Historic Hotels of Europe, Hotel Esperas Santorini, Oia, Santorini Island, Greece. Mansion hotels and luxury seaside accommodation in Santorini, Greek islands.
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Historic Hotels of Europe, Hotel Esperas Santorini, Oia, Santorini Island, Greece. Mansion hotels and luxury seaside accommodation in Santorini, Greek islands.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
Awarded with the Historic Hotels of Europe Most Romantic Hotel Award for 2015!
Read More than ouzo: a drinker’s guide to Greece by Lonely Planet
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
A trip to Greece isn’t complete without a sip or three of ouzo, the local aperitif which adds an aniseed haze to many a balmy evening. But in a country with ancient wine culture, burgeoning brew houses and homemade brandy by the barrelful, there’s more than one way to quench your thirst.
So gather around, oenophiles, brew fiends and the hangover-immune: here’s your ultimate drinking guide to Greece.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
H Κρήτη εντάσσεται στην παγκόσμια λίστα με τους 10 καλύτερους τουριστικούς προορισμούς για περπάτημα για το 2016, σύμφωνα με σχετικό δημοσίευμα της Telegraph.
Η λίστα με τους 10 καλύτερους τουριστικούς προορισμούς για περπάτημα για το 2016 περιλαμβάνει:
1. Ποτάμια και κάστρα του Λίγηρα, (Γαλλία): (Chaumont, Cher- Montrichard- Chenonceau -Montlouis,Amboise, Chateau de Chaumont, Chateau d' Amboise, Σπήλαια des Roches κλπ.).
2. Κρήτη: (Αίολο- πατρίδα του θεού των ανέμων, μοναστήρι της Χρυσοσκαλίτισσας,ερείπια της Λισσού, την πόλη των Χανίων,το Φαράγγι της Ειρήνης κλπ)
3. Δρόμος προς Λα Γκομέρα ( έκτο μεγαλύτερο νησί των Καναρίων Νήσων): (Garajonay, το Green Valley , Benchijigua Valley, το Guanimiar Barranco, παραλία της Playa Guancha, η πόλη του El Cercado κλπ.)
4. Στ. Εμίλλιον και Λα Ροσέλλε (Γαλλία): ( Chateau Trescher, Charente-Maritime, La Rochelle, Brouage, La Rochelle Vieille Ville κλπ.)
5.Κόστα Ρίκα (Ισπανία) και Νικαράγουα (χώρα της Κεντρικής Αμερικής): ( Braulio Carrillo National Park , τροπικό δάσος La Selva κλπ.)
6.Ακτή Αμάλφι ( Ιταλία): (Ravello, Praiano,,τους κήπους της Villa Cimbrone, το κάστρο Torre dello Ziro, το ακατοίκητο μοναστήρι San Domenico κπλ).
7. Πανοράματα των ελβετικών Άλπεων ( Ελβετία): (οικισμός της Gschwantenmad, Bernese Oberland Massif, υπαίθριο μουσείο του Brienzwiler με τα παραδοσιακά αγροτικά κτίρια της Ελβετίας κλπ.)
8. Μονοπάτια της Garden Route (Νότια Αφρική ): (το βουνό Table ,το εθνικό πάρκο Addo Elephant National Park ,διάσημα οινοποιεία της χώρας σε Stellenbosch και Franschoek ).
9. Από το Πόρτο προς Σαντιάγκο Ντε Κομποστέλα: (περίπατο στο Ponte de Lima, ποταμό Minho κλπ.)
10. Τοσκάνη (Trail Tuscan Trail )-περιοδεία της ATG στην Οξφόρδη: (Ξενάγηση σε Volterra, Σαν Τζιμινιάνο , Colle Val d' Elsa , Monterigionni κλπ.)
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
Τη νέα βάση της στη Βενετία EasyJet εγκαινίασε τη Δευτέρα, 1, Φεβρουαρίου, η Easy Jet.
Η χαμηλού κόστους εταιρεία θα διατηρεί στο αεροδρόμιο Marco Polo της Βενετίας ένα στόλο τεσσάρων αεροσκαφών Airbus A319 και πρόκειται να προσφέρει πτήσεις προς Μπορντώ, την Πράγα, τη Μύκονο και τη Σαντορίνη.
Αυτή η νέα βάση θα επιτρέψει easyJet «να μεταφέρει 2,2 εκατομμύρια επιβάτες από και προς τη Βενετία το έτος 2016», δήλωσε ο Francis Ouseley, Διευθυντής Ιταλίας της Easy Jet, σύμφωνα με την διαδικτυακή ενημερωτική επιθεώρηση econostrum.info.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
Sweden often gets held up as an example of how socialism can work better than markets. But, as Norberg shows, Sweden’s history in fact points to the opposite conclusion.
Once upon a time I got interested in theories of economic development because I had studied a low-income country, poorer than Congo, with life expectancy half as long and infant mortality three times as high as the average developing country.
That country is my own country, Sweden—less than 150 years ago.
At that time Sweden was incredibly poor—and hungry. When there was a crop failure, my ancestors in northern Sweden, in Ångermanland, had to mix bark into the bread because they were short of flour. Life in towns and cities was no easier. Overcrowding and a lack of health services, sanitation, and refuse disposal claimed lives every day. Well into the twentieth century, an ordinary Swedish working-class family with five children might have to live in one room and a kitchen, which doubled as a dining room and bedroom. Many people lodged with other families. Housing statistics from Stockholm show that in 1900, as many as 1,400 people could live in a building consisting of 200 one-room flats. In conditions like these it is little wonder that disease was rife. People had large numbers of children not only for lack of contraception, but also because of the risk that not many would survive for long.
As Vilhelm Moberg, our greatest author, observed when he wrote a history of the Swedish people: “Of all the wondrous adventures of the Swedish people, none is more remarkable and wonderful than this: that it survived all of them.”1
But in one century, everything was changed. Sweden had the fastest economic and social development that its people had ever experienced, and one of the fastest the world had ever seen. Between 1850 and 1950 the average Swedish income multiplied eightfold, while population doubled. Infant mortality fell from 15 to 2 per cent, and average life expectancy rose an incredible 28 years. A poor peasant nation had become one of the world’s richest countries.
Many people abroad think that this was the triumph of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, which somehow found the perfect middle way, managing to tax, spend, and regulate Sweden into a more equitable distribution of wealth—without hurting its productive capacity. And so Sweden—a small country of nine million inhabitants in the north of Europe—became a source of inspiration for people around the world who believe in government-led development and distribution.
But there is something wrong with this interpretation. In 1950, when Sweden was known worldwide as the great success story, taxes in Sweden were lower and the public sector smaller than in the rest of Europe and the United States. It was not until then that Swedish politicians started levying taxes and disbursing handouts on a large scale, that is, redistributing the wealth that businesses and workers had already created. Sweden’s biggest social and economic successes took place when Sweden had a laissez-faire economy, and widely distributed wealth preceded the welfare state.
This is the story about how that happened.2 It is a story that must be learned by countries that want to be where Sweden is today, because if they are to accomplish that feat, they must do what Sweden did back then, not what an already-rich Sweden does now.The Father of Swedish Liberalism
In 1763 Anders Chydenius, a young priest from Österbotten in Finland (then part of Sweden), sat down to write his contribution to an essay contest. The question he would answer was the most important in Sweden at the time: “Why do so many people leave Sweden?” Emigration had increased and was seen as a big problem. The common interpretation was that people were lazy and greedy, and instead of assuming responsibility and working hard, they were tempted by promises of an easier life abroad.
Chydenius’s response was the opposite. There is nothing wrong with emigration, he wrote. The problem is the oppressive and corrupt system that makes it impossible for people to stay in Sweden and build a good life there. In detailing all the abuses, regulations, and taxes that destroyed opportunity, Chydenius outlined a radical laissez-faire critique of the Swedish government. He showed that privileges, license requirements, and trade prohibitions protected a small lazy aristocracy and stopped hard-working people from making their own luck. High taxes confiscated whatever they managed to create; a corrupt justice system made it impossible for them to win against the powerful; and restrictions on the press made it illegal for them to complain about it. “Fatherland without freedom and merit is a big word with little meaning,” he pointed out.
Chydenius was a modern priest, steeped in Enlightenment ideas. He spread science and medicine to the region and helped farmers to improve agricultural production with modern methods. He was also familiar with the French Physiocrats’ economic ideas. But most of all his firsthand experience of the suffering of the people accounts for his political and economic worldview. Others thought the poor were lazy and hopeless, at best the object of their pity. Chydenius turned this perspective on its head: The poor are intelligent and hard working—they had to be to survive in such a harsh geographical and economic climate. The problem was that they had to devote most of that energy and hard work to avoiding regulations, taxes, and corruption. Therefore one thing he struggled persistently against was class legislation, which forced the poor to work for the aristocrats and big farmers, and prevented them from changing employer or negotiate over wages.
Chydenius looked at particular cases of oppression, extending this belief in human liberty to new areas and universalizing it to create a consistently libertarian system of ideas. He wanted a minimal state that guaranteed the “security of our lives and properties,” with its only task to being prevention of “foreign violence and domestic oppression.” Apart from that, the government shouldn’t intervene. The size of government and taxes should be drastically reduced. Markets and trade should be completely free. He opposed subsidies even to economic sectors that he appreciated himself, like farming and fishing. According to Chydenius, even government had to abide by the Seventh Commandment—not to steal. Farmers should be given complete property rights to their land, and even the poorest peasants should be given control of their own labor. The country should open its borders and allow people to move freely to and from Sweden/Finland. People should be free to discuss ideas and make up their own minds. Even in matters of religion, he thought that the government should be liberal and give the same rights to all beliefs. “I speak exclusively for the small, but blessed word, freedom,” he concluded.3Drama in Parliament
What made Chydenius a pivotal figure in Swedish political history was that he was an activist and not just a theoretician. His defense of local farmers’ right to trade freely made him popular, and his region’s priests elected him to parliament. In 1765-66 he traveled to Stockholm, where he made a lasting mark on his country. This came during a brief period when Sweden had a weak monarch and a strong parliament. In 1765 the anti-Russian “hat party” lost power to the “caps,” who were a bit more interested in peace and restraint in government spending, but had no coherent ideology. Chydenius was about to give them one. (The mercantilist, pro-war camp in parliament derided their opponents as “nightcaps”, and in contrast they started calling themselves “hats”. The names stuck.)
Because of his political talent and several well-formulated pamphlets that he published while in parliament, Chydenius became a leader for the non-aristocratic wing of the cap party. This led to successful parliamentary votes for trade liberalization, reduced subsidies, and lower taxes. Most important, Chydenius managed to win support for a freedom-of-the-press statute, abolishing censorship in Sweden. As a result, the authorities’ decisions and documents were made public. That was unique to the world in 1766, and Sweden earned a reputation for being a country where debate was free.
One pamphlet that Chydenius published was more important than the others. The National Gain was a short but forceful argument for economic freedom. Chydenius explained why a free market is self-regulating because the profit motive and the price mechanism keep us all in check and stimulates us to help others by producing the kind of goods and services they want most:
On these simple observations of the power of the price mechanism and the self-regulation of the free market, Chydenius built his worldview of economic liberalism. It was the invisible hand 11 years before The Wealth of Nations, and Chydenius has indeed been called “the Nordic Adam Smith.” According to Eli Heckscher, one of Sweden’s most famous economists in the 20th century, the pamphlet would probably have gained an impressive international reputation if it had been translated into a major language at that time.
Chydenius’s radicalism alienated the nobility within his own party, and he was actually thrown out of parliament by the party because he criticized their monetary policies openly. But his influence continued to grow, partly because the monetary policies led to a crisis, just as he had warned. Several of the most important figures in the cultural elite, who were close to the King Gustaf III, were heavily influenced by Chydenius’s thoughts. That goes for Nils von Rosenstein, an enlightenment proponent who led the Swedish Academy; and the famous poet Johan Henrik Kellgren, who attacked religious mysticism and conservatives in his plays and poems, and explained why the market should be liberalized in economic essays. Von Rosenstein and Kellgren even started an organization, with themselves as the only members, to mock the occult and superstitious organizations of late 18th-century Sweden. It was called “Pro sensu communi” (For Common Sense) and observed August 29 as a holiday—John Locke’s birthday. Their view was that human beings were rational creatures who need to think for themselves to understand the world and decide how to live; therefore coercion should be abolished since it forces us to act against our own rational conclusions.
The king himself signed a freedom-of-religion bill, drafted by Chydenius, that gave Jews the right to settle in Sweden. He also gave farmers more control over their land and liberalized agricultural trade. But the king also ended the era of strong parliament and centralized power in himself. After he was murdered in 1792 by a strange conspiracy between nobles’ who fought for their privileges and some who were inspired by the French Revolution, his son, Gustaf IV Adolf, used these powers to censor political debate and suspend parliament. But liberal ideas weren’t dead. Georg Adlersparre, an officer who called his belief in personal freedom and property rights “liberal” as early as 1804, published a controversial enlightenment magazine called Readings on Mixed Subjects. And it was mixed, indeed. Poems and philosophical studies were published next to articles about the need to liberalize the alcohol industry and the first Swedish translation of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. Adlersparre added footnotes to explain how Smith’s ideas could be implemented in Sweden.A New Opposition
When the king’s policies led the country to stagnation and conflicts with Russia, Denmark, and France, Swedes grew increasingly hostile to his rule. Taxation and inflation put even heavier burdens on the people. In late 1808 the Swedish military had to abandon the eastern half of the country—Finland—to attacking Russian troops. The resentment against the king who couldn’t wage war but refused to make peace grew even in military circles. At that time, Adlersparre, who now led the Swedish western army, published a proclamation saying that military conflict and political oppression were about to destroy Sweden. It was a revolutionary manifesto: To save the country, the army should move against the king. Adlersparre and his troops began a popular march toward Stockholm. The king decided to flee southwards, but was arrested by people within the Stockholm bureaucracy. To make sure that this also led to real political changes, Adlersparre continued the march and the army occupied Stockholm until a new parliament was assembled and reforms began to be implemented.
This was the Revolution of 1809—the only violent revolution in Sweden’s modern history, and it was initiated by a liberal officer and publisher inspired by Adam Smith.
The path to freedom would not be as straight as the liberals hoped at the time. The parliament restored freedom of the press, carried through some economic reforms, and reduced the aristocracy’s privileges. But the liberals, now united in the Liberal Party, were disappointed—and even more so when Sweden got a new king. Always eager to make friends with the strongest powers around, the Swedish Parliament chose one of Napoleon’s generals, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte (soon to be Carl XIV Johan), as the new king. He surprised everybody by making peace with Russia (he abandoned Finland but took Norway from Denmark) and also by being hostile to enlightenment ideals and further reforms. The liberals were once again in opposition. However, the fact that the revolution had restored Chydenius’s free-speech statute meant that debate was relatively free and that a genuine liberal movement could be formed.
Influences from France and England continued to build support for libertarian ideas in the early 19th century. Land reforms had given farmers property rights to their land. Agricultural production grew more efficient, while many people had to leave the land. The unemployed and the poor moved to the cities, only to find that the industries with the potential to grow and provide jobs were stopped by antiquated policies. Local guilds controlled the urban professions and made all decisions about who had the right to work and what to produce of which quality and at what price. Rules and regulations stopped the iron and forest industries from expanding, and a lot of imports and some exports were simply forbidden. As a result, opposition to economic controls grew by the day.
A growing group among the nobles also began to see the problem with a society built on privileges and hierarchies. At the same time, a middle class began to emerge. Farmers who grew richer with increased production, urban merchants who began to make some progress, and civil servants who were neither nobles nor merchants did not feel at home in the old structure or in the corporatist parliament with its four estates: nobles, priests, merchants, and farmers. Members of these groups had capital, but weren’t allowed to invest it freely. They had ideas, but weren’t free to implement them.The Architect of Change
These groups began to find one another in the early 19th century. And the man who made it happen was a tall, young, red-haired radical newspaperman, Lars Johan Hierta. Hierta was a successful businessman, always fascinated by the latest technologies, and in the end he became one of the richest men in Sweden because of his business ventures. He was also a politician, always trying to build an opposition alliance in the parliament. But most important, in 1830 he founded Aftonbladet (the Evening Paper), the first modern Swedish newspaper, a bastion of Swedish laissez-faire liberalism and the first publication to attack not just abuses of power, but political power as such.
Hierta launched Aftonbladet with the last of his money—had it failed he would have been ruined. But it was a stunning success. The revolutionary Adlersparre was the first supporter and sponsor. It was the first Swedish newspaper to combine news and advertising, and as an evening paper, it could report on the news that arrived with the morning mail. Because of Hierta’s sense of humor, the paper was satirical and fun to read amidst all the serious criticism. InAftonbladet, the growing middle class could read the first real “social reports” on how the country was doing: the destitution in rural areas, the horrible conditions in the crowded urban centers. But they could also read about the solutions—liberalization and industrialization. Aftonbladet pointed to more liberal countries as positive examples: Norway, England, France and the United States. On his wall, Hierta had a copy of Trumbull’s painting of the signing of the American Declaration of Independence—a declaration Hierta called “the most beautiful truth and foundation for a society”.
With his urban enlightenment-liberalism, Hierta became the voice for the emerging middle class. His first proposal in parliament—dealing with public drinking—says a lot about his worldview. At that time it was illegal to be drunk in public. Hierta thought that this was class legislation, since only the poor were ever caught by the police. He argued that being drunk shouldn’t be illegal as long as the drinker threatened no one’s life or property. Hierta’s political career was dedicated to extending that libertarian principle to new spheres. He believed in total freedom of speech, the general franchise, and equal rights for women. His basic principle was that no group should be allowed to “take money out of others’ pockets,” and he always tried to reign in government spending. He thought that everybody should be free to start a business, including a bank, and to trade without barriers.
This phrase about not taking money out of other people’s pockets was often repeated in liberal circles. Chydenius had a similar expression : No one should be allowed to stand on the shoulders of others. It summed up the liberal ideology’s central point—equality before the law, government should not take sides. All privileges that guaranteed or denied certain people a position or trade should be abolished. Everybody should have the same rights and should be treated the same. This also set a natural limit to the kind of government intervention they could accept. Anything that benefited a group at the expense of others was ruled out. The government should instead deal with the kinds of public goods that benefited the entire society. Law and order was something everybody agreed upon. Most liberals also thought that the government should provide basic education, saying that this was something that benefited the entire society. Some infrastructure was also included. Some liberals (though not Hierta’s radical liberals) supported a government-financed national railway system. But even those who did so said that this was only because it benefited the entire country; the local train routes that benefited particular regions or cities should be financed and built privately.
Hierta’s liberalism was founded on natural rights espoused by John Locke and the French and American revolutions, but he frequently combined this approach with utilitarian arguments from Jeremy Bentham and the classical economists. Authors who combined those two traditions, like the French economist Frédéric Bastiat and Richard Cobden and John Bright of the Manchester School, were especially popular with Hierta, and he introduced their ideas inAftonbladet. Swedish liberalism is distinctive in that it brought together different traditions and ideas rather than following one line of thought all the way. (Some would argue that this is characteristic of the Swedish mentality.)
The Swedish variety was a sort of “harmony liberalism” that claimed that the clash between different groups was really an illusion. All groups and classes could make progress together as long as privileges were abolished and people were allowed to make a living and a profit only by serving one another in the free market. This was the political version of the Enlightenment idea of progress, and it got help from classical economics. When Adam Smith explained that it is not from the benevolence of the butcher that we expect cheap and good meat, but from his self-interest, it was more than an economic statement; it was a worldview, a way of saying that the butcher is not my enemy. If all trade were voluntary we wouldn’t enter any deal unless both parties expected to benefit. Together, we can make progress and improve the world.
Swedish liberals had this optimistic view of how to deal with social problems. The old safety nets of the guilds had only given security to a small group of people. When they were abolished, the liberals wanted to see self-help groups in which workers and families voluntarily organized education and savings for sickness, unemployment, and pension funds. That would not merely help people materially, but also develop a sense of responsibility and an ability to manage one’s own affairs.
Other opposition newspapers could be threatened or bought into silence, but the regime understood that Aftonbladet was something different, a potential leader of the formerly dispersed opposition forces. In the parliament farmers and merchants used arguments from Aftonbladet to push for reform. As a result, in 1835 the government used an old law from the last war to shut it down. But with the help of other individuals, Hierta had acquired permission to start more newspapers, so when Aftonbladet closed, he simply opened The New Aftonbladet. And when that was shut down, he created The Newer Aftonbladet. That was followed by The Fourth Aftonbladet, the fifth, the sixth, and so on.
The episode gave Aftonbladet a huge boost, and Hierta became a celebrity and a hero to many. The hard conservatives said that the only way to beat him was to strike down hard and outlaw new papers, but the government didn’t dare to do that in the light of Hierta’s popularity. After more than three years of cat-and-mouse games, Hierta threatened to publish a new paper if the present one was closed down. Fearing a violent reaction from the public, the government silently dropped the old law without even a decision in parliament. Freedom of the press was reinstated, and everybody could see that the government could be beaten.A Movement
Step by step, the strength of the opposition grew. It got support from popular poets and authors like C. J. L. Almqvist, who also wrote aggressive liberal articles for Aftonbladet; Fredrika Bremer, who explained that Jesus was the first liberal, since he was in favor of individual rights; and E. G. Geijer, the famous conservative who abandoned his friends in 1838, explaining that the modern world, with its trade, industrialization, and open debate, seemed like a miracle, which through more democracy and freer markets could be brought it to everybody. Authors like Bremer and Geijer introduced religious values into Swedish liberalism. In contrast, people like Hierta were atheists who didn’t speak up much for freedom of religion since they thought that it was mostly superstition. The next generation of liberals saw freedom of religion as one of the most important reforms.
Libertarian views were always strong among the farmers in parliament. In fighting for a more democratic system, secure property rights to the land, and the freedom to trade, they naturally ended up on the liberal side. For a time, opponents called the majority in the farmer’s estate “the political economists,” accusing them of being more interested in theoretical economic liberalism than practical politics.
In the merchant estate the picture was mixed. A new group of businessmen who wanted economic freedom to compete and to create challenged the old establishment, which wanted to protect their trades from competition. As time went by, the new group grew and soon controlled of the estate.
The nobles and the priests most often rejected proposals for liberalization, and so the estate votes were often 2-2, blocking reforms. But among the nobles the mood was also beginning to change. A group of “moderate liberals” got more influence as opinion in the country shifted and as Swedes learned about the positive results from industrialization in other countries. Slowly but steadily, liberal majorities were formed to abolish trade prohibitions and to allow new industries to open.
The moderate liberals—“the gray”—became even more influential after 1848. The revolution in France scared the king, Oscar I, and the nobility. It helped them to understand that the problems of development were pressing and that something had to be done to avoid a revolution in Sweden as well. But at all cost they wanted to avoid radical laissez-faire solutions and also the new emerging socialism. They found their solution in the moderate liberals, who believed in liberalization to modernize the country, but they advocated reform not revolution and were not hostile to the king as such. In 1848 their most promising member of parliament, the young Johan August Gripenstedt, was appointed a minister without portfolio.
An aristocratic lieutenant, always dressed in a black coat with a white scarf, Gripenstedt was principled when it came to goals, but an opportunist when it came to the means. He had been to France and discovered Bastiat’s ideas, which became an important influence in his struggle for free trade and free markets. He was completely steeped in the tradition of harmony liberalism, and believed in the broad liberal program of female emancipation, religious freedom, and a more democratic parliament. But he was a tactician. When the climate shifted in a conservative direction, he didn’t press for his ideas and didn’t complain publicly when liberal friends were forced to leave government.
But Gripenstedt was biding his time. He was a skilled politician, who knew how to build alliances and deal with difficult events. He made himself indispensible for the government and the king, and the stronger the liberal movement grew, the more important it was for the establishment to have a strong liberal politician in the government. Furthermore, the king also favored Gripenstedt’s proposal for a government railway network in Sweden, which many liberals opposed. In 1856 the next king, Karl XV, promoted Gripenstedt minister of finance.
The liberals worked on two fronts. In government Gripenstedt pushed reforms whenever he had a chance. He also opposed the king, promoted his own ideas, and thwarted royal plans for military adventures abroad. The stronger Gripenstedt got, the more risks he could take. He had strong support from the popular Handelstidningen (the Trade paper) in Gothenburg under the effective editorship of S. A. Hedlund. At the same time, outside government, Hierta and the more radical liberals constantly pushed for more and complained that Gripenstedt and the government didn’t liberalize further. That gave Gripenstedt more room to maneuver, using the threat from outside as an argument against the king and the more conservative forces in government. Mild reforms led to an improved economy and more jobs, which led to acceptance of more reforms. Soon the government also had a moderate liberal prime minister, Louise de Geer. Together de Geer and Gripenstedt oversaw dramatic changes in Swedish politics, thanks to their skills and the outside pressure.
It is no exaggeration to say that Sweden experienced a nonviolent liberal revolution between 1840 and 1865. The guild system was abolished, and anybody could now start a business and compete freely. The regulations that had stopped the development of the timber and iron industries were lifted. Sweden got a joint-stock company law as early as 1848. Banks were allowed and interest rates were deregulated. Free immigration and emigration were instituted (and more than one million Swedes soon left for America). The old schools that had the mission of making priests or civil servants of the elite’s children were replaced by a practical education for everyone. Freedom of the press and religion were dramatically expanded. Women won the rights to own and inherit property, get an education, and make a career.
And just before Gripenstedt had to leave the government because of health problems (probably malaria), he assured that his reforms would be long-lived. After the free traders had managed to abolish the trade prohibitions and lower the tariffs dramatically, Gripenstedt arranged for Sweden to join the free-trade treaty between France and Great Britain in 1865—a treaty with a most-favored-nation clause, which gave each participant maximum access to the others’ markets. Trade barriers all over Europe fell. Gripenstedt was also instrumental in abolishing the old parliament based on the four estates and creating a new, more democratic parliament.The Result
When Gripenstedt left the government, his critics said he was a coward who got out just when people would begin to see the destructive consequences of his liberal policies. They predicted that foreign competitors would ruin Swedish industry and that without government control of business, there would be enormous problems with quality and coordination. When people in rural areas were allowed to open shops, the critics of liberalism said, the cities would be doomed because farmers would have no reason to go there buy things.
Rarely has a forecast been so embarrassingly wrong. Two hundred years after Chydenius’s first public appearance, Sweden was one of the richest countries on the planet, and the moment Gripenstedt stepped down was the precise moment when this economic transformation got going. The real earnings of male industrial workers increased by around 25 percent per decade between 1860 and 1910, and life expectancy increased by 12 years. In total the real earnings increased by 170 percent in those fifty years, much faster than the 110 percent in the next fifty years. And as late as the turn of the century, central public expenditure in Sweden was around 6 percent of national income.5
Liberalism had transformed Sweden completely. A society that used to be rigorously controlled—in which all occupations were thoroughly regulated and trade with other countries was practically forbidden—suddenly opened the floodgates of creativity that had been pent up for centuries. Creativity was now rewarded, not penalized. Open markets and a minimum of regulations meant that capital could flow to the best ideas and that companies were free to hire and fire. The old trades were mechanized, and Sweden could now export what it did best to Britain and other countries in exchange for imports that Sweden couldn’t produce as well.
Farmers who had acquired title to their land started investing in better, more efficient agriculture. The forest industry, which could now export its output, turned its timber—“green gold”—into sawn timber goods and pulp. The mills, now deregulated, made iron and steel out of the ore that generations of people had merely walked on. Craftsmen, liberated from the ancient guild system, began competing by means of new solutions, new goods, new designs, and lower prices. Production was electrified in factories that could now mass-produce goods that even the poor could afford. When banks and corporations were permitted, capital was channeled to the most efficient producers, and Swedes started to invest in new machinery and methods capable of producing more and better goods.
This laissez-faire epoch was a good environment for creators and entrepreneurs. It engendered one of the loveliest words in the Swedish language: snilleindustrierna—the “genius industries,” meaning businesses founded on an ingenious invention, or the development of one, producing on a massive scale and largely for export. Once the way was clear for borrowing, hiring, producing, and selling, the road from idea to idea-based enterprise, from genius to genius industry, became very short.
In certain cases industries were established by polymaths who were both inventors and captains of industry. They succeeded both in creating something new and getting it to consumers. Lars Magnus Ericsson invented an automatic telephone exchange and founded L. M. Ericsson. Sven Wingquist invented the self-regulating ball bearing and created SKF. Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and built up Nitroglycerin AB (later Dyno Nobel), and Gustaf Dalén invented a flashing apparatus for lighthouses and founded AGA. Some entrepreneurs commercialized other people’s inventions: Axel Wenner-Gren, for example, built up Electrolux by introducing vacuum cleaners and refrigerators into Swedish homes.
It was at this stage that the wheels began to spin on which Sweden rolled into the future. One success came hard on the heels of another. The country now had growth and could do more. Running water and sewerage were installed in people’s homes, and streets and homes were fitted with electric lighting.
In 1857 Gripenstedt gave two dramatic speeches explaining that with free markets, access to foreign markets, and modern infrastructure, Sweden, one of the poorest European countries, could become one of the richest. He was ridiculed by the opponents, who called the speeches naïve “flower paintings.” But Gripenstedt had the last laugh. As noted, between 1850 and 1950, Swedish income per capita increased eightfold, as the population doubled. Infant mortality fell from 15 to 2 percent, and life expectancy increased by a whopping 28 years.6“Everybody Is a Liberal Nowadays”
The liberal movement had succeeded, but it was about to fall victim to its own success. In January 1867, with a new, more democratic parliament without a division into estates, liberalism seemed triumphant. Lars Johan Hierta, the oldest member of parliament, delivered the welcome speech in which he celebrated the reforms and warned the members not to come up with new ideas on how to take money from the people. One commentator said: “Now there are no parties. Everybody is a liberal nowadays.”7
But in a way, this posed problems for classical liberals. It seemed as though they had finished their agenda. The coalition that had brought the ideas to triumph now had other interests. This could be seen in the new parties that were formed in parliament. People around the old liberal government started a Ministerial Party, with the goal of defending the reforms but not to go much further. A smaller group started the Neoliberal Party, which was economically liberal and wanted to go extend their principles to cultural and political issues, including more rights for women, more extensive rule of law, and more democracy. The dominant new party was the Rural Men’s Party, a party for farmers that had liberal elements and wanted to reduce taxes and give more power to those outside the Stockholm establishment.
Ominously, the liberals split up among all those parties. Gripenstedt and moderate liberals joined the Ministerial Party. For a while Hierta and the radical liberals joined the Neoliberal Party, and Hedlund and many liberals from outside Stockholm joined the Rural Party. This meant that all parties were influenced by liberalism, and a liberal government still called the shots—but it also meant that liberalism was no longer one coherent, effective force working for one common goal.
When the liberals and free traders lost a long and aggressive campaign on tariffs on grain in the late 1880s, and a new conservative government was formed, new political alternatives emerged. Economically, the tariffs didn’t mean much. They were not adjusted for inflation and so became smaller every year in real terms, and the continued reduction in transport costs more than offset the loss from the tariffs. Sweden’s exports and imports continued to grow every year. But the tariffs had more serious political consequences.
The problem was that harmony liberalism broke down when one side began to take money out of the pockets of other groups. Everybody then had an interest in trying to get rewards and privileges for himself. Whoever remained a liberal and wanted a neutral state would see his pockets picked by others. A recent commentator explained that “After the victory for protectionism, the parliament was drowned by a wave of suggestions that had in common that they all wanted the government to be active both here and there.”8
The liberal movement began to change as a result. The natural sympathy of many was with the poor and the workers. Now that the government had betrayed them by increasing the cost of their bread, they must strike back. It now seemed more important to extend the franchise since the people wanted free trade, but had lost in an undemocratic parliament. Some liberals, however, drew another conclusion: Since the government benefited producers with tariffs, it was now time for a counterattack on behalf of consumers. Some wanted to import Bismarck’s social-security ideas and became “social liberals.”
At the same time, the conservative alternative, which had been seen as dead for more than 20 years, was reborn in a more modern, pro-business, pro-tariff version. Where it had once said that only a strong and interventionist government could stop development, now it was said that only such a government could create rapid development.What the Social Democrats Did
But the strongest new force was the socialists, and interestingly they were organized on a free-trade platform. In 1889 the Social Democratic Party was founded, and one of its demands was “No to hunger tariffs.” It complained that the elite had called on the government to destroy equality before the law by helping business and farms, and therefore the workers shouldn’t be content with just waiting for the rewards of economic growth. They should also ask the government to step in on their side.
These diverse interests meant that, on the whole, the liberal system lived on. Conservatives and social liberals fought for private property and fiscal discipline, and they collaborated to steer Sweden clear away from socialism. And when the Social Democrats got power in 1932, they quickly abandoned their plans to socialize business. Their leaders thought that an increase in production was essential to pay for their reform programs and became impressed with the liberal economy’s ability to deliver. They were also heavily influenced by a generation of independent liberal economists like Gustaf Cassel and Eli Heckscher, who considered Anders Chydenius an intellectual forefather. Interestingly, a few prominent Social Democrats were actually among the most consistent economic liberals and free traders in Sweden.
More than other countries, Sweden held on to free trade, which was necessary for a small economy dependent on both imports and exports. The Social Democrats and the trade unions allowed old sectors like farming, shipping, and textiles to pass away as long as new jobs were created. They settled for a more cautious policy of keeping the market free to create wealth, allowing the process of creative destruction to do its work, and only later distribute (a growing) part of that wealth. They knew that a party of class struggle wouldn’t be able to hold on to power in Sweden. Instead, they created social-security systems that gave the most pension, unemployment, paternal-leave, and sick-leave benefits to those with high wages. Most benefits were proportional to the amount paid in, so the wealthy middle class would have an interest in supporting the system.
Regulations were adapted to benefit the biggest industries—for example, as labor regulations were introduced, exceptions could be made as long as the trade unions agreed, which they often did when it came to the biggest export businesses. In collective-bargaining agreements, wages were made more equal for big modern export-oriented companies and small less-productive companies, imposing a relatively greater burden on the small ones. When taxes were raised they were often on consumption and hence regressive so as not to interfere with the incentives to produce.
It began as a cautious policy. In 1950 Sweden was one of the richest countries in the world. The total tax burden was still just 19 percent of GDP—lower than in the United States and in other European countries. It did not surpass 30 percent until 1965. It was an open economy with a small government that produced these amazing results, with a little help from having stayed out of two world wars.
In his history of economic policy in Sweden, economist Johan Myhrman concludes that despite a growth in government, these policies continued:
Yes, Sweden today has another reputation. But that came later. In the 1970s, with coffers filled by big business and heads filled with ideas from the international turn to the left, the Social Democrats began to expand social assistance and regulate the labor market. Public spending almost doubled between 1960 and 1980, rising from 31 percent to 60 percent of GDP, and high taxes accompanied them.
For a while Social Democrats could travel the world and talk about how they were able to have both big government and high incomes—but only for a time, because this was also the moment when the model began to run into problems. The average growth rate was halved to 2 percent in the 1970s, declining further in the 1980s, and that was before the big crisis in the 1990s. The currency had to be devalued five times to keep industry competitive, by a total of 45 percent. In 1990, the year before a serious economic crisis in Sweden, private enterprise had not created a single net job since 1950, but the public sector had increased by more than a million employees.
While the knowledge and service economy made it more important to invest in human capital, high marginal tax rates on personal income reduced individuals’ incentives to invest in their education and skills. Generous benefits for those not working eroded the work ethic, and a country with one of the healthiest populations became one of the countries with most people off sick from work.
The alliance among big government, big business, and big labor made Sweden less flexible. Encouraging investments in big industry worked well, as long as there was little need for innovation. Once that changed, the system ran into trouble and the lack of growing small- and medium-sized businesses became a real problem. The companies that did exist didn’t grow, partly because of the risks and costs of rules that prevented the firing of workers.
The most important Swedish companies are still those that were born during the laissez-faire period before the First World War. In 2000 just one of the 50 biggest Swedish companies was founded after 1970. Meanwhile, services that could have become new private growth sectors, like education and health care, were monopolized and financed by the government.
From 1975 to 2000, while per-capita income grew by 72 percent in the United States and 64 percent in Western Europe, Sweden’s grew by no more than 43 percent. In 1970 Sweden was the fourth richest country in the OECD’s ranking by per-capita income. In 2000 Sweden had fallen to 14th.
As the Social Democratic finance minister Bosse Ringholm explained in 2002:
It was not socialist policies that turned Sweden into one of the world’s richest countries. When Sweden got rich, it had one of the most open and deregulated economies in the world, and taxes were lower than in the United States and most other western countries. The Social Democrats kept most of those policies intact until the 1970s, when they thought that those excellent foundations—unprecedented wealth, a strong work ethic, an educated work force, world-class exports industries, and a relatively honest bureaucracy—were so stable that the government could tax and spend and build a generous cradle-to-grave welfare state on them.
They couldn’t. At least not without costs. Because that welfare state began to erode the conditions that had made the model viable in the first place. And the fourth richest country became the 14th richest within three decades.
Things have looked up a bit since for this small Nordic country. In the 1990s Sweden had another important reform period in response to sluggish growth and a severe banking crisis. Both Social Democrats and center-right parties contributed when marginal tax rates were reduced; markets for finance, electricity, telecom, and media were deregulated; the central bank was made independent; the pension system was reformed partly with personal accounts; private providers in health care and elderly care were welcomed; and a school voucher system was introduced. During the last few years, Swedish governments have reduced taxes substantially, from 52 to 44 percent of GDP, and abolished taxes on gifts, inheritance, wealth, and housing.
Sweden has yet again increased exports, created private-sector jobs, and seen economic progress that has outpaced the rest of Europe. Sweden has managed the financial crisis much better than most other countries, and public debt is around 30 percent of GDP. But that’s another story—though not entirely, because present-day Swedish liberalization and liberalizers have often been inspired by the history of Swedish individuals, reforms accomplished 150 years ago, and the unprecedented prosperity that they produced. A statue of Lars Johan Hierta has been erected in central Stockholm and a Social Democratic speaker of parliament has proclaimed Anders Chydenius one of the greatest pioneers in the history of the Swedish parliament. On the wall of Finance Minister Anders Borg’s office hangs a portraits of Gripenstedt and Chydenius—“the father of Swedish wealth,” according to Borg.
When Sweden liberalizes again, it will be going back to the future. That background—and that future—are the most important lessons from Sweden to the rest of the world.
As Anders Chydenius wrote almost 250 years ago, in the essay contest entry that got Swedish liberalism off to an impressive start: “That which our time tramples on, posterity will pick up, and that which is now called boldness will be honored in the name of truth.”
This essay was syndicated by AtlasOne, a project of the Atlas Network.
NotesVilhelm Moberg, Min svenska historia, 1971, p. 72. ↩For the whole background, see my history of Swedish liberalism, Den svenska liberalismens historia, Timbro, 1998. ↩A collection of his most important essays have recently been published as Anders Chydenius, Anticipating the Wealth of Nations (ed. Maren Jonasson & Pertti Hyttinen. Routledge, 2011). ↩Anders Chydenius: The National Gain, London: Ernest Benn Limited 1931. Translator unknown. <http://www.chydenius.net/historia/teokset/ekansallinenkoko.asp> ↩Mauricio Rojas, “Sweden After the Swedish Model,” Timbro, 2005, p. 17. ↩Anders Johnson: Entreprenörerna : Sveriges väg till välstånd. Stockholm: Svenskt Näringsliv, 2002. ↩Gudmar Hasselberg: Rudolf Wall – Dagens Nyheters skapare. Stockholm: Bonniers, 1945, p. 232. ↩Svenbjörn Kilandet: Den nya staten och den gamla. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International, 1991, p. 205 ↩Johan Myhrman, Hur Sverige blev rikt. SNS, 1994, p. 160. ↩
Johan Norberg is a freelance free-marketeer and the author of several books, including the award-winning In Defense of Global Capitalism, which was translated into around 25 languages. His most recent book is Financial Fiasco. He has produced several television documentaries, including “Globalisation is Good,” “Overdose” and “Free or Equal?” He is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
IT was early August, and clouds of tear gas drifted through much of Athens, the remnants of protests against austerity measures. But the country’sfinancial woes seemed far from the minds of the smartly disheveled young Greeks packed onto the roof terrace of the newly opened Fragile bar in Salonika, about 320 miles north of the capital. T-shirt-clad art students shouted over a mix of vintage doo-wop and ’90s alt-rock, or ducked into the covered bar area, which evoked a vaguely postal theme, its corkboard-lined walls cross-hatched with packing tape
“We wanted something simple, and we did all this alone — everything, there was nothing here,” said Mirsini Linou, 24, as she drummed on the raw wood bar. In July, Ms. Linou opened the space in the up-and-coming Valaoritou area, hiring friends as bartenders and D.J.’s. Fragile is one of several creative, no-frills night spots that have opened in Salonika in the past few months, joining a bevy of recently launched cultural sites and creative projects in Greece’s second city. Even as their country teeters on the brink of default and struggles with debt, Salonika’s youth are embracing a do-it-yourself ethos resulting in a wave of arts and night-life venues that they hope will hold up in tough times.
The youth movement is building on rich historical foundations. Salonika, which lies on the northern edge of the Thermaic Gulf, is the capital of the Greek region of Macedonia (not to be confused with the Republic of Macedonia). Punctuated by palm trees and relics of antiquity, mazelike city streets open to century-old marketplaces, where ripe produce, freshly dismembered livestock and an extravagance of spices still form the city’s commercial heart.
Historically one of Europe’s oldest and most multiethnic cities, Salonika (called Thessaloniki in Greek) is home to architectural marvels that testify to its centrality in Byzantine, Ottoman and Sephardic Jewish history. The city is anchored by Aristotelous Square, where curved, columned facades open to the waterfront in one direction and frame views of the historic Ano Poli (Upper City) in the other.
Though it has only about one million people, compared with Athens’s five million, Salonika is widely considered the cultural capital of Greece. Festivals abound, most notably the International Film Festival, which draws hoards of film buffs to the city each November (this year Nov. 4 to 13). It has also produced many of the country’s most acclaimed bands, visual artists and designers. Yet despite Salonika’s vibrant cultural output and young population — students number around 150,000 — over the past few decades, its municipal leadership grew increasingly conservative, withholding support from projects that veered from its entrenched brand of Macedonian monoculturalism.
Last year, though, Yiannis Boutaris, a tattooed, quick-witted former winemaker who turns 70 in January, won the mayoral election by about 350 votes, making him the city’s first Socialist-backed mayor in 24 years. Mr. Boutaris quickly shook up the stagnant government, appointing a young staff that set to work opening up and re-examining the city’s multicultural legacy.
“I think people were looking to be liberated from something that’s so restrictive and narrow-minded,” said Marina Fokidis, a curator of the city’s third Biennale of Contemporary Art, which opened in September and runs through Dec. 18. “Somehow we have to understand our hybrid tradition if we want to have a future.”
For the biennale, exhibitions have been installed in long-ignored Ottoman and Jewish landmarks. Contemporary works that address the modern Mediterranean’s mesh of cultures are on display at Yeni Djami, a former mosque built for a community of converted Jews; the Bey Hamam, an Ottoman-era bathhouse; and Alatza Imaret, a 15th-century Ottoman mosque and hospice once famed for its colorful minaret. (Most of Salonika’s more than 40 minarets were demolished during the Balkan Wars in the first part of the 20th century or collapsed during the fire that destroyed much of the city in 1917.) The biennale also extends to Salonika’s five major museums, including the State Museum of Contemporary Art, which houses the Costakis Collection, one of the world’s best assemblages of Russian avant-garde art.
The newest wave of culture makers in Salonika includes Sfina, a self-appointed “urban prankster network” that instigates flash mobs in public spaces. One performance stunt by the group, who were inspired by the French Marxist Guy Debord, involved forming long lineups behind random, unsuspecting people. A more conventional approach is taken by the eco-conscious design firm 157 + 173, which, since making its debut in summer 2010, has garnered attention for its offbeat minimalist housewares (lamps, clothes hangers) that are equal parts Bauhaus and Miró.
Then there’s the nonprofit Dynamo Project Space, which opened in 2009 in an old warehouse, with the intent of giving a platform to emerging local artists, architects and designers. The group is one of the engines behind the reinvigoration of the Valaoritou district. Once a manufacturing hub, Valaoritou has recently seen large-scale gentrification, and part of Dynamo’s mission is to offer working space to struggling artists priced out of the area. Its almost 2,600 square feet includes rooms for exhibitions and seminars, studios, a library, an open archive of artist portfolios and an art shop.
“Salonika was in a process of decline and introversion long before the crisis,” said Apostolos Kalfopoulos, the director of Dynamo. “To overrun this, bottom-up, D.I.Y. initiatives had already emerged in the city, and now they are blossoming.”
The night spot that best embodies this grass-roots vibe might be Coo, a cafe, bar, music space and gallery that also has its own radio station and record label, home to quirky experimental acts, from ambient pop to electronica. Run by a collective, Coo opened its doors last October and quickly became a go-to spot for Salonika’s hard-partying artistic set. During a recent visit, everyone there seemed to be involved in some kind of off-center cultural project.
Christos Douras, a bartender at Coo and a dead ringer for Zach Galifianakis, moonlights as a musician under the name Babis Batmanidis, performing what he calls “a kind of traditional Greek music mixed with cult-satirical performance.” His uproarious live shows incorporate elements of skyladika, or “dog songs” — an ’80s kitsch style developed by Middle Eastern immigrants living in Greece. (He said that, based on a blasphemy provision in the Greek penal code, he is being prosecuted by the city’s chief of police for distributing a gig poster in which Mr. Douras was depicted as a Greek Orthodox angel over the phrase, “Satan will take you.”)
Another new arrival is Cocktail Bar, which opened this May in a disused office building in a semiderelict business district known more for its prostitutes than its white-collar workers. Its five owners (four are under 30) renovated the airy industrial space themselves, decorating it mostly with materials left by the previous tenants: the sleek concrete bar is propped up on cinder blocks, and the walls are lined with slate-hued cardboard. The owners themselves tend bar, serving seasonal house-recipe cocktails made with mostly organic ingredients. The crowd — teenage stoners, aging hipsters, dressed-down professionals — is as eclectic as the soundtrack, which ranges from deep house to Armenian pop to gangster rap.
“Maybe people used to drink five drinks and now they have two or three,” said Koureas Grigoris, a 38-year-old former photographer who owns two of Salonika’s best-loved rock bars, Urban, on the popular night-life stretch of Zefxidos Street; and the tiny, perpetually crowded Xena Diafora (Greek for Compilation of Foreign Music). In July, he opened a third spot, Kantina Tropicana, in a converted fabric market. Though the bar is regularly packed, Mr. Grigoris said the numbers are not always reflected at the register. “But it’s O.K.,” he added. “It’s better to have a place full of people who want to be out and listen to the music. Not everything’s about money.”
IF YOU GO
Dynamo Project Space (Typou 5; 30-2310-522-672;dynamoprojectspace.blogspot.com)
State Museum of Contemporary Art (Kolokotroni 21, Moni Lazariston; 30-2310-589-149; greekstatemuseum.gr)
157 + 173 (Ernestou Emprar 13; 30-2311-249-854; 157-173designers.eu)
Fragile (Valaoritou 29; 30-6982-964-834)
Cocktail Bar (Polytexneiou 17a; 30-2310-524-242)
Coo (Vasileos Irakliou 4; 30-2311-274-752)
Kantina Tropicana (Egnatia 31; 30-2310-539-727)
With over 6000 islands, roughly 230 of which are inhabited, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to going on holiday to Greece for some sun, sea, and sand. As well as countless beautiful beaches, each island is slightly different with a character of its own. Read on to find out more about each destination, and see if our ultimate guide can encourage you to pick the right one for you and your loved ones this summer.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
1. CorfuMain attractions: Greek Easter, Old Fortress in Corfu TownWho goes: families, couples, groupsBest for: sandy beaches, traditional villages, festivals
Corfu was one of the first Greek islands to open up to tourism, and is the most visited. Located in the Ionian Sea to the north of the Greek mainland and surrounded by abundant greenery, it offers you over 57 beaches to chose from: organised ones with sunbeds and water sports to little coves hidden away.
Venetian style architecture in the island's capital - Corfu Town - makes you feel as if you're in Venice, whilst the villages inland and small fishing villages on the coast give the island a more traditional flavour. If partying is more your style, the coastal town of Kavos is famous for its 18 to 30 scene and hedonistic atmosphere. Expect resident and sometimes famous guest DJs with partying continuing well into the early hours.
Fans of local festivals will love the Festival of Traditional Village Pie, where local women share their cookery skills in the Village Square, or there's Greek Easter, where only on Corfu on Easter Saturday, locals throw clay pots of water onto the streets below to cleanse it in preparation for the resurrection of Jesus. You are sure to find a festival that suits your tastes.
2. CreteMain attractions: Samaria Gorge, SpinalongaWho goes: hikers, families, couplesBest for: hiking, beaches, history
The largest and southernmost of all the Greek islands, Crete is famed for its mild year round climate, history of the Minoan culture, stunning beaches and the famous Samaria Gorge, which attracts hikers worldwide. Should you tire of the numerous sandy, pebbly or hidden cove beaches on offer, some with sunbeds and water sports, many hidden just waiting to be discovered, then the Venetian port towns of Chania and Rethymno, with their old cobbled streets, mosques, ancient fortresses and lighthouses are waiting to be explored.
Spinalonga is the historical island that was once a leper colony, situated offshore from the fishing town of Plaka, made famous by the Victoria Hislop novel The Island. It's possible to take day trips here and feel the haunting atmosphere of the still standing houses in ruins.
The famous national park of Samaria Gorge - 16km in length and offering an abundance of flora and fauna - guarantees that Crete is the perfect choice for hikers, particularly in the autumn months. While the town of Malia offers Club 18 to 30 partiers a good option, with its beach for relaxing on during the day and endless choice of nightlife. Crete really does have something for everyone.3. KefaloniaMain attractions: Myrtos Beach, lake cave of MelissaniWho goes: families, couples, groupsBest for: sandy beaches, traditional coastal villages, natural wonders
The largest island in the Ionian chain, Kefalonia is blessed not only with world famous sandy beaches such as Myrtos Beach - filming location for Captain Corelli's Mandolin, but also lush green forest and traditional fishing villages. Due to its size you'll be spoilt for choice with beaches that rarely get horrendously overcrowded. Much of Kefalonia was destroyed in the 1953 earthquake, but the quaint fishing town of Assos, with its colourful buildings covered in the trademark bougainvillea, pebble beach, sixteenth-century Venetian castle and olive groves, retains much of its original splendour.
The cave of Melissani near the town of Sami has a 20 to 30 metre deep lake inside, surrounded by its own forest system. It makes for an alternative day trip, together with the stalactite and stalagmite cave of Drogarati which, due to its fantastic acoustics, occasionally hosts cultural events. With flights and holidays from many UK airports, Kefalonia is easily accessible year round.4. KosMain attractions: the Asklepieion in Kos Town, numerous sandy beachesWho goes: windsurfers, families, groupsBest for: beaches, history, windsurfing
Located in the centre of the Dodecanese chain of islands, very near to the Turkish coast, Kos attracts repeat tourists every year due to its sandy beaches (attractive for families), vivid nightlife (popular with groups), and rich history. The Asklepieion, an ancient medical centre located in Kos Town built around the third century BC, is considered to be the most important archaeological site on the island.
If it's a beach holiday you're after, you can choose between the many well equipped ones fronting luxury hotels to the more secluded coves, some even naturalist whilst the beaches of Mastihari, Kefalos, Agios Stefanos, Psalidi and Lambi, due to their location, offer excellent windsurfing opportunities with schools in situ. If you tire of the beach, families can take their children to the Waterpark Lido close to Mastihari village.
The 18 to 30 crowd will appreciate the resort town of Kardamena with its non-stop party scene, but due to its size and year round charter flights, Kos really is an island to suit all tastes with traditional inland villages, smaller resorts, historical sites and party atmosphere.5. LefkadaMain attractions: Porto Katsiki Beach, Lefkada Sea LakesWho goes: independent travellers, couples, nature loversBest for: quiet, tradition, exotic beaches
In the Ionian chain of islands, above Kefalonia, Lefkada is easily accessible from the Greek mainland by bridge. Nicknamed the Caribbean of Greece due to its paradise sand and impossibly blue waters, the island is very fertile with dense forests, and mountainous; the highest peaks rising over 3,000 feet.
There is a choice of over 21 beaches, but Porto Katsiki remains the most popular with its magnificent landscape of towering white cliffs and green vegetation as a contrast to the turquoise waters where you'll see various private yachts anchored offshore.
As it offers no airport, Lefkada remains wonderfully underdeveloped to mainstream tourism. Expect traditional fishing villages such as Sivota, which has one of the most beautiful bays on the island, and many fish tavernas to choose from.
Nature lovers will enjoy the famous Lefkada Sea Lakes; two lagoons near the town of Lefkada which offer their own ecology, a plethora of wildlife, and some rare birds. If you're looking for a quiet holiday with stunning beaches surrounded by nature and tradition, Lefkada is for you.6. MykonosMain attractions: sunsets, beachesWho goes: groups, couples, partiersBest for: nightlife, beaches, luxury hotels
The Cycladic island of Mykonos is one of the most famous in Greece. People worldwide come year after year for its sunsets, beaches, cosmopolitan atmosphere and energetic nightlife. Almost all beaches in Mykonos are organised and offer sunbeds and water sports. The south coast has the best with crystal clear waters and white sand. Their popularity, combined with the party scene of Paradise and Super Paradise Beach, does mean that they get extremely overcrowded in the summer.
The white windmills dotted around the island stand out as a symbol of Mykonos's rich agricultural past. No longer in use, they make interesting viewing with their pointed wooden roofs, while some have been turned into museums.
The famous Mediterranean sunsets are best viewed on a sunset cruise, and afterwards sample the nightlife that Mykonos is so famed for. From lounge bars, to atmospheric, trendy and wild nightclubs where celebrity DJs regularly perform, you may well rub shoulders with the rich and famous; there is no segregation here and anything goes. This paves the way to a choice of many luxury boutique hotels. Mykonos is truly a cosmopolitan choice of holiday destination.7. RhodesMain attractions: Rhodes Old Town, beach resortsWho goes: couples, families, history loversBest for: history, beaches, tradition
The largest of the Dodecanese islands, Rhodes boasts over 300 days of sunshine yearly, and has one of the best-preserved medieval old towns in Europe. Rhodes Town is the capital, divided in two. The Old Town is fortified with imposing palaces, Gothic style churches and is a testament to the chequered history of Byzantine, middle ages and Turkish rule. Nowadays you'll find many coffee shops within its walls, as well as quaint boutique hotels to suit all costs.
Rhodes is slowly shaking away its 'drink and party' reputation, and with over 40 beaches to choose from, you can't go wrong if it's a beach break you're after. Try Saint Paul's Bay for sand, and Prassonisi on the south coast for top notch windsurfing. Charming beach villages such as Lindos, with its whitewashed churches and dominated by an acropolis atop the town's hill, entice visitors, and there's no escaping the delicious Greek cuisine; meat or fish all prepared with locally grown vegetables, herbs and locally produced olive oil as well as a variety of wine made on the island.8. SantoriniMain attractions: sunsets, volcano toursWho goes: couples, history lovers, cruise destinationBest for: romance, tradition, tours
Santorini, or Thira as it's also known, is renowned for being the most popular Greek island, and one of the most romantic destinations in the world. Part of the Cycladic chain, a submerged volcano is what remains today as part of one of the world's biggest volcanic eruptions nearly 3,500 years ago. Nowadays you can expect to find stunning villages perched on the caldera with architecture so typical of the Cyclades; colourful houses, whitewashed domed churches and windmills.
ΤThe town of Oia sits at the northernmost part of the caldera, or volcano, which is also linked to the mythical city of Atlantis. You will find plenty of bars, restaurants and couples who come to watch the sun set in a dramatically romantic fashion into the Aegean Sea - Santorini boasts some of the best sunsets in the world.
Athough not famous for its beaches, you will certainly find something different on Santorini, the most iconic being Red Beach with its black and red volcanic pebbles, and warm water. If it's romance you're after, you can't go wrong with a holiday to Santorini.9. SkiathosMain attractions: sandy beaches, medieval castleWho goes: couples, families, groupsBest for: secluded beaches, nature, scuba diving
Where forest meets beach, Skiathos is the lush island of the Sporades chain. Head to the south of the island, either by car, bus or boat for the golden coastline and choose from a wealth of beaches such as Koukounaries, which is big enough for an organised and unorganised section, or Banana beach with a small naturist cove next to it.
Not to be missed is a boat trip to Lalaria Beach and its medieval castle - expect to see sheer white cliffs plunging into the blue seas, while the adventurous can hike to what's left of the castle overlooking the beach. Skiathos is one of the Greek islands that can offer good opportunities for scuba divers. You'll see shipwrecks, reefs and labyrinthine caves, and if necessary, diving courses are also offered.
Nightlife tends to be centred around Skiathos Town where a good selection of bars offer both traditional and more modern nights out. If it's a beach holiday you're after with the option to combine it with watersports, followed by a relaxing drink or party, Skiathos is your island.10. ZanteMain attractions: shipwreck, Blue CavesWho goes: groups, families, couplesBest for: beaches, cave trips, turtles
Zante - or Zakynthos - is the second most visited Greek isle after Corfu, and is the island famous for the photos with the shipwreck on the beach. Navagio Beach, as it's known, is accessible only by boat and attracts visitors worldwide. It offers luxurious blue waters, towering cliffs and excellent snorkelling opportunities. One can also combine a day trip here with the opportunity to visit the Blue Caves of Volimes; a selection of dramatic caves and arch structures that reflect the waters below with the skies above, creating an amazing natural phenomena
The soft sands and clean waters of the southern coastal beaches attract the caretta caretta(loggerhead sea turtles), and they can be found here in breeding season, unique to Zakynthos. Meanwhile, Laganas Beach is the biggest on the island, and the one that attracts the most holidaymakers with its many beachfront bars and hedonistic nightlife.
Zante tends to be a perfect package holiday destination, but one can still find tradition amongst the inland villages. For a quieter evening stroll, many head to Zante Town, the capital with its collection of tavernas and more local bars.
Now that you're armed with our ultimate guide to the top 10 Greek islands, you just need to browse our collection of cheap travel deals and discounts to get you there for less. Don't miss offers from Monarch, Love Holidays and First Choice, which all specialise in holidays to Greece.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
The National Hellenic Museum will host U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Richard Allen Posner on Thursday, January 28, for a discussion on Greek philosophers and their influence on America’s political system.
Posner, a longtime member of the U.S. Court of Appeals and the most cited legal scholar of the 20th century, will discuss the impact of Greek philosophers, Aristotle in particular, on America’s founders, law and institution. Aristotle is generally regarded as one of the most influential ancient thinkers in a number of philosophical fields, including political theory.
The discussion, one of a series of events the National Hellenic Museum is holding this winter in support of “The Greeks” exhibit at The Field Museum, provides a timely reminder of democracy’s roots during this presidential election year, said Elizabeth Martin, the museum’s executive director.
“Judge Posner is one of our country’s most acclaimed and influential legal scholars,” said Martin. “It’s such a gift to have him here to offer his keen insight into the enduring impact of the great philosophers of Ancient Greece.”
Tickets are free for students, $15 per person, $10 for members, and are available at the museum’s website.
Judge Posner is an influential legal theorist, judge, author, and senior lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. He helped found the law and economics movement, which argues that the primary goal of law should be outcomes that are economically sensible and efficient rather than “just.” He was the founding editor of the “Journal of Legal Studies” and the “American Law and Economics Review,” and has written 30 books, including ones on the Clinton impeachment and Bush vs. Gore, and more than 300 articles and book reviews.
Did you know that almonds are very common in Greek cooking? As an American of Greek descent, I actually didn’t have a lot of exposure to the nut until I got older. Our family’s special baklava recipe, for example, uses walnuts and not almonds. Since then, I’ve had Greek baklava that’s contained almonds, pistachios, walnuts, or a combination of all three. While visiting Greece, I realized that the nut is much more prevalent in the cuisine than I had originally believe. As it turns out, Greece is one of the world’s major produces of almonds, particularly in Magnesia near Almyros.
These small hotels and campsites, all set in gorgeous locations, strike just the right balance between being child-friendly and appealing to parents who don’t want to feel like they are holidaying in a giant creche
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
Ekies All Senses Resort, Chalkidiki, Greece
This could be the perfect retreat for stressed parents who need spoiling. For a start, it’s in lovely Greece, but there’s no need to endure a ferry journey, as it’s on the mainland, with low-cost flights to Thessaloniki, 80 minutes away. With a juice bar beside the (heated) pool, open-air spa, calm beach, treehouses, hammocks, playground, restaurants or meals on demand, and secret coves to explore by boat, it makes for a super-relaxed break.Hotel Liotopi, Olymbiada, Halkidiki, Greece
In a lovely sandy bay, right beside the promontory where Aristotle was born 2,400 years ago, sits the small town of Olymbiada and the Hotel Liotopi. It’s not one of those places that offers all kinds of child diversions – clubs, toys, pools and so on – simply a charming, laid-back, classic family hotel. Owner Loulou is the grand presence, always appearing from the kitchen at opportune moments bearing a plate of delicious cakes or some local delicacy. Outside, beyond the garden, is the beach. You could sit on the terrace of Liotopi’s sister hotel, the Germany, run by Loulou’s brother Dmitri, and be a few feet from the children playing in the sea. Older kids can go off and explore the woods behind, or the rocky headland where Aristotle’s grave is said to be lost. The home-cooked food, incidentally, is superb.
The most beautiful of the Santorini Island secrets are the places where the soul remains intact, away from the stunning views of the Caldera. Such is the Atlantis Books bookshop; a hidden corner that no one suspects unless one is literally "read”. This haven full of books is considered one of
The ancient classics can still teach us about love, politics, history and legend. We pick the must-reads
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
Best antiquity books of all time (clockwise from top left): Homer, The Last Days of Socrates, Pindar, The Politics by Aristotle
During 2016 the Hellenic monopolistic Aviation group of Aegean, attached with Olympic, which was delivered by MIG without a fight, is indeed engaging in business "maneuvers" in a highly competitive International Aviation field.
I’ve been fortunate in my career as a presenter to travel to some of the more remote parts of the world – so at first glance, to make a programme that focuses on Greece might seem an odd decision. In many ways Greece is a known concept – the tourist industry has introduced millions of us to the country. We love the weather, the islands, the way of life.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
Best for beaches - Zakynthos
The Ionian Islands can't be beaten for sandy beaches backed by dramatic coastlines. Myrtos Beach on Kefalonia and Porto Katsiki on Lefkada are among the most photogenic, but Shipwreck Bay on Zakythos, only accessible by boat, trumps them both - even if it does get a bit crowded.
"Visitors to Zakynthos should avoid the boozy corners of the south coast and stick to the beautiful, unspoilt north and mountainous west of the island," says Telegraph Travel's Joanna Symons. "Or base yourself on the pine-forested Vasilikos peninsula in the south-east, most of which has been protected from large-scale development because of the loggerhead turtles that breed on Gerakas beach."
Gerakas itself is "a perfect curve of golden sand", she adds. "Those turtles know how to pick a good spot."
Best for families - Corfu
"If I could give a child a gift, I'd give him my childhood," said Gerald Durrell, the author and conservationist, shortly before his death in 1995 - a ringing endorsement for Corfu, where the Durrells spent four years from 1935-39. Much has changed since then, but away from the excesses of Kavos in the south, you'll still find idyllic, sleepy spots. "Tourist development is quarantined on certain coastal patches, and once inland you really seem to be on another island, even another era," says Marc Dubin, our Corfu expert. Family-friendly accommodation is ubiquitous - follow this link to see our guide to the best villa holidays and tour operators for 2015.
Lemnos, Paxos, Paros, and Kefalonia are other great options.
Best for history and culture - Delos
The birthplace of Apollo, according to mythology, Delos boasts some of the most extensive remains from the golden Hellenistic age (and earlier) of classical Greece. The entire island - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - consists of ruins, which have been systematically unearthed since 1872, including temples, statues, mosaics and a theatre.
It is not possible to stay on the island, visitors arrive by boat from nearby Mykonos, which is the best Greek island for...
Best for hotels - Mykonos
Greek hotels have a reputation for being rustic - not so on trendy Mykonos, which has some of the most stylish boutique properties around. Marc Dubin, our Greece expert, recommends Cavo Tagoo, near Hóra. "Built atop an abandoned quarry in 1985 by owner-architect Paris Liakos, then renovated thoroughly in 2007, this 'barefoot chic' complex set the standard for all the cutting-edge lodging that followed," he says.
Best for food - Crete
Crete's southerly location gives it the longest growing season in Greece. It produces a surfeit of edible goods - you'll even find avocados and bananas.
Marc Dubin says: "Crete has figured prominently in the revival in Greek cuisine, drawing on such local ingredients as flavoured rusks, fresh or cured meats, wild edible weeds and of course rakí or tsikoudiá, the famous local distilled clear spirits made from grape pressings in October." His guide to the best restaurants on the island can be found here.
Telegraph Travel's Jane Foster adds: "Agrotourism is catching on in Greece, especially on Crete, and a working farm is the best place to sample authentic regional cooking." See her guide to the best food and wine holidays in Greece.
Best for wine - Kefalonia
There's wonderful wine to be quaffed in Crete and Santorini, but we're plumping for Kefalonia, whose Robola winery is responsible for the tipple of choice of drunken Father Arsenios in Louis de Bernières' classic novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin.
Best for peace and quiet - Koufonissia
Jane Foster's pick is hidden away between the larger Cycladic islands of Naxos and Amorgos.
"Koufonissia (plural) is made up of two tiny islets, Ano Koufonissi (Upper Koufonissi) and Kato Koufonissi (Lower Koufonissi), which are separated by a 200-metre sea channel," she says. "While Kato Koufonissi remains uninhabited, Ano Koufonissi, with its whitewashed Cycladic cottages, has a buzzing little community of 366. Locals live mainly from fishing – it is claimed that there are more boats than residents – there are no real roads and hardly any cars, so everyone either walks or cycles. Before 1980, there was no electricity either, and it is only over the last decade that Koufonissi has become a popular escape with Athenians in search of an unpretentious and inexpensive summer holiday. It's much loved by yachters too, who moor up their sailing boats along the seafront, to unwind after visiting the noisier and glitzier islands of Santorini and Mykonos."
Best for eco-warriors - Hydra
Hydra, which shot to fame in 1957 as location for Boy on a Dolphin, starring Sophia Loren, "remains endearingly time-warped," says Marc Dubin. "As a listed architectural reserve, all new construction is (theoretically) banned, and it’s blissfully free of motor vehicles except for a few miniature rubbish trucks – photogenic donkeys (or mules) do most of the haulage. The clip-clop of the beasts' hooves on marble pavement and their drovers' cries are very much part of the soundtrack here."
Best for hiking - Andros
There are wonderful walks all over mountainous Andros, the most northerly of the Cyclades.
John Gimlette, a regular contributer to Telegraph Travel, recalls a trip back in 2000: "We marched along ancient pavements bounded by massive stone-panelled walls. We stumbled into orange groves or splashed along streams colonised by terrapins and operatic frogs. Then we climbed into great, crackle-dry valleys, home only to pine martens. Finally, we clambered up through almond groves and mulberry forests to the Panachrantos monastery. Once, 300 monks had lived here, but only two remained, living in a state of blissful decrepitude. They collected our donations in a Roman centurion's skull, but never thrilled to our presence."
Best for couples - Symi
Santorini is a strong contender, but Symi gets our vote. It has one of the most picturesque harbours in the country, crowded with pastel-coloured houses, bars, tavernas and chic boutiques, and dozens of tiny beaches accessible only by boat.
Francesca Syz calls it a "rugged gem with a harbour of crumbling neoclassical mansions. It offers a wonderful local experience and some of the best food on the Greek islands." She recommends staying at the British-run Old Markets hotel.
Best for alternatives - Skyros
Skyros, the most remote and undeveloped of the Sporades Islands, is a hotspot for holistic holidays. Telegraph Travel's Sophie Butler recommends Atsitsa Bay, which offers yoga, sailing, life-coaching, music, sketching, painting, singing, dancing and various drop-in activities. See skyros.com
Best for traditional island life - Karpathos
"Karpathos - midway between Rhodes and Crete - has been in and out of the holiday brochures for years and never quite hit the big-time," explains Robin Gauldie. "As a result, it's a haven for peace-seekers, with pretty beaches and coves (some accessible only by boat), good walking in dramatic scenery, and quirky villages."
Best for villas (and monasteries) - Skopelos
On a Greek island holiday, cool, stone-floored villas are infinitely preferable to hotels. Skopelos, the setting for the film adaptation of Mamma Mia!, has some wonderful options. Telegraph Travel's Oliver Smith suggests Villa Aetoma, a 10-minute drive from Skopelos Town, and bookable through Ionian & Aegean Island Holidays.
Skopelos is also known for its monasteries. There are dozens scattered around the island, including perhaps 10 on Mount Palouki, on the south-east corner of the island. They make for a perfect ecclesiastical crawl — what more innocent, life-affirming activity could there be?
Best for views - Santorini
Kastellorizo, Greece's easternmost island, is utterly gorgeous, but it's hard to look beyond Santorini.
"It's best approached by sea," says Marc Dubin. "As your arriving craft manoeuvres over the impossibly midnight blue waters of the caldera, the sheer lava cliffs of the caldera lip, layered in varicoloured rock, loom overhead, with white houses on top like a dusting of snow. It’s one of the spectacles of the Med, as is the reverse practice of staring out over the caldera waters from up top – something not lost on the strangely assorted clientele of honeymooners, cruise-ship patrons and backpackers."
Best for Bond fans - Nisyros
Several Greek islands have found fame thanks to film - including Skopelos (Mamma Mia!) and Amorgos (The Big Blue). James Bond fans should head for Nisyros, however, whose spectacular volcano appeared in Moonraker.
Best for gay travellers - Lesbos
The word lesbian is derived from the birthplace of the poet Sappho, noted for the expressed affection for women in her work. Subsequently the island, and the town of Eresos, where she was born, are popular with gay travellers. The island has an abundance of good beaches and restaurants, says Marc Dubin. "The best of the former, on the south-facing coast, are Skala Eressou (which is a full-on resort) and Vaterá, which is much quieter," he says. "Good restaurants are scattered across the island; some of my favourites are Ouzeri Ermis, in the Epano Skala district of the main town, Mytilini; Baluhanas, in Perama, on the Gulf of Gera; the central taverna in Petri hamlet, near Molyvos; and the long-running Captain’s Table, in Molyvos itself."
Best for nightlife - Rhodes
Kos, Corfu and Mykonos all stand out in this regard, but we'll plump for Rhodes. The resort of Faliraki has a bad reputation, but things are infinitely more refined in Rhodes Town. "Head to the fast-changing old-quarter bars around Platía Aríonos and along Miltiádou", suggests Marc Dubin.
Best for watersports - Lefkada
Large bays and consistently blustery winds attract droves of sailors and windsurfers to Lefkada, with the coastal towns of Vassiliki and Nydri popular spots for hiring boats and boards. The island has plenty more to recommend it, from its glorious beaches to its sleepy interior - the gorgeous former capital of Karya is a particular highlight.
Best for religious history - Patmos
"Tradition (and Friedrich Hölderlin’s famous 1802 poem “Patmos”) asserts that St John the Evangelist (O Theologos in Greek) penned the New Testament’s Book of Revelations on Pátmos just after 95AD," says Marc Dubin. "Though lately scholars reckon he was a completely different individual than the author of one of the four Gospels. A millennium later, the monk Khristodoulos founded the imposing fortified monastery of the saint on the island’s summit."
This monastery is the main attraction on the island, and lends it a "palpably spiritual atmosphere", but there are also excellent beaches, arty boutiques and wonderful views to lure holidaymakers.
One of the most persistent memories we have is of the aroma and taste of home cooked food. The warmth, the sense of security and intimacy associated with home cooked food are universal experiences.
Medicine didn’t become a major discipline for Greeks until around 300 BC when Hippocrates, often called the Father of Modern Medicine, applied logic to help understand various diseases and how to cure them. In some ways, however, he simply built on the theories created by the people who came before him, such as Pythagoras. Even before that, however, the subjects of medicine and healing made their way into Greek mythology. Here’s an overview of how the Ancient Greeks approached this topic.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
Embroiled in a financial crisis triggered by the global recession of the late 2000s, it’s fair to say that Greece is often seen as one of the ailing nations of Europe right now. When I spoke to my mum late last year, she said ‘well it’s a good thing you’re not in Greece now’, citing the ongoing protests and the near impossibility of withdrawing cash from the ATMs there as reasons for that line of thinking.
Well, what my mother might have forgotten was that wildfires ravaged the Peloponnese peninsula when I was in Greece, but anyway…it’s sad that Greece is going through some troubled times. My abiding memories of the country consist of hopping from island to island across the shining, emerald-blue Mediterranean; downing Ouzo potent enough to knock your eyeballs from their sockets; wizened old men, hands forming a steeple across their walking sticks as they philosophically contemplated the world before them; and, of course, the Ancient ruins dotted throughout the land.
The classical era ruins are probably Greece’s biggest draw, and with good reason. Among other things, Greece is the cradle of Western Philosophy, the birthplace of Democracy and place of some of the world’s greatest Myths and Legends: its taking great restraint on my part not to go geek out and go in to more depth about any of them (especially the Philosophers). Suffice to say, it is this rich cultural heritage that inspired the magnificent ruins of once grand monuments, harking back to a time long ago when Greece was the civilised epicentre of the (Western) world.
Οι 22χρονες φοιτήτριες της Σχολής Αρχιτεκτόνων Μηχανικών του Πολυτεχνείου Κρήτης, Μόσχου Θεοδώρα και Ματσούκη Σοφία-Νεφέλη, μόλις διακρίθηκαν στην 2η θέση στο Διεθνή Αρχιτεκτονικό διαγωνισμό Start for Talents, με θέμα το σχεδιασμό μιας Σχολής Καλών Τεχνών στον Λονδίνο.
Are you going to Greece and don't know what to pack? Check this comprehensive guide that helps you decide what to wear on your holidays to Greece.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
Greece is a very popular holiday destination all year round. It offers visitors the chance to experience vibrant cities, picturesque villages, archaeological sites, unique islands, incredible beaches with turquoise waters and mouth-watering food.
One of my biggest anxieties when traveling is what to take with me. For that reason I have prepared a list with all the things you need to pack for your holidays to Greece during the months of May till October.
Clothes, Shoes and Accessories
As the weather from the end of April starts to get warm you should bring with you shorts, tank tops, casual dresses and a formal dress if you want to dine in a posh place. Also a pair of trousers and a light jacket is necessary in case it gets a bit windy especially at nights. A shawl is also a must and don’t forget yourswimsuit and beach towel. Most of the time the temperature of the sea is good for swimming from May.
Non slippery comfortable shoes are necessary if you want to go hiking or want to visit some archaeological sites. A pair of flip-flops for the beach and a pair of flat sandals for wandering around te streets of Athens or the islands. If you want to bring something with hills prefer the wedges which are easier to walk in cobbled streets.
A small backpack is essential if you want to go hiking and for putting your things for the beach. Also a small shoulder bag is ideal to keep your wallet and camera with you at all times.
Sun-glasses, hat and sunscreen
The temperature can get very high in the summer months. You should always put sunscreen to avoid getting burnt and a hat so that you don’t suffer from a sun stroke. Also drink a lot of water. You don’t want to ruin your holidays.
Apart from your make up, make sure you take with you a moisturizing cream for your face, eyes and body. The sun and sea tend to make the skin dry. A razor, shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Toothpasteand toothbrush. Hair brush and hair ties. Finally don’t forget your deodorant it gets very hot and you want to smell nice.
Prescriptions and other
If you are using any kind of medication make sure you take it with you. Also you should bring motion sickness pills especially if you are going to the islands. Another important item you should pack is amosquito repellent for your body and one for your room. You don’t want to lose your sleep.
Your mobile phone and a camera are necessary. Greece is very beautiful and there are plenty of opportunities to take photos. Don’t forget the chargers and the european adapter if you are traveling from outside of Europe. If you want to bring your laptop or tablet it’s up to you.
Traveling documents and money
Bring with you your passport and check with the Greek embassy in your country if you need a visa. When I travel I want to have with me a variety of options concerning money. I always have some cash, my debit card so that I can withdraw money from the ATM’s and my credit card.
Books and a mp4 make great company for the time you will spend on the ship, at the airport and on the beach.
Now if you forget something, don’t worry you can buy it at your destination.
The Mediterranean diet may have been conceived by early doctors as a form of medicinal treatment.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
A new study of ancient Greek texts reveals that the Mediterranean diet may have been conceived by early doctors as a form of medicinal treatment.
The study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology on January 6, was authored by professor John Wilkins of Exeter University, an expert on the history of food and medicine in Greco-Roman culture.
Professor Wilkins describes practices by Galen of Pergamon that closely mirror those of modern Mediterranean advocates.
Born in 129 A.D., Galen relied heavily on preventative medicine as a method of treatment. The personal physician to several emperors, he saw nutrition as the equal of pharmacology in the maintenance of good health over an individual’s lifespan.
Rather than attributing illness to a supernatural force or deity, Hippocratic Greek doctors like Galen emphasized a need for simple, flavorful food to their patients. This was derived from the notion that the exterior properties of a food underscored their effect on the human body.
According to Wilkins, Galen was known to instruct patients to season their meals with spices like ginger or pepper when they could afford them.
Humorism played a large role in how nutritional foods were selected. The idea was that a balance of the bodily fluids known as humors was necessary in order for a patient to achieve health. Manipulating diet was a primary tactic for bringing disproportionate humors back to a symmetrical level; onions or garlic, for instance, might be prescribed as a thinning agent to someone whose humors were too thick.
Although some recognizable elements of today’s Mediterranean cuisine were not yet introduced to Greece, (such as the South American tomato) Galen and other Hippocratic doctors laid much of the structural foundation for how the diet is still applied nearly two thousand years later. Sweet and fatty foods in high quantities were discouraged then as they are today. Meat was not always readily available, which gave rise to a movement towards more plant-based meals.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
Top 15 oldest cities in Europe
Greece is by far the the winner when it comes to historical cities.
Filopappos Hill is the highest summit in the south of Athens at 147m and is known for its spectacular views of the Acropolis. It is identifiable to the southwest of the Acropolis by the Monument of Filopappos at its summit. The monument was built by the Athenians between 114 and 116 in honor of Gaius Julius Antiochus Filopappos, a prominent Roman consul and administrator. Its unusual concave marble façade contains niches with statues of Philopappus and his grandfather, Antiochus IV. A frieze around the monument depicts the arrival of Philopappus by chariot for his inauguration as Roman consul in AD 100. Its partially destroyed form looks across to the Acropolis.
Ποιητής, στιχουργός και μεταφραστής, ο Νίκος Γκάτσος παραμένει μία ξεχωριστή περίπτωση για τα ελληνικά γράμματα. Με μία μόνο ποιητική σύνθεση στο ενεργητικό του, την περίφημη και αξεπέραστη Αμοργό, που έγραψε μεσούσης της Κατοχής, θεωρείται ένας από τους κορυφαίους ποιητές μας.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
Η Τηνιακή Μαρμαροτεχνία στον κατάλογο Άυλης Πολιτιστικής Κληρονομιάς της UNESCO!
Η Τηνιακή Μαρμαροτεχνία είναι το τρίτο στοιχείο Άυλης Πολιτιστικής Κληρονομιάς που εγγράφει η χώρα μας στον αντιπροσωπευτικό κατάλογο. Η απόφαση της Διακυβερνητικής Επιτροπής συνοδεύεται από έπαινο για τον φάκελο που υπέβαλε η χώρα και ιδιαίτερα για το δεκάλεπτο φιλμ με τίτλο «Μόνο τον μαντρακά βαστεί...», που συμπλήρωσε την τεκμηρίωση του στοιχείου. Το φιλμ, μάλιστα, προτείνεται ως πρότυπο για την ανάδειξη ανάλογων στοιχείων της άυλης πολιτιστικής κληρονομιάς...
A new show at the Getty Villa shows the Greece of 200 years ago — an ancient, empty, alien landscape of a long lost civilization, fallen into a ruin of broken columns and shattered pediments.
Demetrios Georgalas's insight:
“Almost every rock, every promontory, every river, is haunted by the shadows of the mighty dead.” — Edward Dodwell