Patrick Leigh Fermor, the dashing philhellene who died last June, knew that to get under Greece’s skin you must stray from the instant gratifications of its seaside resorts. Traveling on foot across the gorges of Roumeli and mountains of Mani, Leigh Fermor discovered a land of fierce beauty where traditions run deep. Eventually, he settled in Kardamíli, a sleepy hamlet in the southern Peloponnese, which he hoped was “too inaccessible, with too little to do, for it ever to be seriously endangered by tourism.”
Happily, he was right. While some islands have been scarred by unregulated development — and as the country grapples with the worst financial crisis in its modern history — Greece’s rugged mainland retains its unadulterated allure. Foraging for mushrooms in Epirus, watching pink pelicans take flight over Prespa Lake, listening to ethereal chanting in Meteora’s monasteries (such as the Roussanou Monastery, above) — there remain pockets of Greece where time stands still. You just have to know where to look.