From ancient history and culture to dreamy island getaways full of beach days and foodie treats, Greece is one of the most diverse and desirable destinations imaginable. Here is our guide to going on an epic Greek holiday.
Best time to visit Greece
Without doubt the best time to visit the Greek Islands is summer, when the sun shines brightest on its golden beaches and shimmering Mediterranean waters. May to August offers consistently excellent weather, although do beware of peak season crowds. Book early to keep costs to a minimum. While the weather isn’t terrible in winter, it doesn’t quite offer the full Greek Island experience, so if you’re looking to save on money or avoid too many crowds, try shoulder season months like April and September. Alternatively, book a summer trip on a lesser-known island.
The peak of summer – July and August – is getting increasingly hot every year, so if you’re more intent on exploring Athens, spending hours visiting various archeological sites or hiking through olive groves in the mountains, you might be better off booking from March to May, or in September and October, when the weather remains pleasant and you can fully discover the country without worrying about heat stroke.
Best Greek Islands to visit
There are a lot of islands across this famous archipelago, but you can generally split them in two – the very famous ones, and the hidden gems. The most well-known and well-visited islands include Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, Rhodes and Corfu. They all have their own unique identities – Mykonos is atmospheric come nightfall, while Rhodes is most famous for its history – but our favourite is Santorini. It’s probably the most expensive, but nothing says Greece quite like those whitewashed towns, blue-domed churches and endlessly jaw-dropping coastal views, not to mention some of the best sunsets on the planet.
Generally speaking the bigger islands are easier to get to, but more expensive once you’re there. Lesser-known islands offer a far more relaxed way of life during peak season, as well as a more authentic local experience. Hotels and living costs tend to be more affordable, even if getting there in the first place might be a little trickier. Our favourites include Milos, for its charming fishing villages and unique cave formations, and Naxos, for pristine beaches and an incredible food scene. If you’re looking for an island close to Athens, we suggest Serifos.
General tips for travel in Greece
Plan your itinerary well in advance, so you can focus in on the elements of a Greek holiday that interest you the most. Is it the laid-back coastal life and foodie treats? Is it ancient history? How about hiking, boating or swimming? Once you know what you want, you can start planning a route. If there’s one thing you should try to do in Greece, it’s blend multiple destinations together, be it on an island-hopping epic or simply a day trip from Athens to a nearby islet.
Keep hydrated and wear clothes that suit the time of year, type of destination and activity level you plan on having. Carry plenty of cash, especially in rural villages and remote islands. Most importantly, don’t forget to throw yourself into the culture, whether that’s chatting to friendly locals, picking up some Greek phrases or simply diving head first into the country’s incredible cuisine.
The ultimate Greece holiday package – Athens, Milos, Naxos and Santorini
Get the complete Greek experience when you book a place on our comprehensive Greek Island Odyssey trip, which blends the vitality of Athens with island-hopping adventures like no other.
We’ll start in the capital, where you’ll get to experience ancient wonder at the Acropolis and modern life in the lively Keramikos neighbourhood. From there we’ll hop on a ferry to Milos, starting with a guided tour of the main town and some beach time on the chalky-white rock formations of Sarakiniko. We’ll embark on a boat tour of the island, floating gently past brightly coloured fishing villages and epic cave formations, stopping for the occasional dip in calm ocean waters, as well as beach time on Gerakas Beach.
Next up is Naxos, famed for having some of the finest beaches in the Cyclades. You’ll have plenty of time to lounge on the sand, but we’ll also give you a tour of the old town in Chora, take you to the unfinished temple of Portara and explore the gorgeous inland town of Kaloxylos. It’s there that we’ll also stop in at a local family home for a Greek cooking masterclass. Learn how to make authentic local dishes using fresh Naxian potatoes and arseniko cheese, before gorging on your creations in the Greek countryside.
Our final island hop takes us to Santorini, which you can explore at your own pace. Stroll down narrow alleyways, discover secret viewpoints and stunning coastal walks. We’ll regroup for one last incredible Greek dinner, where you’ll watch the stunning Santorini sunset, cocktail in hand. Now that’s the Greek way to do it.
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