Greece is back on My Beautiful Adventures’ radar! This Mediterranean classic is a travel dream of mine, having singled it out from other nearby places, for the simple fact that Greece just fascinates me. It is a destination of immense diversity in terms of landscapes. Over 200 islands provide visitors with huge choice when it comes to sorting out their itinerary. However, Greece is not only just about island holidaying, although it remains at the top of travel idea list. There are so many beautiful locations worth discovering that are part of the mainland and perhaps harder to come across, compared to the popular island destinations that have received more publicity. In this post, you will find 4 + 1 quintessential Greek travel ideas to inspire you, around the mainland and the islands, with the hope that you will share my love for this unique place that is Greece.
Mainland Destination: Pelion
Pelion is a premium region of Thessaly that can be reached by car, about four hours drive from Athens or a flight to Volos airport and a shorter drive up the mountain. Yes, Pelion is a low level mountainous range that can enjoy magnificent views, beyond its verdant, lush landscape, reaching down to not one, but two glistening seas, on either side of the peninsula. Pelion is a popular destination with Athenians, who seek to flee into nature’s embrace when life in the city becomes unbearable. A destination that is diversely wonderful all year round, it is equally enjoyable any season with many thrilling activities for all ages and interests. Pelion remains fairly cool on hot summers and is the ideal place for a charming winter getaway or a spring escape amidst its blooming countryside. For absolute autonomy, consider staying at luxurious Pelion villas that are designed to reflect the local architecture, but are totally outfitted up to modern standards.
Mainland destination: Monemvasia
This is a region in the eastern Peloponnese that is something out of a fairytale. A walled, fortified town, Monemvasia is an old settlement found on an elevated island that is connected to the mainland by a causeway. It used to be an important Medieval fortress and remnants of that era are still evident today, such as the tall town walls and Byzantine churches. Known as the Gibraltar of the East, Monemvasia is a place that ‘speaks’ to the wanderlust-ers as it takes them on a mental journey back in time. A ten minute drive away from this historical site is where visitors of the region can stay in an enchanting, restored luxury mansion hotel in Monemvasia and step right into history. There is a plethora of exciting activities in the immediate surroundings that allow guests to become part of the charming way of local life.
Island destination: Cyprus
Technically not part of Greece, but the two countries have ties that go back many years. Essentially, today Cyprus is divided in two; the Greek Cypriot region and the Turkish Cypriot region. The Greek counterpart of Cyprus shares Greece’s lovely climate, its love for good, wholesome food, its alluring shores, as well as some cultural similarities. Combining a stopover in Cyprus’ most popular retreat area, that of Limassol, on the south coast, will prove to be quite wonderful. It is highly recommended to choose staying in one of the coastal hotels in Limassol that can boast of panoramic sea views as far as the eye can see. Equally suitable for families or for adult guests, as there are activities and experiences for everyone to enjoy. Children especially will love the Fasouri Watermania Water Park and the Limassol Zoo.
Island destination: Paros
One of Greece’s most popular island destinations, it belongs to the Cycladic island cluster and is often chosen by families, by couples, groups of friends, as well as the more adventurous types. It is actually one of the most well rounded Greek islands, that has no single identity characteristic, but rather it has a few. Known for its beaches and its traditional villages and fishing towns, you will be surprised that there is a strong element of island nightlife. Depending on what kind of traveler you are, you are bound to find the appropriate experiences that will make your holiday an absolute island dream. Choosing to stay somewhere that guarantees your peace and quiet is important, regardless of which kind of traveler you are. A personal favorite Paros luxury hotel is located in a quiet spot overlooking the Aegean sea and 5-star facilities for your every need. (More on Paros and its neighboring Antiparos island here.)
Cruising: Island hopping
When thinking about Greece, I am often trouble by the following dilemma: why choose a single island, when you can choose to visit a handful in a single trip? Come to think of it, this is Greece’s unique advantage. It is the home of many island clusters, dispersed around six seas, right in the heart of the Mediterranean. It natural geomorphology makes it a seafaring playground that visitors can explore uninhibited, only restricted by their tolerance of being at sea. Greek island cruises will reveal visuals beyond your wildest Mediterranean dreams. As you cruise from island to island, you will discover hidden coves, secluded beaches, historical towns, and sites with the option of excursions that will immerse you into the local charm of each place, as you continue to be seduced by each moment that goes by. There is a sense of liberation that comes with sailing, a feeling of tranquility and a notion of spiritual awakening as you find yourself, there, gliding in the midst of the enigmatic, perennial sea.