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Villas in Greece
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Greece Villas

Luxury Villas Greece

Greece is unique. With the sea surrounding it on three sides: The Ionian Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Aegean Sea. Greece comprises more than 3000 islands and islets, with only 130 inhabited. Many of the most exclusive villas in Greece are located on the islands of the Aegean and Ionian Seas.

It's the home of the gods, and it's easy to see why. From a hilly vantage point, overlooking a cerulean blue sea with white villages dotted along the coastlines, there's something rather epic about this proud nation. The beautiful weather conditions match the warmth of the locals.

Cool sea breezes offset some of the languid heat of high summer. Sheltered bays with gentle lapping waves are an idyllic playground for families who like to SUP or snorkel. A visit to any luxurious Greek villas is always the first of many. The island groups and the mainland are so interesting and picturesque that there's always something new to see and experience.

Guide to greece


WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT GREECE?


What's special about Greece is the magical combination of ancient history and modern sophistication. Think Olympics, Marathons, Medicine, Mathematics – so much of what's embedded into our lives originated in this ancient country. The stories of the Iliad and Odyssey were the first blockbusters to capture the imagination of those searching for heroic adventures.

But modern Greece isn't just resting on its laurels (pun intended!). It isn't a combination of mainland and islands devoted to impressive, bleached stone monuments. There's a vibrant culture in Greece today. Young, educated, liberal citizens that love their Greek heritage but see themselves as globalists.

Fashion and style are part of the modern Greek way. The older generations keep traditions alive but have made way for a new way of living and thinking. So, this magical interweaving of impressive history and modernity without losing the nation's natural charm and grace makes Greece so special.


GREECE PLANNING TIPS?


How big is Greece?

Greece is one of the biggest countries in Europe. Spread over the Eastern Mediterranean, Greece has a total coastline of 8500 miles. The land mass of Greece – combining all the islands – amounts to over 50,000 sqm. So, it's big!

How do I get to Greece and its islands?

Getting to Greece and the Greek Islands is relatively simple and we will be happy to assist and provide you with information on the best routes to take.

The quickest and best way to travel to Greece is by plane. The most popular international airports are Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, and Heraklion. In addition, you can use internal flights, a ferry, a bus, or a train to move around. Alternatively, arriving by boat and weighing anchor is a classy option if you are yachting around the Mediterranean.

What are the best islands to visit?

Greece has thousands of islands, almost one hundred and fifty of which are inhabited. Here is a sample of some of the best islands to visit.

Santorini, located less than a 45-minute flight south of Athens or 4 hours by boat, is one of the most exquisitely beautiful places on the planet. It is part of the Cycladic group of Greek islands. It is famous for its spectacular sunsets, whitewashed houses, authentic Greek villages, blue-domed churches, fabulous Mediterranean food, volcanic beaches with crystal clear waters, and of course, the sheer beauty of the Caldera.

Santorini is one of the world's natural wonders and should be on every avid traveler's bucket list. Santorini was originally named Thira by the Venetians who occupied it in the 13th Century. Some people still call it Thira today. Santorini was formed due to a cataclysmic volcanic eruption more than 3600 years ago. Before the eruption, Santorini was a much bigger circular island.

As you stand on the Caldera or cliff top, you can see where the middle of the island was replaced by sea after the eruption.

Most Santorini luxury villas are built into the Caldera or Clifftop. As a result, no matter where you are staying, you will feel you have the best view on the island. There is no bad view from anywhere on the Caldera.

This cliff face is where everyone wants to be, although many parts of the island are stunningly beautiful, and we are happy to recommend some vacation rentals in Santorini Greece located in other quieter areas of the island. Santorini is a particularly popular destination for romance, weddings, and honeymoons.

There are two main towns on the Caldera. The capital is Thira, a picture-perfect Greek town lined with lovely boutiques, tourist shops, tavernas, and fine dining restaurants, many of which have been built to take full advantage of the views. The second newer town in Santorini is Oia. It is located on the most westerly tip and is the place to experience the best sunsets.

Sunset time is a big event in Santorini, with people gathering for cocktails to enjoy the amazing spectacle before them. So, if you choose wisely and book any of the westerly-facing vacation rentals Santorini Greece you will have your sunsets built-in and part of your memorable experience. Oia also has excellent shopping, with plenty of designer shops and charming boutiques. Check out the best places to stay in Santorini.

Mykonos is another favorite island of ours, and we are proud to represent some of the best luxury Mykonos villas on our website. With its international airport or via a very short flight from Athens, you can be easily established in one of the sublime Mykonos villas for rental. Mykonos is famous for its amazing beaches, sparkling blue sea, sunsets, parties, nightlife, gourmet restaurants, windmills, and gorgeous whitewashed villages.

If you are a fan of beaches, then look no further then Mykonos Beaches that offers some of the best beach clubs in Europe.  Mykonos is glamorous and chic and attracts celebrities and A-listers from around the globe to its shores.

The main town of Mykonos is worth special mention as it is considered one of the most beautiful of all traditional Greek whitewashed towns. It is on the sea and full of stone and paved winding alleyways, lined with fabulous designer shops, unique boutiques, art galleries, bars, fine dining restaurants, and authentic Greek Tavernas serving only the freshest and best food. One of the top things to do in Mykonos is to visit the old Town and ramble through the narrow streets!

Although Mykonos is very popular for glamorous parties, there are also plenty of quiet and stunningly beautiful places where you can spend tranquil days in nature. From the privacy of one of the Mykonos villas luxury takes on a whole new meaning.

Halkidiki, home to Mount Athens and the Eagles Palace luxury resort, is a peninsula in North East Greece. Slightly off the main tourist trail, this is fast-becoming one of the sought-after Greek destinations for visitors in search of unspoiled villages, towns, and beaches. It has so many hidden gems, and there are plenty of things to do in Halkidiki.

Athens is well worth a visit. It packs a powerful punch for urban sophistication, glamour, and history. The team at Exceptional Villas will be delighted to help you with accommodation in the city and arrange a multi-destination vacation if you would like to get a good sense of the Greek capital and some of the Greek islands.

Crete is another one of the beautiful Aegean islands. It is more mountainous than its neighbors, with spectacular rocky coasts, sandy beaches, and beautiful crystal-clear waters. Crete is the largest of all the Greek islands and, as a result, has an interesting interior landscape full of green and lush mountain terrain.

Crete also has the distinction of being the birthplace of Europe's earliest civilizations and therefore is full of history and culture. There are many archaeological sites and interesting towns and villages to explore from one of the Greek island villas for rent that Crete is famous for. The warmth of the people of Crete is famous throughout the country, and their hospitality is legendary.

Corfu is another favorite island of our clients. It is located in the Ionian Sea, on the northwest coast of Greece. This island is full of beautiful coves and rugged bays. It is a very eclectic island with a diverse architectural style with influences from Italy, France, and Great Britain. These influences reflect the turbulent past of this peaceful island occupied by three nations at one time.

One of the interesting points of interest in Corfu is the town of Kerkyra which is proud to be on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The town is beautiful and well-preserved, with a Byzantine Fortress and ancient monuments. The north of Corfu is generally quieter than the south and has lovely fishing villages and quaint tavernas. When you choose one of the Greek villas for rent in Corfu, you will be ideally based to explore one of the most diverse Hellenic islands.

How do I get around in Greece?

Take your pick from planes, boats, mopeds, bicycles, horseback, or on foot. Going to other islands or exploring the rugged coastlines can be best done by sea. Longer distances are easily covered by plane or ferry but if your vacation time in Greece is limited, try to do and see as much as possible where you are. Immerse yourself in all that's offered at your destination before expanding your field of exploration.

When is a good time to visit Greece?

A good time to visit Greece is before the busy-busy Summer season. Trips in late May and September can offer competitive pricing on Greece vacation rentals. If you are in Greece in April for Easter, you will love the festivals, food, and traditions that appear everywhere.

The Greeks do love to party, and food and wine are all part of the fun. Some of our luxury Greek island villas come with housekeeping staff who will let you know if there's a local festival or celebration that you and your family can participate in.

Do I need to drive?

No, you don't need to drive in Greece. Exceptional Villas can arrange for a transfer to get you to many of the luxury Greek villas. A car and tour driver can take you to some of the spectacular sights and sites around your island destination. The value of having a car to explore at your own pace, do some grocery shopping, or visit pretty inland villages for authentic lunches with the locals, is wonderful.

Is it safe to drive in Greece?

Absolutely. It is safe to drive in Greece. It might be a little challenging to travel on remote, rural roads at night, but for daytime exploration, it's easy to get around.

Do you recommend car rental?

Yes, we recommend car rental for anyone wishing to explore the larger islands of Crete, Corfu, and Mykonos. Most rental companies will expect you to be over 21 with a full driving license for at least two years. The rule about US drivers requiring an International Drivers Permit to rent a car in Greece no longer applies.

If you fancy taking your rental car further afield, three of the most popular short car ferry routes from mainland Greece are to Kefalonia, Corfu, and Zante islands. For example, the car ferry from the mainland terminal of Igoumenitsa to Corfu takes about 1 hour.

Are taxis easily available?

Taxis are readily available in any tourist spot. You will generally find taxi ranks near railway stations, ferry ports, and town squares. If you and your group need a taxi back to one of the Greek luxury villas from a bar or restaurant, the proprietors will be delighted to call one for you. Taxi drivers on islands like Santorini, Crete, and Corfu are so knowledgeable they will know exactly where to find your villa.

Is Greece safe?

Yes, Greece is safe. It operates like any modern European country. It doesn't have a violent culture; there is respect for women and a tolerant culture. Of course, petty theft and opportunistic crime can occur, but if you use common sense, you can avoid this.

What are the beaches like?

The beaches in Greece are beautiful. Whether sandy or pebble beaches, the water is so clear and beautiful. Any beach in the main tourist islands offers sunbeds, umbrellas, and bars. It's very easy to locate yourself on one of these rented sunbeds and enjoy delicious food and drinks from the nearby bar, dipping in and out of the gorgeous water to cool off from time to time.

Do I need a visa?

Greece, part of the Schengen group of European countries, welcomes many nationalities without a visa. However, if the country that has issued your passport doesn't have a reciprocal arrangement with Greece, you will be obliged to apply for a visa to enter the country. Check out this list of countries that do not need visas to enter Greece for holiday purposes.

How many days should I spend?

It would help if you spent as many days in Greece as possible. The diverse islands, the amazing history, and the fun and interesting things to do, make Greece one of the fascinating destinations to visit.

Are credit cards widely accepted?

Credit cards are widely accepted in large tourist centers, upscale restaurants, and bars. Most businesses are required by law to have a POS (Point of Sale) system, but many places are equally happy to receive cash. ATMs are available around the country and across the islands, but they run out of cash later in the day so extract your funds early.

What is the Currency in Greece?

The currency in Greece is Euros, the only currency accepted in Greece. Use your ATM card to withdraw funds in Euros from an ATM.

What's the weather like?

Greece enjoys Mediterranean climate conditions. Warm, dry conditions from Spring to late Autumn, with peak temperatures in July and August. The winters are generally mild, with a little rain. It is possible to visit Greece in winter and have a wonderful vacation in one of the Greek islands villas for rent.

Some of the more tourist-centric bars and services might be suspended or limited. Still, you will find blissful tranquility as you experience a more authentic Greek experience. And let's not forget Christmas. The Greeks throw themselves into this celebration. Try to stay on for New Year because that's really at the heart of the Greek Christmas season and when families exchange gifts. It's worth checking out.

Is Greece a good destination for kids?

Greece is for everyone! With so many beaches, there's a wealth of water-based and fun activities for all ages. Visit Greece during the Easter vacation and enjoy the parades and food. If you are lucky enough to be staying in vacation rentals in Corfu at Easter, the crazy tradition of throwing large pottery pieces into the streets, and smashing them, is an anarchic event that kids seem to love.

What is the food like?

They say if you analyze traditional Greek cuisine, you will get a snapshot of its rather convoluted and turbulent past. Spices from the east rub shoulders with Western European influences. At the crossroads of Europe, some of the Greek islands were occupied by other nations. When these oppressors were ejected, they left behind some culinary influences.

But without getting into a detailed history lesson, you can enjoy Greek food for what it is—something delicious, filled with goodness, and wonderful. The universally celebrated Mediterranean diet of fresh vegetables and seafood is the backbone of many delicious meals. Lamb is a meat that's at the heart of celebratory meals.

Traditional dishes like moussaka – layers of potato and minced lamb – are on most menus. Stuffed vine leaves (Dolmades), a classic Greek salad of feta, tomato, and olives, and not forgetting the toothsome Baklava (filo pastry with honey and nuts) are firm favorites.

Vegans and vegetarians will find many delicious vegetarian options. The climate in Greece lends itself to growing a wide variety of peppers, aubergines, courgettes, and citrus fruits. You will find all of these transformed into the most delicious meals.

Is tap water safe to drink?

Tap water is safe to drink in many areas of Greece. The best rule is to ask if the water is of a standard for drinking at whichever of the villas in Greece you are staying. Of course, bottled water is readily available everywhere, but in most cases, you'll be able to drink the tap water in your villa.

What type of electrical adapter/converter will I need?

Greek electrical plugs are rounded two-pin plugs. The standard voltage is 230 V, and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. Travelers from Europe will find the voltage comparable with their domestic supply, so an electrical converter is unnecessary. T

ravelers from the US will need to bring an electrical converter to use with their appliances. Always read the small print on any electrical power lead labels and follow the recommended guidelines to protect your phones, laptops, etc.

Explaining Greek Plumbing

Once you get used to the unusual practice of placing used toilet paper in the allocated bins in restrooms, you'll start to live like the Greeks. The plumbing pipes used in Greece are narrow gauge and not designed for toilet paper or personal hygiene items. So, just put all of this debris in the bin by the loo.

Coming from a country that allows you to flush the paper, you might feel self-conscious about leaving your paper in the bin but trust me, it's just a way of life in Greece. It's better to comply with this rule than to have a blocked pipe and a major plumbing issue for you and the community.

How long do I need to connect with a domestic flight when I arrive on my international flight to Athens?

Most airlines recommend a minimum connection time of 2 hours which should be sufficient if your flight operates on time. However, building a safety cushion of 2.5 to 3 hours into your connection will give you more peace of mind.

What is the best way to island hop?

The Greek islands are in groups, so traveling between islands within the same groups can be geographically possible. The Ionian Islands (Corfu, Paxos, Zykanthos or Zante), The Cyclades (Santorini and Mykonos), The Sporades (Skiathos, Sporades), The Dodecanese (Kos, Kalymnos), The Saronic Islands (Poros, Hydra), The North Aegean Islands (Crete, Thasos, Samos, Ikaria).

Scheduled ferries are one of the easiest ways to travel between islands. Tip: always check out the distance and time involved. If you plan to take your rental car on one of the car ferries, check with the rental company if your insurance covers you for this trip. Public holidays and local festivals can impact regular schedules, so plan ahead.

On a smaller scale, a day of sailing, taking in a few uninhabited islands, can be one of the best things to do when you're staying at some of the villas in Santorini Greece. For example, the island of Ios, 21 nautical miles from Santorini, is a favorite destination for its pretty beaches.

A knowledgeable skipper can take you to quiet, unspoiled coves and show you some of the hidden magic of Greece. The Greeks are historically a seafaring nation so getting a beautiful view of the islands from the prow of a boat is a priceless experience.

Can I rent an ATV/Scooter or Buggy?

Yes, there are many rental companies around the islands where you can do a day rental of an ATV, Scooter, or Buggy. However, the rules about renting these vehicles have become stricter. For example, a driver's license and experience handling the vehicle in question are needed. Also, check the insurance coverage as often it's only third-party.

Do I tip in Greece and if so how much?

Tipping in Greece is customary but not obligatory. The loose rule is that if you've had good service – in a restaurant, taxi, hairdresser, or tour give a 10-15% gratuity. In smaller restaurants, cafes, and tavernas, leave your tip in cash even if you've paid by card. The Greeks are courteous and like to go beyond the expected service, so it's great to reward that extra special help.

If your restaurant includes service in the final bill, you do not need to leave a tip. However, some restaurants may add a 'cover charge.' This charge is usually for bread and water placed on the table when you sit down. It doesn't mean 'service included.' If you don't want the bread or water, just let the restaurant know, and they will remove it from your table and your bill.

Do most people in Greece speak English?

The Greek people are so warm and welcoming. The younger generations all speak excellent English. The older generations have enough English to help you out. In some remote communities, you'll find that a kind smile is a universal language that works with everyone.

Is Greece a kid-friendly destination?

Absolutely. Greece is a kid-friendly destination. The Greeks adore children. If you are traveling with a baby, expect the wait staff to coo over your little tot. Greek children join adults in restaurants and behave with the solemn dignity of a grown-up. They are used to joining in at mealtimes and consuming whatever is on the menu—saying that you will find special 'kid-friendly' choices everywhere to cater to the non-Greek child.

Is Greece disabled-friendly?

Greece has improved its accessibility for travelers with mobility issues. Most modern hotels, restaurants, and large public transport systems have incorporated facilities and access for certain disabled travelers. However, the nature of historic sites and old town cobbled streets in certain destinations will make getting around by wheelchair very tricky.

For instance, the narrow and stepped streets of Santorini can prove challenging. Therefore, Crete might be a better Greek island for travelers looking for various services set up with wheelchair access in mind.

Are there nude bathing beaches on the islands?

Yes, there are nude beaches on some of the Greek islands. To clarify, topless sunbathing for women is legal but not traditionally something you would see on popular family beaches. Instead, the Greeks have designated more private beaches like Plakias Beach in Crete for anyone who wants to let it all hang out. Another option for visitors who avoid tan lines is the secluded Myrtiotissa beach on Corfu's west coast.

If you are wondering how best to behave, the old saying 'when in Rome' is a good rule of thumb. Look at how the locals dress and behave to understand what's acceptable in this Christian country.

Do I need travel insurance?

It's always a good idea to have travel insurance. With so many companies offering a competitive premium, there's value in having an annual policy that covers you and your family for all the trips you take.

For our US guests, we have partnered with, Travel Insured. They are a leading travel protection provider with more than 20 successful years of experience in their field. Their travel protection plans are designed around your needs, helping you to relax and travel, knowing that they can support you if your trip goes awry at any given time. Contact our concierge team for a quote.


INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT GREECE?


Here are some interesting things about Greece.

Greece calls itself the Hellenic Republic. Although the world at large still refers to the country as Greece, the official name is the Hellenic Republic. Once the Greeks had a royal family, but in 1924 it declared itself a republic, formally ratified by a referendum in 1974.

It's one of the sunniest places in the world. Summer (May to October) temperatures range from mid '70s to 90s (July, Aug). The winter months in the southern Greek islands can be around 60F, but cooler in the North. The size of an island and prevailing winds play their part in determining specific temperatures and climate.

You'll find more mountains in Greece than in most other European countries. It's what makes it such a picturesque nation to explore. Winding roads, weaving through wooded hills dotted with dazzling white villages, and endless sea views are all part of the Greek landscape.


THINGS TO DO IN GREECE


Get into the water! The seas around the islands are stunning. Most coves and beaches have sheltered conditions that are perfect for families. There are lots of sandy beaches, but you will find some beaches covered with smooth stones – a nice change from bringing home towels full of sand.

Eat, eat, eat. The food experience around the country is amazing. Local talented chefs have found a way to translate traditional Greek fare into something very high-end. But small family-run tavernas can provide glorious food options if you like to live like the locals.

If you are staying in luxury Greek villas to rent in Corfu, you will be thrilled to find that there's still an Italian influence not just in Venetian-style architecture but on the plate. Pasta is one of the surprisingly traditional Corfu dishes.

There’s a big party scene in Greece. Some of the islands have fantastic club scenes and welcome some world-famous DJs. Most of the larger islands have lively towns and resorts that have ideal vacation rentals in Greece for the younger generations but there are always quieter places too for those who like a more laid-back vacation vibe.

If you love your coffee, you must try a 'freddo.' A freddo is any coffee of your choice but served over ice. For instance, Freddo Espresso or Freddoccino. There's nothing so refreshing as a delicious, iced coffee as you relax in the shade on a hot and sunny day.


WHY BOOK WITH EXCEPTIONAL VILLAS?


You should book with Exceptional Villas because of our passionate approach to what we do. Our Greek Sales and Concierge specialists love sharing their knowledge of this destination. Our staff have visited the country on many occasions and explored the towns and villages on the islands. An intimate knowledge of our beautiful properties is another important consideration when choosing the best property to suit your needs and desires.

Greece is spectacular and firmly at the top of European vacation destinations. So, allow Exceptional Villas to prepare your Greek odyssey. Let us plan a vacation experience fit for the gods in this great country. Whether you call it Greece or the Hellenic Republic, it's quite simply heaven.


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