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Greece's mountainous terrain is perfect for trekking. The countryside is crisscrossed with donkey and goat tracks, and Byzantine cobbled paths link most villages. Although some of the alpine trails are a tad overgrown, most of the popular routes are well maintained. The forested Pindos mountains of Epiros, the Peloponnese and the southwest of Crete are the among the best areas for trekking. Still on terra firma, Greece is one of the cheapest places in Europe to go skiing and has around 20 resorts which provide a pleasant alternative to the glitz of the Alps. The most developed resort is on Mt Parnassos near Delphi.

The meltemi and the lakelike surface of the Aegean provide perfect conditions for windsurfing, which is the most popular water sport in Greece. Hrysi Akti on Paros and Vasiliki on Lefkada are the top spots. Although snorkelling is encouraged and well worthwhile anywhere along the coast, Monastiri on Paros, Telendos Islet near Kalymnos and anywhere off the coast of Kastellorizo are especially good places. Scuba diving is strictly forbidden, unless under the auspices of a diving school, so that underwater antiquities are protected from pilferers. Water skiing can be done on Chios, Corfu, Crete, Kythira, Lesvos, Paros, Skiathos and Rhodes.


The Greek year is a succession of festivals and events, some of which are religious, some cultural, others an excuse for a good knees-up. Gynaikratia on 8 January is a day of role reversal in villages in northern Greece. Women spend the day in kafeneia (caf├ęs) and other social centres where men usually congregate, while the men stay at home to do housework. The Greek carnival season runs through February-March over the three weeks before the beginning of Lent, and features fancy dress, feasting, traditional dancing and general merrymaking. Easter is the most significant festival in Greece, with candle-lit processions, feasting and fireworks displays. Emphasis is placed on the Resurrection rather than on the Crucifixion, so it is a joyous occasion. There are numerous summer festivals across the country, the most famous being the Hellenic Festival (mid-June to late September), which hosts drama and music in ancient theatres.

Public holidays

1 January - New Year's Day

6 January - Epiphany

February - 1st Sunday in Lent

25 March - Greek Independence Day

March/April - (Orthodox) Easter Sunday

1 May - Spring Festival/Labour Day

15 August - Feast of the Assumption

28 October - Ohi Day

25 December - Christmas Day

26 December - St Stephen's Day

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