Millions of British holidaymakers head to the Greek islands each year to enjoy that popular blend of sea, sea and sand. While the beaches and bars of the islands will always be main draw for the crowds of people arriving on the islands for their annual break, Greece has so much more to offer the curious visitor. Many of the islands’ most enjoyable and unique experiences are only a short distance from the popular beaches. Here are just three ideas for making the most of Greece.
Corfu – Walking
The paths on Corfu are plentiful and the walking is easy and rewarding. Whether it is the wild coastlines or the botanically blessed interior you will be constantly compelled to take out your camera or to stop and just soak up the views. Olive groves, flowering meadows and sandy secluded beaches are rarely more than a gentle walk away.
Away from the resorts you will also find some of Greece’s most traditional villages where a warm welcome and the best of Greek cuisine awaits. Simple ingredients such as olives, tomatoes, cheese and seafood are all freshly prepared and combined to make light and mouth-watering dishes that are perfect for light lunches and warm summer evening meals.
Crete – History
The resorts of Crete still attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, but step away from these pockets of holiday action and you’ll find an island rich in a history that stretches back for thousands of years. This was the heart of the ancient Minoan civilisation, and a visit to the Palace of Knossos will offer a colourful insight into this highly developed civilisation. Many artefacts have been unearthed from this period and are on display at Knossos and other sites around the north of the island.
For those who like their history a little more modern a visit to the war museums at Chania or Heraklion are a great way to learn about the Battle of Crete in 1941. It was here that the Germans first deployed large numbers of paratroopers and it was here that they first felt the full force of resistance from local and Allied defenders. The museums offer poignant and sensitive interpretative displays telling the story of the brave sacrifices of those involved.
Zakynthos – Turtles
A popular island for package holidays, Zakynthos (also known as Zante) is also home to Europe’s most important reserve for loggerhead turtles. An area of southern Zante has been listed as a protected area and visitors may be able to see turtles under the careful supervision of local volunteers.
The main hatching season for baby turtles coincides with the busy summer months meaning that potential human-baby turtle encounters are inevitable. The volunteers on site will make sure that visitors who are lucky enough to witness baby turtles hatching are able to enjoy the special sight while ensuring the well-being of the animal who will instinctively head for the sea.