5 reasons Greece should be back on your hit list

Let’s be honest, Greece never really lost its hold as one of Europe’s most popular summer getaways. But with the economic instability across the country over the last few years, it may have been overlooked in favor of its Mediterranean neighbors. The tide is starting to change though with Summer bookings looking to reach record heights. The Greek Tourism Board is doing all it can to ensure that visitors will not be disappointed. But with the guarantee of great food, culture and weather – there are a few things they don’t have to worry about.

1. The convenience

The Greek islands have always been a popular choice for international travellers and locals alike. But until now the islands have proved difficult to access with most flight routes requiring a stopover in Athens. That is until now. UK carrier British Airways will launch 2 weekly direct flights from London Heathrow Airport to the popular Greek islands of Mykonos and Santorini from May 2014. For transatlantic travellers who may already have multiple legs to their trip, the new direct flights from London will be a welcome option.

2. The undiscovered islands

It is hard to imagine that a popular destination like Greece, which saw 18 million visitors last year, would still offer untouched, unspoilt places to discover. But with an estimated 1,400 islands and no more than 200 of these inhabited, this Southern European gem has enough off-the-beaten-track spots to excite even the most well travelled traveller. You may not find a direct flight to get there, but what’s an extra boat ride if you’re final destination looks like this.

Greek island

3. The food

The Mediterranean is known for its delectable cuisine, and Greece is no exception. Traditional dishes have stood the test of time offering the perfect balance of healthy, fresh and flavorful. For the island-bound, you cannot go wrong with a wonderful local portside taverna. Let the locals direct you to the one that will serve up the freshest fish and the most authentic tastes – the locals are likely to be enjoying their ouzo by your side. But if you’re looking for a contemporary take on the classics, be sure to book a table at the Michelin-starred hotspot Funky Gourmet. This modern-minimalist restaurant in downtown Athens gives fine-dining a quirky twist.

4. The culture

As of 1st April, it will be even easier to enjoy a bit of culture across the country. 33 of the most popular Greek museums and archaeological sites will extend their operating hours, many remaining open from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, right through to 31st October 2014. And if there is one museum that cannot go amiss, it is the Acropolis Museum. Housing the archaeological findings of the historic citadel, the museum is a contemporary nod to the ancient masterpiece that perches above.

Acropolis Museum

5. The weather

300 days of sunshine with rain only in February and March – need we say more? There are few places in the world that can guarantee you that kind of summer-sun consistency. July and August are hot and dry across the country and rarely see temperatures drop below 20°C even at night. And if the Mediterranean waters are not refreshing enough, the islands enjoy the benefit of the cooling “meltemi” winds.

John-Christian Moquette is a Partner at IAVRA.

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Comments (9)

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  1. Paul Johnson says:

    Great post. It just so happens that I got back from Athens around midnight last night so this is rather timely. As well as hearing from the mayor of the city, I got the opportunity to visit a number of exciting projects that are in the pipeline.

    Did you know that Athens will have a new opera house as of 2016? I visited the site where it is being constructed – the largest construction site in the whole of Greece at the moment, that will also be home to extensive parkland and will be the new site for the city’s national library. (It’s estimated that just re-location of the library and its books will take around 8 months!)

    Also very soon there’s a gastronomy museum opening in the city (had a great time there too!), plus there’s the new Acropolis Museum you mention and a new museum at the site of Athens’ old gasworks.

    In October, Athens will also host TBEX (the Travel Bloggers Exchange conference) which will attract in the region of a thousand travel bloggers to the city.

    Times have been very tough for the people of Greece but there are some interesting times ahead and hopefully the tide is slowly starting to turn for them. Could still take some time yet, though, I fear.

  2. Anastasia says:

    From June 2014, there is a new direct flight that makes convenient getting to Costa Navarino and other such excellent luxury hotels far off the beaten track Messinia Greece.

    Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport direct to Kalamata with Aegean Airlines.

    So bringing the Americas and the world closer to beautiful undiscovered southern Peloponnese Greece

    Anastasias Koroni Greece UK

  3. Andre says:

    Wonderful country, the place is just filled with beautiful geography and rich history. There’s so much to experience and take in.

  4. Andy says:

    Great post, and great to hear the food islands and cultural wonders are thriving. I’m going to be living in Greece next year. Very exciting….

  5. I’ve never been to mainland greece but have been to crete, rhodes and corfu. I think my favourite is crete with the palace of knossos and walking down the samaria gorge. Excellent both in different ways.

  6. Angeliki says:

    There is one more reason: greeks know what hospitality is and they usually perform it to the visitors. For example you drink ouzo and some local says “on me”. Or you stop to see why do people celebrate and they say “come in and have a drink or a meze with us” (meze means bites of delicious food). That’s what I like in my country. But there are things that I don’t like. For example, taxi drivers sometimes overcharge… Or some waiters are rude.

  7. George says:

    Enthousiasm is another spot where you could focus on. Enthousiasm by young greeks who really try, need to show that hard workers could innovate and stand on and at the end of the alley there is light.

  8. Love this list! I used to live in Greece and still visit as often as I can. I just spent a month there for the summer, and it was, as always, an amazing experience! Tourists need not be worried or affected by the crisis, Greece is still the beautiful country it always was.

  9. John says:

    Loved the article!!

    This is the great point that make Greece, as a holiday destination, a well desired place to be! The second point is the strongest, and we are rejoicing over it, because there is a vast number of hidden islands/places on famous islands and you can explore those and have the most amazing holiday of your life! Also, the media press put the situation about financial crisis a little bit overrated in public, which drove off many of people who considered coming to Greece. That was a bad move for tourism, shouldn’t you agree?

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