With news coming in that over 50% of holidays booked to Greece for this summer have been cancelled over the past two weeks there are bargains and last minute deals for those that fancy some island hopping this summer. Any list of best Greek islands is not going to satisfy everybody – there are just so many to choose from – but we’ve put together a selection that we hope will whet the appetite.
The white sculptured villages of Santorini nestle atop steep volcanic cliffs that fall sharply to the deep blue Aegean Sea. Santorini is a paradise for shoppers, photographers, artists, hikers or anyone who just wants to sit at a cafe and soak up the sun and magic of the Greek Islands. If you only have time to visit one of the Greek Islands, it has to be Santorini.
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Crete is the largest and most varied of the Greek Islands and it really does have something for everyone. There are beaches, resorts, hotels, apartments, archeological sites and ancient cities around the island. The interior is home to high mountain peaks and is popular with climbers and hikers. If you are looking for more than a beach holiday Crete may be the best choice for you.
Find out more about Crete here
Some of the best beaches in Greece can be found within driving distance of the capital, Corfu town. Glyfada is regarded by most of the locals as the island’s best beach and Palestrikaeo, one of the most scenic parts of the island is only a 20km drive west from the town.
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Rhodes is located within eyesight of the Turkish coast and its capital Rodos remains a blend of Turkish and Crusador influences. If you’re looking for a combination of acropolis viewing and lazy days on hidden beach coves you can find it all in Rhodes.
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Mykonos is young, hip and hedonistic with a touch of bourgeois. Over the years, it has gone from sleepy fishing villages, to jetset, to hipster haven and is now settling into more mainstream tourism. Perhaps too crowded for some at times, Mykonos is nonetheless an essential part of the Greek Island experience.
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Paros offers the best of the Cycladic Island experience. Whether you arrive at the beautiful port town of Paroikia or the tiny airport, you will be charmed from start to finish. Lie on its golden beaches, stroll its cobblestone alleys, and pass through archways covered with brilliant bougainvilleas. Paroikia has a long boardwalk by the port that hosts dozens of great little restaurants and tavernas.
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Skiathos is one of the northern most islands in Greece. Its pine covered hills and deep blue coves are home to some of Europe’s best beaches. Skiathos Town lacks the charm of many Greek harbors. An earthquake leveled the original town and today most of the buildings are modern. Most visitors prefer to stay in nearby hotels tucked in the tree covered hills along the coast west of the harbor.
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Ios is famous as a party island and for Mylopotas Beach. Mylopotas is thought by many to be one of the best beaches in Greece. There are lots of really good hotels and restaurants to choose from close to the beach yet it still seems quite undeveloped.
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Naxos is the largest and most mountainous of the Cyclades Islands. The port has a Venetian fort and a long boardwalk of restaurants and cafes. A huge marble arch to an uncompleted temple overlooks the port from a nearby hill.
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Sifno’s main attraction is Platys Gialos – a sleepy little beach village where most of the signs are only in Greek. The island is mostly visited by Greeks and the rare tourist who is looking for a place where the discos don’t drown out the melody of the waves lapping on the beach.
Find out more about Sifnos here