Staying in Greece and the Greek Islands

Staying in popular regions of Greece and the Greek Islands, Crete, Rhodes, Aegean islands, Ionian Islands, Peloponnese, Evia, Corfu, Kos, Santorini, Kefalonia and the Halkidiki penisula.

There are more Islands in Greece than one would ever have time to visit but the largest Island is Crete and there are at least 200 other inhabited islands scattered around the mainland that offer accommodation or holiday homes to let in Greece. The Islands of Greece are grouped into various groups of islands: The Argo-Saronic Islands in the Saronic gulf near Athens, the Cyclades, the North Aegean islands off the west coast of Turkey, the Dodecanese between Crete and Turkey, the Sporades off the coast of Euboea, and the Ionian Islands, to the West in the Ionian Sea, the Peloponnese Peninsula and part of the Attica region that is still considered part of the Ionian Islands.


Peloponnese

The Peloponnese, is a large peninsula, located in southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth. Originally a peninsula connected to the rest of the country by the Isthmus of Corinth, it is now cut off from the mainland by the narrow Corinth Canal, spanned by bridges connecting the Peloponnese to mainland Greece.

The Peloponnese possesses many important archaeological sites dating from the Bronze Age through to the Middle Ages. Among the most notable are the ancient city of Corinth where St Paul lived and taught, Epidaurus, an ancient religious and healing centre), now a picturesque seaside village, with one of the most famous of ancient theatres which still stages plays. Monemvasia is a medieval fortress-town, Greece’s Gibraltar. Mycenae is a fortress-town dating from the mycenean period with amazing views across the Argolid to the Saronic Gulfs.  Olympia, the site of the Ancient Olympic Games and home to a sacred sanctuary dedicated to Zeus.

The town of Kalamata is famous for its olives but is also a pleasant city with an attractive seafront and stylish new marina. Nafplio is a beautiful seaport town and a good base to explore the surrounding area, such as Epidaurus and Mycenae.

Evia
The island of Evia, second largest of the Greek islands is located off the eastern coast of Central Greece. With stunning landscapes and scenery, bringing together mountains, beautiful ravines and forests and the beautiful blue crystal waters of the Aegean Sea, it provides an exciting and interesting holiday villa and vacation rental destinations.

There are many beautiful villages and towns scattered all across this charming island, each offering visitors an insight into both the past and present traditions of this unique and picturesque island. There are many different activities that visitors can enjoy, such as hiking, water sports, horse riding, climbing, mountain biking and many others. For those who simply enjoy the beach and the sea, Evia has some wonderful beaches all around the island. For a day trip, Athens is in easy proximity.

Corfu
The island of Corfu, known also as Kerkyra, is the northernmost of the Ionian Islands. It is located off the far northwest coast of Greece, east of Italy and southwest of Albania.

Historically Corfu has been controlled by many foreign powers, notably the Venetians and their legacy is visible in the form of castles in strategic locations across the island. Two of these castles enclose its capital, also called Corfu, which is the only city in Greece to be surrounded in such a way. There is much Italianate style architecture with multi-storied buildings on narrow lanes. Corfu Town is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. There was a short period of British rule following the Napoleonic Wars, the legacy of which is cricket and ginger beer.
The north of the island is wider and more mountainous. The coastal areas are well developed with good pebbly beaches. The south of the island is less wide (only a few miles across from west to east) and tends to have sandier beaches.

The Achilleion is a palace about ten kilometres to the south of Corfu town. It was built by the Empress Elisabeth of Austria. The palace was designed with the mythical hero Achilles as its central theme. Benitses is well worth visiting, it is a very old, traditional fishing village, 12 km south of Corfu Town. The mild climate and the natural beauty of Benitses village has made it very popular with visitors. Messonghi beach has a gentle current, clean water with sand and pebbles and plenty of little fish, it is ideal for children and families.

For the more adventurous, there are day trips to Sarande in Albania which can be combined with an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Butrint.

Kefalonia or Cephalonia
The island of Kefalonia or Cephalonia as it is also known, is now perhaps best known as the setting for the book and the film ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’, it is the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece. It is renowned for its breathtaking natural scenery with lush forests, breathtaking mountains and high cliffs dropping down to an azure sea. Renting a boat and spending the day visiting secluded beaches reachable only in this way is a popular holiday activity. Horse-riding into the mountains, through ruined villages and ancient vineyards, is another. In the remote western corner of the island there are small villages and private beaches where a centuries old monastery can be found. There are also fascinating geological phenomena, vast underground water networks, subterranean lakes and stalactite encrusted caverns.

Kos
Kos, one of the islands of the Dodecanese group, is located in the south-eastern Aegean Sea and is just 3 miles from the coast of Turkey. It is famous for its rich vegetation and its temperate climate. The ancient physician Hippocrates is thought to have been born on Kos, and in the centre of the town is the Plane Tree of Hippocrates where the physician is traditionally supposed to have taught. A short distance from Kos Town, at the slopes of a low mount with a view of Turkey, is the ancient complex of Asclepius (known as the god of medicine and healing in ancient Greek religion).

The castle of the Knights of Saint John is situated at the entrance of Kos harbour on what used to be an island in antiquity. There are at least two excellent beaches – Tigaki  a sandy beach of the northern coast backed by a verdant valley with crystal clear waters and Agios Theologos with beautiful creeks and rocky coves is ideal for sunbathing and windsurfing. Delicious meals of fresh fish can be had at the local tavernas.

Santorini
The island of Santorini in the southern Aegean Sea is about 200 km southeast from the Greek mainland. It is the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands. Santorini is the remnant of a volcanic caldera with a giant central lagoon surrounded by steep cliffs on three sides. The capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon. The town is a marriage of Venetian and Cycladic architecture, whose white cobblestone streets bustle with shops, tavernas, hotels and cafes.

Santorini is famous for dramatic views and stunning sunsets and you can find many holiday rental homes and villas in Oia with beautiful views across the bay. There are also many fantastic beaches such as the beach of Perissa, maybe the best beach in Santorini, and the black pebble beach of Kamari. Outside of the towns can be found beautiful countryside where tradition still survives, cave houses, gardens, vineyards, small family business, and tiny churches. The walk along the caldera from Fira to Oia is spectacular and highly recommended.

Halkidiki
Halkidiki is a peninsula in northern Greece, part of the region of Macedonia. The peninsula has three prongs. Kassandra, the westernmost prong of Halkidiki, is the most popular and populated. The easternmost prong is the autonomous Mount Athos region, the spiritual centre of the Greek Orthodox and a living monument to Byzantine culture but which is restricted to visitors.

Halkididki has rolling hills with lush vegetation, white beaches and a sandy, rocky coastline fringed by pine forests. It is wonderful for those who love mountains and pure air. Paths for mountain biking and walking cut their way through the forests of pine, oak, fir and chestnut trees, with many springs rushing from the mountain sides. There are some unique archaeological sites, including Olynthus Stágeira, the birthplace of Aristotle, Doric sanctuary of Zeus near Kallithea and the small chapel of Agios Panteleimon with very fine murals.

The town of Kallithea, a very cosmopolitan resort with great beaches is 90 km from Thessaloniki, the capital of Greek Macedonia. Ideally situated on the Kassandra peninsula, Kallithea is great base for day trips throughout the entire Halkidiki peninsula.

For more information about visiting or booking a vacation rental in Greece or any of these areas please contact us or browse through our growing list of holiday homes and villas in Greece.

The Island of Crete
The largest island in Greece it provides some spectacular locations for holiday homes and villas in Crete as the climate makes it an ideal place for renting a holiday home at almost any time of the year. Located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea it is the most populous of the Greek islands. It provides a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece but retains its own local cultural traits such as its own poetry, and music. It has an exquisite 1,000 kilometer-long coastline dotted with numerous coves, bays and peninsulas that offer splendid vistas to drive along especially on the West Coast at sunset and a multitude of soft, sandy beaches along the beautifully blue Mediterranean Sea including the spectacular island of Elafonisos in the South East that one can walk or wade across the pink sand to get to see a truly unique ecological treasure of an island. There are also many beautiful historic towns to see while following the rugged twists and turns of the awe inspiring old roads that traverse it’s mountainous interior or lead you along old road from Kissamos to Elafonisos and up along the high coastal roads to view the sunset dipping down over the bays. It is a place of extreme contrasts going from fertile coastal plains covered in olive groves to snow capped mountains and from busy metropolitan cities to very peaceful hillside homes. Crete is a quite distinct place which is full of vitality, warmth and hospitality. Holiday Home Lets can even offer you a villa rental in Crete with it’s own wine cellar and distillery and open air restaurant for a true taste of authentic Cretian hospitality and cuisine from a local owner and or a villa with pool with panoramic views of the Sea or on a beach side resort.

A holiday home or villa rental in Crete with it’s rich landscape and snow peaked white mountains makes a truly wonderful place to visit both for a Mediterranean beach holiday and as a place to explore the rich history, culture and hospitality on offer.

Crete has a rich mythology mostly connected with the ancient Greek gods but also connected with the Minoan civilization. On mount Ida can be found the birthplace of the god Zeus.  Crete was the centre of the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC), the earliest recorded civilization in Europe. The ruins of this civilization can be found in the reconstructed palace at Knossos, whose labyrinth is the location where the Minotaur was slain by Theseus.

Crete has a good infrastructure so travelling around the island is relatively easy. This allows for visits to a variety of landscapes in relatively short distances. The island has a number of gorges, such as the famous gorge of Samaria, an amazing but long six hour hike through one of the most impressive places in Europe. In contrast, the southern coast of Rethimnon has beautiful beaches, many accessible only on foot. Ierapetra has the distinction of being the southernmost town facing the African coast and enjoys the best weather in Europe, with a temperature that rarely drops below 12 C all year long. Also well worth a visit is Chania, a delightful port town on the north west coast, with an atmosphere reflecting its Venetian and Turkish past. The old town is centered around the harbour and it’s many restaurants where you can enjoy the beautiful light rippling around the bay or wander around the surrounding maze of alleys and houses that have been standing for many hundreds of years with details from all the different epochs including the Turkish Mosque that dominates the Venetian harbour of Chania. Throughout Crete you can clearly see remnants of Roman and Turkish aqueducts and architecture from long ago occupations.

Crete is famous for its tasty and healthy cuisine. It was the subject of a study that revealed its great health benefits and nutritional value. The population has a low incidence of heart attacks and cancers. This cuisine can be found in most traditional Cretan cafes where traditional music is also likely to be found along with large quantities of tsikoudia or raki, the predominant alcoholic beverage produced and consumed by the locals. But be careful it can be up to 45% proof and will often be given by the host at the end of a meal.

Crete, with a population of approximately 650,000, is not just sun, sea and sand; and of course an excellent infrastructure. Crete is well known for its seas and beaches but it has a very contrasting landscape. No doubt Ierapetra, “the bride of the Libyan sea”, is the sunniest holiday resort in Europe.
Internet Villa Holidays has hundreds of unpublished listings of holiday homes and villas in Crete and Greece so please contact us directly with details about what you are looking for, and where, and we will send you further information.

For more info on staying in Greece click:  Holiday homes and villas in Crete and Greece