The climate in Greece is typical of the central Mediterranean area; summers are warm and dry with plenty of sunshine, while the winter months remain mild, with some rain.
In summer months, the dry hot days are frequently cooled by seasonal winds called the “Meltemi.” These dry winds blowing in from the north (though beneficial) can sweep quickly across Greek waters, and at times cause problems for small boats and even hydrofoils.
Athens and eastern Greece are generally dry throughout the year, with little rainfall. The northern and western mountain regions receive more precipitation, and in winter those mountains are usually snow-covered for a few months.
January and February are the coldest months with low temperatures ranging near 40 degrees. The winters are milder in the southern islands, with infrequent rains. In the upper elevations of the north, freezing temperatures are somewhat common.
July and August are the warmest months in Greece, with average high temperatures right at 88 degrees.
Greek Society & Culture
An Ancient Heritage
Greeks are proud of their cultural heritage and their contribution to world civilization. A recent study found that Greeks’ pride in being Greek surpassed the ethnic satisfaction of every other European nation. Plays continue to be staged in the theatres where they were originally performed. Greek literature includes poetry, drama, philosophy, history, as well as travelogues.
Religion in Greece
The Greek Orthodox Church is the national religion and is practiced by the majority of the population. Religion is integral to life in Greece and is evidenced in the respect for hierarchy and view of the family as a single unit of strength. Most holidays and festivals are religious in nature. Younger people are not as devout church-goers as their parents and grandparents, yet most will still turn to the church to observe such important rituals such as weddings and funerals. Easter is the major religious holiday and the celebration is more important to most Greeks than Christmas. The Church plays a greater role in political, civic, and governmental affairs than in more secular countries.
Greek Family Values
The family is the basis of the social structure. The family offers both financial and emotional support to its members. The extended family is expected to help relatives in times of need, even to the point of assisting them to find employment. Family relationships carry over into business. Nepotism is accepted. The wrong doing of one family member brings dishonour to the entire family.
General Etiquette & Customs in Greece
Greeks are warm and hospitable. When meeting someone for the first time, they shake hands firmly, smile, and maintain direct eye contact. Good friends often embrace; they may also kiss each other on each cheek. Male friends often slap each other’s arm at the shoulder.
Gift Giving Etiquette
In general, Greeks exchange gifts with family and friends for ‘namedays’ (birth date of the saint after whom they are named) and Christmas. Some Greeks celebrate birthdays, but in general, celebrating namedays is more likely. Gifts need not be expensive. Since gifts are generally reciprocated, giving something of great value could put a burden on the recipient since they would feel obligated to give you something of equivalent value.
When invited to dinner at a Greek home, bring something small. A floral arrangement may be sent in advance of the actual event. Gifts should be wrapped. Gifts are usually opened when received.
If you are invited to a Greek home: Arriving 30 minutes late is considered punctual! Dress well. This demonstrates respect for your hosts. Offer to help the hostess with the preparation or clearing up after a meal is served. Your offer may not be accepted, but it will be appreciated. Expect to be treated like royalty! Compliment the house.
Remain standing until invited to sit down. You may be shown to a particular seat. Table manners are Continental — the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating. The oldest person is generally served first. Do not begin eating until the hostess starts. Keep your elbows off the table and your hands above the table when eating. Accepting a second helping compliments the host. Expect a great deal of discussion. Meals are a time for socializing. It is considered polite to soak up gravy or sauce with a piece of bread. People often share food from their plate. Finish everything on your plate. Put your napkin next to your plate when you have finished eating. Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel on your plate with the handles facing to the right. The host gives the first toast. An honoured guest should return the toast later in the meal. The most common toast is “to your health”, which is “stinygiasou” in informal situations and “eis igían sas” at formal functions.
Relationships & Communication
Relationships are the linchpin of business dealings since Greeks prefer to do business with those they know and trust. They maintain an intricate web of family and friends to call upon for business assistance since they can be confident of their trustworthiness. Nepotism is not viewed negatively and it is very common for relatives to work for the same company. Greeks prefer face-to-face meetings rather than doing business by telephone or in writing, which are seen as too impersonal. It takes time to develop relationships: this can be done in the office, over extended lunches, dinners, and social outings. Never say or do anything that can be construed as challenging the honour or integrity of a business colleague. Under no circumstances should you publicly question someone’s statements. Greeks do not like people who are pretentious or standoffish. Although business is relaxed, it is also serious. Acting informal before a relationship has developed is considered discourteous. If your Greek business colleagues become quiet and withdrawn, you may have said or done something to upset them.
Business Meeting Etiquette
Appointments are necessary and should be made 1 to 2 weeks in advance, although it is often possible to schedule them on short notice. Confirm meetings one day in advance by telephone. Many businesspeople eat lunch between 1 and 3 p.m., so this is not the optimal time for a meeting. Quite often it is not until the third meeting that business is actually conducted. During the first meeting your Greek business colleagues will want to get to know something about you as a person. The second meeting is used to develop trust and mutual respect. By the third meeting, business may begin. Have printed material available in both English and Greek. Meetings are often interrupted. Several people may speak at the same time. Greeks will deviate from agendas. They view agendas as starting points for discussions and will then follow the discussion to the next logical place. Although some business people speak English, it is a good idea to hire an interpreter.
|FAMOUS FOOD OF GREECE||FAMOUS INDIAN CUISINE|
|Moussaka – Classic Greek Moussaka with Eggplant||Indian Chef|
|22 Athanasiou Diakou, Athens 11743, Greece +30 21 0923 3585|
|Phyllo Cheese Triangles – Tiropites|
|Baklava – Classic Phyllo Pastry with Walnuts and Almonds||Bollywood Kitchen|
|Thisiou 7 & Adrianou | Thisio, Athens 10555, Greece 2114019197|
|Horta Vrasta – Boiled Leafy Greens|
|Chicken Soup Avgolemono – Greek Egg-Lemon Chicken Soup||Altamira|
|Perikleous 28, Marousi, Athens 151 22, Greece 302106128841|
|Tzatziki – Cucumber Yogurt Dip|
|Pastitsio – Baked Pasta with Meat and Bechamel Topping||Bollywood Gazi|
|29 Elasidon & 44 Konstantinoupoleos Street, Athens, Greece|
|Custard Pie with Phyllo Recipe – Galaktoboureko|
|Spinach Pie with Feta – Spanakopita||Konstantinoupoleos 15, Glyfada, Athens 16675, Greece +30 21 0968 0643|
|1-Jan||Thursday||New Year’s Day|
|23-Feb||Monday||Ash Monday (Pure Monday)|
|25-Mar||Wednesday||25th of March (Independence Day)|
|10-Apr||Friday||Great and Holy Friday|
|1-Jun||Monday||Holy Spirit Monday (Pentecost)|
|15-Aug||Saturday||The Dormition of the Holy Virgin|
|26-Dec||Saturday||Synaxis of the Mother of God (Boxing Day)|
Rising high from the easternmost “leg” of the Chalcidice peninsula and widely known as “Holy Mountain”, Mt. Athos is certainly not the ‘heart’ of Macedonia, geographically speaking, but in terms of culture, it has played a central role for more than 1,000 years.
Seeking retreat from the expanding Turkish occupation, the Eastern Orthodox monks found a perfect asylum here. Inaccessible rock pillars scattered over this uniquely sculpted landscape along with caverns and tall terraces provided an ideal place for spiritual contemplation.
Gliding over the uncovered area of the lake in a boat is enough for many to go ecstatic about the magical quality of ultramarine water and monumental walls all around it. Then the gondolier circumvents a small fig-covered island and continues inside the roofed section through a narrow passage. It is here that an ancient lantern was found in 1951 giving rise to further successful excavation projects, and ultimately to the partial collapse of the inner cave’s roof. And regardless of whether you gaze down from the edge of the cliff or observe the spectacle of light and water from within the cave, you will surely admit it was an extremely lucky accident. Sensations not to be described in words!
ACROPOLIS OF LINDOS
Reached by foot or Lindos’ popular taxi, the donkey, the Acropolis dominates the view with sugar cube whitewashed houses nestling on the slopes and the 4th century BC temple of Lindia Athena surrounded by a medieval castle. Once you quench your thirst for history, enjoy an invigorating swim in the crystal waters of the Lindos Bay or a relaxing sunbath on Tsambika beach famed for its golden sands and turquoise waters. Located under an imposing rock with a miraculous monastery atop, the beach is a hot spot to charge your traveler’s battery!
India is 3 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Greece
Official Currency “Euro”
Greece is a year-round vacation destination that lacks frigid winters, with yearly temperatures ranging from 50 to more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Off-season travelers have plenty of opportunities to experience well-rounded Greek vacations with less traffic, nice weather and fun cultural events.
The best times to visit Greece are spring and fall,you’ll find the best weather, blooming wildflowers and hotel availability,the sun is bright and the air invigorating during months like September, October, May and June. By contrast, summers are scorching hot, with low humidity and July temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. Winters are mild, with average temperatures ranging from 55 to 60 degrees. But expect cold, wet, bleak days from November through February. Rain is common during the winter, but snow is rare, so most locals wear light coats.
Eat super cheap –Gyros and other street snacks only cost a few Euros and can keep you full for less than $10 per day.
Rent a moped –When you can’t ride the train, rent a moped. It’s cheaper than a car and a great way to see the various towns and cities. You can usually rent a moped for around $16 USD per day.
Get off the beaten path –Greece is a cheap country and even cheaper when you get out of the touristy Greek islands or popular destinations. Head off the beaten path and you will usually see prices drop by 30% or more.
Book overnight ferries –Greece’s inter-island ferries can get quite expensive if you are visiting a lot of them. Taking the overnight ferries can save you up to half off the normal price plus save you a night of accommodation.
Book ferries early –If you book the ferries around two months in advance, you can save up to 25% off the cost of your ticket.
Avoid Mykonos –It’s a great island and deserves it but it is also Greece’s most expensive with hardly any budget accommodation, $13 USD drinks, and $40 USD meals (don’t even try ordering the fish!).
Do not forget -There are few things you shouldn’t forget when you travel in Greece: your camera, your sunglasses, bathing suit and sun cream.
Pack lightly -Do not take much luggage with you because the trip might be long. Getting on and off planes or ferries will be very tiring if you have to drag your over-packed suitcase. Moreover, the paths in the islands are paved and it will difficult to carry many things. After all, you will not need but a couple of swimming suits, some light summer clothes and a couple of flat shoes or comfortable sneakers for walking. Also have a light sweater for some chilly evenings because the wind blows often in the islands. Take something even warmer if you going to rent a scooter.
Beware of hustlers -If you are booking as you go and someone approaches you on the street or in your hotel and takes you or sends you to a travel agency to buy ferry tickets to Amorgos and you walk out of the agency with five days on Mykonos and a cruise because they told you the Amorgos ferry was cancelled, then you were just hustled. That does not mean you won’t have a good time. It just means someone took advantage of you.
Have cash with you -Make sure you have enough money or you have ways to get some, for example through an ATM. Always have a credit card with you. You will find ATMs but many restaurants do not accept credit cards.
Greece Travel Do’s
Try the “Tzatziki” and its overwhelming taste but do not go overboard with it…its stubborn smell of garlic will remain with you even at times when it should not (e.g. in bars, clubs, shopping, means of transport, etc.). So, keep it private!
Try Greek food! You will be amazed!
Try a Cappuccino or Espresso Freddo…the unique discovery of Greeks that want to turn everything into cold or frozen…besides summer in Greece is hot; why not to? The best place to enjoy it is definitely by the sea, either on one of the seaside cafes or bars or just on the beach!
Do drive carefully because Greeks usually don’t… not something to pride ourselves in!
Do wear light clothes; Greece by summer can be reaaaally hot!
Do get crazy! That’s the point of it!
Go “beach walking” even after sunset…the touch of the wet sand and the sea on your feet will definitely take away all your bad thoughts and stress and drown it into the deep sea… –
Greece Travel Dont’s
Mention anything about the Greek crisis or quote that Greeks may deserve it…it will not have a good ending!
Presume that everyone around you does not understand English….you would be surprised!
Get into taxis without asking how much they will charge you
Miss out on having fun….life’s too short
Forget your camera!
Thrust the palm of your hand in front of someone’s face (moutza)
Think everybody is arguing, they just speak out loud!
Repeat the “bad words” without knowing exactly what they mean…especially one starting with M and finishing with A!
Insist on paying the bill when you are with your Greek friends…just make the offer and then leave it…it could be an insult!
Say no if they want to treat you or give you more food…another thing that might be an insult!
Argue when you are driving…Greeks are very tempered!