Greece - Quick Facts
Greece is truly a fantastic country, with superb resorts, a combination of contemporary styles and classic designs. History of course, with Athens well worth two or three days, if your time permits. Delightful beaches and traditional villages. And without a doubt some of the most hospitable and friendly people. Flight time from the UK approx. 4 hours to the resort areas.
Greece is usually at its best from mid-May through to mid-October, when the days are usually bright and sunny, with the mid-summer temperatures soaring. Most of the resort hotels close at the end of October and start reducing facilities from mid-October onwards, as occupancy decreases. Equally, in May, hotel facilities are opened gradually, depending on occupancy, usually fully operational by mid-June.
The winter months can be cold and damp, with most of the resort hotels closed. The sea tends to be warmer in October than in May as, rather logically, it’s had the summer to warm up. Those islands further east tend to warm up a little earlier in the season than resorts in the western region.
The total variety and the consistent quality. Costa Navarino is on the eastern coast of the Peloponnese, an up and coming area that is still delightfully unspoilt. Halkidiki is just one hour transfer from Thessaloniki, in the north of the country, an area known for its super soft sand beaches. Mykonos and Santorini are world famous resort islands, with great style. Santorini must be one of the most romantic islands anywhere! Crete offers some of the most stylish and individual resorts in the region.
Getting There – several direct flights from the UK to Thessaloniki, Crete, Santorini and Mykonos most days during the summer, and a couple of days weekly to Kalamata (Peloponnese), or daily flights to Athens and then 50 minutes onward connection.
Athens and the Peloponnese
Athens is one of the great historical cities of Europe. Incredible sightseeing with the Acropolis one of the must-see temples in the world. Explore the old quarters, the superb restaurant scene and some of the best-priced shopping in the Mediterranean region. Grand heritage style hotels and some really funky new boutique additions. Athens, with its port of Piraeus, is one of the main cruise destinations of the region.
The Peloponnese region is on the west coast, facing the Adriatic Sea. The main city is Kalamata with its international airport, or you can drive from Athens in about 3 hours. This region is wonderfully scenic with good beaches, lush forests, waterfalls, medieval fortress cities. If you are driving from Athens you pass over the famous Corinth Canal bridge.
We suggest that you look to combine your stay with the Kinsterna Hotel in Monemvasia. This is rural Greece at is best. Simple elegance but a unique experience.
Halkidiki and Thessaloniki
Located in the north-west of the country. Here you will find Thessaloniki (Saloniki), the 2nd city of Greece. One of the undiscovered gems of Europe, steeped in history and culture. Probably even more cosmopolitan than Athens with a fusion of Greek, Turkish and Jewish Sephardic cultures. A real café society set in a vibrant city.
Halkidiki is the resort area, just over an hour transfer, a three finger-shaped peninsular, each with superb resorts, great beaches, monasteries, the small still authentic villages and offshore islands.
Best time to visit? Generally, these areas are most popular April through to October. Some resorts might be open for longer periods but will focus on spa, cuisine and maybe golf, rather than the beach. Athens and Thessaloniki are year-round cities with the emphasis on sightseeing.
Corfu is located off the west coast of Greece, close to the coast of Albania in the Ionian Sea. It is known for its rugged mountain scenery, small secluded bays and green forests. It does have its pockets of tourism excess, but also areas of high-end residential villa wealth. Over the years the island has been ruled by the Venetians, French and British. All have left their footprint into the island’s history. This is particularly noticeable in Corfu Town with its grand colonial buildings.
Best time to visit? Most of the hotels will open late April through to October. The early spring months are warming up, with the mid-summer months the hottest and most expensive. September and October can be particularly good value.
Mykonos and Santorini
Both are located within the Aegean Sea, south-east from Athens. There are international flights from several UK airports, as well as domestic connections both by air & sea from Athens. You can also sail from one to the other, travelling south from Mykonos to Santorini. This is a really nice way to arrive, as you really get to appreciate the scenic splendour of Santorini from the sea.
Both islands are known for their jet-set image and style. Mykonos has the better beaches and a lively social scene. It plays hosts numerous celebrities, especially in the peak summer months. Santorini is even more romance focused, with most of the hotels perched right on the cliff edge with incredible views. Both islands are favourites with the summer cruise circuit, so expect to see numerous large ships in port most mornings.
Best time to visit? Hotels tend to open April to October. These islands, and especially Santorini are amongst the most popular throughout the Mediterranean area and hold their peak summer rates longer than most, so the period Mid June to September can be expensive but that does not seem to diminish their appeal.
Crete is the most furthest East of our featured Greek islands. A long thin almost sausage shaped island, with diverse scenery ranging from rugged mountains, cove beaches and historical areas such as Knossos. There are two international airports: Chania for north-west coast resorts and Heraklion for the central north & east coast areas.
Crete has some of the most attractive resorts. High quality, with super facilities and well priced, given the standards you are receiving. There are some pockets of tourism excess but these are easily avoidable if you so wish. Super water quality and some interesting sightseeing.
Best time to visit? Most hotels are open April through to October. Being further east, the temperatures seem to rise earlier and hold longer than the areas to the west, so our spring months and early autumn can be particularly worth looking at. The peak summer months of July/August are peak demand times, reflected in the prices.