Greece holidays: From Rhodes to Crete, which Greek hotspot is your next getaway?
Greece is teeming with so many awe-inspiring destinations it can be nigh impossible to pick which hotspot is for you. From Rhodes to Crete, which one suits best?
Greece holidays offer something for everyone, whether you're after decadent cuisine, enticing history or divine scenery.
The Mediterranean country has so many islands it can be hard to get your head around which one offers what.
This is your guide to a selection of idyllic isles to help you best plan your next Greek getaway.
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Agios Nikolaos can be found on the much-loved island of Crete in the region of Lassithi.
The area boasts a delightful natural setting and a plethora of archaeological sites, museums and beaches.
Agios Nikolaos is dominated by Lake Voulismeni which connects to the sea by a narrow channel of water. According to legend, the goddess Athena bathed here! An imposing backdrop of red rock and trees adds to the natural beauty of the scenery.
In the city, you can find museums dedicated to archaeology, folklore and natural history plus Byzantine churches, bustling pedestrian streets and traditional squares buzzing with lively cafés and restaurants.
If you stay in Agios Nikolaos be sure to visit Istro which is famous for its consecutive beaches at Karavostassi, Áyios Panteleimonas and Voúlisma (Hrissí Aktí).
Almyros wetland, a passage for migratory birds, is another highlight, as is Pachia Ammos, an old commercial port.
Don't miss Kritsa, a picturesque village built on the feet of Mt. Kastellos with a marvellous view across Mirabello bay. Its traditional architectural features are impressively preserved through time.
You’re not short of accommodation options in Agios Nikolaos, there are countless hotel resorts so you’re bound to find somewhere which suits you.
If you have time, it’s worth taking a day boat trip to Spinalonga, a former leper colony, while staying here. It’s the second most visited archaeological site of Crete after Knossos and has a fascinating history as well as being a beautiful place to explore.
Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese Islands which are known for medieval castles, Byzantine churches, beaches and ancient archaeological sites.
The island of Rhodes features bright green hills, rich green valleys and an uninterrupted line of golden beaches as well as numerous cultural and archaeological sites.
The Old Town is particularly stand-out. In fact, the Medieval City of Rhodes was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988.
It's one of the largest medieval towns in Europe and boasts fascinating medieval fortress-like buildings, walls, gates, narrow alleys, minarets, old houses, fountains, tranquil and busy squares.
The Palace of the Grand Master is the highlight of the Old Town and is now a museum.
Another to claim to fame is the cobblestoned Street of the Knights - it's one of the best-preserved medieval streets in Europe.
Once you've had your culture fix, Polidorou Street leads to a square with outdoor cafés and restaurants while Sokratous Street also buzzes with life thanks to its cluster of cafés and shops.
Be sure to stroll around Mandráki, the small marina with the Rhodian deer statues at its entrance and the surrounding windmills; enjoy the sun and the sea at cosmopolitan Elli beach; and visit the Aquarium, one of the most important marine research centres in Greece.
As for beaches, Kallithea is a cosmopolitan holiday resort bustling with hotels lining long, sandy Faliraki beach; Ialissos (or Trianda) beach is a favourite destination for windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing enthusiasts; Afandou has beautiful sandy beaches) and a golf course; the beach of Kremastí is perfect for kitesurfing and windsurfing; the beautiful seaside resort of Kolimbia is lovely for walking or cycling; and Prasonisi is fab for kitesurfing.
- READ MORE: Crete, Athens or the Cyclades - where to go in Greece -
Kos is the third-largest island of the Dodecanese complex. It's home to endless coasts with turquoise waters, ancient and medieval monuments, and impressive Italian buildings. It was also once upon a time home to Hippocrates - the father of medicine was born here.
Cultural highlights include medieval Nerantzia Castle, Eleftheria Square and the Archaeological Museum.
Ruins of the ancient city can still be seen in Kos, from the Hellenistic Doric temple and Dionysus' altar to the remnants of the walls and the Roman baths.
Don't miss tourist hotspot Platanos Square and Lotzia Mosque where Hippocrates’ Plane tree grows; it's understood the great doctor used to teach his apprentices and examine his patients beneath the shadow of this tree.
Kos is known for its abundant sandy beaches. Tigaki Beach, at 10 km long, is rightfully regarded as one of the best beaches on the island of Kos. It's repeatedly awarded the Blue Flag for its crystal-clear waters and high-quality services. Other top beaches are Golden Beach, Agios Stefanos and Mastichari
Kalymnos has a rather usual reason to show off - it's widely known as an international sponge-harvesting trade centre.
However, thanks to its unique geomorphology, Kalymnos is also a tourist destination known worldwide for offering alternative holidays and activities such as climbing, scuba diving, mountain hiking and spelunking - a true paradise for passionate action-lovers!
The capital of Kalymnos is Pothia which has remarkable architectural features and impressive old mansions. Amazing churches can also be found here and a visit to the Archaeological Museum is worthwhile. Don't miss the 15th-century castle of Chrysocheria.
Feeling peckish? Head to the promenade, pick one of its cute waterfront tavernas and taste delicious local specialities such as “spinialo” - the sponge-harvesters’ tidbit consisting of ray, sea urchins and sea-figs preserved in seawater, or “mouri” - stuffed lamb or goat cooked on a metal pan.
As for beaches, one of the most popular is the sandy beach of Masouri but Therma is the closest beach to Pothia while Vlychadia consists of two beaches, one sandy, one pebbly.
Linaria is a family beach, while younger folk might like to opt for the cosmopolitan Kantouni beach. Platys Gialos is renowned for its black sand and is suitable for fishing. Emporeios is a favourite among wind and kite surfing lovers.
This island has a rich holy history - it's where Saint John wrote the Book of Revelation and went on to be designated as “Holy Island” by the Greek Parliament in 1981 then a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.
Patmos is an ideal destination for nature lovers thanks to its lace-like coastline, sheer cliffs, volcanic soil and quaint villages.
In the Hora, follow the historical narrow streets lined with little white houses glittering under the Aegean sun and mansions all the way from the monastery down to Skála, the island’s port.
Here you can discover restaurants, cafés, shops and traditional bakeries. Why not treat yourself to cheese pies, local dairy products, and reticule-shaped dough with honey and nuts?
To keep sun-worshippers happy, there is a range of beaches on Patmos. The beach in Kampos with sea sports facilities and marvellous fish tavernas is the most cosmopolitan one, while Psili Ammos (literally meaning “thin sand”) offers an off-the-beaten-track experience as it's only accessible by boat.
Other options are the beach of Lampi - very beautiful and covered with colourful pebbles – and Agriolivado, one of the most popular beaches on the island. It has shallow, crystal-clear waters, restaurants and water sports facilities. Don’t miss Grikos, either - it’s a beautiful cove with calm waters which looks like a lake due to being surrounded by two small peninsulas.
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