by Lethabo-Thabo Royds
Ancient Greece has inspired many and contemporary Greece continues to delight us. This culturally rich country offers so much more than the opportunity to immerse yourself in a time gone by and the allegorical stories of the gods and goddesses.
Greece is made up of thousands of islands throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas. From the ever-popular Mykonos and Santorini islands to the less well-known (but equally wonderful) Euboea and Ios islands, Greece has all you need for a great holiday. Here are some of the many wonderful things you can, and should, do in modern Greece.
Walk Ancient Greece
You cannot go to modern Greece and not experience some of what makes it such a great tourist attraction: its history! Greece’s cities and islands are filled with ancient ruins that you can explore. Here are just three of the many you should visit.
Athens is the capital of modern Greece and it was also the centre of Ancient Greece. In Athens you can visit the Acropolis, a UNESCO world heritage site and home to the Parthenon. The Parthenon – built in the 5th century BC – is, essentially, a temple dedicated to the Greek goddess from whom the city obtained its name. Athena is the goddess of war, strategy, and wisdom so a visit to a temple dedicated to her may offer you wisdom (or maybe a strategic breakthrough) in something you’ve been pondering.
History buffs should make time to visit the Acropolis museum where you can see some of the findings from the Acropolis. There is a permanent exhibition called “The Gallery of the Slopes of the Acropolis” where you can see some of what was discovered on the slopes of this imposing structure.
Believed to be the home of Zeus – king of the gods – and the 12 Olympians, Mount Olympus is the highest mountain in Greece. For those who love Ancient Greece, a visit to this remarkable place is a must. You can hike up Mount Olympus and you will be rewarded with some spectacular views. You may even encounter the incredible atmosphere that made it home to the gods.
Home of the Olympic Games…well, the first ones. Visit Olympia and step back in time. As you explore the Olympic stadium you can almost hear the thunderous applause and cheers of the ancient crowd as they witness the contenders doing their best in all the disciplines of the games.
Get advice from an ancient oracle
Delphi, believed to be the centre of the world during Ancient Greek times, was sacred to the Greek god Apollo. It was a religious sanctuary and where Apollo could get advice from the Oracle of Delphi. The oracle was a high priestess and the go-to person for advice in the ancient world. Thousands of ancient Greeks would flock to Delphi on consultation day so they could, hopefully, get answers to questions they had.
Today, the site is one of Greece’s many archaeological attractions and a UNESCO world heritage site. From seeing the ancient ruins of the Temple of Apollo and various other buildings to marvelling at the view (it is spectacular), Delphi still holds significance in the modern world.
Architecture buffs will love this man-made site that seems to live harmoniously with the natural world around it. Ancient building materials were used in the restoration process giving the site historical authenticity.
The fact there are so many fantastic Greek restaurants in South Africa shows how much we enjoy Greek food. It also means that many South Africans have tried all sorts of authentic Greek dishes. But, what is more authentic than easting Greek food in Greece? Be sure to try some moussaka, souvlaki, keftedes, and gyros. For those with a sweet tooth what could beat the popular baklava and loukoumades?
For something you can’t get at home try out koulouris – a popular Greek street food. Koulouris are rings of bread covered in sesame seeds. The bread is said to have originated in Thessaloniki but nowadays you can find it in most of the country. You’ll usually find busy professionals munching this tasty bread while rushing to work with a cup of coffee in-hand. You can have the plain version or try it filled with yummy things like chocolate spread or cheese. It’s best enjoyed fresh so make sure you buy it in the morning.
Galaktoboureko is another dish you’ll struggle to find at home. It is a sweet dessert made of phyllo and semolina custard, and soaked in syrup. If you love super sweet desserts this is for you. If not, make sure you share this with someone as you may find finishing one is too sweet for your taste buds.
See the crazy waters
The island of Evia, also known as Euboea, is the second largest island in Greece. It is home to monasteries, pine forests, waterfalls, beaches, and a place translated as “Dragon houses”. Here you can see the waters change direction every six or so hours and so are aptly the “crazy waters”. There are a number of scientific reasons for the waters to change their direction such as the moon and differences in sea level. But it’s still worth a visit, whether you’re after the crazy or the science.
Where to stay
The time to be happy is now and the place to be happy in Greece is the four-trident Club Med Gregolimano. Our All-Inclusive Greek resort offers a range of fun activities like water-skiing, sailing, scuba diving, tennis, archery, the flying trapeze, fitness classes, and more.
Whether you are travelling as a family or just with your partner you will have plenty to keep you busy and enjoying Greece.
For families Club Med offers childcare; family arts and crafts so you can get creative with your family; and tasty activities like family picnics, pancake parties, and baking workshops. These are all included in your All-Inclusive Club Med package.
As part of your Club Med package you will enjoy gourmet food, all-day snacks, an open bar, and evening entertainment. This Club Med village is set along a secluded beach making it ideal for those who want to relax on the beach.