One of those rare places on earth charged with an energy that never runs out, despite of the years, despite of the times and despite of the struggles. Greece is forever charming and natural, open and mysterious, young and old. Your daily yoga practice can take place under the gorgeous Mediterranean sun, surrounded by ancient ruins or by a deep blue sea. Conversations with the locals are part of your daily life, as well as the feast of homemade food and drinks. Impossible to resist, unthinkable really!
Greece, the birth place of democracy and the foundation to many political systems worldwide, most well-known for it’s beautiful Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. There is more to this little country than just the Islands, Greece has plenty to offer in terms of history, culture and various terrain.
Important dates in Greece
January 1 – New Years Day
January 6 – Epiphany
February 27 – Clean Monday / Orthodox Shrove Monday **dates may vary depending on the year.
March 25 – Independence Day
April 14 – Orthodox Good Friday **dates may vary depending on the year.
April 17 – Orthodox Easter Monday **dates may vary depending on the year. May 1 – Labour Day
June 5 – Holy Spirit Monday
August 15 – Assumption Day
October 28 – The Ochi Day/National Anniversary of Greek Independence
December 25 – Christmas Day
December 26 – Synaxis of the Mother of God
Greece has more than 2000 islands , 170 of these are populated. - In ancient Greece, throwing an apple at someone was a declaration of love, at times even a marriage proposal. - On average, Greece enjoys 250 days of sunshine a year, making it one of the sunniest countries in the world and most sunny in Europe.
Another country with a long-drawn backstory with evidence of civilisation dating back 7000 BC. 3000-1000 BC saw the introduction and invention of bronze, known as the Bronze Age. Overlapping the end from 1000 BC, is the Iron Age lasting until 700 BC. The famous Trojan War occurred around 1200 BC and for the ancient history buffs, Homer’s Iliad is the closest account to this period. The 700 BC saw the formation of Athens and Sparta making them powerful states at the time. The maths genius, Pythagoras, was born in 570 BC who then developed the Pythagoras Theorem. 500 BC is important in modern day history as it is when Athens developed the first democracy. The first known in the world. Early AD to 1900s saw various wars occurring in the region, including Ottoman Turks invasion, Battle of Navarino, World War I, World War II and Greek Civil War. In 1981 the country joined the European Union and in 2002 the drachma is replaced with Euros as the official currency. More recently, Greece has been experiencing an economic crisis since 2009 and to this date has not yet recovered completely, yet still remains one of the most visited in the European coast due to it’s beauty, culture and history.
Good to know
As a visitor, you will require a short stay visa or “Schengen” visa. The Schengen visa is the standard visa that is valid for all the 26 countries in the Schengen Area, including Greece. This short stay visa is issued for 90 days within a 180 day period from the date of first entry to the Schengen Area. The visa is issued for single entry or multiple entries. Please check the official Schengen websites for more up to date information.
Culture and Etiquette in Greece
Socialising and food is central to the life and a well embraced past time for the locals, if not for the food then for the people. Expect to be welcomed as family to one of the many heartily cooked occasions flavoured with local fresh produce, delight your taste buds and join in the merriment. Nights in Greece especially in the summer is a fun affair, starting at a taverna, then drinks at a lounge bar or dancing at a lively nightclub. This is most prominent in the Greek Islands where you’ll see a mash of both locals and visitors enjoying the balmy summers. Punctuality is not particularly important in Greece, however foreigners are expected to arrive on time to a meeting. The main religion in Greece is Christian Orthodox.
Generally, the attire in Greece is quite relaxed and informal given a lot of the country is on the coast. However, to avoid causing offence, a good rule of thumb is ‘the further from the coast, the less informal’. For example, inland it is expected that effort is placed in dressing for nights out and dinner. It is considered, uncouth not to. So it may be easier to practice this throughout the country, a great excuse to dress nicely in the evening, we say! Over all the country is really like most of Europe and truly quite relaxed but it is good to pay attention to social norms.