My first time abroad was to Greece for an internship in college. There couldn’t have been a better way to complete my undergrad internship than to travel to Greece and learn about the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet and lifestyle. While in Greece, my class and I visited Crete (Greece’s largest island) and Athens (the capital of Greece). A majority of my time was spent in Crete since there are numerous areas to see including Heraklion, Chania, and Vamos. The class and I then flew to Athens to visit many tourist attractions including the Acropolis. Although it has been 5 years since I have visited Greece, I came up with a list of my favorite parts of this gorgeous country.
- Food – Since my internship revolved around the Mediterranean diet, I ate and cooked a lot of appetizing food while in Greece. The Mediterranean diet is known for being primarily plant-based, but it also incorporates dairy, poultry, seafood, and eggs with red meat eaten only on occasions. Olive oil is the main healthy fat in the Mediterranean diet and is used at almost every meal. The bread and pasta in Greece is usually made from whole grains which is a healthier carbohydrate. Overall, the food I ate in Greece was some of the best food I have ever had, so if nothing else, I would recommend Greece just for their delicious and fresh food.
- Mediterranean Sea in Crete- The Mediterranean Sea was absolutely breathtaking and beaches in Crete are stunning. The Mediterranean Sea is slightly cooler than the Caribbean Sea, but both are completely different and beautiful in their own way. I unfortunately didn’t get to visit Santorini or Mykonos while visiting, but I would go back to Greece just to visit these spots. Nevertheless, Crete had lovely, clean blue flag beaches with typically less tourists than Santorini and Mykonos.
- Hiking – Greece has amazing mountains to hike with many flowers and plants to admire along the way. The hike my group and I did in Crete had a Christian church at the top and the hike in Athens had a restaurant at the top with the best tasting Gyro I have ever had (definitely a great way to end a long hike).
- Acropolis – The Acropolis of Athens may be one of the most famous parts of Greece with the Parthenon being a sought after tourist attraction. Visiting the Acropolis is ideal for those who enjoy ancient history since the Acropolis has the remains of several ancient buildings. It was very windy at the top of the Acropolis, but was a truly spectacular sight!
- People and culture – People in Greece are overall friendly and seemed proud of their Greek heritage. Locals tend to enjoy their daily lunch by closing shops during their lunch hour and spending more time eating than a majority of people in the United States. Dinner is another important part of the day which can last a couple hours surrounded by family and friends. It felt wonderful to visit a country where socializing and family gatherings were so valued.
Greece is still one of my favorite places in the world to visit and it really started my love for traveling. The stunning scenery in Greece, delicious food, and the historic culture makes this country a fabulous vacation detestation. Santorini and Mykonos are next on my places to visit in Greece, but I’ll never forget my time in Crete and Athens! Until then, Yamas!