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Greece > Living


Ten Top Insider Tips About Greece

Published Friday March 27, 2015 (01:06:35)


Greece’s pleasant weather and comfortable lifestyle are just a few of the reasons why many expats are drawn to its shores. There is a lot to discover in this land of great culture and heritage and to make it simpler for you, here are ten insider tips that will help you make the most out of your stay in this fascinating country.

Best historical places
Crete is a paradise for history and mythology lovers. According to mythology, Zeus, the towering figure in Greek mythology and the ‘Father of Gods and men’ was hidden in a cave in Crete by his mother and raised there by nymphs. In Minoan times, Crete was the headquarters from which the rest of the island was controlled. The remnants of the Minoans' power bases can be seen at Phaistos and Gournia.

The next phase of Crete’s history is evident in the church at Krista, a beautiful structure decorated with 14th century frescoes. Another great place to soak in some history is Thrace, which has some stunning archaeological sites including Byzantine and Ottoman monuments. Turkish is still spoken in towns like Xanthi.

Best places for families
Expats and their families will have plenty of places to go to enjoy family activities. Naxos in Cyclades is one such destination with beautiful seascapes and traditional villages atop the mountains. Upon nearing the island, you will be greeted by the sight of the Portara, a marble gate and the remnant of an ancient temple. Naxos is not a bustling tourist destination and this makes it ideal for some quiet family time. There’s even a shallow beach at Aghios Giorgos where children can enjoy themselves. Apart from the stunning endless beaches, there are mountain paths perfect for hiking, beautiful Byzantine and Venetian monuments and some nice cafes to simply relax. A network of local buses connects all the little villages of Naxos, making it easy to get from one place to another.

Best places to eat
There are many spots across the country where you can enjoy traditional cuisine. The city of Thessaloniki is a great place to sample Greek fare. Head to the local bougatsatzidiko or cream pastry shop for some delicious breakfast foods like bougatsa me krema, which is essentially creamy Greek custard in filo pastry. Thessaloniki is also known to have some of the best fish and seafood in the country. If you’re in Santorini, you must try fava (yellow split-pea puree). In the island of Ikaria, you will be treated to food consisting largely of vegetables, olive oil, wild greens and honey. The longevity of the local population has been attributed to the nutritious food they consume. Ikaria is also famous for its wine and you even rent a stone house at the local organic winery and farm. Ikaria is also the place to enjoy traditional festivities or panigyria.

Best places to relax
If your main reason for moving to Greece is to enjoy the simple life, then Paxos is where you should be. A quiet island, Paxos is devoid of tourist traps and large crowds of visitors. In fact, there are hardly any people at all here and the local population is warm and welcoming. An average day in Paxos would involve taking a walk on the pristine beach, sipping iced coffee at one of the many seafront cafes and taking in the aroma of freshly baked bread from the local bakery. Another laid-back location is Epirus in northwest Greece, which is an excellent place to spend one’s retirement years.

Best places to see nature
The entire island of Corfu is a nature reserve. With a lush landscape, a multitude of traditional villages and serene beaches, Corfu is one of the best places to enjoy nature. There’s the Pantokrator Massif with its bare limestone mountains and sweeping valleys, the olive groves that date back to centuries and numerous river valleys and gorges. The famous Corfu trail covers approximately 220km and travels across the length of the island. It will take you through the quiet rural areas where you can catch glimpses of the traditional villages and monasteries. The route from south to north in particular showcases some of the best scenery of the island.

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