Greece is such a familiar destination for the British (so many of us have memories of childhood summer holidays spent there) that it sometimes gets overlooked in the rush for more far-flung destinations. Yet here is the exotic right on our doorstep. Just a few hours flight south and you’re in a different climate altogether with crystal-clear waters and temperatures in the twenties from May to October.
There’s great variety, too. The many groups of islands all have their own personality, some with enticing sandy coves, some dramatic coastal drives and charming white-washed houses - all knitted together by a fascinating antiquity. Crete may be adorned with beautiful beaches, coasts lined with cliffs, snow-capped mountains and lush valleys, but it also holds onto stories of civilisation dating back through the millennia.
And for sun-worshippers, the Dodecanese islands, including history-filled Kos, are said to be the sunniest in Greece. Over on the Sporades, alluring Skiathos is strewn with fig trees and olive groves, its emerald interior melting into cerulean waters. The exceedingly-photogenic Mykonos is renowned for its glitz and glam, attracting those who like to party ‘til sunrise and explore the beaches, bars and boutiques. And the white-washed buildings and blue-domed roofs of Santorini are as iconic as the ancient architecture of Athens.
Don’t forget mainland Greece; Halkidiki, in the north, reveals a rugged, mountainous landscape, its three legs jutting out into the turquoise Aegean Sea. Its fragrant pine forests are perfect for hiking and mountain biking, and Blue Flag beaches rimmed with crystalline waters lure snorkellers, kayakers and windsurfers.