Destinations

Three truly awesome places to visit in Greece

Celebrated in a four-fold love affair between culture and history, beauty and cuisine, Greece is a destination overflowing with memorable and majestic experiences.

The hardest part for you and your client will be narrowing it down to an itinerary’s worth of tight-knit and thought-provoking experiences.

Lucky for you, Travel Weekly has done the leg work and found three unique and unexpected Greek experiences that embrace the iconic, but not the stereotypical; the celebrated, but not the over-saturated identity of modern Greece.

For a thoughtfully planned and enriching tour of Greece, travel agents should consider Tempo Holidays’ week-long Grand Tour of Greece.

Here are three truly awesome places to visit in Greece, this year!

Sporades Islands

The famous hole in the rock formation at Lalaria beach, Skiathios island, Greece.
The famous hole in the rock formation at Lalaria beach, Skiathios island, Greece.

With 65 beaches on Skiathos, the island’s Aegean waters are best sampled in moderation; buses provide numbered beach access to more than 20 of them. However, Travel Weekly recommends taking a boat taxi to Lalaria Beach – a quiet stretch of eggshell grey shore found on the northern coast.

Rugged scenery, relaxed camaraderie and a wonderful marina to experience all four of its islands is a description that encapsulates the identity of the Sporades Islands.

Alonissos, Greece - September 3, 2015: Typical Greece square in an ancient town Alonissos with typical exterior with blue doors and blue fence. Old town Alonissos, tourist spot with ancient houses transformed into restaurants
One of the three northern Sporades Islands, Alonnisos is a perfect place for a kick-back, where quaint cafes and charming taverns abound.

A series of four islands found in the Northwest Aegean, the Sporades consists of Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnisos (featured image) and Skyros.

With some of the most scenic, memorable and iconically wonderful waters in the world, the Greek Islands of the Aegean provide truly memorable opportunities for diving, snorkelling and high-vantage hiking: activities that each and every traveller should aim to experience in spades on a Mediterranean getaway.

Skiathos, home to more than 60 beaches, draws the most visitors out of all of the islands. Blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the Aegean, the sands fill up with sun-starved northern Europeans in July and August during its peak season.

Although peak-season might make beach-going a hassle, it may provide the perfect excuse to head further inland to see Skiathos Town.
Although peak-season might make beach-going a hassle, it may provide the perfect excuse to head further inland to see Skiathos Town.

Skiathos Town is a major tourist centre on the island, with hotels, galleries and bars spread along the waterfront and the cobbled promenade, affectionately known as Papadiamanti. However, a few blocks back from the water, things quieten down and a more subtle local flavour becomes apparent. 

Our recommendation is to either beat the peak by travelling in the off-season or escape the crowds by embracing a local lifestyle a few blocks back.

Skopelos

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Skopelos Town is in itself utterly picturesque, and one of the best places on the islands to see iconic Greek houses, underpinned by a tiered hillside of white buildings and bright balconies, and a horizon of crystal-Aegean waters; cluey cinephiles will recognise its city streets as the backdrop for Mamma Mia!.

An isle of pines, vines, olive groves and almond orchards, Skopelos is one for the summertime foodies – highlighted in local dishes prepared at the port towns of Skolepos Town and the northwest village of Glossa – but also equally operates as the perfect backdrop for low-key cycling and hiking (there’s a theme appearing here).

Travel Weekly recommends taking it easy; either kicking back at a quay-side cafe and soaking in the views of the harbour, or taking our earlier advice and cycling to see one of Skopelos’ sheltered, southwestern beaches. 

Thessaloniki

The Church St. Paul and Thessaloniki city, Greece - The city is home to some of the country's best-preserved archaeological sites, with some preserved so well to still be used for modern activities.
The Church St. Paul and Thessaloniki city, Greece. The city is home to some of the country’s best-preserved archaeological sites, with some so well-preserved to still be used for modern activities.

The second-largest city in Greece, Thessaloniki, offers very different accents and textures to the four Sporades Islands – equally as flavoursome – underpinned by a rich and evocative history as an occupied territory and as one of best destinations for street food in the country. 

With roots as a Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman territory, the city is home to some truly breathtaking monuments, including fourth-century monument the Arch of Galerius; a still-standing structure comissioned by Roman emperor Galerius (Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus Augustus).

Thessaloniki, Greece -
The Arch of Galerius is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and preserves the scenes of emperor Galerius’ conquest over the Persian army.

Galerius was said to have served as ruler of the Roman Republic around 300 AD, whereby the ruler had the Arch and its surrounding structures (now destroyed) built to commemorate the Republic’s victory over Persia.

Astoundingly, much of the detail of the Arch is preserved, with the panels depicting Galerius’ defeat of the Sassanid Persians and the capture of their capital Ctesiphon still visible. The Palace of Galerius and its wider structure, however, has not been preserved.

The Rotunda of Galerius in Thessaloniki, Greece -
The Rotunda of Galerius in Thessaloniki, Greece. The monument is easily accessible, while a wealth of other attractions in Thessaloniki are close by, including the White Tower of Thessaloniki and Aristotelous Square.

For a truly awesome experience of Thessaloniki, Greece, that takes clients to these attractions and more, check out Tempo Holidays’ seven-day Grand Tour of Greece – an in-depth programme covering beautiful landscapes, ancient ruins and incredible archaeological sites.

Highlights include travelling through the stunning Peloponnese countryside to the ancient cities of Olympia and Delphi, the monasteries of Meteora perched on the summit of huge rocks, and Mount Olympus, home to the 12 gods of Greek mythology.

For more information on Tempo Holidays’ travel options for Greece, click here.

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