FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Greek Classics

Sep 1, 2018
Print Article

WITH SO MANY PICTURESQUE and enchanting Greek islands to choose from, it can be a bit daunting to select just one charming locale for a getaway. Of the 227 inhabited islands in Greece (of nearly 6,000), these three favorite destinations offer unforgettably authentic yet diverse experiences: Santoríni, Crete and Rhodes.

The sun was about to set, and we hastened our pace along the rocky coastal trail to reach our destination, the scenic town of Oia on Santoríni’s northern tip. My husband and I decided to hike the six miles from Fira that afternoon to see the stunning views of the sun melting into the horizon, a must-do activity on Santoríni. Part of the journey brought us along the narrow, winding footpath and then later along a trail of volcanic soil, past whitewashed homes, churches and other structures topped with iconic cobalt blue domes. Along this cliffside walk, we soaked in the panoramas of the famed caldera, glistening brilliantly in the late-day sunshine. We arrived, took our place among the assembled crowd facing west and celebrated the end of another day in paradise.

If you’re seeking to step into a picture postcard, Santoríni is certainly the place to do it. Visitors can’t get enough of the jaw-dropping sapphire Aegean Sea, and an abundance of hotels and guest houses deliver on the mesmerizing view. It’s no wonder this island casts a spell on those who visit … the mythical home of the lost city of Atlantis, it offers pure magic. The southernmost island in the Cyclades lies about 120 miles from the Greek mainland and is known for its legendary vistas and laid-back vibe. Featuring mountainous terrain, everything here is on a slope, with meandering footpaths steep and uneven in places.

As glorious as it is, Santoríni offers more than exceptional views. Visitors can take in cruises to the volcano, snorkeling trips and other water activities. On land one can easily rent a car or hire a local guide for an island tour. Gorgeous beaches (black, white and red sand) abound and range from rustic and remote to busy — such as Perissa and Perivolos — offering chairs, umbrellas, cafés and other facilities. Wine enthusiasts can swing by some of the island’s many wineries for tastings and tours and learn about indigenous grapes such as Assyrtico. History buffs appreciate the ancient Minoan city of Akrotiri and several museums, including the Archaeological Museum of Santoríni. Exquisite shops line narrow passageways, offering handcrafted jewelry, art and other items. And, of course, food lovers adore the variety of restaurants elevating this island to a gastronomic destination. Specialties include Greek lamb; pork and seafood dishes such as grilled octopus and dorado, the white, flakey, Mediterranean fish; as well as classic moussaka and fresh, locally grown vegetables.

On the island of Crete, the first traveler I met was a British woman reclining on a lounge chair by the swimming pool and reading a book at our boutique beach hotel, Ammos.

“You’re only here for a few days?” she asked incredulously, taking pity on my limited vacation time. “We’re staying for six weeks.” I glanced at the waves lapping at the tranquil shore of the Cretan Sea a few steps away and clearly understood why someone would choose this destination for an extended trip.

While you can easily spend years exploring Greece’s largest island, Crete houses a number of incredible world-class attractions you can visit within a few well-planned days. With a rugged coastline and expansive mountain range, the island offers a diverse landscape — including steep gorges and winding rivers — alongside historical sites dating back centuries, such as the ancient palace and ruins of Knossos. Located on the northern coast near Heraklion, the island’s capital, this spellbinding archaeological excavation should not be missed. The heart of Minoan culture thousands of years ago encompasses more than 20,000 acres.

On the western side of the island, Crete’s second-largest seaside city, Chania, features a picturesque Venetian harbor where locals and tourists gather throughout the season. Visitors can dine at a number of lively restaurants and cafés along the water and wander along the narrow, twisting streets, popping in and out of the many boutiques. Those curious about local history are in luck, as Chania boasts a naval museum, archaeological museum and maritime museum. And if you prefer relaxing on the sand and taking a dip in the turquoise sea, nearby beaches are easily accessible and ideally suited for swimming.

Rethymno café


Discover other highlights between Chania and Heraklion. The medieval port city of Rethymno blends the old and the new with winding streets and a creative vibe, and a multitude of shops offer crafts from local artisans. Meandering around the old town proves delightful, as the diverse architecture features Venetian, Turkish and Greek design. Much like the town itself, Rethymno’s restaurants and bars blend traditional and modern, featuring classic cuisine accented with a stylish ambience. The walled Venetian Fortezza (fortress) perched above the city provides dazzling views from the area’s highest point. Immediately to the east lies a wide, sandy beach complete with lounge chairs, umbrellas and nearby facilities.

Located in southeastern Greece, the rugged and spellbinding island of Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese and was once a major trade hub. With a rich, multicultural history, it’s a haven for design enthusiasts, who can easily see the Roman, Turkish, Greek and Italian influences in the amalgamation of diverse architecture throughout the entire area. Although the island of Rhodes can’t be fully discovered without a car or other mode of transportation, the city of Rhodes proves best explored by walking. In fact, only residents are allowed to drive an auto within the Old Town walls.

It is great fun to get lost in this charming city. With more than 200 unnamed twisting and narrow streets, it offers a prime opportunity to embrace adventure as you wander around the labyrinth of cobble-paved lanes and appealing squares. Arriving in the city provides an authentic and exhilarating experience as well. Recognized as one of the oldest continuously inhabited medieval cities in Europe, the Old Town welcomes visitors through impressively majestic gates, setting the proverbial stage by offering an invitation to take a step back in time.

Strolling along the bustling Street of the Knights, the main drag, visitors have the opportunity to browse an array of shops, pause for a Greek coffee or savor a meal at a neighborhood taverna. Some of the restaurants and cafés offer rooftop dining with stunning views of the sea and port.

Acropolis dedicated to Athenia Lindia in Lindos, Rhodes © VLADIMIR TIMOFEEV | DREAMSTIME.COM

Acropolis dedicated to Athenia Lindia in Lindos, Rhodes © VLADIMIR TIMOFEEV | DREAMSTIME.COM

The city’s top sites include the Palace of the Grand Masters of the Knights of Rhodes (aka Kastello). Refurbished in 1940, this stunning castle features Gothic architecture and houses museums and artifacts unique to Rhodes. The Archaeological Museum of Rhodes, housed in the former Hospital of the Knights, also proves a favorite destination among history lovers. Visitors can see the harbor entrance, where the famed Colossus of Rhodes statue once stood. This bronze wonder of the ancient world fell during an earthquake in ancient times.

Outside the city you’ll find many gorgeous beaches, quaint villages and ancient sites around the island. A few top attractions include the beautiful village of Lindos and the nearby acropolis dedicated to Athenia Lindia, with its spectacular views of the city and surrounding crystal-blue waters. On the western end, the Valley of the Butterflies nature reserve attracts thousands of fluttering creatures from spring to fall. And what’s a trip to Rhodes without a beach day? The island’s west side is ideal for wind or kite surfing, while the eastern shores offer an abundance of beaches (with and without facilities) for snorkeling, stand-up paddle surfing or swimming. A few of the more popular are Elli Beach, Kallithea Springs and Anthony Quinn Bay, named after the famous actor who starred in the 1964 film Zorba the Greek and who loved and vacationed on the island.

Greek Isles Info to Go

First-time tourists to Greece may not be aware the islands are not all easily accessible to each other, so build in extra time for travel among them. (Often, travelers must return to Athens before flying to another island.) Depending on the day, several types of ferries operate to some of the islands, so it’s essential to check timetables and book advance flights, keeping in mind the seasons affect the schedules. Several airlines, including Delta Air Lines, offer direct flights from New York (JFK) to Athens (ATH). A connecting flight (or ferry) is required to reach the islands.

Where to Stay in the Greek Isles

AMATHUS ELITE SUITES This luxury property situated on the shores of the Aegean boasts exceptional vistas and high-end amenities throughout, including modern rooms, a swimming pool, a spa and several dining options. 100 Iraklidon Ave., Ixia, Rhodes $$$

AMMOS HOTEL Situated on a private beach, this boutique property offers modern rooms with terraces and sea views, a pool and restaurant with homemade specialties. It’s a five-minute drive from the historical harbor town of Chania. Irakli Avgoula, Chania, Crete $$$

ANTELIZ SUITES With breathtaking views of the caldera, this charming hotel features a swimming pool, balconies and complimentary breakfast brought to your room. Located along the footpath, it’s a 10-minute walk to the town of Fira. Fira, Santoríni $$$

Restaurants in the Greek Isles

CHRISOSTOMOS Situated in Chania, this taverna, known for its local flavor, sources all ingredients from Crete. The menu includes beloved family seafood and meat dishes along with housemade cheeses. Deykalion and Ikarus, Port of Chania, Crete $$–$$$

KYMA Overlooking the lovely Lee Beach, this stylish restaurant offers splendid alfresco dining on its expansive terrace. It serves up an array of traditional and modern delights such as fish, slow-cooked kabobs and homemade pastas. Pefkos Village, Lee Beach, Rhodes $$$

SEASIDE BY NOTOS With a contemporary ambience on the beach, this restaurant and lounge offers a multitude of innovative delights and indoor-outdoor seating. Seaside provides a surprising twist on Greek favorites, such as moussaka with shrimp and seafood. Perivolos-Agios Georgios Beach, Santoríni $$$$


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.


Insta Feed
Sep 24, 2021

Fall Travel Trends from Vacasa

With the autumn in full spring, now is time to start planning your fall weekend getaway.  Whether a relaxing weekend on the lake, leaf-peeping or hiking, check out these fall travel trends from vacation rental management company Vacasa.

Greece: Destination Luxury

Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.

September 2021
Sep 23, 2021

Host a Fabled Business Event in Wonderful Copenhagen

I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.

Sep 23, 2021

Reimagined Park Hyatt Toronto Officially Reopens Its Doors

The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.

Experiencing GBTA Convention 2021
Safely and Responsibly

GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.

eFlyer Reviews
Sep 22, 2021

Irwin’s Review

I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.

eFlyer Lead
Sep 22, 2021

Cathay Pacific to Use Sustainable Fuel for 10 Percent of Total Consumption by 2030

Cathay Pacific reaffirms its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with a pledge to use Sustainable Aviation Fuel for 10 percent of its total fuel consumption by 2030. The airline has made pioneering efforts in supporting SAF development for more than 10 years.

Register Today for the Most Important Gathering of Business Travel Professionals

The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.

Sep 22, 2021

La Concha Resort Puerto Rico Review

Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha.  As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.