Greece is a beguiling country where travel experiences range from exploring islands and sacred ancient ruins to biting into the freshest seafood. With so much to see on land and ashore, it’s a country to revisit time and time again. Tick off these bucket list luxury vacations in Greece.
The 6,000 Greek islands are divided into six groups: the Cyclades, the Sporades, the Ionian Islands, the Dodecanese, the Saronic Islands, and the North Aegean Islands. Astypalea in the Dodecanese flies under the radar and offers a traditional Greek island experience beyond the crowds. Days may be spent drinking up sea views from the Castle of Astypalaia and plunging into the crystal clear waters before settling into a night cruising the taverns.
Most Greek vacations start in Athens and must include a pilgrimage to the Acropolis where the Parthenon presides over the city. Dedicated to the city’s patron deity – Athene, the goddess of wisdom and warfare – this marble temple was constructed between 447 and 432 BC and would have been painted in vibrant colors.
During classical antiquity, a smaller temple called the Erechtheion was held up by Caryatids. Replicas have replaced the statues but the originals are exhibited in the Acropolis Museum.
We have the Ancient Greeks to thank for the Olympic Games. The archaeological site of Olympia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will see where athletes trained and competed.
Mount Olympus is the tallest peak in Greece and is considered the home of the Twelve Olympians – the chief gods. There are easy and moderate hikes of varying difficulty with the longest treks requiring one or two overnights in a mountain refuge. Hiking the summit of Mount Olympus is a bucket list experience for pro mountaineers.
Located amid the range of Mount Parnassus, the archaeological site of Delphi is dedicated to Apollo, the Greek god of the sun, truth, healing, and culture. It was the site of the Oracle of Apollo who delivered prophecies. The sacred sanctuary comprises temples, a purifying spring, and a theater overlooking the mountains.
A second sanctuary to Apollo is found on the isle of Delos, an uninhabited island across the bay from Mykonos. This island is where the Olympian god was born to Leto. As such, the cultic island honors both deities as well as Artemis, twin sister of Apollo, to a lesser extent.
The Mediterranean diet is said to be the healthiest. Tuck into a traditional Greek breakfast of yogurt, honey, and fruits. Pick up a spanakopita as a late-morning snack before spitting a mezze for lunch. These platters typically feature grilled halloumi cheese, lamb kofta, soft pita bread, flavorsome plant-based dips, and chopped seasonal salad and vegetables. Dinner is all about the seafood: marinated octopus, grilled sea bass, calamari tossed with lemon juice, and beyond.
The island of Santorini deserves a special mention. The island curls around a mostly submerged caldera and watching the sunset over this volcanic landscape is the quintessential bucket list activity in Greece. This luxury vacation island is geared toward honeymooners and couples with many hotel suites carved into the caves and rounded off with a private pool overlooking the Aegean Sea.
Contact Darby's Destinations when you are ready to book your trip to Greece.