There are wonderful guide books about Greece widely available, such as Blue Guides, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, National Geographic, Fodor’s and Eyewitness Travel Guides. If you wish to learn more and enhance your travel experience in Greece, here are some suggestions for further reading. To obtain these books contact your local book store or visit amazon.
For the history buff type of reader we suggest:
• The Ancient Olympic Games by Judith Swaddling
• Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea by Thomas Cahill
• The Lord of the Seas by John R. Hale
• Persian Fire by Tom Holland
• The rise and fall of Athens by Plutarch (Penguin)
• Julian by Gore Vidal
If you enjoy Art & Mythology and you would like to prepare yourself for all the wonderful sites you are going to visit, we strongly recommend:
• Greek Sculpture by Nigel Spivey
• Greek Mythology by Edith Hamilton
• The Greek Treasure by Irving Stone
• Memoirs of Hadrian by Marguerite Yourcenar
• A traveler’s History of Greece by Boatswain & Nicholson
• Dinner with Persephone by Patricia Storace
And, for those who would like to challenge their philosophical spirit before or after taking a trip to Greece, try the following suggestions:
• Plato and Platypus walk into a bar by Thomas Cathcart& Daniel Klein
• If Aristotle Ran General Motors by Tom Morris
• The Traveller’s Guide to Classical Philosophy by John Gaskin
• Travels with Epicurus by Daniel Klein
• D’ Aulaire’s book of Greek Myths
• Curious Kids Guides, Ancient Greece by Fiora McDonald
• The Trojan Horse: How the Greeks won the War by Emily Little
• Child’s introduction to Greek Mythology: the stories of the Gods by Heather Alexander & Meredith Hamilton
• Classical kids: An activity guide to life in ancient Greece and Rome by Laurie Carlson
• Spend the day in ancient Greece: Projects and activities that bring the past to life by Linda Honan
• and the website: www.earlymyths.com
Greek history, both ancient and modern, has inspired filmmakers since the 60s. It is always interesting to see how Greek stories still give ideas to Hollywood productions. However, movies such as Troy (2004), Alexander (2004), the 300 (2006) and Clash of the Titans (2010) by no means can be considered to be historically or mythologically accurate. On the other hand, we do suggest watching those movies but always through a critical eye, keeping in mind that it is about a generic historical background that has inspired hollywood producers rather than stories based on historical sources. From this genre of movies, our favourite one is the Odyssey (1997), where the adventures of Ulysses are depicted beautifully in a magical mediterranean landscape.
Besides ancient Greek history and Mythology, another inspiring historical period for film makers was WWII in Greece. The Guns of Navarone (1961) with Anthony Quinn and Gregory Peck as well as Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001) with Nicholas Cage were very successful at their times. Moreover, the Greek production The travelling Players (1975) was an excellent movie depicting that period. Furthermore, the film Z by Costas Gavras gives a controversial point of view regarding post war politics.
Furthermore, for the cinema fans who are interested to explore Greek productions, we would suggest the films El Greco (2007) based on the artist’s true story and A Touch of Spice (2003), a film narrating a love story taking place after the times of the exchange of population between Greece and Turkey.
Recently, similar effect had the very popular films of NiaVardalos My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) and its recent cequel My Big Fat Greek Life (2013). Moreover, My life in Ruins (2009) was also a fun movie about group traveling in Greece.
Furthermore, tremendous success had Mamma Mia (2008) was met with great success featuring Meryl Streep and filmed at the Sporades islands.
For those who would like to get immersed in Greek landscapes before visiting Greece, we recommend all times classic James Bond For Your Eyes Only (1981) and the Big Blue (1988) by Luc Besson.
For the young travelers, we recommend Hercules by Walt Disney and Goofy’s adventures featuring an Olympic athlete
Sir Peter Ustinov, In the path of the Gods