Most advice about Athens says that you can everything in this enormously historic city in one day. While that may get you the highest of the highlights, there’s more to Athens than that.
In history, there are three great civilizations: The Egyptians, The Greeks, and The Romans. Without visiting Greece, it is hard to understand how truly momentous their achievements were. This small nation comprised primarily of islands changed the history of the world. It’s not an exaggeration to say that we wouldn’t be where we are today without Greece.
Visitors to the Hellenic State often head immediately to one of their islands. And the islands are really impressive. Santorini is magical, particularly at night when the cruise ships head out of town. Hydra, without cars, offers a glimpse of the country as it was in the past. And Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, impresses visitors in hundreds of ways. So yes, the islands are amazing. But the Greek mainland also offers history, food, and wine. Many people dislike Athens, but there’s a charm to the city that grows you with every passing day. There’s many important historical destinations in the world, but there’s only one Greece.
Some Greek islands are known for their beauty—the blue domes of Santorini and the white-washed buildings of Mykonos are the things dream are made of. But we had no immediate associations with Crete. Would visiting Crete be worth it?
No student can get through school without learning about the famous Oracle of Delphi. While in Greece, it was impossible to not visit Delphi.
The mountains of Crete stretch on for miles. Except for a few rocky bits and areas punctuated by brilliant fuchsia wildflowers, everything is green. Of course there are olive trees—this is Greece, after all. But there are also miles and miles of perfectly manicured grapevines swooping down the slopes.
When we visit a new place, we’re just as excited (sometimes moreso) to try new food as we are to see the sites. And when that food includes cheeses, pastries, desserts, and other local specialties, we know it’s going to be a great trip.