Legendary Greece; It's a Land of Myths and Legends - but These Days It's beyond Doubt That Greece Is a High-Class Holiday Destination, Too

Article excerpt

The Greek islands became a dream holiday destination in the 1960s, when shipping tycoons attracted American presidents and opera divas to jet-set gatherings in the Aegean. At about the same time, Zorba the Greek offered a cinematic glimpse of sundrenched care-free Mediterranean islands.

Soon we were all familiar with a modern-day Greek myth of retsina-fuelled nights with Greek dancing under a starlit sky.

For those who like their holiday with a little passion and a lot of attitude, the Greek islands offer a unique Mediterranean experience. Yes, there is the prospect of idle sun-baked days on the beach and cooling plunges in deep blue seas - but any visitor to Greece will discover that ancient history is never far away, with plenty of classical sights that can be visited on excursions. Reminders of Greece's past are strewn throughout the country; crumbling columns or ancient structures can be found in the middle of the sleepiest countryside and the centre of the busiest city. While there may be ancient, there's also modern: Greek towns and cities - even on the smallest island - boast cool bars and funky boutiques..

For most visitors, though, it is the wonderful beaches that are the key Greek ingredient. With more coastline than any other country in Europe, Greece is a real beach lover's paradise And when it comes to food, the Greeks arguably wrote the original cookbook, as they are believed to have been the first gourmet pioneers - placing their imprint on everything from yoghurt to fine wine. A Greek meal with feta cheese, olives, dolmades and, of course, beautiful wine has all the perfect ingredients for an unforgettable night out.

Greece has an excellent choice of hotels, from all-inclusive luxury five-star properties to very affordable bed and breakfast. If you're looking for the ultimate relaxing break, there are also some highly rated spa hotels, where you can enjoy restorative therapies and ultra-relaxing treatments.

Key destinations

Crete: prized as one of Greece's sunniest places, it also boasts an attractive mix of lively resorts, ancient towns and magnificent beaches. Must-see places include the ancient city of Knossos, where legend holds that Theseus slew the Minotaur in the labyrinth. …