For Greece’s piece on the famous things across the globe series, we partnered with Greek travel blogger Maria of “it’s all trip to me” and tried to answer and explain What is Greece famous for?
Greece is one of the most popular destinations in the world. For a good reason. A country loaded with such rich ancient and modern history, adorned with countless pristine beaches and blessed with the Mediterranean climate and diet, couldn’t but attract myriads of enchanted travelers all year long.
Yet Greece is not just what the vast majority of people all across the globe think it is. The country is an outstandingly diverse destination, and it’s not an overstatement to say that an entire lifetime wouldn’t be enough to unlock all of its secrets.
Things Greece is famous for
The Acropolis of Athens
Built atop a rock in the heart of Athens during the 5th century BC, the Acropolis is home to monuments of remarkable architectural and historical importance. The ultimate landmark of Athens and the most representative symbol of Greece is hands down the Parthenon, the most famous of all temples in the Acropolis.
No trip to Athens is complete without a visit to the Acropolis. The latter is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world, while it also offers panoramic views to the entire city of Athens and beyond. Many of the historical treasures found in the Acropolis of Athens are now on display at the New Acropolis Museum, which is within easy walking distance from the Acropolis itself.
The Greek Islands
Spending a summer vacation on the Greek Islands is probably the number 1 reason people from all over the world visit Greece. There are countless islands in the country, from super famous and cosmopolitan ones like Mykonos and Santorini to absolutely laid-back and tranquil ones such as Andros Island, a mere 2-hour ferry ride from Athens.
All of the Greek Islands feature spectacular beaches and beautiful traditional settlements. Although the Greek Islands are very popular and tend to be really crowded during peak summer season, there are many of them which still have an irresistibly authentic ambiance, such as Amorgos, Naxos, and Leros to name but a few.
Few places in Europe boast such diverse and bustling nightlife as Greece. Nights out in Greece can start as early as 19:00 with classy cocktails at rooftop bars or after-work drinks at cozy bars. But the real nightlife begins well after midnight at live music scenes, mainstream nightclubs, and bouzoukia. Spending a night at the latter is an experience in its own right.
Bouzoukia are nightclubs where Greek singers perform live while people dance either on the stage or on top of tables. Until the 1970s, smashing plates was the most typical way to have fun at the bouzoukia. However, this practice is now forbidden by law, and happy bouzoukia-goers are allowed to throw safer items to each other and the singers, such as flowers and napkins. Nights out in Greece usually end after the sun is up in the sky. It goes without saying that Athens is the mecca of Greek nightlife but, with the exception of really tiny villages or islands, you can experience the country’s unique nightlife pretty much everywhere else in Greece as well.
The Greek hospitality
Greek people love to welcome their guests and they are experts in making them feel at home. Hospitality has been central to the Greek mentality ever since ancient times when the term Xenia expressed the concept of being kind and generous towards guests. This is why Zeus himself, the most important god in Greek mythology, was also called Zeus Xenios. Protecting and caring for guests has always been considered not only a sacred duty but also a great honor in Greece.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988, Meteora is a wonder of nature and architecture alike. The Meteora are massive column-like rock formations on top of which impressive monasteries are built. The latter form one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries. During the 16th century, there were 24 monasteries perched on these imposing pillars which soar above the tranquil valley below. Nowadays, only 6 of these monasteries are still functioning, and they are accessible by steps or bridges. The Meteora offers opportunities for jaw-dropping views and they are among the most picture-perfect destinations in Greece.
Greece is famous for being the birthplace of Democracy
Athens, the capital city of Greece, is often regarded as the birthplace of democracy and the cradle of Western Civilisation. The very word democracy is actually a Greek compound word deriving from demos which means people, and cratos which means power. Democracy is precisely that: power to the people.
During the 5th and 4th centuries BC, the ancient city-state of Athens was at its peak but it was ruled by a group of aristocrats. This is why the poor and the enslaved rose, and soon Athens suffered from civil unrest. It was then that a couple of enlightened, educated men like Solon introduced new laws that improved the lives of citizens and set the foundations for the political system we now know as democracy.
The fantastic weather
Due to Greece’s unique geography, its climate varies from region to region but it is predominantly Mediterranean. Except for areas near Greece’s highest mountains, where it can get freezing and snowy in winter, the rest of the country enjoys mild weather almost all year long. Central and Southern Greece rarely see any snowfalls, and the weather is generally warm and lovely from March-April to November. This is why the Greek climate is considered very reliable in terms of planning a summer, spring, or autumn vacation in the country. There is a popular song in Greece that goes something like: It doesn’t get cold in Greece, it never has. That pretty much sums up how Greeks themselves feel about weather conditions in their country.
The Greek Food
Even if Greece wasn’t a country blessed with so many charms, its food alone would be reason enough to visit. One of the flagships of what is known as the Mediterranean diet, Greek cuisine is among the most straightforward yet most mouthwatering cuisines in the world. The most important feature of Greek food is that it’s made of top quality ingredients such as fresh vegetables, grains and superb extra virgin olive oil.
Moreover, the country’s location on the map has also played a crucial part in the birth of one of the most diverse and delicious cuisines worldwide. With influences from both their Italian and Turkish neighbors, the Greeks have managed to create tastes that carry within them a unique blend of cultures and a centuries-old history. Looking beyond the omnipresent and super popular souvlaki, the quintessential street food in Greece, dishes such as pastitsio and moussaka reflect the Italian and Turkish influences on Greek cuisine respectively.
Greece also produces exquisite types of cheese such as the famous feta, graviera, and kasseri and some varieties of superb wine as well. That said, drinks like ouzo and tsipouro are also trendy while baklava and galaktoboureko are among everyone’s favorite Greek desserts.
Olive oil, greek cheese, spoon sweets, and ouzo (the national drink) are also some of the best souvenirs to buy in Greece.
The Olympic Games
The Ancient Olympic Games were held every four years in Olympia in Ancient Greece. Back then the Olympic Games were sports events but with a religious touch. Such was the significance of the Ancient Olympic Games that, all along with their duration, Greek city-states paused all ongoing wars and battles that went on between them. The Ancient Olympic Games inspired Barron Pierre de Coubertin to found the International Olympic Committee in 1894 so as to revive the Games and all the ideals they represented. The first Modern Olympic Games were held in Athens in 1896 at the Panathenaic Stadium, which is also known as Kallimarmaro.
The Sirtaki Dance
It’s funny how something as fleeting as the scene of a film managed to become one of the most striking symbols of an entire nation. The Sirtaki Dance has never been a traditional Greek dance. Actually, it didn’t even exist before 1964 when the film Zorba The Greek was released. In this film, Anthony Quinn dances the Sirtaki to what must be the most recognizable Greek musical piece created by Mikis Theodorakis, the prominent Greek composer, in a scene that was meant to become one of the most iconic ones in the history of cinema. Ever since then, the Sirtaki Dance is closely associated with the Greek culture and has become a very important part of it.
So, this is Greece through the eyes of two locals who love their country with all its bad and good moments. But to you, what is Greece known for, we wonder?
Katerina and Maria, two passionate world travelers who currently live in their hometown Athens Greece, created their travel website, It’s all trip to me, in an effort to inspire people with full-time jobs to travel more, just like they do. Needless to say that they know Greece like the palm of their hands. In this post, they will share with us what they feel are some of the most striking features of their beloved country.
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