Finally in 2022 I had my first taste of Greece visiting Crete for a dear friends wedding. I have to say I really enjoyed my time there and I will definitely be looking to explore more of Greece in the future.
Like in Thailand their are also the noisy Cicadas. I had never seen one before, only heard them, but here I actually saw quite a few around and I managed to get a photo of the noisy little buggers.
Greece is a country in Southeast Europe sharing land borders with Albania to the northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, and Turkey to the northeast. The Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Sea of Crete and the Mediterranean Sea to the south.
- Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin, featuring thousands of islands.
- The country consists of nine traditional geographic regions, and has a population of approximately 10.4 million.
- Athens is the nation’s capital and largest city, followed by Thessaloniki and Patras.
- There are 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Greece.
- The climate of Greece is primarily Mediterranean, featuring mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers.
- The country adopted the euro in 2001.
- Time zone in Greece (GMT+3)
- Country Code: +30
- Currency: € (Euro)
The earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans, dated to 270,000 BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave, in the Greek province of Macedonia.
- The Apidima Cave in Mani, in southern Greece, contains the oldest remains of anatomically modern humans outside of Africa, dated to 210,000 years ago.
- The end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to 776 BC, the year of the first Olympic Games.
- Greece hosted the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens.
While staying in Crete I had an entire apartment to myself for the week at a fraction of the cost my friends were paying at the all inclusive resorts.
- Airbnb, available everywhere. I booked an entire apartment to myself for 7 days for €283, (£241).
- Hostel, €16-20 per night regardless of size.
- B&B & Guest Houses, two-star hotels start at €25
- Hotels,These range from simple two-star to lavish five-star and all-inclusive resorts. There are city hotels, business hotels, beach resorts and even nudist hotels.
Tip: If staying at an apartment or B&B you may have to say the day before if you would like the breakfast so they can order it in.
Notable festivals include Patras Carnival, Athens Festival and various local wine festivals. The city of Thessaloniki is also home of a number of festivals and events. The Thessaloniki International Film Festival is one of the most important film festivals in Southern Europe.
Traditional Greek cuisine is very healthy with a lot of fresh vegetables, olive oil, lamb, fish, pork, cheeses (especially feta), and yogurts.
- Tzatziki is a Greek sauce made with goat’s (or sheep’s) yoghurt and cucumbers.
- Greek salad: cucumbers, olives, feta cheese, peppers.
- Moussaka: a dish made of aubergines, minced meat and béchamel sauce.
- Fasolada, a traditional bean soup.
- Souvlakis and gyros: a pita filled with chicken or pork, a yoghurt sauce, salad, tomatoes and fries. This is what I ate the most.
- Greek Yogurt You will find it in every restaurants, and it’s often served for desert with fruits and honey.
- Portokalopita: a Phyllo dough cake, made with Oranges. If you don’t like Oranges, there is a lemon one.
- Ouzo, an aniseed flavour alcohol, served as a digestif. I prefer this to the Raki.
Tip: Eat Gyros (and other street snacks) usually only cost a few euros. They are quick and easy and can keep you full for less than €10 per day!
Tip: Most beers bought tend to come with a free snack of nuts or crisps and are only half pints €2.50-3. If you do find a large beer it’s usually €4.
Tip: After every meal you’ll be given a free shot of Raki, often it’s a double shot glass. Only once was I given Ouzo.
- Acropolis (Athens)
- Ancient Delos
- Epidaurus Ancient Theatre (Epidavros)
- Heraklion Archaeological Museum (Crete)
- Mycenae (Mykines)
- Palace of Knossos (Crete)
- Parthenon (Athens)
- Shipwreck Beach (also called Navagio)
- Temple of Olympian Zeus (Olympia)
I hired a car to get around, which was much needed as without it I would have been so bored. It was only a small little runner but it got me everywhere I wanted to go. It cost me €154.50 (£133.26) for 6 days and I decided to add an extra day at the end which was an extra €30 (£25.88) as my flight out was early evening, so I still had the morning to do some more exploring.
- Bus, KTEL buses are the most popular connections between cities, towns and villages.
- Car, almost everywhere is covered by the road network, but in rural areas it can be windy and narrow. This is the way I went and would recommend.
- Taxi, You’ll need cash if taking a cab. It’s best to agree on a price before you get in, especially late at night and only use for short distances or it’ll be very expensive.
- Train, There is a rail system that runs through mainland Greece, but it is old with very little upgrades since the 90’s.
Tip: Fuel isn’t cheap costing even more than the UK. You don’t fuel the cars, pull into the service garage then someone will come out to you and you let them know how much you’d like. You may need to go in to pay though, very few places have contactless. Also they often close at around 9pm in the more rural areas.
Tip: The speed limit in Greece is 50 kph (30 mph) in urban areas and 90 kph (55 mph) in rural areas. While on the carriageway it’s 110 kph (70 mph) and on the motorway the speed limit is 130 kph (80 mph).
Tip: If you plan on driving remember to download offline maps so you can still get around without signal.
Tip: The taxi from and to the airport was cash only.
Tip: The trees at the side of the road are painted white so they’re easier to see at night.
- Ferry, companies operate between Italy and Greece all year round.
- Fly, the fastest and easiest way to get there. The most popular international airports are located in Athens, Santorini, Mykonos and Heraklion.
Tip: Some businesses (like hotels and tour companies) do not operate from November to March, so take that into consideration if you do want to plan a trip during the winter months.
Greek is one of the oldest languages in Europe, with an oral tradition of 4000 years and a written one of around 3000 years. I tried my best to learn what I could, but it’s not easy. Almost all actually speak English anyway and even the local taxi driver who’d been there for 10 years said he still couldn’t really speak it and told me not to try. The most important information, like signs, museum descriptions, and menus in the restaurants, are usually found both in Greek and English.
- Yiasou (Yah-Soo) – Informal way of saying both ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’
- Yiasas – More formal way of saying both ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ use this when talking to older people or people you’ve only just met.
- Kalimera (Kah-Lee-MEH-Rah) – Meaning ‘good day’, this expression is used until 12:00
- Kalispera (Kah-Lee-SPARE-a) – Good afternoon
- Ne and Ohi – Yes & No
- Efharisto (Ef-Cha-Ri-Sto) – Thank you
- Excuse Me – Signomi
- Water – Nerroh
- Beer – Birra
Tip: Don’t attempt to shake hands unless offered to you – this is not a common custom in Greece.
For Greece there are two associated plug types C and F
Type C: This socket also works with plug E and F
Type F: This socket also works with plug C and E
Your need for a power plug adapter depends on the power plugs used in your own country. Visitors from abroad will need an adaptor for appliances that have been brought from home, such as laptops, hairdryers and phone chargers. Most hotels will have two-pronged European-style sockets for shavers only. What you need to keep you covered is a Worldwide travel adapter, check out what i’m currently using on my travels here. I always travel light and my adaptor stays in my bag all the time. It doesn’t matter where you go in the world this will have you covered and will keep you charged up and ready to go.
- Fuel isn’t cheap costing even more than the UK. You don’t fuel the cars, pull into the service garage then someone will come out to you and you let them know how much you’d like. You may need to go in to pay though, very few places have contactless. Also they often close at around 9pm in the more rural areas.
- The speed limit in Greece is 50 kph (30 mph) in urban areas and 90 kph (55 mph) in rural areas. While on the expressway it’s 110 kph (70 mph) and on the motorway the speed limit is 130 kph (80 mph).
- If you plan on driving remember to download offline maps so you can still get around without signal.
- Most museums have some days when admission is free. Check for details as they vary from museum to museum.
- Eat Gyros (and other street snacks) usually only cost a few euros. They are quick and easy and can keep you full for less than €10 per day!
- Some businesses (like hotels and tour companies) do not operate from November to March, so take that into consideration if you do want to plan a trip during the winter months.
- If you experience an emergency dial 112 for assistance.
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