Locals tell us what they love about Greece and how they are preparing to welcome international travelers again
If you miss the hot summer sun, sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, you have probably missed Greece. The country has opened its borders to international travelers, but you might be wondering if now is the right time to visit. That’s why we asked locals to tell us how the country is getting ready to go back on vacation and why everyone will fall in love with it, if they weren’t already.
The island of Tinos is known for its good food and beautiful landscapes
“Life in Greece is now free, everything is open and people can enjoy museums and restaurants or visit the islands with an easy self-test,” says Ioannis, associate professor of medicine at UOA.
Ioannis was born in Athens 74 years ago and grew up to become a professor at the National and Capodistrian University of Athens. In 2000 he made a pilgrimage to the island of Tinos and since then has been going there every year for a month or two.
“Tinos is full of sandy beaches, picturesque villages, rocky mountains, fertile valleys and good food. Guests can enjoy pork chops, sausages and special omelets. There is also Our Lady of Tinos, one of the most famous pilgrimage shrines in Greece.
The island sits in the heart of the Aegean Sea, halfway between the capital Athens and Izmir in Turkey. There is no airport on the island, but it is easy to get there by ferry from Athens port of Piraeus or Rafina.
Hiking, swimming, camping, luxury hotels – Athens is perfect for any type of vacation
Christos, a 30-year-old pharmacist from Athens’ northern suburb of Kifisia, tells us why the capital is one of the best options for visiting Greece.
As the largest city in Greece, Athens is perfect for any type of vacation, whether it’s mountain hikes, swimming in the sea, luxury hotels, villas or more relaxing airbnbs, or even camping for the more adventurous.
“Athens is the place where you can find everything you are looking for on vacation, but it is also the place from where you go to visit the islands,” says Christos. “My suggestion for a Greece vacation in the summer is to start with a 2-3 day trip to Athens for sightseeing, then take the boat and go to the islands.”
Athens is hard to miss as it is one of the biggest transport hubs in the country and many adventures start and end there. International tourists can go there and continue to explore Greece if they have the EU’s Covid digital certificate with information about their vaccinations, a negative test result or proof of recovery.
“I believe my country is a very safe place to vacation”
Christos describes the atmosphere in Athens and what visitors can expect: “The COVID-19 situation is still a bit strict, for example having to wear a mask everywhere. The shops, cafeterias, restaurants and bars are open but without music. Changes are happening day by day and every day 100,000 Greeks get vaccinated, so I think in a few weeks the situation will change.
“Employees at every store, cafe and restaurant have to take a quick test twice a week to be able to work. I believe my country is a very safe place to vacation, ”says Christos.
Greece is a great place to live and even better for vacations
Due to the pandemic, Athens-based Tzannetos had to put his dream of becoming a pilot on hold, but now sees a life returning to the country. He loves Greece and the fact that the beach is never too far away.
“In January 2020, I quit my job to start pilot training. Usually it takes around 12-18 months, but due to COVID-19 I only managed to complete a month and a half before the lockdown. It was more than difficult, but now, after a year and a half and as summer approaches, things look more and more promising, ”says Tzannetos.
“Greece, and especially Athens, is a great place to live and even better for vacation. We have the sun for more than 300 days a year and the sea is never too far away. The beach is within walking distance of my house and with summer running from mid May to September you can enjoy it half the year.
“You never run out of things to do. You can go to the beach, go shopping or go to big clubs. All who visit will have the opportunity to enjoy crystal clear waters, have a good coffee or a relaxed drink and, at night, discover the great restaurants and clubs. You will never be bored having a good time and every time you visit Greece you will find new ways to have even more fun than last time, ”he adds.
“We are coming back to a normal life”
Falling in love with Greece seems easy. For Dimitris, 29 years old from the island of Evia, the favorite place is his house and his tavern. He lived in Athens and studied for six years in the Czech Republic to become a pharmacist, but now lives in Evia.
“Evia is a charming island with lots of sun, beaches and mountains. My favorite place is where I live and where my Kanatadika tavern is located. It’s great for fishing, kitesurfing, kayaking, and just about any water activity you can think of. The island is ideal for hiking, climbing and exploring waterfalls, ”says Dimitris.
“Everyone here is looking forward to summer and hoping the coronavirus is over for good soon. The shops are open, the sea is warm and life is resuming its normal course.
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