First place in the Top Ten Places to be: Greece
A guide to the land of the gods.
April 2, 2021
It is undisputed that Greece is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Europeans. Thousands of islands invite you to relax with their dream beaches, secluded bays and fragrant olive groves. In a survey, Falstaff TRAVEL readers voted the land of the gods into first place among the top ten places to be. In Greece, historical sensations and an island paradise come true and combine the beautiful with the cultural.
Those currently wishing to travel to Greece must register in advance and must have a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours old. Most regions also require a 7-15 day home quarantine.
Historical mainland meets dreamlike islands: on the tracks of the Greek gods
A holiday in Greece feels like going on a journey back in time to the ancient past. Around almost every corner, whether mainland or island, are imposing monuments, historic buildings and other impressive sights. Due to the calmness and serenity that the Greeks radiate, time also stands still for you while you dive into another world. A world of thousands of islands, white sandy beaches and idyllic old towns with thousands of years of history. While those in search of recreation relax in the Greek islands, culture lovers explore the interior.
Especially the capital Athens consists almost entirely of cultural highlights, such as ancient temples, ruins and museums. But the most famous is probably the Acropolis: the ruins of the former city fortress. The ancient masterpiece is enthroned 156 meters above the city on a limestone hill and rewards its visitors with a brilliant panoramic view over Athens. The fortress also houses the famous Parthenon, where the goddess and patron saint Athena was honoured, as well as the Dionysus Theatre, where drama was born. If you want to admire the building in its full glory, you have the best view from Mount Filopappou.
The Peloponnese peninsula is also a popular place for holidaymakers of all kinds. The region south of Athens delights with its ancient sites, quaint old towns and gorgeous bays, such as in the small town of Kalamata, which, as you might have guessed correctly, is also known for its olives. But the landscape in which Kalamata stretches is also absolutely worth seeing, as it lies at the feet of the majestic mountains of the Taygetos and at the same time stretches along one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in Greece. Therefore, the beaches are also particularly popular, such as Voidokilia Beach, which already left an impression on Homer.
Besides the mainland, the Greek islands are especially worth a trip. There are more than enough of them! The best known are Crete, Rhodes (with the famous wonder of the ancient world, the Colossus of Rhodes), Zakynthos, Corfu and Kos, as well as the Cyclades archipelago, where Naxos, Mykonos and Santorini are located. The Cyclades in particular attract countless holidaymakers from all over the world every year and are ideal for the "island-hopping" travel trend. The picturesque towns are lined with oil mills, white houses with blue windows, as well as bright oleander and are usually perched above the azure sea. Santorini, an inhabited place actually located on a seething volcano, stands out as a special pearl. Visitors can expect numerous postcard motifs with blue and white domes, cosy tavernas and impressive infinity pools. Especially popular is the town of Oia, where you must have seen a sunset at least once in your life. Because it is said that Oia has the most beautiful sundowners in the world.
The Ionian Islands are also worth a visit. Like Corfu, which is located in the north of the archipelago and is also known as the "Green Island" due to its lush vegetation and biodiversity. If you want to enjoy a holiday away from the crowds, Kefalonia or Zakynthos are the places to go. The sometimes undiscovered beauty of Zakynthos consists of steep cliffs surrounded by lush greenery, breathtakingly beautiful bays and crystal clear waters. A unique spectacle is offered by the beach of Navagio, also known as "the smugglers' bay". This is because there - amidst majestic rock formations - is a shipwreck, the island's secret landmark. Kalamaki Beach is a quieter place, with white sand and a sparkling sea. Another highlight: this beach is home to the breeding grounds of the Karetta turtles, the cute mascots of Zakynthos.
The largest island in Greece is Crete, which is particularly well visited on the north coast. Miles of sandy beaches alternate with picturesque villages and a dreamlike natural landscape. However, Crete is not only suitable for a perfect beach holiday, but is also a true Eldorado for hobby historians and culture enthusiasts. Especially the palace of Knossos is a highlight of the island. This is the largest Minoan palace in the region and takes its visitors back to the time of the Minoans, around 2000 BC.
Top addresses in Greece
To help you find inspiration for other places to visit in addition to the most beautiful regions of Greece, we have three addresses for you that you should definitely visit.
Tavern Pyrgos Restaurant, Santorini
Pyrgos 84701 Greece
It is not uncommon for Pyrgos to be called the best taverna in all of Santorini. The cuisine immerses guests in the unique world of the island, serving fresh fish that comes straight from the Aegean Sea. And even otherwise, the somewhat upscale restaurant is oriented only towards fresh food, preferably all from the market. The wine list is also impressive, consisting of exquisite wines from Santorini's vineyards.
Central market of Evripidou Street, Athens
Athinas, Athina 105 51, Greece
In the middle of the shopping mile Plaka, one of the oldest districts of Greece's capital is the central market of Evripidou Street. The famous market hall offers everything the Greek heart desires: special spices, culinary specialties and the finest Greek handicrafts. The market is also called "the stomach of the city" and combines a variety of cultures while still bringing the tradition of Greece closer to its visitors.
The floating monasteries of Meteora
Kalabaka 422 00, Greece
In the heart of Greece, in the region of Thessaly, is the Meteora Monasteries, a true natural wonder. On the outskirts of the small town of Kalambaka, bizarrely shaped sandstone rocks rise more than 500 meters into the sky, on which monasteries are located, some of which are still inhabited by monks and nuns. Depending on the weather, but especially when the clouds are hanging low, it seems as if the buildings are floating in the air. Even though buses and cars can drive quite close to the monasteries, the last meters have to be covered by stairs. Once the monasteries could only be reached by rope ladders.
3 of the most beautiful hotels in Greece
A selection of the most beautiful luxury hotels in Greece.
New Hotel, Athens
Filellinon 16, Athina 105 57, Greece
Tel: +30 21 0327 3000
The NEW Hotel is the first boutique design hotel to open in the heart of the Greek capital. The luxurious and artistically designed accommodation belongs to the YES Hotels Group, which is known for appealing especially to young and stylish guests. The renowned Brazilian Campana Brothers are responsible for the art addition, which has turned the hotel into a hotspot for Contemporary Art. They are already among the top stars of modern art worldwide, but with the NEW Hotel in Athens, the artists have also ventured into new realms, making historic Athens a mecca for the modern.
Minos Beach Art Hotel, Crete
Agios Nikolaos, Crete 721 00, Greece
Tel: +30 2841 022345
A special luxury hotel awaits you on Crete: the Minos Beach Art Hotel welcomes its guests with a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean Sea, direct beach access and a large Mediterranean garden. Art is not neglected here either; all rooms have been thought through down to the smallest detail and shine in noble design. Whoever stays here enjoys privacy at the highest level. Because in addition to the hotel's own beach area, there is also a seawater swimming pool, a wellness area and a gym to really relax.
Myconian Corali Relais & Châteaux, Mykonos
Mykonos Town, Mikonos 846 00, Greece
Tel: +30 2289 022107
Perched on the luxury island of Mykonos is the exclusive Myconian Corali Hotel. The luxury retreat convinces with unique design and finest architecture, while the guests enjoy a view of the island of Delos, as well as the beautiful city of Mykonos. Highlights include the expansive sun terrace with pool. Some of the rooms and suites are equipped with a private pool or a whirlpool and invite you to a luxury holiday of the special class.
Picture Credits: NEW Hotel, Minos Beach Art Hotel, Myconian Corali Relais & Châteaux, Fabrizio Ponchia / Pixabay, Leonhard Niederwimmer / Pixabay, Ioannis Ioannidis on Pixabay, Greg Montani on Pixabay, analogicus / Pixabay, Pat Scrap / Pixabay, Angela Pham / Unsplash