Daily Mail

Country guide Greece

Greece, the nation that brought the Olympics to the forefront of the world, continues to inspire imagination and win over hearts worldwide. Why? Well it's quite simple: a mix of awe-inspiring islands, gorgeous coastlines, countless cultural pursuits, and of course, mouth-watering cuisine, create an award-winning combination that's quite hard to resist.

Things to do

Whether you're planning to move to one of the major cities like Thessaloniki or reroute your entire life to one of the picturesque Greek islands, you'll come to find that they are full of opportunities, rich culture, thought-provoking history and perhaps, the best reason: the chance to escape to paradise.

Once here you can expect to see ancient grandeurs in Athens, bewitching monasteries atop rock towers in Meteora, and islands like Santorini exuding tranquillity, while also presenting the chance to sail along its crystal clear seas. And in the countryside, hauntingly beautiful forests, sprawling vineyards, and mountainous terrain long to be explored.

Places to eat

Greeks are proud of their cuisine and they see eating out as an important pastime. The simple act of enjoying a delicious meal and a glass or two of ouzo (a liquorice flavoured aperitif) in the company of family and friends is fiercely treasured. In accordance with this dine out culture an abundance of tavernas (ouzeri), cafes, grill houses, street vendors and restaurants (estiatorio) are ready to serve up a variety of mouth-watering Greek and - for the less adventurous - international meals.

If it's a light snack, hearty meal, refreshing tipple or indulgent dessert that you are after - Greece has you covered. And whether you prefer to enjoy your meal in extravagant restaurants with gorgeous settings or in rural, outdated eateries in the middle of nowhere, rest assured, you'll be able to experience some of the finest grub imaginable.

However, to truly experience authentic Greek cuisine, a trip away from the touristic regions and high-profile islands like Athens and Santorini can prove fruitful. You may even get to try weird and wonderful delicacies like lambs head - it may sound menacing, but the locals truly love it and you may too, possibly...

Shopping

In Greece, you can find all manner of items that satisfy almost any taste and wallet size. Here you can discover a rich selection of International fashion houses, world-famous franchises and traditional Greek merchandise to snap up in a heartbeat.

In popular destinations like Athens, Crete, Thessaloniki, and Larissa, you will find shopping centres typical of those found in the United Kingdom, which allow you to buy the latest fashion offerings - further aiding you in your pursuit of style perfection.

Countless markets and specialist stores offer unique, high-quality goods that can't be matched. On the islands, you'll see an abundance of independent boutiques and souvenir shops, where a wide range of merchandise like exquisite lace, hand-stitched knitwear, pottery and fine jewellery can be easily picked up. If, however, you enjoy the thrill of rummaging through stalls in search of amazing treasures to take home, flea markets such as Monastiraki in Athens are a must.

Getting around

Since Greece is home to over 60 islands, locals and visitors cannot rely on just one form of transportation alone, instead they have to use a combination of different networks to travel across the country.

The most effective modes of transport are either by scooter, motorbike or car, as they allow you to easily travel to all corners of the country. However, buses and trains offer relatively affordable, long distance travel between cities and are a great way of exploring the soul-stirring landscapes on offer. On the other hand, trains are not always a hundred percent reliable or for that fact, fast.

In addition to travelling around mainland Greece, there is inter-island travel - the chance to hop from island to island. To do this ferries, catamarans and hydrofoils must be used. Even though the duration of the journey can be overwhelmingly long, the sheer enjoyment of witnessing extraordinary vistas and breath-taking sea views more than compensate for the aforementioned negative.

If you are searching for a faster way of traveling from island to island or city to city - the next best option is by air. A host of domestic and international airports make the country and the world much more accessible.

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