Greek Islands Destination Guide
Greek Islands Holidays
Postcard perfect beaches, whitewashed cubist houses, historic towns, mouth-watering cuisine and vibrant nightlife, all scattered across the turquoise Aegean and Ionian Seas, make the Greek Islands an irresistible destination for sun and sand seekers. The more than 2,000 islands offer countless options for exploration or just one big dose of relaxation. From the diverse landscape of rugged mountains stretching out to the shore, to the ancient ruins nestled against ultramodern hotels and family villas, the list of things to see and do in the Greek Islands just goes on and on.
The Greek Islands have numerous unparalleled offerings. Its coastline is of course one of them and you won’t see many beaches in the world quite like the ones here. Visitors can also take in the history of ancient Greece at sites including Phaestos Palace and Delos, and rummage through museum like towns Rhodes and Corfu. The streets of Fira and Ia are carved into a towering cliff overlooking a circular caldera left by an ancient volcanic eruption and are pretty places for you to explore. Built in 1088, Monastery of St John will have you pinching yourself it’s so beautiful. If it doesn’t a famous Greek Island sunset definitely will.
Expect nothing but the freshest ingredients at The Greek Islands, with each island offering a different regional specialty. Meze platters, souvlaki and moussaka have long been mainstays of Greek tavernas, which is a perfect place to share a meal with the locals. Grilled seafood is a particular favourite in the isles and you need to try grilled octopus with ouzo at least once while you’re here. Lamb is another Greek staple and even a simple lamb chop can be a memorable meal. You’ll also find Keftedes (spicy meatballs) on many menus.
Where to Stay
Greece’s accommodation options continue to improve and imaginatively designed luxury and boutique hotels are now commonly found throughout the islands. The economic situation means you can really enjoy lavishness without splurging so the only stress you’ll have is deciding which island to stay on. Crete, Lipsi, Kefallonia, Skiathos and Mykonos are the most popular choices for sun seekers while history buffs will love Rhodes, Delos, Corfu and Patmos. Naxos, Alonnisos, Skopelos are all attractive options for their rugged terrain and walking tracks while Lesvos and Samsos are renowned for great food, though you’ll find that on most islands.
The Greek Islands are a great place to get your hands on some local handicrafts. Rhodes is home to a bustling bazaar and Mykonos is also a busy place to shop. Jewellery is a particularly popular item to collect while in Greece with a variety of different beads, bracelets, necklaces and bangles for sale. Rocks made of lava are popular souvenirs for tourists and so are local made Greek rugs – just make sure you shop around for the best deal. Pottery and leatherwork are other Greek specialties and you’ll find numerous stores selling these just by wandering aimlessly down the narrow alleyways of the island towns. You’ll definitely want to take some Greek spices home with you too but check your local customs laws before you do so.
Greek Islands Like a Local
Greeks know how to have a good time and drinking ouzo is very much a part of that tradition. The island of Lesvos prides itself as being the centre of ouzo production but you’ll find countless ouzeries right across the Greek Islands. The best hotels often even offer complimentary ouzo on arrival. Beware though! The fiery drink contains up to 46% alcohol and is not for the feint hearted. Distilled from the must or remnants of grapes pressed for wine, ouzo is usually drunk straight or with ice. Some of the popular Greek brands to try are Plomari, Tinarvou and Kefi, and the distinct anise flavour of ouzo can also be found in the cooking of many Greek Island specialties.