GMT + 2 hours
explore the historic sights and island delights of Greece
Beautiful mainland Greece, blessed with a scattering of picture-perfect islands, offers guests rich history, beautiful beaches and fine cuisine. Visit the ancient city of Athens, and the volcanic island of Santorini, famed for its sunsets and breath-taking vistas.
Best time to visit
The climate is fundamentally Mediterranean with summers being incredibly warm with long hot days, often from April through to the end of September and pleasant, warm evenings. The water is warm until mid November, however, the rainy season begins mid October.
Greece Holiday Highlights
• Beneath a skyline of elegant neoclassical façades and whitewashed houses, Athens’ historic Plaka quarter is a vibrant and colourful combination of antique shops, market stalls and pavement tavernas. Modern Athens, which received a facelift in 2004 when it once more became the host for the Olympics, is also fascinating to explore.
• The three unspoilt fingers of the peninsula of Halkidiki protrude into the sparkling Aegean boasting golden beaches, traditional villages, small islands and sheltered bays.
• Crete’s stunning mountain ranges are dotted with caves and sliced by dramatic gorges, and its rugged interior is blanketed in olive groves and wild flowers. In contrast the north coast is fringed by wonderful sandy beaches while breathtaking drives along the rugged south coast lead to an unspoilt paradise of pretty isolated coves.
• Mykonos is arguably the most cosmopolitan of all Greek islands. Low, rocky hills, combined with superb golden beaches, make up its gentle landscape. Mykonos’s capital, Hora, boasts a colourful harbour in which little fishing boats nestle side by side with luxury yachts. Nearby, a veritable treasure trove of modern jewellery is sold at numerous friendly shops. One of the most evocative areas on the island is Little Venice. Here, several restaurants boast wonderful views across the sea and over to the famous Mykonos windmills – make sure you dine late enough to witness an unforgettable sunset.
• Known locally as Thira, Santorini is a magical, serene island with a dramatic legacy left by what was probably the biggest volcanic eruption in recorded history. Viewed from the surrounding waters this is possibly the most stunning of all islands.
• Redolent with history and mythology, Athens is an affable city enlivened by bustling outdoor cafés, pedestrian streets that wind through the city's ancient sites and its fair share of urban eccentrics - a great walking city.
• In Halkidiki an effort has been made to develop tourist facilities in keeping with the natural surroundings. Most of the hotels and private homes in the area are built in the traditional Macedonian style, designed to enhance rather than detract from the environment.