Romance, Grecian Style

The Greek Islands are a treasure trove for romantic getaways rich in culture and history

By: By Sarah Sussman


Homeric Tours 
Key Tours 
Ya’lla Tours USA 

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For a glimpse of the islands' whimsical windmills and azure waters, check out our Greek Island photo tour 

Nothing could be more romantic than the Greek Islands, where couples can wander along the white-washed alleys of Santorini or look over its glittering lagoon, left by an ancient volcanic eruption some 3,600 years ago. Of the more than 6,000 fascinating islands and islets that make up the Greek Islands, only 227 are inhabited, making them an idyllic and tranquil retreat.

Mykonos is known for its idyllic landscape and its vibrant nightlife. // (c) Global Jet
Mykonos is known for its idyllic landscape and its vibrant nightlife.

Because of the islands’ overwhelming natural resources and landscapes, both newlyweds and couples looking for something out of the ordinary will find it to be a welcoming getaway, replete with cultural history and scenic beauty.

From Bronze-Age frescoes to picturesque white villages, the Greek Islands have mystery, allure and a beauty all its own.

The Greek isle of Mykonos is ideal for couples looking to dance the night away. Renowned for its nightlife, which has been praised as one of the hottest night spots in Europe, Mykonos attracts world-famous disc jockeys to its clubs and beach bars. Popular hot spots include Paradise Club Mykonos, Super Paradise Beach and Paranga Beach. During the summer months, in particular, Mykonos is a gay-friendly resort destination featuring several gay clubs.

It’s no wonder Mykonos is a favorite among tour operators, too. Homeric Tours offers an air-inclusive, deluxe honeymoon package for couples through October. Its 10-day package includes two nights in Athens and six nights divided between Santorini and Mykonos or Crete, depending on the couple’s choice. In Athens, couples are welcomed with a bottle of sparkling wine and traditional candy; in Mykonos, they are given a complimentary one-day car rental; in Crete, they receive a bottle of wine, fruit and fresh flowers; in Santorini, they are also gifted with fruit and wine. Homeric Tours also offers elegant accommodations in luxurious hotels, including the deluxe-class San Marcos Hotel on Mykonos and the Elounda Peninsula all-suite hotel on Crete.

Other tour operators have also taken note of the isle’s romantic allure, designing packages that highlight the islands’ richest cultural offerings, specifically with honeymooners and romance-seekers in mind.

Ya’lla Tours USA offers a special eight-day, seven-night package that combines the best of Athens’ history with the scenery of the isles. On this itinerary, travelers arrive in Athens where they are met by a Ya’lla Tours USA representative and escorted to their hotel for an overnight stay. The next day, they begin a half-day tour, ascending to the Acropolis and taking in the full grandeur of 500 B.C. Athens. Next, guests visit the Propylaia (gateway to the Acropolis), the Temple of Athena Nike (Victory), the Parthenon and the Erechteion. Upon descent, the tour passes through Mars Hill, where the text of Paul’s famous sermon was inscribed on the rock at its foot. The expansive Agora of Athens, where ancient philosophers counseled and taught, is located below. Continuing on to modern Athens, the tour visits the Parliament with its famous guards, the Plaka area and other sites before departing for the Greek Isles. On the third day, guests fly to Mykonos where they can spend the evening and following day in leisure before traveling to Santorini, where they can spend three days in relaxation. Ya’lla Tours’ Greece for Lovers package runs from May through September 2009.

For a trip that’s focused solely on the islands, try Key Tours’ five-day, four-night cruise, starting at $815 per person. Here, clients spend one night in an Athens hotel before being whisked away on a ship for a day on the sun-drenched, glittering isle of Mykonos. Then, it’s off to historic Kusadasi and Rhodes, the Island of Roses, with an option to explore the Old Town and visit idyllic Lindos. Taxis wait to take swimmers to nearby, crystal-clear Aegean beaches. On the final day, guests arrive in Heraklion, located on the fabled island of Crete. Time is allotted to explore the town, or travelers can join an optional excursion to the Palace of Knossos. The tour then proceeds to the island of Santorini, where clients can explore villages or enjoy local wine at a restaurant with a magnificent caldera view before their overnight cruise takes them back to Piraeus Pier in Athens.