Those who know me, know I am not a fan of the winter holiday season. For me, it is a perfect time to think about our next trip. To get lost in a daydream, in between all the mandatory Christmas decorating, because I guess all mums “have” to implement the holiday spirit, you know? So, how do I survive the Christmas shenanigans? A favorite pastime is by thinking about wonderful summer holidays for the family in astonishing Greek destinations. Let’s see which one of the following wins over the other in these shortlisted destinations, you decide.
This article may have affiliate links to products and services that I use. If you make a purchase through these links, it might earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Last-minute plans? Check these top picks
Book your ferry tickets in advance at the lowest price, with no hidden fees or extra costs.
Where to stay in Greece
If you’re looking for accommodation in Greece, compare offers on Booking.com and Hotels.com. If you prefer to stay in an Airbnb, here you can find great deals. Check alternatives on Tripadvisor.
Top-rated tours in Greece
Athens: Acropolis Small-Group Guided Tour with Entry Ticket (Top pick from US$ 71.23).
Crete: Boat Cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa from Kissamos (From US$ 29.65).
Santorini: Guided Winery Tour (From US$ 72.50).
Mykonos: The Original Morning Delos Guided Tour (Traditional best-seller from US$ 65).
Zakynthos: Navagio Shipwreck Beach & Blue Caves Tour (From US$ 53.25).
Value for money
Athens: Combo Ticket Pass for Museums & Hop-On Hop-Off Bus (City card from US$ 65).
I’m obsessed with Transferwise! The best online money transfer service: Ridiculously low fees to exchange currency and debit cards accepted all over Greece.
Are you covered?
For complete peace of mind, it’s always better to have travel insurance. Check quotes on World Nomads.
The islands: Corfu vs. Paxoi
On the west side of the Greek coast lies Corfu, in the exceptional Ionian sea. Corfu belongs to the Heptanese cluster of islands and it’s a wonderful destination: Full of green, full of history, full of stunning beaches.
Exciting natural beauty. South of Corfu, you find Paxoi (Paxos and Antipaxos). We fell in love with these islands on our family visit in 2016 since both destinations boast impeccable shores.
>> Check all there’s to do in Corfu in summer <<
If your family is up for adventures, then read our post on family cruising around Paxoi. It will inspire you to consider the islands for next summer. In Paxoi you can completely unwind and be in touch with nature.
The water caves and caverns, caves, crystal clear waters of azure and indigo blue hues will amaze you. However, there are limited facilities on the islands. For that reason, if you need a bit more to keep you interested while on holiday, you should better consider Corfu.
Corfu is a large island where choosing your point-of-call can be a tough decision. But that is also the beauty of Corfu! You can either choose to stay in one place that satisfies all your senses or arrange day outings to discover the place.
One obvious choice for comfortable family holidays by the beach in Corfu is Mayor Capo Di Corfu resort. Promising families a world of wonderful possibilities in a beautiful awarded Blue Flag beach for 2016. Besides they will arrange day trips to the mentioned Paxoi on request so that you can discover both destinations.
Mainland Greece: Thessaloniki vs Halkidiki
Thessaloniki is also known as the second capital of Greece after Athens. The second-largest city in the country has a distinct character of its own. You just need a visit to the coastal promenade to enjoy the views onto the Thermaic Gulf and the White Tower, the city’s most iconic landmark.
>> Check accommodation in Thessaloniki here <<
The history of Thessaloniki dates back to Byzantium times. In fact, the old Byzantine walls are still visible in several areas. Modern life in Thessaloniki is all about the foodie side to it: Delicious food that is quite affordable.
The picturesque area of ‘Ladadika’ is worth exploring during the evenings due to its laid back general attitude, certainly more relaxed than Athens.
Still, Thessaloniki remains a city and not everyone’s piece of cake for summer. However, its major summer advantage is that it’s near Halkidiki. A popular mainland alternative to the Greek islands for your next summer holidays. On its three peninsulas, there are ample opportunities for exploring.
The natural morphology allows for some incredible vantage points. Panoramas will leave you speechless. And as for family vacations, Halkidiki offers a lot. Apart from the Miraggio Thermal Spa Resort and its comprehensive list of luxe facilities and services for every family member, it can be the starting point for a family adventure!
With endless possibilities in terms of activities, Halkidiki is a playground for discovering an alternative destination in Greece. It has all the benefits of the islands, but also offers some insight into the less beaten track of travels in Greece.
The spectacular island of Crete
Option three is always a tempting one when you live on the most beautiful island on earth. It’s been a while since the fantasy of a new on-the-road trip around Crete has turned into a recurrent idea. After several trips to the island while we lived in Italy; and, of course, after a year living here, we don’t seem to get tired of the local beauties.
>> Plans for Crete? Check the complete guide to Crete Island! <<
We’ve been south, north, south again and in some of the most beautiful beaches of Greece. And there’s always something new to explore, discover and fall in love with, so why not Crete for the next summer holidays?
Check these Crete Beaches articles:
- A Complete Insider’s Guide to Elafonisi
- South Beaches of Crete
- Or read everything about the best beaches in Crete!
The idea of driving around Crete over and over can never abandon me. Because there’s always a story to hear, people to meet… and incredible tastes to try.
Because only when you genuinely love a place like we love Crete, and only when Cretans care for you in a way you’d have never imagined, then staying home is also a privilege.
Are you ready to explore Greece? It can be the trip of your lifetime. Get in touch if you need extra help to plan your itinerary. If you happen to also tour West Crete, check this guide. You’ll find detailed info about where to go, what to see, where to eat, and more!
Want more? Join my Private Facebook Group to connect with like-minded travelers who love Crete as much as you do!
Coming to Greece any time soon? These resources will help you organize the trip!
Probably, you’re planning to experience the thrilling island-hopping experience. Head to this article and read about the best cruise ports in Greece.
To have updated information about the island of Crete, as well as about the rest of Greece, join my private group on Facebook about Crete and download a copy of my West Crete Travel Guide to have it always with you if you visit Crete!
Finally, make sure you’ve got everything you for a hassle-free trip!
I never move around the islands without my Osprey backpack, a sturdy, light, roomy, and super comfortable travel partner I just love. To visit villages, sites, and museums instead, I carry this little crossbody bag.
When driving around, I pack my Nikon D7200. In Summer I also carry good sunscreen lotion, the sun on the island can be pretty aggressive. Always bring with you a good travel guide! Lonely Planet’s Best of Greece & the Greek Islands.
Airfares to Greece can change from one airline to the other, make sure to compare prices with a powerful search engine. Planes are fast, but nothing like the romantic experience of traveling by sea in Greece, book your ferry tickets in advance at the lowest price, with no hidden fees or extra costs.
Sometimes, the best way to get to know a place and make the most of your time is to join an organized tour. GetYourGuide has top-rated tours to save time and money. From cooking lessons to archaeological site tours, skip-the-line attractions, and even airport transfer!
Do you have everything you need? Then you just have to get ready to discover Greece!
If you want to read further about Crete check these posts
If you would like to learn everything about the practical aspects of planning a trip to Crete, you should also check what to pack for a road trip around Crete and this crazy useful guide to renting a car and driving on the island. This 3-week-in-Crete itinerary is super flexible and can be adapted for less (or even more) time on the island. However, you might already know that the island is quite big, and it’s not always easy to decide which region to visit or where to stay. I’ve written a post about the best regions to stay in Crete according to your interests and travel style, and it’s a must-read before your trip.
Once on the island, make sure you check some of the best archaeological sites in Crete as well as the stunning Balos Beach, on the western coast. Make some time to discover Crete’s beautiful monasteries and to taste the most delicious street food in Chania while exploring the Turkish district in the old town!
What about you? Where are you spending your next summer holidays?
Let me know in the comments below!
- Pin for Later
About the Author
Hola! I’m Gabi. Welcome to The Tiny Book – Crete Travel Blog! I moved to Crete to explore the island all year round. I love taking pictures and driving on the mountain roads of Crete. I’m a beach freak and on this island I’ve found heaven on earth!
You might also want to read: