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While living in Greece I had the great fortune of filming 70 travel segments for my show Hellenic Weekly. This was an unforgettable experience for me, and how I truly discovered the magic of Greece. This summer I want to suggest spending your vacation in Greece. Greece offers a full type of vacation destination for everyone, whether seeking a glamorous or hippy vibe, cultural sights, museums, theatre, religious destinations, gourmet and wine tasting, sun & beaches, mountain climbing, trekking, water sports, relaxation or partying all night long! Greece is a timeless destination that offers it all.

Greece’s history, people, culture, mythology and breathtaking landscape have attracted visitors throughout the ages. Sought after throughout time for its strategic position between the east and west, with its natural ports, and revitalizing energy, Greece has always been a special place in the world.

During your travels I hope you will learn about our history, visit our museums, archeological sites and byzantine churches, swim in our blue seas, climb our mountains, drink and eat our natural Mediterranean cuisine and dance under the stars until sunrise. I hope you too can live the magic of Greece….

Traveling to Greece is literally an amazing, enlightening experience; after you arrival to Athens and spending a few days to site see, I suggest grouping islands together and island hopping. Also suggested are the beautiful mountainous areas of Greece as a destination for a different experience. Literally, Greece has so much to offer that one trip is not enough. Once visiting Greece I guarantee you will be back for more! You see… besides all I mentioned, Greece ignites something in all of us, a sort of awakening, we all find something familiar in Greece. I believe this is why so many foreigners keep coming back, and end up living in Greece! So many famous artists and writers have homes in Greece and live there many months throughout the year. Greece inspires and overwhelms you with passion for nature and life.

Destinations to consider:

MAINLAND/CENTRAL GREECE & ARGOSORONIC ISLANDS: ATHENS, SOUNIO, PARNASSOS, KORINTHOS ELAFONISOS, KEA, BUTTERFLY ISLANDS, HYDRA, SPETSES

PELOPONESE: MANI, SPARTA, MONEMVASIA, TRIPOLI, OLYMPIA, PYRGOS, MT.OLYMPUS NAFPLIO, ARGOS, KARPENISI, METEORA

CYCLADES ISLANDS: MYKONOS, TINOS, ANDROS, SIFNOS, DELOS

CRETE; HERAKLEION, HANIA, RETHYMNOS, ST.NICHOLAS

EPTANISA ISLANDS: CORFU/KERKYRA, ZAKINTHOS, KEFFALONIA, ITHACA, SCORPIOS, LEFKADA

NORTHERN GREECE: EPIRUS: IOANNENA, PARGA, ZAGOROXORIA VILLAGES
MACEDONIA: THESSALONIKI, BERIA/BERGINNA, THRACE, KASTORIA, METSOVO

DODECANESE ISLAND: RHODES, KOS, KALYMNOS, NISSIROS, PATMOS, SANTORINI, MILOS, SAMOS, MYTILINI, LESBOS, LEROS,

Working with a travel agency is strongly suggested to get the best out of your trip. You can also consider renting a yacht and crew for a real Greek experience! Be sure to eat at traditional taverns to get a taste of authentic Greek cuisine.

As for souvenirs, suggested must haves are: replicas of antiquity, Greek organic products, gold jewelry, paintings, rugs, Greek leather goods such as bags and sandals, Christian icons.
I want to share some information with you about Greece that will help you understand our culture better before travelling.

Brief History of Greece

Beginning from the achievements of the Bronze Age under the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations, to the heroic stories of the Trojan War, up to the Classical Age of Greece, that saw the rise of the city-state and a climax in art, politics, theater, and philosophy, Greece’s history has always been a worldwide fascination and subject for literature, movies, and art.

During the Hellenistic Period, Alexander the Great’s expansion into Asia brought forth an empire that stretched into two continents, along with legends that are still retold in present day. Unfortunately this period was followed by a series of foreign occupations, from the Roman to the Ottoman Empire, and it wasn’t until Greece declared independence in 1821, that the birth of Greece gave way to a united sovereign country.

The People of Greece

The people of Greece have survived over 3,000 years of foreign occupation, beginning back to the invasion of the Roman Empire, through to the invasion of the Ottoman Turks and the fall of Constantinople in1453, which resulted in over four hundred years of Ottoman occupation in Greece and other Balkan and Eastern regions. The movement for independence started in 1821, and victory was marked with the creation of the Modern Greek state in 1829. Greece underwent further struggles with the Greco-Turkish War, and the World Wars, bearing witness to the Nazi invasion and occupation during World War II.

Despite the invasions and occupations, Greece and its people managed to stay together, preserve the culture, religion, language and celebrate old traditions until today. Strong family values, deep religious beliefs and loyalty to the motherland and culture have kept Hellenism alive. Greeks are known for their hospitality and welcoming demeanor towards visitors, called Filotimi, which translates into loyalty to friendship. The current Greek economic crisis has brought the Greeks financially to their knees, however Greece will prevail as she has been through worse.

The Greeks have always lived for “today.” They are famous for their philosophy and very laid-back attitudes. They live for the pursuit of happiness, as the famous philosopher Aristotle believed, “is the purpose of life”. They always seemed to have managed throughout the country’s distressed periods of time, because of their instilled beliefs in their culture, deep rooted nationalism and strong passion. Greece’s power lies within the people, their philosophy, resourcefulness, creativity and protective nature over their families and property. After visiting Greece all foreigners leave with a new outlook: Life is short. Live, love, laugh, drink ouzo, and dance through your emotions!!

The Greeks do not usually eat breakfast. They will sip on a cup of coffee for hours, maybe accompanied with something light. Lunch is a big part of the day and is usually followed by an afternoon nap however times have changed and less Greeks sleep in the afternoon these days. Awakening from their nap, they sip on another cup of coffee. Dinner is usually lighter than lunch.
A night out on the town with friends is part of the lifestyle. They hop around from cool hip bars to big live Greek entertainment establishments called “Bouzoukia”, the Greeks are social by nature and enjoy music and dancing. In short, they live life to the fullest and usually do so until sunrise!
Experience the magic of Greece this year!

Original Source: The Huffington Post

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