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KNOW BEFORE YOU GO - STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD (foreign office travel advice)

Greece

AVERAGE CUSTOMER SAVING£313

Greece Holidays 2017/2018

Greece is one of the world's most loved holiday destinations. Known for its incredible olive harvests, slow pace of life, passionate people and rich history and culture, the country's 227 inhabited islands are all ripe for exploration.

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The island mentality

Greece is blessed with 2,000 registered islands, of which more than 200 are inhabited. The truly fascinating thing about these islands is each and every one of them has their own unique culture, which is a result of their importance to the various Greek empires in classical eras.

The island of Corfu, for example, is heavily influenced by nearby Italy due to its past Venetian occupation and humid climate. Whereas Crete, which is far west of the mainland, is very much its own culture, with different social etiquette and community values to many of the other islands.

The differences extend to little islands like Lesvos too, whose proximity to the Middle East makes it a much more cosmopolitan area, with particularly strong influence drawn from Turkey. Visiting Greece always brings new things – wherever you go, the culture, climate and people are different.

One thing all the islands share is a laid-back attitude. A Greek does things at his or her own pace, and by and large will not rush, panic or compromise if they do not judge it necessary. It takes a little getting used to, but once you get into the flow of things on the islands you'll wonder how you ever lived any other way. Plus, it makes them some of the most friendly people you will ever meet.

Where to stay in Greece

Corfu
CorfuView on Map

A western Greek island, Corfu shares Italy's landscape and climate but is definitely all Greek. Upmarket hotels and villas are mostly found in Gouvia and Agios Gordios, while families tend to move more towards cosier resorts like Kassiopi, or the wide beaches of Roda.

Kos
KosView on Map

Kos is well known for its good blend of modern tourist hubs with fun nightlife and more traditional towns and villages, all surrounded by stunning scenery. The busiest holiday spots tend to be in the south, in towns like Kardamena and Kefalos, while Kos Town is steeped in history and heritage.

Mykonos
MykonosView on Map

In Mykonos, you've a choice – to stay somewhere nicely secluded, with personal beaches, or opt for the resorts, close to restaurants and stunning sea views. Another popular place to stay is in the capital's Old Town district, where cosy streets weave through stunning architecture full of shops and cafes.

Rhodes
RhodesView on Map

Rhodes has history in abundance, yet it's also a richly contemporary destination, from its beaches to its backstreets. Diverse accommodation options factor in modern resort complexes and high end villas as well as budget hotels. From historical monuments to party hard resorts, you'll find it in Rhodes.

Santorini
SantoriniView on Map

Famous for its sunsets, its history and the charms of its small whitewashed villages, Santorini is one of the most beautiful of the all Greek islands. There are vineyards to be explored, a huge caldera region with volcanic landscape in the west and miles of beaches to the east.

Skiathos
SkiathosView on Map

A small island with a green landscape, Skiathos' beaches are lined with pine trees. For a quiet retreat rich in culture, Skiathos has plenty to offer the savvy holidaymaker. The capital, Skiathos Town, mixes old with new and has a large harbour. Alternatively, stay in one of the island's many small and idyllic resorts.

Zante
ZanteView on Map

Picture-perfect Zante boasts white sand beaches which gently shelve into the sapphire Ionian Sea. The dramatic limestone cliffs and rich vegetation add to the island's natural beauty, which is also home to the endangered loggerhead turtles. There are family-friendly resorts as well as quieter, traditional villages.

Quick Tips

  • Greek Orthodox
  • Euro
  • Greek
  • Approx 10.5 million
  • GMT +2

Easy access

Greece's sprawling landscape is incredibly diverse, with snowy mountains, sun-kissed beaches, secluded islands and bustling cities, all within easy reach of each other. Transport between these locations is generally very cheap, with coaches running regularly for tourists and locals alike, and ferry connections between islands.

Incredible local cuisine

The climate in Greece yields ingredients that are juicier, richer and larger than almost anywhere else in Europe. The menus reflect this, with a culinary tradition that is based on simple ingredients of meats, fish, cheeses, vegetables and herbs, all of which are found in British food but taste nothing like anything you've ever eaten back home.

Traditional Greek restaurants are known as tavernas, and these specialise in all the classics - Moussaka, Stifado, Kalamari and Souvlaki are top of the list to try. For breakfast, try a spinach or feta pastry and iced coffee. Lunch is a cheap lamb wrap from a street vendor, and for dinner, a hearty meat and tomato stew or an entire swordfish, washed down with ouzo or retsina, and baclava for dessert.

A beach lifestyle

The sheer amount of islands in Greece is outdone only by the amount of beaches. On every island you will find the popular resorts with loungers and parasols galore. However, just down the road you'll stumble across your very own strip of paradise, in the form of a secluded cove for you and your travelling companions to relax on, away from anybody else.

It is the variety on the coasts of Greece that brings people to the country again and again. From beach parties to scuba-diving hotspots, energising sunrises to sleepy sunsets, you'll find there's a beach out there with your name written in its sand. Plus, with great tourist coach services on most islands, you'll find it easy to dart between them at your leisure.

It's all ancient history

Of course, Greece is most famous for its classical heritage, its rich and fascinating ancient history. It is said Greeks were the inventors of theatre, democracy, court systems, philosophy, the Olympics – and even screws. As such, our contemporary society is literally built on things that Greece thought up, and the proof is in the pudding once you get there.

Marvel for hours in the marble towers, forts, temples that have been crumbled over time and through wars waged throughout Greece's history. Every island has its unique story to tell, and history lovers will be itching to visit each and every one to see just how it fits into the astonishing story of Ancient Greece – a story you could become a part of by visiting today.