Written by Jamais Jochim in Europe
Viewed by 139 readers since 03-25-2009
Greece is one of those weird travel spots; whereas most other vacation spots seem to be targeted because they are romantic, they are fun, or because of some interest that seems to be focused in that area, such as cooking or gaming. Greece is a popular spot mostly because of the history that the country represents; in no other country is there as much history concentrated into so small an area. There are some great beaches and cooking in the area, but the main association is with the country’s rich historical legacy.
Anyone can find the big spots; it takes some work to explore some of the lesser explored areas. One area worth checking out are the lower Peloponnese Islands. Although difficult to get to, they can be worth it. Besides some obvious tourist draws such as the original Olympic stadium and the center of Mycenaean culture, there are a number of other sites in the war- and weather-ravaged area. However, you should be more interested in going further south, where there are a number of great beaches and small towns. If you’re looking for some fun and out-of-the-way places, the Peloponnese Islands should definitely be of interest.
If you want to explore Greece, but don’t want to get too far from the big cities, it’s still reasonably easy to avoid other tourists. Look for out of the way crafters, restaurants just beyond the usual roads, and do some research before you get there; you’ll find that Greece has a number of hidden museums and other spots that are of interest, but not on any tourist map of the city. You can also find painter studios that are open to the public, and a number of places also give classes in a wide variety of subjects ranging from cooking classes to wrestling. The more specific the interest of the location, the fewer tourists that you’ll find; keep that in mind, and you’ll have fewer people to deal with.
Two special travel tips: Keep in mind that the further away from civilization you get, the less likely you are to find ATM’s and businesses that accept that credit cards, so you may want to carry some cash on your person, meaning that you need to be more aware of what’s going on around you. Also, the more likely you may be able to use barter, so be sure to carry important goods and foreign crafts; do your research ahead of time!
So, although there are a lot of great popular sites, it is easily worth it to avoid the major spots; they tend to be full of tourist traps, large crowds, and overpriced food and souvenirs. It’s really worth it to do your research ahead of time; you can find some very interesting locations that few tourist agents even have on their radar, making them more intimate and more fun to check out. Be on the continuous look-out for the path less traveled, and you will be rewarded for your alertness!