Athens is the cradle of Western civilisation. Perched upon the Acropolis, the whole city stretches out before you. Spectacular landmarks jostle for position with winding streets, cobbled courtyards and modern concrete. For any lover of culture, a trip to this historic capital is a must. Wander through crumbling temples, vast theatres and ancient marketplaces, before searching out a backstreet taverna for a little rest and recuperation.
Leave the sights behind and head for the pristine beaches of Halkidiki. Plunge into in the crystal clear Aegean Sea before relaxing on the white sands. In spring, you can wander through a blanket of wild flowers covering the rural peninsulas before basking in unbroken sun. In this relatively well-kept secret, blue sky blends seamlessly into the turquoise water.
Around an hour’s drive from Halkidiki you’ll find Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city. Thessaloniki is rich in historical monuments, like the 4th century Arch of Galerius. It’s also home to some thoroughly modern attractions, such as the shopping strip of Egnatia and the lively New Waterfront.
For the prefect blend of ancient sites and sun-drenched beaches, you should head south to the Peloponnese peninsula. En route you’ll pass Epidaurus, 4th century theatre seating up to 14,000 people and one of the best-preserved Classical Greek structures in existence. The Peloponnese beaches, particularly along the west coast, are among the finest and least developed in the country, and the landscape inland is superb.
When to go
Mid-April to October is the best time to visit.