Writers in Greece
- Excursions and Day Trips
- Study Abroad Advisory of Student Risk
- About Greece
- Weather and Climate
- Research Your Destination
During our program we will stay in central locations (very close to the beach or the waterfront) and in good quality A, B, or C class hotels (double occupancy rooms only). All rooms have A/C, TV, and a small refrigerator.
UC Davis reserves the right to change the accommodation location. Should this be necessary, we will arrange comparable lodging. Please note that elevators, air conditioners and other modern conveniences may not be available in all locations.
Breakfast will be provided by the hotels at all locations. Lunch and dinner are on your own. A few of the full-day field trips will include a lunch and/or dinner. NOTE: If you are a vegetarian, you will find that traditional Greek cuisine offers a large variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes. Fruits and vegetables in Greece are wonderfully tasty and very fresh. A description of typical Greek food for each meal of the day follows below.
Greek breakfast, although an important start to the day, is not as heavy as its American counterpart. Most restaurants and host institutions on the program offer coffee or tea, then a variety of breads and rolls with butter, a spread of soft cheese, olives and tomatoes, boiled eggs, and perhaps a meat and cheese platter. A delicious breakfast dish: plain yogurt with honey and granola mixed-in, so refreshing before hot Mediterranean days.
This meal is usually served before the hottest part of the day as most places will close for afternoon rest. Some of the more common lunch options are souvlaki (skewered meat), gyros (roasted meat with tomatoes and onions inside a pita) or a large Greek salad (a block of feta cheese atop cucumbers, tomatoes, red onions, and kalamata olives). Vegetarian and vegan options are easily available with a variety of fresh vegetables grilled or stuffed with pita and/or French fries.
Dinner is much later in the evening serving heavier pasta dishes like pastisio (which something of a baked mac-and-cheese lasagna in cream sauce) or moussaka (eggplant casserole). A favorite vegetarian dish is tomatoes stuffed with rice and veggies! And of course, in true Greek fashion, finish off your meal with Baklava or your favorite gelato.
For a syllabus/activities schedule, please visit the Courses section for this program.
During the program, we will be visiting some of the most important sites in Greece, including several UNESCO World Heritage Sites (UWHS).
While in Athens
- Acropolis: the Parthenon (UWHS)
- The New Acropolis Museum
- The National Archeological Museum
- Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion
- The Oracle of Delphi: the site, stadium, theater, and museum (UWHS)
While in the Peloponnese
- The ancient theater of Epidaurus, the Asclepius sanctuary, and museum (UWHS)
- The Archeological Museum of Nafplion
- Ancient Mycenae: the site, museum, and beehive tomb of Agamemnon (UWHS)
- Ancient Nemea site: the site, museum, and stadium
- The site of medieval Mystras near Sparta (UWHS)
- The castle of Palamidi
- The site of Ancient Messene
- The Nafplion Farmers’ Market
- The National Gallery of Athens: Nafplion Branch
While in Hydra
- Historical Archives and Museum of Hydra
- The Lazaros Koundouriotis Historic Residence
Participation in this UC Davis Study Abroad program requires travel to and extended living in a foreign location(s) abroad. UC Davis Study Abroad endeavors to reduce and mitigate risk wherever possible. However, the environments and risks associated with living in these locations are substantially different than those found during a regular course of study at UC Davis. All participants must download and review the following information prior to departure. Any questions should be directed to the Program Coordinator.
Host of the 2004 Olympics, Athens, the capitol of Greece, is a metropolis of about 5 million people. In this ancient city several centuries of Greek history coexist. When you walk in the streets underneath the Acropolis, you will encounter not only ancient Greek ruins but also Roman sites, Ottoman buildings, and medieval Byzantine churches. Farmers' markets with fresh fruit, traditional coffee shops, and open flea markets give way to smart boutiques and expensive restaurants. And when you raise your eyes to the Attic sky, the Parthenon will stare back at you from its perch on the "sacred rock" of the Acropolis.
During our time in Athens, we will stay in Plaka, right by the Acropolis and the heart of Athens. We will take field trips to the Acropolis and visit the New Acropolis Museum and the National Archeological Museum; the latter houses some of the most important findings from sites all over Greece. We will also go by private bus to the Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion and enjoy dinner at Varkiza beach. From Athens, we will travel to the slopes of Mount Parnassus and to Delphi where we will experience the ancient oracle, dedicated to god Apollo.
From Athens, and from the port of Piraeus, we will ferry to Hydra to spend a few days in one of Greece's most beautiful islands, famous for its preserved traditional architecture and its gorgeous views. Hydra, a rocky island in the Aegean Sea and the site of a prehistoric Mycenaean settlement, became famous in the 19th century when its wealthy merchants spent huge fortunes in the 1821 Greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire. Their fleet and participation were determining factors in the revolution's success. While in Hydra, we will visit the Historical Museum of Hydra and the Koundouriotis Historic Residence, a mansion of a well-known local family that gave to the Greek revolution money, ships, and captains. An interesting feature of the island: Hydra allows no cars on its narrow, cobblestone streets, so we will walk, take small caiques (wooden boats) to the different villages, or ride mules and donkeys
From the island of Hydra, we will head to the Peloponnese, one of the most interesting places in Greece. Olive and citrus groves, tall mountains, rivers, fertile valleys, and a breath-taking coastline contribute to the beauty of the land while the sites of ancient Sparta, Corinth, Argos, Mycenae, and Olympia are only some distance away from the medieval sites of Mystras and Monemvassia, remnants of Byzantium's glory. Ottoman mosques in small traditional towns as well as Venetian and Frankish medieval structures recall the long and complex history of the Peloponnese.
While in the Peloponnese, we will visit the theater of Epidaurus and spend a few days in the city of Nafplion (or Nauplion). Nafplion became the first capitol of Greece after the country's libration from the Ottoman Empire. A coastal city on the Gulf of Argos in the Peloponnese, Nafplion is one of the most beautiful and architecturally interesting areas in Greece. Nafplion's beauty lies in its 19th century neoclassical houses, the Venetian castle complex of Palamidi, Akronafplia, and Bourtzi, its mosque, and a beautiful shoreline. During our stay in Nafplion, we will visit the site of Mycenae with its brand new museum and the beehive tomb of Agamemnon. We will also travel to the site of Nemea and its stadium and meet with archeologists currently excavating; on a different day we will visit ancient Messene, one of the most magnificent—and lesser known—sites in the Peloponnese.
We will also drive to the site of Mystras, a medieval castle-city on Mount Taygetos, above ancient Sparta. Though originally built by Franks, Mystras became a stronghold of the Byzantine Empire--the last emperor of Byzantium was crowned there. Konstatinos XI Palaeologos, or "the Marble King," the stuff of legends that remind us of King Arthur and Camelot, is believed to have died when Constantinople, the seat of the Byzantine Empire, fell to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. Like Meteora, Mystras is another World Heritage living site; after exploring the extensive grounds of the site, we will visit the monastery of Pantanassa and meet with the nuns who maintain it.
Back to Athens:
The last few days of the class will be spent in Athens.
Check out the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods in Greece.
Currency: Euro (EUR)
Language Spoken: Greek
It will be warm summer weather in the south of Greece, which means that it will be hot during the day and will cool off a bit at night. It is a good idea to bring along a sweater or a light jacket. The average daily high/low temperature in July and August is 83/68; however days can be as hot as 90+.
- CIA World Fact Book
- U.S. Relations with Greece
- New York Times Coverage - Greece
- Greek National Tourist Organization
- Ministry of Culture
- Ministry of Transport & Communication
You can order transportation schedules online - the website directly above accommodates English-speaking visitors and international requests.