A consistently favorite destination for tourists is Greece, which is consistently ranked among the top 10 countries for holidays in Europe.
Now, however, she wants tourists to experience her lesser-known, but equally beautiful spots.
EOT: New tourism campaign 2023 – “Greece. A life-changing vacation”
Extension of the tourist season
“We are going beyond the sea and the sun. We want to extend the tourist season both in time and space,” said Olympia Anastasopoulou, secretary general for tourism policy and development at the Greek ministry. of Tourism, to CNBC Travel.
For this, Greece is investing in its most remote localities, notably Syros, Amorgos and Milos, as part of the “All you want is Greece” campaign.
“Our goal is for these islands to expand more seasonally as well. We would like to see tourist flows extended to other months,” said Eleni Mitraki, director of tourism promotion at EOT, noting that the season can last from March to November.
The plans coincide with the expansion of direct flights from the United States to Greece, starting in March 2023.
Currently, Germany and the United Kingdom represent the largest inbound tourism markets in Greece in terms of revenue, followed by the United States, France and Italy. However, Ms. Anastasopoulou pointed out that further growth is expected from other markets, mainly Canada and India.
CNBC’s Top 7
Let’s see what are the best choices for less popular destinations in Greece, according to CNBC Travel.
Located in the southeastern Aegean Sea, Kalymnos is famous for its sponge diving – scuba diving to collect natural sponges from the seabed – which brought considerable wealth and recognition to the island in the previous century. .
More recently, the island has become a world-renowned location for rock climbers, with over 3,000 climbing routes covering the many rocks, caves and ledges of its rugged landscape.
Kalymnos’ tourist season culminates in autumn with the Kalymnos Climbing Festival. However, adventure seekers can visit year-round, with a range of other activities including diving, hiking and boating.
A paradise for history buffs
Ios is located between Santorini and Naxos and was once considered an exclusive party destination. However, the Cyclades island has renewed its image in recent years to highlight its historical physiognomy.
Ios is home to one of Greece’s oldest settlements, the monument of Skarkos, and also has close ties to the Greek epic poet Homer, who died on the island.
Alongside the history, visitors to Ios can also explore its bountiful beaches and hiking and diving sites, before sampling some of the local cheeses for which the island is famous.
A movie buff’s delight
Skopelos rose to fame as the filming location for the hit musical ‘Mamma Mia’ and has since become a popular destination for weddings and honeymoons.
Part of the Skopelos archipelago in the northwest Aegean, the island combines stunning beaches and picturesque villages with a range of diving and cycling routes.
Legend has it that the island was founded by the son of the Greek god of wine. And although many of its vineyards were destroyed by pests in the 1940s, small-scale domestic production continues today. Meanwhile, plums, almonds, chestnuts, figs, citrus fruits and olives adorn the local cuisine.
One of the largest islands in the Cyclades and only two hours from mainland Greece, the mountainous Andros features a diverse landscape of forests, waterfalls, beaches and local vegetation, making it ideal for a getaway in outdoors.
Visitors can explore the island via the extensive network of hiking trails or try their hand at windsurfing or diving, before sampling the local cuisine.
Art and culture lovers can visit the many monasteries, galleries and museums of Andros, such as the Archaeological Museum of Andros and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Part of the Dodecanese, Astypalaia has a rich ancient history. But it “looks” resolutely towards the 21st century, aiming to become the first sustainable island in the Mediterranean.
Under an agreement with the Greek government and Volkswagen, Astypalaia plans to implement an island-wide zero-emissions plan by 2030, with traditional vehicle rentals replaced by electric cars, scooters and bicycles.
Tourists arriving on the so-called Butterfly Island can also enjoy its natural landscape, home to beautiful beaches, rocky slopes and diverse flora and fauna, as well as picturesque villages with white houses draped in bougainvillea.
Surrounded by 24 islets with dozens of blue-green beaches, Leipsos in the Dodecanese is considered the Polynesia of the Aegean Sea and an ecological paradise.
With a rich expanse of flora and fauna protected by the European Union, the island is home to a variety of rare animals such as Mediterranean seals and sea turtles. Dolphins are also common in the area and a new marine life sanctuary is expected to open on the island soon.
Vacationers can enjoy boating, diving and hiking, before dining at seafood tavernas and attending local festivals such as the August Wine Festival.
The joy of divers
Alonissos, an island in the Sporades, is a diver’s paradise and home to Greece’s first underwater museum. Along with the “Parthenon of Shipwrecks”, one of the largest shipwrecks of the Classic period dating from 425 BC. AD, the site offers divers a unique insight into the history of the region.
The island is also home to the Alonissos and Northern Sporades National Marine Park, the largest marine protected area in Europe today, offering visitors the opportunity to see a wide variety of plants and animals.
Kayaking, hiking, and cycling are among the activities on offer on the island, while museums and a local theater group showcase the island’s artistic and cultural side.