Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, is big and bustling. Luxurious hotels coat the coast and you’ll find miles of beaches in the Halkidiki region.
The city of Thessaloniki is an open-air museum of classical treasures, with Byzantine baths and an ancient agora. Get some panoramic views by climbing the White Tower on the waterfront, then eat Greek in the Ladadika District.
If you’re travelling with kids, 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.
British Airways flies direct to Thessaloniki from London Gatwick in the summer.
Where to stay: Ikos Oceania
Ikos resorts offer some of the best service and facilities in the area and their All Inclusive packages (rebranded, fittingly, as ‘Infinite Lifestyle’) are very generous. At Ikos Oceania there are four fantastic restaurants with menus devised by Michelin-starred chefs, plus a very good wine cellar. 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 – which is a massive 350m long.
Where to stay: Ikos Olivia
Set across 22 stylish acres, Ikos Olivia has plenty of space for families – and its rooms, suites and bungalows are capacious and stylish. With its free kids’ clubs, you can all have some quality time off. Part of the irresistible Ikos chain, Ikos Oliva’s service and attention to detail stand up to scrutiny, and it gets plenty of eager return visitors. Check out the spa and Jacuzzi, or saunter down to your evening’s entertainment – all included.
A round trip
This UNESCO-listed Rotunda was commissioned by Roman Emperor Galerius in the 4th century AD. If you go inside, you can see several beautiful mosaics, which were added to the inside walls when the building became a Christian church. Visiting hours are 8:00am to 3:45pm, Tuesday to Sunday.£317 ppBook Thessaloniki holidays
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.
Rhodes Town has a castle, the Palace of the Grand Master, which houses a great museum stuffed with archaeological finds from around the island. You can get a little lost in the old town, squeezing through cobbled streets past countless tiny tavernas, but that's the fun of it.
Make the trip to picturesque, rocky ‘Anthony Quinn’ Bay which famously featured in the film ‘The Guns of Navarone’. It’s got good snorkelling – but ideally, you should bring your own gear to escape the beach’s steep rental fee.
British Airways flies direct to Rhodes from London Gatwick in the summer.
Where to stay: Sentido Ixian Grand
All Inclusive is a real pleasure at Sentido Ixian Grand, an adults-only hotel. Right on the pebbly beachfront in the small resort of Ixia (most other hotels in the area are across the road from the shore), you’ll soon be busy enjoying afternoon tea, a weekly ‘Greek night’ and the great ambiance at the pool bar. Request a sea view room with a balcony hot tub – so you can bubble away in front of a lovely vista. It’s all just 10 minutes from the airport and 15 minutes from Rhodes Town.
Where to stay: Gennadi Grand Resort
It might have clean, white walls but the brand new Grennadi Grand Resort isn’t just another boring whitewashed Greek hotel. Low-lying and stylish, its minimalist aesthetic is complemented by high tech amenities: like USB ports by the beds for your phone. Life here is low-key and luxurious. The location is great for solace-seekers – the property is based on the quieter, calmer, southern side of the island where it’s often warmer and more sheltered. Make sure you leave time for a day trip to nearby Lindos, which has an acropolis to rival the one at Athens (well, almost).