Greece is undisputedly one of the most beautiful countries in the world. With millennia of history and culture behind it, Greece has emerged as one of the best holiday destinations that the planet has to offer. No matter whether you want a cultural extravaganza or a chilled out beach holiday, Greece is probably the place for you.
If you’re at all interested in history and culture, then Athens is one of the most important cities in the world to visit. The Acropolis is an ancient citadel that contains the Parthenon, which is a former temple dedicated to the goddess Athena that was completed in 438 BC and is the largest Doric temple ever completed in Greece – it’s considered to be the most important ancient site in the world and if history is your thing, it’s an absolute must-see, along with the modernist Acropolis Museum. Take in the Archaeological Promenade, a walkway which links all the city’s most important archaeological attractions which was opened in 2004 and decreases traffic in the town centre. Athens also has a thriving, bustling social scene in the evenings, with a huge variety of restaurants, nightclubs and bars for tourists to visit. You could also check out the up and coming neighbourhood of Metaxourgiou if you want to find any hip new art galleries.
The birthplace of the Minoans who ruled 4000 years ago, Crete contains the Palace of Knossos, which is a famous Bronze Age archaeological site and Europe’s oldest city. You can see archaeological artefacts all over the island, along with Byzantine influenced frescoes in chapels and monasteries. The north of Crete is known for its beautiful pink sand beaches, which are a real treat for holidaymakers, along with the crystal clear waters that are perfect for diving, snorkelling, boating or kayaking. If you love being in the water and spending time on the beach over your vacation then Crete is an absolutely ideal place to visit. With mountains, Europe’s largest gorge, and a number of small friendly villages inland, Crete offers absolutely everything to tourists that you might possibly want.
Any literary fiction lovers will probably make a beeline straight for Kefalonia after reading Louis de Bernieres’s classic prize-winning novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which was set on the island during the Italian occupation in the Second World War and follows the story of a Greek girl who falls in love with an Italian soldier. The descriptions of the island in the book paint it as a tropical, glorious landscape, and the reality isn’t much different, although naturally it’s become more and more filled with tourists over the years – make sure you pick your accommodation carefully from a site like Kefalonia Villas to ensure that you’re staying exactly where you want to. Although there was a huge earthquake in 1953 that means very little of the original architecture is still standing, Kefalonia is surrounded by rocky cliffs and gorgeous beaches to enjoy, along with lush meadows and vineyards inland. Shaped by influences from Romans, Normans and Venetians, Kefalonia is a Greek destination you shouldn’t miss out on.
Another literary favourite, Corfu, an island in the Ionian Sea, was detailed in Gerald Durrell’s famous memoir My Family And Other Animals, which followed the lives of his family after they moved to Corfu, along with his observations about their natural surroundings and the wildlife on the Mediterranean island. It’s known both as a beach island and a centre of European learning in the days of modern Greece – why not check out the incredible museums and culture in the afternoons after spending the mornings at the beach, before checking out the nightlife in the evenings? If you want a more sedate holiday then it’s probably better to miss out the excesses of Kavos in the south of the island – instead focus on the hiking inland amid the thousands of olive trees, and the small picturesque rural villages. The beaches on the west coast of Corfu are among the finest in Greece.
One of the most atmospheric places in Greece, Rhodes is one of the Dodecanese Islands and is rich in everything you might want from a holiday, from nightlife to history to beaches to water sports. The Old Town is absolutely worth a visit – just make sure you take a map! You can also visit the Acropolis of Lindos, a beautifully preserved set of ancient remains, where you can find a temple to Athena Lindia and a Hellenestic stoa overlooking the coast.