Monthly Archives: May 2012

Greece Food Facts

greek_food

Greek food is delicious as I’m sure you’ll agree, with national dishes including delicious moussaka, lamb kleftico and loads more beautiful meals, but there are some interesting facts out there about Greek food, and the eating habits of the greek, we’ve collated some of the best Greece food facts here for you.

Unlike most of Europe, Greeks eat the main meal of the day at what most of us would consider lunchtime, and traditionally many shops and businesses shut at 2 o clock in the afternoon in order to have their big meal, usually something such as a Moussaka or a Stifado. Often, this is topped off with a nice big ‘caraffe’ of red wine to wash it down before returning to work!

On New Years Eve, it is tradition in Greece to go outside and throw a pomegranate on your doorstep and break it, which supposedly brings good fortune for the coming year.

Lamb is the most popular and readily available meat in Greece, and is used for many main meals and casseroles.

Greek is famous for it’s delicious salads, which contain Greek feta cheese, olives and tomatoes, has an olive oil base and is often garnished with nuts.

Greece is a huge producer of Olives, and Olive Oil is one of the most popular ingredients in all Greek dishes.

At Easter, Greek people traditionally eat mayeritsa, a soup made from Lambs organs and seasonings…sounds…delicious…

Thin, Filo pastry is used as the foundation for loads of Greek dishes including spanakopita (spinach pie) and baklava (a pastry dessert with nuts).

Pita bread is extremely popular in Greece and is used as the basis of many sandwich style wraps and also for toasting and dipping in one of many Greek dips.

You’ll find influences from from the Romans, Venetians, Balkans, Turkish and the English within Greek culture and food, all countries and dynasties have invaded Greece in the past.

Because of the huge amount of Greek Islands, there is an array of seafood and fish involved in Greek cuisine, and you can find some exceptional seafood restaurants all around the Greek islands.

 

Regardless of interesting facts, Greek food is absolutely delicious, and is one of the real bonuses when it comes to visiting this beautiful country and its islands. Greek restaurants are popping up more and more around the world, so you don’t even necessarily have to be in Greece to enjoy the delights of their food.

Greek Beer

Mythosofficiallogo

If you’re anything like me, the type of beer you’re going to be sipping (in moderation of course) on an evening is an important factor in anywhere I visit! If you’re planning a trip, you may well be interested in Greek beer and what you’ll be able to find in the bars while you’re on your holidays. Beer has been brewed in Greece since around 1850 and, in my opinion, their beer is up there with the best in Europe and beyond – you won’t be disappointed.

Mythos – Mythos is perhaps the most famous of the Greek beers, and certainly has a very wide distribution network around Greece and the islands. There aren’t too many bars where you can’t get your hands on an ice cold pint of Mythos. This lager is a straw-coloured, 4.7% beer, and you’ll find it on draught, and available in 330ml and 500ml cans in supermarkets and convenience stores all around Greece. It is now owned by Carlsberg and the brewery imports Carlsberg and Heineken into the country.

Hillas – Hillas are advocates of a rich history of beer and alcohol ageing from ancient times. Their biography on their website claims that beer was the first alcoholic beverage known to man over 6000 years ago, and has been enjoyed ever since. Described in the brewery’s own words, “This light pale beer is dry and well balanced, and makes for a smooth drinking with a malty finish” – I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Keo – This is technically a Cypriot beer, but the countries are of course very closely linked, and Keo is widely available throughout Greece and the islands. Keo is a 4.5% pale ale with a full body and a mild hoppy edge.

What other beers can I get my hands on in Greece? If you’re not so keen on sampling the local delights, you can still get your hands on beers you might be more used to drinking, both in bars and in supermarkets. Of course, though, be prepared to pay a little bit more for the imported brands. Carlsberg is big in the Hellenic part of the world, as is Amstel. These are the two more widely known brands that you’ll find easily, but bottled beers such as Corona wont be too hard to source if you’re desperate.

How do I ask for a beer in Greek? Well, this certainly isn’t how it’s spelt, but phonetically written, if you say the words ”Mia bira paracalor”, any bar tender should just about be able to understand you. Enjoy your Greek Beers!

Famous Greek People

jennifer_aniston

There are many famous Greek people from the past and present. From famous philosophers, to founders of high education, to hollywood movie stars, Greece has its share of stars. We’ve collated some of them here for you. Don’t forget to comment if you know of any more Greek people who we have forgotten to include.

Alexander the Great – one of the greatest military figures in history, Alexander the Great was born in Pella in Ancient Greece. Alexander was undefeated in battle, and there are 70 Greek and Macedonian towns which were founded by Alexander. He is said to have died of alcohol poisoning, but much speculation surrounds his death.

Maria Callas – An opera star born in New York to Greek parents in 1923, Callas is a figurehead in the history of Opera. She has received many honours and has even had a film made of her fascinating life story.

Pythagoras – Still enough to send shivers down the spine of ex-students everywhere. Pythagoras is a part of a rich Greek history, and is renowned as one of the greatest mathematicians in history. Immortalised by maths classes everywhere.

Jennifer Anastasakis (Aniston) – Bet you didn’t know this one! Jennifer Aniston is proud of her Greek heritage and is said to even enjoy the art of cooking Greek food for her US hollywood buddies! The friends star was made famous by the sitcom but nowadays can more likely be seen on the silver screen in comedy and romantic movies.

Jeff Buckley – He may have been born in Orange County, USA, but Jeff Buckley had a Greek mother and maintained strong links with his European heritage (he was also part French and Panamanian).

Billy Zane – Born in the USA to Greek parents, Billy Zane is another hollywood star who shot to fame in 1999 movie Titanic.

Aristotle – The great Aristotle, whose theology and scientific views shaped years ahead of him, is one of the famous Greek Philosophers.

Plato – Strongly linked to Aristotle and in many people’s view the founder of further education with his academy. Part of a strong Greek history of intellectuals.

Tina Fey – The star of ’30 rock’. Tina Fey’s mother is Greek.

Zach Galfianakis – ‘The Hangover’ star (as you may have guessed from the surname) is another Hollywood resident of Greek descent, and clearly he isn’t afraid to show it.

 

Let us know if we’ve forgotten anyone! Drop us an email with any more famous Greek people you’d like to see make the list.

Greece Temperatures

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If you’re planning to visit Greece any time soon, be it for business or pleasure, you’re probably intrigued as to what sort of temperatures you can expect. Greece is generally a warm country, and can be one of Europe’s hottest holiday destinations, but it still has cold winters and the temperature definitely varies greatly depending on the time of year you visit.

Obviously, with Greece being a relatively large place, the temperature varies depending on which area you are in, but we’ve put together a general ‘rule of thumb’ on temperatures across Greece and it’s many Islands.

Highs and Lows through the year (Zante):

Jan – 8′C – 14′C
Feb – 8′C – 14′C
Mar – 9′C – 16′C
Apr – 11′C – 19′C
May – 14′C – 23′C
Jun – 18′C – 28′C
Jul – 20′C – 31′C
Aug – 21′C – 31′C
Sep – 19′C – 28′C
Oct – 16′C – 23′C
Nov – 12′C – 19′C
Dec – 10′C – 16′C

The above figures are based on Zante, one of the most popular tourist Islands to visit.

Average temperatures through the year (Crete):

Jan – 11′C
Feb – 12′C
March – 14′C
Apr – 17′C
May – 24′C
June – 24′C
July – 26′C
August – 26′C
Sept – 24′C
Oct – 20′C
Nov – 17′C
Dec – 14′C

As you can see, Greece never gets cold as such, with average temperatures staying above 10 degrees centigrade the whole year round, and with sunlight out 13 hours of the day through the summertime, the heat can be absolutely sweltering, especially for Europe.

There are only two real seasons in Greece. A Mild and often wet winter, between October and say March/April, and the summer time between May and September, when it is hot and largely dry.

As mentioned above, Greece is a relatively large country, and temperatures in the north vary by around 5′C to those in the south.

The temperature in Greece has been know to soar at times, too. With highs in Athens recorded at 48′C. It is not uncommon for the hottest parts of the day to be consistently around 30′C in summer, and highs in the 40s are by no means a freak occurrence.  If you are visiting Greece through the summer months, be sure to keep yourselves hydrated and dress appropriately for the summer, wearing lots of sunscreen too. If traveling outside of tourist seasons, be prepared for mild temperatures and showers, so bring a waterproof (but relatively thin) jacket.

Greek Airports

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Greece is a big place! Not only do we have mainland Greece to worry about, there are around 1400 Greek islands, too, of which around 200 are inhabited. It all makes the flight system both important and complex, and there are many airports serving international, internal and military flights. On top of the islands, Greece has 74 official regions, which means that internally the travel system has to be good in order to get around. In central and popular areas such as Athens, travel connections for further journeys are excellent, but depending on your destination, for example if you’re traveling to a small island, travel may prove more of a challenge and ferrys may be required to get to where you need to be. Greece is by no means underdeveloped, though, and people are generally extremely friendly, so you wont have too much of  a problem planning trips, just make sure you have transfers sorted if you plan to travel to Greece any time soon.

Below is a list of International Greek airports, and the region in which they can be found, which you might find useful for travel research and more.

International Airports:

Alexandroupoli – East Macedonia and Thrace
AXD Alexandroupolis International Airport

Athens / Spata Attica
ATH Athens International Airport

Chania Crete
CHQ Chania International Airport

Corfu Ionian Islands
CFU Corfu International Airport

Heraklion Crete
HER Heraklion International Airport

Kalamata Peloponnese
KLX Kalamata International Airport

Kavala / Chrysoupoli East Macedonia and Thrace
KVA Kavala International Airport

Kefalonia Ionian Islands
EFL Kefalonia Island International Airport

Kos – South Aegean
KGS Kos Island International Airport

Lemnos North Aegean
LXS Lemnos International Airport

Mytilene, Lesbos North Aegean
MJT Mytilene International Airport

Rhodes South Aegean
RHO Rhodes International Airport

Samos North Aegean
SMI Samos International Airport

Thessaloniki / Mikra Central Macedonia
SKG Thessaloniki International Airport

Zakynthos – Ionian Islands
ZTH Zakynthos International Airport

 

On top of this network of international airports, Greece does have an internal flight system, with small airports in many of the other regions of the country, however, if you’re flying in from anywhere else in the world the airports above are the ones you’re looking for.

If you didn’t already know, Greece borders Albania, Macedonia, Bulgaria and Turkey, and for some of the Northern regions of Greece, flying to one of these countries and travelling across the border is a consideration.

Athens international airport is the busiest and biggest airport in Greece, and since opening in 2001 to replace the closed Ellinikon airport, has handled over ten million passengers a year. The airport has excellent bus, rail and road connections to the rest of the country.

athens international airport 300x205 Greek Airports

A photograph of the check in desks at Athens International Airport

Welcome to Greece HQ

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Welcome to Greece HQ. Your one stop shop for all things Greece, and Greek Islands related. We love Greece and are regular visitors and writers, so make sure you stick around for travel advice, greek history and much more.