Greece has long been one of the most popular destinations for British holidaymakers, its gorgeous islands and coastlines continue to entice young and old alike, whether it’s avid club-goers flocking to Zakynthos and Corfu or couples seeking sophistication and relaxation amid the whitewashed buildings of Santorini or Mykonos.
Back on the mainland however, there is much to discover even outside of the ancient capital Athens, particularly in the beautiful northern region of Halkidiki with its large peninsula and over 300 miles of white-sand coastline, which separates into three sections: Kassandra, Sithonia and Mount Athos. The main city in this region – and Greece’s second-largest city – is Thessaloniki, a striking and modern metropolis smattered with Byzantine and Ottoman monuments such as ancient walls, churches and basilicas.
Thessaloniki perfectly combines its plethora of galleries and monuments with lively bars and restaurants along the waterfront, appealing to a wide range of travellers from backpackers to discerning history buffs. The city also has brilliant bus connections to elsewhere around the country, meaning it’s a fantastic base for exploring the north of the mainland.
Unlike many of the Greek islands, Halkidiki remains relatively unspoilt and appeals to families due to its wealth of excellent beaches and stunning family-oriented hotels where children can play and swim safely. Many top-rated resorts offer an eclectic range of activities from beach and water sports to well-facilitated kids’ clubs, including the refined Ikos Olivia and Ikos Oceania resorts, which boast nightly evening entertainment in the form of traditional live music and dancing to movies and kids’ shows.
Mount Athos is classed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, and it’s not surprising due to its beauty and cultural significance, which dates back to 1054 AD when it was built. The spiritual centre of the Orthodox community, this artistic site is filled with monasteries – currently inhabited by around 1400 monks – although still forbids women and children from entering the ‘Holy Mountain’.
For more information about Greece and what to see, do, eat and where to stay, contact us now on 0203 816 0985 or firstname.lastname@example.org to speak to a Personal Travel Manager who can create your bespoke trip.