Santorini is not all about the caldera edge. The island slopes gently down to sea level on its eastern and southern sides and here you’ll find dark-coloured beaches of volcanic sand at popular resorts such as Kamari and Perissa. Inland lie charming traditional villages such as Vourvoulos, to the north of Fira, and Megalohori and Pyrgos to its south.
Most of the sandiest beaches on Rhodes lie along the island’s northeastern coast, between Rhodes Town and Lindos. As a result, this stretch is now punctuated by a long succession of resorts, filled with package holidaymakers in summer and holding endless strips of tourist bars. Frequent buses ply the main road, connecting the best-known beaches.
The picturesque rural prefecture of Arkadia occupies much of the central Peloponnese. Its name evokes images of grassy meadows, forested mountains, gurgling streams and shady grottoes. According to mythology, it was a favourite haunt of Pan, the flute-playing, cloven-hooved god of nature.
Some of Corfu’s prettiest countryside, villages and beaches line the west coast. The scenic and popular resort area Paleokastritsa, 26km from Corfu Town, rambles for nearly 3km down a valley to a series of small, picturesque coves between tall cliffs. Craggy mountains swathed in cypresses and olive trees tower above.
North & Northwest of Corfu Town
To explore fully all regions of the island outside Corfu Town your own transport is best. Much of the coast just north of Corfu Town is overwhelmed with beach resorts such as Gouvia, Dasia and the linked resorts of Ipsos and Pyrgi – all with close-quarters humanity and narrow beaches, but with everything for a family holiday.
Even if you usually yawn at resort-filled beach destinations, Sithonia's beauty has the power to melt cynicism. Yes, tourists flock here to laze on beaches. But allow the scenery to work its magic: pine forests crowd a wild interior, fringing cliffsides that plummet towards tranquil coves.
Visitors to Kos naturally tend to focus their attention on its beaches. In addition to the beaches around Kos Town, there are three main resort areas. Kardamena, on the south coast, is very much dominated by package tourism, but Mastihari, on the north coast, and Kamari, in the far southwest, are much more appealing.
Lefkada’s east coast has seen heavy tourist development over the years, with the main focus at Nydri, once a gorgeously placed fishing village but now a crowded strip of kiss-me-quick tourist shops without much of a beach. Escape inland, however, to another world of scattered villages, small tavernas and pretty walks.
South Of Corfu Town
The coast road south from Corfu Town leads to well-signposted Achillion Palace near the village of Gastouri. South of the Achillion, the sleepy resort of Benitses is enhanced by its pleasant old village, from where tracks and paths lead into the steep, wooded slopes above.