Where mythical creatures and nature come alive

Idyllic Hotspot

of white and blue The Greece landscape. Photo Vikram Viswanathan

We landed in Athens and checked in to our hotel located in downtown, near the Syntagma Square, which is a hotspot for locals and tourists alike. Later, we explored a local shopping area before heading to Plaka, where we had dinner. Plaka attracts a lot of tourists as it is close to the world famous Parthenon and teems with eating and shopping joints.

Our first stop was the Acropolis (name of a small hill) on the summit of which lies the Parthenon. We boarded a metro and as we began our slow ascent, we got our first sight of the Parthenon. The Parthenon is a temple dedicated to Greek goddess Athena and means ‘temple of the virgins’ in Greek. The structure was partly destroyed, accidentally, during the Ottoman Turk regime, the reconstruction of which is going on now.

The temple of Zeus, dedicated to the king of Olympian gods, stands in ruins today. It is envisaged to be the greatest temple of all times and took nearly 650 years to complete, only to be destroyed by the Barbarians in 3rd century BC. Another interesting place to visit is the ancient Agora, which was a regular meeting place for locals and what can be rightly called as the older version of the modern Syntagma Square. Other areas of historical interest include the Byzantine Museum with over 25,000 artifacts dating from the 3rd to the 20th century AD, the Olympic stadium and the Filopappos Hill.

After exploring Athens, we decided to venture out into the islands. Greece has more than 1,000 islands that dot the Aegean Sea, of which around 200 are inhabited. The most popular are Mykonos, Crete, Corfu, Santorini and Rhodes. We chose Santorini, which is scenically beautiful and is also a favourite honeymoon destination.

An early morning ferry from Athens to Santorini took five hours. Santorini is hilly in nature with an ubiquitous ocean. Fira, which is the centre of the island, is the base camp for most tourists and has plenty of hotels and restaurants. The most popular means of transportation within Santorini are quads (which is a four-wheeler bike mostly used in deserts) and bikes, which can be easily rented. The beaches in Santorini — Perissa, Kamari and the Red beach — are located in the southern part of the island and are ideal spots if you want to sit back and relax.

Close to the Kamari beach is the ancient city of Thera, which is about 400 metres above sea level. We climbed to the top on a bike. Thera was founded in the 9th century BC by Dorian colonists and their leader was Theras. Santorini is also home to numerous vineyards and also boasts of a wine museum, which is worth a visit. 

As we boarded our flight from Santorini to Athens, we knew that we would be back to our usual daily grind. However, memories of Greece still linger on and we yearn to go back to this magical land.

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