Athens – The Capital of Greece

During the independence of Greece in 1830, Athens was a small town, with the size of a village. Now it is a great town with authentic look that is still fascinating. What makes it unique is the diversity of architectural styles, good people, sirtaki and the icy ouzo…all these things will spell you.

In Athens you cannot get bored, but you should take some time for an afternoon nap. In the summer time, between two and four in the afternoon, the killing Athenian sun shines mercilessly. That’s why the most appropriate time to travel to Greece is in the early autumn or late spring.

Athens is both the capital and the largest city in Greece. It is situated on Attica peninsula, in a relatively hilly area and is connected to Piraeus port.

Your trip with bus to Greece will not cost much. It is very comfortable and you will be able to see many places there. There are many hotels where you can stay for little money.

When you go to Athens you will have the chance to walk for hours and to try the delicious food of some of the small restaurants in the narrow streets. You can sit in one of the thousands cafes and taverns full of lanterns and musicians. Here is the paradise of the Greek salad, covered with olive oil and olives. In Piraeus, the port of Athens, you can find seaside taverns, where the most delicious thing is the seafood – fresh octopus, squid and fish and ouzo as an aperitif. At about nine or ten o’clock local people go to dinner, drink coffee or cocktails. If you decide to join the nightlife, one o’clock at night on Friday and Saturday is the right time.

It is clear that if you are on holiday in Athens, you will want to see some attractions of the town. You will find many new beauties there – from beautiful squares, monuments to taverns. It is better for you to get a map and to mark your route and put some red circles around the places you want to see. The historic center of Athens is the Acropolis (now a museum) with the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Temple of Nike, Erechteum and others. This is definitely the place that you should visit. At the foot of the hill are located the theatre of Dionysus (5 century B.C.), the Temple of Olympian Zeus, the ancient necropolis, agora. Do not miss the political and cultural center, Academy of Sciences, the National Archaeological Museum, the National Gallery and the Museum of Byzantine art. The chief town square is Syntagma.

There is a great possibility that you will fall in love with Athens. It is really wonderful town and you will be amazed by all the sights there.

Read more about the beauty of Greece from this great article.

Corinth Greece Vacations

If you’re the type of person who prioritizes the ancient history and culture, getting a vacation in Corinth Greece would be something that you want to pursue just one time in your whole life. As for you, vacation is not just relaxation and comfort but rather exploration and travelling to places you like the most.

Corinth is located at the top of Peloponnese uniting the Peloponnesian isthmus with the Greek mainland. According to history, Corinth is one of the most significant places in Greece and it is the place where Corinthian Canal was built, the country’s most important engineering structure. Corinthian Canal is a tapered band of land that divided the Ionian and Aegean seas for further problems to occur; today, this canal offers such a beautiful view especially when ships are making their way through.

Aside from the Corinthian Canal, you can also visit several archeological sites that are very rich in history such as Acrocorinth, Bemam Sacred Spring, Temple of Apollo, and Doric Temple. If you want to view some Corinth’s arts and artifacts, the Corinth Museum will be the perfect place to visit; there are several art collections, stuff made up of porcelain, pottery exhibit, sculptures, and statues.

Corinth is not just famous for its ancient archeological structures and rich history. The place also has luxurious and comfortable resorts and hotels. These are the reasons why Corinth is one of the top honeymoon locations in the world.

Hotels and resorts in Corinth are not as spacious, huge, and luxurious as hotels in the Caribbean or some other part of the world. But they are indeed comfortable and quiet, a perfect place for honeymooners who want to spend their time enjoying each others company. After the wedding and all the wedding preparations, all you want is some fun and relaxation with your loving spouse and Corinth can give you that.

Olvios Hotel is one of the well-known hotels in Corinth. It has spacious and comfortable rooms and offers excellent service. A majestic view of the mountain is an added attraction the hotel can offer. Ephira Hotel is a high quality hotel in terms of service and amenities. It is located in the center of Corinth and all the tourist spots in the area are very accessible. The furnishings and fabrics are modern and stylish; entertainment facilities such as mezzanine and lounge bar are also present.

If you want to experience some outdoor activities while you’re in Corinth, Kalamaki Beach Hotel would be happy to serve you. It has comfortable and cozy rooms and offers 24hr room service, elevator, bar, laundry service meeting facilities, and restaurants. Enjoy playing tennis and swimming in the outdoor pool or just hang out in the garden if you want some peace and quiet moment.

Having a Corinth vacation would be a fulfilling and fun experience. It’s like going back to a certain period of time away from the stressful life of the present.

Pamela Kazmierczak writes many articles focused on Wedding Ideas and planning for weddings. Go To her site now and learn more about Corinth Greece Today! Get info about Greece, see fabulous photos and find out if this is the right honeymoon or vacation spot for you!

Visiting Greece: Practical Information

Tourism is one of Greece’s most important industries, and as a consequence, visitors to the country are well catered for: transportation networks are relatively efficient, there are banks and exchange facilities in all the major resorts, and telecommunications have improved dramatically in recent years. The country’s hot climate, together with the easy-going outlook of its people, are conducive to a relaxed vacation, and it is usually best to adopt the philosophy siga siga (slowly, slowly). In summer, almost everything closes for a few hours after lunch, reopening later in the day when the air cools and Greece comes to life again.

When To Visit

Tourist season in Greece – late June to early September – is the hottest and most expensive time to visit, as well as being very crowded.

December to March are the coldest and wettest months, with reduced public transportation facilities, and many hotels and restaurants closed for the winter. Spring is a good time to visit; there are fewer tourists, and the weather and the countryside are at their best.

Tourist Information

Tourist information is available in many towns and villages throughout Greece, from government-run EOT offices (Ellinikos Organismos Tourismou), municipally run tourist offices, the local tourist police, or privately owned travel agencies. However, visitors should be aware that not all of the information published by the EOT is reliable or up-to-date.

Opening Hours

Opening hours tend to be vague in Greece, varying from day to day, season to season, and place to place. To avoid disappointment, visitors are advised to confirm the opening times of sites covered in this chapter once they arrive in the country.

All post offices and banks, and most stores, offices, state-run museums, and archaeological sites close on public holidays. Some facilities may also be closed on local festival days.

The main public holidays in Greece are as follows: January 1, March 25, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, May 1, December 25 and 26.

The Climate Of Greece

On the mainland, summers are very hot, while spring and autumn generally bring milder but wetter weather. In winter, rainfall is at its greatest everywhere. Mountainous regions usually get heavy snow, but around Athens, temperatures rarely drop below freezing. Throughout the islands, the tendency is for long, dry summers and mild but rainy winters.

The travel directory brings together the top 10 beach destinations from around the world to form a comprehensive, user-friendly online information resource for all.

FIFA World Cup 2010: South Korea Vs Greece Preview

If you want to know who the most successful football team from Asia are, look no farther than South Korea. They have featured in all the world cups held since 1986.

In the 2002 World Cup that South Korea co-hosted with Japan, South Korea stunned the world, when they entered the semi-finals at the event.

Nearly a decade later, the Asian football giants will seek a rerun of that feat. But before that, they must get past the group stage, and their immediate stumbling block is Greece whom they will face on Saturday, at Port Elizabeth.

In 2006, South Korea failed to get past the group stage, and they will want to achieve at least that objective, this year.

The match against Greece could prove crucial in helping decide which of the two will accompany Argentina to the round of 16. With Nigeria the fourth team in the fray, this is one of the tougher groups, and an upset or two could liven things up.

Going strictly by current form, South Korea should pip both Greece and Nigeria to the second spot in the group. The Asian team went unbeaten through their qualification matches, and in warm ups to the event in South Africa have got the better of Japan, Ecuador and Ivory Coast.

And in a match against European champions Spain at Innsbruck, the Koreans came close to holding the Spaniards to a draw; Spain managed to eke out a 1-0 win on the back of a late goal in the 86th minute by Jesus Navas.

Greece have qualified for the event after a long gap of 16 years. Their 1994 campaign in USA ended on a tearful note after they were demolished in all three group matches, while conceding 10 goals.

Greece followed up on their shock win in Euro 2004 by not qualifying for World Cup 2006 and by failing to win a match at Euro 2008, as defending champions.

As in Euro 2004, the absence of expectation could work in Greece’s favour in World Cup 2010, according to their German coach Otto Rehhagel. Greece will look to the fleet-footed Celtic striker Georgios Samaras to provide them the initiative. The World Cup is an opportunity for Samaras to prove his unfulfilled potential where it matters most.

South Korea captain, Ji-Sung Park, will bring his hyper energetic self to bear in midfield as he orchestrates his side’s campaign, in South Africa. His experience with PSV Eindhoven and Manchester United should prove handy in seeing his side past the group stage.

In a closely fought must-win game for both sides, South Korea have the edge.

For the latest sports gossip, including the FIFA World Cup, click http://www.sportingattitude.com

Suresh Iyer is an avid sports fan and blogger.

Local Information For Living In Greece

So after careful consideration you have decided you want to start a new life in the sun living in Greece. What springs to mind next is where exactly do you want to live, Greece is a very large country with many Islands to choose from.

We chose the island of Crete which is the largest of the Greek Islands with so many places to see and explore, there is so much history here you will not be bored.

There are 2 airports and numerous ferries from which you can get to other islands and to the mainland so that is very easy to travel around. Crete is the most popular Island for expats to move to but there are so many others to choose from Corfu, Rhodes, Zante, Skiathos (where the movie Mama Mia was filmed), Kefalonia as well as Athens, Halkidiki, Peloponnese and Thessaloniki on the mainland.

Most of the local people in the main towns and cities are used to visitors as Tourism is the main source of income here in Greece so expats don’t have so much of a problem when they come to live here.

Many people move over without having learnt much of the language so understanding from the locals is appreciated and we found them very willing to help. In most of the schools English is taught so the younger generation especially so going about your daily tasks is not a problem until your knowledge of the language improves.

Greece is one of the top choices for British holiday makers and attracts more than 16 million tourists from all over the world each year and comes in 15th place in the world rating of tourist destinations.

Many visitors from Britain visit year after year and fall in love with the country and that is why so many want to make a new life here for themselves and their families.

Greece has been a member of the EU since 1981 and introduced the Euro in 2002, although it is one of the poorest countries of the European Union there is a new Prime Minister Georgios Papandreou who plans to improve the economy. Tourism and shipping are the biggest contributors to the economy. Many people especially the younger generation are multilingual and are able to converse in English, German, Italian and Russian is being learnt now because of the numbers of Russian visitors.

Although there are lots of new hotels being built which are needed to attract more visitors there are still the old villages and agricultural areas that are the simple laid back way of life that appeal to many people who are looking for a less stressful lifestyle.

Pauline Bennett moved to live on a Greek Island with her husband 3 years ago. To read more about life on a Greek Island go to http://www.squidoo.com/living-in-greece

Car Hire In Greece – Car Rental Guide For Greek Holidays

Two thousand islands and more than three thousand years of history is awaiting for you in Greece. Being such a popular destination with historic, natural and cultural heritage, it is impossible to cruise around the country relying on public transport, specially, if limited by time.

Car hire in Greece is one of more popular choices among international visitors and therefore the saying: first come, first served is definitely true. Here are some tips how to get most of car rental in Greece.

Plan ahead of time. Cannot emphasize enough the importance of early booking when it comes to car hire in Greece. Despite the abundance of car rental companies in all major cities like Athens, Patras, Thessaloniki, Kefalonia as well as local providers on islands have limited amount of cars. High demand in July and August is a good reason to book before arrival online at least few months before. Booking will take five minutes of your time and a small down payment will be charged from credit card after the vehicle gets confirmed.

Some holidaymakers would like to have a short visit to neighbouring countries like Macedonia or Turkey. Unfortunately this is not possible by utilising car hire. Strict insurance regulations make it impossible for taking the rented car out of Greece. Arrange ground public transport in this case.

For island hopping by car only few companies will allow taking vehicles on ferries. In this case It is better to rent a vehicle on the islands than on mainland of Greece.

Nina M. is a lifestyle editor who spends most of the year flying. She shares tips and tricks to help you get the most mileage for your cash when it comes to getting a car hire inGreece. Save time and money by learning from her experiences on car hire in Greece.

Magnificent Mountains and Gorgeous Gorges in Greece

From the heady heights of the mountains to the glorious depths of the gorges, walking in Greece affords the chance to see some spectacular scenery. Whether you are gazing out over the ocean from the top of an ancient volcano, or traipsing through the rocky terrain of a gorge, the views are breathtaking. The Cyclades Archipelago features some of the most dramatic landscapes in Greece. Here are the highlights:

Climb a Crater

The island of Santorini, part of the Cyclades Archipelago, is in fact what is known as a caldera – an ancient rim of a once active volcano. This volcano is particularly significant as it is thought by many to be responsible for the destruction of Minoan Crete. Much of the original island became what is today, the harbour, following the enormous eruption, as the crust of volcanic ash that formed over the hollow centre of the island caved in and flooded. However, the towns and villages of Santorini lie on the eastern side of the once circular island, and offer fantastic rambles along coastal paths and outstanding views over the ocean of neighbouring islands. Walking in Greece around her most infamous caldera, you will cover some truly sensational terrain, with dark cliffs leading to sandy beaches covered in warm volcanic sand.

Go Through a Gorge

The gorge of Samaria, found in the Samaria National Park, is one of the most rewarding places to go walking in Greece. Both the gorge and the small abandoned village lying just inside, take their names from Ossa Maria – or Saint Mary. The gorge itself stretches a distance of 16km, starting at an altitude of 1250m and winding up in Agia Roumeli on the shores of the Libyan Sea. Well-maintained paths and fresh-water springs make the gorge a very pleasant place to walk, though it is advisable to start early on in the day should you wish to experience it in its entirety. Be sure to leave time to reward yourself with a swim to soothe the aching muscles in the warm waters at Agia Roumeli.

Nip Over To Naxos

The island of Naxos, also part of the Cyclades Archipelago, provides an enormous contrast to the Island of Santorini. Compared to the darkened cliffs and volcanic terrain of Santorini, Naxos is home to lush greenery and softer scenery. Rugged mountains are an impressive juxtaposition to the fertile valleys and the inviting sandy beaches, whilst also offering an array of walks that are both gratifying and highly enjoyable. Enjoy sensational views of the archipelago from the top of the Naxos Mountains, before descending via an extensive network of footpaths and mule tracks. You will pass through villages, alongside towers and past fortified buildings that give you a real taste for life on the island. Wind up on the idyllic sands of the beach, where you can lie back, relax and digest the dramatic scenery you will have etched into your memory whilst walking in Greece.

The Cyclades Archipelago is a melee of various views, dramatic landscapes and extensive picture-perfect panoramic prospects. Undoubtedly one of the most rewarding places to go walking in Greece, this archipelago will see you navigating the magnificent mountains and gorgeous gorges that the Grecian world has to offer.

Tony Maniscalco is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Ramblers Worldwide Holidays. Operating since 1946, they now offer over 250 guided group walking holidays in more than 90 different countries. While walking in Greece with Ramblers Worldwide Holidays, you can walk the most scenic locations & landscapes at the best value prices.

Charter a Yacht in Greece and Go Island Hopping Around the Cyclades Islands

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to go island hopping around the Greek Islands in your own, all-inclusive, privately chartered yacht, here’s a sample itinerary that gives you a sense of what the Cyclades Islands are like and what you can see and do…

Saturday: After getting settled in on the boat, enjoying a refreshing aperitif and getting acquainted with the captain and cook (yes, you will have your own cook during the voyage… So no worrying about cooking or cleaning!) How about a night on the town in Athens? You will be our guest – we’ll start with a tram ride from the Glyfada marina and if you’d like, we’ll show you where some of the best places to shop are at. After that, dinner is on us at an authentic taverna in the Plaka quarter.

Sunday: We start on the island of Kea, once a haven for pirates! Kea is rich in olive trees, almond trees and old, strong oaks, whose acorn shells were once used to make dyes, and boasts ancient temples, ruins and plenty of beautiful, uncrowded beaches for your pleasure. Carnival (or Apokreas) is celebrated in the time before Lent. Must see: Giant stone lion who smiles as he looks down on the hills he has guarded since before the days of Socrates…

Monday/Tuesday: Next we set sail to the island of Mykonos for 2 days of glitz and glamour (pronounced Mee-Ko-Nos). It’s precisely because of the shopping, incredible restaurants and infinite variety of hot night spots that has made Mykonos so popular with celebrities – who either own second homes here or come here for their vacations. (In case you’re wondering, everyone from Sting to Keith Richards to Prince Albert of Monaco to super models and actors and actresses love to show off their beach bodies on Mykonos.) The south side of Mykonos offers miles of white sandy beaches (including nude and gay beaches) and is a mecca for shopping and fine international dining, and you can dance till dawn in your choice of clubs. Mykonos also offers some of the most spectacular diving spots in the Med. Must see: The Aegean Maritime Museum and the Archaeological Museum (which has on permanent exhibit a 7th-century BC storage jar, decorated with scenes of the Trojan war), and a trip to the neighboring island of Delos, where the archaeological site – covered in white marble – rivals Olympia and Delphi on the mainland.

Wednesday: Our next stop is the island of Ios – a literal Fountain of Youth in the Cyclades. At first glance, Ios seems like many other Greek Islands – white houses climbing up the olive green hills, long sandy beaches and authentic tavernas in the capital city of Chora. But when the sun goes down, the city comes to life as doors open, music blasts out and the parties last till dawn… Think of the Carnival of Venice, Mardi Gras and Spring Break all rolled up into one exciting, happening party – and you’ll have an idea of what the nightlife on Mykonos is like. Enjoy the international cuisine and every type of water sport. Don’t miss: The tomb of the poet Homer (whose mother was born on Ios).

Thursday/Friday/Saturday/Sunday: For the next few days, we’ll be anchored off the island of Santorini, one of Greece’s most famous and beautiful islands. (Where else can you enjoy a cool before-dinner drink suspended over the rim of an active, sea-filled volcano?) Santorini is also famous for its black-sand beaches, spectacular sunsets and is a virtual shopper’s paradise. Famous also for its wine, you’ll enjoy a trip to the Sigalas vineyards for dinner and a wine tasting. The winery is located on the plain of Oia called Baxedes, and grows Assyrtiko, Athiri, Aedani, Mandilaria and Mavrotragano grapes. Nights on Santorini are lively and varied, with something to match every taste – you’ll also find traditional Greek music here. Must see: On the far side of Santorini is the village of Akrotiri and the famous Minon ruins. You can also visit the terraced ruins of the ancient city of Thira, which look out over the sea and date back to the third century BC. Artifacts from the Ptolemies, Hellenistic and Roman civilizations have all been unearthed here.

Monday: Our next journey takes us to the unspoiled island of Folegandros – a place Conde Naste once called “Greece’s most beautiful undiscovered island”… On the south side are steep cliffs. The village of Hora is one of the oldest medieval villages, and motor vehicles are not allowed. The buildings, which are very close to each other, form the outer castle wall. There is also Keravostassis – a small seaside village where you’ll find colorful wooden fishing boats, whitewashed houses and a pebble beach. Don’t Miss: The center square of Hora, which is really three squares set one after the other, lined with trees and ringed by authentic tavernas.

Tuesday: Today we travel to the fourth island of the Cyclades called Sifnos, which has been inhabited since 3000 BC (the early Cyclades Period). This island has a little of everything – beautiful mountains, lush valleys, golden sandy beaches and fascinating little villages with whitewashed buildings. Snorkeling is excellent here, the bays are sheltered and the water is crystal clear and warm. Sifnos is known for its fine cuisine, and some of the finest chefs in all of Greece are found here. Must see: The ancient ruins, monasteries and one or two of the 365 churches on this island.

Wednesday: Then it’s on to Syros which is a living museum waiting to be explored. The city of Hermoupolis (named after the Greek God Hermes – the God of commerce) is the capital of the Cyclades Islands and is an authentic 19th century city that offers Neoclassical buildings, rock walls that have been battered by the waves for centuries, and a fascinating section of the city known as Vaporia (the ‘Sea Captain’s quarter’), where you’ll discover elegant white mansions that seem to rise up out of the sea. Don’t miss: eating freshly grilled octopus with a drink of Ouzo in an authentic Greek taverna.

Thursday: Our next port of call is Kythnos, a volcanic island that is both barren and rugged and offers more than 70 beaches – many of which are inaccessible except by boat… Chora (is also the name of this capital city) and it’s worth a visit to see this medieval village and its Church of the Trinity. Must See: The Village of Loutra -about 4.5 km from Chora, which is famous for its hot springs where people have come to bathe in the healing waters and be cured of what ailed them for centuries.

Friday: And finally, we sail to Cape Sounion and the breathtaking Temple of Poseidon, one of the most visited and photographed ancient wonders in Greece… The temple, which sits 60 meters above the headland and surrounded by water on three sides. The temple was dedicated to the Greek God Poseidon. A little further down you can discover the ruins of another ancient temple, this one dedicated to the Goddess Athena. Don’t Miss: It’s not an exaggeration to say that some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world are seen here.
Saturday: The journey ends here. Disembarkation is at 10:00 a.m. Your driver will take you to a hotel or the airport. We wish you a safe journey home.

And there you have it – the perfect sailing vacation – by chartering a yacht in Greece and sailing around the Greek Cyclades Islands! It’s not as expensive as you might think – and remember, when you choose an all-inclusive yacht charter, everything is included – including your meals, fuel, drinks – and even some of the on-island activities or water sports – making it very affordable and giving you the biggest bang for your vacation buck!

Charter a yacht in Greece with http://www.seapaths.com and let us pamper you with our 7 and 14-day itineraries in the Greek Cyclades Islands. Book your all-inclusive yacht charter before April 30th and you’ll get these add-ons for free: car and driver to pick you up at the airport, free museum passes to the museums of your choice, free activities (biking, scooter rental snorkeling, etc.) AND right now, you can even go scuba diving on us – we’ll pick up the diving tab for your entire party!

Visit us at: http: http://www.seapaths.com/yachtcharteringreece for a free Greek Islands Vacation Planning kit and learn how you can party like a rock star in Greece this year too!

The Global Economy Is at the Mercy of Tiny Greece?

It’s incredible when you think about it.

Greece is one of the smallest countries and economies in the world. Its population is 11 million people out of the 492 million in the combined European Union countries, and compared to 312 million in the U.S., 1.3 billion in China, 1.2 billion in India.

Its economy is 32nd in size globally, with annual GDP of only $0.3 trillion, compared to $63 trillion for the world as a whole, $16.2 trillion for the combined European Union countries, $14.5 trillion for the U.S., $6 trillion for China, $5.5 trillion for Japan, and so on.

Yet for almost two years tiny Greece has had the entire world trembling in fear every few months, world markets in confusion, and world leaders rattled. For the last several weeks the threat from Greece has been a banking and financial crisis in Europe that could throw the entire world into recession, as Greece procrastinates and flip-flops on how it will handle the latest offer to bail it out of its debt crisis.

If it were a military threat from such a tiny country, the overwhelming military strength of the rest of the world would make it a joke.

But its economic threat has the rest of the world’s overwhelming wealth and economic power helpless to do anything about it?

The fear and confusion can be seen in the action of global stock markets.

Global markets rallied in the strongest October in years as the latest eurozone rescue and bailout measures were anticipated, and spiked up even further just over a week ago when it was announced that eurozone countries had agreed to the plan.

But markets suffered a big two-day plunge on Monday and Tuesday of this week when Greek Prime Minister Papandreou said Greece might back out of the deal, that he wouldn’t be able to decide until he puts the plan to a public referendum in December.

On Wednesday and Thursday markets rallied back strongly when rumors hit the wires that Papandreou might be back-tracking on his demand for a public referendum. On Thursday he did back-track, announcing there was no need for the referendum after all. It was a surprisingly fast flip-flop given that he had only proposed the referendum on Monday and as late as Wednesday evening was in Cannes still trying to convince German and French leaders of the need for a referendum.

Now going into the weekend, Greece has markets and world leaders back in fear mode. Papandreou has called for the Greek parliament to meet Friday night for a confidence vote on his government, which rules by the slimmest of margins after defections over his handling of the bailout agreement.

Experts say if Papandreou does not survive the confidence vote Friday night an early election in Greece would have to be held, which would mean several more weeks of uncertainty that would allow the financial panic to potentially engulf already teetering Italy.

All of this as the G-20 major industrial and emerging market countries were ending their summit meeting in Cannes on Friday, where a related drama played out.

A major part of the big rescue plan for the eurozone calls for increasing the size of the ESFS rescue fund from 440 billion euros to 1 trillion euros ($1.4 trillion). How that will be accomplished has yet to be worked out. European officials were hoping to use the G-20 summit to convince others to help.

But the meeting ended Friday with no G-20 country committing to contribute to the fund, only agreeing to continue to discuss the possibility.

Meanwhile, in recent columns I’ve been saying that if we could only ignore Europe, global economic fears would not be so ominous since indications are that the U.S. economic slowdown has bottomed and a recovery is underway.

We received still more evidence of that this week with reports that auto sales were strong in October, 7.5% higher than October of last year. And while Friday’s employment report was that only 80,000 new jobs were created in October, a bit short of the 90,000 that were forecast, the unemployment rate ticked down to 9.0% from 9.1%.

And more importantly, there were substantial upward revisions to previous reports. The number of jobs created in September was revised to 158,000 from the previously reported 103,000, and hiring in August was revised up to 104,000 from the previously reported 57,000. It’s another positive to see previous reports being revised up rather than the endless stream of downward revisions to previous reports that dominated the reports during the summer.

But unfortunately, markets are back to being hostage to the whims of tiny Greece, and whether its prime minister will survive Friday night’s confidence vote, while world leaders continue to demonstrate a profound inability (or unwillingness) to do anything about the almost two-year old worsening crisis – except to continue to discuss and worry about its increasing threat to their own economies.

It’s particularly disturbing to think that Papandreou might have called for the confidence vote only in an attempt to hold onto his job, perhaps thinking the Greek parliament will not vote him out, even though they might want to, if it would mean jeopardizing the debt crisis rescue plan.

Sy Harding is CEO of Asset Management Research Corp., author of 1999’s Riding the Bear and 2007’s Beat the Market the Easy Way. Sy Harding is editor of http://www.StreetSmartReport.com, and the free market blog, http://www.streetsmartpost.com.

Is Buying A Holiday Home Overseas With A 100% Mortgage A Wise Move? The Greece Example

For the majority of people looking for a holiday home abroad, a housing loan or mortgage that will provide them with 100% of the house value seems like a gift rather than an option. We are at a time where people receive offers of this kind via e mail.

However, it is a well known fact that the higher the mortgage you are looking for, the higher its cost is to you. Naturally, there are always positive options on offer in countries like Greece, one of the countries with a highly attractive real estate market. In this article we will examine Greece more carefully.

Within 2007 the interest rates on offer started from as low as 2,95%. Naturally, this was the base interest rate, not including house, life insurance or the legally required state contribution. A realistic expectation of an interest rate including these additions is between an average of 4% and 5%.

Fixed interest rates on offer start from 1 year and can reach even more than 20 years depending on the bank. Naturally opting for a fixed interest rate for more than 3 years usually guarantees that the interest rate will exceed 5%.

There is not really a minimum mortgage amount (i.e. some banks mention 3.000,00 euro as a starting point) while it is possible to obtain up to 90% or even 100% mortgage of the property value in some cases.

The repayment period for mortgages is up to 40 years, again depending on the bank, while one can repay it up to the age of 75. There are also financial institutions which offer the option of paying only the interest for the first two years of the mortgage. The installments of the housing loan are always paid after the money is released to the applicant. As in most countries, the banks based in Greece usually request for proof of income from the applicants which is usually supplied through their tax declaration documents.

The question remains: Should someone go for a 100% mortgage? First of all, the recent sub prime crisis in the United States of America (USA) apart from creating hundreds of thousands homeless until recently house owners, has also made banks around the world more careful with their housing loan options. Even in Greece articles in various newspapers such as “Kathimerini” or “Proto Thema” highlighted on Sunday 3rd of February 2008 the fact that Greek banks are going to increase the cost of mortgages and reduce the percentage they offer to cover. This implies that, 90% or 100% funding will soon seize to exist as an option while housing interest rates may soon rise.

As expected, Greek banks want to reduce their risk in this way but at the same time they protect the interested purchaser. Despite the fact that protecting the consumer is not any banks’ top priority this helps us to answer the initial question put in the title of this article. Acquiring a housing loan will always be an option, but as a holiday, permanent or investment home seeker you may always keep in mind that there are two ways of reducing your risk:

1. Available funds enable you to acquire a smaller mortgage amount and thus pay less interest. Always set a realistic amount as your available budget without over stretching your self. At the same time it would be recommended that a minimum 15% deposit is secured before you commence your research in order to buy a home overseas.

2. Select a country and most importantly a location with a combination of what you are looking for and relatively low mortgage rates. Greece is the example that has been given so far and Crete could be a suggested location. A location is vital for the long term property value and in the island of Crete the real estate market has a relatively modest raise of 10% to 15% per year which makes it stand out when compared with the rest of Greece as a safe investment destination.

Taking these small steps may protect you while purchasing a property overseas and help you to turn this process into a more enjoyable and safe experience.

Nektaria Kladitis is a Greek Canadian who has lived in Canada, Greece and England, acquiring a Bachelor of Arts, a Masters of Science as well as years of experience in properties overseas. Nektaria is also the creator of the property consultancy – Talos Properties.

Talos properties was created in order to guide and protect all of you who wish to acquire your dream property in Crete, the island that has been loved by Gods and humans alike throughout the centuries. When you choose Talos Properties for the search of your property in Crete we can offer you further advice on financial and other matters. For more information please access the Talos Properties website at: http://www.talosproperties.com