Can you remember the detail of a holiday you took twenty years ago? If I think back to a week I spent in Greece in my early 20’s, some of the moments remain as sharp as anything I did yesterday. But then, Greece is like that...
Adventures in Greece
Greece is kind of etched into your memory even before you visit.
Acropolis Athens Greece. Image courtesy: Iwillbehomesoon on Flickr under CCL
A holiday for life
The smell of sun on acres of pine. The sight of the wind, pushing cotton wool across the sky. The sound of a single boat, destination unknown. The feel of a bite size breeze, drying beads of sweat as I power the bike gradually up and down the rolling hills of Spetses. One moment, on a Greek island in a crystal clear bay.
Twenty years on and I still remember that moment. But not just that isolated moment; there were so many like this, packed into the space of just a week. As we all know, Greece is a master at preserving time.
So many moments
I will carry with me forever the taste of my first Greek salad, that beguiling mix of fresh olives, juicy tomatoes and sunshine. I will never forget the bent, shrouded wailing women on Hydra, as the ferry delivered a loved one for his last journey home, while we carried on with the journey of the living. I will always remember the maritime bustle of Piraeus, stuffed with fish, ferries and fumes. I will treasure my memories of seeing the Parthenon, early in the morning, before the tourists came in their droves, and feeling the history in my bones.
Back then I was young, free and single. But Greece is a great option for a family on a budget too and if your experience is anything like mine all those years ago, you’ll still remember it long after the kids have left home.
There are several different ways of bagging yourself a good deal for a good price in mainland Greece or one of the islands.
Whitewashed walls, shuttered windows, signs of age and decay, all part of the old island villages.
Image courtesy: doc(q)man on Flickr under CCL
Take an all-inclusive package holiday
Despite a hike in flight taxes and Greece’s well publicised trouble with the Euro, it is still a relatively cheap European country with sunshine guaranteed. If you travel as a family on a budget, you might want to look into an all-inclusive deal, with a beach on tap.
If you’re a family of culture vultures then all you have to cover off on top of that is the entry fee into the numerous historical sites or museums. We did a few days in Athens and then took off island hopping with our bikes. You could give the capital a miss and instead base yourself on one of the larger islands; the Oceanis Hotel in Rhodes offers a good all-inclusive deal going with Jet2holidays.com
Mix and match your provider
Book your flight and hotel separately. Travelling with a budget airline is a good way to get to Greece cheaply. Then you are free to travel around, cherry picking which cities, towns or islands you’d like to visit.
Mix and match your destinations
We booked a package deal to Athens and then abandoned it after a few days to go island hopping. We never had a problem finding anywhere to stay, and quite often snoozed on the ferry, giving us more time to explore each island. If you don’t want to do it on the hop, you could pre-book a two centre holiday. Or a cruise!
Beautiful beaches.. no shortage of these, whether you like pebbles or prefer golden sands.
Image courtesy: aanahjan on Flickr under CCL
Hire a local, or local company to show you around
Do some detective work online and find yourself a local to hang out with. You can do some couch surfing (which has the added advantage of being free) or use one of the buddy up networks. Or hire a guide. This will both boost the local economy and your depth of knowledge about the country. Or tourist information should be able to put you in touch with someone when you get there.
Book a packaged adventure
Greece is a beautiful country. It would be a shame to just stick to the beach. If you don’t feel confident organising an adventure for your family then you can always take a walking or historical tour with an established company like Explore or Exodus.
Disclosure Note: This post is brought to you thanks to support from Jet2holidays. All the ideas, experience, views and opinions expressed are, as ever, entirely our own.