Greece, officially the Hellenic Republic and known since ancient times as Hellas, is a country in Southern Europe and Balkans. Greece is strategically located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa. It shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, the Republic of Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north and Turkey to the northeast. Athens is the nation’s capital and largest city.
Religion: Eastern Orthodoxy
Population: Approx. 10.8 million
Official Language: Greek
Wildlife: Some of the many mammals are the fox, deer, boar, elk, wild cat, bear, badger, jackal and a rare white goat known as the Kri-Kri. Over 20 species of bats also call Greece home. Fire salamanders, Wall geckos and the Turkish Gecko are some of the lizard-like animal life. The Tree frog, the Greek tortoise, the Leatherback, and the Loggerhead are some of the amphibians. Greece is home to snakes such as the Viper, Sand viper, Lizard snake and Ladder snake. The Grey and Rough-toothed dolphin are very common. Some birds of prey are the Minerva owl, the Pilgrim falcon and the Sea Eagle; other indigenous birds include the Cuckoo, the Stork, the Bee eater and the Pelican.
Camp Locations: Bay of Lakonikos
Further Travelling Opportunities
Recommended by our partner agency in Greece, they have the following travel ideas for volunteers taking part in the program on the Bay of Lakonikos: The Archaeological Site of Mystras is now a world heritage site. It was built as an amphitheatre around the fortress erected in 1249 and since then has been conquered, re-conquered, occupied and abandoned. Now only the medieval ruins remain.
Monemvassia is a well-known medieval fortress with an adjacent town, located on a small peninsula off the east coast of the Peloponnese near Laconia. Its remains include the defensive structures and the small adjacent town and Byzantine churches. Its name derives from two Greek words, ‘mone’ and ‘emvassia’, meaning “single entrance”. Many of the streets are narrow and fit only for pedestrians.
Areopoli is the second-largest town in Mani and is one of the few areas in Greece that was not under occupation rule. The inhabitants, in the past, built their homes like small fortresses in order to feel secure. Now you will find narrow streets, majestic tours, markets and a small port.
The Lonely Planet have a great article on – First time Greece: top 10 experiences:
With its sparkling white beaches, crystalline water and venerable ancient sites, Greece lives up to all the hype. But how to approach this vast country with enough islands to suit everyone’s taste and antiquities dotting the landscape like a historical map of Western civilisation?
Most first-time visitors will arrive and depart through Athens, which makes an excellent jumping-off point or punctuation at the end of the trip, but beyond that it’s time to explore.
- Ancient Athens – An absolute must, of course, is the Acropolis, with its iconic Parthenon and the demure robed maidens (Caryatids) supporting the roof of the Erechtheion temple alongside. The modern, vast Acropolis Museum sits just below, and beautifully protects the site’s artefacts while placing them in context. Any initiation to ancient Greece should also include the easy walk from the Acropolis down to the Ancient Agora – once the focal point of administrative, commercial, political and social activity, and the spot where Socrates expounded his philosophy. It’s also a snap to loop in other top sites, such as the Temple of Olympian Zeus – its colossal columns reminding us it was the largest temple in Greece – and the Panathenaic Stadium, still in use today. Roman sites include Hadrian’s Arch and the Roman Agora with its evocative Tower of the Winds.
- Monastiraki and Plaka – An easy add-on to the walk around ancient Athens is a browse through the bric-a-brac in the daily Monastiraki Flea Market. Shoulder-to-shoulder shops and kiosks hawk a riot of souvenirs, clothes, leather goods, jewellery and burnished antiques. Head to one of the squares buried in the midst of the market, Plateia Avyssinias. It’s perfect for a quick break at bistro-like Café Avyssinia, which is tucked amid heaps of restored furniture and fascinating baubles and has Acropolis views from its top floors. Nearby Plaka offers a warren of historic streets jammed with souvenir shops.
- Coffee cultures – When in Greece, make like the Greeks and have a long, lazy, lingering and chat-filled kafedaki. In the cafes of Athens – try popular Tailor Made, on picturesque Plateia Agia Irini with its small flower market and Greek Orthodox church – or the central squares of towns throughout the islands and countryside, sitting for a coffee and a long round of people-watching and gossip is a pastime not to be missed. Order a Greek coffee, either plain (sketo), with some sugar (metrio) or super-sweet (glyko), and watch the world go by.
- Santorini (Thira) – Ravishing Santorini lives up to the postcard-perfect photos you’ve seen, perhaps calling you to Greece in the first place. Beauty and fame have a price: Santorini is jammed with visitors in high season. But the rest of the year it’s much more peaceful, so it’s easier to get an unobstructed view of the striated ochre cliffs cradling the caldera. Find a spot on one of the multihued volcanic beaches (black, red, white!) or grab a seat for one of its glorious sunsets, ideally in the little town of Oia, the white frosting on the tip of the island.
- Mykonos and Delos – Mykonos is the land of glitz, glam and 24-hour parties. Whether bronzing at one of the chic beach clubs such as aptly named Paradise and Super Paradise, promenading through the maze-like streets of Mykonos Town (Hora) dressed to the nines, or dancing the night away at places like open-air Cavo Paradiso, come ready to party, and bring a bankroll to match. Ironically, one of Greece’s most treasured ancient sites, Delos, sits on a small island offshore. The mythical birthplace of twins Apollo and Artemis (two of the most important ancient Greek gods), Ancient Delos is a shrine turned sacred treasury and commercial centre.
- Island hopping in the Cyclades – The super-famous islands draw visitors from far and wide every year, but it’s well worth adding at least one other island to the mix…pick one that takes your fancy. Or better yet, island-hop around the Cyclades for a classic adventure! Each island has its own character, and a visit to places like the wonderful, volcanic Milos, precious, princess-like Sifnos, raw, countrified Serifos or fertile, mountainous Naxos (to name just a few) adds enormous breadth to a first-time trip.
- Hydra – if time is short and you don’t have the luxury of extended island hopping, head straight from Athens to tiny Hydra, the catwalk queen of the Saronics. Hydra is a delight that awaits just an hour and a half from the main port of Piraeus. Its picturesque horseshoe-shaped harbour town with gracious stone mansions stacked up the rocky hillsides is known as a retreat for artists, writers and celebrities. There are no motorised vehicles (apart from sanitation trucks), leading to unspoilt trails along the coast and into the mountains.
- Festivals – Throughout the year festivals dot the Greek calendar. Ubiquitous Saints Days occur year-round from small village to big city. Carnival (also known as Apokreas) is a time for dress-up and parades; Patras Carnival is the most famous. The fabulous, suitably famous Greek Easter is a week-long springtime celebration. And the main summertime event is the Hellenic Festival, when the exquisite ancient Theatre of Epidavros and Athens’ Odeon of Herodes Atticus (right by the Acropolis) are the headline venues of this cultural feast with a top line-up of local and international music, dance and theatre.
- The long lunch – You haven’t lived the Greek life, and certainly not had a full summer experience, until you’ve partaken in the ‘long lunch’. Ideally, you’d have a table-full of friends and family, but even with a smaller group, while you’re in Greece be sure to head to a seafood taverna and dine al fresco. Sip endless afternoon ouzo accompanied by a continuous parade of mezedhes (small dishes): meatballs, zucchini balls, grilled octopus, taramasalata (fish roe dip) and more. Lazy laughter with a continuous feast in the beauty of the Greek outdoors, ideally beachside…nothing compares. Top food islands are Lesvos (Mytilini), Corfu, Crete and Tinos. But really, you can’t go wrong!
- Beaches – What would a trip to Greece be without some serious beach time? An embarrassment of riches, Greek beaches range from Santorini and Milos’ multihued volcanic rocks to Kefallonia and Lefkada’s broad, vast sweeps of soft sand or small white stones. The waters of Sifnos sparkle like rainbows. Paros is known for world-class kite surfing. Little Kythnos has a double-sided beach, arcing out into the sea. Greece is a land for beach connoisseurs – sample broadly, and form your own opinions.
Read more: here
TOURIST WEBSITE LINK: www.visitgreece.gr