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Things to Do in Greece - page 5

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Ornos Beach
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12 Tours and Activities
Tucked away from the buzzing nightlife of Mykonos Town, Ornos Beach is draped around a sheltered bay whose calm water makes it a popular family swimming spot. A generous selection of seafront restaurants, tavernas, and resorts offer plenty of amenities for a day in the sun or a longer stay on the island’s quieter side.
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Balos Beach and Lagoon
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Bridging the gap between the wild Gramvousa Peninsula and the idyllic Cape Tigani, Balos Beach is a startlingly blue lagoon, framed by jagged sea cliffs and pristine pink and white sand beaches. A pocket of paradise, Balos Beach is one of Crete’s most photographed natural beaches.
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Samaria Gorge
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Samaria Gorge is legendary amongst hikers, with more than 1,000 walkers hitting the rugged river valley trail daily in summer. Europe’s longest gorge offers a wildflower-bedecked river trail with cliff-top views of Crete’s endangered wild goat, the kri-kri. The walk begins at Xyloskalo, where a steep stone pathway with wooden rails enters the gorge. It finishes 16km (10 miles) later on the coast at Agia Roumeli. Along the way, the stone walls of the gorge close over the trail, at some points reduced to only a couple of feet wide. At their most impressively narrow, the craggy canyon walls are known as the Iron Gates. Water fills the stream in spring, while in summer the riverbed rocks become stepping stones. And at the end of the trail, in Agia Roumeli, the beach offers hikers a chance to revive with a refreshing dip in the sea. Samaria Gorge and its rare wild kri-kri goats are protected by national park on Crete’s southwest coast, between the towns of Agia Roumeli and Sougia.

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Port of Santorini (Athinios Port)
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One of the most memorable places in Greece, the volcanic island of Santorini - located in the Cyclades group - is a spectacular Mediterranean paradise known for its dazzling views, fine beaches and unforgettable sunsets. Without much need for modern amenities, the place is lined with historic sights, and more than enough natural and ancient wonderment to go around. It's no wonder why so many people love Santorini.

There are a few ways to get into Santorini, either by land or sea, depending on your budget and how much time you have to explore. By air, there is Santorini National Airport, which during the summer months flies directly to several destinations in Europe. If the water highway is your transportation method of choice, you can either grab a ferry from domestic locations in Naxos, Paros, or more commonly Piraeus. Big cruises will reach Santorini through the old port in Fira (take note: not the newer one located just 2 miles away in Pyrgos).

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More Things to Do in Greece

Piraeus Cruise Port

Piraeus Cruise Port

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A hugely important historical port in Greece, Piraeus is also one of the largest in the Mediterranean. A full-on city, Piraeus is a great place to go exploring, with traditional European town centers, parks, lovely churches and houses. The tree-lined streets and gorgeous harbor alone warrant strolling rights. The port is one of the chief ways to get to destinations in the Aegean Islands and earshot locations in the Mediterranean.

As a modern city, Athens has modern accommodations. To get to Piraeus, quite simply hope on the metro, which by line one gets you to pretty much right to the Saronic Gulf Ferries. One in, a number of buses will escort you around the perimeters of the harder to reach locations in the spanning area, in fact, it is recommended that you plan your trip around the area with plenty of spare time, as it can take the better part of an hour to go from one location to another. Private transfers can also be arranged for more flexibility.

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Kalafatis Beach

Kalafatis Beach

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With its long stretch of golden sand and steady coastal winds, Kalafatis Beach is not only one of Mykonos’ most beautiful beaches–it’s also earned a reputation as the island’s water sports hub. The beach is most renowned for its windsurfing, but other popular activities include jet skiing, water skiing, banana boating and wakeboarding.
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Panagia Tourliani Monastery

Panagia Tourliani Monastery

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Ano Mera is the second-largest settlement on Mykonos, and as far from the island’s party-crazy reputation it is possible to get. A whitewashed cluster northeast of Mykonos Town (also called Chora), life rumbles on here as it has done for centuries. There’s a daily fresh produce market in the village square and Ano Mera is popular with local families for leisurely Sunday brunches in traditional tavernas. The village’s chief claim to fame is the 16th-century whitewashed monastery of Panagia Tourliani and its church, which is fronted by an intricate marble bell tower and ornate triple bells. Founded in 1542 by monks from the neighboring island of Paros and dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the monastery’s Byzantine styling is apparent in its red dome and its layout around a fountain-filled courtyard.

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Acqua Plus Water Park

Acqua Plus Water Park

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4 Tours and Activities

Acqua Plus Water Park is the most popular water park on the island of Crete, and it is located less than 20 miles from Heraklion. It's situated on a hill which offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscapes. The water park is split into two different sections, one for adults and one for children. The garden section combines local Cretan plants and flowers with more exotic ones. There is a water slide beneath a weeping willow tree, and games are located among the palm trees, bougainvilleas and French marigolds.

Acqua Plus Water Park offers more than 50 slides, games and facilities. Some slides are slow and calm, while others are fast and exciting. Some are body slides and some slides have tubes. The park also has different pools, some specifically for kids, where visitors can swim and enjoy the water. There's even a lazy river where visitors float calmly in a tube as a more relaxing way to experience the park.

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Panathenaic Stadium (Panathinaiko Stadio)

Panathenaic Stadium (Panathinaiko Stadio)

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Athens was the site of the first modern Olympic games in 1896, but the stadium where the events took place - the Panathenaic Stadium - predated those games by many hundreds of years.

The Panathenaic Stadium (also called Panathinaiko Stadio) we see today was built on the remains of a 4th century B.C.E. stadium, which was a refurbished version of a 6th century B.C.E. stadium. It retains its original name, built for the Panathenaic Games in about 566 B.C.E., although the original seating was wooden. In 329 B.C.E. it was redone in marble. In 1869, the entire site was excavated and renovated, and in 1896 it was the setting for the first modern Olympic Games, when roughly 80,000 people packed into the white marble stands. Today, the stadium holds about 45,000. When Athens hosted the 2004 Olympics, the Panathenaic Stadium was the location for the marathon finish line.

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Cape Sounion

Cape Sounion

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Greek legend says that the king of Athens jumped from a cliff into the water below, forever tying his name–Aegeus–to the Aegean Sea into which he fell. Cape Sounion is where he is said to have jumped.

Cape Sounion sits at the southernmost point of mainland Greece outside Athens. In addition to the promontory's legendary importance, there are also ancient ruins you can visit nearby. There is a Temple of Poseidon dating from the 5th century B.C.E., into which the poet Lord Byron reportedly carved his name in 1810. Because of its geography, Cape Sounion is also a popular spot from which to watch the sun set into the sea. Archaeological work continues today at Cape Sounion, but the area is more commonly known as a retreat from Athens. Many wealthy Athens residents keep second homes here, and many of the day-trippers to Cape Sounion are Athenians–not just foreign tourists.

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Chrissi Island

Chrissi Island

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Chrissi Island sits about 9 miles south of the town of Ierapetra on Crete. It is 4.35 miles long and 1.25 miles across at its widest point. The island is a protected area and has been designated as a wildlife refuge. The largest naturally formed Lebanon cedar forest in Europe can be found here. Many of the trees are around 200 years old and 23 feet tall, though some are as old as 300 years old and 33 feet tall.

There is a small bar on one side of the island, a small tavern on the other side, an Orthodox church of St. Nicholas, and a lighthouse. The beaches are covered in bits of shells that give the sand a pinkish golden look. The relatively shallow waters surrounding Chrissi Island make for good snorkeling. Other popular activities include swimming and walking through the cedar forest. Due to its protected status, overnight stays are not allowed.

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Cretaquarium (Thalassokosmos)

Cretaquarium (Thalassokosmos)

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Crete’s gleaming white sea aquarium opened in the island’s former American Base in December 2005 and is the largest in Greece, showcasing the magical fish and marine ecosystems of the Mediterranean Sea. As well as educating visitors on the mysteries of the deep, the aquarium plays a serious role in researching and conserving sea life and in caring for injured fish and marine life.

More than 2,500 fish from more than 250 indigenous species, ranging from sand tiger sharks to microscopic sea horses, can be seen in 60 tanks filled with 1.7 million liters of seawater, each carefully themed for a local Mediterranean marine environment. The aquarium has walk-through tanks with sharks, loggerhead turtles, comical groupers and velvety rays floating overhead, as well as 100 observation spots where entertaining and informative information is laid out for children as colorful shoals of fish flit in front of their eyes.

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Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Heraklion Archaeological Museum

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Second in size and importance to the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, the Heraklion Archaeological Museum houses the most magnificent collection of Minoan art and culture in the world. The museum's exhibition contains more than 15,000 artifacts from all periods of Cretan prehistory and history, covering a chronological span of over 5,000 years, from the Neolithic era to Roman times.
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Frangokastello

Frangokastello

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Preveli Palm Beach

Preveli Palm Beach

9 Tours and Activities
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Ancient Olympia

Ancient Olympia

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