Autumn has arrived – and summer in Greece has bid us a fond farewell. Its uniform golden hue has given way to an array of colours found only in autumn, the most charming season of the year. The Greek countryside is waiting to reveal its secrets to unsuspecting visitors and well-informed nature lovers alike.
With its unbeatably beautiful landscapes and rich palette of colours, it could give even the most gifted impressionist painter a run for his money – indisputable proof that Greece is an excellent choice of holiday destination at this time of the year too. Harvest activities set the tone, and visitors are welcome to join in this celebration of the land. The number one task at this particular time of the year is to get the olives in. Helping out with the harvest has become a fixture in the agro- and ecotourism diary and is a novel way to get back to nature while on holiday.
Greece is an olive producing country par excellence and harvesting olives has a long history here, both as an agricultural task and as an economic activity. Until recently it was a favourite subject for folklore experts and historians. Nowadays, special agrotourism accommodation units have opened up in Evia, Lesvos, Crete, Kalymnos, Paros,Kefalonia, Kalamata, Kythira, etc. These allow guests to help with the olive harvest as part of a trip during which they also experience the sights and way of life in the region.
The accommodation is simple but comfortable and matches the local style. The courtyard is an endless olive grove, where visitors can get back in touch with nature and experience every stage of the harvest. Visitors can, if they want to, of course, pick the olives using any of a number of age-old harvesting techniques, working for just one day or for a number of weeks in a row. Then they can help transfer the harvested olives to a traditional olive press and initiate themselves into the traditional art of extracting the precious oil, watching as the golden oil begins to flow and fills the air with its aromatic fragrance. Once the olives have been pressed, anyone who has helped is welcome to take some oil home in lieu of payment or maybe even fill up a couple of bottles bearing their very own personalised label.
This is an interactive holiday choice, and one which goes way beyond the scope of a simple tourist visit. Anyone who chooses to give it a try gets a true taste of rural living, returning, albeit just for a short time, to a more traditional way of life. This celebration of nature among the olive groves, the mix of labour and relaxation, is a unique experience for all those taking part in the olive harvest, a major agricultural event which has now become a relaxing activity for travellers and great fun for those lucky enough to take part.