Image credit: Kefalonia Ithaki Hotel Association
Make Greek guests twice as happy with a second-time visit, says Katie McGonagle
There’s no such thing as just one glass of wine in my book. No matter how good my intentions, one glass almost always turns into two and then before I know it, the bottle’s almost empty. Is it just me? I don’t think so, or at least I hope not. It seems once we get a taste of something we like, we can’t resist going back for seconds.
The same is true of trips to Greece. One visit could never be enough to stretch out on all of its sun-kissed beaches, wander through all of its ancient ruins, or admire all of its breathtaking views, so it shouldn’t take much effort to convince clients of the need for a repeat visit. All you need to know is where to send them a second time.
If they loved the views of Santorini…Try Folegandros
These Cycladic isles have a lot in common. Where Santorini boasts signature sunsets and whitewashed villages along the caldera, rocky Folegandros has equally magnificent views from its highest point, the lofty church Panaghia, and a smattering of blue-and-white houses making up its few small villages.
But Folegandros has escaped the clutches of mass tourism, so while most of its pretty beaches require some extra effort to get to – some take a bit of hiking or a boat transfer – visitors are likely to be the only ones spreading out their beach towels on the golden sand. It’s accessible by ferry from Santorini, Milos or Piraeus.
Book it: A week’s B&B at the five-star Chora Resort & Spa leads in at £899 with Islands of Greece, including flights and transfers.
If they loved the beaches of Skiathos…Try Parga
While they might not seem like obvious bedfellows given their geographical separation, Sporades island Skiathos and mainland beach resort Parga share the same winning combination of beachfront charm and low-key nightlife.
Parga is mostly frequented by Greek holidaymakers, with its pastel-coloured houses, pretty sea views and stunning beaches making it feel more like an island than a mainland resort.
Dudley der Parthog, Greece programme director at Sunvil Holidays, says: “Water taxis shuttle to and from the string of excellent beaches and it has a lively buzz, similar to Skiathos. Parga also boasts beautiful natural surroundings. Its hills are covered in pines, olive and cypress trees, and Epirus, one of Greece’s most notable areas of natural beauty, is easily reached for a day trip.”
Book it: Sunvil Holidays offers a seven-night B&B stay at the Rezi Hotel from £590, including flights from Gatwick and transfers.
020 8758 4758
If they loved the buzz of Athens…Try Thessaloniki
Few places can match the cut and thrust of the Greek capital: with ancient ruins and grand government buildings sitting side-by-side with bars that only liven up after midnight, Athens is exciting and unpredictable. Yet second-largest city Thessaloniki is a worthy rival.
Thessaloniki’s two universities ensure a steady stream of 20-somethings filling its bars and nightclubs, especially around Ladadika and the trendy waterfront area, earning it fifth place in Lonely Planet’s guide to the best party cities and a safe, friendly vibe even after dark.
By day, it will also appeal to those who liked Athens’ ancient sites. Its network of Byzantine churches, city walls and historic landmark The White Tower, rebuilt by the Ottomans, are an open-air museum chronicling its fluctuating fortunes over the centuries.
Book it: Classic Collection Holidays offers three nights’ B&B at the Excelsior Hotel Thessaloniki from £542 in June, with flights from Gatwick and private transfers.
0800 008 7288
If they loved family holidays at Sani Resort…Try Ikos Olivia
It would take a lot of visits to Sani Beach Club in Halkidiki to exhaust the array of child-friendly activities there – between sports academies, waterfront access and great kids’ clubs, it’s any child’s (and parent’s) dream.
But if clients fancy a change of scenery, nearby Ikos Olivia – partly-owned by the same people as Sani Resort – is opening in May with much the same philosophy, providing high-end family holidays that cater equally well for parents and kids.
Its one and two-bedroom bungalow suites have separate bedrooms and lounges to give families plenty of space to spread out, and it will feature kids’ clubs run to UK Ofsted standards, plus a football academy for five to 15-year-olds.
Book it: Sovereign offers seven nights’ all-inclusive from £3,419 per family of four, based on a one-bedroom bungalow suite with balcony in June, including UK airport lounge, private transfers and easyJet flights from Gatwick.
If they loved the scenery on Corfu…Try Kefalonia
Image credit: Kefalonia Ithaki Hotel Association
Small islands aren’t to everybody’s taste: for every holidaymaker who wants a tiny hideaway, there’s another who prefers room to explore, even on an island.
Clients who hired a car on Corfu to explore its hilly villages or try a different sandy beach each day will find the same variety on fellow Ionian island Kefalonia, only with even more mountainous scenery and wildlife including golden eagles and ospreys to look out for.
It’s also the place where Captain Corelli’s Mandolin was filmed.Olympic Holidays commercial director Photis Lambrianides says: “Kefalonia is a wonderful blend of scenery and culture and, like Corfu, is one of Greece’s larger islands, so offers plenty of scope to get around.”
Book it: Olympic Holidays offers a week in a self-catering studio at the three-star Liberatos Village Hotel in Lassi, Kefalonia, exclusive to Olympic in the UK, for £633 departing August 15. The price includes flights from Gatwick and transfers.
0844 499 4449
If they loved ruins in Rhodes…Try a classical tour
Holidaymakers might be attracted to Rhodes for its sun-drenched shores, but it’s the island’s rich, fascinating heritage which will make them fall in love, from its Hellenistic-era Acropolis to its medieval Grand Master’s Palace.
So if clients get bitten by the archaeology bug during a straightforward beach holiday on islands like Rhodes or Crete, suggest they follow it up with a tour that takes in more of Greece’s mainland sites.
Book it: Cyplon has a five-day Classical Tour of Greece which starts at £765 including flights from Heathrow, half-board accommodation and guided sightseeing. The route travels from Athens to Corinth, Epidaurus, Olympia and Delphi.
An eight-day option adds the rock perched monasteries of Meteora and a Saronic Islands cruise, from £1,190.
0800 074 8888
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