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It has history by the bucket- (and spade) full…

From its aquamarine coastlines and island-speckled ocean, to its astounding relics of the past, Greece is truly a land fit for the gods. With 5,000 years of history to explore and a cornucopia of myths and legends woven in, you’ll never be short of a story in Greece. Sun kissed beaches beckon, while country paths lined with age-old olive groves and wildflowers invite you to ramble.

Tuck into a meal of salty feta and sun-ripened tomatoes on Santorini, wander the cobbled streets of one of Crete's dreamy seaside villages or marvel at the epic grandeur of Delphi. Wherever you roam on your travels you’ll find a soulful and generous people, ready to discuss life, the universe and everything at the drop of a hat.

 

Culture and history

The country is predominantly Christian, with 98% of the population identifying themselves as Greek Orthodox. If you’re visiting one of the many beautiful churches, avoid wearing shorts or sleeveless tops – it’s polite to cover up with longer sleeves and trousers or a skirt.

A few courtesies will be appreciated – a simple ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ in Greek at shops, cafes or restaurants will go a long way. One thing to do: avoid making an ‘OK’ sign by touching your finger and thumb in a circle – this has a very different meaning in Greece!

Things to do

Relax on some of Europe's best beaches and savour delicious local cuisine on one of our all-inclusive holidays to Greece. Choose from top hotels on the sparkling island of Rhodes or in sun-drenched Halkidiki on the Kassandra Peninsula. We also have a selection of luxury 5-star hotels to spoil yourself with too. Island hopping around Greece's Aegean or Ionian islands must be on every traveller's bucket list, and if you haven' ticked that one of yet, then one of our Greek island sailing tours or Mediterranean cruises could be for you. It goes without saying that history lovers are well looked after here, with special interest archaeological tours very much on the agenda.

Peloponnese Peninsula

This southern Greek Peninsula is home to a plethora of historical sites, from the ancient city of Corinth and the medieval fortress of Mistra to Olympia, the original site of the Olympic games. In the region's lush interior you will find the ultimate rural idyll of Arcadia, with its forested mountains and deep valleys. The beaches here are lovely and unspoiled and the largest city, Kalamata, has an olive named after it – this certainly bodes well for the cuisine!

Cyclades Islands 

Also known as the Aegean Archipelago, the Cyclades Islands bask in the sun just south of mainland Greece and within easy reach of Athens. As such, they are well visited, with a good dash of cosmopolitan style mixed in with their island charm. Volcanic Santorini is the stuff of dreams, with sugar cube villages perched above a deep blue sea. Mykonos is the party isle, while beauty queens Paros and Naxos have been providing inspiration to artists for centuries.

Athens and around 

Be careful not to trip over, because the capital city of Greece will have you staring open mouthed as you walk its history laden streets. The grandiose Acropolis topped off by the iconic Parthenon rises up above the city, while the excellent Archaeological Museum lets you in on all its secrets. Stop for a coffee in elegant Syntagma Square, browse the markets of Monastiraki shopping district or get a little lost in the labyrinthine streets of Plaka.

The Ionian Islands

Stretched along the west coast of mainland Greece, the idyllic Ionian Islands have been influenced by the cultures of both France and Italy. This can be seen in the architectural styles of Corfu and in the outstanding cuisine. The slightly cooler climate supports lush forests and olive groves, as well many delicious beaches on the islands of Kefallonia, Zakynthos, Ithaki and Lefkada.

Crete 

This magical isle was the fabled birthplace of Zeus and is the largest of the Greek Islands. It’s also a popular holiday spot – and with good reason. Tours take visitors around the many archaeological sites of the Minoan civilisation, while the natural wonders of the Samaria Gorge National Park and the White Mountains bring many walkers to the region. The coast here is equally lovely, including the palm-fringed Vai Beach, as is the Venetian old city of Chania.

Rhodes

The largest of the Dodecanese Islands, geographically Rhodes sits closer to Turkey than to mainland Greece. The island is awash with ancient history, and escorted tours take in the archaeological sites of lovely Lindos and Kalithea. The medieval cobbled streets of Rhodes city are perfect for wandering, and the beaches of Faliraki, Ladiko and Kalathos beckon with their turquoise waters and fine white sand.

Flight time

London to Athens is around 3 hours 35 minutes.

Currency

Euro - The euro is the official currency in Greece.

Passports and visas

It’s a good idea to take a photocopy of your passport showing your passport number and photograph.

Bring this with you on holiday but keep it in a different place from your passport just in case it gets lost or stolen.

Visit GOV.UK for more advice on passports and visas.

Phrases

It’s all Greek to me…

Please - Parakalo

Yes - Ne

No - Ochi

Thank you - Efcharisto

Good morning - Kalimera

Good evening - Kalispera

Good night - Kalinikta

Goodbye - Adio

Timezone

Greece is two hours ahead of London.

Electricity

Mains voltage in Greece is 220 volts AC (50 cycles). All sockets take small round two-pin plugs. An adaptor is required for most British electrical appliances.

Language

Greek, Modern -

The official language is Greek, but English is widely understood in resorts and by most hotel staff.

There are many English words of Greek origin, for example, geography, history, museum and atlas! In fact about a quarter of the English language has been borrowed from Greek roots, that’s close to 85,000 words!

Tipping

If the service has been good, it’s common to leave a tip of 10-15% or to round up the bill for taxi fares.

Climate

Greece has a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures and limited rain. In coastal areas, hot, dry days are cooled by seasonal winds while mountainous regions generally have lower temperatures.

Lowland areas enjoy mild winters with little snow and ice while the mountains are usually snow covered.

Health

Flying insects and mosquitoes are common in many areas and you may find it helpful to wear long-sleeved tops and trousers and to use mosquito repellents on exposed areas of skin.

Those in which DEET is an active ingredient are thought to be the most effective. Tap water is generally safe to drink. As it is sometimes heavily chlorinated, you may prefer to buy bottled mineral water.

As health information can change at any time, we’d advise you to consult your GP at least 12 weeks before departure.

Country-specific information and advice on possible health risks is also published by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, and The British Foreign and Commonwealth Travel Advice Unit provides important health and safety information for British nationals travelling abroad.

Population and size

11 million – that’s less than a fifth of the UK’s population.

At 131,000 square kilometers, Greece is about the same size as England – and there are also more than 3,000 Greek islands dotted around the eastern Mediterranean, with roughly 200 of them populated.

Smoking

As in all EU states, smoking is banned on public transport and in public places in Greece, including bars, restaurants and hotels, and flouting the ban could lead to a fine.


Places in Greece

Corfu

With thick forests, olive groves, a beautiful climate and a gorgeous coastline, it's not hard to see why the island of Corfu has long been popular with tourists

Crete

Enter a land of rugged scenery, beautiful coastline and a rich and ancient history

Halkidiki

It's home to golden beaches, natural beauty and fascinating archaeology

Kefalonia

Stunning scenery and picturesque villages... and you’ll find Kefalonia has it all

Kos

Rhodes

Rhodes is the capital and the largest of the Dodecanese Islands, which lie in the south-eastern Aegean


Climate

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