Greece has been hitting the headlines a lot recently. But away from the high drama and financial debates, the resorts and islands are as beautiful as ever. And the hotels, restaurants and bars are happier than ever to have you – and we’re seeing some great offers to back that up! We recommend you take enough Euros in cash to last your stay (and take usual precautions to protect your money). But that’s a small inconvenience compared to missing out on a getaway to one of these stunning Greek beauty spots.
1. Lindos, Rhodes
Lying in the sunny Dodecanese isles, Rhodes has no shortage of resorts. The town of Lindos offers something special though, with architecture marked with Byzantine and Arab influences. Above it, a towering acropolis which has survived thousands of years ascends. On the town fringes you’ll find beaches like St Paul’s Bay, which is enclosed by ragged cliffs founded on fine sands. And off the coast, ocean swells of a deep, cobalt hue diverge.
2. Navagio Beach, Zante
Part of the cluster known as the Ionian Islands, Zante is filled with chalky cliffs which overlook crystal-clear sea. It’s these cliffs you see surrounding Navagio Bay, on the west of the island. With bright, aquamarine waters, an intriguing shipwreck and sand so white it almost glows through the waves as they wash over it, this beach is one of the most photographed in Europe. To add to the enchantment of the place, you can only access it by boat.
3. Skala Eressos, Lesbos
If you want a more subdued and spiritual holiday, consider the Island of Lesbos, the third largest in Greece. With monasteries, temples and a Roman aqueduct, the place is teeming with evidence of a rich history. Skala Eresos is one of the most popular coastal resorts, and its liberal-minded residents regularly wake to join in beach tai chi and yoga. The main beach has a Blue Flag and is lined with colourful stilt cafes which overlook the sea. Every year, the Women’s Festival attracts crowds from all over the world.
4. Red Beach, Santorini
This beach is the most famous on the island, and it’s characterised by its deep, red cliff faces created from a mixture of maroon and black volcanic rock. Some of these rocks lie on the sea bed, so snorkelling is popular here. The beach can become crowded in the summer, so turn up early to claim your section of coloured sand. This could easily be the most unique beach in the whole of Greece.
5. Sidari, Corfu
Sidari lies in Corfu and boasts interesting, layered cliffs which form canals and walkways above the beaches. One famous canal is named the Channel of Love, which is said to cement a couple’s love once they swim the length of it. There are lots of secluded coves sculpted by the sea and the winds, and the coastline is a very unusual one. Sidari Beach has a Blue Flag, and the waves are gentle, making it safe for children to swim in.
6. Agios Nikolaos, Crete
During the day, this pretty Cretan town is filled with an artsy vibe, whilst by night the bright lights of the restaurants illuminate Mirabello Bay and the tiny island of Agii Pantes which floats unassumingly nearby. At the centre of town there’s a salt-water lake which is said to have been the bathing place of the goddess Athena. Many locals believe it to be bottomless (but it’s actually about 64 metres deep).
7. Mykonos Town, Mykonos
Mykonos town is decorated with white-washed buildings with bright shutters and paved stone pathways. Here, the sun shines 300 days every year. On the edge of town, conspicuous white windmills overlook the town and some of them have been converted into museums. Former fishing houses have been transformed into bars and restaurants to make up a charming area now known as Little Venice.
8. Kastro, Skiathos
This area on the genteel island of Skiathos was once guarded by a castle, the ruins of which sit on a craggy cliff and overlook the azure sea. Originally built to provide a refuge from the constant pirate raids that were rife in the 14th century, the castle has been occupied by the Turkish and Venetian empires. Its surrounding areas now contain ruins of around 20 churches and are dotted with fragrant olive and pine trees.
9. Balos Lagoon, Crete
The shallow waters that form Balos Lagoon in Crete are clear and calm, and the sand on the beach is pink in certain places. The area is also a sea turtle nesting site, and is home to some threatened species, like the Bearded Vulture. The lagoon is sandwiched between hilly Gramvousa Island and the mainland, and you can go on a boat trip to fully appreciate the stunning views.
10. Melissani Cave, Kefalonia
This cave, surrounded by woodland, shelters lake Melissani. Inside the cave, shafts of sunlight beam down into the crystal clear waters to reveal the rocks that line the base of the lake. Entry is gained through an underground tunnel, and after, you’ll take a boat ride around the lake, marvelling at countless stalactites and plants growing from the jagged walls.