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Best way to visit Greece

The Temple of Athena near Athens is one of Greece's best-known tourist attractions.The Temple of Athena near Athens is one of Greece's best-known tourist attractions. (Photo: Images )

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With mainland and island shoreline on the eastern Mediterranean Sea and the legacy of an ancient civilization that predates Christianity, Greece is a prime European tourist destination, whether your interests lie more in history, leisure, or the nightlife, dining and entertainment you can find in its cosmopolitan capital, Athens. Although the variety of things to do in Greece means it is never a one-size-fits-all affair, you can maximize your enjoyment with respect to your primary purposes for visiting.

Step 1

Fly from an airport in North America, Asia or elsewhere in Europe to Athens International Airport. International trains arriving and departing Greece have ceased operation indefinitely as of March 2011, according to rail travel resource Seat 61, so air travel is one of the only remaining means of arriving in Greece. Book a ticket directly through your airline of choice, using a fare aggregator like Expedia or Orbitz or through a travel agent.

Step 2

Take a ferry of cruise from elsewhere in Europe or the Mediterranean if time isn't a huge concern for you. Inbound ferries from Haifa, Israel, to Piraeus, Greece, for example, require more than 10 hours of travel time, while flying from Tel Aviv International Airport to Athens takes less than two hours. Book a cruise with at least one port of call in Greece - the island of Santorini, for instance - to experience a small piece of the country without stopping there for a long period.

Step 3

Begin and end your trip in Athens to facilitate easy entry into and exit from Greece, as well as to bookend your travels with history, such as the Parthenon and Temple of Athena, or shopping and nightlife in neighborhoods such as Gazi or Psirri, for which the Greek capital is known.

Step 4

Book accommodations that correspond with your preferences and requirements, keeping in mind that accommodations Greece, like those in the rest of continental Europe, span a broad spectrum of comfort, amenities and price. Stay in backpacker hostels - situated in convenient areas of Athens near the Acropolis, for example - to save money and meet other travelers, or book a room in five-star hotels like the Westin Athens for a more pampered experience.

Step 5

Visit the Greek Islands - Santorini, Lesbos and Mykonos, for example - to experience Greece's unique Mediterranean culture, cuisine and architecture. Enjoy views of blue-roofed buildings on rocky cliffs overlooking the sea as you dine, dance or sunbathe.

Source: traveltips.usatoday.com
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