Exploring Greece: Insights from Greek Australian youth

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As someone with a dad who grew up in Greece and a mum whose parents both grew up in Greece, visiting the motherland was nothing out of the ordinary for me.

I have been visiting the Greek island of Lemnos, where both sides of my family are from, every second year since I was two years old, and each time I go, I get closer and closer to my family and friends and find something new to love about being home.

Despite me visiting often, I know there are others who are yet to discover and explore the magic of Greece.

An authentic first experience

Elleni Apostolidis, a 20-year-old from Adelaide in South Australia, travelled to Greece for her very first time in August 2023. She said her trip was one she’d never forget.

“Being there felt like home to me, somewhere I felt like I belonged. I loved it,” Elleni said. “It was far better than I expected. I want to visit every year, the feeling of being in Greece is like no other.”

Elleni shared that she went overseas for over a month to visit tourist islands like Mykonos and Santorini, and spend time with family.

“We began our trip in Lemnos, where my mum’s side of the family is from. We then went to Athens, Thessaloniki, Paros, Mykonos, Santorini, and north mainland Greece, where my dad’s side is from,” Elleni said.

“Meeting my family in Greece, who I had never met before, was definitely a highlight of the trip. It also meant a lot to me to meet my pappou and yiayia’s siblings since both have passed away now. It was like I was with them again.”

She said she got a taste of an authentic Greece, as well as a touristy/party side of the country.

“Being in Lemnos felt more authentic and was the closest to home for me,” Elleni said.

“I had lots of family members there and the whole experience was just amazing. I made so many new friends and have so many core memories I’ll look back on for the rest of my life.

“I also loved exploring Mykonos for the party and summer lifestyle there. Although it was expensive, I really loved it and would like to stay longer next time.”

Elleni added that she is now inspired to expand her knowledge of Greek culture and language.

“I want to be able to speak fluent Greek when I next return to Greece,” she said.

“Visiting Greece also made me realise how important it is to go and see where our roots are from. We need to keep our culture alive.”

‘I never want to leave’

Daniella Metirtikas
Daniella in Greece.

Daniella Metirtikas, a 21-year-old from Sydney in New South Wales, shared a different experience about what travelling to Greece means to her.

Originally born in Athens, Greece, Daniella left the country at the age of 10 to move to Australia. She said every time she re-visits, she never wants to leave.

“I first went back to Greece in 2015, just three years after moving here. Now I visit every two years on average,” Daniella said.

“Travelling to Greece means a lot to me, it is very important and also something I hold very closely to my heart as my dad lives there, and lots of my family and friends too and I miss them.”

Daniella said spending quality time with family and friends is what pulls her to keep visiting Greece.

“Whenever I’m there, I like to travel and experience new islands, as well as make the most of my time with my family and friends as I only get to see them every couple of years,” she said.

“Every time I go, time just flies and I never want to leave.

“I always make Athens my first stop as that’s where I was born and where I’m from, and then I do also visit some other islands with family and friends. I’ve been to Lemnos, Kos, Mitilini, Lefkada, Nafplio, Pelloponiso, Skopelos, Naxos and many more.”

The 21-year-old said she definitely recommends people who haven’t yet been, to go and explore Greece.

“You need to go, you won’t regret it,” Daniella said.

“There’s so many places to explore with nice scenery, the people are so friendly and welcoming, the atmosphere is like no other and the Greek cuisine is unreal.”

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