Make the most of the good news from Greece and Cyprus with Laura French’s guide to the best deals.
It’s hard to predict exactly what travel in the coming months might look like, but there’s still hope for holidays this summer and beyond, and with Greece and Cyprus having announced plans to open their doors to vaccinated Brits, demand for these two favourites is already proving strong.
So where should you suggest for clients in need of a sunny break to look forward to? We’ve spoken to the experts to get their top recommendations and broken it down for different budgets and booking types to help you cater to every taste.
Save: Pandream Hotel Apartments, Cyprus
For a family-friendly stay at a bargain-bucket price, Olympic Holidays recommends these modern, family-run apartments in Paphos, a stone’s throw from the beach and boasting a shared pool, gym, restaurant and bar.
“It’s very much a home-from-home here with comfort, convenience and friendliness at the core,” says Ricky Wason, head of product and purchasing. “The owners are always on hand, accommodation is spacious and there’s a kids’ pool and table tennis table, making it perfect for families.” Paphos Harbour is less than a mile away, while those who want an adrenaline rush will find Paphos Aphrodite Waterpark close by too.
Book it: A week costs from £579 per person based on two adults and two children sharing a Standard One Bedroom apartment (self-catered), with flights from Stansted on October 22.
“The owners are always on hand, accommodation is spacious and there’s a kids’ pool and table tennis table, making it perfect for families.”
Spend: Grecotel Costa Botanica, Corfu
If families are keen to push the boat out, Planet Holidays suggests this five-star Grecotel outpost in northern Corfu, set in front of a Blue Flag beach and home to a huge water park as well as six pools, tennis courts, a jogging track, spa and even a donkey farm. It’s split into seven ‘villages’, with hiking trails criss-crossing the nearby mountains and a string of bars, shops and restaurants in the surrounding resort of Arachavi.
Book it: A week’s all-inclusive starts at £3,627 per family, based on two adults and two children sharing a family garden room, including private taxi transfers and flights from Gatwick on July 24.
Splurge: Aphrodite Hills Resort, Cyprus
For those wanting to up the luxury factor a notch, look to Aphrodite Hills, whose private apartments and villas come with an impressive array of facilities, including tennis courts, a spa and an 18-hole championship golf course.
“The residences are ideal for families looking for the freedom of self-catering as well as access to resort amenities,” says Rebecca Bryson, head of sales at Caribtours. “There’s plenty to occupy all ages with tennis and football academies, horse riding, mountain biking, a kids’ club, creche and more.” It’s also close to family-friendly Pissouri Bay and halfway between Paphos and Limassol.
“There’s plenty to occupy all ages with tennis and football academies, horse riding, mountain biking, a kids’ club, creche and more.”
Book it: From £4,969 for a family of four, including a 10% discount if booked by April 30, staying in a Two-Bedroom Premium Serviced Apartment on a self-catering basis, with flights on October 23.
Save: Tui Blue Atlantica Belvedere Resort, Kos
Couples aren’t short on standout resorts in Greece and Cyprus, and a five-star retreat doesn’t have to mean splashing the cash. For those on a budget, look to this adult-only hotel in Kos, where you’ll find a huge infinity pool overlooking the ocean as well as three restaurants, a spa with Turkish hammam and nightly live music. Activities include tennis, volleyball and watersports, while nearby Kardamena offers a buzzing nightlife scene.
“For those on a budget, look to this adult-only hotel in Kos, where you’ll find a huge infinity pool overlooking the ocean.”
Book it: Seven nights’ half-board costs from £756 based on two adults sharing, with transfers and flights from Gatwick on July 4.
Spend: Danai Beach Resort & Villas, Halkidiki
Greece isn’t only about the islands, of course. For a luxury retreat on the mainland, suggest this resort in Halkidiki, where private pool suites and villas are set between tropical gardens and a sandy beach.
“There’s a wealth of activities on site, including waterskiing, windsurfing, canoeing and tennis,” says Kerry Golds, managing director of Abercrombie & Kent. “It makes a perfect base to explore Greece, with Thessaloniki – one of the oldest cities in Europe – just over an hour’s drive and the wild and natural beauty of the Sithonia and Mount Athos peninsulas easily accessible too.”
“For a luxury retreat on the mainland, suggest this resort in Halkidiki, where private pool suites and villas are set between tropical gardens and a sandy beach.”
Book it: A week in a Junior Suite costs from £1,899 per person, including flights, transfers and B&B accommodation in October.
Splurge: Katikies Kirini, Santorini
No list of romantic recommendations would be complete without Santorini, and this elegant spa hotel is among the cream of the island’s crop, with double-take views and an idyllic location in the village of Oia, famous for its whitewashed houses and striking caldera sunsets. The emphasis is on tranquillity, with a spa set against a peaceful backdrop, sunset sailings available on the hotel’s luxury yacht and a gourmet restaurant serving modern Greek dishes with an experimental twist. Winery visits, local tours and excursions to neighbouring islands are also on hand for guests keen to explore.
Book it: Rates range from €390 to €2,500 per night.
Ask the expert
“Forward bookings and website searches have increased significantly following the announcements about Greece and Cyprus opening up to British travellers. The biggest searches have been for Zante, Corfu, Rhodes, Skiathos, Symi and Crete. Most of the interest is from couples and families, with those in the Covid vaccine age groups booking in larger numbers. Encourage clients to book ahead, even if it’s for summer 2022, especially for family hotels. Some popular properties are already selling out.”
– Michael Vinales, managing director, Olympic Holidays
Save: Quayside Village, Corfu
Younger groups might not be your main demographic, but with ongoing uncertainty around travel, there’s a pool of potential customers out there seeking your expertise. So where should you suggest for the twentysomething crowd looking for a holiday on a shoestring?
“The resort centre is a stone’s throw away and Corfu Town less than an hour, with its Venetian architecture, cobbled streets and patio tavernas.”
Jet2holidays recommends Quayside Village, set on a goldsand beach in party loving Kavos and featuring a freshwater pool, 24-hour poolside bar and regular evening entertainment, including DJs and karaoke. The resort centre is a stone’s throw away and Corfu Town less than an hour, with its Venetian architecture, cobbled streets and patio tavernas.
Book it: A week’s self-catering costs from £499 per person, flying from Manchester on July 6.
Spend: Louis Althea Kalamies Luxury Villas, Cyprus
If clients want a slightly calmer stay, suggest this beachfront resort in Protaras, made up of three and four-bedroom luxury villas sleeping up to six or eight, each with their own private pool and sun deck. It’s a five-minute walk from the Pernera district, lined with cafes, tavernas and bars, while Ayia Napa is a 20 minute drive away and offers plenty of attractions for those wanting to live it up a little – not least Nissi Beach, famous for its day parties.
Book it: A week starts at €566 per person, based on six sharing a three-bedroom villa in September or October, not including flights.
Athens’ expanded National Gallery will be officially opened on April 24
Splurge: Villa Alexander, Kefalonia
For those wanting to up their game, GIC The Villa Collection recommends this standalone three-bedroom property on the northeastern tip of Kefalonia, which features a private pool and games area as well as its own jetty where guests can swim straight into the sea.
“A relaxing walk takes you into the village of Fiscardo, home to pastel-coloured houses, a pretty harbour and a maze of tavernas and shops.”
“Sailing enthusiasts can hire a boat and moor it from the private jetty, or guests can simply soak up the sunsets from one of the terraces,” says Chris Wright, managing director of Sunvil Group. “A relaxing walk takes you into the village of Fiscardo, home to pastel-coloured houses, a pretty harbour and a maze of tavernas and shops. The neighbouring Villa Nichola can also be booked, creating space for up to 14 people.”
Book it: Seven nights costs from £1,332 per person based on six sharing, including flights from Gatwick and transfers on August 14.
Three of the best new openings
Cayo Exclusive Resort & Spa, Crete: This design hotel opens for its first full season this month in the traditional village of Plaka, with 74 rooms, suites and villas – all with private plunge pools – plus a string of nearby activities including diving, hiking and climbing.
MarBella Elix, Parga: The newest addition to the MarBella Collection is set to open later this month with a focus on family fun, including walks with a resident nature guide, kayaking around the Karavostasi coast, sailing lessons and cycling.
Kalesma Mykonos: Opening on May 20, this boutique resort (pictured), designed like a traditional island village, promises a high-end stay with gourmet dining, private concierge experiences and 25 whitewashed suites and villas overlooking Ornos Bay.