Greece

Spotlight on Greece

Many aspects of Western culture came into being in Greece - drama, art, philosophy and science. It's a wonderful feeling to walk on stones that may have been trod by Plato, Homer or Agamemnon. But at many places in Greece, where ancient ruins are surrounded by the noise and smells of traffic, or where pristine island beaches are packed by topless sunbathers, it's apparent the influence works the other way as well: Greece, it sometimes seems, has been overtaken by the modern world it spawned. Travelers in Greece should find the golden mean - in this case, the balance between environment and history, between crowds and quiet, between ancient and modern. Beautiful settings soothe the soul, while centuries of art and history invigorate your mind. Visitors will be as charmed by the Greek people as they are by the landscape.

Athens - Even though you've probably come here to see the "glory that was Greece," perhaps best symbolized by the Parthenon and the superb statues and vases in the National Archaeological Museum, allow some time to make haste slowly in Athens. Your best moments may come sitting at a small cafe, sipping a tiny cup of the sweet sludge that the Greeks call coffee, or getting hopelessly lost in the Plaka -- only to find yourself in the shady courtyard of an old church, or suddenly face to face with an ancient monument you never knew existed. With only a little advance planning, you can find a good hotel here, eat well in convivial restaurants, enjoy local customs such as the refreshing afternoon siesta and the leisurely evening volta (promenade or stroll) -- and leave Athens planning to return, as the Greeks say, tou chronou (next year).

Piraeus is the seaport for Athens, the capital of western civilization, which boasts a fantastic mix of classical ruins and vivacious modern life. Climb the hill of Acropolis to wonder at the Parthenon, join the lively Athenians in Constitution Square, and find a welcoming taverna for spirited bizouki music, plenty of ouzo to drink, and energetic Greek dancing. Piraeus is the largest harbor in the country. The white chapel of St. George at its summit has a theater bearing the same name. The hill of Nymphs is the site of a planetarium, which is located above magnificent Thesseio temple. Among all of these hills, Acropolis is the one that glorified Athens and the whole Greek world and became the symbol of the western civilization. Bays and small rocky or sandy coves dot the area and during the summer are filled with Athenians and foreigners enjoying their beauty.

Corfu's unique scenery, with gentle green hills and luxuriant southern flora, makes it one of the most beautiful of all Greek islands. Many beautiful buildings can be seen in Corfu Town. Corfu is a popular holiday destination for vacationers from all walks of life who come to enjoy mild climate, calm blue-green water, rugged mountains, hidden coves and miles of sandy beaches. A number of historical sights range from old fortresses and mansions to cathedrals and palaces. Corfu Town is surrounded by arcaded Venetian buildings. The Spianada is considered to be the largest square in Greece. Explore the narrow streets of Old Town. See Town Hall and the 300-year-old Church of Saint Spyrídon; a silver sarcophagus contains the remains of the town's patron saint. The Royal Palace - a neo-classical mansion - holds on its upper floor the Museum of Byzantine and East Asian Art. The Archaeological Museum has displays of artifacts discovered on Corfu. The Old Fortress, an impressive 14th-century Venetian structure, is now used as a popular venue for concerts.

Mykonos's many captivating attributes make it one of the most celebrated Greek holiday islands. Its main village is a colorful maze of narrow streets lined with white-washed houses, many with bright blue doors and shutters. As an attractive backdrop, famous windmills are lined up like toy soldiers on the hillside, vestiges of a time when wind power was used to grind grain. Mykonos has churches and chapels scattered about the island; quite a number of them are located right in town. Radiant flowers spill over white-washed walls and shady courtyards. In addition to swimming, sunning, water-skiing and surfing, visitors find endless shopping opportunities. Artists have relied on Mykonos’ beautiful setting to inspire them. The most photographed site is the Paraportiani, a cluster of white-washed churches resting below windmills. Mykonos's museums include an Archaeological Museum, which houses relics from the Trojan War, a Folk Art Museum and a Maritime Museum. The best beaches are Aghios Stephanos, Psarou, Kalafatis, Onros, Panormos and Elia.

Katakolon is a port admired for beautiful beaches. Equally important, Katakolon is the gateway to Olympia, the great Panhellenic sanctuary. The site of ancient Olympia is situated at the foot of wooded Mount Kronos in an area of gentle hills; excavations began in 1875 and are considered one of archaeology’s great achievements. A direct consequence was the revival of Olympic Games by Baron Pierre de Coubertin; the first modern games were held in Athens in 1896. Today, visitors to Olympia are overwhelmed by the impact of ancient remains and their significance. The site’s most important excavations include numerous monuments, such as Temple of Zeus in the Sacred Precinct, Treasuries, and Stadium. There is an excellent Archaeological Museum with a large collection of bronzes, pottery and sculptures unearthed during the excavations. The main reason for a visit to Katakolon is the trip to Olympia. Those guests who wish to remain in Katakolon will enjoy its unhurried atmosphere and the friendliness of the people.

Use the wCities link below for more information on these and other cities!

 

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Agents who have been to Greece...