Looking at a map of all the Greek islands (there are about 6,000 if you count the smallest ones) might be just enough to start your holiday with a headache! There are 227 inhabited islands, however, and among those are some stock favourites like Santorini, Crete and Corfu.
But there’s no need to panic: if you’re indecisive, you don’t have to settle for just one island. Island hopping in Greece is possibly the best solution for restless travellers in love with the sea, but it’s still essential to know which stops could make your holiday truly unforgettable. Discover our top 5 favourite Greek islands to get it just right during your sailing holidays around the land of Gods.
Its beauty is unmatched and the picturesque volcano at the island’s base is also the only one in the world with an underwater crater. With its narrow streets, ancient villages on top of steep cliffs and beaches ranging from white, to black and red, Santorini means discovering all that’s magnificent about Greece.
The biggest island in the Cyclades, Naxos has a proud history, having once been capital of the Ducat of the Aegean. This is also an island of many features:, most notably the ancient and rugged landscape to the East, which has abandoned towers, Venetian castles and monasteries all around it, as well as some of Greece’s finest sandy beaches. Among them, Agios Prokopio is a proper paradise that deserves repeated visits. Also make sure to try the delicious local cheese before you leave: graviéra, xinòtiro and arsenikò are all mouth-watering.
Great Greek islands don’t have to be in the Cyclades: why settle for well-known options such as Mykonos when you can discover the unknown? Skiathos is part of the Sporades, and its lush Mediterranean forests make its landscape much different from the arid islands to the south. Among its 60 beaches, we recommend trying out Ahladiés for some snorkelling, and Koukounariés for the nightlife fun. But don’t forget to discover what lies inland: you’ll be surprised by the beauty and the natural strength of the forests around the Strofilià area.
Famed for its new age credentials, the largest island in the Sporades has a chilled atmosphere and a fascinating story behind it. The main historic landmark there is a Byzantine castle, which has an unbelievable view over the sea, while Hora, the village around it, will inevitably become the centre of your visit. There’s no reason to miss out on this true gem of traditional Greek architecture while you’re there.
So far we’ve mentioned islands lying to the east of Greece, but let’s not forget what’s to be discovered in the Ionian Sea! Corfu manages to surprise even the most seasoned tourists because of the many influences it manages to mix effortlessly. Once under Venetian control, the town of Corfu is now a UNESCO World Heritage site, with refined French influences also very much alive in the Spianada square and Liston areas. Among the cultural highlights that reflect its ancient heritage, the city also boasts a museum of Asian art as well as a Byzantine museum. However, if stunning beaches is all you’re after, just go west: Ermones, Glyfada and Mirtiotissa are impressive by any standard.
Have you been island hopping in Greece or elsewhere (what about the Caribbean?) Tell us about it in the comments 🙂
Image credits: mrwallpaper.com, vacation-in-greece.gr, tripel.me, seaknots.ning.com, potamakibeachhotel.com and topwalls.net
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