A Quick Guide to Greece

Choosing Your Greek Destination

This quick guide to Greece gives advice on choosing the best Greek destination for your holiday, whether in the Greek islands or the mainland, with potted summaries of the main vacation destinations.

Kefalonia

Most holidaymakers choose the Greek islands, or popular mainland spots like Halkidiki, but wherever you go you need to do a bit of homework to make sure it’s the right place for you. Islands vary enormously, and even within an island there will be places where the discos thump till dawn, and places where you’ll experience wonderful peace and quiet.

Kefalonia
A large island which was a little off-the-beaten track till the book of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which was set there, became everyone’s popular holiday read some years ago. There’s plenty of variety here if you hire a car, with a mountainous south rising to over 5300ft, and beautiful beaches to discover. The beach at Myrtos (above) often features in photos promoting Greece, with its long curve of white sand. Beaches generally are good, including the ones at Lassi and Skala, but the island will also appeal to the more adventurous, who like walking, sightseeing or visiting other islands nearby.

Zakynthos
Zakynthos, also known as Zante, has some terrific beaches, such as the ones at Laganas and Alikes. Laganas has become quite a party town, so not for those who are early to bed and early to rise. Alikes is a bit less frantic, but still quite lively at night. There are plenty of unspoilt places on the island, but you will need a car to get to them. It’s not a huge island, and you could easily drive round it in a day, seeing most of the main sights on the way. It’s more for people who want a lazy beach holiday, with perhaps a day out here and there.

Thassos

Thassos
Thassos is one of the lesser-known islands, though it’s grown in popularity over the last few years. It’s roughly circular, with resorts all around the coast, and the interior largely unexplored so ideal for walkers and the curious traveller. Thassos Town has something for everyone, with beaches, bars and ancient remains. There are good beaches and, rare for Greece, sand dunes at Skala Potamias, but otherwise beaches are not the island’s strong point. 

Mount Athos

Halkidiki
The three-pronged peninsula of Halkidiki on the Greek mainland attracts lots of Greek holidaymakers as well as British and other Europeans. It has a wealth of good beaches, many of them with Blue Flags, and is great for families. Two of the peninsulas are well-developed, and the third is Mount Athos, home only to a few thousand Greek monks. A day trip around the coast to see the monasteries is a must. Hire a car or make day trips and many fascinating historical sites are accessible, making it suitable for those who like to mix a little culture with sunbathing.

Skiathos
The busiest island in the Sporades group in the northern Aegean, so a little cooler in summer. It has some great beaches, which are almost always busy. Skiathos Town has good eating places too, but not cheap. The resorts are mainly lively, fun places, so great if you enjoy a bit of nightlife.

Kos

Kos
More great beaches here, and busy resorts like Kardamena. Kos Town has lots of historical interest, and the interior of the island has beautiful mountain villages where few tourists venture, but it’s basically a fun, package-holiday island.

Rhodes
Rhodes is a huge island and ranges from quiet mountain villages to resorts like Faliraki, which is one huge party town. Rhodes Town is worth at least one day out for its historic old town, and good restaurants. Lindos is one of the most beautiful towns on any Greek island, with narrow streets of whitewashed houses – but a good little beach too. Plenty of beach activities, including scuba-diving and windsurfing.

Samos
Samos is an island for walkers, being large and lush with mountains that rise to over 4700ft.It is less developed than many islands, so you will get more of the ‘real Greece’ here. Kokkari is noted for its windsurfing, and Samos Town has narrow, cobbled streets to explore.

Corfu
Corfu is big enough to offer a variety of attractions, from busy resorts like Dassia, Kavos for the party animals, the beautiful Paleokastritsa for families, and slightly quieter places like Kalami. It’s good for wildlife too, as anyone who has ever read or watched My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell will know.

Crete
Greece’s largest island has got everything. If you want to party head for Malia or Hersonissos, and if you don’t then head for the hills. The rugged interior is fabulous, including the Samaria Gorge, one of the longest in Europe – a good day-trip from Rethymnon. Rethymnon and Agios Nikolaos are both large towns, with museums, culture, good eating and ideal if you want more than just to bake on a beach. Chania is the most beautiful town on the island, and the capital, Iraklion, is also enjoyable.

Here are some more of our general Greek pages...

  • Tipping in Greece

    The Greece Travel Secrets guide to tipping in Greece from two Greece travel experts, including when to tip, what to tip and when not to tip.

  • Travelling Around Greece

    Practical information on travelling around Greece by plane, by ferry, by bus, by train and by driving, including car rental, parking and other driving advice.

  • Ten Biggest Cities in Greece

    The ten biggest cities in Greece start with Athens and Thessaloniki, followed by Patras and several suburbs of Athens which are Greek cities in their own right.

  • Six of the Best Beaches in Greece

    Greece Travel Secrets chooses six of the best beaches in Greece including beaches on Corfu, Santorini, Crete, Lefkas, Kefalonia and on the Peloponnese.

  • Top Ten Things to Do in Greece

    Top Ten Things to Do in Greece include seeing the Acropolis and Parthenon, visiting the National Archaeological Museum and ancient sites like Knossos on Crete.

  • Which Greek Island?

    How to choose which Greek island from six of the most popular, Crete, Corfu, Rhodes, Kos, Kefalonia and Zakynthos.

  • Weddings in Greece

    Weddings in Greece and the Greek islands can be luxury or cheap, are easy to arrange from the UK or USA in Santorini, Mykonos, and Rhodes.

  • Top Ten Biggest Greek Islands

    The Top Ten Biggest Greek Islands, the largest in size, are listed by Greece Travel Secrets and include Crete, Evia, Lesbos and Rhodes.

  • The Nomads of Greece

    The nomads of Greece are the Vlachs, nomadic shepherds whose capital is Metsovo in the Pindus Mountains, and the Sarakatsani, shepherds in Macedonia and Thrace.

  • The Greek Gods

    The home of the Greek Gods was the top of Mount Olympus, and among the better-known Gods and Goddesses in the Greek pantheon were Zeus, Poseidon and Aphrodite.

  • Sailing in the Greek Islands

    Greece Travel Secrets lists four of the best destinations if you want to go sailing in the Greek islands.

  • Luxury Weddings in Greece

    Luxury Weddings in Greece, including venues such as a boutique hotel with deluxe spa on Santorini, can be booked through Ionian Weddings.

  • Life as a Waiter on Zakynthos

    Life as a waiter on Zakynthos tells what it was like for travel writer Mike Gerrard to work in a Greek restaurant, the Mantalena in Alykanas.

  • Greek Music

    Greek music is the sound of the bouzouki and tunes like Zorba the Greek and Never on Sunday are heard everywhere, while rembetika is called the blues of Greece.

  • Greek Ferry Guide

    Greece Travel Secrets Greek Ferry Guide page uses an extract from the Aferry Greece website with advice on island-hopping, buying tickets online and timetables.

  • Greek Architecture

    This beginner's guide to Greek architecture explains how to tell your Ionic from your Doric columns, and what to look for in temples and Byzantine churches.

  • Greece for Beginners

    Greece for beginners is an introduction to Greece and the Greek islands by way of a memoir by travel writer Mike Gerrard about discovering Greek kindness.

  • Greece At A Glance: Currency, Weather and Other Useful Information

    Greece at a glance is a potted guide to the Greek currency, language, weather, health requirements and other information to help you plan a trip to Greece.

Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

Latest Posts

  1. Hotels on Santorini

    Hotels on Santorini, Greece, in the Cyclades, range from luxury choices to good cheap accommodation in Fira, with caldera views.

    Read More

  2. What Is Metaxa?

    What is Metaxa? Metaxa is an amber Greek spirit combining brandy made by distilling wine, sweet wine from Samos and a secret recipe of Mediterranean botanicals.

    Read More

  3. Greece Updates Covid-19 Travel Rules for Domestic Flights to All Destinations

    The Hellenic Civil Aviation Authority (HCAA), on Monday issued a new Covid-19 aviation directive (NOTAM) with rules for passengers traveling on domestic flights to all destinations in Greece.

    Read More

  4. Covid-19: How the Unvaccinated in Greece Can Travel by Land, Air, Sea – Rules

    All unvaccinated people in Greece from Monday, September 13, will be allowed to board all means of transport for domestic travel between regions (airplanes, ferries, intercity trains and KTEL buses) o…

    Read More

  5. Greece Stays Open to American Travelers Despite EU Recommendation

    Greece is among the European countries that have not followed an EU recommendation to curb nonessential travel for visitors from the United States and has kept its borders open for American tourists.

    Read More

  6. Some Fish with your Ouzo?

    It’s a quiet Tuesday lunchtime when we pass through Eleftheroton Square in Chalandri, one of Athens’s northern suburbs. Anyone living in the surrounding areas knows that this boisterous neighborhood i…

    Read More

  7. Crete: 10 Places to Experience in the Lasithi Region

    The easternmost part of Crete is full of surprises. Add these spots to your list of things to see and do (map included).

    Read More

  8. Athens Showcases Culture with ‘Art on the Road’

    Athens museums, cultural spaces and all forms of art take the spotlight as part of the “Art on the Road” campaign launched by the municipality together with advertising firm Interbus. The initiative d…

    Read More

  9. Online Searches for Travel to Athens Increase in Summer, Says Survey

    The interest of international holidaymakers for Athens has grown stronger during the last few months, with online searches for the Greek capital picking up pace in July compared to the previous months…

    Read More

  10. Central Greece Region: €40m for Reconstruction of Fire-hit Evia

    The Region of Central Greece agreed on Tuesday to release 40 million euros for the reconstruction of Evia, devasted for over a week earlier this month by wildfires. Funding will go towards anti-floodi…

    Read More