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quinta-feira, 4 de fevereiro de 2010

Greece 2010: summer holiday booking guide
Avoid Greece's tourist traps and it’s possible to find a good-value beach break, says Sophie Butler.

By Sophie Butler
Published: 11:54AM GMT 04 Feb 2010
Avoid the fashionable honeypots of Fiskardo (Cephalonia), Mykonos and north-east Corfu (around Agios Stefanos), and head for Zakynthos, Crete or small, lesser-known islands Photo: CORBIS

Greece had a difficult summer last year as the euro rose against the pound. Many holidaymakers looked instead to Turkey, which with its cheaper currency, similar coastline, excellent cuisine and high standards of accommodation, was a tempting alternative. Most tour operators to Greece were forced to respond by offering last-minute discounts, and there were some casualties – Little Island Holidays, a specialist in the island of Tilos, closed its doors, for example.

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The resulting nervousness among operators means that the number of holidays and flights to Greece looks likely to be significantly reduced for this summer. But prices have remained reasonably static there, while those in Turkey have been rising to reflect increased demand. So, by avoiding the fashionable honeypots such as Fiskardo (Cephalonia), Mykonos and north-east Corfu (around Agios Stefanos), and heading for Zakynthos, Crete or small, lesser-known islands, you can find good value in Greece this year. It’s just a question of knowing where to look and how to book.
Greece 2010: getting there and around
Greece 2010: accommodation guide
Greece 2010: activity and specialist holidays

The best-value holidays are to be found off the beaten track, on the quieter islands that take a little longer to get to and probably require a ferry transfer from Athens. The beaches are often just as good, and the hotels better than those in the more developed resorts. And prices haven’t been pushed up by hordes of visitors flying in on package holidays. Consider, for example, little-known Milos, whose beaches rival those on Mykonos; Andros, which has quiet beaches and some good family-run hotels; and Kea, which rivals more expensive Skopelos for lovely harbours and good food, but at lower prices.

The secret to making the most of islands like these is to travel independently and explore on spec, or to book through a knowledgeable tour operator, such as any of those featured over the next five pages.
"Our selection"

In some sections, we have picked out for special mention tour operators offering programmes that we consider particularly interesting or good-value.
One-bedroom self-catering apartment: £775 (per person, with flights & car hire).
Four-star hotel, all-inclusive: £1,645 (family of four, sharing room).
Three-bedroom villa with private pool: £1,850 (total price, rental only).
Escorted coach tour: £675 (mid-range hotels, half board).
Club holiday, Sunsail: £3,640 (family of four, half board).
Guided walking holiday: £970 (flights, hotels, half board).
Car hire (two-door, air con): £253

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