Southern and Southeastern Europe have their fair share of serenely beautiful places. In the peak of the summer season you have probably already planned your major holidays but if you like to improvise: Greece is definitely worth your time for an impromptu weekend.
We have been visiting it with Stef for a few summers now and each time feels even better than the previous one in terms of striking scenery, delicious food and precious time to unwind and relax. Here is why you should consider heading there for the summer:
*The photos in this post have not even been edited: it is that postcard-pretty out there.
1. Pristine beaches & Nature
The mixture of palm and olive trees, bright-colored flowers, turquoise water and deep blue skies are simply delightful to look at. Find an olive grove to put your hammock in and enjoy the simple life
I’m one of those people who are still children at heart and who have to spend ALL of their time swimming. Most people around me think of beach parties, cocktails and crazy nights out but for me going to the seaside is all about spending an ungodly amount of time in the water.
Water along the Greek coastline is not just pretty to look at: it is really clean. For a country with a coastline extending to 13.6K kilometers (8.5K miles), there are some exceptions but for the most part, the Greece welcomes you with stunningly beautiful beaches and crystal clear water.
3. The food is amazing
I have insulin resistance and this has turned me into a picky traveler. There are many foods which I need to be careful with, so the quality of meals and the variety of healthy options are very important for me when I travel. On the other hand, I am also a foodie and I really appreciate well-done quality meals.
Frankly: Greece was a real paradise when it comes to food. Most meals are prepared with olive oil and savored with balsamico, there is a huge variety of olives, fresh octopus, squids, mussels, fish, fruits, hefty and satiating salads, etc.
Octopus (if it is freshly caught and properly done) is not only a delicious treat: it is a source of lean protein which is surprisingly low in fat and contains more than 12 vitamins and minerals. For people who have to control their blood sugar, this is really a dream meal: the protein content keeps you sated and vitamin B3 helps you regulate your blood sugar levels. Not to mention: it tastes amazing, whether it is marinated with vinegar, grilled or sun-dried and covered with spices.
4. Whether you spend time in a camping site or a tourist resort, both experiences will be worth it
If you want to turn towards your inner Robinson Crusoe during the summer: Greece has a plenty of camping sites, secluded forests and gorgeous wild beaches to offer. If you are in a Jay Gatsby luxury mood- there are yachts, 5-star hotels, and amazing resorts to match your expectations, as well.
In the past few years we have been going regularly to Fourka: a small sea town on the Kassandra peninsula (part of Chalkidiki) where we get budget accommodation (room with a bathroo, , kitchen and balcony for as low as 35EUR) which works more than fine for couples, groups of friends or family trips. Friends of ours went on a yachting trip on Limnos and another friend held his bachelor party on the wild and almost hippie beaches of Samothraki: all were absolutely delighted with their trips.
5. The service is great
Most places serve your dinner with complimentary baskets of bread, water and free desserts: some calculate this within the price of your order, but many offer it as an extra for the pleasure to have you as a client.
My father has some vague memories of getting poor service but after several summers vacations spent in Greece I’ve never had such experience. The staff is friendly and usually quite extroverted. If they like your company (especially large gatherings of friends or family) you might even get complimentary bottles of ouzo or white wine:)
In Fourka our favourite place is The Takis Tavern: they always have fresh octopus, the Greek salad is absolutely enormous and if you ask for Yorgos: you will be well taken care of by the staff. Tip: try all of their octopus recipes! They offer octopus in vinegar marinade, sun-dried octopus tentacles and grilled octopus meal. We keep arguing which one is the best recipe and still cannot decide.