Insight / Greece

Greece, the islands and their secrets

Our insight to this gem of a destination

Unearth Greece with us

Ah, Greece. Few holiday destinations are as timeless or beloved, and none at all offer as much variety. The mainland and those 6,000 enticing islands boast an army of archaeological wonders, more than 8,000 miles of coastline – much of it sandy – and interiors ranging from lush valleys to rugged, monastery-speckled mountains. There are slickly-run hotels and coves where you’ll be the only tourist; hiker-friendly national parks and foodie cities few know about.

Yet among Greece’s many headline charms – near-guaranteed sun, clear green waters, superb seafood, traditional tavernas – one stands tall: the fact that there’s nowhere else this close to home where it’s so easy to switch off and relax.

Why let us plan your Greece adventure?

Simply put, because we’ve been visiting Greece – including for our own holidays – since Real Holidays began over 30 years ago. That has resulted in expert knowledge of both the better-known regions and other far-less-visited corners of the country. We can do it all: the luxury resorts of Halkidiki (in the north-west of mainland Greece), villa or apartment rentals on the Ionian islands of Paxos or Corfu, a sugar-cube boutique hotel on tourist-free Folegandros, walking breaks to Zagori, and so on and on.

Many clients enjoy the tailormade itineraries we put together, including island hops covering a number of the Cycladic islands such as Santorini, Naxos and Mykonos and mainland fly-drives along the stunning coast of the Peloponnese peninsula or around the enchanting Pelion.

Our chief goal is not to sell you a holiday, but to sell you the right holiday – one you’ll relish. We listen to your needs and use our expertise to find the ideal solution. That’s not just a case of our knowing the latest hotel openings or recommending villas with pools, but also advising on which type of trip you might most like. We’ll present the options, and never force you into a decision.

We’ll also take care of those tricky in-between bits: be it airline baggage allowances, car-hire arrangements, hotel transfers or ferry timetables.

  1. Fly-drive forte

    While single-property stays are the answer for short breaks and anyone preferring to stay stationary, fly-drives offer a brilliant way to see more of Maninland Greece. Partly to cover more ground, and get a better sense of place; and then also to see how different areas compare, and offer distinct charms.

    A brilliant place for this is southernmost mainland Greece and the Peloponnese. Like much of Greece, this large, year-round peninsula has two diverse sides. Its rocky coastline is littered with delightful inlets and coves begging to be discovered. Then there’s a wonderfully rugged interior, surprisingly green and constantly beautiful courtesy of soaring mountains and wild-flower meadows. Walkers will be in heaven.

    So will culture buffs. The Peloponnese’s rich history means it rewards visitors with countless impressive ancient sites. Among them are Epidavros’ well-preserved Classic Greek amphitheatre, home to still-amazing acoustics, and gobsmacking medieval towns such as the fortress peninsula of Monemvasia, an island fortress accessed via a causeway.

    Our fly-drives allow you to feel part of this history via exciting stays at converted monasteries and forts – giving you a real sense of what this beguiling region is all about

  2. Secret regions

    We’ve long been drawn to Greece’s quieter regions and islands, a fact explaining our particular, longstanding affinity with the Pelion.

    One of Greece’s least-developed areas, it’s a hook-shaped cape on the eastern mainland which charms with a rather forgotten-in-time atmosphere. Also helping the seduction along is radiant natural beauty and an impressive coastline. Best of all, the Pelion is the sort of backwater where you can still have that perfect beach to yourself or sit in the square of a sleepy hilltop village, under a large plane tree and neighboured only by locals. In other words it’s the real Greece, alive and well.

    We offer a range of Pelion villas, houses and seaside apartments, all carefully selected following repeated visits to the region. They suit families, couples and groups of friends. Some will be right for you, and some will be wrong for you; tell us your wishes, and we’ll recommend the right one.

  3. Island-hopping

    For all these mainland mainstays, Greece simply wouldn’t be Greece without its islands. While every place has its charms and plus points, our preference is for satellite islands with no direct flights from the UK – places like Paxos, Meganissi, Naxos and Folegandros – as these tend to have an authentic, less-crowded feel. We specialise in island-hopping itineraries: the sort that stars chugging ferries and idyllic, beach-side apartments.

    Destinations? You could explore the Cyclades, a group of sun-kissed specks scattered across the turquoise Aegean Sea. White Cubist houses, golden beaches, olive groves, hilltop towns and humming cicadas are the norm here. Among the isles, Naxos has great beaches and lush foliage for walking enthusiasts, while busier Santorini is a honeymooners paradise with its blue churches and sunset views from a mountainside capital.

    Over in the Ionian Islands, small Paxos can only be accessed by a short sea crossing and is therefore less visited by tourists. The laid-back air, pebbly beaches, authentic tavernas and easy boat hire also entrance, while sister isle, Antipaxos, is a short sea-taxi ride away and offers two of Europe’s finest sandy coves plus bursts of wild flowers in May and June.

    Then there’s Crete, Greece’s largest and most southerly island, and the perfect place to head to for sun and sea early or late in the season. Here are endless quaint harbours, surrounded by local restaurants, and hidden inland villages. The best beaches, meanwhile, are are the ones stumbled across by accident on romantic or family holidays.

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