Follow flavor trails across the country

The history of culture in Greece spans several millennia. Come explore aspects of this cultural legacy that are famous the world over.

Native to this land, the olive tree has a cultural route dating to the Bronze-Age Minoan palaces in Crete, where the precious olives were pressed and the oil kept in large storage containers to be traded across the then-known world. The Greeks used it in rituals, artworks, and for religious and healing purposes. The so-called liquid gold of antiquity was greatly valued for its medicinal properties that were known to promote good health, wellness, and beauty. According to Greek mythology, the goddess Athena presented the olive tree as a gift to the Athenians, and won the city over from the god Poseidon who – like she – sought to become Athens’ sovereign deity. The olive was the symbol of victory and peace, and it even appeared on Greek coins. So, it comes as no surprise that the Olympic Games’ winners – the most esteemed athletes of the ancient Greek world – were crowned with an olive branch wreath!

Across the ages, olive oil has been a staple food in Greece. In olive mills across the country, you’re invited to take tour-and-tasting trips offered in areas such as the Peloponnese, Crete, and Thessaly (Volos). Learn about the sustainable practices followed during the picking and milling process, the millennia-old history of the olive, and its cultural impact on the local societies. To know more about it, visit the olive museums in Sparta, Peloponnese; Andros Island; Corfu Island; Thassos Island; and Ano Gatzea, Mt Pelion.

To paraphrase Odysseus Elytis, a famous Greek poet, and Nobel prize winner, “If you were to take Greece apart, in the end, you would be left with an olive tree, a vineyard, and a boat. That’s all you need to put it back together again”. The grapevine is a plant as old and celebrated as the olive tree. In ancient Greek mythology, Dionysus, son of Zeus, was the god of viniculture, feasting, and fertility. Wine has been a part of the Greek cultural heritage, religious traditions, and popular customs as far back as historical records go.

Explore the wine routes and visit wineries across the country. Discover natural sites of great beauty, enjoy wine-tasting events, and try local dishes paired with delicious regional wines.

Savvy or not about wine, here are a couple of places worth visiting during your next trip to Greece. To the north, the Wine & Vine Museum in Naoussa, Macedonia, and the Gerovassiliou Wine Museum in Epanomi, Thessaloniki, are not to be missed. If you’re in Athens, book a guided tour at the Costa Lazaridi Wine Museum, on the northern outskirts of the city. On your next trip to Santorini Island, make sure you go to the Santorini Wine Museum, housed in a natural labyrinth formed inside the island’s volcanic rocks. Further south, on Crete Island, the Pnevmatikakis Winery and Wine Museum in Kissamos, Chania, offers tours and insight on the local wine- and spirit-making traditions and techniques.

Cheers to flavor!

Develop your discerning taste buts at an olive oil tasting in Mykonos.
Develop your discerning taste buts at an olive oil tasting in Mykonos. ©GNTO / S. Antimanto

Things to consider before traveling

load more

Some tips to consider while traveling

Want to know more about Europe?

Sign up to our newsletter here: