Greece Holidays

Sands and sights in Crete

Greece is all about blue-domed churches, bougainvillea-splashed villages and endless rounds of mezes. And nowhere does it better than the biggest of the Greek Islands, Crete. As well as miles of great beaches in places like the Chania area, this island is home to the kind of ancient sites you’ll want to write home about. We’re talking the ruins of the Minoan Palace of Knossos near Heraklion, and the Venetian fortresses in Rethymnon.

Ionian Islands

Trace your finger north-west on the map and you hit Corfu, a member of the Ionian Islands. If you want family-run tavernas and empty beaches, Acharavi is for you. And for the best parties on the island, there’s Kavos. South of Corfu you’ll find the island of Zante. Here, pick between lively Laganas or the quiet towns of Alykanas and Kalamaki. Kefalonia, meanwhile, is all about laid-back towns and Instagram-worthy beaches.

South Aegean Islands

Over in the South Aegean Islands, meanwhile, you’ve got the wide, sandy sweeps of Kardemena and Psalidi in Kos, or the timewarp old town of Rhodes’ capital.

Mainland Greece

Over on the mainland, the big names are Halkidiki and the Olympia Coast. Both regions serve up second-to-none sandy beaches and cypress-studded scenery, plus they open up daytrips to cities like Athens and Thessaloniki.

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Ionian Islands

Scattered west of mainland Greece, the Ionian Islands are major players on the holiday scene. Along with sandy beaches and pebbled coves, they tick off everything from crowd-pleasing scenery to Ibiza-esque nightlife.

South Aegean Islands

Scattered across the Aegean Sea, these islands have been luring holidaymakers for decades. And it’s easy to see why. They hold all the cards – beaches, nightlife, sights and shopping.


The biggest of the Greek Islands, Crete certainly makes the most of its size. On the one hand, it lines up miles of beaches and a guidebook’s worth of sights. On the other, it has every type of holiday base going, from sleepy hillside villages to up-all-night party towns.

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