From April 19, travelers from across the European Union and five other countries, including the UK, US, Israel, Serbia and the United Arab Emirates will no longer have to quarantine upon arrival in Greece if they can show proof that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 vaccine, or present a negative result from a test taken no more than 72 hours before travel. The move comes as Greece prepares to open its tourism sector on May 14, according to Reuters.
I have been waiting for this news, since my week of cycling in Croatia was postponed to 2022.
More from Reuters: Welcoming visitors back is important to the country, as its tourism sector accounts for about a fifth of Greece’s economy. It has a population of 11 million, and Germany is its biggest market for visitors followed by the UK. GK: Since their economy has not been very strong for the past few years, perhaps they need a jump start on other tourism focused countries?
Again from Reuters: Greece is a great destination for foodies as it was named Best Food Destination in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2021. It has been promoting locally-sourced ingredients for centuries thanks to its age-old habit of growing vegetables, harvesting olives for oil and utilizing every type of produce imaginable. Over the last decade, it has increased organic food production by 51%. And today, organic markets and island seafood make it an unintentional leader of the world’s most sustainable food.
I look forward to the plentiful seafood, and the underrated Greek wines. I am somewhat familiar with the cuisine, since one of my all-time favorite restaurants was Lola in Seattle. It was a very focused Mediterranean menu, with lots of Greek dishes. I look forward to many gyros, souvlaki, saganaki, mousakka, and tzatziki. Oh, and Barry the V’s favorite, Greek salad. I also learned about the Greek dessert wine, Mavrodaphne. The Greek doughnut, or loukoumades, covered with powdered sugar or honey are a great finish to a big Greek dinner.
And the nightlife: Athenian nights are filled with music, dancing and dining. Rustic and authentic, Perivoli tou Ouranou is a rembetika club with almost palpable atmosphere. Filled with the sounds of bouzouki, pelting out traditional blues-like music, it’s at once haunting and lively. Drunk Sinatra is a lively, always busy focal point for the partying crowds, Clumsies and Baba Au Rum are consistently included in various ‘best bars of the world’ lists, and Jazz in Jazz in Kolonaki, is the best bar in Athens, but only if you’re a fan of the genre. Another one of interest is Minnie the Moocher, a 30s style hot spot, perhaps more my style.
My previous experience with Ouzo and Retsina have mixed results. Perhaps what I drank was not of sufficient quality. Also, the famous red wines, Agiorgitikio and whites, Assyrtiko interest me as well. I have tasted many Armenian versions of Raki, also with mixed results. Perhaps I will stick with beer and Greek coffee?
Suffice it to say, a good time awaits!