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 Guide of Greece

Greece is a country of sun and sea, a country with a climate so warm that you can swim and enjoy sea sports almost all year around. The coastline of Greece is about 15.000 km long - one lifetime wouldn't be enough to explore it all. On these coasts, entire civilizations came into being, flourished and then faded into obscurity. Welcome, then, to the cradle of civilization, to the country with the most beautiful sea floor in the Mediterranean and the fewest environmental problems. According to the newest environmental studies of the European Union, 97% of the Greek Coast Line obtained the Blue Flag.

Here you can find Monachus Monachus seals and Caretta Caretta turtles and multitudes dolphins and whales lining together in an ecosystem which has not yet been damaged by human activity.

Greece lies at the South eastern tip of Europe. The mainland coastline is 4,000 km long while 9,841 islands, 114 of which are inhibitated, add another 15,000 km of coastline. Due to its geographical position, Greece has been a land of "passage," linking Europe to Asia, the Aegean Sea to the Mediterranean, and the south of Europe to the Holy Land and from there to the north of Africa.

Variety is, in fact, the hall mark of Greece geographical landscape generally. On the one hand, there are high mountains and entire mountain ranges such as the Pindos range of Mount Olympus (with its summit the Pantheon, the highest peak in Greece at an altitude of 2,917 m.) and the mountains of Macedonia and Thrace intersected here and there by a few valleys through which relatively small rivers flow. On the other hand, the endless lacework of the coastline produces a series of scenic surprises. It is these heavily indented shores which give Greece such rare beauty quite unique in the Mediterranean.

The marked variety of the terrain above water continues under water, along the seabed, which, millions of years ago, formed a projection of the land.

Vegetation and climate conform to the variation in the geographical area. The variety of plants is exceptional, some 6,000 indigenous species having so far been recorded, 250 of which flourish on the island of Crete. Plants associated with the joys of life are the country's countless vineyards.

Greece has a history stretching back almost 4.000 years. The people of the mainland, called Hellenes, organized great naval and military expeditions, and explored the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, going as far as the Atlantic Ocean and the Caucasus Mountains. One of those expeditions, the siege of Troy, is narrated in the first great European literary work, Homer's Iliad. Numerous Greek settlements were founded throughout the Mediterranean, Asia Minor and the coast of North Africa as a result of travels in search of new markets.

Greece, also known as Hellas, is the birthplace of politics as an art and democracy as a form of government. The judiciary is independent. Civil, political and human rights are constitutionally guaranteed. Its democratic ideals inspired many countries.

On the next stop in their journey around the world, the Olympics are returning home. The Games were born in Greece more than two and a half millennia ago; they were revived in Athens in 1896, and their homecoming will enhance the Olympic Ideals once more.

The behaviour of the Greek people is a result of the changes in the shrinking family, an ageing population, EU participation. Changes in the political landscape, media ifluences and the massive shift to urban areas are also responsible for social change.

There is an emphasis on indoor leisure (private space) in comparison to outdoor leisure (public space), as well as on passive leisure in comparison to active leisure. The latter is connected with the invasion of new technologies in the home. However, indoor leisure does not coincide with passive leisure. Even if it is usually takes the form of television watching, listening to music or reading, it can also imply active leisure. Examples are playing music, gardening and home improvements.

Going out for a walk or stroll is the most popular out-of-home leisure activity. This also includes going out to drink or eat (in places such as restaurants, taverns, cafeterias, pubs/ bars), visiting friends/ acquaintances/ relatives, and participating sports. The aforementioned activities belong mainly to the category of piece leisure (i.e. leisure distributed on weekdays). Travel is considered to be the most popular block leisure (i.e. leisure concentrated on weekends, holidays and vacations) activity of Greeks.

Space plays an important role in the determination of the type of activity, since the latter relates to the type of spatial structure. For example, the modern structure of Lycabettus Theatre (in Athens) used for modern ballet performances, Greek music, rock, jazz, and international music concerts. In contrast, the traditional structure of Herodion (in Athens) is used for classical music concerts, ancient Greek tragedy, opera and ballet performances. Also, in the larger cities leisure is concentrated in the center.

The favourite summer (or Easter) destinations are islands, especially Mykonos, Paros, Santorini and Sifnos (Cyclades), Rhodes and Patmos (Dodecanese), Corfu and Zante (Ionian), Skiathos, Alonissos (Sporades), and Crete. Another favourite place is the Halkidiki peninsula in Macedonia.

Santorini has the most dramatic scenery in Greece and the sunsets are superb. Approaching the island from the sea, the cliff looms before you and the white Cycladic building perch along the edge of the crater suspended between sea and sky. When you go to Santorini you should go to Oia from where you will watch the prettier sunset in the world. It is a sight that everyone should experience at least once in their lives.

Myconos is world famous; it is the most cosmopolitan of the Greek islands. It is dotted with superb beaches and beautiful white houses and chapels and the famous Myconian windmills. There you should visit "Super Paradise" beach where a party starts early in the afternoon and goes on until early morning.

Long and narrow, the delightful island of Alonissos is the perfect retreat for nature-lovers and for those seeking an atmosphere that traditionally Greek. The island is green and covered with pine forests that go right down to the beaches!

More than an island, Crete is almost a country in its own right. It is the largest island in Greece and offers a varied landscape and atmosphere. You should try the famous "Raki"- the local drink, with "Skaltsounia" which can be made from all kind of vegetable.

Halkidiki is the highlight of eastern Macedonia. Kassandra and Sithonia shelter the north's best beaches and are both fast-growing holiday destinations. Here also is the religious community of Mount Athos, which can only be visited by men with a special permit. No women are allowed in.

 Guide of Greece
Matina Vernadaki

Sources: holidays-in-greece

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