Written by Julia Silk,
2nd May 2023

When you step out of the airport, do you long to get to your accommodation as quickly as possible? Are you anxious to jump into your shorts and T-shirt, and relax in the sun. Then you should consider buying a home in a Greek town that is a short drive from an airport.

Some people consider the ferry rides and the drive through the beautiful Greek countryside, as an enjoyable part of their holiday. While for others, especially those who drive a lot for work, just want to get there and chill out. Here are four Greek towns a short drive from an airport, where you can do just that.

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Chania, Crete

Chania

Chania, Crete.

Nicknamed the Venice of the East, Chania (or La Canea) is a beautiful town located on the northern coast of the island of Crete. There are daily flights from London to Chania throughout the summer. Then from the airport, you could be at you holiday home in Chania in just 20 minutes.

The city is one of the most sought-after destinations on Crete, thanks to its beaches, its historic centre, its architectural heritage and its vicinity to an airport. Between 1847 and 1972 Chania was the capital of Crete. Even today, it is the second largest city on the island after Heraklion, with a population of over 88 thousand.

Chania Historic Centre

The historic centre is built around the port, where Venetian and Turkish buildings create a unique appearance. The history of this vibrant and multicultural city can be seen on a stroll through its streets and alleyways. Here churches and splendid fountains coexist with mosques and splendid Italian-style buildings. Surrounded by walls of Byzantine origin the historic alleyways are where you’ll discover old tavernas and artisan shops.

The narrow streets have Venetian-style buildings, some still displaying the coats of arms of the Republic of Venice. Over the years, the town has developed around the port creating a lively area, where you’ll find several bars and restaurants with outdoor tables. A focal point at the port is the beautiful Yali Tzamisi, the oldest mosque in Crete, dating back to the mid-seventeenth century.

The New Town

Beyond the historic centre, a large town has grown with newer buildings. Here you’ll find all the shops and facilities you’ll need. There are banks and post offices, a bus station, big hotels, an indoor market, general hospital etc. It has a less touristy feel, and you will find authentic neighbourhood restaurants, where the locals go.

Chania Beaches

If you walk west, along the coast, you will find some lovely beaches and seafood restaurants. Three of the best known beaches on Crete are actually in the vicinity of Chania. They are, Falassarna, Balos, and the pink sands of Elafonisi beach. The unusual pink sand of Elafonisi Beach is the result of bright red pigments in the crushed microorganisms of the local waters, mixing with the originally white sand grains on the shore line.

Another popular beach is at the village of Kalyves, where some tourists have been tempted to buy homes. The majority of expats living near Chania are located in an area known as Apokoronas, between Chania and Rethymnon. Housing costs are cheaper than many other coastal towns in Europe and its mild climate makes it ideal for year-round living.

pool and villa in Greece.

Three-bedroom apartment near the beach, €299,000. To view more of this property, please click on the image.

 

 

 

stone luxury villa.

Four-bedroom villa benefitting from panoramic views. €750,000.

 

 

 

Argostoli, Kefalonia

Argostoli

Argostoli, Kefalonia.

Argostoli is located on the west coast of the island of Kefalonia, on the shores of the Kutavos lagoon. Argostoli is the capital city of the island, and has the largest shipping port. From Kefalonia airport, Argostoli is just a 12 minute drive or a short bus ride. There are flights daily from London to Kefalonia throughout the summer.

With a population of over 23 thousand, the town has a lively centre, especially in the summer when the tourists arrive. The life of its citizens is divided between the elegant port area, and the streets of the centre with its small shops, cafes and traditional restaurants.

Waterside Walks

The waterfront is lined with palm trees and offers a wide promenade for evening strolls. Another beautiful place to walk is across the De Bosset stone bridge. Built by the British in 1815, it joins the two ends of the bay. It is considered the longest stone bridge over the sea in the world (689.9 metres). It has been closed to vehicles since 2009, and is used purely as a foot bridge, with street lanterns.

Argostoli attractions

In Argostoli, there are several cultural attractions such as the archaeological museum, the museum of history and folklore, the cathedral and the church of San Spiridona. The lighthouse of Saint Theodoroi lies on a man-made peninsula close to Argostoli, and is very unusual in its design. It is a circular structure with 20 columns and an 8-metre central tower.

When you want to get out of town for a walk among nature, you can visit the ruins of the cyclopean walls. Also, 2kms south is the Botanical gardens, designed for the study, preservation and display of the island’s plants and herbs. It is a beautiful haven of tranquillity.

Turtles in Argostoli

In the bay of Argostoli and the Koutavos Lagoon, you could pass the time spotting turtles. Particularly, along the harbour by the fishing boats. There are also nesting beaches around the island’s coastline. They are observed by volunteers who chart the progress of the turtles and monitor their behaviour.

Argostoli beaches

Although the town centre does not have a beach, less than 2 km away, there are all the beaches and bays of the Lassi area. Lassi is located to the west of the town and is connected by a bus service. Among its beautiful beaches are those of Makris Gialos and Platis Gialos, which are divided by a cliff.

Kalamata, Peloponnese

Kalamata town is just a 13 minute drive from the airport of the same name. In summer, there are three London flights per week with Easyjet, and one with Ryanair. Located on the western side of the Peloponnese, Kalamata is the chief port of the Messenia region, lying along the Nedon River at the head of the Messenian Gulf.

Kalamata town

With a population of around 55,000, Kalamata has everything you need for year-round living. There is a fantastic outdoor market on Saturday and Wednesday morning, as well as the indoor market.  There are also many shops and supermarkets. The Old town of Kalamata is located to the north of the modern city below the Castle. It has narrower streets, with old houses, churches, and shops selling local products.

Historic Kalamata

Historical sites in Kalamata, include the Villehardouin castle and the Ypapanti church. Kalamata’s pretty yellow church with two bell towers, is in contrast to the ruined 14th-century stone castle on the hill. However, from the castle you can enjoy lovely views over the old town. You can also see how the old town grew around the castle hill, then spread towards the port.

An elegant street, constructed in 1871, is Aristomenous Street, which runs from the “Square of March 23” to the Customs Office at the port. Some of the finest neoclassical buildings in Kalamata can be seen here, and there are many shops and cafes. The square also has many bars and tavernas, and in the side streets you can follow the wonderful aroma from the bakeries and traditional cafes. You must try the famous Kalamata olives, honeyed figs and a sesame covered sweet called pastelli.

Boats and Trains

The marina and Port of Kalamata are located south west of the town centre. It is the largest port in Messenia and the southern part of the Peloponnese. The marina can hold 250 yachts and 150 boats in dry dock, and you will find cafes and restaurants along the waterfront. Nearby is the Railway Park, which is a large public park that has old steam engines and carriages on display.

Art and Culture

Art collections are housed at the Municipal Gallery, the Archaeological Museum of Messenia and the Folk Art Museum. Kalamata is renowned as the land of the Kalamatianos dance, which is a folk dance often performed in traditional costume. It is danced in a chain, with the dancers holding hands. There is also a school of contemporary dance which organizes exchanges between dance artists and students from Greece and abroad. They also hold a big Dance festival in the town.

At the Kalograion monastery there is a silk-weaving workshop where you can see how the Kalamata scarves are made. Kalamata also has an excellent Philharmonic band, that performs at concerts and events in the town. To help foreign residents integrate, there is a choir and traditional dance classes you can join. There is quite a number of English speaking expats living in the area, who give each other recommendations and advice.

 

Stone house located inland of Kalamata, €250,000. Click on the picture to see more and even to enquire!

 

 

A complex of stone built residences on the hills under construction. €210,000.

 

 

 

Rhodes, on the Island of Rhodes

Rhodes,

Rhodes Old Town, Rhodes island.

Rhodes, also spelt Ródos in modern Greek, is the largest island of the Dodecanese group. Located in south-eastern Greece, it is the most easterly in the Aegean Sea, separated by the Strait of Marmara from Turkey. The main town, is also called Rhodes and is just 23 minutes drive from the islands airport.

However, Rhodes also has seaside areas on route, such as Ialysos, which is only 13 minutes from the airport.  Easyjet and Ryanair schedule daily flights from London over the summer, making this a great place to own a holiday home.

Rhodes Old Town 

As a gateway between Europe and the Holy Land, Rhodes was a bustling city during the Medieval Crusades. For nearly 200 years, Rhodes was a sovereign state under the rule of the Knights of the Order of St John (also known as The Hospitallers). The buildings erected by the Knights still dominate the city.

Knight’s Quarter

A walk through the historic centre feels like walking back in time because the majority of the old Town of Rhodes is pedestrianised. During the 14th and 15th centuries, the Knights transformed the old town, to create what’s known today as the Knights’ Quarter. They built mighty fortress-like mansions as well as a fortified palace.

If you enter the Knights’ Quarter via Liberty Gate, you cross a small bridge. Across the pebbled street, you can see the 3rd-century-BC Temple of Aphrodite. Exiting at St Anthony’s Gate you reach the atmospheric D’Amboise Gate, and a path that leads you across the moat.

A seemingly never-ending touristy shopping street runs up to the Grand Palace. Little shops selling souvenirs, jewellery, leather goods and T-shirts. However, there are some amazing cobbled streets with stone buildings to discover too.

Rhodes Museums

The former Knights hospital is now an Archaeological Museum. It houses a beautiful, 1st-century-BC marble statue of Aphrodite Bathing, which was recovered from the local seabed. The magnificent 14th-century Palace of the Grand Masters also has two excellent museums, covering Ancient Rhodes and the medieval era. The “palace” title is slightly misleading, as it looks more like a castle, with rounded towers and crenelations.

The Modern Greek Art Museum, holds paintings, engravings and sculptures by some of Greece’s greatest 20th-century artists. Another interesting building in the new town is the art-deco hydro-biological research centre, which is now an aquarium.

Mandraki Harbour

A lighthouse guards the entrance to Mandraki Harbour. This fortified lighthouse is also referred to as the castle of Saint Nicholaos. The most well known sights are the deer statues on columns on either side of the entrance. Could this be where one of the seven wonders of the world, the colossus, once stood? Another unusual sight at the harbour are three stone windmills, which used to be used to grind corn.

The marina is filled with yachts in the summer, and at the harbour ships depart for Lindos, Symi and neighbouring islands. There are also many boat trips you can go on.

Life in Rhodes

Rhodes has a vibrant social scene with various bars, cafes, and restaurants, where you can meet up with friends. There are also several cultural events and festivals held throughout the year. Rhodes town has so much to see and is open year-round.

However, you have to weigh up the convenience of being able to walk to shops and restaurants with the cost of a property in the town. If you look at property outside the city you will find you get more house for your money. There are some lovely villages and rural areas to explore, such as the hillside village of Koskinou, or Kremasti, which is very near the airport.

Many expats of various nationalities have made the move here. Although, you should be aware if you need to find work in Rhodes town, it is very seasonal and you could have six months without an income. If you plan on renting out your property to help pay for running costs you should also make sure it stands out and is appealing to tourists, as there will be many others with the same idea.

When at your Greek home the cost of living needn’t be high. If you live like the locals, buy local produce, and prepare meals in your own kitchen. Over time you will make friends and enjoy meals at each other’s houses. This is so much easier when you have good Greek weather and some outside space.

villa in Rhodes

Three bedroom home on the outskirts of Rhodes. €295,000.

 

 

 

Apartment on the outskirts of Rhodes old town. €249,000.

 

 

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