Why This Country Of 227 Islands Will Be One Of The Top European Destinations This Summer

Why This Country Of 227 Islands Will Be One Of The Top European Destinations This Summer

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With a recorded history spanning at least three millennia, a world-renowned cuisine, and a whopping 227 paradisaical islands to its name, Greece is up there with Italy, Spain and Türkiye as one of the top destinations in the Mediterranean, having hosted 32.7 million tourists last year alone.

In 2024, arrival figures are expected to soar further even, with the local tourism sector having now fully recovered from the crisis, and demand at an all-time high, surpassing 2019 levels.

Based on the available data, it’s safe to say it could break tourism records this summer.

Panoramic View Of Whitewashed Village Of Oia, In The Island Of Santorini, Greece, South Eastern Europe

Still, you may be wondering what are some of the not-so-obvious things about Greece that have got travelers hooked in the first place (other than, of course, it lays claim to Europe’s party capital):

Islands, Islands And More Islands

As we have mentioned already, Greece encompasses 227 islands, excluding the smaller, uninhabited islets, and to reduce them to the usual Instagrammer-friendly live sets of bougainvillea-filled alleys and overtouristed towns is a gross mistake you don’t want to make.

View Of Navagio Shipwreck Beach In Zante, Zakynthos, Ionian Sea, Mediterranean, Greece, South Eastern Europe

The Aegean archipelagos are more diverse than they get credit for, and though the above description certainly applies to Santorini, Mykonos and the like, where overdevelopment and celeb-frequented beach clubs have all but obliterated the native charm, there are countless quieter spots you can escape to.

From hilly Folegandros, where cobbled towns sit atop tall cliffs overlooking azure waters, to offbeat Anafi, with its golden sand beaches and traditional blue domes, to an unspoiled Patmos, where a monumental medieval fortress towers over an ancient chóra, Greece will steal your heart like it did ours.

Quaint View Of A Harbor In A Traditional Greek Island, Unspecified Location, Greece, South Eastern Europe

It’s Easy To Get Around

Seeing it administers a massive coastline and hundreds of islands, some so far away from the mainland their closest neighbors are, in fact, Middle Eastern countries like Türkiye, you would expect it to be trickier to get around or island-hop in Greece, but that’s not the case at all.

All island destinations are served by either intra-European or domestic flights from larger hubs or week-round ferry connections: From Piraeus, the main Athenian port, you can travel anywhere in the Aegean Sea, with comfortable overnight ferries linking the capital to islands as far East as the Dodecanese.

Young Female Tourist Enjoying A Ferry Boat Ride In Greece, Meditarranean Sea

Traveling within Greece is also surprisingly affordable.

Fares for a sleeping cabin in commercial ferries traveling from Athens to Mykonos average $41, from Athens to Kos $67, or from Athens to Crete starting from only $34 when booked in advance with Minoan or Anek Lines.

Don’t Underestimate The Greek Mainland

The quaint collective of Greek islands is indisputably the main reason why tourists will be flocking to the Southeastern European gem this summer, but they shouldn’t be in a hurry to leave the mainland for the earliest Santorini-bound ferry.

view of Athens, Greece

Continental Greece is famous for its cosmopolitan cities, with Athens and Thessaloniki to name a couple, natural and manmade wonders, including the Meteora Monasteries, resting on vertiginous free-standing pillars of rock, and scenic train journeys traversing a verdant Peloponnese nature.

Athens’ restaurant-lined Plaka district, bustling street bazaars and UNESCO-listed Parthenon are just as quintessential Greece as whitewashed churches and blue domes, and trust us, you don’t want to leave Greece without paying a visit to Delphi, formerly seat of The Oracle in Ancient Times.

Delphi Greece at Sunset

Greece Has Better Weather On Average Compared To Other European Countries

As one of Europe’s Southernmost states, boasting year-round warmer temperatures, particularly in the Aegean archipelagos, it goes without saying Greek weather is as much an incentive for tourists to come as is the fascinating culture and postcard islands.

It enjoys an unusually-long high season, starting as early as April, when seas begin getting warmer, clouds dissipate, and those blood-orange spring sunsets make a triumphant return to the Cyclades, and that perfect ‘Greek island weather’ extends well into late October.

View Of Old Town Corfu, The Capital City Of Corfu, An Ionian Island Part Of Greece, South Eastern Europe

July and August are the hottest months to visit, but for most of the year, Greece is surprisingly pleasant to visit, if not for swimming, then for sunbathing.

It’s still only March, and islands like Crete, Rhodes and Karphatos are already recording temperatures as high as 66.2°F.

Greece Can Be More Affordable Than You Think

Members of the Mykonos white-on-white cult will beg to differ, but a one-week trip to Greece does not have to set you back by thousands of dollars unless you’re actively looking to splurge on a cave suite with your own private lagoon or eat in fancy restaurants every night.

Ancient Chora Of Patmos, A Dodecanese Island Of Greece, South Eastern Europe

Food in Greece is actually quite affordable by European standards, owing to its varied selection of locally sourced fresh vegetables, tropical fruit, and dairy products.

Eating as cheap as $13 shouldn’t be an issue in mainland cities or even larger islands like Corfu and Crete.

Naturally, touristy islands packed with seaside resorts tend to be pricier than average – a simple moussaka dinner in Santorini can cost a shocking $22, versus $9 in Athenian restaurants – but in opting for the round-the-corner, ten-dollar gyros every now and then, you can cut down costs significantly.

traditional Greek gyros in Thessaloniki, Greece

Overall, accommodation in Greece is not as expensive as you might think, either.

The average price for a one-week stay is an acceptable $603 – once again, we’re talking mid-range, not remarkable all-inclusive villa stays.

7 Nonstop Flights From The U.S.

The final reason for Greece’s surging popularity this year is the improved connectivity with the United States, which is set to increase demand among Americans and help them realize their wildest Mamma Mia-inspired fantasies without long stopovers in third countries.

Travel Tourist Happy Woman Running Stairs Santorini, Greek Islands, Greece, Europe. Girl on summer vacation visiting famous tourist destination having fun smiling in Oia

There are still no Transatlantic flights from the U.S. to any Greek island – airports are far too small, and in most cases, they even lack airports altogether – so you can’t head straight to Santorini from New York, but you can easily find nonstop flights to Athens.

Athens International is hosting commercial flights from as many as 7 U.S. hubs this summer, including JFK, Newark, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Atlanta.

Once they get to Athens, travelers can connect to domestic flights, or hop on a ferry to reach the islands.

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