Did you know that Greece has 6,000 islands in total? It’s true and yet it’s still pretty astounding to think that a nation can have that many islands associated with it. Can you imagine how difficult it is trying to pinpoint the very best places to visit in Greece from such a plethora of breathtaking options to choose from? Ok, to make life a little easier, the Greeks have only inhabited 227 of these…ONLY 227! It’s still going to be difficult to put together a post highlighting the ‘best of the best’ but we are going to best. Thanks to…
One of the largest and most important complex of Greek Orthodox monasteries in the country, second in importance after Mount Athos, the Meteora complex – Meteora means ‘in the heavens above’ – stands out with its serene beauty.
The six monasteries of the complex are built on natural sandstone rock pillars right next to the town of Kalambaka, a unique region included on the UNESCO World Heritage List and one to attract a lot of tourists and pilgrims every year. Each of the monasteries have less than 10 inhabitants, four of them with men and only two for women. Vestiges of the Middle Ages, the high placed settlements offer a breathtaking view of the surrounding area, while at the same time having the power to bring new insights into the monastic life.
The history of Meteora goes a lot further back in time, with traces of habitation since 50,000 years ago found in the caves around the complex. In one such cavern, the Theopetra Cave, there is a structure built 23,000 years ago.
I’m a dual American and Greek citizen that’s made 8 trips to Greece as an adult. Visiting family has always been a great reason to return and experience more of a fascinating country. How to spend the perfect week in Greece is obviously subjective. If you want to lie on the beach by day and party at night, head to Ios or Myknonos in summer. But this article assumes you want a mix of everything that makes Greece such a popular destination: world-class history & architecture, delicious food, great beaches and vibrant hospitality. You can stay on the mainland and have an amazing time that ticks all these boxes. But most travelers visit Greece for the islands, particularly the mystical Cyclades. If this itinerary seems too fast-paced, just omit something. You’re going to have to make some tough choices because there’s far too much to experience in Greece in just one week.
2 Days in Athens
Athens is the oldest capital in Europe and has a wealth to offer visitors.
With more than 100,000 bookable experiences, TripAdvisor® offers attractions from skip-the-line tickets to the world’s top destinations all the way to private yacht tours, and everything in between. Inspired by the luxury travel world, TripAdvisor has rounded up the 10 most expensive experiences around the globe travellers have booked on its site. From a yacht cruise of Sydney Harbour to a five-night polar bear adventure in Winnipeg, here are the world’s most over-the-top experiences that travellers are booking on TripAdvisor:
1. Private Group Sydney Tour in One Day Including Luxury Super Yacht Cruise in Sydney Harbour – $7,755 per group
Enjoy the VIP treatment while in Sydney with a full-day tour by land and sea. Spend the morning sightseeing in a luxury SUV and hop out to explore The Rocks, watch the surfers at Bondi Beach and marvel over the views from The Gap. Then, hop aboard a glamorous yacht and glide past the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, while enjoying a delicious lunch prepared by a personal chef.
BUILT INTO CLIFFSIDES AND ATOP MOUNTAINS, THESE GRAVITY-DEFYING MARVELS ARE TRUE WONDERS OF THE ANCIENT WORLD.
Of all the wonders of the ancient world, faith-related architecture is perhaps the most formidable. Irrespective of religion, ancient places of worship were such remarkable feats of ingenuity that one questions if there was some sort of competition to see who could build the most awe-inspiring complex.
If that were the case, the architects of temples and monasteries surely would have won. Some of these were built in the most hostile, inaccessible places: into mountainsides above the clouds, on the peaks of rock monuments, and on the edges of sheer cliffs. The purpose was twofold: to isolate the faithful from the world of sin and temptation, and to elevate them to a higher place — both physically and spiritually. Not to mention such locales would separate the wheat from the chaff: only the most devout would invest the time and effort to get there.
These wonders of the ancient world exist to this day, and many are accessible to visitors, albeit with some effort.
Every one of these amazing destinations is a feast for the senses.
Norway’s gateway to the Antartic is surrounded by beautiful fjords and rugged peaks that are snow-capped through the year. Situated at the eastern edge of Tromsøya, it is an excellent place to see the Northern Lights.
NĀ PALI COAST, KAUAI, HAWAII
One of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, Nā Pali is known for its emerald-hued towering peaks and dramatic waterfalls.
HALONG BAY, VIETNAM
Situated in the northeast of Vietnam, Halong Bay is rich in tropical flora and fauna and surrounded by remarkable limestock rock formations.
WULINGYUAN, ZHANGJIAJIE, CHINA
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is located in south-central China’s Hunan Province. It is most famous for its thousands of sandstone pillars, many of them over 200 meters high, dotted between deep ravines and mysterious caves.
MACHU PICCHU, PERU
Set high in Peru’s Andes mountains, Machu Picchu was built by the Incas in the 15th century. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is an unforgettable glimpse into another culture, set against the backdrop of the Andes.
Are you still undecided on where to take your next vacation? Look no further than Greece! This Mediterranean country has it all – Great beaches, wonderful food, friendly people, history and culture. Here’s 10 reasons to visit Greece this year… Or any year for that matter!
Why Visit Greece?
Ok, so I might be biased (having lived in Athens for nearly 3 years now), but Greece really is the ideal holiday destination. Whether you want to soak up the sun on a quiet beach, explore the remains of an ancient civilisation, or enjoy the great outdoors, Greece has something for everyone. Here 10 reasons why I think you should visit Greece this year.
1. Great Weather
Due to its reasonably southern location on the Mediterranean, Greece is blessed with wonderful weather during the spring, summer,and autumn months. Between June and September, rain can be a rare occurrence.
Silhouetted against the azure skies, the black crags topped by the monasteries of Meteora in Thessaly, central Greece, rise out of the fertile plains like ghostly sentinels. Framed by the picturesque Pindus Mountains in the distance, Meteora – a Greek word that means “suspended in the air” – is a bizarre landscape of finger-like sandstone pillars, believed to be formed millions of years ago by violent tectonic movements.
The first inhabitants were thought to be 9th-century monks, who lived in the holes and fissures of the pillars, and only met to pray on Sundays and other holy days. In the 14th century, three monks sought refuge from the Turkish invasions in the area, and settled on a pillar, building a small wooden hut. Later, they scaled a gargantuan rock rising above the town of Kalambaka and built the Holy Monastery of Great Meteoron.
Meteora is a rock formation that is home to 24 monasteries.
A blanket of fog could be seen moving through Meteora, Greece, on December 1.
Minh Phan, a meteorologist traveling in Greece, captured the footage. Phan told Storyful, “Valley fog is common in and around these mysterious rock formations.”
The monasteries emerged on the countless summits of the rocks from the 14th until the 16th century, 6 of them remaining to be explored and admired by all.
These monasteries became the centers of the Orthodox creed in the Byzantine era, having produced some of the best pieces of religious art and craft and still possessing a collection of precious manuscripts, which today are on display in their museums.
There are hundreds of monasteries around the world, each belonging to various religious denominations. However some stand out in terms of breathtaking architecture, design and beauty. Location too plays a major role in inducing a tranquil atmosphere surrounding the structure. Taking in account such factors, here are the most beautiful monasteries in the world.
10. The Monastery of Gregoriou
Gregoriou Monastery is a orthodox Christian monastery located in the monastic state of Mt Athos in Greece Named after its founder St Gregory the Younger, this 14th century monastery features seventeenth in Athonite Hierarchy. Its stunning location on the northern peninsula of Athos enhances its beauty with a backdrop of craggy rocks rising behind it.
9. Meteora, Thessaly Greece
In Greek, it means ‘Middle of the sky’ or ‘suspended in air’.
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.