Top 10 things to do in Greece
IMAGE: MATEUS PABSTWhen looking for pictures of Greece you can’t help but find images of the sun setting the sky on fire as it dips below the water line from a gorgeous island beach. As much as for the gods and ancient world of the past modern Greece is famous for her islands. The Cyclades are some of the most beautiful of these. One I’d love to visit is the cosmopolitan paradise of Mykonos. Yes, clubbing may be one of the first things which come to mind when imagining this white washed beauty, but the image of Greece we all know, the white painted windmills staring off into the vast Aegean is typical Mykonos beauty. 3. Rhodes
IMAGE: NORBERT NAGELRhodes is one of the largest Greek islands and is extremely close to the coast of Turkey. My stop off here would have to take a little bit of archaeology as I try and discover the ruins of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. After failing to rediscover the ancient statue it would be time to head inland and see some of the rugged mountainous and forest covered landscape, home to churches and crusader castles. My final stop off would have to be the medieval walled town of Rhodes and pay homage at the temple of Venus. Then a sunset, a harbor and a perfect view. What more could you want? 4. Crete
IMAGE: TRINE JUELBiggest isn’t always best. Except that sometimes it is and in the case of Crete it might just be true. Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and has more than enough to see not just for a fortnight in the sun but a month or two at the least. One of the most enduring things about Greece is the rich ancient history and I’ve been fascinated by it for years. The Minoan civilisation is one which has always held much more than a passing interest for me. Knossos was the capital of the Minoan world and though today its’ palace may be an archaeological site, it has been said to be the inspiration for the myth of the Minotaur home, the Labyrinth. Whether the bull of Crete existed or not it is undeniably an impressive place to see. 5. Meteora
MAGE: GABRIELBack to the mainland and in many ways into the heart of Greece. Remember when I talked about monasteries which seem to touch the clouds earlier? Well this is it. Meteora is one of the largest and seen as one of the most important monastery complexes in the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as being a UNESCO world heritage site. With this kind of credentials you don’t want to miss it. Perched atop sandstone rock pillars and surveying the rugged and jagged landscape behind and plain below it’s easy to see why this has become such a firm favorite with tourists and day trippers from Athens. Most visit as part of a two day trip taking in the monastery and other sights of central Greece. I’d also like to take a peek at the nearby Theopetra Caves which are home to the oldest known man-made structure. 6. Delphi
IMAGE: RONNY SIEGELAnd whilst we’re on one of those two day excursions from Athens, let’s see what the other half takes in. When I thought we’d get to Greece this summer I looked up a few tour operators and most combine Meteora in a two day trip with the ancient temple site of Delphi. Delphi was pretty much ground zero for the ancient Greek world. The all-knowing oracle who dispensed cryptic wisdom was go-to woman for just about any question you needed an answer to. Delphi is forever shrouded in myth and legend. Did Zeus really release two birds from opposite end of the world to meet in the middle - crowning Delphi the literal center of the world? Well I guess I wouldn’t see Zeus but I could see the home of the Pythian games, a rival to the ancient Olympics and one of the major games of the Hellenic world imagining the crowds cheering me on as I hoist a fantastic weight above my head. 7. The Athens subway
This may seem like an odd pick but stay with me as it does make sense. The Athens metro (like all subway systems) cuts through the underground heart of the city above. In Athens it just happens that the ancient heart it runs through is seemingly bursting with ancient artifacts and archaeological wonders.Some of the newer stations such as Syntagma Metro Station are home to museums displaying the gems which were discovered as the area was unearthed and construction took place. Monastiraki and Acropolis stations also threw up quite a few wonders and these can be seen in smaller displays within the stations concourses. I loved that you could see the stations cut into the rock and all the discoveries they produced.
IMAGE: USUARIOIf I’m going to go shopping back in Greece, it will be to the downtown Athens area of Monastiraki. The streets surrounding Monastiraki are home to flea markets and stalls selling all manor of goods. Looking for something quintessentially Greek or the usual tourist gifts? Either way there will be a stall selling everything you could ever want. Kolonaki is the polar opposite. Whereas Monastiraki is home to the flea markets and the perfect place to grab a bargain, Kolonaki is the upscale, chic and elegant. The area is located between Lycavittus and Syntagma square and is home to Athens designer stores and boutiques as well as charming cafes and restaurants. It is a great area for people watching, but shopping here does stretch the purse strings a bit! 9. Elafonissi Beach, Chania, Crete
IMAGE: WOLFGANG STAUDTBack out to sea for my final two stops as we hop around Greece. After seeing all the amazing sights from the ancient world, visiting monasteries on the hill and doing some hard core shopping you’d be forgiven for being a little tired, I know I would be. And looking for a place to just chill out and relax leads me to pictures of this beautiful beach. Greece is spoiled for choice when it comes to beautiful beaches but this one really does take first among equals. 10. Santorini
IMAGE: EDWARD DALMULDER
I saved the best for last. It may be a small island, but Santorini has had my heart for the past couple of years since we first visited. I don’t know if it was the fresh seafood, the gorgeous island, beaches of red, black and golden sands or the fact it is a volcano! Wherever the magic of Santorini comes from, I would simply love to be back there again.