Escape to Greece: City vs Islands

The Athenian Riviera has undergone a resurgence, much to the delight of the discerning honeymooner who can revel in the dining, drinking and culture which has now ventured into the streets of Athens.

Chairs on a terrace in the evening looking out to sea and mountains

The boutique bars and trendy dining outlets along with leading hotels such as The Alex, from the Greek family run group Santikos Collection, make Athens and its Riviera coastline the ideal spot for a city escape. Piraeus has also become a mecca for exciting new gallery openings in recent years, due to masses of students who have studied abroad returning with new-found talent and kickstarting a new art scene in the region.

New openings include Intermission, Rodeo and most recent of all Carwan which after nearly a decade of activities in Beirut, Lebanon and participation in more than 50 international exhibitions, relocated to Piraeus in September 2020. The team at The Alex pride themselves on being able to offer the best insider knowledge to their guests, finding a suitable recommendation no matter their culinary palate or activity desire for honeymooners and visitors alike. Here they have pulled together a few of their favourite drinking, dining and cultural hotspots to help with planning your very own weekend in the city...

sofas on a terraced at night with the hillside town views in the bakground


Pirée: Combining culture and entertainment, Pirée has a café bar where you can enjoy premium drinks, delicious coffee and a food menu while admiring the work of young talents. The creative energy is palpable, and if you're lucky, you may even get to assist in an art performance.

Okio MusiCafe: In Marina Zeas, this live music coffee bar is open all day and serves drinks and creative cocktails in the evening. The music playlist includes world music, soul, funk and jazz; the bar also regularly hosts live gigs.

1903 A Taste of Smyrna: Located in the centre of cosmopolitan Glyfada, this is a restaurant which takes you back in time. Well-known chef Ilias Skoulas, is inspired by the genuine traditional Greek cuisine asit developed in Smyrna at the beginning of the previous century, andcreates delicious dishes.

Orizontes, Athens: Perched on Lycabettus Hill, one of the highest peaks in Athens, the views from Orizontes are god-level – sit outdoors come sunset with the Acropolis, Aegean Sea and entire city sprawled below!

The Intermission: A new exhibition space in Piraeus initiated by Artemis Baltoyanni. The focus will be on exhibitions of critically acclaimed international artists, emerging, established and historical.

Rodeo Gallery: Opened in Piraeus in June 2018 and located in a former commercial warehouse, Berlin-based architect Etienne Descloux designed the space and, in addition to its exhibition programme, the venue hosts screenings, talks, performances and other events.

bedroom with white walls, a bed, and views of the sea


When you arrive at The Alex, check in, hand your bags over at the desk, and head straight for the 4th floor where you'll find Nest – the hotel's rooftop restaurant and cocktail bar with unobstructed harbour views!

Soak up the incredible sunset views and magical harbourside atmosphere while indulging in the popular menu choice: tagliatelle with ragout beef served with Greek "ksinomitzithra" cheese and thyme.

Nightly rates at The Alex start from £110, visit the following website for more information

aerial view of Greek islands surround by the ocean

Island hopping

Not only will honeymooners looking for a short-haul destination be encapsulated with the historical culture of Athens, but Greece is ideal for those in need of some R&R post-vows too.

Whether you're after quiet reflection in a small deluxe hotel before another hop for cultural immersion, or perhaps you want to learn a new skill like sailing or scuba diving, Olympic Holidays' bespoke island-hopping itineraries offer something for everyone. With tailor-made itineraries offering accommodation across a range of price points, including hotel and interislandtransfers, its knowledgeable team are on hand to recommend the best destinations and create bespoke cultural trips, holidays and gourmet getaways.

Destinations include the Saronic Islands (Poros, Spetses and Aegina), Dodecanese (Rhodes, Halki, Kalymnos, Leros, Tilos, Symi and Kos), which are delightfully different and easily connected by ferries and catamarans. Cyclades (Santorini, Naxos, Andros, Paros, Tinos and Mykonos) where each island has its own strong identity, so island hopping brings with it new customs, significantly different landscapes and everything for peaceful days to lively nights. The Sporades (Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos) with their fantastic beaches, crystal clear sea and lush green forests, and Ionian (Corfu, Paxos, Ithaka, Kefalonia & Zante), home to caves and lakes, ancient ruins and windsurfing hotspots plus five-star hotels with Michelin-star cuisine. Crete can also be combined with both the Cyclades and Dodecanese Islands.

greek island town, with sea views and a steam boat in the water


A romantic lustre adds sparkle to the marvellous Sporades Islands. Legend has it that one island was created by the love child of gods. Now two islands are the focus of one of the 21st-century's most successful romantic movies, Mamma Mia.

Skiathos: Just 12-miles long but with more than 60 beaches, gorgeous Skiathos Town has shady tavernas on a busy waterfront. The narrow streets of the bustling old town are crammed with shops, cafes and bars. You can climb Medieval castles, stroll through forests, discover quiet sandy beaches and even take a rescued dog for a walk.

Skopelos: Next stop, scenic Skopelos. Look out for dolphins before you sail into a harbour that is backed by a hillside covered in white houses with terracotta roofs. Tree-filled Skopelos has forests, and orchards and several beaches can be reached easily by bus or hired vehicles and many more beaches are waiting to be found in bays and coves.

Alonissos: A gem for those wanting to get away from it all. You feel the sense of calm as you sail into elegant Patitiri, the small town and mainport. Some beaches have bright white pebbles or sand creating a vivid contrast with the turquoise sea. Many are surrounded by pine forests that cover much of the island. Alonissos is in Europe's largest marine park which protects monk seals and dolphins. It has a rescue centre for baby seals – try to fit in a boat trip around the park!

hotel pool at night with stepping stones in the water and sea views


Olympic Holidays offers a 14-night Sporades Island-Hopping Holiday from £1,229pp based on two people travelling in 2022 with flights. The package includes three-nights at Skiathos Princess Resort, five-nights at Skopelos Village, four-nights at Marpunta Resort, Alonnisos and one night at the Punta Hotel, Skiathos.


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