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Destinations in Greece
Centre of the ancient world, Athens is every bit as glorious and atmospheric as you'd imagine.
The birthplace of Minoan civilisation was bound to be beautiful, cultured and rich in history; the island’s Riviera-rivalling beaches, mysterious caves and deeply traditional, hospitable locals are unexpected extras.
Named after an ancient hero who won a chariot race and then a kingdom, the finger-shaped Peloponnese is a timeless corner of mainland Greece…
Over Santorini? Meet its sister island, the quiet and less touristy Folegandros, less than an hour away by catamaran.
Aquamarine skies, turquoise waters, crystal-white sands: Halkidiki's beautiful Blue Flag beaches are underpopulated, unspoilt and utterly Instagram-worthy.
The Greek gods themselves couldn’t help but find the Ionian Islands a paradise: boutique hotels and secluded villas; seas as clear-cut as a diamond; and miles of soft-as-velvet sands.
Impossibly ultramarine waters, plunging volcanic mountains and hidden pebble beaches: the Ionian pairing of Kefalonia and Ithaca is a haven for seafaring romantics.
Mykonos was the first Greek island to be ‘discovered’ in the Fifties; Chora, the main town, rapidly gained a reputation as the Cyclades’ most happening harbour.
This rugged Aegean beauty, the southernmost of the Cyclades, is famed for its sunsets, wine and the turquoise sea that surrounds it.
Accessible only by sea, it’s easy to see why Spetses is the retreat of choice for affluent Athenians. The best way to enjoy the town’s mansion-strewn skyline is from offshore: waterskiing, sailing or swimming in the sun-sparkled Aegean.
It would be easy to miss Anemi if you didn’t know it existed; a scattering of whitewashed cuboid buildings with rounded corners and rectangle windows are built into the dipped recesses of the unspoilt Greek terrain. Like fireflies at night, spotlights illuminate the understated exterior after darkness descends. If it’s seclusion you’re after, the Junior Pool Suite has it in abundance. White walls, slate floors, views over the Aegean Sea and minimalist furniture all help make this suite archetypally Greek. On the flagstone terrace outside, a mosaic of cobbled stones and clusters of flowers ensconce a small private pool.
Underwater explorers will love Gayana Eco Resort's coral-dotted, marine-reserve dive centre (the treks into the Borneo jungle won't disappoint, either). Bali's Alila Manggis is splashing distance from seven of the globe's best dive sites and is edged by sublime snorkeling waters. Sumba, an hour's flight from Bali, is a hush-hush travellers' secret, and at Nihiwatu you'll sample the island's best: incredible ocean views, breeze-cooled outdoor living and world-class surf breaks in reach. A speedboat ride from Amanzoe, a marble-hewn hilltop haven in southern Greece, is the island of Dokos, whose diver-drawing coast lays claim to the world's oldest known shipwreck.
Hidden among the island’s largest olive grove (the hotel has its own 18th-century press), this traditional Greek hotel is so similar to a quaint Mediterranean village that you could almost miss it. Inside the Pegasus room, things are simple, understated and unequivocally Greek. Whitewashed walls, farmhouse furniture, a king-size bed graced with sprigs of lavender and rosemary, a cosy seating area and an oak-clad bathroom stocked with olive-oil unguents all lie behind a heavy wooden door. The suite’s sprawling terrace overlooks the flower-flanked pool and the soundproofed windows ensure this sexy sea-facing room keeps its secrets to itself.
This luxury hideaway in the hills is set on an ancient Byzantine estate and overlooks the fairy-tale rock city of Monemvasia. Framed by vineyards and olive groves, Kinsterna carefully marries traditional design with modern touches. The Byzantine Suites are the estate’s oldest – one can lay claim to being used as a cell thousands of years ago – with jagged stone arched ceilings, whitewashed walls and views over the iridescent waters of the Aegean.
After-dark holiday entertainment needn’t mean sangria-crawls down the Magaluf mile, especially when you’ve got the cocktail-clinking of Palma’s Old Town a few miles up the Mallorcan coast: book a place among the beautiful people at Puro Hotel’s buzzy, DJ-soundtracked beach club. Sunsets at San Giorgio in Mykonos are crowd-pullingly spectacular, but that’s not the end of the entertainment, rather an invitation to dance the night away under the stars. Glamourpusses: dress up in your designer best for martinis in Miami or champagne in St Tropez.
October's average temperature: 22°C
Flight time from London: 3h 55m
Smith Exclusive: Complimentary three course dinner
Set in 300-year-old caves, Perivolas was once the homes, wineries and stables of local fishermen and farmers. These days, the smoothly curved whitewashed walls hold a welcoming romantic retreat. With magnificent views of the Aegean, and a smooth all-white interior that evokes notions of sleeping inside a cloud, the Perivolas Suite invites you into bed at every turn – quite literally, as there’s both a king-size in the bedroom and a double in the domed lounge. Spend your days relaxing in the steam bath, hydrotherapy massage pool and private-cave swimming pool, and end with cocktails on the grand terrace, watching the sun set over the caldera.