Focus on Greece

To keep in the Poland-Ukraine 2012 spirit, I’ll focus on a different country playing in the tournament each day during the month of June; looking not so much at the national football team but more about travel to and visiting the country itself.

Today’s spotlight is on Greece.

I don’t understand why whether a country is in financial crisis or not would affect its credit rating with tourists? But according to news reports, it does.

Greece’s Central Bank recently announced a 15% drop in tourism receipts compared with the same period last year.

Some Greeks feel that if the government doesn’t have the money to promote Greece tourism effectively then it’s in the people’s interest to get together and do it themselves.

That’s quite an ambition but with the help of social media and viral videos, anything is possible.

Managed by Greeks around the world on a voluntary basis, Up Greek Tourism is a private initiative aiming to promote Greece as a touristic destination.

Another project that might interest visitors to Greece is dopios – which means ‘local’ in Greek.

Billed as ‘a community marketplace that connects travellers and locals in order to create more authentic travel experiences’, the site has just launched with locals in Athens offering their services to visitors.

Maybe the tourists aren’t booking their hotel with swimming pool holidays in Greece at the moment but budget travellers are always interested in Greek Island hopping.

Hellas Ferris
Greek Island Hopping – Budget Travellers Waiting For a Ferry in Piraeus, Greece

When visiting Greece, you only really need a few days in Athens then head down to the port of Piraeus and just sail to where the fancy takes you; perhaps buy a ticket for the next sailing on a boat you like the look of.

The Greek ferries in port have big signs with their destination and sailing time clearly visible.

There are so many islands to explore in the Aegean Sea, with plenty of ferries sailing between them, that you’re only really restricted by the time you have available.

Clearly those on tight schedules have to plan more rigidly but the beauty of travel (to me) is not really knowing where we’re going or when we’ll arrive, until we get there.

While there are regular car ferries, I prefer to travel as a foot passenger and hire a motorbike to get around the larger islands; or a bicycle, for the smaller ones.

If you need a travel guide to Greece, I would recommend the DK Eyewitness Greece Travel Guide for historical background to the sightseeing sites in Athens and around the mainland of Greece.

For sailing around the Greek Islands it really has to be ‘Greek Island Hopping’ by Frewin Poffley; although the Lonely Planet Greek Islands Guide also has its fans.

Visit Greece:
The Official website of the Greek Tourism Organisation.

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