The Glittering Gems of Greece
Explore enchanting Greece; a country full of history and charm - journey back to the days of ancient civilisation.
Situated within the Balkans, there are many different reasons why the cradle of Western Civilisation known as Greece, is an alluring holiday destination. The whitewashed buildings paired with the sparkling coastline, the longest in Europe, invite tourists from all around the world to have the holiday of their dreams. Become wrapped up in the charms of the country that was once the biggest influence and the beacon of western civilisation. With many opting for their own halal-holiday breaks in cities and islands such as Athens, Rhodes, Thessaloniki, Corfu, Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Santorini and Mykonos, you are spoilt for choice of where to visit. Explore the landmarks that still stand proud today and remain as a reminder to the Greeks and to the rest of the world as to what their country represents. Add the warm climate into the mix, and you’ll find yourself wandering through hidden alleyways and historic sites with the sun shimmering on you. Lovers of the legendary Greek tales that are renowned the world over can testify to the beauty of Greece and the warm welcome of its inhabitants.
Greece for the halal-conscious traveller
A lot can be said about the benefits of a holiday - not only is it great for the mind and relaxation of the body but it can also enrich the soul. As a Muslim, the emphasis placed on taking care of your soul is great. To be amongst the array of sealife, wildlife, greenery and natural wonders of the world, is a truly uplifting experience and can create the perfect balance of practising gratitude whilst reflecting upon the creation of the Almighty. Taking a break from our busy lifestyle is what everyone craves and looks forward to - learn about the culture and heritage of Greece to add value to your holiday in more ways than you can imagine. With more Muslims choosing to holiday around Europe, Greek hotels and beaches are not strangers to modest swimwear so you can be at ease when enjoying time on the beach. Keeping all of this in mind, we do need to consider that Greece does not have a large Muslim population, however, there is halal food available and a few mosques scattered around in the major cities including Athens, Rhodes and Thessaloniki. There is a wide variety of vegetarian and seafood dishes. It may be a good idea to carry a wudu bottle and prayer mat.
Halal food in Greece
The Greek staple ingredients such as olives, honey, nuts and fruits are appealing to the halal diet as they fit in so naturally with a lot of the ‘sunnah’ foods, which are recommended as part of a healthy lifestyle for Muslims. Healthy doesn’t have to mean bland; the more popular dishes are appealing to the eye and the Greek palate is ever so colourful, filled with the vibrant colours of fresh vegetables, grilled meat and fish, complemented with freshly squeezed seasonal juices and dips. There are a plethora of halal restaurants and takeaways around Greece: as always look out for the ‘halal’ sign and if in doubt just ask. To enjoy a meal with organic ingredients, locally sourced amongst beautiful surroundings adds to the overall joy of devouring a delicious meal. Be sure to try the mainstays of Greek cuisine, our recommendations are tzatziki, melitzanosalata and fava along with the renowned Feta cheese. Like the neighbouring Turkey and Albania, the desserts in Greece share similarities in appearance and taste to baklava and halva.
Where to visit in Greece
Plan your itinerary around Greece’s 18 spectacular UNESCO World Heritage sites, with plenty of options to explore and relax. Greece has anything up to 6000 islands, rest assured you won’t be at a loss to find things to do. Each city brings its own charm and leaves you speechless - this magnificent marvel has many different attractions. A trip to Greece is like entering a portal to travel back in time including back to the Ottoman period. Many Muslims called Greece their home at the time and there are still communities of Muslims who live here now - whether from recent immigration or from Ottoman times.
As the oldest capital of Europe and the first capital of culture, the historic city of Athens is a beacon for all lovers of art and history. Among other things, it offers the most beautiful ruins and welcoming Greek hospitality. Admire the imposing and impressive architectural achievements of the Ancient Greek world including the magnificent Acropolis and the Parthenon Temple stood atop of Athens watching all those who visit as they pass by. Explore the bustling neighbourhood of Monastiraki with its flea markets and handmade crafts. Grab a snack in the outdoor food market of Varvakios Agora and watch the sunset through the remaining pillars of the Temple of Poseidon. End your day with an appetising meal amongst the street art in the neighbourhood of Kypseli.
Halal-friendly hotels in Athens
Stay in the heart of Athens in this luxury hotel with the main attractions such as the Temple of Olympian Zeus only a five-minute walk away. Benefit from halal-friendly features such as halal food if requested in advance, and alcohol-free rooms.
Wake up to an amazing view of the great Acropolis, namesake of the hotel. A 10-minute walk away from the wonder itself, the hotel is surrounded by cobbled streets, with terraces in some rooms making you feel like an Athens local. Halal food is available near the property and alcohol-free rooms are available.
Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands of Greece and is also the historical capital of the archipelago. Spend your holiday in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Rhodes old town, one of the cities in Greece with Greek, Italian and Ottoman heritage intertwined. Walk the cobbled streets and ancient churches that have stood the test of time. Explore the Palace of the Grand Master - the diamond of the Old Town and Rhodes itself. See all of Rhodes and feel like king of the world from the Monolithos Castle and its panoramic views of the coastline. Get a taste of culture at the Modern Greek Art Museum and finish off with the popular and sweeping beach of Agios Pavlos where you can relax and enjoy the crystal-clear waters.
Halal-friendly hotels in Rhodes
D'Andrea Mare Beach Hotel – All Inclusive (4*)
Bask under the palm trees and enjoy the pools with elegant bridges crossing them, in this fine luxurious beachside hotel. With an outdoor and indoor pool, and private-use massage facilities, you will understand the word ‘relaxation’ on a different level. Alcohol-free rooms are available when booked on HalalBooking.com and halal food is available upon request.
Blue Sea Beach Resort - All Inclusive (4*)
In this modern and contemporary beachside hotel, you will be transported to the holiday of your dreams. Upon entry, you will be greeted by the welcoming staff in a unique and one-of-a-kind lounge. Halal food is available nearby and alcohol is removed from rooms when booked on HalalBooking.com.
Santorini is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago, which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic crater. The whitewashed buildings of Santorini contrasted with the bright sparkling coastline is perhaps its most iconic picture. As well as the natural beauty around, there are many sites to see. Visit the ruins of ancient Thera situated on a ridge of the steep, 360 m high Messavouno mountain and learn history in the Museum of Prehistoric Thira in Fiza. One of the most interesting sites for tourists is Akrotiri - a city preserved by volcanic ash in the 16th century. A tour of Santorini is incomplete without a visit to the beach, particularly Períssa beach, known for its unique black sand.
Halal-friendly hotels in Santorini
Perfect for couples and honeymooners, the Nefeles Luxury Suites is a romantic and intimate hotel, with an amazing view of the Santorini coast. Make the most of the private-use massage facilities, secluded hot tubs in some rooms, outdoor pool and beach swimming available. Halal food and alcohol-free rooms can be requested in advance.
Pearl on the Cliff Hotel & Suites (3*)
Paying homage to the iconic white-washed Santorini buildings, the Pearl on Cliff Hotel embodies the Greek aesthetic in their beautiful rooms. Have your own personal view of the sunrise, and use the outdoor pool and massage facilities. Halal food and alcohol-free rooms are available upon request.
The port city on the Thermaic Gulf of the Aegean Sea is best known for its abundance of Byzantine monuments, having perhaps the most in Greece. Explore the UNESCO world heritage sites, and historic structures built with influences from different religions and cultures. Visit the landmark of the city, the White Tower of Thessaloniki, famous during the Ottoman rule of the city, sitting on the harbourfront watching over the coastline. Take a trip to the Cathedral Church of Agia Sophia of Thessalonica which was once a mosque and is now one of the oldest churches of the city. Bear witness to the fine Byzantine architecture, for which Thessaloniki is known. Visit the Ottoman and Byzantin-era fortress of Heptapyrgion of Thessalonica which was once a prison, and is now an imposing spectacle.
Halal-friendly hotels in Thessaloniki
Live like a local in the affordable and centrally located Astoria Hotel, with all the hustle and bustle of Thessaloniki surrounding you. Stay close to the attractions that you want to see in the cosy rooms of this eco-friendly hotel. The hotel has its own restaurant and cafe, and some rooms even have their own jacuzzi/hot tub.
Enjoy an adventure in Greece
Personalise your holiday in Greece with your own interests and try new experiences, such as island hopping to discover the Greek way of life in its many and various forms. Holidays are more than just a break, with families choosing to travel together to celebrate special occasions such as weddings, engagements, graduations and more. Choose a destination that is unique in beauty and culture. A multifaceted country with sandy beaches and turquoise waters, ancient cities, medieval castles and unexpected mountains - you will leave yearning to come back for more. Like a diamond; from whichever angle you look, you will see the beauty of Greece.