Your escape to the bright sea and sun-washed white houses of the Greek coast is full of possibilities. One person could hardly organize a single trip to see all of the Greek Islands in one sprinting sweep. It is best to choose a handful of islands to visit on your first trip. Working with a travel agent or local tour guide could help you to make great choices. Consider these islands for your priority shortlist.
A key stop on your romantic mediterranean cruise is Santorini. Volcanic black sand invites visitors onto beaches overlooked by stunning cliffs. The beautiful caldera was created by the same volcano that led to those beaches a few thousand years ago. Explore wineries, hot springs, and inviting villages like Oia and Emborio. This is a popular stay for honeymooners from around the world.
This island is car-free and popular with artists. Hydra’s land and historical sites are officially protected. Take in annual art installations in local galleries and venture out to see ruins. International tourists and Greek locals may enjoy the location for its two-hour proximity to all that Athens has to offer.
Mykonos may be the lap of luxury amongst the islands. It is known for a creative and free environment where more is more. Party culture and nighttime raves on the beach are the norms for this typically LGBTQ-welcoming place. Mykonos is an especially lively island to see and be seen by fashionable people.
Slow down the pace of your vacation on Ithaca. This setting brings to mind the legend of Homer’s Odysseus amid the ruins of an ancient palace. It is less busy than other well-known islands and caters to sailing parties. Explore small ports like Kioni and learn about fishing while dining waterside in Ageri. Ithaca is a bit harder to traverse than more heavily trafficked islands, but curious visitors find it to be worth their efforts.
Corfu is marked by soft pastel buildings in seaside villages and groups of olive trees in the hills. French, Italian, and British colonial influences are visually and culinarily notable. Enjoy top-notch beaches and tavernas in brilliant blue bays. Wineries are worth visiting away from the coastal views of this culturally refined island.
History and mythology enthusiasts find their time and coins well-spent on Crete. This is the largest of all the Greek islands and it is a sure bet for sunny vacation weather at almost any time of year. Visit a palace, pilgrimage site, and 17th-century village. Seaside and mountain villages offer a variety of locally produced food like goat cheese, olive oil, and honey.
Sometimes you want to get back to nature on vacation and unplug from any sign of the hustle and bustle. Serifos is a relatively quiet escape with serene beaches and simple dirt roads. Dine on fresh-caught fish and locally grown vegetables in a sleepy harbor. Sikama beach provides sunbathing and a satisfying meal. Let yourself be introduced to traditional Greek music in Kerameio’s outdoor amphitheater or head up to Hora for a low-key restaurant date.
The island of Naxos seems to be bordered by one long beach. The sandy space is at its most natural state in the southern region of the island. This is a place for outdoor activities and family fun in shallow waters. Take a horseback riding tour along the beach or hike through happy little villages.
Feasters, Sifnos is your destination. This island is home to restaurants that excel in presenting the greatest hits of a traditional Greek menu. The first Greek cookbook was actually written by a chef that called Sifnos their home. Eat and drink at established businesses that have fostered excellent reputations for decades. To Meraki tou Manoli is one spot to write down.
Set sail in the clear blue sea and explore all that Greece has to offer.