Holidays in Greece
Greece Holidays at a glance
Readers Awards 2012 - The Sunday Times Travel Magazine: - Greece has been awarded the prestigious "Best European Beach Destination" award by the Sunday Times Travel magazine. This is the second recent award for Greece, as the National Geographic Travellers' Editors, are including Thessaloniki (the second largest city in Greece) as one of the 20 must see places for 2013!
This is solid proof that for UK Press & public, Greece is a top holiday destination, an easy and safe to explore country, capable to satisfy every taste and budget.
Greek Holidays this year are even better value! A Post Office survey, comparing cost-of-living prices has found the average cost of a shopping basket in Greece - including a meal for two, drinks and sun cream - is 10% cheaper this year than last. So, in a difficult economy, make your holiday budget go even further by choosing a holiday to Greece. Within this magnificent country, you are still spoilt for choice.
Having a northern mainland bordering Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania, and the south fractured into well over 1000 islands, 227 of which are inhabited, the landscape varies from rugged, pine-clad mountains to more gentle undulations down to wide expanses of cream-coloured sand where whitewashed buildings cluster around pretty harbours and where the waters of the Mediterranean, Aegean and Ionian seas lap her shores.
At the axis of Europe, Asia and Africa, Greece is imbued with the influences of contrasting cultures and everywhere are the antiquities and remnants of her historical past, co-existing with the gentle sway of modern-day living. Sites of ancient ruins, museums full of artefact's and the cool cloisters of monasteries unchanged for centuries attract history and culture lovers from around the world.
After dark, the fun really takes off as the lights of restaurants and bars twinkle through the inky sky. It could be a languorous meal watching a spectacular sunset, or a riotous night in a lively club - the choice is yours.
It's easy to discover just what it is that attracts millions of holidaymakers to this captivating part of the world each year. With its ability to cater for a wide range of tastes, Greek holidays remain among the most popular of package deals. So if you're in search of Greek all inclusive holidays, value family holiday or a budget holiday then look no further than Greece holidays at Olympic.
Greece Holidays - Destination Profile
Package holidays to Greece and the Greek islands have been popular since the 1960s and continue to attract millions of visitors every year. Those taking Greece holidays are enchanted with all it has to offer and visitors return to Greece year after year to enjoy all its delights.
Holidays to each of the Greek Islands provide different experiences catering for a variety of tastes. So you can rest assured that whatever your holiday interests are, there is a Greek island or resort to satisfy your requirements.
Fantastic Range of Greek Holiday Destinations
The Ionian Islands lie off the west coast of the Greek mainland and enjoy gloriously hot summers and mild wet winters. These conditions are perfect for the cypress trees that cover the spectacular mountainous landscape and the olive groves and hillsides peppered with wild flowers. Stunning beaches of perfect sand and gently shelving seas make the Ionian Islands perfect for family holidays. Corfu, Kefalonia and Zante are familiar names and popular Greek holiday destinations but this island group includes some lesser known gems such as Lefkada and Paxos which retain the essence of traditional Greek life.
Think of a Greek island and you will probably envisage one of the 39 islands that make up the Cyclades lying south east of the mainland. The characteristic bright, white sugar cube houses splashed with brilliant blue perfectly reflect the contrasts of brightness and deep shadow cast by the radiant sunshine and pick up the hues of sea and sky. The sheer cliff faces of Santorini and the tiny churches and enchanting windmills of Mykonos two of the most popular islands, appear on brochure fronts and postcards everywhere and a variety of holidays to these enchanting islands are on offer at Olympic Holidays.
Some of the best beaches in Greece are to be found on the small cluster of islands known as the Sporades. Made up of 11 islands of which only 4 are inhabited, this group is situated off the eastern shore of mainland Greece. Each island has a unique beauty and charm but as a group they are characterised by mountainous scenery and lush vegetation. The seas are some of the cleanest and bluest anywhere. Not surprisingly, Greece holidays here are renowned for quality beaches on the compact and utterly beguiling islands of Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos.
The twelve major islands of the Dodecanese and a number of smaller ones in the group are located close to Turkey at the most easterly point in the Aegean Sea. They are famous for their fascinating history, quaint villages and exciting nightlife as well as fabulous beaches and enviable climate. Olympic Holidays to the Dodecanese Islands of Rhodes, Kos, Symi, Halki and Kalymnos offer varied days of fun and sun.
Crete is Greece's single largest island providing a multitude of renowned resorts with something to suit everyone. It is an island of mountainous interiors and a coast with many beautiful beaches and rocky coves. Pretty villages and towns contain much to excite the traveller in craft boutiques, welcoming tavernas with delicious traditional cuisine and attractive harbours lined with cafes to while away an afternoon or two. Crete is the seat of the Minoan Civilisation and ancient ruins remain to give history lovers a treat. Here you'll find a lively atmosphere where you can party into the early hours and recoup during long days lounging on the beach.
North and East Aegean Islands
The island of Thassos, located at the top of the Aegean, has a bit of everything: sandy beaches, traditional villages, splendid views and historic sites. Nature's peaceful perfection gives way to more developed tourist traps and a rioutous nightlife. Lesvos, the third largest Greek islands, is lush with olive groves and forest. Largely untouched by tourism, it's the destination for a genuine Greek experience, and idyllic family holidays. Among this group, Samos is probably best known and most visited. With great beaches, good hotels and plenty to do, it is also spread with acres of forest surrounding peaceful hideaway coves.
The many attractions of the islands mean that holidays to the Greek mainland are often overlooked, but it matches all that the islands offer and has a majesty all its own. The Peloponnese area is often described as the true Greece. This is the birthplace of the Olympics and is very close to the capital, Athens. It is possessed of many tiny, traditional villages and great beaches as well as ancient sites to marvel at.
Tourism in Parga on the west coast, is low-key and its untainted character, along with magnificent landscapes and majestic beauty, adds to the appeal. Just north of Parga is the unspoilt resort of Sivota again an area of outstanding beauty where pine forests and olive trees grow in abundance.
But perhaps the best known of the mainland resorts is Halkidiki in northeastern Greece, a perfect destination for quieter family holidays. It sits southeast of the city of Thessaloniki, Greece's second largest city, and is made up of three fingers of land resembling the trident of Poseidon, God of the sea, appropriately piercing the Aegean. It offers sunny, golden beaches punctuated with deep, untouched, picturesque gulfs where pine covered hills descend to sheltered bays, and tiny, fishing villages thrive with nothing to disturb the pervading sense of tranquility.
Thronging with sightseers all year round, the renowned historic attractions of Athens are within a pedestrianized area at the heart of the city including the Acropolis and Parthenon and many other monuments, theatres and museums. The oldest city in Europe, Athens wears its age well, tolerating the ebullience of its younger inhabitants with the pleasure and wisdom of an indulgent grandfather. Packed with shops, restaurants, nightclubs and street cafes, time will fly as you cram it all in.
Value Greece Holidays Online with Olympic Holidays
Book your Greece holidays online at Olympic Holidays the leading travel provider to Greece with over 45 years experience of offering quality Greek holidays at great value. In addition to package holidays to Greece, we offer an excellent range of cheap flights to Greece and hotels in Greece. For great savings on Greece holidays book online or call our reservations team, lowest price guaranteed!!!
Holidays in Greece - Things to see
Greece holidays are perfect for exploring a rich historical heritage; regardless of which of our Greece holidays you choose, the signs and reminders of ancient Greece are never far away. Below is just a selection of the many places of interest to visit during your Greece holidays:-
Melissani Cave: Take a boat trip underground in Kefalonia to experience the magic atmosphere of this cave enclosing a subterranean lake surrounded by trees. Named after the nymph Melissanthi, sunlight streams through the cave top illuminating the shimmering, turquoise water on which boats appear to levitate. The other-wordliness is enhanced by relics featuring nymphs and dolphin-shaped stalactites. Visit between noon and 2pm to catch the light effects.
Corfu Archaeological Museum: The museum contains a wealth of archaeological finds from Corfu, including many from the Temple of Artemis in Corcyra (the ancient capital) on the peninsula south of modern Corfu Town.
Samaria Gorges: The longest gorge in Europe, and second longest is the world after the Grand Canyon, is to be found on the largest of the Greek islands, Crete. The gorge cuts a swathe through the White Mountains and is teeming with wildlife including an incredible display of wildflowers in spring.
Thessaloniki: Not to be missed during your Greece holiday to Halkidiki is a visit to Greece's second largest city, Thessaloniki, home to the fascinating Archaeological Museum containing ancient marble statues and gold jewellery originating from Macedonia. The stunning Byzantine churches here are recognised as UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Symi Harbour: In a land of picturesque sights, Symi harbour tops the charts. A deep and wide natural inlet and a busy, thriving port, it owes its good looks to the cluster of sea captains' houses in a riot of pastel colours ascending all sides. The harbour comes alive at night when the lights of bars and tavernas twinkle in the water. For a truly panoramic view, climb the 450 Kali Strata steps and catch your breath in the pretty village of Chorio at the top.
Hippocrates Plane Tree: Picnic at the foot of the oldest tree in Europe, located in Kos. Still standing thanks to extensive supports, this tree is said to be the Tree of Hippocrates where he once taught his students.
Olympia: Rediscovered in 18th century in the West Peloponnese, Olympia is the birthplace of the Olympic Games started in 776 BC to honour the god, Zeus. The area is full of historical attractions including The Temple of Hera, Stadium, a holy place for sport activities dedicated to Zeus holding about 20,000 spectators, the temple of Zeus, Prytaneion (site of the eternal flame) and many more.
Medieval Rhodes Town: The old town area of Rhodes is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Between the Palace of the Grand Master and the Archaeological Museum, the Street of the Knights, was the main street of administrative and military buildings and functions in the Knights' era. The city of Rhodes is dominated by the medieval castle which overlooks the harbour, built in the 14th century by the Knights of St John.
Monasteries of Meteora: North of the Pelion Peninsular, Meteora is renowned for the breathtaking complex of Eastern Greek Orthodox monasteries built on natural sandstone pillars and appearing to defy the laws of physics; the name means `suspended'. It is has been used as a location in films and inspired much music and literature.
Shipwreck at Smugglers Cove: Certainly most famous landmark in Zakynthos and the centrepiece of many entrancing photographs.
Things to do on a Holiday in Greece
Watersports: In almost every resort you will find a range of watersport facilities ranging from paragliding to windsurfing with Vassiliki, Lefkada hosting one of Europe's largest windsurfing centres. Waterskiing is very popular in Greece and there are over 30 waterskiing schools in Greece. Another great way to spend the day is to hire a small boat and picnic on isolated beaches only accessible by sea.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Snorkeling is possible pretty much anywhere and, with the benefit of the clear crystal waters, is a great way to see observe the plethora of underwater wildlife in close up. However, to go scuba diving, it is necessary to book lessons with one of the many recognised diving schools as independent scuba diving is forbidden.
Hiking: The stunning scenery makes holidays in Greece a paradise for walking and hiking. As temperatures can be high in summer, the best time of year for activity holidays is in April or May when you will be rewarded by the carpet of wild flowers on the mountain sides. The autumn months of September and October are also cooler and so ideal for exploring. Hiking in the magnificent Samaria Gorge, Crete can also be quite exhilarating.
Cycling: is also becoming increasingly poular and is a great way to get off the beaten track and discover more traditional Greek villages.
Eating/Drinking During Greece Holidays
Greece holidays are truly a paradise for food lovers; speciality dishes include keftedes (meatballs with oregano and mint), dolmades (rice and herbs wrapped in vine leaves) and souvlaki (grilled skewers of meat). Try a Greek meze (a selection of different Greek dishes to taste a little of everything). To compliment your meal, restaurants offer a number of delicious, inexpensive local wines varying from area to area. Or try a glass of ouzo, Greece's national drink.
Major resorts provide a wide variety of bars and restaurants with something to suit all tastes, from all-night discos and international restaurants to cosy little tavernas serving typical Greek fare. Nightlife in the smaller resorts tends to centre round the latter where the charm lies in their authenticity and more traditional feel.
Getting Around on Greece Holidays
Taxis: Taxis are metered and are in plentiful supply in the resorts.
Interurban Buses: There are various bus companies linking all major towns, with daily routes at specified intervals.
Urban Buses: These operate frequently during daytime and in certain tourist areas, summer timetables are extended until midnight.
Bicycles: Bikes are available for hire in most resorts.
Greece Holidays Shopping
While on Greece holidays you'll be able to find shops and shopping centres where you can purchase a huge range of items from clothing to jewellery and DVDs. If you're looking for mementoes of your trip, souvenir shops are plentiful where you can purchase a fantastic selection of local produce including wines, pottery, leather goods, hand-made jewellery, religious icons and embroidery.
The major cities and resorts offer a greater choice of shops and places to go to enjoy a full day's retail therapy; the comparatively low prices make Greece holidays perfect for shopaholics to indulge their pleasure without breaking the bank.
Weather and climate information
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