As the weather cools, our gaze turns to the mountains, ski slopes, rivers and stone-built villages of Greece’s top wintertime destinations.
So, just in case there is any confusion, yes, Greece does have a winter. The dry-baked Cycladic islands turn green as the rains arrive; their inhabitants bundle up against temperatures that can sink to the low single digits when biting northerlies whip through the Aegean.
On the mainland, mountain villages are frequently covered in blankets of snow. Many of the peaks above are dressed in white from November to April.
In fact, it’s pretty great.
Winter is the time to swap the sandals for hiking boots, and the cold beachside beer for a brandy or warm rakomelo by the fireplace. Hearty, slow-cooked stews replace light summertime salads, and a whole host of different seasonal products begin to appear: wild mushrooms, juicy oranges,fat chestnuts.
Located north of Greece, built on top of sandstone rock pinnacles on the Thessaly Plain in the Pinios River valley, the Meteóra (Greek for “in the heavens above”) is a group of six Greek Eastern Orthodox monasteries, inhabited since the 14th century. Classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1988, four of these monasteries are still home to religious communities.
As they were built during times of political instability and persecution, access to these monasteries was originally planned to be difficult, on purpose. Until recently, when a series of steps was carved in the very rock, one could only climb up using either ladders made of rope or huge baskets pulled up using a basic pulley system.
Medieval walls enclose an enchanting microcosm, a place where different eras, cultures and architectural styles meet.
Τime is locked out. Everyone else is within: ancient Greeks,Byzantines, Ottomans, Jews and Italians. This is, however, the romantic view; in truth, they are not alone, these wonderful ghosts. With them are tourists in their thousands, archaeologists, tour guides, artists, permanent residents, business people and touts, all continuing to write the history of the Old Town of Rhodes, a story which has been unfolding for the past 2,400 years.
And this is why I approach those mighty walls, four kilometers long, with some trepidation about what I will find. How harmoniously does the glorious and intriguing past coexist with the intensely tourism-oriented present? The monumental with the commercial?
An archaeological wonder, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and one of the world’s most instantly recognizable landmarks, the Acropolis is the star attraction of ancient Athens. Dramatically perched on a jagged clifftop—the so-called sacred rock of Athens—the ruins overlook the modern city and date back to as early as 510 BC.
The Acropolis complex is one of the most visited attractions in Greece, included on most Athens city sightseeing tours and often combined with a visit to the New Acropolis Museum or other Ancient Greece sites, such as Epidaurus, Cape Sounion, and the Temple of Poseidon. The best way to explore the ruins is on a guided city walking tour, taking in highlights such as the iconic Parthenon, Propylaea (Propylaia), the Temple of Athena Nike, and Erechtheion.
The Greek island of Rhodes — located 11 miles off the Turkish coast — should be on the “must-visit” list of any traveler to the region.
Fall is the best season to visit the Mediterranean. The sun is still bright, the temperatures are warm and — most importantly — the crowds are considerably thinner than during the summer.
The Greek island of Rhodes — located 11 miles off the Turkish coast — should be on the “must-visit” list of any traveler to the region. It served for millennia as a bustling crossroads for commerce and in the crosshairs of military conflagrations between Europe and the Middle East.
The fourth largest of the Greek islands still bustles, but today it bustles with tourists.
No one had told us that Rhodes (Rodos in Greek) was one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations.
At Switzerland’s stunning new Julier Tower theater, some of the most dramatic scenes are outside the building.
Situated 2,300 meters (about 7,500 feet) above sea level in the heart of the Alps, the striking red theater was unveiled earlier in August by the organizers of Switzerland’s Origen Festival, a major Swiss cultural event celebrating art and performance.
It sits on the celebrated Julier Pass, a mountain road in the Albula Range also known for its Roman remains and medieval chapel. The Alpine backdrop is ever visible to theater-goers thanks to the huge glass windows that flood the building with natural light.
The structure can weather winds of up to 240 kilometers per hour — and even resist avalanches.
Although the theater is enclosed, its judicious use of glass and daylight creates “a direct dialogue between the performances and the landscape,” according to a statement by the organizers.
Your crash course on the Isle of the Knights: its sights, beaches and some of its more unusual inhabitants.
The medieval Old Town of Rhodes is no longer the target of attackers, although it may appear at times to be under siege by mass tourism. This UNESCO-protected World Heritage Site combines vestiges from a glorious past – Byzantine temples, Crusader-era buildings and Ottoman mosques – with a lively present. On its streets, you expect armored warriors, mounted on their horses, to turn up at any moment – and the feeling intensifies once you’re in the Palace of the Grand Master, which was the order’s headquarters.