Right on the cusp of a new year, it is not usual to reminisce about the strongest, most moving experiences that transpired in the year that is coming to an end. At My Beautiful Adventures, I have a lot to feel grateful for, and one of those was getting to visit Greece, a destination that I have long craved. However, Greece is one of those places that instead of checking it off your Bucket List and moving on to the next item, you will want to return time and time again. Our family spent over a week in Greece last October, visiting Athens and Crete, which gave us a wonderful introduction to this phenomenal country, instilling an ardent desire to return and experience it all over again. With the exception of Athens, which we could not get enough of, we would try different island destinations the second time round. So, if you are looking for travel inspiration that has history, natural beauty, and plenty of sunshine as common denominators, then here are Greece’s top three destinations for 2020:
Athens: Soul Stirring, City Splendor
Athens city is absolutely seductive; there is no better word to describe it. Caught somewhere in between its ancient heritage that counts centuries of existence and a more raw, urban side that creates a visual contradiction to the aforementioned displays of antiquity, Athens is a place that will effortlessly enchant you. It is a city so diverse that it can offer you any kind of experience you are looking for. You can submerge yourselves into the soul-stirring, fascination of the countless ancient sites like the Acropolis and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus just at the foot of the ancient rock; then take a break in the most colourful part of the city, in Psyrri, where you can enjoy a fabulous rooftop picnic brunch with Acropolis views; next, stroll around the Ermou high-street for some shopping before dinner at one of the quaint little tavernas around Anafiotika or indulge in a gourmet dinner at one of the many awarded restaurants in Athens, if that is more your thing. Athens city should definitely not be treated as a stopover; it is a fantastic place to be treated as a destination in itself. If there is one regret we have on our recent trip to Greece, is that we did not stay in Athens for longer. There are so many things to see and do, explore and discover that a few days will simply not cut it. It will leave you wanting more!
Corfu: Bygone, Elegance Extraordinaire
The island of Corfu, the Lady of the Ionian as she is referred to by the Greeks, has been on our radar for quite some time now. The Ionian sea is found between Greece and Italy and displays a different allure to the Aegean Sea. Typically more azure waters and an intricate coast full of various sea caves and grottos, while the islands are generally more verdant compared to the mostly barren, rocky landscapes of the Aegean islands. One destination that is a paragon of the captivating beauty of the Ionian is the cosmopolitan Corfu, also combining an element of old age elegance especially at its old town. Brimming with stately manors, grandiose mansions, estate homes, aristocratic summer residences and actual palaces lived in by Princesses, old Corfu town will take you back to a time when chivalry was business as usual. Strolling through the cobblestone alleys known to the locals as ‘kantounia’ will reveal its Venetian charm corner after corner. For surrounding yourselves in elegance that is inspired by one of the most popular landmarks in Corfu, a luxury, adults-only hotel in Corfu town with amazing views of the Fortress could be just the thing. However, Corfu’s allure is of course not confined to its town by any means. Home to many blue flag beaches, for a family holiday that combines a lovely seafront resort in Corfu with all the amenities a family could ever desire, consider Agios Petros where you can soak up the sun and relax beyond measure.
Thassos: An Off-The-Beaten Track Retreat
Of course, there are those who believe that the true meaning of the holiday is to go to a place where they can completely unwind, forget about their routine and worries, where the wifi is ‘weak’ and where your senses are at their most alert. Sometimes, when visiting a place that has so much to show for, spending every waking hour out and about can be tiring both physically and mentally as you are bombarded with many visual stimulants in a short period of time. So, pace yourselves and make sure you allow for enough downtime between experiences, as to not wear yourselves down. After all, a holiday that left you feeling fatigue will not be well remembered. Unwind, unplug and log-off is the best recipe for a holiday that refuels you and rekindles your balance. If you seek a secluded retreat on a gorgeous little island that is off the beaten track that will help you to reconnect with yourselves and disconnect from the rest of the world, then Thassos island in the north Aegean might be your next holiday haven. Choose a central spot near the harbour and stay in a villa apartment in Thassos that will offer both tranquil privacy and the option of getting into town if you feel like a change of scenery. Of course, if you so wish to venture out to discover the island’s beauties, apart from a plethora of wonderful beaches, you will find the astonishing Giola rock lagoon.