Greece, despite its small size, has a particularly rich and diverse natural environment, a distinct topography with sharp contrasts, and many areas with high ecological value. Dramatic mountains, lush valleys and groves, an extended coastline, and unique ecosystems comprise the Greek landscape. Residents and visitors enjoy a wealth of leisure and recreation options that are unequalled in the Mediterranean. Combining a modern infrastructure and the stark beauty of the ancient world, the birthplace of Western civilization is one of the leading tourism destinations globally that satisfies young and old.
History & Culture
Greek history and Greek culture are the foundations of Western civilization. The cultural heritage of Greece may be identified in almost all aspects of human activity, from poetry, theater, music, and dance to the world of scientific research. Greece is the birthplace of principles, concepts, and ideals such as democracy, freedom, justice, freedom of speech and free will.
The numerous archeological sites and museums of Greece offer visitors the opportunity to become acquainted with Greek history. The historical and cultural heritage of Greece still resonates amidst its modern Western world development.
Plays of Euripides, for example, are performed today in the same theaters in which performances were held 2,500 years ago. During the summer months, visitors from around the world flock to the ancient theater of Epidaurus and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus. In parallel, modern cultural centers and the concert halls of Athens and Thessaloniki present world-class performances throughout the year, and the Greek National Opera presents a wide variety of operas.
The Acropolis, perched on the Parthenon in Athens, is the crown jewel of Greece’s archaeological splendour. And museums, such as the National Archaeological Museum, the New Acropolis Museum, and scores of others throughout the country house collections that chronicle the evolution of Western civilization. Sites such as Knossos on Crete, Ancient Olympia, Delphi, and Vergina in Northern Greece are easily accessible for day trips or weekend excursions, and make living in Greece a true pleasure.
For an introduction to Greek culture and a guide to events, exhibitions, museums, and venues, visit http://www.culture.gr/
Please find information on museums, archaeological sites and Greek monuments, a cultural map of the country, and an enriched photo gallery at the “Odysseus” website of the Ministry of Culture: http://odysseus.culture.gr/
It has often been said that the true Mediterranean diet is based on traditional Greek cuisine, with its emphasis on vegetables, fruits, grains, seafood, fresh meat and dairy products, and pure wine.
Greece offers a bountiful array of raw ingredients and traditional products and a cuisine that is healthful, simple, yet rich and varied. Based on the olive, the staple of the Mediterranean, Greece’s cuisine can be enjoyed in simple tavernas, at traditional ouzeries, or in modern restaurants that offer daring interpretations of time-tested classics.
One of the joys of living or travelling in Greece is the ability to eat, drink, and be merry at sidewalk cafes, cozy estiatoria, or along a seaside quay. Well-known items such as feta cheese, yogurt, and honey please millions of people daily, whether in Greece or abroad, and beverages including ouzo and retsina have become identified as the quintessential accompaniments to a host of Greek specialties. The fine quality and interesting character of the wines, whether made from the volcanic soil of Santorini or the rich soils of Nemea are globally appreciated and recognised by oinophiles.
For more information about Greek cuisine, visit http://www.kerasma.gr/
The climate in Greece makes living in this Mediterranean destination a year-round joy. Residents and visitors may enjoy a wide variety of sports activities including tennis, volleyball and football, hiking, sailing, and golf, winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, and rafting, biking, and caving (spelunking) in the varied landscapes of Greece. Both Athens and Thessaloniki offer a large selection of leisure venues with entertainment suitable for every taste and preference. The personalities of the cities are a mixture of Eastern and Western cultures with a dynamic intertwine of modern and ancient structures. Greece offers history and sights, sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, nightlife and entertainment. A huge selection of accommodation is also available with establishments ranking high among the leading in the world for business, romance or family leisure.
• New Year's Day: January 1st
• Epiphany: January 6th. The seas are blessed. A Cross is thrown into the sea and young men dive to retrieve it.
• Ash Monday: 41 days before Easter. Lent begins. On Ash Monday, Greeks fly kites, eat lenten food and celebrate the koulouma.
• Independence Day and the Feast of the Annunciation: March 25th , Military parade.
• Easter: Good Friday-Easter Monday. Vesper evening is on Good Friday and every church decorates an Epitaphios (bier). The Epitaphios processions, followed by people holding lit candles and chanting hymns, fill the streets of every city, town and village in the country.
• Anastasi (Resurrection): celebrated with fire-works and lit candles at midnight, on the eve of Easter Day.
• Pascha (Easter): on that Day Greeks traditionally eat lamb, spit-roasted on charcoal. The festivities include singing and dancing through the day.
• Labour Day: May 1st . Many Flower Festivals take place all over Greece.
• White Monday: 50 days after Easter.
• Dormition (Assumption) of The Virgin: August 15th .
• October 28th: rejection of the Italian ultimatum in 1940. Military parade.
• Christmas: December 25th -26th.
Secretariat General of Communication:
Extensive links on Greece
• City of Thessaloniki official web portal: