Athens and the
The sprawling, modern city of Athens is
built around the Acropolis ("upper city"), an imposing natural fortress selected by the
city's first inhabitants, the Pelasgians, back in the Neolithic age for its strategic
elevated position. The symbol of Athens since time immemorial, the Acropolis is crowned by
the legendary Parthenon. In the northern part of the city, the National Archaeological
Museum houses impressive collections of antiquities.
Nestled on the Peloponnesus, Greece's southernmost peninsula, connected to the mainland by
the Isthmus of Corinth, is the mythical city of Mycenae, from which King Agamemnon set out
to conquer Troy. Also here are Nauplia (or Nafplion), with its two museums; Epidaurus,
known for its glorious theatre; Sparta, which is home to an interesting archaeological
museum; Mistra (or Mystras) and its Byzantine monuments; Messenia, with its back to the
slopes of Mount Taygetos and fringed with magnificent beaches; and Olympia, site of the
original Olympic Games. Crete is the largest island of Greece, with which it was
united in 1913. Moreover, the island is a history lesson in itself. Over the centuries,
Crete's strategic yet vulnerable geographical position in the Mediterranean made it a
prime target for repeated invasions, which left their mark on the island's architecture.
The centre of the ancient Minoan civilization, Crete fell under the yoke of the Romans,
who left behind an assortment of public and religious buildings. It then became part of
the Byzantine Empire, as evidenced by the numerous chapels from the period, then fell into
the hands of the Venetians in 1204 and remained so for more than 400 years. It was then
absorbed into the Ottoman Empire and remained under Turkish rule for two centuries, as
manifested by its houses with wooden balconies, as well as its handful of minarets and
mosques.The Cyclades Consisting of 40 islands, of which 25 are inhabited, the Cyclades
derive their name from the circle (kyklos) they seem to form around the sacred Isle of
Delos. A group of islands scattered across the Aegean Sea, the Cyclades are one of
Greece's most popular tourist destinations.
archipelago was inhabited as early as 7000 BC and is the birthplace of the Cycladic
civilization (3000 to 1000 BC), which is distinguished by particularly modern-looking,
geometric-shaped idols and statues. Today, the Cycladic Islands' architecture is
characterized by blue-shuttered, whitewashed houses, Byzantine churches crowned with
bright-blue domes, and windmills.The Dodecanese Islands A 12-island archipelago (hence its
Greek name, meaning "12 islands") located in the Aegean Sea, along the southeastern coast
of Turkey, the Dodecanese notably comprise the islands of Patmos and Rhodes. The
Dodecanese Islands were ceded to Greece in 1947-1948.
Patmos was made famous by St. John the Evangelist, who wrote the Apocalypse while in exile
here. Chora, the island's main town, is very appealing, with its medieval-style mansions,
Byzantine churches and narrow alleyways.
of the Dodacanese Islands, Rhodes, has something for everyone, from lush vegetation and
beautiful beaches to a rich history and impressive monuments.
Where on earth
Located in southeastern Europe, Greece occupies the
southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula and a series of small, paradisiacal islands. Athens
and its port, Piraeus, encompass close to a third of the country's population.
Majestic and Modern. Everywhere you turn in Athens, you will be awestruck by the way the past and the present work together to create a city that is alive, bustling, and exciting. Athens, the capital city of Greece once thought to be protected by the goddess Athena, remains a magical, romantic place.
A Wondrous Isle. Zeus and his son Minos, legendary king of Crete, both sprung from this marvelous place. The ecosystem of Crete is unique, encompassing varied flora as well as animal species found only on this island. Vacationers adore its boundless beaches, numerous tavernas, and fascinating museums, and the more adventurous will try raki, a strong spirit made from grape must.
Karpathos, Kos & Symi These three islands offer a mesmerizing blend of gorgeous scenery, whitewashed houses, historic ruins and wonderful weather. Unspoiled Karpathos is home to Roman ruins, Byzantine architecture and a tranquil laid-back atmosphere. Visitors revel in its picturesque villages, excellent diving and superb windsurfing conditions. Mellow Kos boasts gorgeous beaches along with a rich history that evokes the grandeur of past civilizations. Its bustling capital, Kos Town, is packed with scores of shops, lively bars, restaurants and Greek tavernas. Tranquil Symi offers ancient monasteries, superb architecture and pristine beaches. Traditional villages, neoclassical architecture and one of the most beautiful harbours in Greece make it a wonderful choice for a relaxing vacation.
Ionian Islands (Corfu, Cefalonia, Zakynthos). These luxuriously wooded islands are the most western European in flavour of all the Greek isles, residing approximately midway between Greece and Italy, and have been a popular vacation destination since antiquity. Corfu is probably the most well-known of all the islands, while Cefalonia, inhabited for over 50,000 years, boasts lively beach resorts and Mount Ainos National Park, and Zakynthos is a great place to rent a car and explore the island’s mountain villages, monasteries, and fabulous vistas.
The Quintessential Greek Island. As romantic as it gets, Mykonos is the most popular of all the Greek islands. The characteristic, dazzlingly white cube-shaped houses contrast strikingly with the intense blue and green of their wooden doors and shutters. Little winding streets, windmills, and smooth sand beaches complete the picture of the perfect island paradise.
The Greenest Isle. Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades, has all the wonderful features of some of
Greece’s most popular islands, plus even more culture, history and living traditions, it remains relatively quiet, without the crowds some of the other islands experience during high season. This Mediterranean paradise has been inhabited since 3000 BC, ruled by a number of different occupying forces, including the Venetians and the Ottoman Empire, making it an exceptionally rich sources of archeological, architectural and cultural artefacts.
PAROS & IOS
The Wonderful Cyclades. Well known for its nightlife, visitors to Ios bask in a festive atmosphere, as evident on the island’s golden beaches as it is in the nightclubs and open-air tavernas. Picturesque Paros abounds in pretty coves, miniature churches, narrow cobblestone streets and Byzantine monuments.
PATMOS & RHODES
The Dodecanese Legacy. Kos was the birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine. The island also witnessed the march of civilization from ancient Greece to the Byzantine Empire, the Crusades and the Ottoman Empire. Patmos, where John of Patmos wrote Revelations, is a key Christian pilgrimage site and a very pleasant place to visit. Finally, majestic Rhodes, whose port was once guarded by the Colossus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, offers a cosmopolitan atmosphere enriched by an astonishing blend of ancient and modern.
Rejuvenates the Soul. It is what many of us envision when we dream of Greece, and this fashionable island frequently surpasses the fantasy. Days on the island give way to nights of dramatic sunsets enjoyed from pleasant open-air cafés. Few sights are more memorable than the dazzling whitewashed buildings that sit perched on the rim of black volcanic cliffs.
Land of sunshine and history, with immaculate beaches and lively, cosmopolitan cities, Turkey gracefully straddles two continents. Statues, temples, theatres, agora, churches, mosques and palaces tell the tale of its storied past and refined people. Irresistibly exotic, Turkey’s awe-inspiring, multifaceted culture impresses all visitors, yet it is also a modern country that has much in common with its European neighbours. Savour this fascinating land and its way of life, the charming mysteries of the seraglio, and all the opulence of its rich Oriental heritage.