Having made its name as a land which gave birth to one of the greatest philosophers like Socrates, Pythagoras, and Aristotle, the country of Greece has much more to offer to tourists than being an epitome of ancient mythology. This is the place where ideas of theatres and the Olympic Games originated from. Apart from its heritage, the country has been successful in pulling the attention of tourists towards its scenic beaches and breathtaking landmarks.
GEOGRAPHICAL FEATURES OF GREECE
The country of Greece occupies a part of Southeastern Europe, situated in the southern part of the Balkan peninsula. Consisting mainly of mountainous regions, Greece is a paradise for trekkers. Greece is characterized predominantly by the Mediterranean climate which varies from region to region receiving hot summers and wet winters. The country is a shelter to a population of more than 10 million in an area spread around 131,957 square kilometres.
CULTURE OF GREECE
Greece’s culture carries a strong influence from the history of the Roman empire and Byzantine empire. It is the reason behind the birth of western culture and the idea of democracy. Modern culture in Greece has derived influence from other nations and cultures including the Venetian empire, the Genoese Republic, the Ottoman Empire and the British Empire. Apart from this, Greece carries with itself a rich heritage of visual arts, literature, and architecture. Around 98% of the Greek population follows the Greek Orthodox Christian Faith.
PLACES TO VISIT IN GREECE
During their trip to Greece, one is sure to pay a visit to the capital city Athens which is a worldwide name for its history which is as old as 3400 years. The city boasts sublime monuments and remarkable representations of Greek mythology. Once you're free from Athens, the city of Santorini introduces you to a fantasy world filled with blue and white houses. History lovers can head to the cities of Hersonissos and Rethymnon to get versed in the ancient architecture of Greece. Apart from this, Mykonos town pulls the masses for its offbeat setting with charming windmills.
THINGS TO DO IN GREECE
Not just a place to crack historical mysteries, Greece serves a plethora of exciting activities one can engage in with their loved ones. A stroll across the colourful streets of Chania town is enough to rejuvenate your mind with the love of your life. The Chania Venetian Lighthouse is a perfect place to witness enchanting views of the city. If you’re a beach bum, then the beach town of Tsilivi is the best option to cater to all your beachy temptations. Hikers can expect the trekking spots of Zagori to fulfil their cravings for sightseeing in the mountains. To end, a trip to Greece is incomplete without exploring the ancient Greek pieces of architecture in the city of Athens which answers all your questions relating to Greek mythology.
Most cities in Greece are small enough to be explored by foot. The only cities you'll require public transport at are Athens, Patra, Kalamata and Thessaloniki of which only Athens is large enough to have an underground metro network. KTEL (Koino Tamio Eis Praxeon Leoforion) are blue/orange/teal-green painted, long-distances busses that run in almost every urban city and are modern and comfortable. The busses in villages are unfortunately older and less comfortable, these buses run on a daily schedule and stop mostly outside coffee houses. Also, the busses in rural areas do not facilitate sign boards or timetables in English, it's best to head to the nearest station and enquire in person. Remember to checkin your seat number which is noted on the bus ticket and labeled on the back of the seats.
Taxi & Airport transfer
Getting a taxi from Athens airport to the city is a pretty sorted task and so is the fair break up. There will be a line of yellow-coloured taxis right outside the arrival hall, wait in the queue and when your turn comes, the police personnel will signal you. The fare from the airport to the city is fixed and includes all costs and taxes. You will be charged 3100 from 5AM till midnight and 4050 between 12AM and 5AM. Keep in mind that the driver might try to overcharge you, so be informed about the rates and make sure he turns the meter on.
Transport & city passes
In Greece, Athens offers two flat fare passes, one for travel within the city, which includes downtown and suburbs, and is not valid on any long distance buses/Orange/KTEL/E22/Airports. The second flat fare pass is for long distance travel from the airport to out of the city limit. These passes prove to be very economical as compared to cost of renting a car or buying single trip paper tickets. Greece also offers a special 3 day (72 hrs) 'visitors' pass with unlimited travel all around the city and trips to the airport too, it costs 1220 INR.
Driving & Car rental
Most cities in Greece are not that large and do not require car rentals. If you want to drive your way between two cities, there are various car rental service providers, some of the popular ones being Alamo, Budget and others depending on which website you are booking from. A car rental will cost you anywhere between 4000-8000 INR/Day and note that the price of fuel in Greece is on the higher side. Make sure to abide by the road rules and other safety measures applicable to Greece.
Culture & Etiquette
People in Greece are very laid back and welcoming, they are known for their hospitality. When you are over at a friend's place for dinner in Greece, do not refuse food, as it is taken as a sign of insult, and if you have to, do give a reason. Asking for a second serving is considered a compliment and indicates that you like the food. While meeting strangers let someone introduce you, and greet them with a firm handshake. People in Greece might ask personal questions that you are not used to, but they mean no harm. In fact, it is just their way of developing relationships beyond a formal level.
Major events & Public holidays
Greece is the land of festivals and celebrations and most holidays are celebrated with zest and excitement, some of which are Easter, the Carnival season- Apokreas, Independence day and Agios Pnevmatos. Festivals like christmas are considered personal and are celebrated in respective houses, but you'll still see the entire country covered in beautiful lights. Another intersting festival in Greece is the 'Saint's day', each church in the country is devoted to a particular saint and the saint's name day is celebrated with a festival (panigiri), so enquire about when the panigiris of the church you are visiting is and if it happens to be during your stay, tag along and be a part of the celebration.
Road rules and driving license
Greece follows right-hand side driving. Short-term visitors (up to 90 days) from other countries, including the USA, Australia and Canada, may drive in Greece with their national licence, but they must also have an International Driving Permit (IDP) or "notarized" (officially certified) translation of their drivers license before coming.
Know your Greek
Greek is the main language spoken by the locals which is also the official language of Greece, and almost 99% of the population are native Greek speakers. Most of the locals do not speak fluent English. So, the following words will be of great help for anyone wanting to hold a conversation with the locals.
Hello - Chaírete
How are you? - Pós eísai?
Good morning - Kaliméra
Good evening - Kaló apógevma
Thank you - Efcharistó
Excuse me - Me synchoreíte
Sorry - Sygnómi
How much does this cost? - Póso kostízei aftó?
The cuisines in Greece is inspired by age old recipes, belief in tradition, quality ingredients and the right combinations to create a beautiful symphony of flavours. A trip to Greece is a trip back in time, back to traditional cuisines.
Amygdalota: Amygdalota is an almond cookie that tastes perfect with a cup of coffee. In Greece, Amygdalota represents good times and warm relationships.
Courgette Balls: Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside, Courgette Balls are a hint of mint and a dash of salty feta cheese.
Tomatokeftedes: A hint of mint, tomato and onion to please your taste buds, these tomato fritters are a traditional element of the Santorini cuisine.
Feta Me Meli: Honey drizzled filo pastry with salty feta stuffing, Feta Me Meli plays the perfect symphony of sweet and salty flavours.
Bougatsa: Semolina custard covered in phyllo pastry sprinkled with powdered sugar and cinnamon on top, best enjoyed on the streets of Greece.
Dolmadakia: Ground lamp/beef covered in grape leaves for the authentic Greek touch.
Ellinikos: Served in long copper cups called ‘birki’, Ellinikos is Greece's favourite style of coffee.
Frappe: Water mixed with powdered instant coffee is all that goes into this addictive, frothy and cold authentic Greek coffee.
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Embassy of India in Greece
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