So, you're seeking a villa in Greece? Great choice. This is a country where relaxation oozes from every pine-scented beach and sleepy olive grove, where you can breathe easy in luxurious pads on the mountainsides or while away whole weeks reclining on resplendent shores. This guide has tips and hints to help you find the right pad this year.
Favourite islands to seek out stunning villas in Greece
Think of Greece – think of islands. At least that's the case for many a traveller on a quest for sun and sand. From the white-rock archipelagos of the Ionian Sea to the olive-clad peaks of the Aegean Sea, there are loads of spots on the Greek map where you can hop away from the cities and the mainland to experience a taste of real Mediterranean island life. Some of the perennial favourites are listed below.
A villa in Greece with a view on Santorini
Calling honeymooners and couples to the uber-romantic towns of Oia and Fira. They drift like a wisp of white mist along the rugged cliffs of perhaps the Aegean's most dramatic of all islands. The whole place was once a colossal volcano, though an eruption back in the Minoan age shattered the cone and created high perches for the modern farming villages that still come trodden by pack donkeys today. If you're keen to bag a villa in Greece with a view, this is surely the island to head for.
Mykonos can surprise
Forget what you've heard – Mykonos isn't just for the hedonists, although you're bound to love a night on the ouzo and mezze down in taverna-ringed Little Venice. This gorgeous island also has plenty of Greek villas peppering its smaller coves and beaches, which get wilder the closer to the east coast you venture. Day trips can also be made across to Delos, somewhere that's steeped in history as the onetime home of the great Delian League come Athenian Empire.
Explore an island unto itself in Crete
Crete is the largest of the isles and so a fine place to go hunting for that perfect villa in Greece. It's speckled with enticing homes, most of which fringe the popular beaches of the north shore, which runs in pebble and sand between Rethymno and out to Kissamos Kasteli, using ancient Chania and its gorgeous Venetian lighthouse as an anchor. Move past those, however, and you'll soon find yourself in a long-forgotten land of carved gorges and stone-built villages, where rentals huddle amid chestnut forests and cling like castles to the Lefka Ori mountains.
Corfu for history and beaches
While ancient, Corfu greets visitors with ruins of Venetian castles and a rabbit-warren of an old town where 17th-century merchant mansions fringe the cypress-shaded streets. Move north or south from the main port, where you're likely to arrive by boat, and let the white-stone sands of Kassiopi or the dune-backed stretches of golden Issos Beach take over.
Discover an Ionian jewel in Kefalonia
Anchor-shaped Kefalonia rises with white-hued cliffs from the gleaming blue of the Ionian Sea. It's the epitome of the western islands, topped with the fishing boat-bobbing harbour of Fiskardo, where low-rise cottages painted yellow and pink huddle along a cobbled quayside, interspersed with tavernas and cantinas. Just around from that is Myrtos Beach, where the villas poke out of the olive groves to overlook a hidden line of pebbles and sloshing water.
Where to find villas in Greece on the mainland
There's certainly no shortage of adventure to be had outside of the Greek islands, where millennia of history coalesces between the soaring peaks and sloshing seas.
Delve into the Peloponnese
Though it's technically a large island, separated by the sheer-cut Corinth Canal and the Gulf of Corinth, the Peloponnese is usually considered with the mainland provinces of Greece. It's a wild region of mountains and enthralling ancient ruins, ringed by peninsulas and hidden inlets aplenty. In the east, little Poros pokes out to offer yacht-packed harbours. In the west, the Methoni riviera has long been a place for truly luxurious villas in Greece. Between them, mystical ruins like Mycenae and bustling towns like Nafplio are always worth a visit.
Head north to Chalkidiki
Shaped like 3 fingers spreading into the northern Aegean, Chalkidiki hosts its own share of villas close to the city of Thessaloniki. Of the trio of regions, it's the headland of Sithonia that usually draws the crowds, with a soft topography of green hills that dip down to lovely beaches like Porto Koufo and Tripotamos.
Features of luxury villas in Greece
There's a special category of villas in Greece set aside for those who like to live in the height of comfort whenever they travel. If that sounds like you, read on for an idea of what to expect.
A villa in Greece with a view
The carved topography of Greece often means that villas here come with stunning views. The most luxurious stays of all will really make the most of their position, whether that's with a patio overlooking the cobalt-blue waters of the Saronic Gulf or an audacious infinity pool spilling across the ridges of Santorini.
A pool that's got character
With the mercury regularly pushing above 40 during the summer months, it's easy to see why quite so many villas in Greece come with their own swimming pool. However, some of the classiest pads don't just offer a place to take a dip – they tout shimmering infinity pools that seem to merge with the azure Aegean or enticing splash pools overlooking undulating olive groves.