- 11 million
There are the images of whitewashed houses and blue shutters overlooking emerald seas. Then there are the stories of masses of sunburned vacationers on package holidays looking for cheap lagers at night and a full English in the morning. Luckily, the former can be found in abundance and the latter mostly avoided.
While it may be prudent to avoid the peak (aka chokers) summer season from July to August, it is still possible to find idyllic enclaves replete with taverns serving fresh-from-the-ocean seafood and enough ouzo or retsina to leave you stumbling home. After all, there are 3500 islands dotting the Aegean Sea. Try Folegandros or Syros if you want to avoid the vast majority of summer holidaymakers. Out of season, head to Santorini and make sure you take in the iconic view of the sun setting over the caldera at Oia. Yes, everyone does it, but there’s a reason for that.
Don’t let the islands distract all of your attention, though: olive orchards, wineries, rural villages and mountainous terrain shouldn’t be neglected. Nor should the country’s history: head north to Thessaloniki, the birthplace of Alexander the Great, or gawp at the gravity-defying monasteries perched on natural sandstone pillars at Meteora. Then, of course, there’s Athens, with 4000 years of history. No doubt, its museums and sights like the magnificent Acropolis are top notch, but there’s also fun to be had in the city’s lively districts, like Gazi, with its street art, cool cafes, cinemas and music venues.