There is a romance attached Greece that makes it stand out from other sun-seeker destinations. The white sugar-cube buildings sitting among vivid pink oleander flowers on a ruggedly green hillside overlooking a royal blue sea that stretches out ad infinitum could be taken straight off a postcard, coupled with laid back Greek culture and fantastic foodie offerings make it a firm favourite year after year.
One of the most popular holiday destinations in the world, Greece attracts almost 18 million tourists each year, drawn in by the swathes of beaches, sunny weather and rich history that is traced throughout mainland Greece- most notably in Athens- as well as the islands.
Greece has the longest coastline in the Mediterranean thanks to its collection of islands. Corfu, Crete, Kefalonia, Kos, Lesbos, Rhodes, Samos and Santorini are a few of the largest and most popular, and each present something different to the last, whether it be the black volcanic sands of Santorini, the rustic charm of Kefalonia or the lively nightlife of Corfu.
Athens is to Greece what Rome is to Italy: a living, breathing tome of history. The Acropolis of Athens, along with the Parthenon, is one of Greece's most important landmarks and the adjoining museum is open for visitors to learn about Greece's rich history, ancient civilization and captivating mythology.
Rhodes is Greece’s most visited island. The Medieval City is enclosed by city walls and is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. Much of the town has been restored so while it retains its historical authenticity, it also hasn’t descended into ruins like many of Greece’s historical sites. Shops and picturesque pavement cafes make it a lovely place to while away a day.
Greece’s beaches are a major draw for sun-starved British holidaymakers, and you’ll find a welcome mix of busy beaches with modern amenities and purpose-built resorts, and side-of-the-road horseshoe bays and local haunts. A place of stunning natural beauty, many of Greece’s beaches are curved out of rugged surrounding rocks, and come in a variety of pristine white sand, volcanic black sand or pebbles. Myrtos beach in Kefalonia is one of the most exotic: laying at the bottom of a mountain, the drive down might seem perilous but the bounty at the end is outstanding. Mpalos beach, Crete, also deserves an honourable mention as a vast sandy white stretch that gently banks into fifty shades of blue.
Some Greek islands are notable- or should I say notorious!- for their excellent nightlife and are perennially popular with the 18 to 30s crowd. Corfu, Rhodes, Mykonos and Zante are a few of the popular ‘party’ islands, offering their partygoers a nocturnal schedule to party all night and sleep all day!
Santorini is perhaps the most recognisable of the Greek islands for its iconic whitewashed buildings, blue domed churches and black volcanic sands. For a high-gloss, cosmopolitan holiday, Santorini is an ideal choice.
Traditional Greek cuisine is noted as some of the world’s most moutheringly-good food. Not only is it a gastronomic delight for the tastebuds but it is characteristic of the healthy Mediterranean diet, making it pleasing on the waistline too! Fresh ingredients are always the order of the day but this is not just the food of salad-lovers; dedicated carnivores will be satiated by meat staples including moussaka, stifado, souvlaki and gyros.
Greek meze is a delectable sampling platter, akin to Spain’s tapas. Small dishes such as calamari and olives share the stage with flatbread and various dips like Greek tzatziki and taramasalata.
Wash it down with Greece’s signature tipples: ouzo or metaxa, or Mythos beer.