4 min read | 13/12/2023
Hidden Greece: An SPL Villas guide to beating the crowds in Greece
Greece's sunny location, mouth-watering cuisine, and cultural sites make it a popular destination year on year with tourists from the UK. Ideal for groups of all shapes and sizes, whether you’re a family, a couple or a large group of friends, Greece is the perfect place to get away from it all.
Made up of thousands of islands (ranging somewhere between 1200 to 6000, depending on who you ask) but with only 227 of these occupied, so much of Greece contains magical hideaways for beating the crowds on your Greek holiday.
While there's nothing wrong with crowds, after you've seen the main sights, visited the Parthenon and explored the busier of the destinations, the hidden gems of Greece may be calling to you. Regardless of whether you're on a romantic holiday in Greece or if it's a family holiday, there’s plenty more to discover just around the corner off the beaten track.
Situated in the Aegean Sea, roughly halfway between the Greek mainland and Turkey, Paros is one of the most captivating islands in the Cyclades, matching Mykonos's old town for charm and history but with far less hustle and bustle. With its seaside capital of Paroika, the quieter island of Paros still has a lot to offer for families, couples and groups. Home to fantastic restaurants, relaxed cafes, quality shopping opportunities and even a reliable nightlife, you can expect to find everything here, only less frantic.
With villas on the island, you can explore all the island has to offer without ever having to hop on a ferry. With an abundance of charming villages on the island that are often overlooked compared to the main towns, this lovely little island has plenty in store for those willing to venture out.
Kos itself is a hive of activity, but for a good reason. Once home to Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, Kos is a gateway to the smaller Greek islands that lie close to Turkey. With a mostly pedestrianised town ideal for exploring with young families and a bustling harbourfront that serves the local restaurants with the catch of the day, anyone looking for a quieter experience on Kos need only catch a short ferry to one of the surrounding islands for a tranquil day trip.
Two of our favourites include exploring historic Nisyros and the volcanic centre that overlooks most of the island or visiting nearby Kalymnos, an island perfect for thrill-seekers and people who love the outdoors. Both see far fewer tourists than Kos and can be ideal if you're looking for a quiet Greek beach to while away a few hours. On your return to Kos, your dream villa will be waiting for you, with the calm waters of your private pool and the comforts of home.
As one of Greece's most well-known islands, it's unlikely you'd think of Rhodes as a quiet Greek island, especially in the high season, but if you look beyond the Old Town and the east coast, you'll find yourself among fewer tourists. While this may be a blog about the quieter gems of Greece, it wouldn't do Rhodes justice to not mention the island's Old Town, grand walls and the medieval buildings that have made it so popular. Like almost all of Greece, Rhodes is steeped in a history that lives on in the structures left behind by previous occupiers and civilisations.
If you leave your villa on the east coast and move west, you can encounter quieter towns where traditional life still has a foothold. Not only this but the remote western edges and hillier interior are great for hiking, exploring, and, if you enjoy the adventurous, windsurfing. Western Rhodes offers rare sights to those who travel to that part of the island, whether it's undisturbed flocks of butterflies basking in the summer sun or calming picturesque villages, with views to rival any island in the Aegean.
If you've spent any time in one of our Cretan villas on a Greek island holiday, you probably got the distinct impression that Crete may be more of a country of its own, and you wouldn't be far off. With a strong independent streak, Crete is the largest island in Greece. It has a long history of flashing its independent streak, from the Second World War stretching back to the 13th Century and beyond to the rivalry found in Ancient Greece's city-state conflicts. Despite all this, Crete's charming culture, fascinating past and a healthy dose of breathtaking views confirm that this island couldn't belong anywhere but Greece.
Home to some of Crete's most astounding scenery, with coastal views from roads cut into the cliff face and inland routes that wholly capture the beauty of this island. Among the towns in western Crete, you can find Chania, the former capital of Crete, which now serves as a phenomenal base from which to explore the rest of the island.
One for archaeologists of any age, central Crete is where you'll find the world-famous Knossos near to the charming town of Heraklion. You'll also find Rethymno, an old city of narrow streets that span out from a Venetian harbour. Considerably smaller than Chania, it has the same historic appeal with plenty of character to boot.
The island's eastern third contains a treasure trove of quiet beaches, where the sand stretches out towards the sea. Aside from the glorious sunbathing opportunities, you may notice more palm trees here than anywhere else in Greece, with legend attributing their success to Phoenicians spitting out their date pips! Eastern Crete is no stranger to myth and legend, one example being the Diktean Cave, the fabled birthplace of Zeus, which is available to visit. Our Greek villas in the charming town of Elounda are very much grounded in reality, however, and are perfect for both exploring everything in the immediate vicinity and also travelling further afield to uncover Crete's beauty.
If hidden gems and remote escapes sound idyllic, then Greece may be the perfect destination for you. While not wholly cut off and easily accessible, the hidden coves and quiet beaches of Greece make a delightful contrast to the bustling tourist's sites. You can explore the locations of your villa holiday in Greece here, or contact us if you have any questions.