If you’re looking for the perfect beach destination, Zante is the one for you. This picture-perfect Greek island flaunts one of Europe’s most scenic stretches of sand – Navagio Beach, AKA Smugglers’ Cove. It’s only accessible by boat, but it’s worth the day trip for shots of the ivory-coloured sands, white cliffs and famous shipwreck. It's not the only spot that turns heads, though. Another camera-ready bit of coast is Porto Limnionas Beach. The turquoise waters here are enough of a reason to visit – the underwater caves are an added bonus. If that wasn’t enough, make tracks for the southern coast for a totally different experience. Here, the sands are a breeding ground for endangered Loggerhead turtles, and you can take a trip out the islets to spot them.
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Kefalonia is the home of the almighty cheese puff – cheese baked in pastry, need we say anymore? If you’re still not convinced, you can always opt for the island’s other specialty, meat pies. They’re usually filled with tender veal, lamb or pork. Whichever you pick, the meat’s cooked in a tomato and wine sauce, and spiced up with garlic, cinnamon and nutmeg. You can wash it all down with a glass of the local tipple, Robola wine. Restaurant-wise, we’d suggest plumping for a harbourside seat at a taverna. You’ll find the menus brimming with all sorts of traditional fare, including stifado – the Greek equivalent of a stew, or strapatsada – a simple but delicious dish, where eggs are fried with tomatoes and olive oil.
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The Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans have all left their mark on this ancient isle. So, you can expect to tick off Venetian forts, centuries-old temples and Gothic towers on a short outing. Rhodes Town is where you’ll find the majority of its historical sites – most of which were built by the Knights of St John. Step out onto the cobbles of the famous Street of the Knights and you’ll be transported back to the Middle Ages. The rest of the narrow streets are packed with stashed-away museums, cafés and a palace. With this in mind, it’s hardly a surprise that the whole place was given the UNESCO nod back in 1988. Pretty buildings aside, this place has a historical ace up its sleeve, or hill. A huge acropolis looks down over the village, crowning the hill with the crumbling ruins of Greek and Roman temples, and a castle – a welcome reward after a hot, half-an-hour hike to the top.
Striking black-sand beaches, first-rate wineries and pretty villages – it’s almost as if Santorini was tailor-made for honeymoons. A huge volcanic eruption is behind this island’s scenery – in fact, it caused the centre to fall into the sea, leaving a mostly-submerged crater. It’s not just Mother Nature who did herself proud, though. The locals have really made an impact with their whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and picturesque vineyards. The island’s clifftops are perfect for hand-in-hand sunset-watching. Santorini regularly trumps more far-flung destinations in the world’s best sunset lists. Oia – on the caldera – is one of the best spots to catch the sun sink beneath the horizon. And, while most people don’t come to Santorini for the beaches, there are some real natural beauties to uncover. We’re talking dramatic volcanic swathes or quirky crimson-coloured stretches.
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Crete’s mountainous scenery is a magnet for outdoor types. A ramble can take in valley-cradled villages, craggy canyons and snow-topped mountains. For an even bigger challenge, there’s the Samaria Gorge. This 16-kilometre-long crevice is Europe’s longest and can take up to seven hours to hike in full. On the way, you’ll pass photogenic ravine walls, tiny chapels and, if you’re lucky, a wild kri-kri goat. One of the highlights is passing through the Iron Gates, where the steep walls narrow into a three-metre passageway. If you’re after something a little less strenuous, the Imbros Gorge is another option to consider. At eight kilometres’ long, it’ll take less time and effort, but the views are just as good.
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With its bohemian cafés, smart piano bars and lively beach parties, Greece’s glamour isle is giving Ibiza a run for its money. And the mixed crowd of A-list party animals and backpackers all hone in on Mykonos Town. This hub goes all-out when it comes to nightlife. Paradise and Super Paradise are the big-hitters here – the latter’s a bikini-optional beach bar, while the former is a club hosting huge DJs from around the globe. There are other more laidback options, too. You can hit up Little Venice, which is awash with underground haunts, cocktail bars and quirky eateries. The restaurants around here stay open really late too, so long leisurely dinners are on the cards.
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We’d hazard a guess you’ve probably not heard of Thassos. This relatively unknown Aegean isle is traditionally Greek down to its bones. Inland, you’ve got vineyards, olive groves and snug villages, while the coast is dashed with a pick ‘n’ mix of beaches. You can stretch out on the white sands, joined by locals and a handful of Greek tourists. Of course, it’s got its fair share of hidden, people-free patches, too. Renting a car is the best way to get about, but don’t expect much signposting – which is all part of the charm, of course. Another great way to explore is by mountain bike. The island’s got a load of nature trails, and you can always swing by a bar on the way back, where you’re likely to hear musicians playing the bouzouki, a traditional Greek string instrument.
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The TUI SENSATORI Atlantica Caldera Palace is well-versed in the art of indulgence. Everything from meals to spa treatments are served with a touch of classic, Greek style.
Location is key at this hotel – it's a secluded adults-only retreat, edged by vast olive groves and the Ionian Sea.
With highly polished interiors and a Blue Flag beachfront location, the TUI SENSATORI Atlantica Dreams Resort and Spa adds a splash of luxury to an under-the-radar corner of Rhodes.
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