The crisis might hold a tight grip over Greece right now, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the country’s tourism statistics. Tourism is such an industry which tends to lag a year or two when crises struck, but Greek example is different altogether. If anything, international tourist arrivals have seen steady growth with more than 20 million people visiting Greece from abroad in 2013.
When triple S (sun, sea, and sand) comes to mind as a traditional view on tourism, there’s hardly a better destination than Greece. I’ll try to explain why Greece is the best summer destination further along the way.
My wife Juliana and I first saw Eurovision while on our honeymoon in Greece in 2006, and we were amazed by it. They basically recreate a music video onstage, and pyro cannons, LED video screens, background dancers, fireworks, costume changes, and wind machines are their tools.– via Seamus Dever
Greece – Geography position and Climate
Positioned neatly in southern Europe, Greece is almost entirely a Mediterranean country surrounded by the Ionian Sea to the west, the Mediterranean Sea to the south, and the Aegean Sea to the east. With this in mind, there are quite a few tourist regions you can choose as your potential destination, but more on that later. Apart from the mountainous regions of the north and lowland parts of north and north-eastern Greece, most of the country exhibits Mediterranean climate with dry, hot summers and mild, wet winters. These regions are your primary destinations during the summer where temperatures usually don’t drop below 30 °C (86 °F).
In order to become the best summer destination, the location has to offer all traditional aspects of tourism in abundance, and Greece is riddled with such locations, whether it’s the mainland we are talking about or one of the countless islands in each of surrounding water masses. In order to compile this article in a short and organized manner, we’ll divide Greece into regions.
Ionian coast – Corfu
Let’s start with the Ionian coast and its islands. Northernmost Greek island in Ionian Sea is incidentally one of the best-known ones overall. Corfu Is riddled with beaches, and small towns and villages including Ipsos, Kavos, and Palaiokastritsa as primary destinations for tourists. The city of Corfu itself offers even more with the old town of Corfu being enlisted as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Further down the south, the Ionian coast offers destinations such as Parga, Lichnos, Ammoudia, Ligia, and Preveza as a gate to Ambracian Gulf. Just south-west from entry into the mentioned gulf, lies Lefkada, another one of large Ionian islands.
Apart from the capital city with the same name, the island offers destinations such as Porto Katsiki, Vasiliki, and Agios Nikitas. Kefalonia island is just further south along the Ionian coast, and Zakynthos (Zante) follows it in a similar manner. These are the last two large Greek Ionian islands and are well-known for their traditional touristic attractions which make Greece the best summer destination.
Ancient homes of Sparta and Corinth, Peloponnese peninsula is mostly known for its archaeological sites, but sun, sea and sand tourism prospers as well on Greece’s southernmost mainland part. Towns and villages like Katakolo, Pilos, Methoni, Koroni, Petalidi, Kalamata, Neapoli Vion, Monemvasía, and Nafplion clearly prove that.
Greek Aegean coast is much more diverse than Ionian and offers many scattered islands including Sporades, Cyclades and Dodecanese archipelagos. The Dodecanese are furthest down the south and consist of 150 small and 12 larger islands including Kos, Patmos, Karpathos, and most notably Rhodes. These islands off the Turkish Aegean coast don’t really need special introductions. Rhodes is the largest of them and offers a combination of triple S and cultural tourism at its finest. Kos is smaller but more mundane. Island’s beaches are known far and wide, and there’s no shortage of luxury hotels as well.
Cyclades – a group of islands
The Cyclades are composed of around 220 islands, some of them uninhabited. Major Cyclades islands are Santorini, Andros, Ios, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, and others. While Naxos offers some historical ruins, it is still primarily known for its beaches. The same can be said about Milos, while Santorini, Mykonos, and Ios are mundane touristic destinations known far and wide for their secluded beaches and five-star hotels and resorts. The sporades are further north and consist of only 24 islands with Alonnisos, Skyros, Skopelos and Skiathos being the only four inhabited ones.
Skiathos is closest to the mainland, and thus most developed in terms of tourism with City of Skiathos itself and Lalaria beach being its most prized attractions. North Aegean islands off the coast of Turkey need to be mentioned as well. Samos, Chios, Lesbos, and Limnos are the largest islands here and as well-known as any other Greek island.
Crete – one of the most popular islands
Speaking of well-known islands, one can’t fail to mention Crete. The largest Greek island and one of most southern ones as well boasts with the largest island population in Greece too. It offers a fusion of cultural and traditional, recreational tourism with sun, sea, and sand being dominant. Of 20 million tourists that visit Greece, around 15 percent end up at Crete.
With such prolific archaeological sites such as the ancient city of Knossos, one can’t fail to see why this is so. Island’s capital of Heraklion is the largest city and has an airport, but Chania and Sitia also have airports of their own.
Mainland Aegean coast
Mainland Aegean coast stretches across most of Greece from Peloponnese to the Turkish border in the province of Thrace to the north-east. Mundane summer destinations like Alexandroupoli, Porto Lagos, Kavala, and Thasos (island) can be found in large regions of western Thrace. Central Macedonia region follows to the west and is governed from the city of Thessaloniki which is a tourist attraction by itself. However, the Chalkidiki peninsula and its three fingers take the biscuit here thanks to summer destinations such as Porto Carras, Perfochori, and Peristeri.
One can’t forget the Mount Athos (Holy Mountain) on Chalkidiki’s easternmost finger which is an autonomous region governed by Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople and a World Heritage Site. It is riddled with 20 Eastern Orthodox Christian monasteries, some of which are truly wonderous.
Between Thessaloniki and Athens, you’ll stumble upon Paralia, Leptokaria, Volos, and Chalcis which are also well-known summer resort cities. There are myriad of smaller towns and villages along the way as well, but I just have to start writing about Athens, Greece’s capital. Athens might not be your average sun, sea, and sand resort town, but it just has to be mentioned – plus it does feature a sea exit. This megalopolis of the ancient world is mostly known for its historic landmarks and represents a fine addition to Greece’s abundant beaches, islands, and resorts.
It shouldn’t be excluded if you find yourself with some extra time while in Greece as it is one of the reasons why Greece is the best summer destination. A combination of all the elements that Athens and all previously mentioned cities and resorts possess is an amalgam that resonates with unique and specific experience that only awaits your arrival.
State constitutions typically provide that the state first has to service its debt, then make it pension payments, and then pay for services. What we don’t know is whether that order will be enforced. And ultimately, the busted state is going to be looking to the federal government for a bailout. Think Greece, but on a much bigger scale.– via Eugene Fama