Greece is a gorgeous, vibrant place full of natural beauty and history. It is the birthplace of Western civilization, but there is so much more to it than that. Similarly, there is a lot more to Greece than just Athens. Its islands are the go-to holiday destination for couples and families alike. Relaxing, great to explore and surrounded by some of the most beautiful waters, these islands are the perfect destination to enjoy once travel restrictions are lifted. In this post we look at ways for exploring Greek islands.
Where to Stay
On the islands, you have a few options. For a private experience – ideal for keeping your distance and staying safe, even after travel restrictions are lifted – you will want to book your own private villa. Greek island villa holidays are fantastic because they allow you to enjoy the landscape and the island at your own pace while feeling like home. Opt for one with a swimming pool, or a great location. The only thing you need to remember is that you will also want to rent a vehicle so that you can easily get around on your own time, instead of trying to rely on the infrequent public transportation options.
Other options include boutique hotels or resorts, though the options available will depend entirely on the island itself.
The Best Islands to Visit
Greece has thousands of islands to its name, with 227 of them inhabited and populated. These islands boast a laidback vibe, friendly locals and some beautiful coasts and towns. They are perfect for those who want to enjoy time on a beach or enjoy a slower holiday in the sun.
Not every inhabited island, however, is going to be worthwhile. To have a great mixture of landscape, towns, food, drink and activities, head to these top six destinations:
Corfu is the greenest island and features over two million olive trees. With 92 beaches stretching over 217km of coastline, it’s a great place for lush landscapes and island exploring.
Kefalonia is a rugged island with limestone cliffs and thin, white sand beaches. It’s beautiful beyond compare, is a fun island to explore and can offer you the secluded escape you want, as many beaches are only accessible on foot. One of the main highlights, however, is at sea. Melissani cave is a stunning open-air cave featuring teal waters. It is a must-see by boat.
Mykonos is the party island to many people, but it can be and is so much more than the island where you dance all night. It is a paradise that offers something for everyone and features many truly stunning towns that look absolutely beautiful sunrise to sunset.
Paxos is ideal if you are looking for a local island that feels authentic and charming. The island itself is beautiful and small, meaning it’s easy to explore on foot while you enjoy the artistic vibe and stunning vistas.
Rhodes is one of Greece’s largest islands and has many ancient ruins to explore. Ideal for couples and families, Rhodes has everything from a fascinating Old Town to stunning beaches.
Santorini is one of the most famous islands for a reason. Shaped by a volcano and featuring white houses, it is one of the most photographed and visited islands in Greece. Don’t be fooled by its popularity, however. Go during the start or end of the season, and you can enjoy the island mostly to yourself, with the exception of a few main streets.
Getting Around the Greek Islands
Getting to and around the islands often stumps newcomers. In short, you will have two options: by air or by sea.
The ferry system is a reliable way to get around. You can either opt for the catamaran, which is an express service and feels more like a flight, or a ferry, which feels more like cruise ships minus the accommodation. Catamarans are faster, but if you tend to get seasick, you will prefer the larger, more smooth-sailing ferries.
Many of the islands mentioned in our top six have airports that you can either fly to directly from your nearest international airport or domestically from the Athens airport. Not every island has an airport, however, so you may need to island-hop to get to your destination.
Greece is a wonderful place to visit, but if you are looking for a laid-back and relaxing holiday, the Greek islands are where you need to be. Book your villa and car, and the island is yours to explore and experience.