Beautiful beaches, a mountainous interior, welcoming people and plenty of sunshine, make the perfect holiday destination. The country’s capital, Athens, is a large, busy city, home to a third of the population. The museums and ancient sites are well-known, but this is also the place to discover the best of contemporary Greece.
Beyond the capital, Greece’s greatest riches are its islands, ranging from quiet backwaters, where visitors are scarce, to glamorous resorts which match any in the Mediterranean. Each island has an atmosphere and identity of its own. Crete is the largest, where travellers can explore the ruins at Knossos Palace, relax on the beach or explore peaceful villages and countryside. In Mykonos and Santorini, white-washed villages tumble down the hillsides to beautiful beaches and mirror-flat cerulean seas. Rhodes too, with its beaches and excellent diving, is perfect for those wanting to spend time by the water. Greek food is fresh, abundant and uncomplicated, and you’ll be warmly welcomed to even the simplest taverna.
Turkey, with a 10,000-year-old history and more than 40,000 ancient sites, it is one of the oldest continually inhabited regions in the world.
In Istanbul, try your hand at bargaining in some of the 3,000 shops in the labyrinthine Grand Bazaar. Take in the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sofia and Topkapi Palace in a walking tour of Istanbul. Unwind on the fabulous sandy beaches on the Mediterranean coast. Cruise the ‘blue voyage’ waters of southwest Turkey in a traditional gulet.
Indulge in a traditional hammam, explore the ruins at Ephesus, and Troy. Discover the fairy chimneys of Cappadocia by hot-air balloon. Reflect on Australia’s role in Gallipoli at the emotion-packed war cemeteries, or visit in April for the dawn ANZAC service to commemorate the devastating WWI battle for the Dardanelles