Greek mythology is not at all Greek to anybody now, thanks to popular Percy Jackson books and movies like Clash of the Titans, Troy, and the Legends of Hercules. Wonder Woman, arguably the most famous female superhero in the world, is part of these tales being the daughter of Zeus. Names like Zeus, Poseidon, Athena, Hades are known around the world because of how relevant they are to pop culture. Apart from this, Greece also has an incredibly rich history which has been immortalised through movies like 300 and Troy. This is one of the many things that attracts people to Greece, along with its scrumptious food and chilled out atmosphere.
Rich in history and culture
There is almost no other city in the world which is more loaded with history than Athens. When one talks about Greece, the first thing that probably pops into one’s mind is the Acropolis of Athens (an ancient citadel located on a limestone hill high above Athens). The pathway to the top of the Acropolis is crowded every day with people wishing to see the main attraction there – the Parthenon.
Parthenon, a former temple dedicated to the goddess of Athena, is one of the most iconic landmarks of Greece. Percy Jackson readers will recognise it as the site of the famous final battle with the giants. For all those Instagram influencers who are forever looking for that perfect shot, a picture of the view from the top of the Acropolis hill will guarantee you that. And for those avid Greek mythology fans, the Acropolis museum will be a great place to geek out. The museum's main attraction is a large fresco depicting the main wars from the myths, including the battle between the Gods and the snake-legged giants. It also contains various other frescoes and paintings along with thousands of statues of gods. Those faint-hearted must try to avoid the statues as the gods had no shame when posing for their statues.
The Temple of Hephaestus, the god of fire (whose appearance was thought to represent skin cancer) and the Theatre of Dionysus, the god of alcoholics and wine, are some of the other popular sites to see in Athens.
A mythical discovery
Those with an unquenchable thirst for history and mythology, a trip to Crete, the largest Greek island, would be fun. The Knossos Palace, the former seat of power of King Minos, is an interesting experience and is the largest of all Minoan palatial structures. The palace is associated with a lot of myths, including that of the Minotaur (part man, part bull), and the Labyrinth (a maze-like structure designed by Daedalus for the King). Incidentally, the legendary ruler of Crete, King Minos, was said to be the son of Zeus. The fact that a palace which was built before 1900 BC is still there in the same shape and form is pretty impressive. Crete has earned its place in Greek mythos as Zeus’ birthplace. The God of Thunder was said to have been born in the Dikteon cave where he was hiding from his father Kronos, who consumed all his offspring at birth. For all those who are brave enough to weather dark caves and bats must definitely check this out.
Voyage to the centre of the world
A nice day trip from Athens is Delphi, the seat of the ancient Oracle. The Oracles back then were like present-day astrologers. The only difference is that back then the Oracle was respected much more than they are today. The site of the Oracle is situated on the slope of Mount Parnassus, along with a few other points of interest such as the Omphalos (what the Greeks thought was the centre of the world) and the Temple of Apollo among others.
Couples looking for a romantic getaway or a nice honeymoon destination have to go to the little island of Santorini. The island is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Overlooking the Aegean Sea, the island’s Oia neighbourhood is a very popular place. Nature freaks can take a trek from Oia to Fira, the capital of the small island. The stunning trek along the coastline of the island is one of the most memorable walks one can ever take. With the glistening sea all around and good food and places to stay everywhere, Santorini is a place for pure rest and relaxation and nothing else.
Bollywood celebrities like Malaika Arora and Katrina Kaif have also spent their vacations with their loved ones in Greece.
When in Greece, eat like a Greek
Greek cuisine is a much-underrated cuisine. From Tzatziki to Souvlaki, Greek food is probably the toughest to spell. Tzatziki is the staple yogurt which is very common there. Souvlaki is a kind of kebab, grilled to perfection usually with lamb or chicken. One of the easier to spell food, Gyros are a very popular dish usually served in street shops. It’s a kind of shawarma, with meat off the spit rolled in pita and served hot. After the long trek, having a gyro will be like having ambrosia (the food of the gods). The legendary Moussaka is also a popular dish consisting of baked eggplant and lamb with Béchamel sauce. All in all, anybody who comes to Greece will definitely leave a couple of pounds heavier for sure.
Greece is the host to all the most legendary myths and the country is truly the perfect setting for all these stories with gods, giants, immortal hunters, demi-gods and so on. The country is also one of the cradles of civilisation and it is believed that the Greeks were some of the smartest people in the ancient world. They are after all the people who invented the very concept of democracy along with the Olympics, cranes, levers, catapults and so many more. This country should definitely be on the top of anybody’s travel bucket list for sure. It truly earns its place as a mythical spot.
Top five places to visit in Greece
1. Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens and its monuments are universal symbols of the classical spirit. The Acropolis was home to kings, a citadel, mythical home of the gods, a religious centre and a tourist attraction.
2. The Temple of Hephaestus
Located near Agora in Athens, the temple was dedicated to Hephaestus, the ancient god of fire and Athena, goddess of pottery and crafts.
3. The Knossos Palace
The Palace of Knossos is located just south of modern-day Heraklion near the north coast of Crete. It was also the centre of administration of the entire island during Minoan times.
Delphi is an ancient town and seat of the most important Greek temple and oracle of Apollo. It was considered as a sacred place for humans to communicate directly to the gods.
Santorini is a volcanic island in the southern Aegean Sea known for its beauty and astonishing architecture. The clifftop tourist towns (Fira, Oia, and Imerovigli) offer spectacular views of the crater created after a 16th-century BC volcanic eruption.
Top five Greek cuisine
It's a diluted yoghurt mixed cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil along with some herbs. It is a perfect dip for your deep fried kolokythakia (courgettes) or grilled meat!
A Greek street food staple grilled on a skewer, this meat dish is like the kababs we get here. Try eating straight off the skewer while it is still hot.
This lamb-based dish one of the world's great sandwiches. Most people get confused this dish with shawarma but gyro is actually more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern. Gyros typically are made with lamb, beef, or pork, while shawarmas may be made from lamb, chicken, or turkey. The primary differences, however, lie in the preparation and garnishes.
A proper moussaka should have a thick layer of white sauce on top and is a popular and an all-time favourite among foodies. It's a prince among the baked dishes.
Loukoumades are crispy dough balls covered in sweet syrup. These delicious mouthfuls are impossible to resist.