Thousands of years of fascinating, tumultuous history await you on the Greek mainland. Visit ancient ruins, museums full of invaluable art, monuments and stadiums, while learning about the inspirational philosophers and mythical Gods that have contributed to the country’s grand history. Regarded as the birthplace of Western democracy, you’ll be able to see where it all began in Athens, a modern capital swathed in history. Visit Mount Olympus, the home of the Gods, test the acoustics in the incredibly well preserved Theatre of Epidaurus and learn about the Byzantine Empire in Thessaloniki. Remember, a trip through Greece is as much about the journey as the destination, and picture-perfect old towns and mountainous panoramas will delight your senses along the way.
Is there anything more romantic than a Greek island? Olive groves, wizened grape vines, secluded coves and innumerable archaeological wonders abound throughout the archipelago. Of the 6000 Greek islands and islets speckling the Aegean and Ionian seas, fewer than 230 are inhabited, and each of these treasures offers travellers a taste of its own relaxed way of life. Spend your days swimming in crystal clear water, snorkelling and sailing, or simply lounging on a beach.
The gastronomy of the islands is unparalleled by anywhere on the Greek mainland. With 16,000 kilometres of coastline between them, it is no surprise even the smallest tavernas serve up spectacular seafood. Imagine sipping a glass of assyrtiko, a local white wine made with grapes cultivated in the ashy soil of Santorini, while getting your hands deliciously messy as you tackle a bounty of crab. While in Santorini, wander past white terraced houses as the sky flushes pink at sunset or sink your toes into colourful sand at the Red Beach. Order a juicy lamb souvlaki in the bustling capital of Mykonos, cycle to Naxos’s beautiful beaches, drive around Crete’s beautiful interior or visit the archaeological sites of Rhodes.
Unsure which islands to visit? Luckily we can help you with our top picks. We offer many island hopping holiday packages throughout the islands – or tailor-make your own itinerary to suit your tastes. With thousands of years of history to unravel, one trip to the Greek Islands will be far from enough.
Looking to visit some lesser known Greek Islands?
Check out our Other Greek Islands page for some ideas.
If you’re looking for a Greek pearl with all the Cycladic charm of Santorini, quaint villages and beautiful beaches without swathes of people, Paros is the island for you. The port town of Parikia is a bustling cultural hub, while the fishing harbour of Naoussa is popular among locals for its reasonably priced fresh seafood. Trample up gorgeous little footpaths in the mountains and you’ll find sweet mountain villages, monasteries and chapels. Don’t forget to stop and soak up the stunning terrain and oceanic views as you go.
Looking for an island with a diverse heritage? Make your way to Naxos, which blends Cycladic and Venetian influences. Nature is abundant here, and local produce plentiful. Hiking and biking trails wind around the island, ensuring a traveller’s thirst for nature is never left unquenched. Climb Zas Mountain – the tallest in the Cyclades – before spending the afternoon bathing blissfully in the turquoise waters of one of Naxos’ many beaches. With traditional villages, ancient ruins and houses built into stone, Naxos hosts a variety of treasures waiting for your arrival.
Sophistication and glamour go hand in manicured hand in Monaco. A tiny microstate on the French coastline, this swanky city is a Mediterranean treasure that welcomes those looking to indulge in the finer things in life. Enjoy world-class cuisine, glitzy nightlife and high-class resorts, and if the roar of cars takes your fancy, be sure to stop by during the Monaco Grand Prix, which takes over the city’s streets each year. A trip to this beachside beauty isn’t complete without visiting the renowned Monte Carlo Casino, admiring the opulent marble and gold interior, and maybe even placing a bet or two.
Sophistication oozes out of every corner of Cannes, offering visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the glamorous lifestyle of the rich and famous. Renowned for its world-famous film festival, extravagant celebrity parties, historic landmarks and stunning coastline, Cannes is full of beautiful sites and even more beautiful people. Settle on a sun lounger beneath one of the candy-striped umbrellas that dot the beaches on the Mediterranean Sea, and watch mega yachts floating idle in the ports, ready to party or sail out to a nearby lagoon for the day. Cruise along the Boulevard de la Croisette, a two-kilometre stretch along the shore lined with chic boutiques and lavish hotels, with ancient palaces clinging to rocky outcrops. A visit to Cannes is bound to be an unforgettable one.
Spanning the coastline of the Málaga province, Costa del Sol was once home to numerous fishing settlements. Now, the region plays host to the perfect blend of relaxation and action. With a diverse terrain consisting of beaches, mountains, cliffs, caves and dunes, those who like a bit of adventure are spoilt for choice, while activities like canyoning and horse riding keep even the most active traveller occupied. Feel the fresh morning air on your cheeks and the subtle thrum of adrenaline in your veins on a hot hot-air ballooning ride at sunrise. Or if you’re in need of rest and recuperation, you will find it in spades while relaxing on the beach, with the Sierra Blanca mountain range watching on in the distance. Best of all, though, is simmering in one of the area’s many gorgeous thermal pools.
Ancient ruins – the Roman Forum and Colosseum – are a reminder of the city’s place in history, yet stroll through its tangled streets in old neighbourhoods, like Trastevere, and you’ll see how modern life goes on in this city from another era. Art is everywhere, and you’ll see much of it, including at Bernini’s famous Fountain of the Four Rivers in the Piazza Navona, on easy walks around Rome. Then, of course, there are the riches of the Vatican City, including St Peters Basilica, extensive museums and Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. Spend time people watching at the Spanish Steps, getting below the city’s surface in the Catacombs, exploring the city on a Vespa or marvelling at the spectacular dome of the Pantheon. Don’t forget to toss a coin in the Trevi Fountain to make sure you return to Rome one day.
Steep roads, mysterious grottos and deep blue sea greet travellers in Capri. A blissful location, this island has been captivating visitors since Roman emperors first came here to lounge on its sandy shores. The Blue Grotto, an underwater cave where sunbeams transform the sea into a blazing azure, is one of the most popular places to explore. With its trendy cafes, rugged cliff tops, luxurious villas and unparalleled vistas, Capri is an incredibly popular tourist destination, but its unique beauty and charming atmosphere make holidaying here worth the crowds. From day trips to summer sojourns, Capri will have you hooked.
Towns of terracotta and white tumble down hillsides towards the ocean, ancient Roman ruins abound and islands lie off the coast waiting to be explored. The south of Italy is a sun-lover’s dream.
Naples is the region’s city heart, and one often overlooked by travellers. But for anyone who loves pizza (try the traditional Neopolitan variety at the city’s oldest pizzeria, Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba), art and history or strolling along a bustling waterfront as the sun goes down, it is a place that will win their heart.
South of Naples is the opportunity to step back in time with a visit to Pompeii Herculaneum, frozen when Mt Vesuvius erupted in 79AD and excavated many centuries later.
Relax and admire the views of Mt Vesuvius during a stay in Sorrento, a beautiful resort town perched over the Bay of Naples. Not only is it a superb starting point for cruises to Capri, with its rugged landscape and upscale resorts, but it’s also considered the gateway to the Amalfi coastline. This scandalously gorgeous stretch of prime waterfront real estate is both beach and historical destination, with its villages – the most famous being Positano, Amalfi and Ravello – of winding cobblestone streets and captivating squares.
There’s also the chance to travel to one of the country’s least-visited regions, Puglia, where the towns are as beautiful as the ones near Amalfi but far more relaxed. Admire the unique trulli houses, made from stone with conical roofs, and the city of Matera, famous for its stone houses, called sassi, carved from caves and cliffs.