Over the past few years, agrotourism has been changing the relationship between the Greek tourism industry and the increasingly sophisticated traveler. The result is that both sides are turning their back on the dubious touristy symbolism behind flaming cheeses and dancing Evzones (traditional Greek guards). Instead, authentic Greek agrarian heritage and traditions are now being brought into the experiential mainstream.
Agro tourism has been a staple of European tourism for many decades, but has only recently been picking up in Greece. That doesn’t mean Greece was unready – quite the opposite, Greece has always been the ideal agro tourism destination. Here are a few important reasons why the time is right for travelers to look into a Greek agro tourist destination:
Unspoilt natural beauty: Greek olive groves and the sea.
By choosing agro tourism destinations that are below the tourist radar, you’ll get to experience the serenity of Greek agricultural life. You’ll most likely be surrounded by unspoilt natural beauty, and olive groves stretched out as far as the eye can see. Wherever you may choose to stay in Greece, you can schedule day trips to the sea, as the Aegean and Ionian seas will never be too far away.
It’s true that the average Greek tavern may have a mythical-sized menu that even seasoned Greeks may find daunting to navigate. While a lot can be said for quantity and variety, it can’t really compete with what will be waiting for you at the table of a Greek farm-house. “Liga keh kala” says the Greek saying – “few, but good.” You picked your own vegetables for your Greek salad, and the goat cheese you’re eating comes from a goat you personally greeted just this morning. The cook of the house is using recipes slowly handed over through the decades, by word of mouth, not zapped instantly via wifi. The farm’s recipe list might not fill fifteen pages, but the tastes will stick to your palate’s memory like nothing else.
Supporting agriculture, promoting sustainable tourism
Agro tourism brings in precious income to many small, family run farms, assisting in their future viability. Many of the farm hosts themselves may have recently returned from the big city after making an important investment in their new agro tourism business. In addition, most agro tourist lodgings operate in an eco-friendly and sustainable way because, after all, their backyard is their home. Tourism generates pollution – by going Agro, the conscientious traveler, helps support Greece’s periphery and preserve its natural environment.
It’s worth remembering that the Greek word for hospitality is philoxenia, which alludes to Greeks ‘ “respect for strangers”. We’ll openly welcome ‘strangers’ to our villages, so that they can cultivate the land alongside us. We’ll sit down with ‘strangers’ in our houses, over dinner and wine, to tell them our stories and legends. Yesterday’s strangers are today’s friends who return to their homes carrying with them a piece of Greece that will urge them to revisit.
Agro tourism is a great way to revisit Greece’s natural beauty, tradition and local products – it’s a testament to what makes Greece great.
Text provided by Combadi, we help you find innovative travel ideas to learn, grow and change.