Greece Holiday Guide

Greece Tourist Information


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Greece's ancient history as the centre of civilisation has left a strong imprint on this southern European country blessed by numerous beautiful beaches and a thriving cultural scene. Tourists flock to Greece to bask in the mild Mediterranean climate, indulge in the country's rich history, and to enjoy the lively urban centres that have gracefully emerged around ancient ruins.

The capital city of Athens is packed with historical ruins, including the world-famous Acropolis which houses the Parthenon and the Erechthion, a must for tourists on Greek tours. The plateau also offers a magnificent view of Athens. Tourists should be sure to visit the Temple of Zeus, the Panathenaic Stadium and the thriving neighbourhood of Plaka.

Greece's second largest city is Thessaloniki, a vibrant cultural centre with museums, historical sites and a renowned nightlife. The Thessaloniki Film Festival in November is becoming a significant international festival.

Crete is one of the most popular islands of Greece full of culture, though a bit difficult to reach. The intense variety of landscapes in Crete makes it an attractive destination for many tourists. Its history as the former centre of Minoan civilisation provides an interesting historical aspect, visible in its ruins and museums.

The spectacular Cycladic islands are a five-hour ferry ride from Athens. Paros is the most family-friendly, while Ios is more party-oriented. Santorini, an upmarket holiday destination, is visited for its amazing volcanic caldera, and Mykonos is popular among 18 to 30 year-olds. The less-visited islands include Naxos, Andros and Kea also have their own charms.

The most easily accessible islands from Athens, the Saronic Gulf Islands, are also the most crowded with tourists. These include Aegina, Hydra and Salamis, along with a few others. The Sporades archipelago farther north is another popular area, including the islands of Skopelos, Alonnisos, Skiathos and Skyros.

Near the western coast of Turkey lies the Dodecanese group of islands, known for their strong historical and cultural importance. This group includes Kos, Symi, Patmos and Rhodes, which are popular among UK tourists. The seven main islands in the northeastern group are more remote, with mountainous and forested scenery. These Greek islands are Ikaria, Samos, Lesvos, Chios, Thasos, Limnos and Samothraki.

The Ionian islands are not easily accessed, but remain a popular destination for holiday makers to Greece sightseeing nonetheless. Corfu is a popular spot for tourists, while less-crowded areas lie farther north. Apart from beaches, historical ruins are plentiful here as well. Paxi and Kythira are more remote islands, while Zakynthos is heavily touristed. Lefkada, Ithaki and Kefallonia have wonderful scenery.

For those not heading straight to the beach, the Greek mainland has much to offer by way of history and scenic settings. The Meteora monasteries in the north are a World Heritage site known for their spectacular backdrop. Mount Olympus and the Zagoria region are even father north ad worthy of visiting.

The Peloponnese on the southern peninsula is easily reached from Athens. The ancient ruins of Corinth and Mycenae here are highly recommended, as well as the mountain-top Mystras.