Your Greek Adventure Awaits!

Your Greek Adventure Awaits!
Photo courtesy Aleksandar Pasaric

Imagine...  The wedding ceremony was stunning, filled with romance and joy.  Scents of the beautiful lilacs and roses your partner chose will forever infuse your memory of the day with the lightest accent of pure sweetness.  Your family gathered together, in support and celebration.  It was perfect.

Could there possibly be more??  Of course!  You and your partner whisk yourselves away for a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon adventure: enchantment, relaxation and awe midst the backdrop of Greece.  Kaló taxídi!


Greece is cradled between Europe, Asia and Africa, and has therefore accumulated through the centuries a rich heritage and eventful history.  The Ancient Greeks and the Romans clashed here, this is the land of Plato and Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar, this is the birthplace of Western civilization and modern democracy, major mathematical and scientific theories, the Olympic Games, Western drama and so much more.

Today’s tourists and honeymooners have a vast array of exciting activities to choose from:  exploring the popular ancient cities and temples, venturing into the less traveled areas of the country to visit centuries’ old monasteries and other historic sites, touristing the islands and lavishing in the green-blue Mediterranean, visiting the museums, sharing in the traditions of everyday life within a scenic Greek village, sightseeing in the mountains and taking in a view of Mt. Olympus.  There are modern sports adventures, such as skiing and para-sailing, there are tours of the famed sites from myth and ancient history such as the Parthenon and the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, there are culinary temptations and the tantalizing lure of Greek cuisine: olives, mountain-grown herbs and Greek wine, just to name a few.

It’s impossible to enjoy all the gifts of this land, even in a two or four-week getaway.  Be prepared to return again and again – the wonders of Greece are sure to win your heart!

Athens and the Parthenon

Athens is the capital of Greece, and one of the oldest cities in the world.  It has been inhabited for over 7000 years.  Today, Athens is a bustling modern metropolis, yet its ancient history is an integral part.  The city boasts dozens of archaeological landmarks, most notably the Parthenon which tops the sacred Acropolis, overlooking the city.  The Parthenon was built in the 5th century BC, replacing an older temple on the site in honor of the Greek goddess Athena.  The building was first used as a treasury, was later converted into a Christian church and subsequently a mosque... and in 1687 was partially destroyed while serving as an Ottoman munitions dump.

Athens has always been revered as a cultural mecca, and today’s tourists flock to the city to take part in its many diverse activities.  Music and nightlife abound, and Athens offers more theatrical stages than any other city in Europe.  A daytime walk around the area promises to charm:  the old blends with the new in an array of taverns, contemporary restaurants and shops, lilting bouzouki music, worn stonework and old mansions accented with cascading vines and bright flowers. 

Within twenty kilometers of Athens, visitors can escape to picturesque beaches or to breathtaking resort villages such as Vouliagmeni.  The famous fresh-water Lake Vouliagmeni, once a large cavern that long-ago collapsed, now gains its water from underground currents seeping through Mt. Hymettus... the mineral content and constant temperature of 24 degrees Celsius draw in tourists year-round.

The Greek Islands / The Cyclades

There are about 30 inhabited islands in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Greece.  These islands, along with many others which remain uninhabited, are known as the Cyclades.  This archipelago holds its own unique history:  its key geography as well as its abundance of natural resources have maintained the Cyclades as an important landmark throughout the centuries.  Archaeological remnants as old as the 11th millennium BC have been uncovered, revealing Neolithic activity on the islands.  Other sites, ranging from the time of the Cretans and the Mycenaeans through to the German occupation during WWII, provide an almost incomprehensible view of human history.

Today, some of the islands depend on tourism; others, rich with mining and agriculture, do not offer visitors a ready assortment of amenities and attractions.  The most popular Cyclades destinations are Santorini, Mykonos, Paros and Naxos.

"The Jewel" of the Aegean Sea:  The island of Mykonos brings to mind clear blue water, high blue skies, stark whitewashed buildings...  There are preserved windmills with arms in the shape of the Maltese cross, and narrow stone-lined streets just wide enough to permit travel by donkey.  Built around a small fishing village, today’s Mykonos offers a variety of accommodations, shops and restaurants (from the posh to the lower-budget,) along with welcoming inhabitants, inspiring natural beauty, a long-established gay scene and all the grecian magic imaginable.

Hidden Treasures

Befriending local tour guides, or organizing small expeditions in advance, will add a sure sense of anticipation and wonder to your exploration of all that mythic Greece has to offer.  By bus or automobile, winding up the Pindus Mountains, adventurous tourists will find themselves enroute to the spectacular scenery of Vikos Aoos National Park.  Hidden waterfalls, the world’s deepest gorges and jagged peaks offer view to this rugged backcountry rarely seen by most visitors.  High mountain hamlets with cobble streets, slate roofs and kind, gracious villagers will transport you and your partner to the atmosphere of another era.

In another part of the country, according to legend, an 11th Century Byzantine woman faced a difficult challenge.  By law, her family was required to send their eldest son off to become a soldier; however Theodora had only younger sisters.  Her family was poor, and unable to pay the resulting taxes... in an effort to spare them Theodora dressed as a man and entered the army.  She became an admirable soldier, so noble that many of her comrades envied her and, as fate would have it, one young woman fell in love with her.  The woman, a local villager where Theodora was stationed as a guard, adored the quiet soldier and accused ‘him’ of being the father of her unborn child.

Theodora refused to confess, none of her fellow soldiers would speak in her defense, and so she was executed.  Her final words were, in essence, “Let my body become a church, my blood a river, my hair a forest!”  Upon her death, her identity was revealed and her executioners were aghast with sorrow for the mistake they had made.  The villagers were moved to build a chapel at the site of her grave.  According to folklore, a river re-routed itself in order to flow directly beneath the tiny church.  And even today, eighteen full-grown trees have risen themselves up from the chapel roof, running roots down through the walls.  Miraculously, the roots remain hidden beneath the roof and within the walls, never breaking through the fragile mud and stonework.

Saint Theodora’s chapel can be found in the village of Vasta, in the Peloponnese.  Hundreds of other churches, monasteries and other, lesser-known archaeological sites dot the landscape of Greece, mile after mile.  Taking time to seek them out can prove to be one of the most memorable aspects of any vacation to this ancient land.  Kaló taxídi!



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