My love affair with Greece started when I was quite young; my dad’s first wife was Greek-Cypriot, he’d lived in Athens, spoke some Greek and made a mean moussaka. And our first family holiday there – to Rhodes, when I was about 13 – simply cemented my affection for the country and its islands.
Since then I’ve been back many times, including a holiday with a friend to the ‘millionaire’s playground’ of Spetses, when we hired a motorbike and came off it five minutes later in the middle of the village square, much to the bemusement of the local people; and a wonderful all-inclusive with my son and his grandmother to the beautiful island of Lemnos.
I have a special affection for Athens; I know some people find it dirty and chaotic, but to me, that’s part of its charm. And trust me, there are few places better for getting your head together than the Acropolis. I also love the thrill of seeing oranges growing in the street, even if you can’t see them. When No 1 Son and I returned to the city this summer we found it to be as captivating as ever. Similarly Rhodes, where we spent a happy summer holiday a few years ago, remains one of my favourite islands. Tour the island and it’s perfectly possible to find lots of unspoilt beaches – plus of course stunning Lindos is always a must-see, and Symi makes an enchanting daytrip. If you’re thinking about holidays to Greece for 2014 (and Thomas Cook has a very good selection) I really can’t recommend Rhodes highly enough for a family holiday destination.
Of course, it’s not just the safe beaches, sunshine, fascinating history and culture that makes family holidays in Greece such a winner; the people are always super-friendly, and even now, you can always find a budget-friendly option. Then of course there’s the food. I defy anyone to try souvlaki or honey-soaked baklava or my personal favourite, feta cheese pies, and not fall totally in love with Greek cuisine. (Although I’m happy to give ouzo and Retsina a miss.)
The beauty of Greece holidays is that you can make them exactly what you want them to be; you can explore ancient ruins, soak up the culture, get sun-kissed on the glorious beaches and discover your own favourite coves and tavernas. If you haven’t been there already, I definitely recommend putting Greece on your travel wishlist.