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Greece has an irresistible pull. While many invariably attach it to its fabulous islands, the stunning beaches on the mainland, the grandeur of the mountains and above all, some of the friendliest people around. Greeks are famous for their Hellenic hospitality. As you move around the mainland or go island hopping, you will be amazed at how far Greeks will go to take care of their guests and just how much Greece has to offer.
Take it easy
Relax! The Greeks take it easy. Greek lunches and dinners are always a relaxed affair. Things move at a different pace, and as you get used to the frustrations, you will begin to see the beauty in it. Greeks really enjoy their siesta. Shops and markets are closed around noon and do not open before evening. Malls and superstores remain open though. Greeks start their lunch around 3 pm, and dinner is a late affair that begins at 9 pm. So, the best way is to switch off and enjoy Greece’s authentic side.
Enjoy the island lifestyle
Greek Island Holidays is not a dream anymore and each island has its own personality. As you hop across islands, you will be greeted by charming fishing villages, coastal coves, and gleaming beaches. Do not miss the lazy charm of the Koufonisia, the Milos and the Amorgos islands in the Cyclades. The harbor at Hydra has its quaint beauty, and the famous Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini are picturesque.
There are frequent ferry services to the many islands. While the ferry schedules are generally reliable in the summers, the colder months are subjected to lesser trips and late plans. Ferries are the best way to travel around the islands, unless you want to shell out a little more and take the many flights between islands, just to be there at those postcard attractive destinations a little quicker.
Do not give the mainland a miss
The mainland of Greece is as inspiring and impressive as are its islands. The Pindos mountain ranges to the north of the country and the golden beaches to the west of Peloponnese are a tourist’s delight. Besides, there are a significant number of archeological wonders in mainland Greece. Plan your travel using the KTEL bus network that provides comfortable, clean and convenient connections across the countryside. You could also opt to take the limited train connections that are astoundingly cheap.
Eat and enjoy
Eating is one activity that the Greeks enjoy. They are relaxed family affairs and often extend for hours. Be on the lookout for restaurants that the locals frequent as the food is likely to be that much nicer. Try local Greek delicacies, fill your days and nights with their fantastic tzatziki, moussaka, baklava, bougatsa, frappes and tomato fritters. Their fava dips are a delight, not to forget the Choriatiki, the Greek Salad that you should not miss on any day of your trip. Do not give the juicy and crispy Keftethes (meatballs) a miss, they melt in your mouth. As for wines, ask for local barrelled ones, or you could try the fiery spirits of ouzo and tsipouro.
Do as the locals do
Although Greece is a liberal society, it is always good to be culturally sensitive to local traditions and beliefs. The younger generation of Greeks are definitely modern, but the Orthodox Church holds sway over most parts. The older generation to are generally conservative. So, when visiting a church or a monastery, dress sensibly. It is wise for men to be covered impeccably and for women to avoid shorts and tops. Nudity at the beaches is also frowned upon unless you are in a designated area. However, the outer edges of beaches and those that are less crowded often see crowds enjoying their bikini and the sunbath.
While no one would be expecting a tourist from foreign lands to converse in Greek, learning a few words before you arrive can be a rewarding experience. You would be surprised to see the full smiles on their faces when you say “Yassas” or “Yasuo” in place of “hello”. Greeks are proud of their culture, and when they look at a tourist making an effort, you will be rewarded with a warmth that you could feel from their expressions.
Cash is king
While you need not leave your cards behind at home, be aware that the recent economic difficulties have put a lot of strain on the local economy. Cards are widely accepted across all store formats in the cities, but the smaller shops and the roadside kiosk would prefer cash. Even if a board outside says that cards are accepted, it is always good to ask beforehand. There are plenty of ATMs in the city as well as the countryside, but in smaller towns and villages, they may be infrequent. Remember also that there are limits on cash withdrawal at ATMs and that the only currency accepted in Greece is Euro.
Carolette Alcoran is a Content Writer from the Philippines. She has rendered services accurately and is flexible in writing various topics. She writes promotional advertisements, issues concerning both virtual and reality, lifestyle tips, marketing trends and also media’s effectiveness. Follow her on Twitter.