As an older traveller, what you want for your holiday is completely different than what you wanted in your 20s. There are plenty of great vacation spots for seniors in Greece, but the Greek islands will give you the best holiday. Here is why.
You want to relax on a Greek island without worrying about illness, excess noise, transport delays or poor food. Let the kids have Santorini and Mykonos. Who needs to fight for a beach umbrella or struggle through hordes of cruise ship holiday makers? Once you reach your best years, comfort is important. A Greek island is in many ways the perfect destination for sunshine, easy swimming and excellent fresh food at a fraction of what you would pay in the UK or northern Europe. But you have to pick the best island.
So what are the key issues? Greek Tourism conducted a random survey in 2015 which in many ways concurred with a recent survey of over-60s by loveholidays. It revealed just how intrepid and adventurous British travellers are, and indeed the older they are the more adventurous. The majority regarded Greece as a ‘very safe’ destination. The so-called ‘crisis’ had no marked effect on the popularity of the Greek islands, neither did the migrant issue. The only islands to experience falls in tourist numbers were Kos and Chios, close to Turkey and directly affected. Other islands, and there are 7,000 Greek islands, have seen no change.
So what did the survey say senior travellers look for in a Greek island? The key issue was peace and quiet, not surprisingly. Clean water and a healthy clean environment also featured. Greek islands with too much loud music and late night partying were highlighted as unfavourable.
Good quality food, with fresh ingredients and interesting menus rated highly. Easy access hotels without too many steps was also in the top five of requirements. So which Greek islands give pensioners more of what they want?
The only Cycladic island with a full hospital (just in case.) It also boasts a large choice of quality restaurants, quiet, clean beaches, English speaking islanders and very few tourists. The Syriotis are civilised, charming people, and several world-class cultural events take place on Syros in the summer. It has a fascinating history and the main town, Ermoupoli is well worth exploring. Also, it is easy to reach both by plane and ferry.
Crete is large enough to provide a good range of holiday experiences. The Samaria Gorge is a stunning 16km downhill hike ending at the shore of Agia Roumeli. You can opt for a horse-led guide. The national park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 1981. Inland there are quaint villages and traditional tavernas to explore by car. The topography and antiquities in Crete all make it well worth a visit. Elounda Palace in the south is a glorious, luxury hotel with great service and views.
The island Gerald Durrell lived in and wrote about in ‘My family and other animals.’ It has an English background and many features like cricket matches on the village green, restaurants with English food and many high class hotels. Corfu was popular in the 30’s during the period of grand hotels, and some are still around with that old fashioned charm.
Spetses is an expensive island, close to Athens, one of the Saronic Island group. But it has few of the steep steps and narrow, difficult to negotiate alleyways that lead to your hotel in many other islands. It is close to the Peloponnese, a short water taxi ride across the water. The Poseidonion Grand Hotel and The Orloff Resort are beautiful historically and architecturally.