Greece for the Independent Traveller

A typical street in the Cyclades
A street in the Cyclades

Greece, in southeast Europe, occupies the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsular. The Aegean Sea is to the east, the Ionian to the west with the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Regarded by many as the cradle of western civilisation and the birthplace of democracy. Greece has a long and rich history.

Greece was part of the Byzantine Empire prior to Ottoman rule. During the 400 years of Ottoman rule the Orthodox Church played a large role in maintaining Greek ethnic and cultural identity and even today most Greeks, even non-practicing Christians, have a strong emotional attachment to the church and attend major feast days.

Greek flag Capital: Athens
Language: Greek
Time: GMT +2 hrs
Currency: euro (EUR)

The capital city of Athens pulses with life. A new Greece has emerged following the Olympic Games in 2004 and is now better than ever. The hotels and museums have been refurbished, there is now a garden walk around the Acropolis and a new metro and coastal tram are now in operation. Athens is now a hot city-break destination.

From the port of Piraeus ferries carry visitors to the sun drenched islands of the Mediterranean including Mykonos, Santorini and Crete where whitewashed villages and impossibly blue waters await.

Greek landscape and nature is extremely varied ranging from snow covered mountains and dense forest to thousands of sun drenched islands with sandy beaches.

A feeling of belonging seems to come over visitors to Greece - the warm-hearted people, breathtaking scenery and a knowledge that you are in a land of rich history.


Greece offers accommodation for every taste and pocket. You can find boutique hotels, B&Bs in old mansions, exquisite villas and traditional guesthouses with home-grown food.


Casual cafes serve the freshest seafood, succulent lamb and chicken, fresh-baked breads, honey-drenched pastries, and refreshing local wines and beers. Music is an important part of Greek life and you will find many restaurants and tavernas offer live music. Although Greek restaurants in general don't specifically cater for vegetarians there are so many Greek dishes that are meatless and fishless that vegetarians won't go hungry even in the most "meaty" restaurants. A suggestion for vegetarian visitors to Athens would be the Eden Restaurant on the corner of Misicleos and Lissiou streets in the Plaka district.

When to go

The summer months of July and August can be very hot and accommodation harder to find in the tourist areas. Booking hotels and rooms in advance is essential. Athens almost empties in August particularly the week of 15th August when many Athenians head to their home towns and villages to celebrate Assumption. You may find that hotels in cities offer a special discount during this time. If you do decide to take advantage of these special deals do make sure that your accommodation has air-conditioning.

Greek regions

Attica | Central Greece | Macedonia | Epirus | Peloponnese | Thessaly | Thrace | Cyclades Islands | Crete Island | Dodecanese Islands | Ionian Islands | Saronic Islands | Sporadic Islands | N. E. Aegean Islands | Mount Athos (autonomous)*