Travel Cheat Sheet: Why You Should Go on a Culinary Vacation in Greece
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My love for Greece dates back to my first years as a freelance writer and was a direct result of my years working in a travel agency. My job used to involve meeting and talking to service providers in Greece. It didn’t take very long for me to fall in love with the country and, once I set foot there myself, my love became even deeper.
As I am planning my wedding anniversary this year, I thought to myself “Where else should we go than to a Greek island?” And with that, I decided to write down all the reasons I love this country and why you should go on a culinary vacation in Greece. Or any getaway in this breathtaking destination!
To help you plan your memorable vacation, I’ve included a travel cheat sheet – a compilation of tips based on my own Greek adventures. Enjoy!
Typical Greek Food: Mezedes
Mezedes (or simply, meze) are small plates of food, usually served with ouzo, an anise-flavoured aperitif. And speaking of, you should note that ouzo is never served without food (even if it’s just a handful of nuts).
Depending on where you are going to stay in Greece, mezedes can include a variety of dishes. Tzatziki (yoghurt dip) and Dolmades (rice filled grape leaves) are two of the most common ones. Grilled peppers filled with feta are also amazing. And, if you like seafood, fried calamari are served in most places on islands.
A culinary vacation in Greece offers an excellent chance to learn how to prepare these mouth-watering dishes.
Traditional Greek Salad: Horiatiki Salata
Forget the ‘impostors’, which can be found in many so-called Greek restaurants around the world. Horiatiki is at its best in Greece, during summer. This is because you want to taste properly ripen tomatoes.
The ingredients for Hortiatiki Salata (Traditional Greek salad) are simple: tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, bell pepper, feta, olive oil, Kalamata olives, and oregano. And please remember this: feta should be added on top, as a big chunk, and not diced within the salad.
There’s something magical about olive picking in Greece, particularly on Crete, very well known for its healthy diet and long life span of its inhabitants.
Gyros or Souvlaki?
If you are on the lookout for a cheap, filling, and delicious meal look no further than souvlaki or gyros. There are differences between gyros and souvlaki but regardless of which dish you prefer, you are in for a treat.
I had gyros in Athens and it came in pita bread. The great thing is that it only cost me 2 euros a pop and it kept me full for most of the day (serves as great fuel for walking all over the place in the capital). Gyros contains meat (you can choose from chicken, lamb, or pork), vegetables, some fries (don’t even ask!), and tzatziki.
While the meat for gyros is placed on a large revolving spatter, the meat for souvlaki is prepared on a skewer. And souvlaki is served on a plate where the meat, vegetables, and tzatziki still come together.
The Greek Beaches
With more than 13,000 km of coastline, Greece does not lack splendid beaches! If you want to check out one of the best beaches in Greece, visit Crete’s Elafonisi Beach, Corfu’s Paleokastritsa or Santorini’s Perissa Beach.
Or, if you prefer more off-the-beaten track places, the Smaller Cyclades, such as Amorgos or Sifnos, can be excellent choices to spend your vacation days at.
The Best Greek Sunset Views
You may have heard about the amazing sunsets on Santorini. But if something a little less popular is what you’re seeking, head inland and make your way to Meteora. Prepare yourself to be dazzled by the magnificent monasteries perched on top of cliffs!
Alternatively, you can hop on the ferry from Athens (Piraeus) to Hydra and enjoy the island where no motorized vehicle is allowed. You will be sharing the roads with donkeys!
In the capital, make your way to Acropolis and just soak up its energy! The views towards the city aren’t too shabby either!
The History of Greece
The history of Greece can be traced back to the Neolithic age. The Ancient Greece period is the probably most well-known and it comprises the Greek Dark Ages, Archaic period, the Classical period and the Hellenistic period.
In laymen terms, Greece is riddled with amazing historical sights to visit. When visiting Athens, you should not miss the Acropolis, but if time allows, pass by the Greek Agora and the Roman Agora, too! Don’t miss out on the oracle of Delphi as well as it is also a stunning place to visit. In fact, there are 16 cultural UNESCO Heritage Sites in all, including the two mentioned here! Be sure to make time to check them all out on your adventure in Greece!
Thinking of heading to Greece for a scrumptious culinary holiday? Discover the Greek cuisine secrets during a culinary vacation in Hellas!