True Travel Times
Astoundingly, there are over 6,000 Greek islands, with 227 of them inhabited – makes for quite a long list should you aspire to visit them all. Each offers all the joys of Greece, the inescapability of a beautiful coastline, bounty of beaches and a copious number of taverns serving calamari and local wine by the carafe. The easy misconception to make is that many of the islands are similar or the same. In fact, each is entirely different from the next so, as cliché, as it may sound, there is something for everyone. However, each is entirely different from the last; whether it be a party mecca, an escape from the crowds or remnants of volcanic activity, you can get lost in a rabbit warren of visit-worthy islands. Of course, it is for this reason that so many people island-hop about Greece, aiming to get the most out of their time in the country and see and experience as many of the islands as possible. Here we shed light on some of our favourites, why we love them and who they are perfect for.
Who is it for – Romantics and Adult Only
One of the world’s most famous honeymoon destinations, Santorini is perhaps the most famous and distinctive of the Greek islands. Iconic for its blue domes that dot the coast of the caldera, and a clifftop so dramatic it seems unfathomable that so many hotels and homes have been perched precariously upon it. It is a destination to without guilt spend whole days by the pool, only breaking for a long lunch in the restaurant next door. Come evening, you will want to be in the best position possible for one of the world’s most famous sunsets – fortunately, from the caldera side of the island, it is impossible to miss.
With not much space to afford large complexes, boutique hotels are the order of the day, with a maximum of twenty rooms apiece, which only adds to the romance of the destination. The joy of the island is how slow-paced it is, giving newlyweds the opportunity to relax after their big day in a beautiful setting. That being said, should you get itchy feet there are a handful of things worth doing – hikes along the cliff tops, exploring black and red sand beaches, visits to up and coming vineyards for tours and tastings or a private sunset cruise along the coastline for the ultimate Santorini evening.
Who is it for – Party lovers and Long Lunchers
Made famous in the ’60s by Jacky Kennedy and Grace Kelly, Mykonos has maintained its reputation as a destination for the rich and famous. Here serving champagne at breakfast is not a rarity, it is the norm. In fact, most hotels on the island will serve buffet breakfast well beyond midday to cater for those whose nights went into the small hours of the morning. This can be directly blamed on the late-night nature of this destination – after all, Mykonos is often billed as the Greeks’ answer to Ibiza. Before the bars of Little Venice open on any given evening, long lunches at beach clubs are the order of the day on some of the islands most exceptional beaches – Nammos and Scorpios to name a few. However, we are in Greece, which means there is never a history lesson far away. A short boat ride from the island sits Delos, an archaeological site and the mythical birthplace of Apollo. Better still, Mykonos is in easy reach of Naxos and Paros for day trips, so really, you are never too far from peace and quiet should you want a day off!
Naxos & Paros
Who is it for – Laid Back Crowd Escapers
Naxos and Paros hug one another, meaning visiting one offers you easy access to the other. Better still, day trips to Mykonos and Santorini are not completely out of the question should you wish to tick these destinations off your Greek island bucket list. Naxos is often billed as an active destination with plenty of wind to fuel all numbers of adrenaline watersports, and across the water is foodie Paros. Here, every tiny restaurant boasts a menu of delicious freshly caught fish and mezze to accompany. Without being riddled with tourists, the islands have held on to much of their authenticity and localness. Hotels are by and large more low key and charming than rival islands and locals far more welcoming of visitors to their home.
Who is it for – Firm Family Favourite
Truly, this is the ultimate Greek villa holiday destination, boasting a long list of stunning homes to temporarily call your own. Families’ love of the island is evidenced and promoted in Gerad Durrell’s Corfu Trilogy – based on moving to Corfu as a child in the 1930’s – and so loved it was turned into a television adaptation. A guarantee of Vitamin D and warm water through summer, this is by a country mile the most popular island on the Ionian side of Greece. This means the island is fantastically set up for tourism, with water sports aplenty and enough lunchtime pit stops along the coast to justify spending three weeks in situ. Fun fact – it is also the birthplace of Prince Philip and second home to the Rothschilds family.
Who is it for – Beach Fans and Mamma Mia!
Skiathos is fast becoming a hit Greek island destination, with a choice of stunning villas and a growing number of exceptional hotels. Next door is Skopelos, an island now famous for its role in hit musical Mamma Mia! Thanks to just how picturesque the setup is – inclusive of that wonderful hilltop church – remember to bring plenty of water for the steps to the top. Even with such fame and accolade, the island has retained much of what is to be unspoilt and local. The landscapes are wonderfully sunburnt, the tavernas quiet and the towns a welcoming place to explore.
Who is it for – People who cannot drive, and for local immersion
Spetses is the island where wealthy Athenians scramble when the heat of the summer hits the Acropolis and the city. An island where no cars are allowed, the pace of life is authentically Greek and there is absolutely no rush here. Hire bikes and cycle to local farms to collect honey for your breakfast or take a horse and cart down the promenade to pick up some bread for a picnic lunch. We promise it will not be hard to find a remarkably quiet spot on a pebble beach reaching out into the azure blue of the Meditteranean.
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