That sums me up. Greece must be one of my all time favourite European destinations. Many of us are lured by the islands dotted throughout the Ionian and Aegean seas, but mainland Greece has so much to offer too. On our most recent holiday, we flew to Athens and stayed in the Kolonaki neighbourhood, said to be one of the most elegant neighbourhoods in the city. Paved streets lined with cafes and bars make it the perfect spot for people watching while enjoying Greek dishes such as Gigantes plaki, a dish made with slow cooked butter beans, and Spanakopita, a tasty filo pie filled with spinach and feta! Delicious! If you can tear yourself away from the sun-soaked cafes, try and make time to visit Syntagma Square and see the changing if the guard, it really is a spectacle. The Parthenon and the Acropolis are a must too. We took a guided electric bike tour of the city in the late afternoon which was an amazing way to see so much of Athens and great fun too.
From Athens we headed to the Peloponnese. If you wanted to go straight there, the nearest airport is Kalamata, famous for world-class olives. If you don’t want to drive, there are buses from Athens to Kalamata every 3 hours and they take approximately 3 hours 15 minutes (driving would take 2.5hours). All seats are pre allocated and tickets cost approximately €23 and someone else doing the driving means you can take in all the breath-taking views including the Corinth Canal.
Kalamata and surrounding areas are popular with Greek tourists as it is a great location from which to explore other parts of the Peloponnese, including archaeological sites, Venetian castles, or approximately a 45 minute taxi ride from Kalamata and you will find some of the best beaches in Greece such as Stoupa which boasts a selection of smaller hotels and apartments, restaurants and tavernas and a crescent shaped beach – if you are lucky at some times of the year, turtles lay their eggs in the sand.
The Peloponnese delivers an authentic and typically Greek experience, especially when combined with a few days in Athens. The people are as warm as the weather, friendly and welcoming. It would get my vote for a memorable European holiday!
If you are looking to take a holiday to Greece, let me help you find your perfect Grecian getaway!