The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday
20 great reasons for a Greek getaway
With test-free Greece scrapping vaccine rules from today, one of our favourite holiday destinations just got much more enjoyable to visit, says Elise Morton
Whitewashed houses, vibrant bougainvillea, crystal waters and fresh seafood – dream no more: with most Covid restrictions dropped as of today, now is the time to return to the Greece we all know and love.
In addition to no longer needing to show proof of being fully vaccinated or a negative test result to enter the country, visitors can now finally say goodbye to showing vaccine passports in order to sip a beer or savour souvlaki in restaurants and bars. You’ll still have to occasionally don a mask – at the supermarket, for example – but that’s a small price to pay. Whether it’s for the pristine beaches and remarkable history, or breathtaking scenery and captivating creative scene, there are so many reasons to love this part of the world, and so many ways to explore it.
This latest easing of restrictions comes just in time for the summer season, always a popular time for visitors from around the world – sun-hungry Brits among them – who’ve long flocked to enjoy the clear, turquoise waters, balmy temperatures and outdoor living.
But there’s far more to Greece than the easy-breezy summer months. Though the mainland and sprawling archipelago make for a prime holiday spot in kalokairi (summer), it is well worth a visit during the rest of the year, too. Visiting in spring, autumn or winter is an opportunity to discover a glorious new side of a perhaps familiar destination, and to venture beyond the beaches (as appealing as they are).
A winter break in Athens, for example, is an excellent opportunity to spend a day or two exploring the city’s monuments and museums with only a fraction of the summer crowds, before heading up to the ski resort of Parnassos for a day on the slopes. When it comes to the rich colours of autumn, few places are more magnificent than the mountains and gorges of Zagorohoria. Come spring, Halkidiki is awash with wild flowers and perfect for walking before the temperatures soar.
The best part? No matter the season, you’ll have full access to the greats of Greek cuisine: creamy, refreshing tzatziki (yoghurt and cucumber dip), warming giouvetsi (a traditional dish of beef and orzo in a tomato sauce) and the ever-popular spanakopita (flaky filo pastry stuffed with spinach and cheese).
So, what are you waiting for? From exploring Thessaloniki’s diverse food scene and hiking Crete’s dramatic Samaria Gorge to paddling in the Aegean and skiing on Mount Olympus, here are 20 of our favourite reasons to visit Greece in 2022.