Mini Escape Destination of 2016 - Greece

Greece - a land with rich history and culture and somewhere I wouldn’t mind spending some down time in 2016. With clear blue mediterranean waters and warm summer breezes to float past you while lying next to that pool or sea I can’t imagine anything better. Of course, for me it’ll still probably involve having my laptop with me while relaxing on that lilo in the pool but I’ll still make sure I have a drink in hand!

Made up of 6,000 islands spread between the Ionian and Aegean seas, alongside a section of mainland Europe, you can easily understand how the country appeals to most. Although only around 227 of the islands are inhabited, it makes it even better for the sailors among us - it’s not hard to find empty coves and inlets to snorkel in private. Not to worry though if you’re not too confident sailing into that sunset, there is a huge ferry network here to get you from A - B each day.

For me, and for all those in Europe it’s only a short flight to get to the country but even if it’s a little further for you I would recommend it for sure. You only need to look on google images to see how a beautiful place is it if you haven’t been told this already that is (or just check out Mamma Mia the movie as it’s all filmed here!)

From sailing to exploring the mainland, you really can find something that is everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ here, even those who love the shade can find themselves a little parasol or alcove to relax in. There are some great hikes and walks about, not to mention the number of historical sites with ancient temple complexes reminding us that the Greeks were once one of the major powers of the world! Of course, other activities include swimming, meeting the locals and meandering down the winding cobbled stone streets of the small towns having a coffee with a view harbourside,or checking out the olives in the countless olive groves.

You might think that fishing would be a good thing to have a go at with all this sea….but when I tried, the biggest I caught could barely be called whitebait. Compared to my catches in Fiji last year it felt a little pathetic but still fun in the sun shine nonetheless, especially when in Greece I use it at more of an excuse to grab a tan and lay about in the sun anyway!  It’s entertaining watching the tiny fish bite away at your bait while you’re waiting for the bigger fish, the water is so clear you can see just what is happening. Quite a novel experience after fishing in the murky rivers and lakes in England!

Then, there’s the food - lots of greek salads with feta cheese, and dips to die for to go with your pitta. My favourite is the taramasalata, a (sometimes bright) pink dip made of fish roe, lemon juice and olive oil and you rarely sit down at any restaurant without being presented with some tzatziki. This lovely refreshing dip is really just greek yoghurt with cucumber and garlic. You might want to try some of the other specialties like souvlaki, kleftiko (lamb cooked slowly in a pocket of paper) and of course the very sweet baklava. I made my own last year and it was a heavenly mix of honey, nuts and very thin pastry!

Dining out is generally a very relaxed affair, often outside and traditionally sat with a checked tablecloth. Wine by the carafe is often the most cost effective way to drink and you then get to sample what’s local - always the best way! Breakfast is generally light and fairly healthy, as greek yoghurt with local honey is lovely, as is Koulouri (round bread covered with sesame seeds). There is often a good choice of fresh fruits, and all washed down with a freshly squeezed orange juice or a greek coffee. Essentially, you don’t have to worry about losing that bikini body here if you eat the local flavours.

Want to see my other dream destinations of 2016? Why not check out my Bucket List for the year and see if any of those are on yours too!