The tradition of wine-making is a long and rich one in Greece, as is the case with all countries washed by the Mediterranean. Wine is associated not only with the nutritional habits of Greeks, but also with religious and popular traditions connected with its cultural heritage.
The Wine Routes are a special form of agritourism aimed at maintaining and promoting this heritage. There are selected routes for travellers to follow, which pass through the most picturesque viticultural areas and wineries. Visitors are welcome to taste local wines accompanied by traditional appetizers and titbits, and to explore the traditional villages, archaeological sites, museums, etc. This recently developed form of tourism shows consideration for the natural environment and offers visitors the opportunity to learn about each destination through the local wine-making and viticultural traditions. There are restaurants, tavernas, ouzo eateries and hotels along the way which offer traditional high standard hospitality and provide visitors with a better insight into the land and culture of Greece.
Much like silk back in the old times, wine too has travelled through a special network of transport. The wine routes of Greece pass through the major grapevine regions and nearby well-known wineries, and travellers have the opportunity to sample local organically grown wines produced in limited quantities, some of which have won international awards. Visitors are invited to get acquainted with the entire wine-making process, as guest houses are located either in the heart of the vineyards or in close proximity to them, in nearby villages.
In the region of Thrace, the wine routes stretch across the areas of Evros, Samothrace, Rodopi and Xanthi. In Macedonia, they pass by Kavala, Drama, Serres, Halkidiki, Thessaloniki, Kilkis, Pella, Florina, Kastoria, Grevena, Kozani, Pieria and Imathia. In the region of Thessaly, they are to be found in Larisa, Magnesia, the Sporades Islands, Karditsa and Trikala. In Epirus, there are wine-producing areas in Ioannina, Arta, Preveza and Thesprotia. The Ionian Islands of Corfu, Paxi, Lefkada, Kefalonia, Ithaca and Zakynthos (or Zante) all have their vineyard areas. The region of Central Greece comprises viticultural areas in Aitoloakarnania, Fokida, Evrytania, Fthiotida, Voiotia, Evia, Skyros Island and Attica. In the Peloponnese the wine routes run along Corinthia, Achaia, Ileia, Messinia, Laconia, Arcadia, Argolida and Kythira Island. The Aegean Islands of Lesvos, Limnos, Chios, Samos, Ikaria, the Dodecanese Islands, the Cyclades and the island of Crete all have wine-producing areas.
A palatable colourful journey in the world of wine
Wine tourism offers a special experience in nature to those who wish to learn about the local methods of grapevine cultivation and rural life. Visitors can capture the flavour of life in the Greek countryside by staying in small traditional guest houses and by learning about the viticultural methods and the local fermentation procedures for making wine. Sipping a glass of red or white wine in the peaceful Greek countryside, with wonderful scents drifting in the air, one feels that life acquires its true meaning in appreciation of the simplest, yet most precious pleasures!