Greece is a country of many charms. Its status as the birthplace of the modern ideas behind philosophy and modern government remain intact, the country boasts impeccable historical pedigree; its world heritage sites alone enough to make most archaeologists green with envy.
It may be a country of only 11 million people, but its coastline – a maze of rocky outcrops and uninhabited islands – is the second longest in Europe. As inhospitable in some places as the mountains that dominate the country’s interior, Greece is a country full of character, an innate charm and a beauty which can be found both in the solitude of the countryside and on its untouched beaches.
Its people too are warm, hospitable and friendly, their generosity of spirit in keeping with traditional values that are becoming harder to find in Europe. Few warmer welcomes can be expected than at a Greek taverna, and few holiday destinations will provide such a healthy spread as a Greek estiatorio. Rich in olive oil, herbs and wholegrains, the Greek diet experience is one that will leave you looking and feeling great.
So, as the country rapidly modernises, now is the time to experience Greece as it should be: beautiful, tranquil and untouched by the stress of life at home. Perhaps this video from Sunvil can better illustrate these words…
What do we look for in a perfect beach? Clean water, secluded from the weather, not too many people, and certainly no traders trying to sell us the latest in tourist tat. Somewhere perfect to sunbathe, listen to the sea lapping at the sand, and to read the latest John Grisham in peace and quiet. Hidden away on the Greek island of Crete there are some beautiful and special beaches that are pretty much perfect.
On the south coast near Plakias is Damnoni Beach. Just don’t tell too many people about it! You wouldn’t want Leonardo Di Caprio turning up trying to start a commune. The sand is yellow and soft unlike many of the beaches on the south coast. The sea is a crystal green, coloured by the plant life on the sea bed. You won’t find ice-cream vans, so don’t forget to take your own picnic with you.
Milatos Beach in Lassithi on the south coast is a bit of a trek to get to – but that’s what makes it even more special. Access is via a dirt track down to the cove however, so it’s generally not suitable for wheelchairs or pushchairs. The beach itself is pebbly and often has some big waves crashing against the cove rocks. It’s one for the romantics rather than the sunbathers.
Also in the Lassithi region is Myrtos beach. What makes this beach particularly outstanding is the quality of the water. The sea is packed with fish, plants and wildlife, which makes it perfect for snorkelling. The small town itself gets few tourists as it doesn’t boast much aside from a few cafes and a church. You certainly won’t find a cash point here! That is partially the reason that the beach itself is often very quiet. The sand is a funny grey colour with pebbles , but the sea is a deep rich blue. Just remember to pack your goggles.
The town of Bali on the west coast isn’t one that you would first consider when looking for a quiet beach. The main stretch is made up of sandy coves which are secluded and very popular with families. If you’ve got young children and want to set up camp for the day, it’s very easy to find your own little cove and enjoy the cool waters from the springs that run into the sea. However if you’re looking for somewhere more out-of-the-way, Livadi, which is just up the road has two extremely quiet beaches. The Livadi beaches are only accessible via a footpath that runs towards Kouskouras.
These stunning beaches are the perfect place to while away a summer afternoon having a paddle in the emerald waters. What more could you ask of your holidays to Greece?
Located in the South Aegean just off the coast of Turkey, the beautiful island of Rhodes is a holidaymaker’s haven. Turquoise seas, white sandy beaches, ancient temple ruins and sugar-cube villages – this is the Greek islands at its best.
From Faliraki to Pefkos
And when it comes to booking a holiday you’ll be spoilt for choice. Home to many different resorts from bustling Rhodes Town and booming Faliraki – the party central of the island – to the quiet village of Pefkos, there are more than enough options on offer to please anyone’s tastes, so you’ll certainly find your favourite.
Spoilt with beaches
The beaches here are certainly one of the highlights. St Paul’s Bay near the attractive town of Lindos and the lovely Tsambika Beach near the town of Archangelos are two must-visit scenic hotspots. Tsambika is great for water sports and also boasts the beautiful Tsambika Monastery – accessible via a 300-step climb from the beach.
For incredible ancient sights, a visit to the Acropolis of Lindos is a must. It’s a natural citadel which was fortified throughout history by the Greeks, the Romans and Byzantines, and exists today as a stunning ancient monument. Not only are the views from the top breathtaking, there are also many other sites to explore in the area including ancient temples, Roman inscriptions, the incredible Hellenistic staircase and the Castle of the Knights of St John.
Getting here to explore the island’s fascinating history is easy, thanks to the range of scheduled flights and package holiday deals on offer which takes the stress out of travelling and makes things that little bit easier.
It’s fair to say that the island of Rhodes goes far beyond the standard beach holiday experience. So why not give it a try?
Located off the west coast of Greece, the island of Corfu is an idyllic destination for family holidays. Featuring mild weather, fabulous beaches and many local celebrations, Corfu will surely appease every family member.
For children, a Corfu holiday wouldn’t be complete without spending a day at Aqualand. Dubbed “The Most Amazing Water Park in Europe,” this privately owned property is home to giant water slides, crazy river, free-fall slides and large pool. On the dry side, the videogame room, adventure playground and mini cars will keep the children happy during any kind of weather.
Relax on a cozy beach in the tiny village of Kaminaki. Mainly untouched by tourism due to its location, the friendly atmosphere of the locals will lend a true picture of everyday life on the island. For those who prefer busier surroundings, the north coast beach in Sidari provides a large resort area with the merging of two small villages. Families looking for a Corfu holiday package deal will find every type of water sport, three beaches and a variety of excursions in addition to prime accommodations.
Plan a day of water activities right on the beach. Paragliding allows great views of the island, while snorkeling provides adventure under the azure ocean. Relax on a sunbed with or without an umbrella. Booking an excursion in Sidari is easy. Simply decide on an activity and book through the numerous travel shops in town. Horse riding is a popular family attraction. Either try Costas which is right in Sidari or opt for Trailriders, a short drive away.
Before leaving home, learn about Greek cuisine and their favourites. Visit Corfu to take part in a traditional Sunday lunch. Lasting several hours, this is the highlight meal of the week. Try a Taverna for a wide variety of selections to satisfy the whole family. Featuring homecooked meals and family owned for 160 years, Taverna Agni at Agni Bay boasts both signature and well known dishes. Popular among tourists and islanders alike, Stifado is a satisfying and tasty stew made from beef and baby shallots. For the kids, pizza and salad are also on the menu.
For a short four hour tour, the Achillion Palace in Gastouri is considered a magical setting with garden statues designed after Greek Gods. Complete with a tragic story, the palace was first built in 1890 for Elizabeth, Empress of Austria, who intended it as a summer home. Assassinated in 1898, the palace eventually passed into the hands of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany.
Visit Corfu during September to enjoy the Festival of Corfu, located in Corfu Town. Consisting of concerts, choruses and theatre, guests will also have the opportunity to sample authentic Greek cuisine.
The enchanting Ionian island of Corfu is the westernmost part of Greece. Ringed by sandy beaches and densely covered by olive and cypress trees, Corfu is host to numerous recreational, historical and cultural activities. The best time to enjoy your Corfu Villa holiday is May through June or September through October. The weather is pleasant and the island isn’t as crowded as during the summer months. No matter when they come, guests who visit Corfu will be amazed by all that the island has to offer.
Corfu is one of the most well known Greek islands. Visitors can soak up the summer sun or swim in the warm and inviting waters. You can spend a day on the family friendly beaches of Acharavi or enjoy water sports in Gouvia, such as paragliding, jet skiing or a charter boat excursion. Those looking for fun and excitement should experience all that Kavos and its wonderful views of the Greek Mainland have to offer. In Paleokastritsas, you can scuba dive the clear turquoise water, watch the local marine life during a glass bottom boat cruise or travel to secluded beaches backed by sheer cliffs, olive groves and cypress trees. Visitors who wish to experience the local culture and hospitality should visit the Sidari beaches. A Corfu Villa holiday will enable you to explore the wide variety of outdoor activities to be found along the coastline of Corfu.
Tourists who visit Corfu should spend time in Ano Moraitika. Here you will be amazed by the brightly coloured buildings and flower adorned alleyways of a village suspended in time. Here, vacationers will find unspoiled villages that reflect the island’s Venetian, Byzantine, Roman and Hellenic pasts. You will be awestruck by the 13th century monastery located in Paleokastritsas. In Corfu Town, visitors can see the Venetian, British and French influenced architecture. Guests will be captivated by the picturesque St. Spyridon Church that contains many religious artefacts. Stop by one of the two Venetian era fortresses for thrilling panoramic views. You will find Corfu’s historic past by strolling through the streets of the old and new town as you relish the mixture of architecture and cultures. No visit to the area would be complete without stopping by two of the most photographed places in all of Greece, Vlacherna and Mouse Island. Vlacherna is the white Convent of St. Mary that has a single identifying cypress tree, and Mouse Island is where Odysseus washed ashore.
No matter where you go on the island, you will find an eclectic mix of restaurants, shops, music, festivals, hotels and night life that appeal to every taste and budget. It’s never too early to start planning your 2012 Corfu holiday.
If you like islands, discover Fraser Island off the coast of Australia.