Everything You Need To Know About Greece – Scattered like pearls in the sparkling Aegean and Ionian seas, the Greek islands have attracted many travelers. From Jason and his traveling Argonauts to the Frankish Crusaders and
There’s nothing like seeing the coast from a sunlit deck or sailing into a bustling harbor. In Greece, getting there is an important part of the trip and, luckily, flying to the island is a breeze.
Everything You Need To Know About Greece
Although the Greek islands are amazing at any time of the year, plan between Orthodox Easter (usually April) and the end of May, or from September to mid-October. During these times, services and facilities run, temperatures are pleasant and people are thinner. From June to the end of August you have the warm water of the sea and the warm weather, but you will share it with the people, pay a high bill, and
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(dry northerly winds) can wreak havoc with ferry schedules. During the mild winter, the ferry lines stop working, and hotels and restaurants close.
Depending on which Greek islands you plan to visit, it’s a good idea to also check local calendars for
. These Greek summer festivals are unique cultural experiences that can be a lot of fun, but can disrupt ferry schedules, opening hours on tourist attractions, and produce people in parades. the logistics of there can be complicated. Panigyria in Ikaria, for example, takes place throughout the summer on various holy days, and some of the festivals run from dusk to dawn.
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It’s a good idea to plan some of your Greek cruises, but leave some room for flexibility © Ihor_Tailwind / Getty Images
In fact, it is better to plan a little and leave some time. A little planning can take you a long way. Deciding where you want to go and understanding the ferry schedule before you go will take the work out of your vacation. As I said, Greece is known for its laid-back nature, and it’s worth emulating this when you travel to the island. Ferry schedules are subject to change, including pre-booked and pre-paid trips. Anything from wind gusts to labor disputes can delay or cancel a project at short notice. It’s smart to build a small change into your plan.
Evening in Piraeus port, the departure point for many Greek cruises © Milan Gonda / Shutterstock
You can choose several options from different groups of Greek islands and make your own way; however, many ferry lines serve specific island groups, so planning can be easier if you’re stuck in one area. All the trips that lead to Athens – or so – to the capital not only give you the opportunity to see its attractions, but also bring you close to the port of Piraeus for the boat to the Cyclades, the Saronic Golf. Islands and more remote island groups such as the Dodecanese. Athens also connects with the port of Rafina for routes to the eastern Cyclades and further afield. Visit the North Aegean islands, land in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city.
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If you plan to spend most of your time on a particular island group, it’s worth catching a local flight from Athens to start – you’ll save time and money. Besides the practice, there is nothing like landing a twin engine at a small airport in the middle of a sparkling blue sea. Some island destinations are served by international airlines in high season.
Arrival at Fira port in the caldera corner of the amazing island of Santorini in the Cyclades © Murat An / Shutterstock
The appeal of the Cyclades is undeniable, and here you will find some of the most famous islands. Be prepared to share, especially in high season. From Piraeus, take a ferry to Mykonos, the most beautiful of the Greek islands. Overlooked by its iconic windmills, you’ll rub shoulders with celebrities as you explore flower-filled avenues and shops and restaurants.
From here, travel to the small island of Delos with its sunny beaches. Drive to Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades, with a bustling coastal capital around a hilltop castle. Further south you can reach Santorini with its sunsets, black sand beaches, vineyards and an amazing Minoan site. Complete the loop with a rest in Milos, with thousands of beaches and beautiful villages to explore. At the end of the day you can board a ferry back to Piraeus.
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A cruise ship anchored in a secluded bay on the island of Kalymnos in the Dodecanese © Matt Munro / Lonely Planet
In the Dodecanese you can see and taste the historical results of the parade of past cultures, from Rome and medieval crusader knights to Byzantine and Ottoman rulers. Think huge pasta, sugar baklava, beautiful minarets, walled cities and mountain castles. The catamaran service that connects the islands regularly makes sailing easy. Start with a flight to Rhodes, which is famous for its sandy beaches, ancient history and city life.
Visit volcanic Nisyros to walk through its green forests and into its steaming clouds, and Karpathos for its mountain village of Olymbos. Kalymnos beckons climbers and divers with its underwater boats and limestone cliffs, while Patmos is ethereal, where life is connected with monastery bells and a place for St. If you are visiting around Orthodox Easter, Patmos is the place to be. Head back to famous Kos for an endless stretch of brown-sugar sand, nightlife, easy streets and an airport with regular flights to Athens.
Located on the coast of the Peloponnese in the Ionian Sea, the Ionian Islands have a slightly cooler climate, large forested mountains and olive and cypress trees. From Athens you can fly to Corfu where you will be impressed by Parisian style arcades, Venetian alleys and Italian delicacies. Corfu is a great way to escape the crowds of traffic jams, high-climbing villages and sandy beaches.
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The next island is small Paxi, with beautiful harbor villages, hills and ancient olive groves. Visit Lefkada for its sandy beaches and Kefallonia for a boat trip in the cobalt blue bays. Take Kythira for the time to forget about sugar and desert-free planning. If you continue south, you can return to Piraeus from here.
Travelers board the ferry at the port of the island of Aegina in the Saronic Gulf © Rolf G Wackenberg / Shutterstock
With a network covering every inhabited island, the Greek ferry system is extensive and varied. Slender black buckets emptying into the ocean are almost a thing of the past. High speed boats are more common and cover the most popular routes. Local ferries, tour boats and small fishing boats (called
) often connects nearby islands and islets. Now, plush catamarans can significantly reduce travel time and perform well in bad weather. For a long ferry trip you can travel in great comfort.
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Many ferry companies have online booking services. Not surprisingly, high-flying boats tend to sell faster than slow chuggers. For overnight ferries it is best to read ahead. The following resources are needed for planning and recording:
A fishing boat loaded with fishing nets in a harbor on the North Aegean island of Lesvos © Tan Yilmaz / Getty Images
Make the most of your time in Greece with Lonely Planet’s range of travel guides. Be the planner of your own trip as you discover the best things to do in Greece through insider tips, recommended itineraries and maps. Health officials note that staying at home is the best way to limit transmission until a vaccine is available. Below is information on what to know if you plan to travel, updated on August 4.
If you’re planning to travel to Greece, here’s what you need to know and think about if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.
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Ancient monuments, many islands, amazing beaches and big mountains. Greece welcomes millions of visitors every year in search of an escape on the coast, or a historical journey to discover its past.
Its popular resorts are perfect for partying in the summer, but there’s plenty of room to escape the crowds, and outside of the summer season you’ll often find yourself exploring the area on your own.
From May 1, Greece abolished the need to show proof of confirmation or return of Covid to enter the country, so anyone with valid travel documents must visit.
There are very few borders in Greece. On May 1, the country removed the need to show proof of Covid treatment or recovery to enter the country. Similarly, it is not necessary to confirm the medical/rehabilitation certificate to enter some indoor areas such as museums, sports areas or theaters.
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Guests who develop Covid while in the country must isolate their hotel for at least five days.
Cancer is on the rise. Greece has seen 4,474,616 Covid cases and 31,377 deaths as of August 4.
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