Being in social isolation doesn't stop us dreaming of all the places we'd like to visit; in fact now we've got even more time to daydream. Escape on a virtual vacation to bring a little piece of Greece to your living room.
Greece is ancient history, dreamy beaches, party islands and world-famous landmarks, including the incredible Parthenon in Athens. Whether you want sunshine or temples, island hopping or to explore archaeological sites, or simply to experience the Mediterranean lifestyle, there’s a Greek destination for you. But as we can’t visit right now, we’ve gathered some ways to experience the spirit of Greece from your home.
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Mamma Mia (2008): A joyful sun-drenched musical with a cast that includes Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan, filmed on the small Greek island of Skopelos.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002): Nia Vardolos plays a Greek-American woman who is facing pressure from her family to marry - and then falls in love with a non-Greek. A warm-hearted romcom about Greek family culture.
Shirley Valentine (1989): A housewife from Liverpool decides a change is in order - and travels to a Greek island with a friend. Needless to say, the trip does indeed prove life-changing.
Troy (2004): An all-star cast brings Hollywood glamour to one of the most famous conflicts of all time. Men and gods share a battleground and at the centre of the war is the woman ‘whose face launched a thousand battleships’.
Zorba the Greek (1964): An English author travels to Crete where he meets a peasant called Zorba - who ultimately teaches him to love life.
Before Midnight (2013): This film is the third in a trilogy, following indie classics Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, which star Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Here we see the couple nine years on, holidaying together in Greece.
Haris Alexiou is one of the most popular singers in Greece. With over 30 of her own albums to choose from, try her latest, released this year.
Greeks love to listen to fun, rousing music while eating (and occasionally smashing plates!). Check out this playlist of tavern favourites.
The Odyssey is a Greek epic attributed to the ancient poet, Homer. It follows the adventures of Odysseus as he tries to get home to his wife and son after the end of the Trojan War, encountering all sorts of dangers along the way.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is a modern retelling of The Iliad, focused on the relationship between young Greek heroes Patroclus and Achilles. Part drama, part war epic, part love story, this is a gripping way to experience Greece in the age of heroes.
Mary Renault is the author of a number of historical novels set in Ancient Greece, so if you want even more mythology, check out her books including The Last of the Wine, and The King Must Die.
The Island: This moving story is based on the real-life Cretan island of Spinalonga, which was used as a leper colony until mid-way through the twentieth century.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin: Louis de Bernières’s famous love story, which has also been made into a film, is set on the Greek island of Cephalonia during the Second World War.
My Family and Other Animals: Although technically an autobiography, this book by Gerald Durrell telling the story of his childhood on the Greek island of Corfu is so entertaining that sometimes it’s hard to believe it’s not fiction! Especially perfect for animal-lovers, if you enjoy this, explore his other books and the television series The Durrells.
Ancient Greece Declassified – does what it says on the tin!
Mythunderstood – a podcast about Greek (and other) mythology
The Greek Current – explore the region’s current affairs with this podcast by The Hellenic American Leadership Council
Learn the Local Language
The Greek language uses its own alphabet, made up of 24 letters. This can make signs and menus in Greek look a little alarming to non-natives, but usually there will be an English translation available. The phrases below will help you to make a good impression!
Yassou – Hello
Efharistó/parakaló – Thank you/You’re welcome
Meelate angleeka?- Do you speak English?
Kala – Good
Kaliméra/kalispéra - Good morning/Good afternoon
Antio – Goodbye
Syngnómi – Sorry/Excuse me
Póso káni aftó? – How much is this?
Greek Language Resources
Duolingo: specializes in bite-size, quick lessons
Lonely Planet Greek Phrasebook & Dictionary: a handy tool filled with popular slang and vocabulary to help you get by.
The Mediterranean diet is credited by many for long and healthy lives. Recreate Greek avgolemono with our recipe here.
Packing a pretty powerful punch, ouzo is an anise-flavoured liquor drunk widely in Greece. Although it’s certainly authentic to drink it neat, here are some refreshing Greek cocktails to try.
Take a virtual tour of the Acropolis here or explore incredible Olympia (and many other sites) through this interactive at-home tour. Or, take a visit to the Acropolis Museum below.
The Parthenon in Athens
Do some online browsing with these Italian shops who ship internationally (please note there may be some delays or restrictions due to COVID-19).
Browse jewellery inspired by Greek mythology on Etsy.
Odysea - a shop selling Greek and Mediterranean produce, including the world-famous Greek extra virgin olive oil.