Billed as the land of gods, as paradises blessed with sun-kissed beaches, turquoise seas, and as having an amazingly rich of cultural heritage, Greece is a wonder not to be missed. For those planning their Greece 2020 dream holidays, Argophilia recommends some of the best-known island destinations, plus a few surprise Aegean isles you may have never heard of. Here are some great ideas for holidays to Greece in 2020.
Crete: Cradle of Paradise
Greece’s biggest island by far, Crete is inch-for-inch, the most sacred and mysterious of all the islands of the Mediterranean. The land thought to be the origins of the legend of Atlantis was once the home of the Minoan Civilization, and a people said to be the happiest society to ever roam the Earth. Birthplace of mighty Zeus, the place where the Minotaur roamed a great labyrinth, the land of countless epic journeys and stories, the island of Crete is humanity and nature in a microcosm. It’s also a vacationland like no other.
From Europe’s largest palm forest at Vai Beach in the far east to famous Balos Lagoon in the west, there are few places in the world where the sea and the mountains join in majesty like this. Here on Crete the all-inclusive resorts like Fodele Beach & Water Park Holiday Resort in north central Crete, Mythos Palace Resort & Spa between Chania and Rethymno, are representative value propositions in a land of family vacation wonders. If Airbnb and a private country villa is your thing, then the famous Grotto Homes in the heart of Rethymno Prefecture is perfect. And if traditional Cretan life and exploring nature appeal to you, there’s no better stay on the island than at Aravanes overlooking the amazing Amari Valley.
For big families who want everything at their fingertips, few places can match Fodele Beach with its 5-star meticulousness, it’s amazing water attractions, and one of the best-kept beach secrets on the island. This is a place where “everything” meets “perfect.” Where villas are concerned, Airbnb superhost VanGos Tsourlakis is a renowned Cretan architect who has loved into existence one of the island’s most amazing traditional experiences. Situated in tiny Goulediana south of Réthymno town, VanGos’ converted mill is unrivaled, as exemplified by the host’s Airbnb awards. Talk to him on Facebook, you’ll see. Aravenes, in Thronos overlooking the valley where the god Zeus played as a child, it’s sublime if you are an outdoorsman or hiker, who wants to be part of village life for a great price. Check at Bookwize for a 20% discount on their already budget-friendly accommodations.
We’d be remiss if we did not mention Crete’s most picturesque seaside destination, Agia Pelagia, and the brand new SeaScape Luxury Residences. We usually recommend this self-catering seaside haven because there are so many traditional tavernas to be discovered in Agia Pelagia. Another super value we’ve found is the amazing Thalori Retreat, which is an ecotourism gem in the mountains south of Heraklion. Finally, Koutsounari Traditional Cottages sit overlooking the Libyan Sea and amazing Ierapetra, as a testament to what Crete was and should be – naturally inspiring.
Rhodes Holiday Wonders
Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands, an island paradise of fantastic beaches, rich history, and a great mix of natural attractions and nightlife hotspots. Whether you’re out for a lazy beach holiday getting that perfect tan, or nights out at the clubs until dawn, there’s some magic on Rhodes for everybody. Here there are over 30 Blue Flag beaches, the unequaled Rhodes Old Town, historic places like the ancient Acropolis at Lindos alongside great waterparks, and more.
For an “adults only” week’s getaway, accommodations like Sunprime Miramare are idyllic for unrivaled service, location, and luxury in a self-catered way. Prices with airfare start at £571 for three nights. Sunwing Kallithea Beach is a great choice for that budget all-inclusive vacation, with prices starting at £751 including airfare and transfers, etc. If you’re booking as far out as July 2020, a tour package from TourRadar, Highlights of Rhodes includes your stay at Hotel Blue Sky City Beach or similar 4* or similar 4*, as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more. For Airbnb enthusiasts, you cannot do better than Traditional House Dimitroula and superhost Konstantinos. Situated in the heart of the traditional village Koskinou, this amazing stay is only a minute or two from the beach and 7 km from the city center and the old town. Oh, and nightlife, I almost forgot. Well known for its long, white sandy beach, Faliraki is a haven just 15 kilometers south of Rhodes town where sizzling nightlife is the thing. Economical stays nearby include; Nephele Apartments, Toula’s Apartments, and the Aquarius Beach Hotel, to name a few.
For a luxury experience to remember, the adults-only Elakati Luxury Boutique Hotel and Esperos Village Blue & Spa are top choices. At the other end of the spectrum, nature lovers and those seeking unique experiences rave about the Salakos Agrotourism Resort where a week in the mountains of the west of Rhodes will only set you back about €530 euros for a stone villa.
Just Say “Ios”
Most people have never heard of Mylopotas Beach, but it’s one of the most amazing sun and surf wonders on planet Earth. Situated at the island of Ios, one of Greece’s lesser-known island destinations, the stunning beach is but one value proposition. Most people who visit the far more famous Santorini, never learn of its little cousin only 50 minutes away by ferry. This island is blessed with vibrant nightlife choices alongside secluded seaside natural choices. A favorite hotel is Ios Palace on Mylopotas Beach (see Instagram above) where wellness magic is a feature, and another, Agalia Luxury Suites in Chora offers seclusion and suites with private pools. For a truly luxurious stay on the island, Skala House is 200m from the center of IOS village and beautiful Mylopotas Beach.
For my money, Ios is one of those places where out of the ordinary seems to resonate. With this in mind, a 5 Days Ios Island Meditation & Yoga Retreat for beginners is something of interest to me. I always wanted to investigate the curative powers of yoga, and Ios Island is a mystery I’ve yet to unravel anyhow. I bet there are many others who would like to hang out at Hotel Venus at Manganari Beach to learn the discipline.
Located to the west of its volcanic sister Santorini, this island offers some of the most stunning beaches anywhere in the world. Easily accessible from Athens by plane or ship, the island is a top romantic destination for couples, but a lesser-known paradise compared to Mykonos and others. Many Greeks celebrate their honeymoons here, and attractions like the amazing Kleftiko Caves and Sarakiniko’s white rocks differentiate Milos from other destinations. The crystal waters off Firiplaka are unbelievable, and Tsigrado Beach is something from another planet.
Before I go into the variety of wonderful places to stay on Milos, who could ignore a €50 euro per night offer at a place called Salty Kisses Boat House? Superhost Athena must have a pretty easy time booking this romantic little nook right on the sea in Klima. I’ve shared a picture, I hope you agree. As for more conventional accommodations, Milos has plenty of those too. Milos Cove offers adults a stunning luxury stay that is about soul. This amazing resort is truly one of a kind. Another remarkable Milos stay the Thalassitra Village Hotel in Adamantas. Another great choice, if you’re out for luxury and wellness, is the Melian Boutique Hotel & Spa Milos, where your wildest vacation dreams can come true. And for a bit more seclusion, the Vista Mare Milos Hotel in the south of the island offers super value. The bed and breakfast rate here is a tad steep at €200 for a standard double, but the location and make the price a secondary consideration. By far our favorite stay on the island is Aerides Mandrakia Milos with its idyllic setting. This fishing village is amazing, check it out.
Not so obscure, but none the less a true vacation treasure, Kefallonia (Cephalonia) is famous for its beaches and sailing. Located in the eastern Ionian Sea, the island is a wonderland destination for everyone including couples, families, groups, and singles.
Blessed with its own international airport and a well-connected port, the island is one of the most accessible Greek destinations. Noted for its popular Myrtos Beach and the surreal formations of Melissani Cave, Kefalonia’s also famous for its Fiskardo Village and other towns. The island is so picturesque and diverse, most visitors rent cars to explore. Kefalonia is a relatively large island, and hotel and other accommodations are pretty diverse. At the budget end, Stellatos House and some others in Poros, and others in Lefkes bear mentioning.
Way at the other end of the luxury, the Emelesse Nature Resort outside Fiskardo is a sublime bit of pampering looking out over Emblisi Bay. In the west part of the island, Roi Suites is another luxury choice you’d recommend to your best friend. Just visit their website here, you’ll understand immediately. And Airbnb fans? Hands down superhost Christina – Niki and Ionian Breeze set in the middle of next door Ithaca Island of Odysseus fame. Okay, it’s not right on Kefalonia, but it’s a short boat ride.