Greece Sustainable Travel Guide
The news around Greece these days has largely been about economic turmoil and austerity. They’ve twice flirted with being expelled from the European Union since 2014 due to the country’s rising debt. Dominating the news are stories about referendums, elections and whether or not they should adopt a new currency. All these distractions are taking away from the fact that Greece is still an amazing holiday spot, offering something for everyone, regardless of whether you’re a history buff, a hedonist, or an active adventure seeker.
Of the many draws of Greece, one of them is certainly its rich cultural history. Steeped in artifacts and structures from some of the world’s most ancient civilizations, Greece offers visitors a slice through time itself. From the ancient city of Athens where the first Olympic Games were held, to ancient temples, Byzantine churches and Crusader castles, the country presents itself as a historian’s dream. That said however, there is so much more to this warm, Mediterranean country
The Greek islands continue to draw in millions of visitors every year. In total, there are over 1,400 small Greek islands, most of which are uninhabited. In fact, only 169 of those islands are home to civilization. Therefore, island hopping on a small vessel such as a sailboat or kayak is a definite must for those seeking adventure. Some of the more popular islands to visit include Mykonos, famous for its warm blue waters, vibrant nightlife, and iconic white and blue churches, houses and buildings that dot the coastline. Another is Crete, once home to the Minoan civilization, and the largest and most mountainous of the Greek Islands.
Many that come to Greece’s mainland are surprised by how rocky and mountainous it is. In fact, about 80% of the country is made up of this kind of terrain. This makes exploring mainland Greece on foot fairly accessible. In addition to the ancient city of Athens, places on the mainland to visit include Meteora, where you’ll find stunning monasteries built precariously on rocks; and Mount Olympus, home of the Greek Gods and a place of awe and inspiration.
Before Greece’s economic challenges dominated the news, the country was known as a resort destination with many all-inclusive resorts dotting the coast and on many of the islands. We remind visitors at FairAway Travel that all-inclusive resorts and package holidays can pose serious problems, both environmentally and economically. Resorts need to be built and in order to do so, large areas of land is required, potentially wiping out sensitive habitat for animals, such as the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtle. Once the resort is built, vast amounts of water and other natural resources are consumed, solely for the benefit of visitors and at the expense of locals. But economic leakage is considered the most serious problem when it comes to all-inclusive resorts and package holidays. Economic leakage occurs when a country receives little to no money from the tourism industry. This is especially damaging for a country with current economic woes, like Greece. It occurs when a tourists pays for everything up front, including flights, hotels, meals and entertainment. This leaves little incentive for travelers to spend their dollars outside the resort. Furthermore, the money you do spend eventually goes to a foreign owned company rather than towards the local economy. Instead of all-inclusive resorts and package holidays, we encourage staying at independently owned hotels with great customer reviews. This way, your travel dollars have a greater impact on the Greek economy and you still get an awesome holiday!