As summer approaches, tourism in Greece is booming with traditional and up-and-coming destinations featured in the international media. And while April tourism data points to a successful summer, here’s our top five spots in Greece this summer.
5. Crete: The ultimate family destination
If you’re traveling with family and kids, think no further. Britain’s Daily Telegraph journalist Anne Cuthbertson writes: “A family holiday in Crete offers the perfect mix of parental pampering and child-friendly activities under the Greek island sun”. Crete showcases more than 70 stunning blue-flagged beaches and well organised family resorts that offer fun times for little travellers. And of course there’s also the food. Most of the ingredients used in tavernas and restaurants are produced locally, often in organic farms. Cretan cuisine has been called the base for one of the most healthy diets in the world, the Mediterranean.
Tip: Visit the Palm Forest near the Preveli Monastery. The site suffered from a terrible fire in 2011 but was rapidly regenerated by nature!
4.Lefkada: Where blue meets green
When thinking of the colours of the Greek islands, the mind instantly pictures white and blue. But in the majestic Lefkada of the Ionian Sea, you can find clear turquoise waters surrounded by fertile green mountains. And it gets even better: you don’t have to get in a boat to get there. Lefkada is connected to the main part of Greece by bridge and it’s only 10 miles away from Preveza airport and its direct flights from major UK cities such as London and Manchester! According to Conde Nast Traveller: “Lefkada is a summer hotspot that mainland Greeks flock to for holidays but still remains largely undiscovered by tourists”.
Tip: Try the small affordable cruise boats that leave from Nyrdi Port. They’ll take you not only to Porto Katsiki, one of the most famous beaches is Europe (otherwise accessible by 347 steps), but also the nearby islands of Kefallonia, Ithaka and Scorpio.
3. Cyclades Islands : Santorini, Mykonos, Ios, Milos, Amorgos and much more!
You can’t go wrong here. Cyclades comprise of more than 30 beautiful islands to satisfy every taste. U.S. News recently put Santorini atop their list of the 16 most beautiful islands in the world. Meanwhile, according to a recent article in the Huffington Post, “it didn’t take much time to understand why one might want to purchase a one-way ticket” to Mykonos. Listen to Greek Reporter and don’t just stay in these two – there are so many more to discover.
Tip: If you find yourself in Santorini, pay a visit to the Akrotiri ancient ruins, excavated in the 1960’s. The Minoan city is supposedly the inspiration behind the myth of Atlantis.
2. Athens: a city of culture that never sleeps
The combination of ancient and modern culture makes Athens worth a visit. Adrian Mourby from The Independent recently visited and wrote: “A visit to the Greek capital is a chance to relive the Classical past – and to enjoy the city’s more contemporary attractions” such as the coming opening of the opening of the National Museum of Modern Art. The city can be very busy and loud, but try this and you will understand why: Take a long evening walk around Thiseio enjoying all the different views of Acropolis, and if you get very hungry, even around midnight, enter any restaurant. They will serve you food that will be made right and then.
Tip: If you’re looking for a quick escape from the city, visit the Temple of Poseidon in Sounio, or the picturesque island of Agkistri.
1. Evia & Sporades: Holiday like a local, and Mamma Mia inspiration
The Guardian’s recently featured the up-and-coming destination of Evia and Sporades. Evia is traditionally the place were Greeks go on holiday and has a very relaxed atmosphere with traditional villages up in the mountains and beautiful beaches. The north is much more fertile than the south, which is great for fishing and diving.
Sporades consist of Skopelos, Skiathos and Alonnisos and Skyros, four charming little islands so close together, but so different from each other. Skiathos is popular for its nightlife and amazing beach bars, whilst Skopelos, favored by couples, is the most romantic of the Sporades with amazing views of the sunset, and was the location for the movie Mamma Mia. Alonnisos, meanwhile, is very secluded and quiet, great for couples looking to discover hidden paradise beaches. Finally, Skyros was described by The Guardian as: “By far the least visited of the traditional Sporades, at least by non-Greeks (there is a domestic airport). Those prepared to find their way here, however, are amply rewarded by an atmosphere that blends traditional Greek village life with an increasingly trendy “alternative” vibe.”
Tip: Alonissos features a national marine park where the engendered Mediterranean monk seal can be found.