Greece Holidays 2016

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We owe a lot to Greece, arguably the birthplace of modern European civilisation, this fascinating country keeps on giving. Modern visitors have astounding historical sites to explore, but also pristine beaches, hundreds of magical islands, misty mountains clothed in olive groves, exciting cities like the capital Athens, and resorts both laid-back and lively.

Thousands of beautiful years

The country’s ancient history is never far from the surface. The Acropolis in Athens is the grandest and most famous of more than 100 major archaeological sites, including the ancient city of Philippoi, and the temple of the oracle of Delphi in its truly magical mountain setting.

You don’t need to be a history buff to enjoy Greece though. The coast is a natural and timeless wonder. White sands and deep-blue Aegean waters come together to form a perfect whole. Nature’s done her bit, and man has added all the extras a visitor might need. If you want to party after topping up your tan try Faliraki in Rhodes. If a waterfront taverna under the pines is all you need to complete the perfect beach resort, somewhere like Voutoumi on the little island of Antipaxos is the place for you.

From island to island

Islands are a part of most Greek holidays. There are so many - and definitions vary - that it’s hard to put a number on them, but it’s probably around 200 (some reckonings go as high as 6,000!). Backpacking on cheap ferries from beautiful island to beautiful island has long been a young traveller’s rite of passage. Luxury yachts also ply the sea lanes, mooring up at the likes of exclusive Mykonos.

The islands are wonderfully varied. Corfu has a strong British influence, a stylish capital with city-break potential and lots of greenery. Fashionable Santorini’s blue-and-white colour palette almost looks too good to be true. Crete is the largest of the lot, with amazing Minoan ruins, crusader castles and rugged mountain scenery. Zakynthos is top of the tree for beaches, but wherever you are the beaches won’t disappoint.

Magical landscapes

Turning away from the coasts is also rewarding in Greece, which actually has more mountains than it does islands. The Pindus range is the biggest, and like the other uplands has a distinctive character and cuisine, and is wonderful hiking or cycling territory. Greece’s highest mountain, Mount Olympus doesn’t just have its height going for it, it’s also the mythical home of the gods. Isolated mountain monasteries like the spectacular Metéora complex show that the spiritual side of these beautiful landscapes persisted well beyond the ancient times.

Many of the mountain ranges are protected national parks and are home to some fascinating wildlife. Did you know you can see bears and wolves in Greece, particularly in the northern mountains?

Little mountain villages make trekking and hiking great fun and there are plenty of facilities, guides and breaks on offer for walkers. Crete’s mountains are especially spectacular and are a crucial part of the island’s identity. Its gorges are some of the most spectacular anywhere on earth.

Warm welcomes

Greece is a holiday destination that wants to treat its visitors well - Greek culture is big on hospitality. You’ll eat and drink like a god. Cheeses, grilled meat, and sea food are great favourites in Greece. Retsina, the pine-needle wine, has been around for 2,000 years, and raki, a clear aniseed spirit, will warm you up if the nights get a bit chilly.

Useful information

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