Go All Inclusive in Greece


Eloise Barker

Title photography by Marcello Land / Getty Images

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December 2017

It’s time to reconsider All Inclusive holidays to Greece. With new resorts opening, the land of a thousand mythical islands is back on our map. Here’s our ultimate guide to ten All Inclusive Greek breaks, whether you’re travelling kid-free or with the kids in tow.

Thessaloniki

Let’s start in the north. Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, is big, bustling and alive. Luxurious hotels coat the coast, plus, you’ll find miles of beaches in the Halkidiki region.

A couple’s massage at the hotel’s Anna Semonin spa is the epitome of a luxury Greece holiday.

Kid-free

Enjoy urban Greece. Holidays for couples should start with sightseeing in Thessaloniki. The city is an open-air museum of classical treasures, with the Byzantine baths and an ancient agora. Alexander the Great is celebrated in statues and street names across the city. Start with panoramic views by climbing the White Tower on the waterfront, then eat Greek in the Ladadika District.

Check in: Ikos Oceania. Ikos hotels take All Inclusive very seriously. ‘Infinite Lifestyle’ is the Ikos trademark All Inclusive concept. Ikos Oceania has four fantastic restaurants with menus devised by Michelin-starred chefs and a laden buffet restaurant – these are very popular, so make sure you book in for dinner. Watch the sunset over Mount Olympus every evening, savoured alongside a cocktail or an expertly-selected glass of wine, and even enjoy WiFi on the beach. A couple’s massage at the hotel’s Anna Semonin spa is the epitome of a luxury Greece holiday.

Book Ikos Oceania

Kids in tow

Did someone order a side of slides? A half-day at Waterland makes a refreshing break from resort life. It’s a small but fun water park and you can get a reduced fare if you go in the early evening. In a region known for its sandy shores, visit Kalogria Beach, which has shallow water, a swim-up island, good snorkelling and quiet beach bars. It’s perfect for families.

Check in: Ikos resorts now dominate Greek All Inclusive for a reason – they offer some of the best service and facilities and the best 5 star hotels in Greece. Ikos Olivia has free kids’ clubs. Heros Kids Club is run by Worldwide Kids, and there’s also Just4Teens for the moodier members of your brood. Booking ahead is strongly recommended to secure places. There’s also childcare on the resorts’ beach, so you can tan in peace.

Book Ikos Olivia

  • The elegant French á la carte restaurant, Provence at Ikos Oceania.  ©Ikos Resorts.

    Pour out the rosé

    Southern France is served. Enjoy dinner at Provence, the French restaurant included in your All Inclusive holiday at Ikos Oceania.

    Book Ikos Oceania
  • The streets around the Church of Saint Spyridon of Trimythous at night, Corfu Town. ©Rostislavv.

    Night falls

    Spend the evening wandering Corfu Town, and pick your perfect street side spot for dinner.£227 pp

    Book flights and hotels
  • Beach at the Ikos Olivia. ©Ikos Resorts.

    Shore leave

    Wash up on the sand at Ikos Olivia. On the resort’s 450m of private beach there’s all-day waiter service to your sun lounger.

    Book Ikos Olivia

Corfu

Beautiful Corfu is a well-trodden tourist destination for a good reason. Corfiots enjoy Greece’s greenest island and the capital’s old town has UNESCO World Heritage status.

Kid-free

Corfu Town's archaeological museum has just reopened and showcases a monstrous 2,500 year old relief of Medusa. If you’re seeking shade in the midday heat, wander the British cemetery and look out for rare orchids and free-roaming tortoises among the headstones.

Check in: The MarBella Corfu Hotel is a large, airy property set on a green hillside above its own private Blue Flag beach. There are plenty of restaurants and bars serving strong cocktails. You can try aerial yoga at a fitness class, or just order breakfast in bed.

  • Sunset over the main pool at Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas. ©Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas.

    To infinity

    Look out over the private cove from the main pool at Daios Cove. Facing west, you’ll always get the best of Crete’s sunsets.£1625 pp

    Book flights and hotel

Kids in tow

Corfu is one of the best Greek islands for families. Dare to try the local ginger beer, a fiery aftertaste from fifty years of British rule of the island. If your children tire of the old town in Corfu, hop in a taxi; Man Repos beach is 2km away and Glyfada beach, one of the island’s most popular, is a 20 minute drive.

Check in: Tread on virgin sands at Ikos Dassia. This brand new hotel takes bookings for summer 2018 and beyond and has rooms, suites and family rooms. With your children in expert hands at the kids’ club, there’s nothing for it but to drink wine. The cellar has 300 bottles of Greek and international wine on stock – it would be rude to pass up a glass. There are seven restaurants on site and the usual high levels of Ikos service, all enjoyed as part of ‘Infinite Lifestyle’ – Ikos resorts’ trademark All Inclusive concept.

Book Ikos Dassia

Heraklion, Crete

Formerly Crete’s only major airport, arriving in Heraklion was once a bit of a free for all – but it’s smartened up its act. Nowadays, Heraklion is a great gateway for those seeking Crete’s fancy resorts. Crete’s capital is also home to the historically fascinatingly Palace of Knossos and subsequently has a mind-blowing display of ancient artefacts in its archaeological museum.

Kid-free

Grab your copy of Victoria Hislop’s ‘The Island’ and head to Spinalonga, the hit novel’s spooky setting. This enigmatic island is famous for being a former leper colony and visiting makes for an atmospheric day trip. In the evening, the nearby harbour town of Agios Nikolaos clinks with the toasts of chic holidaymakers during summer.

Check in: You’ll find Daios Cove Luxury Resort & Villas All Inclusive couched in a scenic olive grove. A golf cart will whizz you up to your room and, once you’re happily ensconced, you’ll find some lovely perks included. There’s free 24-hour room service, a complimentary mini bar, signature cocktails and six restaurants, including a Greek Taverna with fish fresh off the boat.

Book Daios Cove

Kids in tow

Almyros Beach, walking distance from town of Agios Nikolaos, is a lovely little place to relax for the afternoon. With a river running directly into the sea, it’s got a supply of cool, fresh water. The sandy beach is well equipped with water sports and sun loungers.

Check in: Near Agios Nikolaosm, the Blue Marine Resort & Spa Hotel is very well catered for families. There’s a whole roster of fun activities led by the ‘animation team’, a kids’ club running six days a week, children’s menus, afternoon tea and ice cream, and a quirky, fish-shaped swimming pool. For adults: drinks are served from 10am ’til midnight – good to know.

Book the Blue Marine Resort & Spa Hotel

  • Italian Buffet Restaurant at the Hotel IBEROSTAR Creta Panorama & Mare. ©IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts.

    Fuel up

    Fill up at breakfast before a trip to the town of Rethymnon, just 18 km away from IBEROSTAR.

    Book the IBEROSTAR
  • The North Entrance of the Palace at Knossos, Crete. ©Nellmac.

    Ancient wonder

    The Palace at Knossos was one of the most remarkable ancient buildings ever built. Legend has it that it was the site of the minotaur’s labyrinth.

    Book flights to Heraklion
  • Samaria Gorge, Crete. ©Aaron Geddes Photography.

    Absolutely gorgeous

    The Samarian gorge attracts intrepid visitors when it opens in the summer months. With those views, it’s easy to see why.

    Book flights to Chania

Rhodes

Sugar cube houses and Byzantine might. The island of Rhodes has beautiful beach resorts and an impressively well-preserved medieval town. It’s a commercial city, busy and big, with archaeological sites at every turn and a castle housing a great museum, the Palace of the Grand Masters.

Kid-free

In romantic Rhodes, head to Lindos, where all the island’s most appealing features sit in formation: a beach, town and ancient ruins, stacked one above each other. Sandy Lindos beach sits below the white cubic houses of the former artistic colony at Lindos Town. Above the town sits an ancient acropolis, formerly fortified by the Greeks – and then the Romans. 

Check in: Sentido Ixian Grand, Rhodes: adults-only All Inclusive is a real pleasure at this hotel. Right on the pebbly beachfront in the small resort of Ixia, you’ll soon be busy enjoying afternoon tea, a weekly ‘Greek night’ and a great ambiance at the pool bar.

Book the Sentido Ixian Grand

Kids in tow

Make the trip to picturesque, rocky ‘Anthony Quinn’ Bay which famously featured in the film ‘The Guns of Navarone’. It’s got good snorkelling – ideally, you’d bring your own gear to escape the beach’s steep rental fee.

Check in: Princess Andriana Resort & Spa is modern and beautiful, with a great beachside location. It has a special 9pm fountain show with lights and music, which is a lovely way to close every day.

Book the Princess Andriana Resort & Spa

Chania, Crete

Discover the other side of Crete. Off the beaten track, Chania town feels authentically Greek – despite its beautiful old harbour being built by ruling Venetians. With a more laid-back feel than Heraklion, Chania hums with local industry.

  • Black Hole water tunnel at the Grecotel Club Marine Palace & Suites. ©Grecotel Hotels & Resorts.

    Waterpark larks

    Send kids sliding at the onsite Aquapark at Grecotel Club Marine Palace & Suites

    Book the Grecotel

Kid-free

One of your first ports of call should be Chania’s beautiful port, built under Venice’s rule of the city. Spend a couple of hours wandering, then go and see what the crowds are queueing for in the covered market. If you’d rather stay close to the Iberostar hotel, grab the catch of the day at Panormos, the sleepy seaside village nearby.

Check in: Iberostar Creta Panorama & Mare Hotel – Panormos has a beachside location and is easy visiting distance from Panormos. Enjoy the hotel’s two private coves for safe, sheltered swimming, or try your hand at archery and tennis (not at the same time).

Book the Iberostar Creta Panorama & Mare Hotel

Kids in tow

The Samarian gorge draws travellers from around Crete in summer. It’s perfect as a long day trip with older children. The 18km crack runs deep through Crete, descending steeply downhill from Xyloskalo and criss-crossing the river by way of sun-bleached wooden bridges. Eventually, the trail ends on the sizzling beach. Give yourself time to swim before catching a lift by ferry.

Check in: Grecotel Club Marine Palace is ideal for children. It has a new on-site Aquapark featuring towering tangles of slides, evening entertainment and discos. Book ahead for the restaurants, sling on a kaftan for the beach barbecue, or enjoy wandering the charming streets in the nearby town of Panormos.