And then comes the mountainous Greece where the altitude is high and the stone bedded streets cross fescoed churches and earthy colored houses with bucolic interiors and Ottoman splendor. Quaint villages smelling like pine and fireplace-burning wood, draw active types and escapists alike. Though winter brings out their best features, summers in the Greek mountains are so picturesque they definitely worth your notice.
No matter where or when you go, you will realize that it all comes down to people.
The old men playing the backgammon, the giggling children, the cheek-pinching grandmothers who gossip in corners or across balconies. All with the same unaffected warmth.
When in Athens, nothing beats the strolls around Makrygianni, Plaka, Petralona and Psyrri neighborhoods with their neoclassical two-story houses and old city allure. Tourists flock to these places longing for the real Athenian vibe. But Athens is a city where old and new swirl together. And one thing is certain. We are in love with the urban cacophony, the graffiti street art covered blocks, the tightly-huddled buildings and the funky 60s apartments tucked between sleek and modern ones. And when you feel a bit tired of it, there is always Anafiotika. This little settlement pinned under the Acropolis, modeled after the white cubic houses in Anafi island, boasting the same whitewashed sokakia streets and the same laid-back feeling.
Truth be told, when someone thinks of Greece one visual pops in mind. That would be the fairly minimalistic, Cycladic aesthetics with their white-on-white facades, pastel-colored doors, pristine windmills and blue domed churches. Much like a Mondrian painting. Islands are carpeted with olive trees and dotted with sleepy villages. Balconies are complemented by flowers, terraces are sun dappled and octopus tentacles hang out to dry. Simplicity and purity.
Equally alluring, the grandeur of the Italianate homes and manors found in the Ionians with the laundry displays from balcony to balcony oozes Venetian heritage. The Captain's houses in islands stand tall as symbols of bygone prestige.
Where do we even begin to describe Meteora? Literally meaning floating on air, this stunning monastery-topped rocks are jaw dropping. Sandstone and conglomerate mixed together make those pillar-like sun bleached rocks that look almost like hills and adorn the northwest tip of Thessaly. Yet another UNESCO World Heritage site, Meteora are perfect to go off grid and slip into this almost holy feeling of immensity.