When most people think of Greece, they picture blue skies, white rooftops and turquoise oceans – not to mention the delicious food and drink the Greeks have become world-renowned for.
However, what many folk don’t realise is that Greece has so much more to offer than just island-hopping and tzatziki. Don’t get us wrong, eating a souvlaki in Santorini sounds like a fabulous way to spend an afternoon – but if you want to get off the beaten track a little bit, you’ll discover a side to Greece you never knew existed.
1. The mountains
Greece isn’t renowned for its mountain activities, but it definitely should be. The mountains in the town of Papingko are spectacular, and are home to an excellent hiking trail called Drakolimni. Monodendri is another stunning mountain village that is worth a visit; and the town of Litochoro is a must-see, due to it being the home of Mount Olympus – one of the best hikes in all of Greece. If you would rather ski down the mountains than climb up them, the village of Metsovo is for you. It offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter months, and is full of cosy taverns for you to tuck into a post-ski ouzo.
2. The scenery
We all know Mykonos and Ios are very scenic, but what about mainland Greece? If you want to have your mind blown, visit Meteora – a collection of ancient monasteries perched atop giant rocks. Vikos Gorge is another incredible spectacle, and rightly so – it’s the biggest gorge in the whole world. Fact. And if beaches are definitely your thing, head north to Halkidiki – the three “fingers” as the Greeks refer to them offer some of the most picturesque coastline you’ll ever see.
3. The wine
The Greeks aren’t known for their wine as much as their neighbouring Italians are, but we reckon they ought to be. The region of Naousa in northern Greece boasts loads of excellent wineries – our top picks if you’re dropping by for a tasting are Alpha Esate, Kir-Yianni and Karanika.
Athens might be the formal capital, but Thessaloniki is the culinary capital. Greece’s second biggest-city is a port town, which is why it served as the second-capital of the Ottoman Empire back in the day (after Istanbul.) All that Ottoman influence means that the food in Thessaloniki is a delectable blend of Greek, Turkish and middle-eastern flavours. So good.
5. The volunteering opportunities
Indigo has many volunteering placements in Greece, so if you’re heading there for a cultural getaway, you can easily tack on a volunteer stint and give back whilst travelling. Find out more here.
Want to become an Indigo Volunteer? Apply now.