From tiny isles to vast areas of land, the Greek Islands are all very different, each one showcasing its own individual character. Crete is the largest and perhaps most diverse island, housing a host of historic treasures and sweeping mountain ranges. Mykonos is miniscule in comparison, a picture-postcard island dotted with windmills and white-washed buildings, whilst Santorini is another smaller gem, oozing romance and spectacularly raised up on an ancient volcanic crater. Slightly larger, Zakynthos is an important breeding place for Loggerhead Turtles. Though different in many ways, these pretty islands all have friendly locals, gorgeous beaches, delicious food and sublime seascapes in common.
History & Culture
Greece is a country unrivalled in its historical treasures and cultural gems. Explore the Acropolis settlement and Parthenon temple in Athens, or marvel at the Bronze Age archaeological site of the Palace of Knossos, capital of Minoan Crete. Another extraordinary Minoan settlement on Santorini is named Akrotiri, while the iconic Ancient Olympia in the Peloponnese is the home of first Olympics. Epidavros, also in the Peloponnese, is a fabulously-preserved ancient city and backdrop for starlit dramas in its grand outdoor theatre. The culture continues into modern-day Greece: explore galleries draped with contemporary art and smooth sculptures, finding big name artists in Athens and the works of local creators in the backwaters of island villages.
In Greek cuisine, a handful of key ingredients promise full-on flavour: look forward to silky olive oils, salty feta cheeses, wild herbs, succulent meats, sticky honey and freshly-baked pitta breads. Start your culinary adventure with Greek yogurt drizzled in honey, before sampling classic dishes like moussaka (minced meat, aubergines and potatoes in tomato sauce), kleftiko (slow-roasted lamb), beef stifado (casserole) and souvlaki (skewered meat served in pitta). Usual delicious accompaniments include Greek salad and tzatziki. A hotspot for delicious seafood, Greece’s Aegean larder brings a delicious catch-of-the-day to all good local tavernas. Wash down these gastronomic delights with a tot of ouzo or glass of local wine – Crete has some highly commendable labels, especially whites.
Music, Dancing & Drinking
The Greeks have a passion for socialising, not just with their friends and families but also with their visitors. Enjoy Greek music and energetic dancing, a time to join in with the merriment and soak up the true Greek culture. Look out for classic tavernas with long tables, designed to welcome everyone keen to join in the fun, as bouzouki music blares and bottles of ouzo flow.
Greece offers the perfect setting for open-air escapades. Choose from a huge array of water sports, wildlife watching (for the likes of dolphins and turtles), hiking into volcanoes, walking Byzantine trails, and cycling across forests or coastal paths. More relaxing options include ambles through ancient, sun-dappled olive groves, a sail into the sunset, or simply chilling out on a stunning white-sand beach. Alternatively, feel your adrenalin pumping as you enjoy wreck-diving, kite-surfing, rock-climbing and more!
Greece’s capital city, Athens, along with the likes of Mykonos Town and Thira on Santorini, all have a fine selection of elegant boutiques filled with designer labels and stylish homeware. Alongside the big labels, look out for the small, traditional shops selling local handicrafts, silver jewellery, religious icons, sea sponges, dried herbs and olive oil-based products for the skin and hair – all great souvenirs of your stay in Greece.
Make the most of the warm summer nights and watch a movie at the outdoor cinema at Sani Asterias Suites, Halkidiki – open from June to September.
Reserve your place at the Fisherman’s Evening at the Yacht Club at Elounda Mare Relais & Château Hotel and tuck into a fantastic seafood buffet.
Our Travel Consultants can advise on, arrange and pre-book many things to enhance your holiday. This includes everything from spa reservations and dinner reservations, to a range of special experiences available in our featured resorts that you may not know about.
British Airways from London Heathrow to Athens and Mykonos and from London Gatwick to Thessaloniki. Easyjet from London Gatwick to Heraklion and Kalamanta. UK regional departures and charter flights are also available.
From London Heathrow to Athens: 3 hours, 30 minutes. London Heathrow to Mykonos: 3 hours, 45 minutes.
From London Gatwick to Thessaloniki: 3 hours, 15 minutes. London Gatwick to Heraklion: 3 hours, 55 minutes. London Gatwick to Kalamanta: 3 hours, 40 minutes.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.