Why I Went
I have seen many articles on things to do in Greece. Few month ago I traveled to Greece for site seeing and to participate in a Travel Blogger Conference called TBEX. First off, I had an amazing time at the conference and visiting Greece was high on my bucket list. I learned some valuable information to help with social media and branding of my website. I also connected and networked with some wonderful fellow travelers and brands. I hope to continue developing those relationships and connections in the future and look forward to the next TBEX conference. Also a big thank you to Greece for welcoming everyone so graciously.
How long was I there
I was in Greece for about 12 days. It was my first time there and I had been looking forward to seeing the country, history and other various things to do in Greece that I have read and known about since I was young. Obviously as I travel the world I look for ways to stay fit and healthy and try incorporate that into the things I do and sites I see. Staying fit when in Greece can take some ingenuity. I would like to give you a rundown of my time in Greece and what I did to burn calories and keep my fitness up while exploring this beautiful country.
1. First stop Aegina Island
The Greek islands is usually on most people’s list of things to do in Greece. Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, 17 miles from Athens. We stayed on the Agia marina side of the island at Kavos Bay Seafront Hotel which is a family run hotel with an amazing 5 star view of the marina. It was very easy to get wrapped up in the relaxation of the water and beautiful surroundings but alas the need to find some sort of activity and exercise arose.
Having no gym I turned to nature for my workouts on the island. They consisted of walking to nearby Pebble Beach and making use of the small boulders on the beach as weights and a little rock climbing followed by a dip in the ocean to cool off. My cardio routine consisted of hiking up and down the trail to Aphia Temple which by the way is a must see when on the island. During our 3 day stay on the island it was good to have some options for exercise to balance out the relaxation and check off the list of staying fit when visiting Greece.
2. Onward to Athens
The time in Athens was more difficult to stay on the fitness bandwagon with being so busy with the convention, networking and of course the parties. However I did find a park right next to the convention center which was perfect for a morning workout with steps, grass and steep hill for runs. Making your way up the Acropolis is another way to get some cardio and build some leg muscles.
Thanks to TBEX Athens I also joined a group tour up the hill in the center of the city called Lycabettus. A wonderful hike with amazing views of the city. At the top of the hill is possibly one of the best restaurants I have been to in a while called Orizontes. (Top notch cuisine and service)
After Athens we joined a group tour of the Peloponnese. The Peloponnese is a large peninsula and geographic region in southern Greece. The peninsula has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Its modern name derives from ancient Greek mythology. Specifically the legend of the hero Pelops, who was said to have conquered the entire region. The name Peloponnesos means “Island of Pelops”. It was also here that the Greek War of Independence began.
It’s a shame that many visitors to Greece do not explore this area. They prefer to just head to the islands but it is really well worth a visit. There are many historic sites in the Peloponnese. Our tour hosted by GTNO and Mythical Peloponnese included Mycenae, Epidaurus, Corinth canal to name a few.
The Peloponnese is also where you will find the fortress of the great military commander Agamemnon, the castles of Nestor and Menelaus, the site of Helen of Troy’s infidelity, and so many other significant incidents. The history is never ending.
For fitness enthusiasts I would highly recommend the hike we did through the Arcadia Mountains to see current and ancient monasteries and also cycling through the valley of farmers to a cave of stalagmites. History and nature are intermixed here allowing for a great way to exercise while exploring the sites. There is so much to see and experience in the Peloponnese that I look forward to going back to explore more of this historical area of the world.
I have always wanted to go to Meteora. I had seen many photos of the cliff side monasteries, but I was not prepared for the magnitude of wonder and beauty that my eyes were to see. Meteora means “suspended in the air.” It is one of the largest and most important complexes of Greek Orthodox monasteries in Greece. It is second only to Mount Athos.
The six monasteries are built on natural sandstone rock pillars at the northwestern edge of the Plain of Thessaly. This is near the Pineios river and Pindus Mountains, in central Greece. It’s really easy to find ways of exercising here. I could have spent at least a week hiking, rock climbing and exploring the many trails, valleys and cliffs.
Access to the monasteries was originally (and deliberately) difficult. They required either long ladders lashed together or large nets used to haul up both goods and people. This required quite a leap of faith and discipline. Not until the early 20th century did the begin to build the current stairs you see today.
We even discovered old hermit monasteries where a hermit monk would climb into a cave-like monastery. There he would live out his days in prayer and solitude relying on locals to bring him food and supplies. He would never leave his cliff side dwelling again. Now that takes discipline and fortitude.
As an extra bonus this area has the Theopetra caves. This is no normal cave. This cave is well known to palaeontologists. It was used and inhabited continuously from the Palaeolithic period onwards (50,000 to 5,000 years ago). The oldest known human-made structure. The cave has a stone wall that blocked two-thirds of the entrance. The cave was constructed 23,000 years ago, probably as a barrier to cold winds. It is considered the oldest known human structure.
What is unique about this cave is that it housed neanderthals and later homo sapiens. It also was a point of transition when humans left there caves and began farming and domesticating livestock. If you are of the Indiana Jones type it is a must see for archeology fans. Definitely put this on your list of things to do in Greece.
All of this was possible through Visit Meteora. They were so knowledgeable and showed us some of the most unique and exhilarating views and sites in the area. Book your stay now!
I had such a great time in Greece and enjoyed the physical activities of some of these sites. I added more knowledge to the stories we all have watched and have read about in book and movies. So in closing, when finding things to do in Greece, don’t just stop off in Athens and head to an island to lay on the beach. Get out and explore nature and the sites of Greece and in doing so you may just burn some calories while learning quite a bit of history. A good workout for your brain and your body.