A visit to sun kissed Greece is on most people’s bucket list – and for good reason. With an abundance of sunshine (an average of 250 days a year), crystal clear seas sprinkled with picturesque islands (over 2000 of them), delicious cuisine (who doesn’t enjoy a fresh Greek salad!), and loads of local culture and history (where would we be without the ancient Greeks and their new form of government – democracy?), Greece’s top luxury vacation spots offer something for travelers of every age and interest.
But where does the discerning traveler go when seeking all this and luxury in Greece? Not surprisingly, each of our luxurious vacation recommendations features sea, sun and views, views, views!
Santorini – for the luxury hotel (and villa) junkie. A popular destination for honeymooners and romance travelers who covet its breathtaking views, Santorini offers many of the best luxury boutique hotels in Greece (and southern Europe). The island’s most coveted hotel properties are found on the caldera side – where the steep cliff face prohibits the building of large, cookie cutter tour group hotels. Instead, here you will find wonderful boutique hotels – each with individual charm. No two rooms are alike, as accommodations are carved out of the volcanic cliff side, and decor favors the Cycladic style of minimalist, white-washed interiors. These luxury boutique hotels aim to pamper and please with their stunning caldera views, private terraces with outdoor jacuzzis from which to gaze out at the Aegean Sea, rain showers and indoor soaking tubs, spa services, and thoughtful in-room amenities such as local sweets and Santorini wine.
Not to be outdone by its boutique hotels, Santorini also offers some of the most inviting villa properties in the Greek islands. If you are traveling with a family or small group or desire more elbow room, a spacious private pool and caldera view terrace, 2 to 5 bedrooms, and the services of a private staff – Santorini’s luxury villas will not disappoint.
So what does the luxury traveler see and do while on Santorini? Plenty. Indulge in the island’s vibrant food and wine scene on a private guided tour of local food producers and acclaimed island wineries, chill at one of the island’s full service clubs on the black sand beach, dine at sunset while waves lap at your feet, or enjoy a private sail in the caldera and take in the stunning view of sugar cube villages perched precariously on the cliff face. Magical Santorini offers many reasons for luxury travelers to return again and again.
Crete – luxury with a splash of history and culture. Crete, Greece’s southernmost and largest island, offers the discerning traveler luxury in every dimension. While you will undoubtedly want to treat yourself to a day or two basking in the sun at one of the island’s fabulous beach resorts, be sure to set aside time to discover the island’s gems – its rich history, pristine nature, and delicious cuisine. Spend a day with an archaeologist and explore Crete’s past as one of the world’s great ancient civilizations. Bask in the island’s warm hospitality as you visit a mountain village and make cheese alongside a shepherd, then dine on your creations for lunch. Enjoy a trek to remote beaches or explore coastline caves with a mountain guide. Or, simply wander quaint cobblestone streets full of Venetian and Ottoman influences before retiring to your luxury boutique hotel – a restored Venetian mansion. No matter your age or interest, Crete is the perfect destination for those seeking both creature comforts and unique travel experiences.
Experience The Ultimate in Luxury Travel
Greek Island Hopping by Private Luxury Yacht Charter.
There is perhaps no more luxurious way to see Greece than on its legendary seas. Charter a crewed catamaran or motor yacht with family or friends and experience the ultimate in privacy, stylish accommodations, and white glove service. Chart your own route to lesser-traveled islands (where fisherman still bring in their catch before dawn and locals gather to share gossip and a morning coffee in the village square), while your dedicated crew caters to your every desire. Anchor in an isolated bay for a swim stop, explore small village ports, enjoy a massage en plein air, and dine on fresh seafood or your favorite dish while gazing at the setting sun. And for those who cannot bear to completely unplug, luxury charters are outfitted with WIFI, TVs, and stereo systems. High season charters require 6 or 7 night minimums, although as few as 4 or 5 nights may be arranged during low and shoulder seasons. While a private catamaran or motor yacht charter may seem costly at first, keep in mind that it includes all food and beverage consumed on board, as well as your accommodations (think of it as an all-inclusive vacation with your own dedicated staff). For those seeking the best of Greek island hopping on a caviar budget, a luxury catamaran or motor yacht charter may just fit the bill.
Who knows? After experiencing such pleasure in magnificent Greece, you may just have to do it again next year!
Nancy Mantzikos is the Owner & Founder of Delfinia Group (www.DelfiniaGroup.com), a luxury travel group that specializes in arranging tailor-made luxury vacations and honeymoons, villa rentals, and crewed catamaran and motor yacht charters in Greece and the Mediterranean.