Bad signs are when desserts are listed on the menu, large posters depicting food are seen outside or when a waiter is standing outside yelling for clients to come in or taking your plates away while you are still sitting at the table (traditionally everything is left on the table until the customer is gone, even if there is hardly any space left).

Restaurants serving international cuisine have also made a presence in the country, offering various options such as Chinese, French, Italian, and international contemporary.

Vegan and vegetarian:

Restaurants catering strictly to vegans and vegetarians are practically non-existent outside of Athens. However, there are many vegan and vegetarian dishes in Greek cuisine. As a vegan, you’ll probably end up ordering fava every time you go to a taverna but do ask the waiter if there are other vegan dishes on the menu or if the chef could make a vegan-friendly version of a particular dish. In cases when someone is not familiar with the concept of veganism, you may ask if the food you’re ordering is νηστίσιμο (nistisimo), i.e. appropriate for people who fast for religious reasons. Such food may still contain honey or even seafood, so make sure to ask.

A number of vegan restaurants have opened in and around Athens. Falafel places are also becoming quite popular. There are also many shops with healthy food and a vegan shop, all in addition to ubiquitous fruit and veg shops.

Popular local dishes:

The traditional fast foods are gyros (γύρος, “GHEER-ohs”, not “GY-rohs” as in “gyroscope”), roast pork or chicken (and rarely beef) and fixings wrapped in a fried pita; souvlaki (σουβλάκι, “soov-LAH-kee”), grilled meat on a skewer; Greek dips such as tzatziki (τζατζίκι), made of strained yoghurt, olive oil, garlic and finely chopped cucumbers and dill or mint; and skordhalia (σκορδαλιά), a garlic mashed potato dip which is usually served with deep fried salted cod.

With its extensive coastline and islands, Greece has excellent seafood. Try the grilled octopus and the achinosalata (sea-urchin eggs in lemon and olive oil). By law, frozen seafood must be marked as such on the menu. Fresh fish, sold by the kilogram, can be very expensive; if you’re watching your budget, be sure to ask how much your particular portion will cost before ordering it.

Greek salad (called “country salad” locally, “horiatiki”), a mix of tomatoes, cucumber, feta cheese and onion – all sliced – plus some olives, and occasionally green bell pepper or other vegetables, usually garnished with oregano. Traditionally it is dressed only with olive oil; vinaigrette or lettuce are added only in the most tourist-oriented restaurants. It is the typical summer salad.

Also consider:

  • moussaka, a rich oven-baked dish of eggplant, minced meat, tomato and white sauce
    pastitsio, a variety of lasagna
  • stifado, pieces of meat and onion in a wine and cinnamon stew
  • spetzofai, braised sausage with pepper and tomatoes, a hearty dish from the Mt. Pelion region
  • sahanaki, fried semi-hard cheese
  • paidakia, grilled lamb chops, are also popular. They tend to have a gamier taste and chewier texture than North American lamb chops, which you may or may not like

Fried potatoes (often listed on menus as chips) are a naturalized Greek dish, found almost everywhere. They can be very good when freshly made and served still hot. Tzatziki is usually a good dip for them, though they are still good on their own.

For dessert, ask for baklava, tissue-thin layers of pastry with honey and chopped nuts; or galaktoboureko, a custard pie similar to mille feuille. Other pastries are also worth tasting. Another must-try is yoghurt with honey: yoghurts in Greece are really different from what you used to see at Danone stores: to start with, genuine yoghurt in Greece has 10% of fat. Fruit such as watermelon is also a common summertime treat.

For breakfast, head to local bakeries (fourno) and try fresh tiropita, cheese pie; spanakopita, spinach pie; or bougatsa, custard filled pie, or even a “”horiatiko psomi”, a traditional, crusty village type bread that is a household staple, and very tasty on its own too. All are delicious and popular among Greeks for quick breakfast eats. Each bakery does own rendition and you are never disappointed. Go to the next Kafeneion with them and have it there with a Greek coffee to be local.

A popular drink is a frappe made with instant Nescafé, water, sugar, and sometimes milk. It is frothed and served over ice.

Cover fee:

It’s common to charge a cover fee in restaurants officially (i.e. stating it in a receipt), such as €0.30 to €2 per person, but if it’s tending towards €2 you should really consider eating somewhere else.

Fast food:

McDonald’s and Pizza Hut have made a significant presence in Greece over the past 15 years. However, they face strong competition from the popular local chains and they are not really popular with natives, especially outside Athens.

Goody’s is the most popular fast-food chain in the country, offering a large variety of fast food meals, with numerous outlets throughout the country. A hamburger with Coke costs €3-5. Everest is a chain which specialises in hand-held snacks. Also in Thessaloniki you can find Subito. Flocafé is gaining popularity through its coffee and dessert items. There are also many independently-owned fast food businesses that offer typical fast food items, such as gyros. Many of these small businesses tend to be open late at night, and are popular with younger crowds on their way home from a night out.

DRINK:

Those wishing to booze in Greece would be well advised to stick to the traditional domestic Greek products discussed below, which are freely available, mostly cheap by European standards, and usually of good quality. Any imported, non-Greek alcoholic beverages are likely to be very expensive if genuine and, if cheap, may well be “bomba,” a locally distilled alcohol with flavourings which sometimes, especially in island bars catering to young people, masquerade as whisky, gin, etc. If you drink it, you’ll be very sorry. Drink in respectable places where you can see the bartender mix your drink.

Water:

A glass of water is traditionally served with any drink you order; one glass for each drink, especially with any form of coffee. Sometimes you even get a glass of water first and then you are asked what you want to drink. Sometimes you might as well get a bottle instead of just a glass. In touristy areas you might have to ask for a glass of water if you want one. If you don’t get water with a coffee you just stepped into a tourist-trap. Also, if you did not explicitly ask for a bottle instead of a glass, and they try to charge you for it you should refuse.

Tap water in most places a tourist would visit is drinkable; if in doubt, ask your hotel. But often though drinkable it doesn’t taste very good, especially on some small islands (as it is imported in and heavily chlorinated), and many visitors, like many Greeks, prefer bottled water. By law, water prices in shops must remain within acceptable limits, making it much cheaper than in Anglosphere nations. A half litre of bottled water costs (May 2013) €0.50 if you buy it on the street, and €0.15 if you buy it from the supermarket.

Wines:

To be able to purchase or drink alcohol in Greece, by law, you must be 17 and photographic ID will be asked for infrequently, especially in venues that sell food (many independent fast food outlets will serve alcohol).

Greece, an ancient wine producing country, offers a wide variety of local wines, from indigenous and imported grape varieties, including fortified and even sparkling wines. Greek wines are generally not available on the international market, as production is relatively small, costs are quite high and little remains for export. However, in the past decade Greek wines have won many international prizes, with the rise of a new generation of wineries. Exports are rising as well.

Wine (Krasi: κρασί / oenos: οίνος ) is most Greeks’ drink of choice.

Almost every taverna has “barrel wine,” usually local, which is usually of good quality and a bargain (€6-8/litre, but check this before ordering when you are in a touristy area.).

If they have it, try also the Imiglyko (Half-Sweet) red, even if sweet wine is usually not your preference, it is different from anything you know.

Retsina is a “resinated wine” with a strong, distinctive taste that can take some getting used to; the flavour comes from pine resin, which was once employed as a sealant for wine flasks and bottles. The most well-known and cheap-n-dirty is “Kourtaki Retsina”.

Bottled wines have gotten increasingly more expensive; some that the beginner may find worth trying are whites from Santorini and reds from Naoussa and Drama. All wines and alcoholic beverages are cheaper in the super markets, but then you can’t consume them in a bar, unless you keep them hidden in small bottles and use them very discretely.

Beer:

Even if beer (bira: μπύρα) is consumed all around the country, don’t come to Greece for the beer. The only local varieties widely available are Mythos and Alpha, but Greeks drink mostly Northern European beers produced under license in Greece like Heineken and Amstel. Heineken is affectionately known as “green”; order it by saying “Mia Prasini”.

On the quality front, there is also a microbrewery/restaurant called Craft (2 litre jug also available in large supermarkets), and new organic beer producers like Piraiki Zythopoiia.

Liquor:

The most famous indigenous Greek liquor is ouzo (ούζο), an anise-flavored strong spirit (37.5%), which is transparent by itself but turns milky white when mixed with water. Mainlanders do not drink ouzo with ice, but tourists and Greek islanders generally do. A 200 ml bottle can be under €2 in supermarkets and rarely goes above €8 even in expensive restaurants. Mytilene (Lesbos) is particularly famous for its ouzo. A few to try are “Mini” and “Number 12,” two of the most popular made in a middle-of-the-road style, “Sans Rival,” one of the most strongly anise-flavored ones, “Arvanitis,” much lighter, and the potent “Barba Yianni” and “Aphrodite,” more expensive and much appreciated by connoisseurs.

Raki or tsikoudia is the Greek equivalent of the Italian grappa, produced by boiling the remains of the grapes after the wine has been squeezed off. It is quite strong (35-40% of alcohol) and in the summer months it is served cold. It costs very little when one buys it in supermarkets or village stores. The raki producing process has become a male event, as usually men are gathering to produce the raki and get drunk by constantly trying the raki as it comes out warm from the distillery. One raki distillery in working order is exhibited in Ippikos Omilos Irakleiou in Heraklion, but they can be found in most large villages. In northern Greece it is also called tsipouro (τσίπουρο). In Crete, raki is traditionally considered an after-dinner drink and is often served with fruit as dessert.

Coffee:

Coffee (kafes: καφές) is an important part of Greek culture.

The country is littered with kafetéries (kafetéria singular) which are cafes that serve as popular hangouts for Greeks, especially among the under-35s. They tend to be pretty trendy -yet relaxed- and serve a variety of beverages from coffee, to wine, beer, spirits, as well as snacks, desserts, and ice cream. In the pleasant months of spring, summer, and fall, all kafetéries provide outdoor tables/seating and they are busiest with customers in the late afternoon and evening hours. Several kafetéries also double as bars.

Kafeneia (coffee houses) are ubiquitous, found even in the smallest village, where they traditionally served a function similar to that of the village pub in Ireland. Their clientele tends to be overwhelmingly men over 50, however everyone is welcome, male or female, young or old, Greek or foreigner; and you will be treated extremely courteously. However, if you’re not interested in cultural immersion to this extent, you may find the kafeneia pretty boring.

Traditionally, coffee is prepared with the grounds left in. It is actually a somewhat lighter version of Turkish coffee but in Greece it’s only known as Greek coffee – “ellinikós kafés” or simply “ellinikós.” Despite being slightly lighter than the original Turkish coffee, it remains a thick, strong black coffee, served in a small cup either sweetened or unsweetened. If you don’t specify, the coffee is usually served moderately sweet. Greek coffee traditionally was made by boiling the grounds and water on a stove in a special small pot called a “briki.” More and more now days it’s made by simply shooting steam from an espresso machine into the water/coffee mixture in the briki, resulting in an inferior drink. If you find a place that still actually uses a stove burner to make their coffee, you can be sure it’s a traditional cafe.

During the hot summer months, one of the most popular coffees at the kafetéries is frappé (φραπέ): shaken iced instant coffee. This is actually an original Greek coffee and can be really refreshing, ordered with or without milk, sweetened or unsweetened.

Coffee can also be made espresso-style, French press (mainly at hotels), and with modern filter technology. The latter is sometimes known as Γαλλικός: gallikos (“French”) which can lead to some confusion with the press method. It is best to ask for φίλτρου: filtrou, which refers unambiguously to filter coffee. It is best not to ask for black coffee, as it is unlikely that anyone will understand what you are asking for.

Espresso freddo or cappuccino freddo have gained much popularity the last decade, and these are the most popular coffees throughout Greece. Espresso freddo is simply espresso + ice; cappuccino freddo refers to espresso + ice + chill milk foam. They may be served from mousse containers, not prepared to order; be careful to check.

Iced tea:

In mass-sector taverns and cafe, iced tea typically means instant; ask twice if you prefer brewed ice tea.

If you enjoy the local traditions and charm, unhurried rhythm of living, small, family-run pensions are the best way to enrich your experience. Owners and personnel there are friendly and open-minded, compared to the impersonal service you normally encounter in large hotels.

If you have a bigger budget, renting a villa is a luxurious and splendid idea. They are normally near or on the beach and provide more space and a great view.

In Greece hotels, especially in the islands but also even in Athens and other big cities, tend to be simple establishments. Rooms are typically small, and bathrooms smaller, with the shower often a hand-held sprayer; if there is a bath-tub, it’s often a sit-bath. Sometimes in the most basic places shower curtains are lacking. Closets are often inadequate, and sometimes there is only a wardrobe. On the plus side, such hotels typically have a balcony (though sometimes tiny) or veranda, either private or a large one shared by all the rooms (but these are usually spacious enough not to feel cramped.) Standards of cleanliness are usually good, even in the simpler places. Those who want more luxurious accommodation can usually find it in cities and on the more popular islands but should check the hotel’s quality in reliable sources to be sure of what they’re getting.

Most Greek hotels now, even the smaller ones, have websites and will take bookings by email, though sometimes fax is a more reliable way to communicate. There are also numerous Greek and international hotel booking services which will make bookings, and sometimes these are cheaper, or have rooms available when the hotel itself says it’s sold out. If you’re not really particular about choosing a hotel, you can usually find a place on a walk-in basis without too much trouble on all but the most crowded islands, where rooms can be difficult to find at the peak of the season, and even in the shoulder season on weekends and major holidays. If you do get stuck for a room, try a local travel agency (preferably one endorsed by a reputable guidebook) or alternatively, ask at a cafe whether the owner knows of any rooms for rent; often they do.

On some islands, though this varies from place to place, the owners of accommodations will meet arriving ferries to offer rooms. Often they’ll have a van there to transport you from the port, and will have brochures to show you. These places are perfectly legitimate, they’re sometimes among the best value places. You can negotiate prices, especially when there are a lot of them trying to fill their rooms, and prices in the range of 20-25 EUR for a room or even a studio is not uncommon in mid-season. But they could be anywhere from a few steps away from the port to a mile out of town, so before accepting such an offer it’s best to be sure you get a good idea of its location.

Places listed in the guide books tend to be booked up in advance and usually get more expensive as soon as they know they are in there!

Greek rooms typically have air conditioning nowadays. If this is important to you, ask before booking. Some rooms in old traditional buildings with thick stone walls may not need it. Televisions are also common, though the picture may be too fuzzy to be much use, and if you get the set to work you may find it receives programs only in Greek. Room phones are rare in the less expensive places.

The main problem you’re likely to encounter with a Greek hotel room is noise. Anything on a road is likely to suffer from traffic noise, and even at hotels not on a major road you may find that that “footpath” outside is used as a superhighway by Greece’s notoriously loud motorbikes. And tavernas and clubs nearby can be loud. If you’re concerned about noise, it makes sense to choose your hotel’s location carefully. The quietest ones are likely to be in an old part of the town or village accessible only by stairs which counter the prevailing “if I can drive it there I will drive it there” car and motorbike philosophy.

In addition to hotels, almost every popular Greek destination offers self-catering accommodations called studios or sometimes apartments—the terms are pretty much interchangeable. Often these are run by hotels: a hotel may include some self-catering units, or the managers of a hotel may also run a separate building of self-catering apartments. Though not listed very often in travel guides, these studios are most certainly a viable option for many travelers. Typically, a studio consists of one large room, usually larger than a hotel room (though sometimes there are multiple rooms,) with a sink, small refrigerator, and two-burner hot-plate. They usually have a private balcony or veranda, a television, and air conditioning, though rarely a room phone and almost never internet access. In contrast to a hotel, they lack a front desk, there is no breakfast or other food service, and there may be maid service only once every two or three days. Studios are often in quieter and more scenic locations than hotels. For those who don’t require the full services of a hotel, studios can be an attractive alternative offering better accommodation for the money, and the chance to economize on food by preparing some meals yourself.

Markets: Greece farmers markets (Laikí Agorá) take place at least once a week in every town. Here agricultural products of the region but also the things of daily life are offered. They have a very special flair that you should not miss. Standowners in the big markets are vociferously promoting their products, while the small rural markets are comparatively quiet. One is rarely addressed by the sellers. But there are many other things to discover in the markets. For example olives. Stalls offer the wide selection of pickled olives. It‘s allowed to taste before you buy what you like most. Also very nice are the stalls that offer nuts. A very wide selection of nibbles, you can buy here. Again, tasting is allowed. Of course, there is also a part that offers clothes, shoes, fabrics and jewellery. Here you get the known plagiarism, but also products from Greece.

In general: Things you might buy at home but are (usually) fresh in Greece include olive oil, fruits (watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, grapes, strawberries, etc.), feta cheese, and some breads and sweets that are local (see the “Eat” section). As for drinks, “Retsina” and “Tsipouro” are also local, but the first has a peculiar taste and the second is really strong, like “ouzo” and “raki”. Don’t mix those four with other drinks if you buy some for back home. It’s nice to buy small statues and miniatures of ancient Greek art, but search for the cheap ones in various shops – you can almost always find them in half the price. Shops that cater to tourists are always more expensive – a local you can trust could be of great use. Buy definitely a hat for the sun if it’s summer and sunblock (see the “Natural dangers” section).

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Greece
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Name: Acropolis of Athens
Location: Athens, Greece
The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon. The word acropolis is from the Greek words ἄκρον (akron, "highest point, extremity") and πόλις (polis, "city"). Although the term acropolis is generic and there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as "The Acropolis" without qualification.

While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, it was Pericles (c. 495 – 429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site's most important present remains including the Parthenon, the Propylaia, the Erechtheion and the Temple of Athena Nike. The Parthenon and the other buildings were damaged seriously during the 1687 siege by the Venetians during the Morean War when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was hit by a cannonball and exploded.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acropolis_of_Athens
Name: Meteora
Location: Thessaly, Greece
The Meteora is a rock formation in central Greece hosting one of the largest and most precipitously built complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries, second in importance only to Mount Athos. The six (of an original twenty four) monasteries are built on immense natural pillars and hill-like rounded boulders that dominate the local area. It is located near the town of Kalambaka at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains.

Meteora is included on the UNESCO World Heritage List under criteria I, II, IV, V and VII. The name means "lofty", "elevated", and is etymologically related to meteor.

The exact date of the establishment of the monasteries is unknown. By the late 11th and early 12th centuries, a rudimentary monastic state had formed called the Skete of Stagoi and was centered around the still-standing church of Theotokos (mother of God). By the end of the 12th century, an ascetic community had flocked to Meteora. In 1344, Athanasios Koinovitis from Mount Athos brought a group of followers to Meteora.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteora
Name: Santorini
Location: South Aegean, Greece
Santorini, is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast of Greece's mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago, which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 and a 2011 census population of 15,550. The municipality of Santorini includes the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 km2. Santorini is part of the Thira regional unit.

The island was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history: the Minoan eruption (sometimes called the Thera eruption), which occurred about 3,600 years ago at the height of the Minoan civilization. The eruption left a large caldera surrounded by volcanic ash deposits hundreds of metres deep. It may have led indirectly to the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete, 110 km (68 mi) to the south, through a gigantic tsunami.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santorini
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Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

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