Summer in Greece is an amazing season with many things to do for every taste. No matter what type of person you are, you will find something to catch your interest during summertime. There is a reason why our country has become a famous summer destination. Here come not one, but 10 reasons why you should choose Greece for you summer vacation!
The Summer Food
Traditional Greek food is tasty all year round, but if we had to choose the best season, it would be the summer without having second thoughts. That’s the season in which the earth blossoms. We can find fruits and vegetables that cannot be found during other seasons. As a result, our options regarding cooking skyrocket in the summer.
Try the season’s fruits
It would be a pity to miss the flavor of the following summer fruits: peaches, cherries, nectarines, vanillas, figs, melons, and watermelons. All the above grow naturally in Greece, they have a sweet taste, they are refreshing and, for sure, will please your palate.
Go to a taverna
Taverna is a traditional Greek restaurant. Although they operate throughout the year, summer is the best time of the year to fully enjoy it. Imagine having dinner next to the sea while the sun sets. What could be better than that?
Regarding the menu, the season’s vegetables make the best plates!
I am sure that you have heard of the horiatiki, the traditional Greek salad. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and olives are at their best during the hottest time of the year.
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Gemista is a must-try plate. Summer vegetables filled with rice, parsley and meat (there is a meatless version too), baked in the oven is the ultimate summer food!
Moussaka is the most famous Greek plate! The eggplants that are used, grow naturally in Greece during the summer. The same applies to zucchinis, eggplants stuffed with mince (melitzanes papoutsakia in Greek) and all the seafood!
All the above are perfectly combined with a glass of ouzo or tsipouro with ice!
From the smallest islands to Athens, every place has one or more rooftop bars. After 19.30 until late in the night, you can enjoy drinking coffee, cocktails or drinks. What makes them one of the things to do in Greece in the summer, is the air breeze that cools down the hot temperatures and of course, the spectacular view that they offer.
In the Cyclades, there are plenty of cafes and bars with a rooftop, and a breathtaking view of the Aegean. Do not miss them!
In Athens, Loukoumi bar and A for Athens in Monastiraki square, offer beautiful sights towards the Parthenon.
For those who seek the romanticism, the rooftops in Plaka are the best idea. Υiasemi is one of them with a specialty in traditional desserts.
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Greece is the country that gave birth to drama. In ancient Greece, the theater was a major way of entertainment. Nowadays, many summer theaters operate, but if you have the chance choose an ancient one to watch a performance. The most renowned is the Epidaurus theater, in which ancient drama plays are presented to the audience. It is a great honor for actors to play in the Epidaurus theater, not only for the Greeks but also for actors from all over the world.
Head to Cine Thisio, for a night time movie if you want a view of this kinda well known rock!
Summer music festivals
Another thing that you must do in Greece in the summer, is to attend a summer music festival. From the end of May, until the end of September, every genre of music gets its own summer celebration throughout the country. Some famous music festivals are:
It is the biggest music-camping festival in Greece. It takes place in Nestorio, Kastoria, on the banks of Aliakmonas river. The dates change every year and vary from the last days of July until the first days of August. For 5 days, campers from all over Greece and abroad, gather to camp next to the river and enjoy live concerts every night.
One of the most important cultural events in Greece. Not only a music festival, but a complete one with theater and dance performances, children’s events and visual art shows.
The music concerts usually are held in the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, a breathtaking place that operates from the antiquity until today. Imagine attending a concert in the place where ancient Athenians watched tragedies.
This section would be incomplete without mentioning that. Panigiri is not a typical music festival. It is the traditional type of celebration, usually of a religious event, with immense amounts of food and drinks, traditional Greek music and a lot of dancing. It might seem a little bit strange, but after some minutes you will enjoy everything.
Personally, I am a huge fan of those that take place on the islands. Ikaria holds the record for the biggest number of this type of festivities in the summer. Every night there is a different panigiri in a different village that will last until the morning!
Encounter The Wildlife
It is not known but Greece is the home of many different wildlife species.
The north of the country hosts many bears and wolves. Summer is the best time to visit Nymfaio sanctuary because its residents (the bears) are awake. Agrapidia sanctuary is another place to go, this time to encounter the wolves. Lake Kerkini is the home of the water buffalo and flamingos.
In the south, the Kri-Kri is Europe’s rarest ibex. It can be found around Samaria gorge in Crete. Zakynthos hosts a nesting settler of paramount importance for the loggerhead sea turtle. Alonissos has the National Marine Park in which you can observe dolphins, turtles, and seals in their natural habitat.
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Visit The Islands
It might sound like a cliché, but there is no better season to visit the Greek islands. The calm blue and green water, the mild breeze, the picturesque villages, and the spectacular beaches are at their best during the summer. The hot sun is perfectly combined with the small white-blue houses. Plus, sunsets look better in the Cyclades during a summer afternoon. Finally, more restaurants, cafes, boutiques, jewelry shops are open for you to choose from between May and September.
If you are up for something different, without the hordes of tourists, Greece has some hidden islands! Try to explore them! Anafi, Agkistri, Pserimos, the Minor Cyclades (Donousa, Schinousa, Irakleia, Koufonisia) are equally beautiful to the most famous Greek islands. Do not omit to pay a visit.
A smart way to visit as many islands as you can is island hopping. There are certain island complexes that give you this opportunity. The Cyclades, the Sporades, the Dodecanese, and the Ionian islands are perfect examples of complexes in which you can change islands every day due to their proximity. Apart from taking the ferry, a beautiful way to visit as many as possible is sailing. Rent a sailing boat and let yourself enjoy the most of every island. By choosing this way, you have access to beaches and caves that cannot be reached by land. Another alternative is to move by using the traditional fishing boats. You will gain unforgettable memories!
Incredible blue waters in Paxos Antipaxos.
Quiet and authentic beauty in Chios island.
One of the best beaches in the world in Crete.
What could be a better thing to do in Greece in the summer than trying a water sport? If you are searching for some action during your vacation, Greece is the ideal place for you! Every island and every coastal village or town have the facilities to give a different touch to your summer holidays.
Scuba diving is a personal favorite. I have tried it twice, once in Thassos and once in Athens, and I was excited both times. It’s a nice way to discover the sea bed. After gaining some experience, you can even dive in areas in which submerged ancient cities can be found. Some of them are the settlement of Methoni and Salanti in Argolida.
Surfing has gained ground as a summer sport in Greece. There are certain places such as Tinos, Ikaria and Lagouvardos in Messenia that have become surfing spots, with many surf fans gathering there every summer.
Let’s not forget the simpler ones: beach volleyball, tennis, beach soccer, etc They only need a long sandy beach and good company!
Open Archaeological Sites
Greece is one of the countries with a rich history. As a result, it is covered with many archaeological sites throughout its territory. Almost all of them are open spaces. Summer is the best time of the year to visit them due to the weather conditions. We might not have a wild winter in Greece, but it is better to visit them on a dry, sunny day. What’s more? During the summer, the archaeological spaces operate on extended hours, so you have more time to visit them. In Northern Greece, Thessaloniki is rich in Byzantine treasures you can walk around town and admire. The monasteries of Meteora may not be as ancient as the Acropolis but the formation of the rocks and the caves inhabited by monks can be traced all the way back. In Athens, have a look at some of the most important ancient sites worth visiting. In the Peloponnese, you can start by visiting some of the castles and of course the theater of Epidaurus.
Ancient Agora – Athens
Knossos Palace – Crete
Spend a night on the beach
For me, the beaches are the ultimate thing to do in Greece in the summer. The warm nights of June, July and August are perfect for a night swim!
If you are afraid of getting cold, stargazing can be fascinating. Find a beach away from the city lights, lay back and be amazed by the magnificent spectacle! Another suggestion for a calm summer night is lighting a fire on the beach and gathering around it.
For those who love to party, beach parties take place throughout summer in every corner of Greece.
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I could not finish this blog post without including my favorite summer activity: camping. Greece is full of impressive locations for you to camp. Beaches, mountains, gorges, waterfalls and of course many organized facilities can be found in the mainland and on the islands. The summer weather is ideal for those who love to come closer to mother Earth!