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Greece: What's new in 2013 so far

27th September 2013 Print

With new luxury hotels, exclusive tours, more flights and even a new cruise terminal, 2013 has been a busy year for the Greek tourism.

Marketing Greece, the newly formed organisation that represents the country’s tourism industry, has listed below the latest developments – what’s hot, what’s new and what’s coming up:

New cruise passenger terminal for Piraeus Port

Piraeus Port welcomed its second international cruise passenger terminal in May, whilst a third terminal is set to start operation from April 2014. Piraeus Port aims to become the most important hub among Mediterranean cruise ports and all three terminals will cover a combined area of 15,500 square metres. Cruise passenger numbers at the country’s main port reached a new record in August, soaring by 43.22 per cent, from 230,096 in August 2012 to 329,540 last month, the highest number in the last six years.

Ryanair opens first base in Greece – easyJet to follow?

Low cost carrier Ryanair opened its first base in Greece earlier this year on the island of Crete. Ryanair plans to invest over £40m into Chania Airport, where it has had one aircraft base since April 2013. Ryanair flies to 29 destinations from Chania across Europe, including London, Bristol, Leeds, Nottingham and Glasgow in the UK. According to recent reports, easyJet is also considering opening its first base in Greece and is currently in discussions with Heraklio Airport, also in Crete.

New hotels and direct flights help put southern Peloponnese on the map

Kalamata International Airport recorded the steepest arrival increase among all Greek airports in the first seven months of 2013, up by 43.5 per cent to 31,149, aided by an influx of new airlines and routes. easyJet started flying into the airport this year from London Gatwick, while Greek carrier Aegean Airlines inaugurated a new seasonal base, flying to nine destinations across five countries.

Meanwhile the Peloponnese peninsula has welcomed a number of new hotel openings this year, including the luxury Amanzoe Resorts ( and the idyllic Alas Resort & Spa ( The region has also been in the spotlight with the release of the Before Midnight movie, which was filmed in Messenia and at Costa Navarino (

New Aristotle’s trail launches in Chalkidiki

Aristotle’s Walk, the first of eight historically-based trails in the peninsula of Chalkidiki, was officially presented at the beginning of September in northern Greece. Beginning at the Natura 2000 network at Aristotle’s Grove and concluding at ancient Stageira in Olympiada, the philosopher’s birthplace, the 22km trail follows the path of the Aristotelian Mountain overlooking the Aegean Sea. The next seven trails will be launched in 2014, with Xerxes’ Walk the second route to be introduced.

New wine tours now available in Santorini

Santorini may be famous for its sweet Vinsanto but wine has been produced on the sun-drenched volcanic island since the 17th century BC. The vineyards cover a surface of 1,400 hectares, with the cultivated vines stretching from sea level up to the caldera cliffs. New Greek start-up company ‘Wine in Santorini’ now offers a variety of high quality wine tasting tours, where you can find out more about the 50-plus white and red grape varieties that can be found on the island.

Have archaeologists discovered the grave of Alexander the Great?

A marble-faced wall which could contain a royal grave was excavated earlier in the summer in northern Greece, sparking speculation that it might belong to Alexander the Great. Found near ancient Amphipolis, 370 miles north of Athens, the impressive wall is 500 metres long and three metres high and dates back to the late 4th century BC, when Alexander the Great reigned as King of Macedon. There is various theories about where Alexander the Great was buried after he mysteriously died in 323 BC and, although no official announcement is expected until the excavation is completed, many reports suggest that this could be his tomb.

Greek breakfast website now live

Love Greek food? A new initiative named ‘Greek Breakfast’ allows you to find out more about the most important meal of the day, the Greek way of course. In addition to listing the hotels where visitors can taste the local gastronomy, you can learn more about the history and background of the most important Greek products (from honey and oranges to olives and over 20 types of cheese), as well as more than 70 recipes of local dishes from all over Greece.

Celebrity hot spotting: all eyes on Greece!

A-listers and Hollywood stars once again chose Greece for their summer holiday – the Kardashians filmed three episodes for their TV show on the Greek islands earlier in the year but this was just the beginning:

Mykonos was a celebrity magnet, with Jon Bon Jovi, Naomi Campbell, Valentino, Kelly Brook and Danny Cipriani all seen on the island. Sir Richard Branson is reportedly planning a new venture, while an enthused Russell Crowe wrote on Twitter “How is it that I’ve lived 49 years on this planet but never been to the Greek islands before?” 

Madonna returned to Ithaca for the first time after her divorce from Guy Richie, Tom Hanks was seen at his summer house in Antiparos, while Bruce Willis is rumoured to have bought a villa in Corfu 

Former Manchester United footballer Cristiano Ronaldo started his holiday in a private yacht off the coast of Crete before continuing to Rhodes 

Sarah Jessica Parker also sailed through Greece on a luxury yacht, along with husband Matthew Broderick and celebrity friends Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack 

Other celeb-visited islands included Santorini (Bar Rafaeli), Skiathos (Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell) and Paros (Monica Bellucci), while Japanese designer Kenzo was spotted in Athens

Key events
Put it in the diary – summer may be over but some of Greece’s most exciting events are coming soon:

The North Face Kalymnos Climbing Festival, 10-13 October 2013: Building on the success of last year’s inaugural event, climbing enthusiasts are invited to experience firsthand the island’s limestone rock cliffs. The Climbing Festival features a PROject competition in a brand new climbing crag, an OPEN and BIG marathon that caters to the whole climbing community, as well as a Story Teller’s Night and beach parties. For more information visit

Navarino Bike Festival, 11-13 October 2013: The three day event and the specially created course of the races will offer the opportunity to amateur cyclists of all ages, to race like pros in the stunning Peloponnese surroundings. Professional cyclists will participate in the race which is included in the calendar of the International Cycling Union (UCI). “Navarino Bike Festival” will take place under the Auspices of the General Secretariat of Sports (Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports). For more information visit

Navarino Challenge, 18-20 October 2013: Ultramarathon runner Dean Karnazes will lead the way in three races across the three day event, which will be held in the Messinian and Arcadian regions. The ‘Navarino Challenge’ will take place under the Auspices of the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics of Harokopio University of Athens, it will cater for all ages and fitness levels and will give people the opportunity to discover the hospitality and beauty of the Messinian and Arcadian regions. The three events will include a 6.8km, 15km and half marathon and will raise awareness of the global issue of childhood obesity and the benefits of the Mediterranean diet. For more information visit

Athens Classic Marathon, 10 November 2013: Almost 10,000 runners have already registered in this year’s Marathon Race, which is anticipated to exceed any previous record: registrations for the 5km and 10km Road Races have already closed, however a few entries are still available in the Marathon Race and Power Walking for those that wish to face the challenge and run (or walk) the 42,195m course. For more information visit

The Antikythera Shipwreck Temporary Exhibition, until 12 January 2014: Held at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, this is your last chance to admire all the artefacts retrieved from the legendary shipwreck off the islet of Antikythera in southern Greece – including the Antikythera Mechanism (probably the world’s most remarkable astronomical calculating device ever found) and the bronze statue of the Antikythera Youth. For more information visit

For more information on Marketing Greece, visit