Perhaps it’s my lifelong fascination and love of Greek mythology that fuels my desire to visit the ethereal and magical country that is Greece. Located on the Balkan Peninsula in southeastern Europe, Greece (officially the Hellenic Republic) has the longest coastline in Europe and more than 1,400 islands dotting the blue Aegean Sea to the east, the Ionian Sea to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Only 169 of the islands have people living on them, the largest islands being Crete and Evia.
The birthplace of democracy, Greece is home to over a dozen UNESCO World Heritage Sites that span four millennia. The Parthenon was built in 438 B.C. as a temple for Athena, the goddess of war, and today is the most popular tourist attraction in Greece. Many Greek structures such as doors, windowsills, furniture, and church domes are painted a turquoise blue, especially in the Cyclades Islands. This is due to an ancient belief that this shade of blue keeps evil away.
From its convoluted coastline to sandy, white beaches to its mountainous interiors including Mount Olympus, home of the gods, Greece contains a blend of ancient and modern attractions such as museums of the ancient and Byzantine eras, archaeological sites, and culture-rich cities.