Greece, a civilization as old as time itself that rose from the obscurity of its dark age to mould and shape humanity in an abundance accomplished by few. Home of ingenious minds and magniloquent poets. The epitome of cultural affluence and scientific brilliance. The cradle of Western civilization and birthplace of democracy.


This is the Greece of yesteryear, however.


Today this ancient land, steeped in history, appears vastly different. And yet, even though it has lost its forefathers’ claim for cultural hegemony, its prowess and aspiration for greatness remains. Renowned are the prancing steps of its dances, the grandeur of its songs laden with sorrow, and the aromatic richness of its fresh produce. Travellers sing the praises of its rugged peaks and splendid shores, and the hospitality of its people.


Still, it feels like the country is performing a delicate balancing act: emancipating itself from its glorious past, while staying true to its roots.



Hidden away on a rocky island off the Peloponnesian coast, Monemvasia might be Greece's most charming town. 


Winding cobblestone streets, narrow stairways, and quaint courtyards constitute this Byzantine gem. 


If that wasn't enough, ascend to the Upper Town to discover ancient ruins, a picturesque monastery, and magnificent views over the aquamarine sea.


Cutting through the Pindos mountain range, Vikos Gorge is an absolutely epic monument of Mother Nature.


The world's deepest canyon (relative to its width) will easily awe and mesmerize those who venture into this remote region and descend into its depths.


Towering cliffs, moss covered forests, idyllic streams, as well as age-old stone paths and bridges will transfer you directly to Middle Earth!


When Constantinople fell to Ottoman forces in 1453, Mystras became the last capital for the waning Byzantine Empire.


Today, its ruins remain one of the best examples of late Byzantine architecture and urban planning.


The spectacular location paired with the stunning ecclesiastical art of its churches and monasteries make a trip down to the Peloponnese more than worthwhile.


VISA | Greece grants visa-free entry to all European countries with the exception of Belarus, the Kosovo, and Russia (up to 90 days for countries outside the EU). If you are a resident of a non-European country check Passport Index for a quick overview.

MONEY | Currency: Euro. ATMs are widely available, however, be aware that Greek banks charge a transaction fee (2,5-5€), thus always withdraw as much as possible to minimize your loss.


Also, be aware that costs will be significantly higher than in the rest of the Balkans, despite the state of the Greek economy.

PUBLIC TRANSPORT | Beside a few train routes and the ferries connecting the countless islands with the mainland, most public transport is carried out by buses. All major cities and towns can be reached from Athens either directly or via connection, while smaller settlements and villages will be trafficked by local companies.


Keep in mind however that bus schedules in Greece tend to be extremely infrequent, should you venture out into the lesser visited parts of the country (especially in low season). Therefore, you might want to plan ahead if you’re heading off the beaten path.


Tickets are either bought in the station or directly on the bus.





If you are contemplating on doing the whole van life thing in Greece, including a stop in Athens (wicked idea btw, as Greece perfectly lends itself for a road trip!), be warned that your precious vehicle might not leave the Greek capital with the same appearance as it entered.


Athenian sprayers (might be similar in other cities throughout Greece) are notoriously known for giving unattended vans a good ol’ facelift.


Therefore, if you don’t want your baby to become the canvas for the artistic excesses of the rebellious Greek youth, make sure to have a secured parking space at your disposal!



Tourist attractions in Greece can get quite expensive when travelling on a budget (the Acropolis in Athens will set you back a whooping 20€!).


However, all places I came across had a discount for students, cutting the price in half or even offering free entrance. The catch is that your student status isn’t really the primary criteria rather than your age. You need to be a student AND under 26 in order to be applicable for the discount. The only exception seem to be the museums run by the Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (e.g. the Silver Smithing Museum in Ioannina, or the Olive Museum in Sparta.


If you are enlisted at a university always make sure to bring your student ID when visiting tourist attrations to safe you some bucks! 



1100 BCE
End of the Mycenaeans

The Mycenaean civilization vanishes in the cataclysmic events of the Bronze Age collapse, and the region enters its "Dark Age", lasting three centuries.

800-480 BCE
Archaic Greece

Populations begin to recover and numerous city-states (polis) emerge, paving the way for new social structures and legal codes. Greek settlers start to colonize the Mediterranean, thus enabling the exchange of commodities and ideas throughout the Ancient World.

480-338 BCE
Classical period

An era of monumental cultural and scientific achievements often seen as the beginning of Western civilization. The period is also heavily characterised by the vying for hegemony between Athens and Sparta and the looming threat of Persian subjugation.

337-323 BCE
Macedon and Alexander the Great

Philip II, king of Macedon, consolidates the warring Greek states to invade Asia Minor and deal with the Achaemenid menace. His assassination doesn't stop the endeavour, however, as his son Alexander the Great topples both Persia and Egypt, amassing an empire stretching from Greece to the Indian sub-continent, thereby heralding the Hellenization of the Ancient World.

323-146 BCE
Hellenistic Greece

Although the Greek states are degraded to a minor role within the Mediterranean power struggle and slowly fall under the sway of Rome, their culture shapes the Ancient World in an abundance rarely seen, greatly influencing the fine arts, architecture, literature, and science. 

146 BCE-324 CE
Roman rule

Incorporated into the Roman world, the Greek poleis profit immensely from the Pax Romana and grow rich on trade. Especially Athens establishes herself as a cultural centre within the empire, and Greece remains the lingua franca in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Middle ages

Byzantine Empire

Greece becomes the heartland of the Eastern Roman Empire. Under Byzantine rule the region once again prospers economically and establishes itself as a bastion for (Orthodox) Christendom. Constantinople is the shining capital of this new superpower and soon outdazzles the "Eternal City" in might and splendour.

Sack of Constantinople and Byzantine decline

Constantinople, the "Queen of Cities", is sacked by Latin crusaders and her riches plundered. The Greek lands fall into the hands of the ravaging invaders and several Crusader States emerge from the chaos. Although the Byzantine Empire is re-established, the Roman star that had shone bright for more than a millennium is slowly fading and the empire is reduced to its Greek heartland.

Modern era

Ottoman Occupation

The Ottomans seize Constantinople in 1453, the last Byzantine holdouts on the Peloponnese shortly after. Greece is subjected to the millet system, dividing the non-Muslim population of the Ottoman Empire along religious lines. Even though it grants relatively large autonomy, it is heavily discriminatory in its core by imposing high taxes, thereby leading to impoverishment, and later growing discontent among the Greek people.

Greek War for Independence

Fuelled by a growing Greek identity and the wealth of the diaspora, Greece declares her independence in 1821. Infighting halts the initial success but by 1932 Southern Greece and the Peloponnese are recognised by the sultan as part of the newly formed nation state.

Social changes

Mass-emigration, modernization, and urbanization characterise Greece in the 19th century.

Balkan Wars

Greece makes huge territorial gains during the Balkan Wars, doubling in size and nearly achieving her present-day borders.

World War I

Greece remains neutral during the first years of the conflict but joins the Entente in 1917.

Greco-Turkish War

The final war between Greece and the waning Ottoman Empire results in a massive population exchange. Over a million Orthodox Greeks are relocated, while more than 750.000 perish in what some consider one of the most traumatic events in Greek history.

Contemporary history

Interwar period and World War II

The country experiences several government changes before joining the Allies in their war effort against the Axis powers. The Greek lands are devastated by German troops.

Greek Civil War

Widely regarded as the first major conflict of the Cold War era, Greece is plunged into a bloody civil war between nationalist and communist forces. With the help of the UK and US the nationalists are victorious.

Political stability and NATO

Greece joins NATO in 1952, politically isolating the country on the Balkans, however, the Marshall Plan greatly contributes to the country's economic recovery and societal achievements, such as women suffrage, follow suit.

Military dictatorship

The military stages a coup d'état and establishes a junta that resigns merely seven years later due to public pressure.

Renewed relations with the West

Democracy returns, relations with the West are renewed, and Greece rejoins NATO in 1980. The country also becomes a member state of the EU a year later.

Financial crisis

Greece is hit incredibly hard by the global collapse of the stock markets and must accept drastic austerity measures by the EU and the IMF. The effects are being felt to this day.

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