In relation to the very best islands to go to in Greece, you’re spoilt for alternative. However I’ve narrowed down the checklist for you.
In case you’ve been dreaming of an island paradise, Greece is undoubtedly among the many most stunning on the earth. It’s solely when you’ve skilled the magnitude of those archipelagos with your individual eyes that you just understand how overwhelming their magnificence is.
There are greater than 200 inhabited Greek isles and round 6,000 in complete. And like many island nations, every inhabited Greek island has its personal distinct character – from the white-and-blue washed homes on the Cyclades islands and the luxurious greenery of the Ionian islands to the castle-lined Dodecanese islands.
Greece has six main island teams, in addition to a significant stand-alone: Crete. It’s usually finest to journey between islands in a single group than to hop from archipelago to archipelago. Right here we go over the very best islands to go to in Greece, what they’re identified for, and how one can journey inside every archipelago.
Positioned practically halfway between Europe and Africa is the biggest and southernmost of the Greek islands – Crete. With its distinct customs, local weather, and meals, Crete could possibly be its personal nation. Since there’s a lot to expertise on this island, most travellers who go to Crete normally dedicate their complete journey to the 160-mile-long island as an alternative of venturing off to different archipelagos.
Crete has two important airports, which implies quick access from Athens. And when you’re there, you’ll wish to lease a automobile – it takes about six hours to drive from one finish of the island to the opposite. Did somebody say street journey?
Be sure you additionally discover seashores like Elafonissi (with its otherworldly pink sands) and Elounda (well-known for its 5-star seashore golf equipment). And if mountaineering is up your alley, the Samaria Gorge takes you on a stunning 5–7-hour hike via landscapes full of cliffs and streams or maybe a stroll via the wildflowers alongside the dreamy pathways of the mountain villages. Don’t miss out on a visit to the ruins of the Palace of Knossos – house of the Minoan empire and the ominous Minotaur monster. And for wine lovers, Crete gives the possibility to bask in some Cretan wines on the Boutaris vineyard.
The Dodecanese Islands
With a reputation impressed by the Greek quantity 12 (dodeca), it’s not shocking that the Dodecanese Islands encompass 12 important islands and a number of smaller ones. The 2 largest islands are Kos and Rhodes, and whereas the smaller ten could be much less found, they’re simply as beautiful.
World-renowned for its extremely preserved walled metropolis, Rhodes stuns its guests with Crusader castles and an historic synagogue. Whereas the city of Lindos gives an historic Greek acropolis atop a hill, a medieval village within the center, and a contemporary city on its seashore on the backside. Be sure you go to the mansions of Kassos, the intense homes of Kastelorizo, and the hilltop Chora of Astypalea – one of many prettiest fortified villages in Greece.
The Ionian Islands
Followers of greenery will discover the Ionian Islands to be essentially the most stunning of the Greek islands. The plush “Seven Islands”, or Eptanissia, places on an unimaginable present of native arts and tradition, music, meals, and structure for its guests.
You may wander the streets of the UNESCO-protected Previous City in Corfu to absorb the majesty of the Greek islands. However Paxos and its little olive tree-laden area is to not be missed both. To catch a glimpse of untamed horses working across the middle of Mount Aenos, cease off on the largest island, Kefalonia. Or take a break at Zakynthos, house to Shipwreck Seaside, which is barely accessible by sea.
Greek mythology lovers ought to give Ithaka a go to, identified to Homer followers as the house of Odysseus. And lastly, the outlier, Kythera – which seems prefer it belongs extra to the Cyclades Islands than the Ionian. All in all, the Ionian Islands simply slips into the checklist of most stunning Greek islands.
The Cyclades Islands
Finest identified for Mykonos and Santorini, the Cyclades Islands are comprised of a bunch of 24 inhabited islands, making up a complete of 220 isles. These Greek islands are the postcard model of Greece you’re almost certainly conversant in – whitewashed church buildings with blue domes and pink bougainvillea vines climbing up road partitions.
Mykonos is in style for its nightlife and impeccable seashores, whereas Santorini is romantic and opulent – the proper vacation spot for honeymooners to lounge in personal swimming pools overlooking the caldera. Those that wish to expertise different components of the Cyclades would possibly get pleasure from Milos, which is house to Kleftiko caves, Tinos, and the well-known Virgin Mary church. Not discounting the bigger islands like Naxos and Syros, making up the archipelago’s capital, or the smaller ones that see little or no tourism, like Sikinos.
The Northeast Aegean Islands
The Northeast Aegean Islands are a set of 13 Greek islands – with the 5 most notable being Samos, Ikaria, Limnos, Lesvos, and Chios. It’s additionally the closest a part of Greece to neighbouring Turkey. A visit to the Northeast Aegean Islands rewards its guests with exceptional seashores and pure wonders like volcanic rocks and thermal springs.
Be sure you cease off on the petrified forest and the magnificent fort in Lesvos. There are additionally archaeological websites such because the Temple of Hera on Samos, the acropolis on Thassos, and the traditional metropolis of Ifestia on Limnos, to not point out the volcanic rock and sand dunes on Limnos.
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The wealthy historical past is likely one of the the explanation why these islands characteristic among the many finest islands to go to in Greece, however their waters supply an equal reward, with the likes of Keros Seaside on Limnos – which is called among the finest locations in Europe to kite or windsurf. There may be additionally Seitani coves on Samos, and white-sand Seychelles on Ikaria, that are beautiful for swimming.
Getting across the islands in Greece
Whereas a lot of the islands in Greece have airports, not all are worldwide airports. Many are visited by primarily home airline carriers equivalent to Aegean Airways, and you may solely fly in from Athens or surrounding islands. However a few of the hottest locations on this checklist, like Crete or Santorini, do have worldwide airports, the place vacationers can fly instantly from hubs like Europe and the Center East.
Ferrying is a straightforward and cost-effective approach to journey between islands, particularly if you happen to plan on staying inside one archipelago. However it’s additionally potential to lease a automobile in Athens or on one of many islands and drive it onto the ferry, turning your island-hopping journey right into a seafaring street journey.
Take into accout: You will have a global driver’s license to lease a automobile on one of many islands.
When is the very best time to go to the Greek isles
If you need nice climate however nonetheless wish to keep away from crowds, then ensure you plan your journey to the Greek Isles throughout Could, June, and September. Peak season on islands in Greece is from mid-June to mid-September, and this time gives extra ferry and flight selections, in addition to extra eating places and bars to frequent – allowing for, you’ll be competing with vacationers and excessive costs.
As well as, every island group has various climate circumstances. As an illustration, Crete has the warmest local weather year-round, which means it’s beautiful to go to even throughout the late fall or winter months. Additionally, some islands, like Santorini, get quiet throughout off-seasons working from November to March.
Right here’s an concept of the very best Greek islands to go to at varied occasions of the 12 months:
- March, April, October, and November: That is shoulder season, and the busier islands are quieter however nonetheless buzzing. Santorini, Crete, and Rhodes are the very best Greek islands to go to.
- Could, June, and September: The Greek islands supply beautiful climate within the months earlier than and after peak season. Providing a wonderful time to see the islands, get monetary savings, and keep away from the crowds. Santorini, Rhodes, Corfu, and Crete are nice selections throughout this time.
- July and August: These are the busiest and hottest months. In case you get pleasure from seashore events and golf equipment brimming with heat our bodies, then Mykonos is the place for you. That is additionally the very best time to go to much less busy islands like Milos and Ikaria, which have brief vacationer seasons.
- December, January, and February: Most Greek islands are quiet throughout winter months, however Crete and Santorini nonetheless supply a lot to do with plenty of open locations to remain and luxuriate in the great thing about the Greek islands.
Whereas it’s subsequent to inconceivable to decide on the very best islands to go to in Greece, these gems are a very good place to begin. Let me know within the feedback part, what your favorite Greek Island is!
Efrat Sagi-Ofir is CRO & Founding father of Air Physician. Air Physician is a startup that connects vacationers to a world community of 20,000 native medical docs via an easy-to-use app, to obtain acceptable medical care from wherever on the earth.