Greece is a country teeming with myths, traditions, history and living culture. Travellers choose it as a destination not only for its incomparable natural beauty, but because it is a magical place, full of discoveries, charm and secrets. Travelling in Greece is at the same time a way of becoming acquainted with the origins of western civilization. Let yourself be captivated by its historical wealth and singular modern reality. A trip to Greece is the experience of a lifetime that leaves the pleasant feeling that the world is ultimately very rich, very beautiful and very interesting.
In the footsteps of Pausanias
Pausanias is without doubt, the greatest traveller in antiquity. His many-volumed, multifarious work is the archaeologists’ ‘bible’, as by following his descriptions they have managed to excavate significant ancient cities and bring to light unique treasures.
Pausanias journeyed throughout Greece. He was the archetypal travel writer, collecting myths, legends, traditions, folklore, as well as information on the everyday life of the places he visited. At the same time he recorded in great detail the layout of cities, important sanctuaries and major architectural works, along with administrative arrangements and social relationships. In honour of this great social scientist, the National Trail 031 in the Peloponnese is called the ‘Pausanias’ trail’. It is an exceptional route that starts from Patras and ends in Olympia, passing through some of the most beautiful areas of Achaia, Arcadia and Ileia. Many societies organize trips to walk the trail and in this way one can enjoy the route – especially in spring or autumn – with other nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts.
Flavours, colours and aromas
Travelling around the Greece of Dionysus and fine wines is a trend that has conquered the hearts of tourists. Lovers of fine wines and spirits follow the wine roads, combining their acquaintance with the Greek natural world and the ‘hunt’ for that splendid, liquid treasure.
As one sets out along these charming roads, they will at the same time experience local culture. Hamlets around the vineyards, traditional guesthouses and ‘temples’ to authentic Greek cuisine go to make a world filled with enjoyment and excitement.
Greek caves – the depths of nature
The Greek land is scattered with caves exceeding 8500 in number. Major geological processes have endowed the bowels of the Greek earth with true monuments to nature, filled with charm and mystery.
Human history has been linked to these mystical caves. Many of them were refuges for primeval man; others were important places of worship. The power of nature, manifesting itself in the silence, unseen by human eyes, has captivated all cultures. Great chthonic deities were regarded as the protectors of caves in Greece, like the mythical “Pories”, beings with great intelligence and bodily features both human and serpent-like.
Greek caves, like Melissani on Kefalonia, those at Alistrati and Prosotsani in Macedonia, the Perama cave in Ioannina, Epirus, the famous cave of Paiania in Attica, the caves of Limnes and Diros in the Peloponnese, Diktaion Antron (Diktaean Cave) in Crete, fascinate visitors with their inner, complex decoration. Stalactites and stalagmites of incredible beauty, an ‘architectural’ structure that forms halls similar to those in royal palaces, underground waters, crystal-clear and mystical, create unparalleled underground landscapes.
Many caves have been linked to religious tradition, like Mega Spilaion in the Peloponnese and of course, the famous Cave of the Apocalypse on the island of Patmos. There are also many small caves that were always considered sacred places, which have been converted into Orthodox churches, like Agios Konstantinos in the Peloponnese at Pellini .
Apart from being one of the special sights to see when travelling around this country, a visit to a Greek cave is a deeply mystical experience.