written by
Joe Boone

If you’ve been thinking about traveling to the Greek Isles or mainland Greece lately, know that you are not alone. With so much happening in the world today, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place to unplug and unwind while exploring one of the world’s most fascinating destinations.  
An extremely diverse country in terms of landscapes, architecture, and culture, Greece is also home to amazing beaches, an abundance of archaeological sites, picturesque towns, and charming villages. The country is known for its friendly reputation among ex-pats and visitors. This likely stems from the longstanding Greek value of hospitality, or philoxenia, which literally means “friend of a stranger” in ancient Greek. Every region including the mainland and islands has its own charm, and if you are a first-time visitor, your best bet is to combine both in your travel itinerary. 
Athens on the mainland and the islands of Santorini and Mykonos off the southern coast in the Aegean Sea are all great options. Together, they offer a nice glimpse of the complex diversity that Greece has offered its inhabitants, visitors, and conquerors alike for thousands of years, helping to shape Western civilization as we know it along the way. 
The capital city of Athens is a traveler’s dream come true and perhaps the best place for newcomers to Greece to begin their journey back in time. Whether arriving by cruise ship or by way of its new state-of-the-art international airport, there’s much to experience in this sprawling capital city. With a plethora of attractions to take in during the day and a vibrant nightlife to carry you well into the wee hours, it's no wonder travel here has rebounded so robustly. 
Athens’ most famous landmark is no doubt the Acropolis. Floodlights bathe the 2,500-year-old hilltop after dark, making the Acropolis visible 24 hours a day from almost every corner of this great ancient city. It’s home to the colossal Parthenon, one of the world’s greatest temples where ancient inhabitants worshiped a 40-foot-high chryselephantine (gold and ivory) statue of the goddess Athena during the fifth century B.C.  
Throughout the city you’ll discover archeological sites with well-preserved Doric and Ionic columns from ancient Greek and Roman temples. In fact, Athens’ countless decorative sculptures are considered some of the high points of Greek art, an enduring symbol of ancient Greece, democracy, and Western civilization.? 
Modern Athens’ recent architectural achievements also attract millions of visitors annually including the Acropolis Museum and world-renowned Olympic Park, with its futuristic athletic complexes. Recently constructed, the Acropolis Museum is an enormous archeological museum housing more than 4,250 ancient objects over an area of approximately 150,700 square feet. Considered one of the world’s finest museums and of contemporary 21st-century design, its focus is on the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens.  
With more than 6,000 islands and islets encompassing Greece, of which only some 200 or so are inhabited, Santorini and Mykonos are two of its most scenic.?Approximately 115 miles southeast of Athens in the Aegean Sea, Mykonos is just 25 minutes by air and two-and-a-half hours by high-speed ferry. An adorable, windmill–topped fishing village known for its vibrant nightclubs and party scene, the island gained popularity as a destination and playground for the rich and famous in the early 1960’s when shipping magnate, Aristotle Onassis brought Jackie Kennedy there to enjoy its many beaches and the ancient ruins of nearby Delos Island.  
Santorini lies just 64 miles south of Mykonos, consisting of a semicircular archipelago of volcanic islands. Santorini’s jaw-dropping scenery is highly suited for a honeymoon or couples vacation. With a cliff-lined caldera formed during a volcanic eruption in 1500 B.C., its high cliffs are dotted by white-washed houses with contrasting cobalt-blue doors and shutters, making for an impressive site. With sun-kissed beaches, spectacular sunsets, luxury hotels and mouthwatering Mediterranean Cuisine, it's no wonder this is one of the top islands to visit on planet Earth. 
Luxury Stays from The Affluent Traveler Collection 
With the image of the Parthenon reflecting off its interior and modern fine art enhancing public and private spaces, the Athenaeum InterContinental is just steps from the historic center of the city of Athens – the city that originated the concept of democracy and transported the power of philosophical thought to the western world. The hotel offers the most ideal of accommodation options in the capital, with contemporary infrastructure and state of the art services. Along with decadent rooms and suites, the hotel’s award-winning conference center offers the perfect setting for business events, while on-site gourmet restaurants add a subtle touch of luxury. Spend the day exploring the city’s world-renowned ancient sites, or the boutiques and galleries of the Kolonaki neighborhood, before returning in time for Champagne cocktails at the rooftop bar. 
From the moment you arrive at Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa you’ll never want to leave. Idyllically serene and located only a few steps from the heart of Oia on the gorgeous island of Santorini, Santo Maris Oia Luxury Suites & Spa is a stunning retreat where your comfort is the staff’s purpose.  
Sophisticated suites and villas are expertly designed to create a carefree summer home vibe paired with eclectic luxury all at once. For impeccable dining ALIOS ILIOS provides?pure, authentic flavors made with the finest of Greek produce. Santo Maris Oia is also home to Anassa Spa, rated Greece’s Best Resort Spa at the World Spa Awards™ Awarded for four consecutive years.   
With breathtaking views of the fabled Acropolis, regal Syntagma Square and the Parliament, lush Lycabettus Hill, and the original Olympic Stadium, the multi-awarded five-star Hotel Grande Bretagne offers an?unrivaled perspective of Athens' mythical history. Located right in the heart of the city since 1874, the multi-awarded landmark hotel is within walking distance of exclusive shopping areas, museums, and the business district. With meticulous attention to detail, the hotel’s 320 rooms and suites marry charming old-world elegance with state-of-the-art facilities, whereas the 58 suites enjoy additional benefits including personalized Butler Service. Visit the picturesque GB Roof Garden Restaurant for the finest Mediterranean cuisine or the Winter Garden for an afternoon high tea – and do not miss the GB Spa for a signature massage, beauty treatment, or an indulgent respite in the thermal suite.  
Whether it’s Andronis Arcadia (Santorini, Oia); Andronis Concept Wellness (Santorini, Imerovigli); or Andronis Luxury Suites (Santorini, Oia); each Andronis Resort is guided by the Greek term “Philoxenia,” meaning an eagerness to show hospitality. Andronis Resorts are passionate about creating moments and memories that resonate long after they have passed. They achieve this by ensuring each guest truly enjoys the simple pleasures. Each?Andronis property?is inspired and informed by the landscape and the culture it resides within. By redefining and reimagining hospitality, Andronis Resorts raises the bar on comfortable spaces, peace, and unparalleled service – all with incomparable results. And with authenticity at the heart of the?Andronis Experience, you can always expect nothing less than cosmopolitan life at its very best. 


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