Lapped by brilliant blue water and sprinkled with sun-bleached ruins, the Greek islands will fill your imagination with mythical tales, your belly with local flavours and your soul with true relaxation. Escape You don't gingerly dip your toes into the warm Aegean; you dive in headlong. The same is true with island life.
The Cyclades (kih-klah-dez), are Greek islands to dream about; sun-kissed outliers of rock and dappled earth lying scattered across the glittering Aegean Sea. Their characteristic white cubist houses, golden beaches, olive groves, pine forests, herb-strewn mountain slopes and terraced valleys make for an irresistible mix.
Strung out along the coast of western Turkey southeast of Greece, like jewels upon an impossibly aquamarine sea, the Dodecanese both entrance and attract passers-by – many of whom return year after year to sample some of the most culturally and geographically diverse islands in the Aegean. These 18 islands (including satellites) are an entity unto themselves.
The Peloponnese (pel-o-pon-ih-sos) is the stuff that legends are made of. Numerous myths were born and borne out here – it is where many a Greek god or hero strutted their stuff (and aired their bodies). Today this region is far from a fable. It boasts historical sites, with classical temples, Mycenaean palaces, Byzantine cities, and Frankish and Venetian fortresses.
Rethymno (reth-im-no) is Crete’s third-largesttown and one of the most picturesque, with a charming harbour and massive Venetian fortress. The delightful Venetian-Ottoman quarter is a maze of narrow streets, graceful wood-balconied houses and ornate Venetian monuments, with minarets adding a touch of the Orient.