Greek Island-Hopping, The Luxury Link Way
by, 05-25-2012 at 05:02 PM (5118 Views)
Among the many great pleasures of a visit to Greece is the flexibility to island-hop. Stringing together short stays in several jaw-dropping destinations – all in close proximity to one another – is the best way to experience the diversity of this beautiful and ancient country.
Most trips to Greece begin in the bustling capital, Athens, which holds a treasure-trove of historical wonders. Towering high above the city is the Parthenon, the extraordinarily
well-preserved temple dating to 447 B.C. to honor the goddess Athena. Among the other attractions to include on your sightseeing tour are the National Archaeological Museum and nearby Cape Sounion.
Basing yourself in either the heart of Athens or the "Athens Riviera" along the Aegean Sea will allow you pick up on the nuances of the gregarious Greek culture. For starters, leave your watch at home! There is not much time-keeping in Greece, and don’t try to get much done in the afternoons as most places close down for a normal rest time. However, Greeks are incredibly friendly people, and ask a lot of questions; they are very approachable!
After some time on the mainland, you’re probably itching to explore the stunning Greek Islands that travelers’ dreams are made of. To complete a great vacation in Greece, Luxury Link recommends choosing one of two island-hopping itineraries, each accessible by plane, ferry or high-speed catamaran.
Itinerary #1: Crete & Santorini
For those seeking the perfect blend of history and fun in the sun, opt for visits to Crete and Santorini. On Crete, you’ll have a difficult time deciding between the archaeological and natural treasures like Knossos Palace and Samaria Gorge, or lounging on gorgeous beaches. Putting you in close proximity to it all, in a sublime setting, is the Elounda Peninsula All-Suite Hotel, where your split-level beachfront room comes equipped with a private heated seawater pool. You’ll also enjoy legendary Greek cuisine with a three-course dinner for two at a choice of restaurants, included in your vacation experience.
It will be tough to leave Crete behind, but not when your next stop is sensational Santorini. The remnant of an ancient volcano, Santorini features dramatic cliffs and views throughout the island. Among the best panoramas are found from the main town, Fira, while the island also boasts a small but thriving wine industry. Most Luxury Link properties on Santorini welcome you with a bottle of wine or champagne in your guestroom, including the Vedema Resort which also offers guests lunch and dinner options as well as access to a private beach.
Itinerary #2: Mykonos and Naxos
As enticing as the above itinerary is, an equal number of treasures can be found a bit further east on the Cycladic islands of Mykonos and Naxos. Although Mykonos receives its fair share of tourists in the summer months, it manages to retain a rustic charm. Windmills dating to the 16th century are a landmark of Mykonos town, as is the area of quaint houses directly on the sea known as “Little Venice”.
Absorb it all from Mykonos’ five-star hotels and resorts available on Luxury Link. Three nights at the Santa Marina Resort & Spa will be just what the travel doctor ordered, as you soak in the Mediterranean sun reflecting off iconic white terra cotta houses and domed hilltop churches. Also consider Kivotos, which boasts an enviable setting on the magnificent Bay of Ornos.
Refreshed, board a short ferry ride to Naxos, which holds a special place in Greek mythology as the childhood home of Zeus. However, Naxos is also focused on catering to tourists in the here-and-now with superb beaches, charming mountain villages and endless Greek sunshine. Many of those stunning stretches of sand are found near the main town of Hora, while others are adjacent to archaeological ruins allowing you to combine a bit of history with your suntan!
Naxos' intimate Finikas Hotel features lush gardens and decidedly contemporary style, complemented by traditional whitewashed Cycladic architecture. The hotel's serene, stretching pool is a centerpiece of the grounds, and buildings housing the deluxe accommodations wrap around the property. A few tranquil days here make for a perfect end to a perfect week in the Greek Islands.
For a luxurious guided tour of Greece, led by experts who will immerse you in the country's culture and guide you to its hidden gems, consider one of the itineraries offered by our partner Hellenic Holidays. The main tourist season is spring and summer, so start planning your Grecian escape today!