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, Mykonos, Kefalonia and the Halkidiki penisula.

Some of the sights and places to visit on the beautiful island of Crete

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.

Panoramic view of Nafplion, Peloponnese peninsula, Greece

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.

View of Mykonos
Mykonos Island
Mykonos is an island in the middle of the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea. It is well known for its cosmopolitan party atmosphere, boutique hotels, luxury holiday villas, designer label shops and beaches to rival most in the Mediterranean. Platis Gialos Beach is considered to be one of the best and Paradise and Super Paradise beach may also provide the nightlife and dance clubs hosted by renowned DJ’s. Mykonos town includes an iconic row of 16th century windmills that sit on a hill above the town overlooking the whitewashed buildings and clear blue waters of the sea.


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.

Clear waters of Korasida Beach on Evia island, Greece

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.

Western coast villas and Pelekas Kontogialos beach of Corfu, Greece.

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.

Sunset over beautiful Myrtos beach, Kefalonia

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.

Ancient ruins on Kos island, Greece

Kos
Kos is an island in the Dodecanese group 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

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.

Kalamitsii beach on the east coast of Sithonia on Halkidiki, Greece

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.

Overlooking Navagio Beach (ship wreck beach) and the Ionian Sea, Zakynthos

Zakynthos
Zakynthos is the 3rd largest island in the Ionian Sea and is surrounded by clear blue sea. Zakynthos is about 12 miles west of the Greek Peloponnese mainland. The port city of Zakynthos is the capital and has a ferry that connects to the mainland, Agios Nikolaos and Kefalonia. Popular areas with young tourists are Alykanas, Laganas and Tsilivi that offer bars, restaurants, swimming and water sports. Navagio beach or shipwreck beach is the dramatic site of the famed cargo shipwreck that ran aground in a sandy cove surrounded by cliffs and is only accessible by boat.

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.

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.

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.

Agios Nikolaos in Crete at night, Greece

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.

Mykonos

We have many unpublished listings of holiday homes and villas on Greek Islands across our websites so please contact us directly with details about what you are looking for, and where, and we will send you further information.

Map of Greece and the Greek Islands
Map of Greece and the Greek Islands

Further info on location and features of luxury self-catering Holiday homes and villas in Crete and Greece is available on our website where you will be able to book direct with owners.

Holidays in Thailand

Thailand Holiday and Travel Info

Thailand
is an enchanting country featuring Buddhist temples, exotic fauna and flora, Thai elephants and many beautiful islands and beaches. It has a fascinating history with unique Buddhist culture. Thai food and restaurants are now renowned throughout the world. The people are friendly and welcoming and epitomize Thailand as the ‘land of smiles’.  Thailand offers a great variety of attractions. These include diving sites, sandy beaches, hundreds of tropical islands, varied night-life, archaeological sites, museums, hill tribes, exceptional flora and bird life, palaces, a huge amount of Buddhist temples and several World Heritage sites. During your stay you can follow courses popular classes in Thai cooking, Buddhism and even traditional Thai massage.Thailand holiday homes and Villas offer visitors the perfect base to explore all that Thailand in a self catering holiday rental accommodation in most sought after areas. Anyone going to Thailand is likely to first visit Bangkok with its many historical, natural and cultural sights. However it is well worth making the effort to also visit the southern beaches and islands and the north of Thailand which is the main region for trekking and adventure travel with its diverse ethnic minority groups and forested mountains.

Wat Thai Temple in Thailand

Bangkok is a tropical metropolis that is also one of the most traveller friendly cities in Asia. It is renowned for its main shopping malls, offering an astounding variety of international and local brands. “Chatuchak Weekend Market” is possibly the largest market in the world, selling everything from household items to live animals. The “Pratunam Market” specializes in fabrics and clothing. The night markets sell items such as T-shirts, handicrafts, counterfeit watches and sunglasses. In the vicinity of Bangkok one can find several visually stunning floating markets. There are exotic orchids and delicious fruit everywhere with bougainvillea and frangipani blooming all over the city. The justifiably famous Thai cuisine is varied and affordable.Most of Bangkok’s sights are concentrated in the “Old City”. There are hundreds of temples, the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun being the best known. The Wat Phra Kaew houses the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred Buddha image of Thailand.

Ayutthaya Temple and historical park. Thailand.

Ayutthaya is 76 kilometres north of Bangkok and boasts numerous magnificent ruins of temples and palaces. Its proximity to Bangkok make it a popular day-trip destination. Ayutthaya was one of Southeast Asia’s (and probably the world’s) most prosperous cities in the 17th Century and beyond. It is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

River Kwai floating Hotel Houses

Kanchanaburi is of interest as the sight of the bridge over the River Kwai, the start of the infamous World War II ‘death railway’ to Burma.

Pattaya Beach at night

Pattaya is a seaside resort on the eastern coast of Thailand, about 150 km southeast of Bangkok. It is mostly known for its go-go bars, but efforts have been made to provide more family-friendly attractions and activities.

Resort pool on Phuket Island

Phuket is Thailand’s largest island 862 kilometres south of Bangkok. It is in the on the west facing the Andaman Sea. At one time the island was on one of the major trading routes between India and China. In recent times, tourism has transformed the island into Thailand’s wealthiest province. Swimming, snorkeling, diving, yachting, jet-skiing and para-sailing are the most popular activities on the island. Other activities include free-diving, windsurfing, kite surfing, wake boarding and deep sea fishing.

Tropical beach houses on the island Koh Samui, Thailand

Koh Samui is an island of great natural beauty and variety. The palm fringed shoreline and coconut and fruit cultivation of the coastal lowlands rise to a central granite massive, the slopes of which are cloaked in virgin rain forest.

The Royal Pavilion of Rajapruek park, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai, the northern capital of Thailand, is located more than 700km northwest of Bangkok.  Surrounded by mountains with legendary, mystical attributes, it is a quaint, moated and walled city with more than 300 temples making  the old city centre visually striking. As well as being culturally rich and diverse, Chiang Mai has fantastic handicraft shopping, delicious food and proximity to many natural treasures.

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Portugal Tourist info

Portugal holiday info and destination guide  
Portugal is situated in south-western Europe, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south and sharing the Iberian peninsula with Spain to the north and east. The Azores and Madeira in the Atlantic Ocean are also a part of Portugal. The climate is Mediterranean and it is one of the warmest European countries. In mainland Portugal, yearly temperature averages are about 15°C (55°F) in the north and 18°C (64°F) in the south.
Portugal has lately seen a  an increase in popularity as a tourist destination and also a significant increase in prosperity.

Portugal has everything to offer the visitor, a rich, unique culture, lively cities and beautiful countryside with outstanding landscape diversity. It is possible to travel from green mountains in the North, covered with vines and all varieties of trees to rocky mountains, with spectacular slopes and falls in the Central Portugal, to a near-desert landscape in the Alentejo region and finally to the glamorous beach holidays destination of the Algarve – and all this in a single day. For those who like to combine their holiday with leisure and sport, Portugal is a golfing haven with an excellent golfing infrastructure. Fourteen of Portugal’s golf courses are rated in the top 100 best in Europe.

Lisbon 
Lisbon is the capital of Portugal, its contemporary culture is alive and thriving, making it one of the most ‘happening’ places in Europe today.
Stretching along the northern bank of the river Tejo and perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Lisbon is a city that uses water as a defining element where as the land rises away from the water, steep streets and stairways form the old tangled neighbourhoods or give way to squares and green parks. It is an enchanting city with its white bleached limestone buildings, intimate alleyways and an easy going charm mixed with a nostalgia reflected in the traditional music of the fado performed in cafes and small night clubs in the old quarter of the city, the Alfama district.
Still bearing signs of  a long ago Moorish presence in the city, the buildings are very close to each other with irregular streets, winding alleys and the azulejo-covered crumbling walls of ancient buildings. It is a great place in which to wander around.
For people watching the Rossio, the main square in Lisbon, and the equivalent of London’s Trafalgar Square is the meeting place for locals and a great way to experience the lively city life of Lisbon.

Other ‘must-sees’ in any visit to Lisbon are the Belem Tower, the Jerónimos Monastery, the Monument to the Discoveries and the  Cristo Rei, which is similar to the Christ statue in Rio de Janeiro, standing over 100 meters tall on the opposite bank of the Tejo from downtown Lisbon.

Estoril
Further afield but within an easy day trip from Lisbon is Estoril.  Here you will  find a coastline with fabulous beaches interspersed with impressive cliffs overlooking the Atlantic. It used to be the playground of European royalty and this glamorous past is reflected in its many gardens, villas and palaces. Estoril is renowned nowadays for its fresh fish and seafood restaurants, the Estoril Spa, renowned for its regenerative therapies, the Casino Estoril, the largest in Europe, and its golf courses where it is considered one of the top destinations.

Porto
Porto is the second largest city, the capital of the historic region of northern Portugal. Porto is above all renowned for the production of port wine but it is also a busy industrial and commercial centre. It has a semi-Mediterranean climate, but it can be cooler than other cities with this climate because it is strongly affected by the Atlantic Ocean. The city is built along hills that overlook the Douro river estuary. It has a historical centre whose buildings are granite and monumental unlike other major Portuguese cities which tend towards the baroque. It has UNESCO World Heritage status.

Coimbra
Coimbra is a small university city full of interesting places. The medieval centre of Coimbra is wonderful for just wandering around in and getting lost there is a pleasure.  It is unusual in still having a number of independent bookshops, boutiques, toy shops, galleries, antique shops, restaurants and interesting museums.

Evora
Evora is the largest city in the central Alentejo region. It has a magnificent cathedral and cloisters and its historic centre also has UNESCO World Heritage listing.


Algarve

The Algarve is the southernmost region of Portugal, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It has stunning coastlines, wonderful beaches and excellent golf courses. The water along its coastline tends to be warmer and calmer than the water along the west coast. In winter, it is a beautiful, peaceful corner of southern Europe with plenty of sun bleaching its white-washed towns with their Iberian and Moorish-influenced architecture.

Faro is the regional capital and main airport for the Algarve but it is popular destination in it’s own right. There is an impressive beach party and night life scene but many visitors might prefer to use Faro as a base to explore other more remote areas of the Algarve in the off-season.

Albufeira, once a small fishing village has now developed into being a very popular tourist area with lovely beaches, a very good climate, and many restaurants, bars and pubs. Algarve holiday homes and villas can be found near some of the most popular beaches and may offer access to some of the finest golf courses in the region. There is a diverse range of luxury holiday home lets and fabulous villas for rent in the Algarve to choose from.

Madeira
Madeira is 310 miles from the African coast and 620 miles from the European continent. It is known worldwide as the island of eternal spring, or the Garden Island. It has a mild if rather wet climate throughout the year.

Funchal, the island’s capital is home to resorts, gorgeous panoramas and lots of local colour. ‘Must-sees’ with any visit to Madeira are the levadas, an impressive system of aqueducts started in the 15th century to bring water from the mountains to farmlands, Cabo Girão, one of the world’s highest ocean cliffs, the magnificent gardens of the Jardim do Monte Palace and the Jardim Orquídea orchid gardens, for which Madeira is justly renowned.

A holiday home or villa in Madeira would be the perfect base for a holiday on the Portuguese island of Madeira.

For info on accommodation in Portugal visit: Portugal Holiday Homes and Villas to let