As vaccination efforts increase across the country and new CDC guidelines clear fully vaccinated travelers for take-off (with some caveats), it feels like everyone is starting to plan getaways for summer and beyond. According to luxury travel experts, the place we are all dreaming about going is the Mediterranean—specifically, Greece, which announced that it will open May 14 to travelers who have been vaccinated or who show proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within three days of their departure. With other traditional summer destinations such as France, Italy and Spain looking likely to remain closed to Americans for at least the next few months, 2021 is poised to be Greece’s moment in the sun—and hotels, travel operators, private jet companies and even cruise lines are responding accordingly.
“Because most clients are or expect to be vaccinated by summer, they are literally begging for our help to ‘restore their sanity’—as one client put it—with an annual pilgrimage to the Mediterranean,” says Jack Ezon of Embark Beyond, adding that 37 percent of client inquiries this month have been for travel to the Mediterranean from June to September. In response, the company has launched the Greek and Ottoman Summer program, which offers guaranteed upgrades and other perks for bookings made before April 22. Travel planner Butterfield & Robinson, meanwhile, is offering “slow travel” itineraries in Greece that highlight lesser-known destinations like the island of Sikinos.
Known for its private jet experiences, TCS World Travel has introduced the Undiscovered Greek Isles Itinerary. Starting at $14,925 per person, the program whisks you to four islands—Paros, Naxos, Folegandros and Milos—for helicopter rides, yacht sailings, cave adventures and more. Finally, if you’ve missed being on the water, Celebrity Cruises is introducing its long-awaited Celebrity Apex—the second ship in the brand’s award-winning luxury Edge series—in Greece this summer, with seven-night sailings starting June 19. (The ship will sail with a vaccinated crew and will be available to vaccinated adult guests and children with negative Covid-19 tests.)
Naturally, all this activity has also led to lots of excitement on the hotel front, with properties across the mainland and islands gearing up to welcome international guests. Here’s a look at the latest news from 10 luxury options, spanning from Santorini and Mykonos to the Kassandra peninsula.