Ancient Greece its still most alive and accessible. Lovers of history, archeology and mythology are inspired and awed - and so are those seeking a vibrant culture and welcoming people.
Greece is a rich mixture of experiences and an ideal spot for those who delight in joyful music and dance, delicious cuisine and sunshine - nearly 300 days per year. Nature beckons, whether for a picnic on the gorgeous, sun-drenched coast or a walk on cobblestone Byzantine footpaths.
Consisting of a rugged, history-rich peninsula and nearly 1400 islands, Greece is one of the world’s oldest and most popular travel destinations. Capital Athens is an essential stop for the culturally curious, home to the world-famous rock-top ruins of the Acropolis, perhaps the most significant ancient monument in Europe. Once derided for its smog-laden gridlock, Athens has spruced itself up in recent years and (despite economic woes) retains a real metropolitan buzz. Staying on the mainland, highlights to the north include the walker-friendly Pindos mountains; the extraordinary rock monasteries of Meteora; the home of the gods, Mount Olympus; and the cosmopolitan second city of Thessaloniki.
The land that has given us the Acropolis and Delphi and Olympia has been attracting tourists for 200 years since the days of Lord Elgin. Don’t forget, beside the rich history we love their food. Greeks love to eat and love to feed others; this is one place you’re guaranteed never to feel hungry. A hot, dry climate sets the tone for the Greek menu, which relies heavily on fresh food. Fishermen pluck an array of seafood from the Mediterranean. Farmers cultivate lemons, eggplant, artichokes and other fresh fruits and vegetables. Although Greeks don't eat each as much meat as some other cultures, they still create mouthwatering lamb, pork and chicken dishes. To satisfy a sweet tooth, Greeks layer nuts and honey into thin sheets of phyllo dough to make sweet snacks.
Greek food uses mainly fresh local ingredients such as Mediterranean vegetables, olive oil, lemon juice, various types of fish and meat, as well as grains. Dishes are flavorsome and packed with variety of fresh and dried herbs.
The lovely island of Corfu lies in the Ionian Sea and is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site, sandy beaches, little villages, Venetian fortresses, many churches, and interesting museums. Approaching the island, one of the first things you’ll see it the bell tower of the Church of Saint Spyridon, Corfu’s patron saint. Strolling though the Old Town, listed by UNESCO in 2007, you can still feel the influence of Venice, which ruled the island from the late 1300s to 1797. You’ll also find beautiful French architecture at Spianada, the largest city square in the Balkans, and imposing forts built to defend the island from the Ottoman Empire.
Itea & Delphi
The port town of Itea is the docking point for your stop and excursion to Delphi.
Thought to be the center of the world by the ancient Greeks, Delphi was one of the most sacred sites of antiquity, and her air of mystery can still be felt today. It was here that the famous oracle delivered her cryptic messages to man. It you listen carefully, you may hear her voice echoing across the centuries as you walk along the timeworn paths. This beloved archaeological site holds two sanctuaries, one dedicated to Athena and the second to Apollo. Take in the ruins of the Temple of Athena Pronoia then stroll the Sacred Way to the Temple of Apollo. Here you will also find what remains of a stadium, where athletes of old competed in the Pythian Games, forerunner of today’s Olympics.
Dating back to 3,000 B.C., Athens is one of the oldest cities in the world. Today, it is a wonderful blend of the ancient and the modern, with centuries-old ruins standing companionably with 21st-century structures. Exploring the sites of the early days of the city, there is a long list of not-to-be-missed ruins beginning with the Parthenon atop the Acropolis, one of the most iconic sights in the world. Continue on to see the Temple of Olympian Zeus, Hadrian’s Arch, the Theatre of Dionysos, the archaeological site of ancient Agora, and much more. A walk through the Plaka neighborhood shows off the old and the new, with tavernas, cafés, and shops all vying for your attention. Another oft-pictured sight is the Monument of the Unknown Soldier, ever protected by Evzone soldiers.
Shoppers have a wide range of items to choose from. You might want to gift friends (and yourself!) with handmade leather sandals or “worry” beads. Olives and olive oil are always a welcome choice. Gold jewelry may be your favorite, or perhaps you want to cast off troubles with a matia or evil eye.
While you are in the Greek capital, don’t forget to sample Ouzo, the potent, anise-flavored beverage. Other local favorites include moussaka, souvlaki, and dolmades, followed by honey-drenched bakalava for dessert.
Piraeus was an important port city when ancient Greece flourished and it is again today. You can still see some of the ruins and city walls from antiquity on a stroll around the city as you make your way to your DIV cruise ship. If you have extra time here, you might want to visit the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus or the Hellenic Maritime Museum. Or, simply relax in a café and take in views of the Mediterranean Sea, marinas, boats, yachts, and the coast.
Note: To learn more about Greece, please visit here: Greek National Tourist Office