Guest post, by Patricia Wilson
Greece can usually be found on the holiday hit list of most travel enthusiasts, but which places exactly do you really need to be paying a visit? We’ve teamed up with experienced author Patricia Wilson, who certainly knows a thing or two about this beautiful country, to narrow down some of the best options…
The Medieval Town of Rhodes was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage City in 1988. The castellated city with its mosaic streets, wide moat, and charming gardens, retains all the charm of its medieval past. Every kind of food is available in the city, from the humble – but delicious – gyro and a glass of beer, to oysters and champagne. The island of Rhodes is brimming with both interesting historical sites and traditional villages with colourful fishing boats.
Long sandy beaches and small secluded coves are fringed by sparkling turquoise water and traditional tavernas. Several day-trip boats carry tourists to the nearby islands of Symi and Xalki. I set my novel Villa of Secrets on the beautiful island of Rhodes because the history of it – particularly the occupation during WWII – has always fascinated me.
An island untouched by time, with many small and interesting churches. In the mountainous town of Olympos women still don the traditional style of dress every day. Married women wear lavishly-embroidered black headscarves and black dresses over white petticoats, and unmarried women wear white scarves and dresses embroidered with red roses.
Homemade soap, local olive oil, and every type of handicraft are offered for sale by the locals. The evenings are filled with traditional dance and music played on the lyra and tsambouna (a type of bagpipe). Tasty local foods include stuffed courgette flowers, and long-held traditions and hospitality rule the day.
Marble from this beautiful island adorns hotels and palaces around the world. The views of the white, cubist buildings of Paros Town are broken up only by windmills and blue-domed churches. Stroll the paved alleyways in the postcard picturesque villages, visit pristine beaches and eat octopus in the enchanting coastal village of Naoussa which has a quaint Venetian harbour. Paros also has many street festivals throughout the summer months, which I really recommend.
In my opinion, there are four things you must do in the capital city:
Kos was the birthplace of Hippocrates and the plane tree, from under which this master of medicine taught his disciples, dominates the town centre. Kos’ history and tradition have been carefully preserved and this makes for such an interesting visit. I recommend you take one of the many small boats to the neighbouring island of Nisyros, as according to legend, this charming island was formed by the battle of the Gods with the giants. The volcano and the folk-law museum are well worth a visit, too.
This is the largest and most beautiful of the Cyclades island group and is dominated by Mt. Zeus. Majestic mountains are divided by lush green valleys of pomegranate, lemon, and olive groves – the epitome of Greek agriculture! The town of Naxos was built by Venetian dukes in the middle ages and still has a Venetian atmosphere with balconied mansions and café-lined platias. Beautiful beaches, byzantine churches and historical sites abound.
This is the largest and most beautiful of the Cyclades island group and is dominated by Mt. Zeus. Majestic mountains are divided by lush green valleys of pomegranate, lemon, and olive groves – the epitome of Greek agriculture!
The town of Naxos was built by Venetian dukes in the middle ages and still has a Venetian atmosphere with balconied mansions and café-lined platias. Beautiful beaches, byzantine churches and historical sites abound.
This island is so diverse; at times the tourist may wonder if they are on the same island, or even in the same country. From Venetian harbours, Turkish mosques, long, deserted beaches fringed with tall palm-groves, towns of whitewashed houses, to lakes and gorges teeming with wildlife. The nightlife of Crete can be as up to the minute as in any European city – or a cosy, crazy, welcoming affair in a kafenio.
Must-visit beaches are Balos Bay, Elafonisi’s islets, the Egyptian-palm beach of Vai, and the extraordinary Chrissi Island with its pink sand beach and ancient forest. My first novel, Island of Secrets, is set on Crete and touches on the fascinating – and tragic – history of the village of Amiras, the memorial there is both beautiful and important.
By far the most astonishing of the Greek islands. Santorini is all that remains of a four-thousand-year-old volcano that still whispers smoke from its centre. My top tips are:
This small island was one of the most powerful centres of Greece. Its beautiful natural harbour made it easy to protect the city from raiding pirates of the Aegean. The capital, Ermoupoli, has the best collection of neoclassical mansions in the country. Syros is an unspoiled island that has managed to side step the throng of tourists, despite its quaint villages, amazingly ornate churches, and beautiful beaches.
Which is your favourite holiday spot in Greece? Tweet @icelollyholiday & let us know!
Patricia Wilson was born in Liverpool, has lived on Crete and is now settled on Rhodes. She was first inspired to write when she unearthed a rusted machine gun in her garden - one used in the events that unfolded during World War II on the island of Crete. The now elderly women involved in those events told Patricia their story, and her celebrated debut Island of Secrets (150k copies sold) was the result.
Villa of Secrets (60k copies sold) was inspired by documents found in a secret room in a police station in Rhodes detailing the fate of the Jews on the island in 1944. Secrets of Santorini is inspired by frescoes found on Santorini.