For those of you who don’t know, I’m heading to Greece in just 20 days!
During this trip in Europe, I am going with my mom all around the history-filled country of Greece. Before I take you through our itenerary, in my research before leaving, I have found out a few fun facts: the entire country of Greece is smaller than Alabama, Greece is on the same latitude as Maryland (?!), and the average Greek eats 60 lbs of cheese per year. Besides these quick facts, I’ve learned a lot more about the history of where we are going and what we are seeing, but I’ll leave that for when I do official recaps after I see everything!
Until then, here is a rundown of everything we will be doing and seeing!
Our journey will begin in (where else?) Athens, where we will see the Acropolis, Temple of Zeus, Parliament, the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, and much more. We also added an option excursion to Cape Sounion, which is at the tip of the Attica Peninsula, where we will be able to walk around the Temple of Poseidon (shown below) and get to see a more authentic Greek city.
Photo via KeyTours.gr
From there, we are taking a day trip out to Delphi (which is the place I am the most excited about seeing) to learn more about the ancient oracles who communicated with Apollo. I am excited to learn more about how the whole “being an oracle” thing worked, as almost every Greek myth involves the oracle in some way or another. For dinner, we signed up to go to the Arachova Village, which is at the foot of Mount Parnassos, and is full of Byzantine-era churches and cobblestone streets. After taking in all the sights, we will head to dinner, where we have been promised an ~authentic Greek dinner~ (probably won’t be as authentic for me because of my dietary restrictions, but as long as I can eat a bunch of Feta cheese, I will be happy).
After that quick stop over in the mountains, we are scheduled to head to the Meteora region, where we will stay in Kalambaka, located at the foot of the Pindus Mountains. For a visual aid, see below.
Photo via Kalampaka.com
Kalambaka/Kalampaka/Kalabaka (the internet is not in agreement on how to spell this town’s name) is unique because it has two Byzantine-era monasteries build atop of 1000-foot-high pinnacle rocks overlooking the town. Looking at the pictures on other blogs is breathtaking, but so far, no one has an answer to how you get to the monesteries (or if you can at all). The whole thing looks like it came straight out of Game of Thrones, and I can’t believe they haven’t filmed it yet to be where someone presides. See photo below and prepare to be amazed.
Photo via Kalampaka.com
After just one night in the magical-looking Meteora region, we will head to the island of Corfu. On the way to the ferry, we will be going through the Pindus Mountains and make a quick stop in Ioannina, where a mosque and Ottoman fortress are located. As much as the Greeks try to forget, their time spent under the Ottoman rule can still be found all across the country, and I am interested to see all of the different types of architecture spanning the country. Unfortunately, we will not be able to spend a lot of time here, but we will get to eat lunch in this lake-side town before heading off to Corfu.
Located to the east of the country, Corfu is surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of the Adriatic Sea. We will spend a day and a half here, taking in the beauty of the first Greek island that both my mom and I have ever been to.
Photo via Telegraph.co.uk
Corfu was once ruled by the Venetians, so we will be seeing yet another new type of architecture on this island. It seems the Venetian influence also bled over into the types of food the people eat as well (fingers crossed they have gelato). We will also be visiting the Spianada, the Achillion Palace (where a German prince used to vacation to), and the Church of Saint Spyridon. Saint Spyridon is the island’s patron saint because he apparently ridded the island of the plague during the dark ages. The church has a few of his relics, so we will be able to take a look at those before heading off to a traditional Corfu tavern dinner!
After our brief stint on island time, we are back to the mainland and off to Rio…but not the one you’re thinking of. From what I gather, Rio is….a state? of Greece? But, before we get to Rio, we’ll make two stops; one stop in the fishing village of Amfilochia and one stop in Missolonghi, known for the Garden of Heroes.
Even though we are sleeping in (the state of?) Rio, we are going to be spending our second day there in Olympia, the location of the world’s first ever Olympics! Besides being the birthplace of the Olympics, this is also where the Temple of Zeus used to be. The Temple of Zeus was one of the wonders of the ancient world, so it was a pretty big deal, but unfortunately now, there are only ruins.
Photo via TimeTravelTurtle.com
After Olympia, we are heading to the former capital of Greece: Nauplia (aka Nafplio). This beachside town has been occupied by over 5 civilizations: the Turks, Venetians, Franks, Byzantines & the Greeks themselves. Besides learning about the history behind Greece’s first capital, we are also going to be heading out into the countryside to go on a vineyard tour and wine tasting. Yum.
Photo via LonelyPlanet.com
Everyone has seen a picture of Santorini’s classic white-washed walls and blue tiles roofs, and I am beyond excited to see this part of the world with my own eyes. This last leg of our trip is full of wine tours, sunset cruises, and scenic walks, and is the perfect way to end this 17 day journey across the world. After being able to enjoy 2.5 days of paradise, we have to head back to Athens, and then back to the USA ):
But! There is no time to be sad about leaving, since we haven’t even gotten there yet. Stay tuned to the blog to get updates on what we saw, what we ate, and where we went; I’ll be sure to update you whenever we get wifi!
Banner photo via NationalGeographic.com