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The Greek Islands offer holidaymakers a diversity of attractions
With around 1400 Greek Islands you will find that there is something for everyone. There are small uninhabited Islands, ones where the traditional Greek lifestyle is still followed and brash, commercial Islands, for example.
Before you consider booking a vacation or holiday, on any Greek Islands, you need to do your research. If you just book the first Greek Island, that takes your fancy, you could be sorely disappointed.
So, let's see if we can unravel a few of the possible problems that you may encounter, when trying to book the perfect Greek Island holiday, for you.
You Will Need:
Now, while it is still winter, is the best time to start planning a Summer vacation.
Of course, before you grab your debit card to seal the deal, consider what type of holiday you are looking for. Does your ideal vacation include:-
Sun, good beaches, modern facilities, History, a great night-life, beautiful scenery, hot dry weather, cooler weather, shopping, culture or whatever.
We all enjoy slightly different activities, scenery, weather and the like. With this in mind it is obvious that you need to assess your holiday requirements first. For example, some of the Greek Islands offer scuba diving, but not all do.
You need to bear in mind that hotel and accommodation ratings, on the Greek Islands, may be a little misleading. If the local tourist board has classified a hotel, on a Greek Island, as 4 star, the odds are it will in reality be more like a 3 or even 2 star.
There are still many lovely places to stay but you just need to exercise caution, when reading details in holiday brochures.
Having said that, a lot of holiday accommodation on the Greek Islands is cheap and cheerful. If you require ,or demand, at least a certain standard, make sure that your holiday company is aware of this.
Not all of the hotels on the Greek Islands have their own swimming pools. Some hotels share one swimming pool between a few hotels.
However, you have to bear in mind that some of the seas around the Greek Islands offer great swimming with beautiful beaches to capture the suns rays.
Boating holidays are also available when you visit the Greek Islands.
What holiday catering basis is right for you?
Holidays are often booked on either a bed and breakfast , self catering, half-board, full-board or all inclusive basis. The choice is yours.
If you want to stay around the hotel a lot of the time, All Inclusive could be for you. Remember though that, often, it is only the local food and drink which is included in the price. If you are not flexible you could end up paying extra to dine out. This could make the overall price of your vacation expensive.
On some Greek Islands it is so cheap to eat out every evening at local Tavernas or Restaurants that self catering offers the best option. You will usually have a fridge to store items such as milk but will probably never cook, and so have an inexpensive but relaxing holiday.
If you want to explore the Greek Islands fully you will not want to be tied down to set meal times, so avoid half or full board.
Time of year
Although the Greek Islands enjoy a lovely warm climate some experience more rain than others, cold weather in Spring or Autumn, or even too dry, hot summers which may not suit you.
If you look at a map of the Greek Islands you should be able to work out which Islands will have the best climate for you. Those further south, and east, tend to be warmer and drier, whereas, for example, the Ionian Islands in the west have wetter weather.
Going Greek or sticking with familiar territory.
There are still many traditional Greek Islands where the pace of life is slow, people are respectful and certain behaviour is frowned upon. It is not appropriate to get drunk, or for women to go topless, on all of the Greek Islands.
If you want a lively nightlife, with an anything goes mentality, try Laganas Bay on Zante in high season. Similarly, you can try Faliraki on Rhodes, Kardamena on Kos, Malia on Cyprus, Aghios Nikolas on Crete or Gouvaia on Corfu. Bear in mind though that, the Greek authorities are trying to clean up some of these resorts, so be up to date with current trends.
It is safe to say that, on Greek Islands, women must cover their shoulders when entering a church and men their knees. This means that women must stay clear of strapless tops and men of shorts. Well at least for such a visit. Monasteries and churches often have a basket of clothes outside, so that you can select something to use for your visit.
Of course one of the main considerations may be the price. If you book early, that is at least the Summer before, you should be able to bag a bargain. Spring and Autumn breaks in the Greek Islands are often on a two weeks for the price of one basis.
Make sure though that your holiday is not cheap simply because the accommodation or resort are not good, or that the weather is known to usually be dreadful.
Watch out for added taxes and supplements, as the total price of your holiday may be more than you realised.
Direct flights or not?
Most of the Greek Islands have good airports these days but not all do. Some Islands are still only accessible by Ferry. This can mean flying to one Island, or the Greek mainland, and then taking the Ferry.
The timing of the ferry may vary if the weather is inclement and so you could end up delayed for a while. This may not be perfect if you have children travelling with you.
More than one Island?
Twin centre holidays offer a holiday divided up into two resorts. For example, a two-week stay which has one week on the Greek Island of Lekas and one week at Parga. These two centre holidays can offer the best of both worlds.
Island hopping is still popular on the Greek Islands. It is possible to work out an itinerary before your visit and even book the Ferry tickets in advance. If you prefer you can go with the flow and island hop as the fancy takes you.
Having visited a fair few Greek Islands I cannot recommend them enough. The Greek people are warm and friendly if you treat them with the respect which they deserve.
When the film Shirley Valentine was popular the Greek Island of Mykonos saw an increase in tourism. The success of Mamma Mia has done the same for Skopelos and Skiathos where filming took place.
If you want to get a taster or Greece watch Mamma Mia the movie.
When I watch this film I can almost smell and taste the Greek Islands and I yearn to return.
Tips & Warnings
- Take a phrase book, just in case. Most Greeks speak very good English, but not all do.
- Speak a few Greek words to please the locals. Anyway it is courteous to do so.
- Do not commit crimes, take drugs or drink too much alcohol.
- Check the timings of any necessary Ferry sailings just in case.
- The currency is the Euro.
- Post boxes in Greece are yellow.
- Local Greek buses are fun and fairly cheap. The timetables can be erratic though.
- Take a basic first aid kit in case you are off the beaten track.
- If you are taking strong medication prescribed by your Doctor, for example pethidine, you will need to take a Doctor's letter with you.