Mention the word Greece to anyone and they immediately conjure up thoughts of relaxation and historical mythology.
It’s true Greece is a very relaxed place to visit and live and also has more historical artifacts than any other European country. With its civilisation dating back some 3,400 years – maybe that’s why to them everything is “tomorrow tomorrow”.
Greece is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, ranking in the world’s top 20 countries. According to the Greek Ministry of Tourism, the nation received about 17 million visitors from January to mid August 2007, a large number for a small country of 11 million. Visitors are drawn to the country’s beaches and reliable sunny summer weather, its nightlife, historical sites and natural beauty.
Over 90% of visitors who come to Greece come from other European countries, although in recent years there have been growing numbers of tourists from other world regions. The vast majority of visitors arrive during tourism season, which is April through October. Peak season is July through August, and most of the tourists and tourism industry are concentrated in Crete, the Dodecanese, Cyclades, and Western Greek Islands, and to a lesser extent: the Peloponnese, and the Halkidiki peninsula in Macedonia. There are still many rewarding areas in the country free of large-scale tourism.
Many first-time visitors arrive in Greece with specific images in mind and are surprised to discover a country with such regional and architectural diversity. The famous whitewashed homes and charming blue-domed churches only characterize a specific region of the country (the Cyclades Islands). Architecture varies greatly from one region to the next depending on the local history. Visitors will find Neoclassical architecture in the cities of Ermoupolis and Nafplion, Ottoman-influenced buildings in Grevena and Kozani, whitewashed Cycladic homes on the island of Paros, and pastel-colored baroque homes and churches on Corfu. The nation’s terrain is just as varied as its architectural heritage: idyllic beaches, towering mountain ranges, wine-producing valleys, vast stretches of olive orchards in the south, and lush forests in the north. Greece’s historical sights are just as varied; the country is littered with just as many medieval churches and castles as classical ruins and temples.
The modern Greece is no different than modern Europe, except for its splendid historical glory that reflects in the carefully preserved places of significance. The entire country is dotted by Greece`s rich historical remnants. Some of the best-known ones include DelphiTemple of Apollo, Athens Parthenon, and the ruins on Crete of the Minoian city of Knossos.
The placid blue waters of Aegean play host to over 1,400 Greek islands having a unique story of their own. The largest island in this cluster is Crete. The picturesque island of Skopelos displays its unmatched beauty and there is Mykonos and Paros, infamous for their hedonistic parties where the worship of Dionysus (God of Revelry) is still observed with all the fanfare including house music and beats of garage.
Better know as the country to host the first modern Olympic Games (Athens) in 1896, the city of Athens was also awarded and successfully hosted the Games in 2004.