Greek Islands Holiday
Sunrise in Mykonos and sunsets in Santorini, views of the sea and visits to countless historical sites make up a Greek islands holiday.
There is lots to learn here and new pursuits await the wander lusting traveler, from volcano hikes to rock climbing, kayaking on the sea, sunbathing at the beach, cycling in the forests and kitesurfing.
After all, Greece is the birthplace of the Olympic Games, democracy, mathematical principles, and different forms of literature and performing arts.
A Greek islands holiday will allow you to hop around any of the 6,000 landmasses and islets in the Aegean and Ionian Seas with your accommodation being in any of the inhabited 227 islands.
Since many ancient European civilizations (like the Cycladic and Minoan) developed on these islands, you are bound to find exceptional archeological sites.
This is evidenced by the 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites found in Greece and that is more than is found in any European country.
Best islands to visit in Greece
Pitch your tent at the home of Odysseus, a small picturesque island perfect for retreats.
It is 27km of serenity and charm, straddled by mountains and hills that are perfect for mountain biking and hiking.
You can spend your Greek islands holiday swimming at Filiatro Beach, scuba diving and kayaking, visiting the Cave of the Nymph and sampling fresh fish and Greek delicacies on traditional seaside taverns.
Make sure to visit Perahóri and Stavrós villages as well as the island’s capital, Vathý which is built on a bay at the center.
This pocket-friendly island is the greenest of all Greek islands, characterized by olive groves and cypress trees and has earned the nickname ‘Garden Isle.’
It is also marked by architectural wonders, small streets, and the Venetian town, all of which you can explore in horseback.
Clifftop villages overlook the sea against a backdrop of lemon groves and blue skies, providing the best location for Greece’s most luxurious hotels.
Here you will find the best white wines, tomatoes, fava capers, grilled fish and white aubergines, all of which you may enjoy from a tavern overlooking the caldera.
Snorkel on Caldera Beach, tour the Museum of Prehistoric Thira, take a boat excursion to Nea Kameni volcanic island or take an afternoon siesta.
Santorini is divided into the eastern side and the western side which hosts Fira and Oia villages and overlooks the caldera.
Hotels built on the cliff do not generally accept children under teenage due to their precarious location and senior citizens are usually turned off by the stairs that lead up to their rooms.
Some tourists do not mind though. This is a small price to pay for the breathtaking views of the sunset, the volcano, caldera and the sea that they enjoy.
Mykonos is the perfect hideout for night owls and is known for its vibrant party scene.
It’s not uncommon to find party goers carrying their babies into Mykonos for a night of fun, so it is advisable to bring older children. You want to party uninhibited.
In the daytime, you can engage in watersports, chill out at the beach or visit ancient temples in Delos.
Enjoy sundowners at Little Venice, before heading to Mykonos Town for dinner.
If you’re a watersports fanatic, you should try out Paro.
Meltemi winds are believed to blow through the Aegean during summer providing the perfect conditions to kiteboard and windsurf.
Though Pounda and Santa Maria beaches are good for sports, it would be best to base yourself at New Golden Beach.
Its winds are usually very reliable. The Professional Windsurfers Association knows this all too well and has in the past held its World Cup tournaments there.
The outdoorsy traveler will enjoy his time at this wing-shaped island which was named for Icarus who flew too close to the sun and plummeted to the sea below.
Ikaria has a system of mountain paths that connect to villages that make for an exhilarating hiking expedition.
Hikers take tours through the bush, pine and oak forests, hills, lakes, and rivers, bringing them to a mineral bath house in Therma where they unwind.
Things to do in Athens
Athens is the capital city of Greece and is worth fitting into your Greek islands holiday itinerary.
It is also the birthplace of democracy which is evidenced by ancient monuments, theatrical stages, and historical sites found all over this city.
Here are some of the activities you can participate in Europe’s oldest capital:
- View centuries’ old sculptures at the Acropolis Museum
- Go shopping at Agora-Athens Central Market
- Attend a carnival in The Plaka neighborhood
- Watch the sunset from the Temple of Poseidon
- Enjoy a cup of Greek coffee or grilled octopus at Psiri
- Explore Ancient Agora
- Go for an art tour through the National Archaeological Museum
Tourist attractions in Greece
- Acropolis in Athens
- Clifftop towns of Fira & Oia
- Akrotiri archeological site
- Paraportiani Church
- Delphi Archeological Museum
- Monasteries of Meteora
- Samaria Gorge
- Ancient Corinth
Best Greek Islands for couples
Milos: Its 80 beaches have rocky, shelled, white or black sand as well as diving spots, charming villages and world-class seafood.
Koufonisia: Visit the lovely taverns and boutique shops, walk and cycle together with your significant other or take a traditional wooden boat ride to Keros Island.
Folegandros: This mountainous island is so quiet that writers and painters visit for solitude. Enjoy the serenity, sun, sand and the crystal waters on the bay that Folegandros offers.
Best Greek islands for families
Rhodes: Take your kids to the Palace of the Grand Masters, medieval sites, water parks, kids clubs and Butterfly Valley as you walk on the car-free cobbled alleys.
Crete: Teach your family some history in one of Europe’s oldest civilizations. Cooking classes, farm visits, water sports and visits to the Heraklion Museum, Dikteon Cave and Knossos will be thoroughly entertaining.
Zakynthos: This island is perfect for teenage kids because you can never run out of activities at Zakynthos. From water sports to barbecues, quiz nights, sailing and visits to Shipwreck beach, Zakynthos will thrill your family both day and night.
Naxos: Your kids will enjoy horse riding on the beach, windsurfing and visiting the villages and Venetian Castle in the area. They will also enjoy delicious local produce and dairy.
What to pack for a Greek islands holiday
- Carry-on bag
- Light-colored clothing
- Summer dresses
- International outlet adaptor
If the home of gods and giants is on your wish list, check out the Greek islands holiday packages available or call an agent to customize your trip.
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