Whilst there”s no assure that 2021 will deliver any extra certainty than the dismal yr we are before long to (fortunately) discard, a new calendar yr means it’s time to start out organizing.

Greece is brimming with opportunities that extend past the typical sea and solar holiday.

With hundreds of islands and mountains galore, quite much anyplace the compass details in Greece will expose tempting sites for leisure, adventure and every thing in concerning.

1. Be groundbreaking

2021 is a large yr for Greece as it marks the bicentennial of the beginning of the Greek War of Independence, the war that Greek revolutionaries waged towards the Ottoman Empire.

Appear for commemorative gatherings happening at numerous places all around Greece, or merely get benefit of the anniversary to increase excess context to your visits of places like picturesque Nafplio, the first capital of modern Greece, and little Spetses island, which was home to the Greek war heroine Laskarina Bouboulina.

To get you into the festive spirit, this is a nifty video from the Greece 1821-2021 committee filmed at the Panathenaic Stadium.

2. Wine tourism is taking place

It really is been mentioned ahead of that what reveals the genius loci of a put is mild – and whilst that absolutely applies to Greece, so does wine.

As the birthplace of wine-drinking for celebratory and ceremonial functions, it really is fitting that Greece, with upwards of 1300 wineries and 33 locations with PDO (Guarded Designation of Origin) standing, is enduring a boom in “oenotourism.”

Santorini is well known for its assyrtiko wine, and a well-known island for winery visits irrespective of whether or not it really is the ventema (vine harvest) time. To whet your urge for food, the best manual to Greek wines I have found is below.

3. Pay a visit to both of those Acropolises (what?)

Ok, so the Acropolis of Athens wants no introduction, but this kind of is its prominence that it obscures other ancient citadels in Greece like the Acrocorinth, which looms more than the ruins of the historical city-condition of Corinth with a combine of ancient Mycenaean, Greek, Byzantine and Venetian ramparts.

The view of the Isthmus of Corinth from the best of the rock is impressive. You can pair your go to with a jaunt to the beach front at Loutraki, famed for its very hot springs, or just take a dip in the attractive Limni Vouliagmenis lagoon nearby.

4. Investigate some “top secret” ruins

Most website visitors to Athens choose in the common ancient sites like the Parthenon, ruins of the historic Athenian Agora and Panathenaic Stadium. Stunners all, but give yourself an extra day to take in lesser-known websites like the archaeological web site of Kerameikos, which features some interesting early Athenian fortifications as perfectly as monumental funerary sculptures.

Piraeus, the port of Athens, has some incredible ‘secret’ historic websites way too, as I not long ago discovered (this is a minor preview, in Greek).

5. Discover Attica

The area of Attica, a substantial mountainous peninsula that juts into the Aegean Sea, is ideal recognised as the spot of Athens but there is much more to discover than the money.

Between the glitzy southern suburb of Glyfada and legendary Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion there’s the Athens Riviera, a extensive extend of coastline peppered with smaller vacation resort towns and beach locations.

The roads are great (lease a car or truck if you can) and you will come to feel like you’re on a distant island with no at any time stepping foot in a boat!

6. Just take a “Volcano boat” close to the Milos coastline

Final summertime Tom Hanks was spotted splashing all around the heat blue waters of Poliegos—not an island you can commonly get to, as it really is inhabited only by a few fortunate goats (as in, the type with horns).

But it is really situated very near to the far better-known Milos, a further Aegean island geological marvel on account of its volcanic origins. You can get up shut to the marvellous coasts of the two islands by getting a journey on The Volcano, a significant-pace Italian-built, 15-meter extensive inflatable boat with just 25 seats.

Excursions choose in beautiful places about Milos like the Kleftiko sea stacks and a “secret” seashore on Poliegos you can also make a spherical of Poliegos and Milos with a entertaining Polco sail cruise.

7. Stop by Mani (before everybody else does)

If you haven’t heard of Mani never worry: you’re hearing about it now.

It’s the center southern peninsula of mainland Greece and is recognised for its raw beauty, proud locals and villages designed of stone that are at times so near to the sea’s edge you can basically jump from your lodge balcony into the h2o (but don’t).

This is a remote area but one nicely-connected by highways. There is just not a huge hotel stock, so if the pics of rocky shores and sapphire blue sea tempt you, bear in mind you happen to be not the only a single to drop beneath the spell – so e-book early.

8. Go climb a rock

Greece’s rugged terrain makes it a ideal location for tons of out of doors activities that have absolutely nothing to do with the seaside, like rock climbing.

In the southeast Peloponnese, the climbing park of Leonidio is a large draw on account of the dramatic Kokkinovrachos, or Crimson Cliff that towers higher than the seaside city of Leonidio.

In the Aegean Sea, the island of Kalymnos is renowned as a climbing desired destination although for bouldering there are the scenic boulders of Volax on Tinos island.

9. Just take browsing lessons in Paros

Paros is one particular of the bigger of the Cycladic islands and has loads of wonderful beaches primed for watersport functions.

Head to Santa Maria for diving and wakeboarding, Punta for waterskiing and Golden Seashore for browsing and windsurfing—the surf instructors at Golden Seaside are some of the most professional in Greece.

For a dash of luxury with the ideal watch of the Golden Beach keep at Poseidon of Paros.

10. Hike a volcano in Nisyros

The compact island of Nisyros near Rhodes has not one, but a few volcanic craters. Nevertheless steam emanates from the ksephysitres, or vents, they are secure to hike around.

Nisyros also has a charming harbor city, Mandraki, and extraordinary black sand beaches that are frequently cost-free of crowds.

11. Ecotourism in Crete

The island of Crete has 54 regions that are component of the NATURA 2000 community of websites with protected biodiversity.

Regardless of this designation, some locales these kinds of as Elafonisi and Balos had been veering towards overtourism—but that was just before the pandemic.

In 2021 you will be in a position to check out people natural spots and others like the Xerokambos wetland and coastal landscape from Dermatos to Tsoutsouras in jap Asterousia (in southern Crete) with out all the crowds.

12. Meteora

Found in western Thessaly, the UNESCO-stated monastery elaborate of Meteora features 30 historic Japanese Orthodox monasteries, 6 of which are however in use and open up to the community.

These are perched on leading of amazing rock formations achieving as significant as 400 meters that are finest described as free of charge-standing cliffs—familiar to any individual who’s observed the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only. Some of the monasteries date as far back as the 11th century.

13. Andros

Mountainous Andros is the northernmost of the Cycladic island chain (which also contains Santorini and Mykonos) and as this kind of, it can be an easy hop of under two hours from the mainland port of Rafina to the island’s port at Gavrio.

But the major city or chora is the eponymous Andros on the other facet of the island. It’s a stately city with lots of neoclassical mansions constructed for community shipowners. Andros has a proud maritime heritage and numerous sailors from the island partook in the Greek Revolution suitable from the commence.

There are also some excellent shorelines this kind of as Tis Grias to Pidima, or The Outdated Lady’s Jump.

14. Castle island of Monemvasia

Rock your Instagram with a take a look at to this semi-mystery citadel in the southern reaches of the Peloponnese. You will find just just one entrance to the Byzantine fortress, which clings to an elevated island plateau related to the mainland by a quick causeway.

The fortress dates to all-around 583, when locals essential to fend off Saracen raids. The walled decrease town is a tangle of historic houses, slim cobbled streets and very small chapels interspersed with lively shops and cafes.

A route prospects to the upper city with castle ruins, the Agia Sofia church and spectacular sights of the Mediterranean.

15. See the Mikres Kiklades

If you’re Greek you’ve most likely read of Keros, Irakleia, Schinousa, Kouphonisia and Donousa—but if you are not then prospects are all those island names are unfamiliar.

The Mikres Kiklades, or Very little Cyclades, are as the identify implies a cluster of smaller islands found south and east of Naxos, the most significant Cycladic island.

These sunny getaway spots are best-regarded for what they never have: massive motels, shopping malls and airports. But they do have lots of wonderful seashores and reliable Greek island flavour. Reserve hotel stays much forward, as solutions are not generally quite a few.

16. Get your yum on in Sifnos, Syros, Santorini

Every region and island in Greece is identified for specific crops and culinary traditions, supplying travel any place in the country terrific gustatory attraction. There’s Santorini for its tomatoes, for illustration, and Sifnos for its capers as well as star-studded eateries like Omega3 Fish & Wine Bar (Scarlett Johansson’s a enthusiast) .

Both islands together with Syros are taking pleasure in a developing popularity as connoisseur getaways and in all 3 you can dine gorgeously: that is, dig into wonderful, domestically-sourced food items served in breezy island options.

17. Patmos

Tranquil, airport-no cost Patmos is tucked into the northwestern aspect of the Dodecanese archipelago and has an alluring 63 kilometres of shoreline that generate a ribbon of seashores and hidden coves, encircling a heavenly landscape with rugged peaks that increase over concealed environmentally friendly valleys.

The historical settlement of Chora is one particular of the ideal preserved in the Aegean, getting advanced without interruption given that the 12th century and some of the previous merchants’ homes are now dwelling to posh places to eat and cafes.

But the religious coronary heart of Chora and in truth of Patmos is the Cave of the Apocalypse where by custom holds that John the Apostle wrote the Reserve of Revelation, the closing (and somewhat ominous) e book of the New Testomony.

Along with the Monastery of St. John the Theologian it kinds a UNESCO Entire world Heritage Web-site.

18. Crete for Beach Idylls

Crete is not only the greatest of the Greek islands, but thanks to its southerly location it also has the longest seashore season.

To find the ideal kinds you will require to rent a vehicle and of program a superior position to continue to be will come in helpful.

Some inns and resorts that did not open up in 2020 because of to the pandemic are previously looking forward to 2021, which implies early planners should not be reluctant.

Close to Chania, look at splurging on a luxe villa, even though a good vacation resort on the south coastline called Irini Mare also serves some of the ideal food on the island. They even make their possess olive oil.

19. Rediscover Mykonos (certainly, Mykonos)

In 2021 you can be listening to a good deal about tourism “repositioning” from the Mediterranean international locations that have traditionally leaned on sea and sunlight tourism, but let us facial area it, from time to time you just require to chill out with some sand concerning your toes.

Number of Greek islands provide up the sand as deliciously as Mykonos—true, there are additional attractive shorelines in Greece but owing to its workable sizing and sheer selection of beaches Mykonos helps make these seaside hols a snap.

The island’s got chic seaside configurations galore but Mykonos is all about alternatives: you could also encounter the seaside on horseback.

Just try to remember to prepare a vacation to Mykonos in May, June or September to dodge the crowds.

20. Serifos and Ios

Serifos is a centrally situated Aegean island regarded for its stark landscapes, scenic hilltop Chora, or main city and tons of attractive beach locations these kinds of as Yianema, Sykamia and Psili Ammos.

Greater Ios is located thanks north of Santorini and characteristics a mix of unspoiled beaches and smattering of cosmopolitan beach clubs.

As with many of the Greek islands, remain for at least a few times if you can and test to rent motor vehicle to see factors at a far more leisurely speed.

21. Volos

This sunny port town, well known for its tsipouradhika or conventional tavernas, is cash of the mineral-prosperous Magnesia location of Thessaly, located about midway involving Athens and Thessaloniki.

It’s on the Pagastikos Gulf opposite the lush Pelion peninsula that juts into the Aegean Sea.

Volos is the Greek town closest to Mount Pelion, which is regarded by a lot of to be the most amazing area of Greece.

In town, check out the Italian-intended Historic Railway Station of Volos you can also approach for a scenic journey on the Pelion educate, a throwback to 1896 when this narrow gauge railway initially entered into support.

Centered in Athens, Anthony Grant also edits the Greek Column.