No visit to Greece would be complete without sampling some of the country’s best-loved dishes. From Greek salads made using the freshly picked olives and tomatoes, to honeyed soft cheeses, and marinated souvlaki eaten straight from the grill, the possibilities are endless. Wherever you choose to holiday in Greece, many tavernas use recipes passed down through the generations, so you’ll be tasting a piece of local history.
With miles upon miles of stunning beaches, Greece is a sun-lover’s paradise. Whether you want to sit back and relax, or try your hand at some water sports, there’s plenty to explore. Crete alone boasts 650 miles of pristine coastline, while Rhodes is renowned for its record-breaking levels of sunshine, so when it comes to finding the perfect sun spot, you’ll be spoilt for choice.
A haven for history buffs, Greece is home to some of the world’s most iconic architectural sites. In Olympia, visit the spot where the very first Olympic Games was held back in the 8th century BC, making sure you leave time to explore the tree-shrouded ruins of the gymnasium, the leonidaion and the Sacred Precinct of Zeus. Crete’s Palace of Knossos is another must-see. Situated 5km south of modern day Heraklion, this evocative site was once the centre of Minoan civilisation, encompassing an enormous palace and vibrant frescoes.
Away from the mainland, the Greek islands offer visitors a truly authentic experience. Renowned for its white washed, dome-topped buildings and sparkling turquoise waters, Santorini is perfect for a romantic getaway. On the island of Milos, take advantage of the laid back atmosphere and secluded beaches, not forgetting the many charming villages – each one more picturesque than the last. For a dash of glitz and glamour, and a slightly faster pace of life, Mykonos is a must. Although famed for its buzzing nightlife, this magnificent island is so much more than a party destination.
Whether you’re booking an all inclusive holiday to Greece, or planning to dine like a local, it goes without saying that one of the best things to do here is eat. In Greece, sharing food is part of the culture, and no matter where you go, you’ll be sure to come across some meze (small-plates). Particularly popular in the north (think Thessaloniki or Halkidiki) this tradition combines herb-rich dressings, creamy cheeses, and dips made from roasted aubergine, chickpeas and the nationally celebrated fava bean. Grilled, fried or marinated in rosemary, olive oil and lemon, the seafood, too, is unlike anything you’ll taste anywhere else in the world.
One of the world’s most significant ancient sites, the Acropolis should definitely be on your itinerary for any holiday to Greece. Built during the 5th century, and first inhabited during Neolithic times (4000-3000 BC), the complex can be seen from almost any point in Athens, its monuments, pillars and statues dominating the city’s skyline. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the area has been destroyed several times, most notably in 1687 when an explosion left the Parthenon in ruins, but this doesn’t spoil its awe-inspiring appeal. Many parts have been restored, while other original sculptures and frescoes are now housed in the Acropolis Museum.
Renowned for its year-round sunshine and breath-taking coastline, Greece is the ideal beach holiday destination. Whether you’re looking for a secluded sunbathing spot, or something more central, you’ll find a beach to suit almost every taste and occasion, from Mykonos’ hugely popular Paradise Beach, to Voutoumi on the tiny island of Antipaxos, one of the area’s best kept secrets. For glittering turquoise waters and dramatic views, visit Santorini’s White Beach, one of the most picturesque on the Cyclades islands. Further off the beaten track, Kefalonia’s Petani Beach is the very definition of paradise, with crystal clear waters and powder white sands galore.
Situated on the north coast of Crete, the Palace of Knossos is the island’s best-known historical attraction. Dating back to the Bronze Age, the site was first discovered in 1878 by Minos Kalakairinos, and was once the centre of Minoan culture and civilisation. As well as an expansive palace, the area includes private apartments, courtyards, brightly coloured frescoes and a stonemason’s workshop. Platform walkways make it easy to navigate from one end of the site to the other, but we recommend arriving early to avoid the crowds.
In the summer, temperatures in Greece are usually in the mid-high 30s, with around 12 hours of sunshine each day and little or no rainfall. During the spring and autumn, the weather will be cooler, with temperatures ranging from the late teens to mid 20s and the occasional rain shower.
If you are a British citizen, you don’t need a visa to enter Greece but you must have a valid passport. For the latest information on European travel regulations, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece/entry-requirements.
The currency in Greece is the Euro (EUR).
In Greece, the main language spoken is Greek.