10 Things You Must Do In Greece

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Here are 10 things you should do in Greece to complete the experience. Remember, this list is not exhaustive. Let your adventurous spirit take over, wander and wonder!

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Museum Hop While it doesn’t appeal to all cosmopolitan people like us Singaporeans, the museums in Greece caters to all interests. From the predominantly history focused museums like the National Archaeological Museum and the Acropolis Museum to the eclectic Art themed ones like the National Museum of Contemporary Art, there is one for every one. It would be pity, leaving Greece without learning about their Ancient Gods, how they make their connections with their dead and just appreciating the intricate sculptures with so much history.

Acropolis 1 Acropolis 2

The Acropolis The central symbol of Athens. No trip to Greece is complete without climbing up the steps to the Acropolis and enjoying the view of the whole of Athens resting along the shores of the Mediterranean. Imagine that over two millennia ago, the Greeks walk up the very same steps to worship their Gods. You can’t help but feel small when revelling in this location. Getting to the Acropolis is a highlight in itself. You take the Metro to the Acropolis Station and walk along the touristy shops that sell all forms of trinkets that shout Greek-ishness. You will also find the talented buskers and horse carriage rides up and down the slope to the ticketing counter of the Acropolis.

Cappuccino Freddo

The Hill of Wolves Mount Lycabettus is the highest point in Athens. Sitting atop is a church where yearly Greek Orthodox rituals are conducted. You can get up the hill by walking from 2 of its faces or take the funicular tram. It is recommended to walk since the weather is cool and the view different compared to a claustrophobic dark tunnel in the hill. Of course, you can be lazy to take the tram up and walk down to enjoy the breathtaking views especially during sunset. Photographers will have a field day here so remember to bring an extra battery along. Eat a Souvlaki and down a shot of Ouzo at a Greek Cafe

Mount Lycabettus Church

Every culture has its fair share of unique food. The Greeks are no different. Mediterranean food hails from all the countries in the region in general, but each country has its intricacies. Walk down any street that leads to Monastiraki market or Syntagma Square and you’re bound to see cafes that serve Souvlaki and a glass of refreshing Cappuccino Freddo. Enjoy the Pork Souvlaki with its juicy and tender pork slices, tomatoes, thick cut fries, veg and yoghurt wrapped in chewy slightly burnt wrap. A Cappuccino Freddo will compliment it nicely as you sit in the shade and watch the world go by, a common Greek past time.

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The Greek Spirit

Ouzo is a 40% alcohol aperitif spirit distilled from anise. Exclusively Greek, this will set your heart on fire. Drink it in sips if you’re afraid of getting too tipsy too quickly. Compliment it with some nicely grilled seafood like octopus or lamb and you would’ve eaten the most Greek of meals. And mind you the octopus and lamb are Greek specialties. They aren’t the same as those we have in Singapore. Kerameikos Graffiti 1 Kerameikos Graffiti 2

Graffiti spotting Contrary to Singapore’s clean and spotless streets where graffiti is confined to “arty-farty” locations for youths, graffiti can be found everywhere in Athens. The Greeks love their freedom and expression through eccentric, highly detailed and controversial street painting is one aspect you would need to see to believe. Many of them are temporary and always covered with new ones over time. The walk to Kerameikos Museum boasts many unique and detailed graffiti on the industrial buildings. You would be left wondering how the artists do it with their spray cans. The area also boasts grave steles showing how the Greeks honor their dead.

Temple of Poseidon

Temple of Poseidon Moving away from Athens, Sounion is the southern tip of the Attica Peninsula. Perched on top of a headland is the Temple of Poseidon. Looking very much like the Acropolis, you would think it a waste of time to visit another Greek Columned structure. However, the trip down Sounion from Athens by bus follows the contours of the hills and passes by farmland and you will see the landscape change from the city to the largely unspoilt nature. A day trip from the many tour agencies would include a guide and hotel pick up and drop off. The view from the Temple to the Mediterranean is remarkable so do not spare the camera. This place is great for panoramic shots.

Island Cruise

Island Hop Greece has thousands of islands. Like any coastal country, the people take their vacations to the islands in the Summer. Tour agencies provide a whole day cruise to islands such as Poros, Hydra and Aegina. These islands boast the laid back lifestyle of the Greeks and you will definitely see the contrast against that of city dwellers. The islands don’t differ much, but the cruise offers beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea. The on-board lunch was average since its a “tourist trap” anyway.

Santorini 2 Santorini 1

The crown jewel of the Greek islands is definitely Santorini. Officially Thira, the crescent shaped island that was once a caldera formed from a volcanic eruption has become a lovers paradise where couples come to take wedding shoots and basked in the beauty of Nature’s wonders and how we humans adapt to living on the island. The architecture on the island is an attraction on its own. The blue and white painted homes are built of the slopes are synonymous with Santorini. Pictures don’t do justice to what you can touch and feel when you’re there. Why not stay in a cave hotel that has its rooms dug into the cliffs. Honestly, the island is worth a few nights stay to truly complete the experience. You can get there by air or sea. Everyone’s experience will be unique. What’s yours?

By Jason ‘Armin’ Chew and his faithful sidekick Michelle Tan

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