Country guide Greece

Despite the economy taking a severe battering, many still regard Greece to be one of the most awe-inspiring nations in the world. Not only are they charmed by the nonchalant way of life, but also by the picture-perfect scenery that accompany it. Those who head to its idyllic shores will come to find a nation that is yearning to be explored.

Sights and Attractions

Crumbling ruins, forts, monasteries and ancient villages perfectly depict the nation's tremendous past. Immaculate, pristine beaches urge you to throw your cares away, while canyons and mountainous terrain offer you the chance to explore the vast wilderness; but Greece's most prized possession is, of course, its rich range of islands, with the likes of Santorini and Lefkada summoning up images of pure and utter bliss, and Mykonos portraying a picture of serenity during the day and a wild party island by night.

Regardless of where you go and what you explore, there is always some place in Greece you can call home.

Restaurants and Cafes

Greek cuisine is a fabulous infusion of Western and Eastern influences, with the likes of souvlaki, moussaka and calamari savoured world-wide. In fact, Greeks take the whole dining out experience very seriously. For them, it is not a special treat that occurs once in a while, but a ritual of sorts and because of this, the restaurant scene in the nation is flourishing.

Santorini, Mykonos and Athens are particularly excellent when it comes to fine dining. A selection of world-class restaurants, in a wide range of beautiful settings and backdrops, serve up an exquisite selection of international, Greek and fusion cuisine, to cater for all tastes and palates. Selene in Pyrgos and Spondi in Athens are two note-worthy venues to visit.

Aside from fine dining, Greeks have a serious love affair with coffee. No matter where you go, you'll stumble upon a series of trendy and charmingly outdated coffee bars ready to quench your thirst. Castro in Amorgos and Kohili in Samos are particularly celebrated for their picturesque surroundings and nourishing cups of coffee – if, like the Greeks, you take your caffeine fix seriously, you should consider visiting one or even both of these spots!

Shopping

When you conjure up images of Greece, the usual thoughts that come to mind are its beautiful backdrops, turquoise seas and enviable Mediterranean climate. The thought that does not come to mind is its shopping scene. Although understated, the rich selection on offer certainly does not disappoint.

Fashionistas can indulge their ferocious appetite in many of the well-known brands and local fashion houses that can be found scattered around the city of Athens, whereas the shopping centres located in Crete, Thessaloniki, and Larissa, allow for a fun day of retail therapy.

Once you've acquired the latest seasonal trends, you can pick up all manner of regional crafts like shiny silver, amazing flokati rugs and a range of olive oil based products such as soap and shampoo on the islands. Not only do such purchases satisfy even the most curious of shoppers, it also helps the local economy – every little helps!

Travel

Because Greece is a nation that has a multitude of islands under its belt, travelling around using just one form of transportation is often quite difficult. Usually, a combination of various modes of transport is employed to help you get from A to B. You will also come to discover how the travel infrastructure allows for the beautiful scenery of Greece to unfold right before your eyes!

To get from city to city, buses and trains are widely used. Although trains are affordable, they are often limited, whereas buses are usually much quicker and thankfully, cover the more important routes. However, since the rail and bus network can only take you so far, you will have to rely on scooters, motorcycles or cars to reach your desired destination.

If, however, you wish to do a bit of island-hopping, you can use the services of ferries, catamarans and hydrofoils to reach the nation's gorgeous islands - the only downside is the lengthy duration of the journey. If you wish to shorten that time, there are a number of internal flights leaving from airports around the country, some of which also provide easy access to other parts of the world.

Currency zone

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