It’s tourist time in Greece again and you might find it difficult to understand some of the cultural etiquette to follow during your stay in this beautiful country. In order to help you avoid embarrassing conversations and awkward situations, here is a list of the top six things you should never say to a Greek.
1. “Can I have some Turkish coffee?” No, you may not. Really, you never want to ask this question – not in a Greek’s home or in a cafeteria. Two reasons: first of all, it is Greek coffee and you will be told entire story back story so be sure to get comfy. Secondly, you’re in Greece, so again, it’s Greek coffee!
2. “Which way is the ocean?” Greece is not located in the ocean! We have the Mediterranean Sea and it is divided into the other seas – the Ionian, Aegean and Cretan. If you have ever been to an island in the ocean you know there are huge waves. In Greece we are very proud of our beautiful, calm blue seas that are perfect for swimming, sailing and water sports.
3. “Where is the Pantheon”? Wrong country. You mean the Parthenon. For Greeks, our history and historical ruins are an interwoven part of our culture and society. So before you come to Greece looking for the Pantheon — an Ancient Roman building located in Rome — do a Google search!
4. “Can you teach me something to say in Greek?” This is a bad question to ask as many Greeks get a kick out of telling foreigners to try out the almost impossible to say, tongue-twisting word describing an ancient Greek festival dish invented by Aristophanes. Go on, try it and see how you do! It’s ‘Lopathotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimipotrimmatosiliphiokaravomelitokatakechimenokichlepikossiphophttoperisteralektruonoptokefalliokiglopeleiolagoosiraiovafitraganopterugon’.
5. “Here’s my address, look me up if you come to my country.” Don’t say this unless you actually mean it! If you give your address to a Greek it is pretty much a given that if they are ever visiting your country, they will look you up. Greeks are known for their hospitality and after having welcomed you into their country, or island, or village, they will assume that you wish to do the same.
6. “Istanbul.” Greeks still call this city Konstantinopoli. Nothing bad is going to happen to you if you call it Istanbul, but it’s a really sensitive subject for many Greeks for several reasons. In fact, if you buy a plane ticket from Greece to go to Istanbul, you will find that it says Konstantinopoli in Greek. Even the on the news reporters refer to Istanbul as Konstantinopoli. Here’s why: The city is not only seeped in Greek history, it is also because of its religious ties. Konstantinopoli means ‘City of Constantin’, and was named after the Byzantine emperor who established the city as the capital of the Christian Byzantine Empire. It wasn’t until the Ottomans took over the city in 1453 that the name was changed to Istanbul.
The northern Aegean Sporades islands will have a new sea link to Greece’s second-largest city later this month.
Golden Star ferries will launch its Thessaloniki-Sporades ferry route on June 15 after getting the green light from the Greek Shipping Ministry.
With two new vessels, the ferry will depart from Thessaloniki at 10 a.m. every day before returning at 7.15 p.m. The cost of a one-way ticket will be €60 ($70), while a return ticket will set travellers back €108 euros.
Greece’s tourism industry is expected to draw 32 million visitors in 2018, in what will be a record year for the sector, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has said.
Speaking at a general meeting of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE), Tsipras said that figures so far indicate that tourism revenues this year will be 12.8 percent higher than 2017.
The prime minister noted that Greece’s stability in a region that is vulnerable to crises has helped boost the country’s profile as a tourist destination.
Tourism ‘contributed €100 billion’ during Greek crisis
Speaking at the conference, SETE head Yiannis Retsos said travel receipts contributed €100 billion ($117 billion) to the Greek economy in the eight years of the economic crisis.
Retsos said that in 2017, tourism revenue accounted for the 10.3 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, while the sum of its direct and indirect contribution is estimated at between 22.6 and 27.3 percent of GDP.
Lesvos is beefing up security for the visit of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and a host of ministers who will participate in regional conference on the Aegean island on Wednesday and Thursday.
Seventeen squads of riot police are travelling from Athens as local organizations are planning rallies against the government’s policies on migration and VAT hikes.
At a news conference, organizers said the protests surrounding Tsipras’ visit are the “last effort to pressure the government not to increase VAT on islands from July 1”.
Shops and local government offices are expected to close down in protest on Thursday, during Tsiras’s speech at the conference.
The Greek premier’s visit comes amid a fresh spike in migrant arrivals from Turkey.
In April, dozens of migrants were injured after far-right extremists attacked a group of 200 migrants and asylum seekers who had camped out in the main square of Lesvos’ capital, Mytilini.
The local authority warns that similar incidents may occur again as tensions are hotting up in the island which is at the forefront of the migrant crisis in Greece.
Refugees and migrants who arrived on Greek islands after the March 2016 deal between Turkey and the European Union are barred from travelling to mainland Greece unless they obtain permission from the authorities.
Although a Greek court ruled last month that new arrivals will be allowed to move on to the mainland, those who arrived during that two-year period are still confined to the islands.
Traditional places on the island of Crete are not difficult to find. Solitary villages, especially in the hinterland, still manage to maintain a special atmosphere that takes visitors on a trip back to happier times, where life was simpler and more genuine.
That is precisely the case of the village known as Kyparissi, located half an hour from the capital of Crete, Heraklion, not far from Prophet Elias. In this village, there is a place completely different from the busier tavernas in town. It is Yannis’taverna and everything about it is special.
Those passing by will certainly be attracted by the warm atmosphere of the village restaurant. The candlelight dim-lit room, the fireplace and the endless rows of house wine barrels that decorate the beautiful place brings memories of a past when everything was no-frills. When life was about enjoying the taste of the land and the company for friends and family.
Music often comes to life together with Yiannis’ lyre and songs bringing joy to every visitor. At Yiannis’, everyone pays a fixed price and can eat as much as they want. The dishes are delicious and the wine flows uninterruptedly. Most ingredients are organic and the food is cooked in a traditional wood-burning oven.
The Prefecture of Chania is located in western Crete. The picturesque seaside city of Chania is its capital and it features a well-preserved historical center as well as a modern city that extends enough to reach the mountain range of the Lefka Ori or the White Mountains. Here are some of the things to do in Chania.
Visit a Mountain Village
All over the prefecture, visitors will find traditional hamlets and villages perched on the slopes of the Lefka Ori. These places of untouched beauty offer a unique opportunity to be in touch with nature as well as with the local cuisine which is simple and tasty. In the mountains, it is possible to discover local species of plants and animals, some of them unique to the island
Explore the Beaches
The prefecture of Chania is the area that hosts some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. Falassana on the west side is well known for its privileged location for water sports and unique sunsets. On the south, world-famous Elafonisi, with its crystal waters and pink sand, enchants thousands of visitors every year. For the more adventurous type, the peninsula of Gramvousa and the unique landscape of Balos beach are worth the trip over the dirt path.
Discover the History of the City
A city that has been continuously inhabited for over 7,000 years certainly has a few things to offer those interested in history.
Home to different rulers and occupiers, Chania displays every style of architecture. The Venetian harbor combines with the various minarets still standing in town and the many Byzantine churches of the city.
Certainly, there is no shortage of monuments and buildings telling the legends of the Venice of the East, as it used to be called. A walking tour of the city that combines traditions and gastronomy can be the perfect opportunity for a different way to explore Chania.
Indulge in the Local Gastronomy
The Cretan diet has been long recognized as one of the healthiest in the world and there is no better place to try it than on the island. Main ingredients include the traditional Mediterranean products, such as olive oil, vegetables and Greek yogurt but also include wild greens, local varieties of cheese and delicious cuts of meat, such as goat or sheep. Everything is cooked in a no-frills way but with a judicious use of herbs and spices — the base of the unique Cretan flavors.
Shop Till You Drop
A visit to the Municipal Market, or Dimotiki Agora, is the best excuse to take back some of the traditions of the island.
Considered to be an architectural gem and one the most important public markets in the region, the Municipal Market gives visitors the opportunity to shop for local produce of excellent quality. Olives, honey, spices, herbs and cheese are some of the Cretan tastes that tourists usually choose to return with.
Taste Cretan Wines
Different wineries can be visited all over the island, and some of them are located in the Prefecture. Either venture yourself in a self-made journey of discovery or rely on the wise suggestions of the only local wine tour run by a sommelier. In both cases be certain that you will enjoy some of the best wines currently being produced in Greece.
Test your Skills in Extreme Sports
Have you ever jumped from a bridge? If this is something that entices your curiosity, Crete is one of the places where to feel some extreme adrenaline. Every summer, Aradena — in the region of Sfakia — turns into the gathering point for bungee lovers who dare to jump into the gap of the gorge from a bridge standing at 138 meters height. If the idea is too much for you, try a hike in the area — the unique landscape will amaze you equally and offer unforgettable experiences.
Learn About the Local Olive Oil
About 27 kilometers (17 miles) from the city of Chania, it is possible to visit one of the oldest living olive trees in the world. It is located in the village of Ano Vouves and it is still producing olives that result in an excellent quality extra virgin oil. In the area, there is also a museum and an old olive-oil factory, both of them open to the public and teaching visitors all the secrets of the history of this local treasure.
Sail the Cretan Sea
Home to three beautiful peninsulas — Gramvousa, Rodopos and Akrotiri — sailing the shores of northern Crete can turn into a surprise for many. Either you go for a version of extreme luxury yachting or decide on a more modest sailing trip, cruising the Cretan seas will allow you to dive in some of the bluest waters of the Mediterranean, or even trying your fishing skills.
Enjoy Some of the Local Festivals
Almost every week of the year, there is a festival to enjoy in the villages of Crete. A culture that pretty much revolves around eating, drinking and music is nothing but a guarantee of fun and joy made of local dances and songs. Whether it is Easter, the 1st of May or the Day of the Virgin (Aug. 15), every town in Chania allows tourists to experience the Cretan traditions at their best.
Fileas Art Hotel in Chania Lives up to its Descrption
Fileas Art Hotel , the new addition of Aria Hotels (www.ariahotels.gr), is situated in the Old Town of Chania andtruly lives up to its name, combining art, architectural tradition and Outstanding quality in service and accommodation. This unique boutique hotel is housed in a three-story traditional building on Protou Frangiskou Street. It is fully renovated to provide all comforts and the friendly staff guarantee that guests will enjoy the traditional warm hospitality that Crete and Cretan people are famous for. The hotel features six modern double rooms with special decoration and artworks, which combined with all modern amenities, guaranteea comfortable and enjoyable stay in the historic city. Fileas Art Hotel is located only a few minutes away from the Old Portof Chania and is therefore ideally suited for touring the city’s landmarks, monuments and hot spots. In addition, the Old Port location offers plenty of entertainment and gastronomy options, including the Alcanea Café & Wine Bar, located on the ground floor of Aria’s sister property, theAlcanea Boutique Hotel. Fileas Art Hotel (Email: [email protected]) is the seventh the propertyf Aria Hotels in Crete. The company has several hotels and villas, all in exceptional destinations: Athens, Crete, Cyclades, Epirus and Peloponnese, all chosen to appeal to the discerning traveler looking for a secret hideaway in Greece.
Although it is the third largest town on the island, Rethymno still keeps a provincial flair rather distant from the larger towns of Heraklion and Chania. Rethymno is one of the best places one can see much of Crete’s history.
This popular city is located on the north coast of Crete, and the whole area combines unique features that attract visitors every year. An enchanting old town, beautiful sandy beaches and an inner land with an immense cultural value are some of the less traditional things to do in Rethymno.
Visit the Old Venetian Town
The old town of Rethymno is located halfway between the capital of the island, Heraklion, and the city of Chania, making it a must stop for those traveling around Crete. It is a visitor’s favorite since it is fairly easy to walk around and it can be seen in a relatively short amount of time. When in Rethymno, it is a good idea to start by walking along the quaint Venetian port. Here, it is possible to sit in one of the many bars along this old marina and enjoy the view of the beautiful lighthouse.
After a while, walk down the alleys of the Venetian town to discover much of its remaining Turkish architecture, as well. It is a good idea to visit some of the local artisans and shops too. Stunning Venetian palazzi converted into boutique hotels welcome you in blossomed gardens for an afternoon break or maybe a spa getaway.
Finally, pay a visit to the Venetian Fortress, locally known as Fortezza, with the impressive Mosque of Sultan Ibrahim and the guard towers in the corners facing the sea.
A Wine Region not to be Missed
Home to one of the indigenous stars among Cretan whites — the Vidiano variety. Contrary to popular belief, Rethymno is home to only a few wineries.
Not far from the city, Klados is a small family winery happy to welcome all those wine lovers interested in their limited range of labels. The approach to wine production is that of a boutique winery, which is really paying off in the wines produced.
Explore the Monasteries
There is more than one interesting monastery to see in Rethymno. The impressive Arkadi Monastery, with its rich history, welcomes hundreds of tourists every day interested in taking a look at its unique Baroque architecture. The history of Arkadi goes hand in hand with the history of the island as well as all its battles for independence.
The Prefecture of Rethymno also hosts the magnificent Moni Preveli, a monastery located on the southern coast of the island, near a palm tree forest and a unique landscape made of a river flowing into the sea.
Beaches of Rethymno
They might not be as spectacular as the beaches located in other areas of Crete, but still, some of the most popular and beloved beaches of the island are on the coast of Rethymno.
Some of the ones worth visiting are Bali and Panormo on the north coast, as well as the beach in Preveli, Triopetra, and Agia Galini in the south.
Villages of Tradition
There are several villages to visit in the region of Rethymno. Anogia is one of them and is considered by many to be one of the most attractive mountainous villages of Crete.
Anogia is about 750 meters on Mount Psiloritis, in a quiet, secluded location which has allowed the village to maintain a strong authentic character as well as traditional costumes and its old Cretan dialect.
The village of Anogia was burned by the Ottomans during the Turkish occupation, while in 1944, the occupying German forces destroyed buildings and killed local men as a payback for the local resistance kidnapping of a German general.
The village is known for the woven and embroidered pieces with designs unique in the village.
Another village in the area; the small hamlet of Margarites, is easy to walk around in. This colorful little town is home to several traditional ceramic studios and workshops — pottery being the most characteristic feature of the place.
All kinds of vases, pots and ceramic objects populate the streets going up and down, following the irregular shape of the territory. Artisans are always interested in engaging in talks with visitors and even eager to teach you the basics of their skills.
In the main square of Margarites, in front of the Municipal Library, a big home-style taverna with a stunning view of the surrounding mountains and valleys, serves quality comfort food in a very friendly atmosphere.
The Archaeological Site of Eleutherna
The archaeological site of Eleutherna and its state-of-the-art museum, are two places that should not be missed. They are no more than 25 km from the town and offer a spectacular window to the past of the island. Eleutherna, also known as Apollonia, was an ancient city-state with a very rich history.
Different archaeological findings have thrown light onto unique settlement patterns, sanctuaries, and necropolis.
The nearby Museum of Ancient Eleutherna is not big and rather easy to explore. Interesting exhibits and collections of artifacts put on display the history of the archaeological site. The museum also portrays interactive films and explanations that make the visit utterly didactic.
Greece is becoming a magnet for well-off tourists from the Middle East as more regular and charter flights connect Athens and the Greek islands with Arab capitals.
According to a report in euro2day.gr, the Middle East is the fastest growing market for Greek tourism.
A significant proportion of guests in the five star hotels of Athens and other cosmopolitan destinations such as Mykonos and Santorini, come from that region.
Top luxury hotel executives in the Syntagma Square area, say that the tourism boom is down to American and Arab customers.
At the same time, data show that Middle Eastern airlines are constantly increasing their available seats on the Greek routes, while charter flights from the countries of the region have grown steadily in 2017.
For example, in 2016, visitors from Lebanon recorded an increase of 30% compared to 2015, while the upward dynamic was maintained in 2017.
The rapid rise of the Lebanese market is also reflected in the strengthening of air links between Greece and Lebanon.
Starting in the summer of 2018, Aegean airlines will add Mykonos and Herakleion to its destinations from Beirut. Middle East airline is also launching flights to Greece.
The Lebanese love Greek beaches, according a tourist executive interviewed by euro2day.gr. This is evidenced by the fact that last summer 16 charter flights every week were taking place from Beirut to the South Aegean and Crete, he adds.
In Saudi Arabia there is a doubling of requests for tourist visas for travel to Greece.
At the same time, the Saudia airline is in an advanced stage of negotiations with the Greek airport authorities to launch direct flights between Riyadh and the Greek capital.
The two countries are already connected by the Aegean flights and since November 2017 by the new Greek airline Air Mediterranean.
In 2018 Greek Tourism Workshops will be held in five Middle East countries, under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, aimed at capturing the interest of high-income travelers.
In workshops that will bring together travel agents, hotel representatives and other officials of the tourism industry will be held in India (Delhi, 22/1), Kuwait (21/2), Saudi Arabia (Riyadh, 21/3), United Arab Emirates (Dubai, 21/4) and Lebanon (Beirut, 2/5).
Despite having been criminally ignored in a series of award seasons in the US, “The Walking Dead” is by far the most popular TV show of the last decade, in the world.
Already in its eighth season, the provocative show, which is often raising existential questions in a post-apocalyptic world roamed by zombies, has thousands of die-hard fans in Greece too.
Apart from leading tens of fans into impromptu “zombie-inspired” parades through the streets of Athens, The Walking Dead is now organising an art show, inviting new artists to submit their creations based on the show.
FOX, the TV network producing the series, invites artists from all over Greece to participate in “The Walking Dead ART“. Inspired by the series-phenomenon, artists will create and submit their own The Walking Dead artwork.
Through an evaluation process, 30 artists will be selected to create their own unique works of interdisciplinary art, which will be exhibited in a public open exhibition that will travel us even deeper into the world of The Walking Dead.
During the March 2018 exhibition at the Athens Conservatoire, the audience will have the opportunity to see The Walking Dead artworks take part in the parallel actions taking place in the exhibition space, and also vote for its favorite artwork.
The exhibition takes place under the auspices of the municipality of Athens, supported by the Athens Culture Net, which operates with founding donor the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.