A perennial favourite with vacationers, Greece persistently ranks within the high 10 vacation locations in Europe.
However now it needs vacationers to see lesser-known locations on its 1000’s of sprawling islands.
“We’re shifting past the ocean and the solar. We wish to extend the vacationer season each in time and house,” Olympia Anastasopoulou, secretary basic for tourism coverage and growth on the Greek Ministry of Tourism, informed CNBC Journey.
For that, the nation is investing in its most distant locations, together with Syros, Amorgos and Milos, as a part of its “All you need is Greece” marketing campaign.
To alleviate overtourism, well-liked sizzling spots like Mykonos and Santorini are repositioning themselves as shoulder-season locations.
“Our objective is that these islands additionally increase extra by way of seasonality. We wish to see tourism flows increase in different months,” mentioned Eleni Mitraki, director of tourism promotion on the Greek Nationwide Tourism Group, noting that the season may lengthen from March to November.
The plans coincide with the growth of direct flights from the USA to Greece in March 2023.
Presently, Germany and the UK characterize Greece’s largest inbound tourism markets by receipts, adopted by the USA, France and Italy. Nevertheless, Anastasopoulou mentioned additional progress is anticipated from different markets, notably Canada and India.
Listed here are CNBC Journey’s finest picks for getting off the crushed observe in Greece.
Situated throughout the Dodecanese island chain of Greece within the southeastern Aegean Sea, Kalymnos is known for its sponge diving (underwater diving to gather pure sponges from the seabed) which introduced appreciable wealth and recognition to the island within the 18th century. former.
Kalymnos, a part of the Dodecanese island chain in Greece, has grow to be a well-known vacation spot for rock climbers.
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Extra lately, the island has grow to be a world-renowned location for climbers, with greater than 3,000 climbing routes traversing the numerous crags, caves and ledges of its rugged panorama.
Kalymnos’ vacationer season peaks within the fall with the Kalymnos Climbing Competition. However journey junkies can have enjoyable year-round, with a number of different actions, together with scuba diving, mountaineering, and boating.
The way to get there: Kalymnos is definitely reached by boat from close by Kos, with crossings taking 45 minutes by ferry and 25 minutes by speedboat. In excessive season, it’s also accessible by airplane from Athens.
Haven for historical past lovers
Ios, also called Io or Nio, is positioned between Santorini and Naxos, and was as soon as seen solely as a celebration vacation spot. However the Cycladic island has revamped its picture lately to reap the benefits of its historic and pure attributes.
House to one of many oldest archaeological websites in Greece, the Skarkos monument, Ios additionally boasts a robust connection to the Greek epic poet, Homer, who is alleged to have favored the island and doubtlessly ended his days there.
As soon as identified merely as a celebration island, Ios within the Cyclades is cashing in on its different attributes, together with beautiful seashores and historic Greek archaeological settlements.
Along with the historical past, guests to Ios may also discover its ample seashores, mountaineering and diving spots, earlier than sampling a few of the native cheeses for which the island is known.
The way to get there: There isn’t a airport on Ios. The island is accessible by ferry or speedboat from Athens and the opposite Cyclades islands. It can be reached by helicopter from Santorini.
Film buff’s delight
Skopelos turned well-known because the filming location for the hit romantic comedy ‘Mamma Mia’, and has since grow to be a preferred vacation spot for weddings, honeymoons and movie excursions.
A part of the Skopelos archipelago within the northwestern Aegean Sea, the island combines gorgeous seashores and picturesque cities with loads of diving, crusing and biking routes.
The Greek island of Skopelos is known because the filming location for the hit romantic comedy ‘Mamma Mia’, starring the cliff-top church of Agios Ioannis Kastri.
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Legend has it that the island was based by the son of the Greek god of wine. And whereas lots of its vineyards had been destroyed by pests within the Nineteen Forties, small-scale home manufacturing continues to today. In the meantime, indigenously grown plums, almonds, chestnuts, figs, citrus and olives grace the native delicacies.
The way to get there: Skopelos will be reached by ferry or motorboat from the port metropolis of Volos on the Greek mainland. Providers run year-round, with extra routes from different islands being added in excessive season.
One of many largest islands within the Cyclades and solely two hours from the Greek mainland, mountainous Andros has a various panorama of forests, waterfalls, seashores and native vegetation, making it best for an out of doors getaway.
Andros, one of many largest islands within the Cyclades, boasts a various panorama of waterfalls, forests and seashores, making it a hiker’s paradise.
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Guests can discover the island by means of its in depth community of mountaineering trails, or strive their hand at windsurfing or scuba diving, earlier than sampling the native delicacies.
Followers of artwork and tradition can go to Andros’ assortment of monasteries, galleries and museums, together with the Andros Archaeological Museum and the Museum of Modern Artwork.
The way to get there: There isn’t a airport on Andros. The island will be reached by ferry from the port of Rafina on the outskirts of Athens.
One of many Dodecanese islands, Astypalea has a wealthy historic historical past. However it’s firmly positioning itself within the twenty first century with the goal of turning into the primary sustainable and clever island within the Mediterranean Sea.
The Dodecanese island of Astypalea has the ambition to grow to be the primary sustainable and good island within the Mediterranean Sea.
Municipality of Astypalea
As a part of an settlement with the Greek authorities and volkswagen, Astypalea plans to implement zero-emission mobility throughout the island by 2030, changing conventional automobile leases with electrical automobiles, e-scooters and e-bikes. Elsewhere, charging factors and renewable power sources can even be added.
The vacationer who arrives on the so-called Isla de las Mariposas may also get pleasure from its pure panorama, dwelling to stunning seashores, rocky slopes and numerous natural world, in addition to its picturesque cities with white homes lined in bougainvillea.
The way to get there: Astypalea is accessible from Athens by each ferry and airplane.
visits to islands
Surrounded by a necklace of 24 islets with dozens of blue-green seashores, Lipsi within the Dodecanese is taken into account the Polynesia of the Aegean Sea and an ecological paradise.
An ecological paradise surrounded by 24 islets, Lipsi is a part of the Dodecanese assortment of islands within the southeastern Aegean Sea.
Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary
With a wealthy expanse of natural world protected by the European Union, the island is dwelling to a various fauna, together with Mediterranean monk seals and sea turtles. Dolphins are additionally widespread within the space, and a brand new Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary for dolphins will quickly open on the island.
Vacationers can get pleasure from days of crusing, diving, dwelling on the seaside, and mountaineering, earlier than tucking into seafood dishes and experiencing native festivals, such because the August wine celebration.
The way to get there: Lipsi is simply accessible by ferry or speedboat, with common providers from Athens and Leros.
Alonissos, a part of the Sporades group of islands, is a haven for divers and the positioning of Greece’s first underwater museum. With the “Parthenon of Shipwrecks”, one of many largest shipwrecks of the classical period courting from 425 BC. C., the positioning gives leisure divers a novel perception into the historical past of the area.
Alonissos, a part of the Sporades archipelago within the northwestern Aegean Sea, is understood for its diving websites, together with Greece’s first underwater museum, the “Parthenon of Shipwrecks.”
The island can be dwelling to the Alonissos and Northern Sporades Nationwide Marine Park, presently the most important marine protected space in Europe, giving guests the possibility to see all kinds of crops and animals.
Kayaking, mountaineering, and biking are a few of the different actions out there on the island, whereas museums and a neighborhood theater group showcase the island’s arts and tradition scene.
The way to get there: Alonissos is accessible by airplane or ferry from the ports of Volos, Agios Konstantinos and Kimi.