Greece's treasures are impossibly varied. This is the land where sacred monasteries are mountainside fixtures, three-hour sea-side siestas are standard issue and dancing on tables until daybreak is a summer rite... Renaissance men long before their time, the ancient Greeks sprung to prominence with their philosophical, literary, artistic, and athletic mastery. Millennia later, school kids still dream of Hercules and Medusa; when those kids grow up, they hanker after Greece's island beaches, free-flowing booze, and the gorgeous natural landscape, which was once the playground of a pantheon of gods.
As the birthplace of drama, democracy, and western philosophy, Greece's long history has left a wealth of sites in its impressive wake. The mother of all ruins, the Acropolis, still presides over modern Athens. The gigantic, perfectly proportioned columns of the Parthenon, combined with the sun's beating rays and the brilliant gleam of white marble, conjures up the same awe inspired in a millennia of worshipers and pilgrims. A voyage through the Peloponnese will transport you back to the era of nymphs, satyrs, and gods in disguise.
Mountain chains, bougainvillea-speckled islands, silver-green olive groves, and the stark contrast of other land against the azure Aegean comprise the Greek landscape, the refuge of mythological beasts. This varied land of isolated villages, jasmine-scented islands, and majestic ruins satisfies even the pickiest visitor with its infinite diversions. Don't be afraid to plot out your own route: the famous Greek hospitality will make you feel welcome wherever you go.
June through August is the best season for Greece vacation. Bar-studded beaches set the scene for revelry and Dionysian indulgence, as the hundred-degree sun blazes over ancient cities and modem-day sun-worshipers alike. Hotels, clubs, and sights are, like the nightlife, in full swing. If the crowds or the frantic pace of summer travel grate on you, consider visiting during May, early June, or September, when gorgeous weather smiles on thinner crowds. Avid hikers can take advantage of the mellower weather to traverse the unsullied expanses of Northern and Central Greece. In ski areas, winter brings another high season for Greece vacation: you can hit the slopes at Mountain Parnassos, Mountain Pelion, or Metsovo.
The low season for Greece vacation is from October through May. Generally the airfares, lodging, and food prices are cheaper, but many sights and accommodations have shorter hours or close altogether. At this time of year Greece hibernates, resting from summertime farming, fishing, and tourism. Ferries, buses, and trains run considerably less frequently, and life is quieter.
In Greece's summertime schedule, beach-side days melt through spectacular sunsets into starry, disco-filled nights, in a continuum of hedonistic delight. Roll out of bed and onto the beach around noon; nap in the late afternoon after strenuous sunbathing; head for a harbor side dinner at 11pm; throw back after-dinner drinks, catch a movie, or hit the clubs until 5am, all under the stars; watch the sun rise over the ocean; and hit the hay before another sun-drenched day of your Greece vacation. It's nearly impossible to resist the allure of Greek sun and sea. Greece today offers the traveler the comforts of modern Europe in close proximity to the stark beauty of the ancient world.