The Greek islands are a magical part of the world that have been the setting for many a holiday romance, fabulous beach experience and blue sky adventure thanks to the combination of stunning sands, cultural intensity and nightlife that is on offer. Whether you’re looking for a fun filled family break with plenty of beach action or somewhere discreet and romantic for a couples break there are lots of different locations to choose from.
With more than 2,000 Greek islands in total, ranging from tiny little specks of land through to fully developed islands with numerous resorts, amenities and facilities, heading to this part of the world for a break is the ideal way to combine all your favourite holiday activities. Add to that the fantastic weather – hot, dry summers with temperatures regularly reaching the mid 30s and virtually cloudless skies – and it’s easy to see why so many people want to have a Greek island adventure.
If you’re looking to delve into the history of this part of the world then Santorini, Rhodes, Patmos and Corfu are great options. The volcanic crater on Santorini offers a fantastic insight into the very beginnings of this chain of islands, the ‘lost city of Atlantis’ is rumoured to be located here, and the sunsets are some of the best in the area. There are also plenty of historical locations to visit on other islands – such as the 14th century palace of the grand masters on Rhodes and the Monastery of St John the Theologian on Patmos.
Mykonos by night
You’re never going to be far away from a fabulous beach in the Greek islands but some are undoubtedly better than others. Head for Mykonos, Crete or Kefalonia for the full turquoise seas effect and those idyllic seaside sunsets. For those looking for a wide range of beach choice on a single island, Skiathos has no less than 65 options!
The range of activities on offer in the Greek islands is broad, whether you want to go under the water or over the hills. Evia, Kos and Thasos offer some scenic and challenging cycling, whilst for diving and snorkeling you can’t beat Karpathos and Milos (which both have diving schools). If you’re a keen walker then Crete, as the largest island, is an excellent choice with the Samaria Gorge to explore and plenty of mountains, canyons and even the odd windmill.
Sunset over ‘Lésvos’
Of course the food is also fantastic all over the Greek islands but Lesvos is particularly well known for its olive oil and the sweet muscat wine on Samos has a world renowned reputation. From meze, to ouzo, to the very freshest of seafood you will find an enormous and delicious range of choice on the menu in this part of the world, whichever island you opt for.
If you’re struggling to pick just one island to visit, Greek cruises can be a great way to combine more than one of these magical spots, and to take the hassle out of getting around from one island to another. Combining the best beaches in the area, the most fascinating historical sites, and the best entertainment, Greek cruises offer a way to see everything this part of the world has to offer in style.
Amy is a freelance travel writer based in the UK. She spent a summer island hopping around Greece in her backpacking days!