Savor pure Mediterranean Greece -- mountains, fresh air, and real people.
Dollar dollar bill y’all: Buying euros is a steal right now; the US dollar has never been stronger against the European Union’s currency. Even if you want to shell out greenbacks, most of the Greeks you’ll meet on their home turf have relatives in America whom they routinely visit, and they’ll be happy to accept dollars.
How you’ll spend it: You’ve known about Athens (where you’ll fly into) since grade school, and the ancient city truly rocks -- as in inspiring ruins and literally overflowing with rock-and-roll clubs. But also consider a walk on Greece’s wild side on one of its outlying islands. There’s more to this Mediterranean hero than tourons (bonehead tourists) on their Greek island vacations, infesting beaches like locusts fleeing rows of hotels. Karpathos, an island with 5,000 full-time residents, is where you’ll hike ancient shepherd trails while meeting farmers, fishermen, boat captains, and, yeah, lingering shepherds. You might call this southeastern island in the Aegean Sea “Greece’s Montana.” Mingle with old-style Greek musicians while snacking in traditional open-air restaurants (enter: hand-rolled and notched makarounes) and behold the grandmas still wearing tsemperi headscarves and traditional kavai, non-religious “habits” that make them look like nuns.
Pretty much everything you’ll eat here will be “biological,” the European term for 100% local organic (possibly your first encounter with a real olive). A telling factor of the famed Mediterranean diet is what they don’t eat: cow stuff. Beach barbecue of pork souvlakis, roasted peppers and eggplant, ember-roasted potatoes, and garlic yogurt? You’re in. Remember that Aristotle’s word for happiness, εὐδαιμονία, decodes as eudemonia, which means human flourishing. Go for it -- the Greek phrase ola kala, “all is good,” was the origin of OK.