It’s hot, it’s cheap, and there’s a lot to do – it’s not surprising that Greece is a perennial favourite holiday destination. Here, we take a look at the top five places to visit when you fly out to the home of the ancient world:
The Greek capital is one of the most important sites in ancient history and is a must-visit for anyone interested in the classical world. Nowadays, the city is a strange mish-mash of modern and old, so it is perfect whether you’re looking for a cultural experience or a vibrant and lively escape. Some of Athens’ most famous monuments include the Parthenon, the Acropolis, the Ancient Agora and the Theatre of Dionysos, whilst there are also huge shopping centres and museums, beautiful parks and zoos and an exciting nightlife. Having hosted the first ever Olympic Games, Athens is a spiritual home for sport, and also boats the amazing new arena that was used for the 2004 games.
Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and is split into four main regions – Heraklion, Chania, Lasithi and Rethymno. The landscape is beautiful, as bright white beaches become striking mountains and olive bespeckled countryside, whilst there is also a good variation in populated areas, with small, quaint peaceful villages juxtaposed with bigger, busier and exciting cities. There are some stunning sights to see – the ruins of Knossos, for example, an ancient palace which has been partially reconstructed to give tourists some idea of its original beauty. If you’re looking for cheap all-inclusive holidays to Crete where you can relax without any worries, then you are in luck – it boats some excellent hotels and resorts, and also offers much in terms of activities, from exploring on foot to relaxing on your back in a spa.
It may be a little more expensive than some of the other Greek islands, but Santorini makes up for it with its beauty. Famous for its villages, like Fira and Oia; that hang over cliffs above the crystal clear waters below, it is a truly picturesque place to spend a holiday – you can take a cable car to these villages from the seaport below or even ride a mule up to them. Santorini has some excellent beaches too, including the black sanded Kamari, whilst the Santorini volcano is a top place to visit.
The cultural capital of Greece is possibly the country’s most alive city, and is a hotbed for social life with its flamboyant festivals and vibrant nightlife. It is full of variety at night, hang out in little chilled Tavenrnas for a real taste of Greek life or head to the larger nightclubs and discos. You can even party on a boat whilst sailing around the Thermaic Gulf. During the daytime, Thessaloniki doesn’t lack ways to entertain – the shopping is great whilst the White Tower is a highlight in terms of culture.
Another of Greece’s islands, Rhodes is home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World – the Colossus of Rhodes, which was destroyed by an earthquake back in 226BC. What does still exist there is highly regarded for its beauty however, with the luscious pine forests and variety of floral life making it one of the most popular Greek islands. The islands houses some of Greece’s most famous monuments, including the Temple of Apollo and the Acropolis of Lindos, whilst also containing several more modern towns and tourist resorts, as well as a good nightlife.