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Five Places to Soak Up Culture in Greece

Five Spots in Greece to Visit and Experience Greek Culture

Greece is known for its balmy climate and its beaches, but one of the things that makes it absolutely unique are the traditions and customs that make up its culture.

If you are going to travel to Greece, here are five must-see spots where you can fully enjoy the culture that Greece has to offer:

1. Santorini

Santorini is so recognizable it is iconic. Featured in many movies, music videos and novels, it is an island in the Aegean Sea, where the principal towns of Fira and Oia have visually striking whitewashed houses that offer stunning views into the beautiful, blue surrounding sea.

The volcanic nature of the island leads to its ruggedness, and the scarce rainfall means that only certain crops can flourish there, which are offered in its food, and include capers, fava, and white eggplants.

Cultural festivals you can see here are jazz and folk music festivals, and religious festivals during Christmas and Easter.

2. Thessaloniki

This port city is the capital of the Macedonian region, which at one time was a crossroad between East and West. The cultures that met here were Greek, Turkish, Jewish and Balkan, who all left an influence and Thessaloniki has both Byzantine and Ottoman monuments.

Nowadays, it has a thriving arts scene and is an edgy food destination.

3. Corfu

Corfu is the most popular of the Ionian islands, probably because it offers so much diversity. There are amazing beaches, and spots that will appeal to nature lovers and hikers.

In addition to geographical diversity, Corfu enjoyed a diverse, multicultural past, where it was most recently under Venetian, French and British rule before it was united with Greece in 1864.

This past has a part in the many unique traditions and customs of the area. Especially interesting are its castles and its celebration of Orthodox Easter.

4. Chios

This island is located in the Eastern Aegean Sea, and is famous for its production of mastiha, or mastic, a resin used in incenses and for making a flavorful liqueur.

Chios is also known for its medieval past, which is still evident today. There are medieval mastiha-producing villages which are collectively known as the Mastihohoria.

The village of Pyrgi is known as the painted village, and the houses are all painted and decorated. In addition, there are Byzantine monasteries, medieval castles, and unique traditions.

5. Athens

Athens is the capital city of Greece. It is busy and chaotic, because it is a city after all, but it is also filled with cultural landmarks from its ancient past.

Besides being the birthplace of democracy, and the founder of Western civilization itself, there is the Parthenon and the Temple of Zeus to explore.

But if you are looking at the present, Athens still has plenty of culture. There are more theaters there than Broadway, and there are many museums and art galleries. If you prefer to be among the people, there are coffee shops and bars.

These are just five of the many cities that offer Greek culture in Greece.