My top holiday reads..


Hands up! Who loves a good holiday read whilst relaxing on the beach?

I don’t know about you, but I love a good book on holiday, whilst I am relaxing on the beach or around the pool. My favourite type of books to read whilst I am away are usually ones that are set in the country I am visiting, as I feel it really brings the place to life. As I usually visit Greece at least once per year, all of these books on the list are set in Greece.

Here are my top 5 holiday reads that I have enjoyed reading over the years on a sunny beach in Greece somewhere:

1. The Island by Victoria Hislop


This is one of my all time favourite books by Victoria Hislop. The book is set in Crete and centres around the former leper colony Spinalonga. The premise of the book is bringing the history of Spinalonga to life, with the character Alexis finding out about her mother’s past and how she is connected to the island. It brings history, drama,  and romance together for one fantastic read.

I remember reading this book on one of my visits to Crete and visited the island of Spinalonga on a day trip. My visit to the island was made all the better because of the book and really helped me in picturing what life must have been like for the lepers, especially through the tunnel entrance to the island. I had goosebumps!

This book has won many awards and has been translated into over twenty languages! To add to its success Mega (Greek TV channel) made it into a 26 part drama, which was broadcast in 2010 – 2011, unfortunately, it has yet to be subtitled and aired in the UK 😢😢.

Victoria has also written several other books, centring around other parts of Greek and Spanish history.  All are great holiday reads.

For more information about Victoria’s books check out her website:

2. The Illegal Gardener by Sara Alexi

The Illegal Gardener is one of many books in the Greek Village Series by Sara Alexi (all of which intermingle with each other, given a great sense of village life). This book centres around Juliet who has moved to the village on impulse, leaving her English life behind to do up her dilapidated farmhouse and its garden. Reluctantly she enlists the help of Aaman, who has travelled from Pakistan to Greece illegally.
This is a great book for imagining living in a real life Greek village, which you may not always see in the tourist resorts. It also gives a little insight into what illegal immigrants go through to better their lives.

This book (and the others in the series) are available in both printed and Kindle versions, and Sara is always adding new books to the series.

For more information about Sara’s books visit her website:


3. The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudi

Now if you are a lover of crime novels then the next three books will be right up your street!

The Messenger of Athens is the first book in a series by Anna Zouroudi, which follows the investigations of Greek detective Hermes Diaktoros, are otherwise known as ‘the fat man’. Throughout the book this character remains quite a mystery, however, he aids in bringing justice where there is none, and righting the wrongs of which the roots of are deeply buried. Nobody is ever quite sure of who’s authority he is acting on.
This is a great book, which really brings the character to life, and you can’t help but fall in love with his ways. It brings a different insight it to the world of Greece and past rituals which you may not see on your holidays.

For more information on Anne’s books, you can visit her website here:

4. Murder in Mykonos by Jeffrey Sieger

Another crime series book that I have recently discovered is a series by Jeffrey Siger and read on my recent trip to Parga. Murder in Mykonos is again the first novel in a series following the investigations of Detective Andres Kaldis around various parts of Greece. As you may have guessed, this book is set on the Cycladic island of Mykonos, where Andreas is tasked with solving the mystery of the murder of a tourist on the island, which soon leads to the hunt for Greece’s first serial killer.
This book is great if you like twists and turns, and trying to figure out who’s done it. It also gives a unique insight into the politics and laws of Greece that you may otherwise be unaware of.

For more information on Jeffrey’s books, check out his website here:

5. Deadline in Athens by Petros Markaris

The last book in my top 5 holiday reads is Deadline in Athens by Petros Markaris and is another detective /crime novel (can you tell I like my crime and detective stories? 😂), as well as a series.
This book is centred around Homicide Squad Chief Costas Haritos, investigating the murder of two Albanians in their Athenian home, and the consequences of believing it is an open and closed case. He is a lovable but stubborn character, with a tense and at times complicated relationship with his wife. I really enjoyed this book, and have a similar trait to the character…my love of Gemista (Stuffed tomatoes) 😂. Another great book that is part of a series.
This book was translated into English, and Petros Markaris is a well-known thriller crime writer in Greece.
The author does not have a website (that I could find), so for more information on his books, the best bet is to search him on Google.

So there were my top 5 books to read when on holiday, and I am sure there will be more books to add to my list in times to come. It is worth noting that some of these books are published with different titles, and if you are considering buying more in each series, just check that you haven’t already purchased one with the different title. I made this mistake, and was quite confused when I knew the whole plot and story of the novel!

What are your favourite holiday reads? 📚

Thanks for reading!

P.S. What do you think of my first attempts of Flat Lay Photography?

You can see more in my top 5 series with My Top 5 Tips when visiting Greece

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