1. Greeks take their time.
2. They let beautiful moments linger.
3. They are passionate.
A man plays the traditional bouzouki.
4. Like their ancestors, Greeks are still thinkers (and often big talkers).
5. They live closer to nature than we do.
A man tenderizes a freshly caught octopus on a rock.
6. For Greeks, time with family and friends always comes first.
7. … and they party like it’s their last day on Earth.
8. The Romans really loved it here.
Hadrian’s Arch built for the Roman Emperor in Athens in 131 A.D.
9. As did the crusaders.
Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes built around 1309.
10. So did the Venetians.
Methoni Castle in the western Peloponnese region.
And the Turks… well, let’s just say they overstayed their welcome.
The 18th-century mosque of Gazi Hassan Pasha on the island of Kos.
11. Eighty percent of the country is picturesque mountains…
The White Mountains on the island of Crete.
12. …but the beaches are absolutely…
Porto Katsiki beach on the island of Lefkada.
Lindos beach on the island of Rhodes.
Voidokilia beach in the Messenia region of western Greece.
The western coast of Greece’s Peloponnese region.
Navagio beach on the island of Zakynthos.
13. The towns look like this…
and like this…
and sometimes like this…
but also like that.
Ermoupolis on the island of Syros.
14. The Mediterranean diet is from here.
Horiatiki (village) salad with tomatoes, feta, Kalamata olives, peppers, oregano, and olive oil — never lettuce. EVER.
…where it is best enjoyed next to the Mediterranean.
15. Greek food is so much more than souvlaki and gyros.
Clockwise: Grilled sausage and meats on the spit; fresh grilled sardines; Greek meatballs in tomato sauce with yogurt; loukoumades (honey doughnuts); portokalopita (orange pie); horta (boiled greens with lemon); and grilled squid with olive oil.
16. Feta. The real, salty, creamy, crumbly stuff.
17. Freshest. Seafood. Ever.
Fresh sea urchin roe on the island of Amorgos.
18. Figs grow wild. Lots of them. Everywhere.
19. Breakfast in Greece is something special.
Greek yogurt with pine honey and toasted nuts.
20. Coffee breaks are serious affairs.
21. They make mighty fine beer.
Alfa being the best.
22. Athens is one of the most underrated cities in the world.
A dog looks out over Athens to Lykavittos Hill.
23. Athens’ nightlife goes on till the wee hours every day of the week.
Metamatic:taf art space and bar.
24. Athens’ central market is a wonderland of delicious food.
25. The Exarchia neighborhood in Athens will never gentrify and never surrender.
Athens street protests 2011 spilling out from the leftist Exarchia neighborhood.
26. Greeks leave paradise intact, unlike their Mediterranean neighbors.
27. Over 1,200 stunning islands to choose from.
28. Most of Greece is hard to reach and that’s a very good thing.
Catch a ferry to Greece’s far-flung islands but don’t expect to be able to book online.
29. From May to September you’ll almost never see a cloud.
The island of Sifnos.
30. Mykonos is summer’s biggest beach party.
31. This unsuspecting island village is home to an even more debauched party scene than Mykonos. Any guesses?
This village parties like it’s 1999 (every night). Photo circa 1975 but not much has changed.
32. Folegandros is one of the most enchanting places on Earth.
The main village on the island of Folegandros built along a cliff to stave off pirates.
33. Lesbos is a real spot and it’s beautiful.
And yes, the word comes from there.
34. Crete has more history and landscapes on one island than some large countries have.
35. Mount Athos is still mysterious nearly 1,000 years later.
The nearly two dozen monasteries dating back to the Middle Ages hang precipitously from the peninsula’s cliffs. Sadly, women are not allowed in the area.
36. The acoustics at Epidavros will blow your mind.
Built in the 4th-century B.C., the theater seats 15,000 people.
37. Rock climbing on the island of Kalymnos is some of the best there is.
38. Yes, yes, that famous sunset from the village Oia on the island of Santorini (Thira) is OK too.
Good luck finding a free place to stand or sit.
39. The mind-boggling monasteries at Meteora.
Meteora’s Byzantine monasteries date back to the Middle Ages.
40. The Greeks saved Western civilization right here.
The burial mound of the 192 Athenians killed during the Battle of Marathon against the invading Persian army in 490 B.C.
41. This WAS Sparta.
The ruins of ancient Sparta with modern Sparta in the background.
42. Alexander the Great was from here.
43. Zeus once ruled the world from up there.
Mount Olympus in Greece’s Macedonia region.
44. The oracle worked its magic up here on Mount Parnassus in Delphi.
The oracle at Delphi.
45. …and Poseidon from down there.
Temple of Poseidon in Sounio, just south of Athens.
46. Icarus would have seen this beautiful place just before he crash-landed.
The island of Ikaria, named after the mythical figure.
47. Theater was born here.
Odeon of Herodes Atticus in Athens.
48. Philosophy too.
A statue of Plato in Athens.
49. Democracy was conceived here on this rock.
The Pnyx, Athens.
Greeks have been through a lot lately.
But the truth is while we worried about them, maybe they should have been worried about us instead.
Out of a frosty winter, a warm Greek summer awaits.