Last Christmas I gave you my heart. This year, I’m taking you to Greece for the ultimate romantic getaway!
Summertime Greece is known for its hot, romance-boosting elements – the sparkling sea and sky in a thousand shifting shades, the chilled wine-enhanced blazing sunsets when everything feels feasible, and so much more. Yet Greece is a dreamy destination for lovers to explore year-round, with its less known, multifaceted landscapes, history-infused sites where dramatic battles and love stories alike have changed history, pretty traditional mountain villages and a plethora of activities to suit every taste that you can enjoy a deux. We have chosen the three destinations in Greece where it’s guaranteed you and your partner can relish in all the necessary pleasures that lead to a happy romance.
It’s as if the strong and high stone walls of this medeival castle town are imbued with romance, just like the icons in a church are imbued with prayer. Detached from the Peloponnesian mainland after an earthquake in 375AD, the rock with dramatic sea views on which Venetian castles, Byzantine churches and Ottoman fortifications are built, gives lovers an idyllic feeling of having escaped from the rest of the world to savour a fairytale adventure.
Romance in Monemvasia: Walk through the town’s cobblestone alleys – especially at night when they are softly lit, and browse the pretty little stores or stop for a warming glass of red wine and hot meze at a stylish, cozy bar. Stay in the Old Town of Castro at one of the beautifully restored mansions, many of which have a fire place and lavish furnishings. For breathtaking sea views, trek up to the octagonal, Byzantine Aghia Sophia church, or the Panagia Chrysafitissa church (from where you can walk along the coastline toward Portelo), and don’t miss out on a sunset stroll to the castle through the picturesque Upper Town.
Snow-blanketed during winter, this luxuriantly verdant mountainous region in central Greece with 24 traditional villages has often been called “the Tuscany of Greece” as well as the “Land of the Centaurs” as according to Greek mythology it was the magical, mystical land where the centaurs, like Chiron, resided. A coveted year-round destination, Pelion attracts loyal visitors in summer for its stunning beaches and refreshing, picturesque landscapes and in winter for the Agriolefkes Ski Centre near Chania village, (which has seven pistes and a ski school) and cozy boutique-style accommodations in restored mansions and traditional stone-built houses.
Romance in Pelion: If being engulfed in vibrant, lush nature alone with your partner is not romantic enough, enjoy a day on the slopes, followed by an indulgent steaming fasolada (bean soup) and local grilled sausages at a mountain taverna, or a soothing couple’s massage at one of the hotel spas. Stroll along the cobblestone paths of beautifully preseved Tsangarada, Milies, Kissos and Lafkos villages or just curl up in front of the crackling fireplace, sipping gourmet hot chocolate and watching the snow fall mutely outside your window.
With the most perfectly preserved, stone-built architecture in Greece, and surrounded by some of the country’s most wondrous natural landscapes, like the 900m deep Vikos Gorge (the deepest in the world) and the Drakolimnes on Mt Tymfi, (where legend has it dragons once lived), the 46 mountain villages of Zagori in Epirus offer an overwhelming selection of romantic things to see and do. You might find yourself drinking tsipouro by a woodstove, chatting with an old priest in a kafeneion in a near-abandoned village like Dilofo, or, lockled in your lover’s arms, standing awestruck at the rocky Astraka peak as you take in panoramic views, or walking to the edge of a cliff in Monodendri near the quaint Aghia Paraskevi church. As Zagori has become a trendy destination over the last decade, there are numerous options for sumptuous boutique-style guesthouses set among natural beauty, and plenty of top notch dining options too.
Romance in Zagori: Adrenaline-junkies can bang about on a 4×4, go rafting in Voidomatis river (weather allowing), head out on a six-hour hike along Vikos gorge, or trek the canyon of Kolymbithres by Rogovo river. Those who prefer milder exercise can savor the serenity of a leisurely walk along greenery-encroached cobblestone village streets and across arched bridges, take a drive to the beautiful Astraka Towers in west Zagori or explore local customs such as the beautiful handicrafts made in Monodendri village, with regular stops for a hot drink like Greek coffee or rakomelo (heated raki with spices and honey) and traditional homemade-style food, such as the delectable variety of Epirus pies.