Greece has always been #1 on my list of places to travel. The beautiful scenes of Santorini and Mykonos always send me into a deep trance, just visualizing myself there, with the calmness I feel by the ocean. What’s even more bizarre is that I’ve created this whole scene in my head based off pictures I’ve seen on Google.

Nevertheless, Greece is a beautiful country filled with such a diverse culture even within itself. If you’re like me and not able to make a trip to Greece right now, Virginia beach and Hampton Roads offer an array of Greek culture to give any visitor an authentic Greek experience.

The Norfolk Greek Festival has been held annually at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral since 1986. The Greek Orthodox Christian Church hosts this event, which has become the oldest and largest ethnic festival in Hampton Roads. It’s a celebration of Greek heritage, where visitors get to experience the food, music, and history behind Greek culture. The festival even offers tours through the historic walls of the Cathedral. Another cool thing about the Greek Festival is that all proceeds benefit the Cathedral ministries as well as other local charities, so attending this festival is great way to give back to the Tidewater community. It doesn’t get any more authentic than the Norfolk Greek Festival, so if you’re traveling to the area in early May, you don’t want to miss out on it.

If you’re looking to satisfy any craving for Greek cuisine, the Mayflower Café in Virginia Beach is the perfect place for you! Located right on the oceanfront, this cozy café offers a true Mediterranean ambiance that’s suitable for the whole family. Enjoy some of their house hummus before diving into their menu full of delicious traditional entrées. Mayflower Café caters to almost all health-related restrictions, and they also offer vegetarian and vegan options.

Ammos is another great dining option for authentic Greek cuisine. “Serving authentic homemade recipes, complimented with a great selection of Greek wines, weekend entertainment, and friendly service….” Now, if that doesn’t scream “I went to Virginia Beach, but I felt like I was off the coast of Mykonos enjoying some of its best dining,” I don’t know what will. Remember, imagination is key in creating your authentic Greek experience, but Virginia Beach has you covered. OPA!