What do you look for in a summer holiday? For some, the usual conventions will do. You know what I’m talking about: glorious, sun-kissed beaches, vibrant nightlife and enough activities to entertain all involved. For others, the criteria is more particular; but for those in search of fascinating mythological legacy, historical sites and an almost unrivalled natural beauty, Greece must be considered among the greatest spots in the world for a getaway. Those who keep up-to-date with current affairs will know the country’s economy hasn’t been without its problems in recent years, but this hasn’t hindered the tourism industry.
In fact, over 17 million of us holidayed in this ancient land in 2013.
Wherever you go in Greece, you’re virtually guaranteed the summer holiday of a lifetime – but our short guide should help you choose a destination. Will it be an Ionian Island or the mighty metropolis of modern Athens? When you’ve decided, take a look on HomeAway to find your perfect rental property from a range of over 5,000 across the country.
Summer holidays in Greece: top five destinations
Greece summer holidays in Athens
What can be said about one of the planet’s most mesmeric cities that you don’t already know? Tourists flock in their droves to the Grecian capital to witness the splendour of the Acropolis and the mighty Parthenon sitting proudly on its peak; to behold the majesty of the Temple of the Olympian Zeus and the wonderfully intact Panathenaic Stadium. The latter was the home of the first modern Olympic Games back in 1896, and was rebuilt entirely from white marble on the site of another ancient sporting arena.
View apartments in Athens
Greece summer holidays in Santorini
Few of the Greek islands offer quite so much in the way of dramatic scenery as the magnificent isle of Santorini. Archetypal Mediterranean landscapes sprawl across its volcanic plateau, with the beautiful blue waters below revered for their pleasing temperatures and clear scuba-diving conditions. If you’re on a romantic getaway, or even if you just admire a blinding photo opportunity, the sunset over Oia Castle is truly a breathtaking sight to lay eyes on, as is the Bronze Age settlement at Akrotiri.
Greece summer holidays in Rhodes
It was once home to one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but where once the Colossus stood, only the harbour remains. Thankfully, there is still enough about Rhodes to make it an exquisite choice of summer holiday destination. The golden sands of Lindos make for a glamorous and sun-baked summer experience, whereas watersport enthusiasts would do well to bring their surfboard to the waters of Gennadi Beach: guest DJs frequently spin tunes at the beach bar, attracting a hip, party-prone young crowd. Similarly lively is the upbeat resort of Faliraki, though if you crave some tranquility, opt for the sheltered resorts of Haraki and Kalathos.
View cottages in Rhodes
Greece summer holidays in Crete
Largely considered to be the most beautiful of all the Greek islands – and certainly the most popular among visitors – is Crete. For the night owl, the Heraklion prefecture is undoubtedly the place to be, with the party capitals of Malia and Chersonissos also in the vicinity. If you prefer something a little less raucous, then Elounda may be an option: a favourite haunt of the rich and famous, this resplendent district is home to a multitude of cosmopolitan bars and restaurants, in addition to several beaches and a charming fishing port.
Greece summer holidays in Corfu
Just off the north-west coast of Greece lies the island of Corfu, a perpetually sunny destination that offers a panoply of attractions. Aside from the plentiful beaches, the Old Town is a place of great interest, particularly the sprawling parks and grounds of the Esplanade that span towards a superb 16th-century fortress. If you’re travelling with the family, don’t miss a trip to Aqualand, a modest but fun water park with a range of thrill rides. If you fancy something different, take a drive up dusty Mount Pantokrator for a stunning few of the nearby islands.