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Holiday facts and information about Greece
Climate / When to go Greece is located in the Mediterranean climate zone, where the conditions are characterized by rainy, mild winters and hot, dry summers. Peak tourist season falls in July and August. Many people choose this time for obvious reasons. Each season has its pluses and minuses. The choice should be based on what you want do, whether to explore or sunbathe. July and August are the hottest months, where temperatures reach 40º C. During warmer months, roughly from early July to late September, around the Aegean Sea the wind blows strong, it’s called the Meltemi. Wind impacts the climate by improving visibility, reducing humidity and provides refreshing days. Walking in the heat requires real resilience and physical conditioning. It is also the period with the most tourist traffic, so you should be prepared for dealing with crowds. Summer months are recommended to those who plan to spend time with entertainment in clubs and discos. Out of season most of these places are closed. A pleasant time to travel is in April, May, and September. It's much cooler and calmer. However, note that the number of bus and ferry services is reduced at this time. Coldest period falls from December to March. There are few sunny days, and be prepared for rain. More severe climatic conditions in the north and mountains. Milder weather is expected at this time in Rhodes.
The official language is modern Greek. But few tourists coming to Greece can boast of speaking this language. Tourist destinations can easily communicate in English.
Since 2002, the currency of Greece is the euro. Credit cards are widely accepted. In small retail outlets and restaurants it’s better to carry some cash, credit card may not be possible.
Since the accession to the EU, the only required proof of identity is an identity card. You can also show your passport. Length of stay for tourism can be a maximum of 90 days. If you intend to exceed the fixed number of days try to get a special residence permit for EU members. When crossing the border by car, you should have your driver's license, registration card, and a valid insurance policy. Greece has about 29 airport border checkpoints, including 53 ocean on the border with Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey.
No special vaccination is required for entry to Greece. Usually for tourist trips of any type, it is recommended that you get vaccinated against tetanus and hepatitis.
Standard voltage, currently in Greece it’s 220 volts, sockets fit into two-pin plugs. There are not usually problems with cell phones. Problems may arise in mountainous areas and on remote islands.
Country and People
Greek history reflects the variety and richness of its monuments. The origins date back to the end of the third millennium, when the areas of Greece began to welcome Indo-European peoples. There are three important civilizations: the Cycladic Cycladic, Minoan Crete and Mycenaean on the mainland. Subsequent invasions of Dorians successfully contributed to the Mycenaean civilization. Another important period in the history of Greece covers VIII - VI centuries BC, when it began to organize the city-states, including Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes. There has been intensive development of literature, art and science. Hellenes established colonies along the coast of the Mediterranean and Black Sea. After winning the wars with the Persians, Athens won a dominant position among the Greek polis istały a naval power. The rivalry between the cities-led dowybuchu so many years of conflict. Peloponnesian Wars. After the devastating wars in the face of general chaos, the King of Macedonia - Philip II of Greece and joined subservient to his country. His work was continued by Alexander the Great, making even greater conquests and expanding areas of Hellenic culture in North Africa and Asia. After Alexander's death and the struggles between the successor states, the territory of Greece, conquered a new power - Rome, then Byzantium. In the fourteenth century the area of the Apennine peninsula and the Turks conquered Greece became part of the Ottoman Empire for four centuries. March 25 1821roku national liberation uprising broke out. Greece regained its independence. During World War II, when Nazi troops invaded in 1941, it was under German occupation until 1944 at the end of 1944 the civil war between the Communist faction and supporters of the Right. Greece found itself in the sphere of influence of Great Britain. After the war began the process of reconstruction and the period of changing governments. Greece was in the Cyprus conflict, which remains an unresolved issue until today. In 1981 the EU became a member of the then EEC, the effects we observe today. Greece has been inhabited since pre-historic times when men first appeared in Crete and on the mainland. Around 2700 BC populations of Anatolian origin became established here giving rise to the Minoan culture which reached its height between 1700 and 1400 BC. About 2600 BC several pre-Hellenic civilizations flourished in the area: Helladic (in the Pelopponese and mainland Greece), Cycladic (in the Cycladian islands), and another in the Aegean region in the north east. Towards the end of the third millennium BC the Indo-European populations of the Achaens, Ionians and Aeolians became established in the Greek peninsula; all of these contributed to the rise of the rich Mycenaean civilization. The Mycenaeans created several cities (such as Mycenae and Tiryns) which had common social, cultural and economic traditions but were politically independent; their civilization expanded as they conquered Crete and Rhodes and opened up sea routes to Italy. Historians believe that the Trojan war took place in 1230 BC. The Mycenaean civilization came to an end following the invasion of the Dorians about 1200 BC.
Traditions and Culture
One of the main national characteristics of the Greeks is the hospitality. Friendly to strangers, they often start the conversation. They are proud of their country, language and ancient culture. With the glorious history of Greece, at the same time they highlight the bravery and valor in fighting for national independence, especially liberation from Ottoman rule. Nowhere do they hurry, so be prepared for the Greek ‘punctuality’. It is widely accepted to be late.
Over 90% of the population belongs to the Greek Orthodox Church. Second religion in the country is Islam, which includes 2-5% of the people. A small percentage are Catholics and Protestants.
The most popular means of public transportation is the bus. Passenger traffic supports a main network. Good connections in popular destinations. Almost all major localities have a connection with Athens. The situation is worse in small remote villages, where the number of routes from the nearest larger town may be limited to two per day. Tickets can be purchased at the train or bus station. The punctuality is sometimes different and sometimes you have to be patient. Sometimes you have difficulty finding the proper train because buses are available from different places in different directions. Rail is one of the transportation options. However, its coverage is limited to the seaward side. Railway lines run north-east and in eastern parts of the country and in the Peloponnese. Train tickets are much cheaper than the bus. It was upgraded for the Olympic Games in 2004, so the ride is comfortable. Greece has a very well developed maritime transport system. It requires a large number of vessels. As for the number of connections, there is a clear seasonal pattern here. From mid-October on the number of connections is much smaller. Ticket prices are set centrally and are obviously dependent on the length of the route, the speed and the class in which you want to travel. Cars and motorcycles require additional tickets, and are a lot more expensive than passenger tickets and classified depending on the length of the vehicle.
By plane you can get to many big cities on the mainland and some of the islands. The largest airports are located in Athens. The main season has a lot of additional flights, including to the islands. Most of the national routes run through Athens and Saloniki. If you’re going in the main season by plane to tourist regions, you should book in advance. Flights between the islands are much more expensive compared to travel by ferry. In Greece, there are many car rental agencies. Mostly they are located in tourist areas and big cities. With so much competition it’s good to ask a few places and choose the best offer. The price for renting a car for one week is about 230-300 euros. The rate depends on the type of car. It is important to have your driving license. You have to watch the local drivers, they do not always comply with the rules of the road.
Discover and Enjoy
Certainly among our list of places worth seeing, should be Athens with the great monuments of antiquity, among them: the Parthenon, Erechtejon, Panatenajski Stadium, the Theater of Dionysus along with a wide range of museum objects. Lovers of antiquity must visit the Peloponnese, where the finest archaeological sites to visit are.Warto Olympia where the Olympics were held, the famous palace of Agamemnon and Nestor near Pylos, ancient Corinth, a great amphitheater of Epidaurus, Mystras and Monemvasia Byzantine. It provides unforgettable views of the island in the Cyclades: Santorini volcano, sea caves around the Milos, the Delos archaeological sites and other Naxos, Tinos and Mykonos. Unique in terms of natural beauty and archaeological sites is the largest of the Greek islands, Crete. See the ruins of Minoan palaces at Knossos, Festos, Zakros, Venetian monuments, and Rethymnon and Chania, and one of the most beautiful gorges in Europe - the Samaria Gorge. Rhodes with a wonderful medieval town, the island of Patmos the Grotto of the Apocalypse, sea caves around Kalimnos, archaeological excavations at Kos. Also various Ionian Islands: Corfu which is a beautiful Greek Kerkira, mythical Ithaca, Kefallonia from the film Mirtos beach, around the blue caves of Zakynthos. In the area of Greek Macedonia to see: Thessaloniki, stunning beaches and green region of Halkidiki peninsula of Mount Athos, the mysterious Riviera Olympic with towering massif of Mount Olympus. In neighboring Thessaly can not be ignored with unusual Meteora. It provides unforgettable views of the gorge and mountains of Pindos Vikos.
The Greek calendar is full of diverse cultural, religious and national holidays. New Years (January 1) is in Greece celebrated with St. Basil, which involves making a special cake - with a hidden coin, which gives the finder good luck. Carnival is celebrated reverently, which lasts about three weeks. It is a time to play, has masquerades and parades. The most famous are held in Patra, Nausie, Ksanthi and the islands of Skiros and Kefallonia. Each place has its own carnival, local color and specificity. The most important holiday is Easter. The culmination of the celebrations is Holy Saturday, during a solemn mass. Easter Sunday ends in a common feast, sharing the red-painted Easter eggs and lamb on a spit. March 25 is celebrated as Independence Day and the Feast of the Annunciation. April 23 is the day of St. George - the patron saint of shepherds, and May 21 is St. Valentine's Day. August 15 is the day of the Assumption. Many Greeks manage to succeed in this time of pilgrimage to the island of Tinos. The end of December traditionally has Christmas and New Year's Eve. Mentioned above are just some on the list, not counting the local festivities in honor of the patron saints and local events. Many events take place regularly and has a long tradition. A special feature in the lifestyle of the Greeks are certainly social gatherings in taverns, restaurants and clubs. The Greeks love to meet both your family and friends, dine together, discuss and gossip. The achievements of civilization have brought new fashion and lifestyle changes. Much of the population living in cities has a summer estate on the coast or on an island. Greeks like trendy places, showing off a new car or a fashionable wardrobe. They also go at least once a year for a holiday.
Greek cuisine has a specialty of ‘mezedes’, served in small portions before the meal as appetizer. These include: grape leaves filled with meat, tzatziki, fried cabbage or seafood. Very popular dishes are made from filo pastry in various forms, filled with stuffing, spicy, with spinach, feta cheese, or sweet. Most have roasted vegetables: peppers, tomatoes, squash, filled with rice and meat stuffing. You can try skewers with onions, tomatoes and peppers that is souvles or meatballs in tomato sauce. Vegetables are an essential component of fresh salads. Gained worldwide fame country salad - choriatiki or Greek. In Greece they eat much grilled meat, boiled, and stewed vegetables. Fish and seafood is best to try in seaside taverns, where you can often find it fried and sprinkled with lemon juice or garlic sauce. Greece offers various types of cheese products, depending on the region and of sheep and goat milk. Greek specialties include yogurt, which is often served as a dessert with honey. Coffee and sweets undoubtedly has a Turkish influence. These include halva, baklava and other sweet sugar syrup poured generously. Coffee too, with added sugar. Some of the popular aniseed-flavored alcohol is ouzo and other drinks made from grapes. As for the taste of wine there is no doubt that the one that stands out among them is Retsina.