Country guides Europe
Greece Travel Guide
Greece has captured the world's imagination with its ancient culture and fantastical myths. Visions of vengeful gods and goddesses, massive armies led by generals riding in chariots, and great philosophers discussing ground-breaking ideas dance in the heads of tourists, who visit in their millions every year. World-famous sites like the Parthenon in Athens, the Acropolis of Rhodes, the churches of Thessaloniki, and the Oracle of Delphi will always speak to romantics.
Greece isn't just about the past, though, as its warm weather gives it the ideal climate for beach holidays. Islands like Santorini, Crete, Mykonos and Corfu are popular cruise destinations in the Mediterranean, where beach lovers can expect roughly 200 days of sunshine every year, during which they can enjoy pebbled coastlines, seaside tavernas and a vibrant nightlife.
Gastronomes can feast on meze staples such as saganaki (fried haloumi cheese), kleftiko (lamb slow-baked on the bone), and souvlaki (shaved pork wrapped in a pita) and, of course, no visit is complete without a taste of Greek spirits.
Loud, friendly locals are always ready to welcome visitors for an unforgettable experience in the 'birthplace of Western civilisation'.
Best time to visit Greece
The most popular time to visit Greece is the summer (June to August) when the weather is beautiful and sun is guaranteed. Late spring (April and May) and early autumn (late August through September) are also lovely times to holiday in Greece, as crowds are thinner and the sun is gentler.
What to see in Greece
-Spend a few days marvelling at the ruins of the Parthenon and the Acropolis in Athens, and wandering through the archaeological museums nearby.
-Visit the site of the first Olympic Games in 776 BC, where there are still ruins of arenas, gymnasiums and changing rooms.
-See the tomb of King Leonidas in Sparta, along with other relics of the famous warriors of the Peloponnese Peninsula.
-Explore the Cave of the Apocalypse on Patmos, where the Apostle John is said to have written the Book of Revelation.
What to do in Greece
-Take a cruise to Crete and lounge on the beaches in Hania, Heraklion, and Agios Nikolaos.
-Follow the trail of Homer's Odyssey with a visit to Ithaca, and enjoy the lively village of Vathy.
-Let loose in the trendy tavernas and nightclubs of Mykonos.
-Watch a stunning sunset off the coast of Santorini.
Holiday resorts in Greece
Greece has many popular resorts for sun-seekers looking for the perfect beach holiday. Each resort has its own character, varying from lively nightlife, to laid-back and secluded. Options range from single's heaven to family friendly.
Getting to Greece
There are direct cheap flights to Athens and Rhodes from many UK airports. Direct flights to Greece from the US are harder to find, but there are many connecting options.
Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis, The Odyssey by Homer, Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernières and The Magus by John Fowles.
Shirley Valentine (1989), Agora (2009), and My Life in Ruins (2009).
What to buy
Greek wine and products made from olive oil or olive wood. Ouzo and Metaxxa brandy. Remember that it is illegal to take historical artefacts out of Greece.
What to pack
A swimming costume for the islands, sturdy hiking shoes for the ruins, and plenty of sunblock no matter where you go.
What's on in Greece
Athens is the hub for Greek festivals. The Athens Festival in August showcases the best in Greek music and culture. The Lycabettus Hill Festival hosts contemporary music and dance all summer long in the capital, and the traditional Greek Dance Festival takes place in Athens every year for a weekend in July.
Did you know?
-Greece has more archaeological museums than any other country in the world.
-More than 16 million tourists visit Greece annually - more than the country's whole population.
-Nearly 80 percent of Greece is mountainous.
A final word
Sunny beaches and sparkling seas combine with the rich history of a 3,000-year-old civilisation to create the ultimate holiday destination.