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Greece

Overview

Greece is a mix of old and new, with Greek hospitality welcoming everyone to its shores. The island of Mykonos is renowned for its nightlife and also for its hot sun and sandy beaches. Athens has the Parthenon and its associated museums and galleries. Crete is more rugged, with a carpet of wild flowers in Spring.

Food throughout Greece is laden with olive oil, and is cooked and eaten at a slow pace for best enjoyment at lunchtime, when the sun is at its hottest.

Climate

Greece has a complex set of climatic conditions.

July and August generally brings temperatures around 40°C in the shade throughout the country. Along with this comes high winds, which can upset travel plans as well as beach umbrellas!

Northern Macedonia and Northern Epiros have very hot, humid summers with freezing winters. The winds of July-August reduce humidity to a more comfortable level.

The Cyclades, the Dodecanes, Crete, and central and eastern Peloponnese have hot, dry summers and milder winters.

Some areas don’t suffer the July-August winds, but are the areas with the highest rainfall – the western Peloponnese, western Sterea Ellada, south west Epiros and the Ionian Islands come into this area.

Crete is the exception. The southern coast is so warm that you can swim in the sea from mid-April to November.

Mid-October brings rain, and it stays like this until mid-February.

Snow is rare in anywhere other than the high mountains of Peloponnese and Crete, although Athens does occasionally get snow.

When to go

The Orthodox Easter (usually April) announces the start of the tourist season. Before this, most tourism infrastructure, such as ferries, hotels, and even some of the smaller islands in their entirety, are closed for business.

Between Easter and mid-June brings warm weather, uncrowded beaches and a full programme of events and transport options.

Things change mid-June, when the temperatures soar and the resorts come alive; an ideal time for young, energetic vacations. This lasts until the end of August.

September brings more bearable temperatures, and the crowds head home. The end of October, and the season draws to a close, and the Greek islanders head back to their mainland properties.

Athens

A destination with a huge history, famous for the Acropolis, but also for its nightlife and amazing olive oil laden food. The capital of Greece, Athens’ infrastructure has developed recently, with better roads and rail links.

Plaka, the main tourist area of Athens, is where you’ll find restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops galore. For a more selective choice of shops, go to Ermou street, Aiolou street and the Kolonaki area.

Of course, there are numerous beaches to choose from, all accessible by bus or tram, or on foot!

If you wish to travel to one of the Greek islands, there are ferry services leaving Athens’ port, Piraeu, regularly.

Crete

Crete, the largest Greek island, is renowned for its soft sand and clear blue waters. Here, you can relax in on of the many secluded coves, stroll through the historic town, or go inland to hike the mountains, or even explore the Minoan treasures.

You will enjoy the laid back atmosphere, eating slow food at lunchtime while the sun is at its hottest, and then come alive for the nightlife to be found on the island.