Travels in Greece After the Fires: The Good, Bad and Ugly
While Greeks living in parts of the Peloponnese and Evia scorched by this summer’s devastating fires are bracing themselves for massive floods this fall and the prospect that some forests will take at least two decades to grow back, tourists heading to Greece after the fires have remained remarkably bullish.
Toursim officials haven’t seen a drop in travelers except in areas like the devastated Ilia prefecture in the western Peloponnese, where many would-be visitors canceled trips. (The site of Ancient Olympia, one of the most visited in Greece, is still expected to have a steady stream of visitors next year.)
The fires also haven’t changed the usual Greek itineraries: The Cyclades and Crete continue to draw the more hedonistic beach vogue crowd while Mount Olympus in Macedonia enjoys a steady stream of Zeus-obsessed hikers. (The package tourists, meanwhile, huddle close to the ruins, restaurants and Retsina.)
But if you decide to visit Greece anytime soon I would advise you to go to the damaged areas of the Peloponnese, torrential rain notwithstanding (unless you have an inflatable raft in your car). Though parts of Ilia and the Mani look positively apocalyptic, a drive through the area will give you a first-hand sense of what a combination of greed, poor environmental policy, carelessness and the ravages of climate change can do to places of wild beauty deified by Patrick Leigh Fermor.