Get Yourself to Glorious Greece

There isn't much the Greeks didn't invent, from the Olympic Games to medicine and modern philosophy. They have also cornered the market in picture-perfect holidays.  Think ancient remains and pristine beaches, lush mountains that tumble down into waters of piercing blue, and islands of pretty, whitewashed villages draped in dazzling fuchsia bougainvillaea.  There is something for everyone, from the sophisticated glamour of Mykonos to the rugged mountains and soft sands of Kos and the delectable cuisine of Crete.

It's not just about the islands, either. Athens is crowned by the magnificent columns of the Acropolis, speckled with Byzantine delights and fringed by beautiful beaches, while Thessaloniki overlooks the Aegean, and its bustling waterfront is perfect for cycle rides and sundowners. It is also the gateway to the vineyards, pine-covered mountains and hidden coves of Halkidiki.

On the island of Rhodes, the forested mountain interior gives way to Crusader castles and ancient temples, not to mention miles of soft sand beaches and the medieval cobbled streets that tie together Rhodes Old Town.

Beautiful Skiathos is edged with coves and cliffs, as well as more than 60 beaches backed by fragrant pines, while Chios is famed for its striking villages, such as the black-and-white house's of Pyrgi and the mountain-top stone buildings that make up Anavatos.

There are few sights that match the sheer cliffs and sugar-cube buildings that define Santorini. The dazzling blue-roofed churches are matched only by the deep blue of the sea, and the winding streets are a joy to explore.

Meanwhile, Corfu is striking in its own way. One of the greenest of the Greek isles, blanketed with olive groves and cypress trees, it has a distinctly British flair (after all, it was a British protectorate for 50 years), and glorious beachside resorts.

With so many amazing islands, beaches and beautiful cities to explore, it is fair to say the ancient gods looked very kindly on Greece.

Family Fun

Welcoming locals, fantastic food and pretty crescent beaches lapped by warm waters all make Greece an ideal destinations for a family holiday. As the largest Greek island, Crete is a joy to explore.

Little ones can dive straight into the crystalline waters, you can take kayak excursions and make the most of the amazing snorkelling, or hike in the White Mountains and visit Minoan palaces. Discover ancient civilisations at the Archaeological Museum in the capital, Heraklion, and scramble over the sturdy Koules Fortress - the port city is the perfect gateway to great beach resorts, too. Everyone will love dining in traditional tavernas and feasting on the fantastic local produce that makes up one of the healthiest diets in the world.

Corfu is another firm family favourite, with its amazing diversity of resorts, the cobbled streets and hidden squares of UNESCO-listed Corfu Town and even Aqua land, one of Europe's best water parks. The beaches, such as shingled Dassia, are perfect for action-packed water sports, while the sands of Glyfada makes for a relaxed escape, with pretty tavernas on the waterfront and lovely pine forests just begging to be explored on foot.

There are so many other great activities to enjoy, too. Why not join a glass-bottom boat excursion to spot the colourful marine life of the Ionian Sea ? You may even see playful dolphins. Or perhaps you would rather head out on a family horse trek. However you choose to explore, Corfu is sure to delight children of all ages.

Romantic Escapes

When it comes to romantic settings, you can't beat Santorini. After all, this is the vertiginous island synonymous with pretty whitewashed houses and endless sea views, dazzling sunsets and pretty blue-domed churches. But there is even more for couples to enjoy. This volcanic island is also home to wonderful wineries, there are mountains to explore o foot, boat rides to the neighbouring Nea Kameni volcano and hot springs where you can indulge in a soak in vitamin-rich waters.

Rhodes is another great hideaway for romance, an island where ribbons of soft sand are kissed by crystal-clear waters and hilltop villages overlook forested valleys. There are secluded bays tucked into the coastline, pristine landscapes you can explore by bike and plenty of luxurious places to stay - think infinity pools, attentive service and endless sea views. Stroll the streets of pretty Lindos, all cobbled, car free and lined with whitewashed houses. Or explore the medieval beauty of Rhodes Old Town, perfect for a romantic meal.

For the ultimate stylish escape for grown-ups, try Mykonos. This glitzy island is known for its sumptuous places to stay and hedonistic nightlife, as well as for the quiet luxury of its east coast. Enjoy a snorkelling adventure from Kalafatis, or take a boat trip to the uninhabited island of Delos, where the Greek god Apollo was said to have been born. Its combination of ultra-stylish hotels and restaurants, beloved by the A-list crowd, and the traditional charms of its pretty-as-a-picture white villages, windmills and perfect beaches makes for a beguiling island escape.

See the sights

Greece is positively littered with historic sites. Corinthian columns rise up from fields of wildflowers, impressive Crusader castles stand proud, and medieval villages are as draped in charm as they are in colourful flowers.

Take Kos, for instance. The Knights of St John built the castle that guards beautiful Kos Town, with its Greek, Roman and Byzantine architecture, while the father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, was born here and trained at the ancient healing temple of Asklepion. There is even a packed calendar cultural events, known as Hippocratia, to honour the medical pioneer.

Thessaloniki has its own delights , with Roman ruins and Byzantine churches galore. This city is set overlooking the Thermaic Gulf and its historic waterfront is an atmospheric spot for dinner and drinks in the evening. Make sure you visit the White Tower, a Byzantine fortress which became an Ottoman prison, and discover the Roman palace of Galerius, a huge compound and memorial complex. The Roman Odeon is also in remarkably good shape, while the detailed Arch of Galerius was built in AD305 to celebrate a victory over the Persians.

On Crete, just outside the city of Heraklion, the palace of Knossos is known as Europe's oldest city, its blood-red columns some of the last things standing at the site of what was once a thriving Minoan metropolis. Here civilisation developed while the rest of Europe was still a primitive place to be. This strategic island has been invaded throughout history, leaving a delightful mix of historic sites, from Venetian fortresses to Byzantine churches and Roman structures, while its reputation as the most welcoming Greek island means you could find yourself enjoying a spot of live music and local dishes at a late-night glendi (party).

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