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Greek Islands

Crete
Crete
#About the Largest Island in Greece

The Mediterranean atmosphere in Crete is perfect. Between the remains of a glorious past, one is greeted by a pleasant and friendly local population that speaks a different language but behaves with hospitality in everyone. Nowhere beats Crete when it comes to experiencing the sun-burned Greek charm, with the lazy and relaxed lifestyle of those who have everything and need nothing.

The island, which is the fifth largest of the Mediterranean islands, is considered the largest of the Greek islands. Who has not ruled here throughout history? There were the Greeks, the Romans, the Ottomans, the Venetians, and the Germans in World War II.

This island is a treasure. Crowds of tourists flock here every year, searching for the sea, the sun, the excellent food and some of the remnants of the Minoan culture, born here and the pioneer of Western cultures.

Apart from high mountains and small villages, beaches and blue bays, olive groves, bubbling nightlife and delicious taverns, Crete also has wooded hills, fertile soil and densely cultivated valleys, deep canyons, unique archeological sites, steep cliffs that rise from small beaches and sandy bays and bright villages.

The mountainous part of Crete is characterized by high mountains with fruit trees and endless olive groves. The local estimates is that the island has over 20 million olive trees.

This is actually a chain of mountains, which divides the island of Crete in two, and separates its southern and northern parts. Interestingly, if the major cities and popular tourist towns are on the northern coast, those interested can find peace and quiet on the more pleasant, quiet southern beaches and small villages, whose inhabitants live slowly and calmly, some of them still engaged in traditional handicrafts.


#History
The island of Crete preceded Greece and only became part of modern Greece in 1913 after the Balkan wars.

Minoan, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman - the strategic location of the island in the Mediterranean made it a desirable island by empires and rulers. Everyone seemed to have passed through here, leaving their mark.

It all starts with the Minoan culture. Many see Crete as the cradle of Western culture, always referring to the Minoans, which was the first known culture on the continent of Europe.

The Minoan culture was of paramount importance in Greek mythology as well. The legends tell of Zeus's birth in Crete, the father of the Gods and the ruler of the heavens. It was from this place that the Minoan king Minus ruled Greece and the eastern Mediterranean. Crete was also the site where Hercules was anchored to complete one of the missions he was given, and this was where Athens, every year, sent a boat laden with human sacrifice.

After Greece, the Romans, the Venetians, and the Ottomans ruled here. At the end of the 19th century, they withdrew from the island, following the rebellions of the islanders. In the early 20th century Crete became part of Greece and during World War II it was conquered by the German army. During the war several battles between them and the Allies took place on its land.


#Entertainment
Among the sites for young people on the island of Crete, Malia is considered the capital of clubs, bars, parties and nightlife.


#Food
Souvlaki, giros, Greek salad, tzatziki, ouzo, feta cheese and seafood are plentiful, but there are many more wonderful dishes offered in Greek tavernas.

The best Taverna experience is to open with the rich Greek Mezes - a collection of excellent Greek starters.

Greek salad is also satisfying and wonderful, especially when the ingredients are fresh and seasoned well. Tavernas will usually do the job.

Meat lovers will be able to find any street is souvlaki, the Greek Shishlik, or Girus, the Greek shawarma. Fish is usually more expensive in these taverns, while octopus and chicken will be cheaper.

The local feta cheese (very high fat percentage) and the large, juicy red grapes.

Another pleasant surprise is the local wine, combined with ouzo and raki that flow through the streets like water add to the light mood of the island.

Just be sure to enter authentic taverns. The waiters do not usher in passerbys, so it is up to you to go on in. The menus are not on display and in the local joints, the menus are generally only in Greek and English. If dogs and cats are hanging around the taverna, it's a good sign- touristy restaurants tend to shoo them away.


#Transportation
If possible, explore the island with a rental car. Some hotels have a representative of a car rental company. If you have taken a local vehicle, carefully check the vehicle thoroughly and make sure that it has full and valid insurance that covers any damage to property or God forbid body injury.


#Tips
A good tip in restaurants and cafes in Greece is 1-3 euros. Before the economic crisis, 20% were given as a tip, but today the tips have dropped significantly. Another option is to leave a restaurant at 10% service charge on a low account or 5% at a high expense. You do not need to tip taxi drivers.


#Greece Country Code
+30


#Electric Outlets
The possible plugs are Type F and C (see link below with photos and details).


A taste of the upcoming trip? - Here's a video that will show you the island in all its beauty:

https://youtu.be/8iktgpgaYy4


Local Music:

https://youtu.be/934Befj4aD8


Aerial view:

https://youtu.be/18sYgM3OExg


A Bit From the Local Kitchen:

https://youtu.be/vjLl5jdb2Do
Hydra
Hydra Village
#About the Island where Mules are the Main Form of Transportation

The Island of Hydra is a long and narrow island that lies across from the southern beaches of Greece. The capital of the small island lies on the large cliff, along the water line. All that is interesting in Hydra is located on the water line, and on the streets closest to it. If you walk a kilometer on the beach line towards the west, you will reach an authentic village, with very few tourists, called Kamini.

In the 1960's Hydra became a center for bohemian artists to meet, authors and the shining inner circle, and until today the island still constitutes a popular vacation destination for the residents of Athens and many tourists. There are excellent restaurants and fun night life.

Many vacationers come to the beaches of the island. Hydra is a special island in Greece, it is less an island for spectacular beaches and more a place for a relaxing atmosphere, calm and special. This may have to do with the fact that no motorized vehicles are allowed, no motorcycles or cars, or motorized boats. Moving between the island villages is by mules only, there are no roads or traffic lights on the island. This might sound outdated, but it is exactly what gives Hydra its special charm, and turns it into a first class day trip destination for tourists coming from Athens.

In the past Leonard Cohen bought a house near the monastery on the island, the legendary singer-writer. He lived here for a long period, and inspired by Hydra and its atmosphere, he wrote some of his most famous songs here.



#History of the Island

In recent centuries Hydra has gained a very interesting history. During the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the center of important marine time merchants. Back then, many rich merchants lived here, that made their fortunes from trading legal, as well as illegal merchandise, not once these trades were tied to smuggling and piracy.

The big stone houses were built by rich locals on the island in a style that characterized the strong merchant cities of the Mediterranean Sea. The houses surround the port until today and remind of the Italian cities Genoa and Venice.

The old canons that are still on the walls of the port of Hydra, directed towards the sea, tell the tales of the need to fortify the port and defend access to it, from hostile guests and unwanted forces. The fact that it was able to defend itself in those times, Hydra was more or less an independence island, that somehow managed to distance itself from the rule of the Ottomans then, who ruled Greece.

The independence war of Greece turned the merchants of the island to supporters, and they made a fleet of boats available for the navy of the Greek rebels of the Ottoman Empire. Thanks to this fleet, one of the most important factors in the Greek victory, the Turks were removed, and Greece gained its independence. Georgios Kountouriotis, a Hydra born local, one of the independence war heroes, became the Prime Minister of Greece in 1848.

From here, Hydra became a peaceful and serene place, until the 1960's, when it was 'occupied.' This time, the occupiers were celebrities and well-known people, like the singer Leonard Cohen, and the movie star Sophia Loren who moved here during different periods, and made this island famous around the world.



#Tips

Each day at 8:30 am there is a ferry to Hydra. It is a 3.5-hour ferry ride.



A Closer Look at the Island of Hydra

https://youtu.be/QY_-bewUMFQ



Wandering Around the Island:

https://youtu.be/P2MQg2L9mlU



A View from Above:

https://youtu.be/78XcQmsX7-c



The Beaches and Sea Around the Island:

https://youtu.be/bDK6lxjh_6A
Aegina
Aegina
#About the Island of Pistachios, Close to Athens

The Island Aegina is 25 kilometers from Athena, and is part of the Saronic Islands of the Saronic Gulf. The beautiful and loved island is adored by the people and artists of Athens, thanks to them there is quite a lot of cultural activity in the summer nights.

Aegina is considered a heaven for pistachio lovers. Pistachios that are grown on the island are considered very special. They are marketed around Greece and even Europe. You can taste and buy then on every corner on the island in a variety of shapes, including cakes and treats based on pistachios.

In summer, well off residents from Athens come to their second homes on this island and join the hundreds of locals that work in Athens and take daily ferries to work and back.

Aegina is a quiet, peaceful and modest island, with a calm Greek character, very different from the known Cyclades Island, with the magnificent beaches like Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, or the powerful look of islands like Santorini.

The island is named after Aegina, the mother of Aeacus. According to Greek mythology Aeacus was born on this island, and was also its ruler. In the 7th century BC up to the 5th century BC sat here Aegina Polis, the city-state that was the enemy of Athens. In the 16th century, in the war of the Turks and the Venetians, the Ottoman fleet conquered the island. Turkish soldiers killed 6,000 people, including the majority of the men. They then took the women and children for forced labor. In the 19th century Aegina was the temporary capital of Greece, and then returned to its relative obscurity.

The port of Aegina is an important center of the town, also called Aegina. This is a vibrant town and peaceful town all at once, that except for its lively market, offers a variety of tavernas, cafes and different stalls. You can wander around here and spend a few nice hours, with great food, a sea breeze and peaceful Greek atmosphere, that are not crowded.



#Attractions for Entertainment for a Day Trip on the Island

In Aegina you will find one of the best gyros in Greece. The high-quality souvlaki is located in Appia 32 in Aegina. This is the main street, parallel to the port and marina.

More great tavernas can be found near the gyro mention above, in a street parallel to the marina street. Cross the famous fish market of Aegina and reach it.

In the port, you will see the single standing column from the Temple of Apollo. This temple in the past stood in the port area.

The remains of the ancient synagogue, that was on the island in the 3rd century BC, can seen behind the hotel Avrá.

Many tourists go to the beaches of the Aegina marina, the most popular on the island. A rented car or bike will bring you right to the beach and the small beach town nearby, Agia Marina.



#Tips

Aegina is connected to Athens by dozens of ferries and hovercrafts daily. Each day from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm they sail back and forth, from Piraeus to Aegina, and back - an hour-long trip by ferry, and only 40 minutes by hovercrafts.



A Closer Look at the Island of Aegina:

https://youtu.be/f6wfddN-NR0


A View from Above:

https://youtu.be/NZZJu4j5hTU



Attractions and Places in the Island of Aegina:

https://youtu.be/LiVn6COJ_4c


אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

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בואו לגלות, לחקור, ולקבל השראה!

אֵאוּרִיקַה - האנציקלופדיה של הסקרנות!

שלום,
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