With my recent trips to Santorini and Mykonos still vividly in my mind, and my trip to Athens+Mykonos 2 years ago as a treasured memory, I can honestly say that Greece has stolen my heart. I can’t wait to go back and discover more of this amazing and versatile country. Despite the differences between the islands, they all have one thing in common: warmth. It’s hard to explain the emotions and feelings that you do get in one country, and don’t in the other. I tried to explain it to a friend as a “coming home, or feeling at home” sentiment. It’s the equation of several facets, but let’s just break it down into pieces so you know what I’m talking about.
1. I love Greek gastronomy!
In Dutch we have the saying: “Food is the way to a man’s heart”. Well, also to this woman’s heart. You can wake me in the middle of the night for a Greek food fest. I love their dishes that are full of flavour cooked with fresh, local and pure ingredients and little seasoning; the olives, capers, octopus, and their delicious sweet tomatoes. Their feta and haloumi cheeses add extra taste to simple salads and a drizzle of their olive oil is the finishing touch. And don’t even get me started on their grilled meats and seafood. Each island has its own signature dish and regional specialties so your discovery of new flavours and aromas never stops.
Must-try Greek top dishes and ingredients: honey, moussaka, taramasalata (different dips), octopus, feta cheese, olives and olive oil, dolmades (grape leaf-wrapped rice parcel), fish, grilled meat, and filo pastry filled pies either sweet or savoury.
Greek cuisine has to be paired with Greek wine. So, another highlight of my Greek holidays is that I get to drink Greek wines and spirits. Greece has many historic vineyards, where you can learn more about the unique Greek wine making process and taste the different kinds of wine. Greek wine has a distinct flavour due to the soil and conditions, and is in general fruity and fresh compared to French or Italian wines.
Must-try Greek wines and spirits: Mastiha from Chios, Ouzo, Vinsanto from Santorini, Malagouzia wine, and Assyrtiko wines
2. I love Greek villages!
Greek villages are picture perfect all with their distinctive characteristics and authentic charm. Be amazed by timeless scenic villages packed with colorful houses overgrown with bougainvillea, and small family chapels on nearly every corner. Immerse yourself in typical daily Greek life, by visiting a remote authentic village early in the morning and watch how the Greek enjoy life in their own relaxed pace.
TIP: Are you visiting a big Greek city? Avoid the touristy parts or find the historical, authentic parts of the city. Take a trip to the more suburban part of town and you get to enjoy a village-like atmosphere and scenery just the same.
3. I love Greek fashion & interior design
This might not be an often heard reason to visit Greece, but for me it is. I love Greek design, whether it is Fashion or Interior design. In fashion the Greek really know how to use traditional artisan and translate it into contemporary hip and chic designs. They are masters in creating beautiful leather sandals, exquisite jewelry, and apparel made of gorgeous flowing fabrics. The neighbourhood Kolonaki in Athens is famed for the many boutiques by Greek fashion designers and Greek labels. In Mykonos as well as in Santorini you can shop your heart out at the many small independent fashion boutiques.
Greek interior design is also influenced by its heritage. Therefore I love to visit lifestyle shops, and I always stay at boutique or design hotels. The Greek interior design is characterized by use of a lot of white, muted colours, different shades of blue, and natural materials. The more modern designers use vibrant colours and sleek en vogue-ish styles. Greek art galleries are also a must for interior junkies. Greek art is usually colorful and a real treasure to take back as a souvenir.
What to buy: Greek leather sandals, a handmade sun hat, handmade jewelry, Greek pottery, a Greek art piece
4. I love Greek beaches
This is actually a no-brainer, because who doesn’t like Greek beaches? The versatility of beaches in Greece is endless. Moreover, it can even differ on one island. On Santorini for example, you have pebbled beaches, black volcanic sand beaches, and volcanic stones and shells beaches. Mykonos on the other hand is boasting white sandy beaches with clear water that colors turquoise in the sun. Being a country consisting of islands, Greece is the ultimate beach destination. Unspoilt coves, bustling touristy beaches and remote rocky shores abound!
5. I love Greek hospitality
What makes a place feel like home is an equation of different facets, but one detail is crucial: the people. Greeks, and the people living there, are extremely hospitable and warm. Their friendly faces and laid-back lifestyle makes it a joy to visit Greece. I like to mingle with locals and find out more about them. If you’re lucky you’ll even get invited to a home cooked dinner!
- Read all my blog posts about Mykonos here
- Read all my blog posts about Santorini here (more coming soon)
- Read all my blog posts about Athens here (more coming soon)
- For more information about Greece: Visit Griekenland or Discover Greece