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. Why I Love the Greek Islands By Korina Miller, Author I was marooned on Tilos – a speck of an island adrift in the Aegean.
Crete is a magical quilt of splendid beaches, ancient treasures and landscapes encompassing vibrant cities and dreamy villages, where locals will share with you their traditions, wonderful cuisine and generous spirit. Bewitching Scenery Crete is in many respects the culmination of the Greek experience. Nature here has been as prolific as Picasso in his prime.
Ringed with cinnamon sand and ink blue sea, the Cyclades (kih-klah-dez; Κυκλάδες) are natural magnets. Throw in a vast number of stunning, sugar cube villages and a good dose of sophistication and a stylish culture that seems to have bounced its way down from Athens in ping pong fashion, and you really do have the best of both worlds.
Northeastern Aegean Islands
The wildly varied northeastern Aegean Islands (Τα Νησιά του Βορειοανατολικού Αιγαίου) invite travellers to experience old-fashioned island cuisine, traditional village culture and dramatic celebrations. Eccentric Ikaria is marked by jagged landscapes, pristine beaches and a famously long-lived, left-leaning population.
The west of Crete stands apart in so many ways. Full of big mountains, grandiose legends and memorials to great battles past, it is presided over by the preening (but slightly melancholic) port city of Hania, once Venice’s jewel of a capital and full of arty boutique hotels, galleries and great eateries.
Ancient Greece's ‘centre’ of the Earth – Delphi – is these days among Greece’s most visited places for the archaeological site, ancient footpaths and vistas of the Corinthian Gulf. Delphi is rivalled in popularity only by Meteora, the breathtaking outcroppings of rocky towers topped by teetering monasteries (and rock climbers).
Iraklio is Crete’s most dynamic region, home to almost half the island’s population and its top-rated tourist site, the Minoan Palace of Knossos. Priceless treasures unearthed here and at the many other Minoan sites around Crete have catapulted the archaeological museum in the capital city of Iraklio onto the world stage.
Saronic Gulf Islands
The Saronic Gulf Islands (Νησιά του Σαρωνικού) dot the waters nearest Athens and offer a fast track to Greek island life. As with all Greek islands, each of the Saronics has a unique feel and culture so you can hop between classical heritage, resort beaches, exquisite architecture and remote escapism.