• Continental Greece, Greece
    © iStockphoto.com / Gatsi
  • Continental Greece, Greece
    © George Koultouridis / 123RF
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Travel to Continental Greece, an ancient civilization

By Amy Adejokun Amy Adejokun Section editor Profile
A mix of Mediterranean coast and mountain landscapes, Continental Greece is paradise for the sun-loving historian and dedicated hiker. Huge cultural heritage, the world's most famous ancient ruins and delicious food await just across the continent.

Travel guide

Ancient lands

It was the centre of the world for the Ancient Greeks, taking in the soaring heights of Mount Olympus and the sparkling Mediterranean coastline. Today, Continental Greece is a treasure trove of archaeological sites, endless mountain footpaths and views over the Corinthian gulf to please even the most intrepid of travellers.

Introducing Athens

Greece's first city is an astounding mix of history and modernity, a unique example of what happens when people inhabit the same place for millenia. Here, despite financial crisis in recent years, the atmopshere on the streets is always buzzing, whether you're exploring the open-air museum of the city's historic centre or socialising with locals in up-and-coming areas like Gazi.

Acropolis

The Acropolis, an ancient marvel, remains the major attraction of Athens. The effort of climbing to the top is quickly forgotten when you reach these awe-inspiring vestiges of our history. The view from the top of this sanctuary is breathtaking, and not to be missed by all accounts.

Delphi and Meteora

As one of the most important Ancient Greek sites, Delphi (from the word delphis, meaning womb) is home to the Sanctuary of Apollo with its winding paths leading to a cliff-top temple that used to hold the eternal flame burnt next to a statue of its namesake.

Peloponnese

Venetian palaces stand on top of Ottoman fortresses, on top of Byzantine cities, on top of Mycenean ruins and Ancient temples. Suffice to say that this eastern portion of continental Greece offers landscapes so rich in history that you'd be hard pressed to visit everything in a single trip.

Northern Greece

Away to the north, this part of Greece holds the country's border lands, rich in food and cultural exchange with neighbouring Turkey, Albania and Bulgaria. Added to that, you'll find great beaches, ruins ancient and Byzantine and mountains that look as wonderful in summer for hiking as they do in winter for skiing. The region also holds Thessaloniki, Greece's second city, which acts as a good base and comes alive at night.

Our Editorial team's advice

Greece has long been one of the most popular summer sun destinations for British travellers. Durng the high season from July to August, prices rocket to take advantage of those restricted by school holidays. It's better to visit either towards the beginning of the season (April-June) or the end (September/October) for lower prices and good weather. You'll also find far less customers in the hotels.

The seaside hotels located on the Peloponnesian coasts allow you to do more than just sunbathe. They are also located near listed historical sites, such as Epidaurus, Olympus, Mycenae and Corinth. Bring good shoes to visit the monuments.

During the summer, do not miss the festivals that take place outside in the big ancient theatres: tragedies (greek, obviously!) in Epidaurus, and dance, music, and theatre on the stage of Herodes Atticus, located at the bottom of the Acropolis, in Athens.

Strikes and demonstrations are common, especially in Athens. These can cause major disruptions, always seek up to date travel advice.

pros

  • +The diversity and significance of its historical sites
  • +The delicious and varied cuisine
  • +The coastline

cons

  • -The strain of the financial crisis can be felt.
  • -Pollution and traffic in Athens can be overwhelming at the height of summer.

Traditions

Greeks usually take a nap or a break between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm, before working again until 8:00 pm. Dinner takes place fairly late in the evening, generally around 10:00 pm. Religion and politics are important matters for Greeks.

Food

Greece has long been dominated by Turkey. Therefore, it is not surprising that Greek cuisine has eastern influences. They start a meal with mezedes, different starters (tarama, tzatziki, which is the name of the cucumber yogurt). The main dish made of meat and vegetables usually comes with a salad. Contrary to the general idea, eating fish is fairly rare since its price is relatively high, except for on the islands. A traditional meal may consist of the very European moussaka (beef and eggplant gratin), tomatoes, peppers, or stuffed grape leaves. The most popular first course is the Greek salad, made of tomatoes, feta cheese, cucumber and olives. For good cheap food on the go, pick up some souvlaki (big brochette) or pitas (stuffed bread). There is generally no dessert in taverns, which are more modest and rustic than classic restaurants. Ouzo, the Greek anisette liquor, is the national beverage.

Ideal Weather Search

Find weekly weather forecasts for Continental Greece . Different criteria make it possible to predict with precision the best time of year to go to Continental Greece . A comprehensive weather score, made up of temperature indicators, bad weather predictions, sunshine levels and wind speeds, will allow you to choose the activities best suited to the weather conditions and therefore make the most of your holiday in Continental Greece .

December

  • Athens flecheStagne 26/100 Bad
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Souvenirs

Greece is not a shopping paradise. Still, you can bring back olive oil, ouzo, and let yourself be tempted by reproductions of ancient jewellery in the museum shops or in jewellers shops. You will also find pottery and ceramics, or hand-woven bags.
Shop opening hours are a little complicated and depend on the day of the week: from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday; on Thursday and on Friday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm, then from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm.