Most Popular Greek Islands

Not sure which island is for you? Here’s a little insight into five of the most popular Greek islands:
Corfu has become a favourite with families and so caters well for little ones, with many family-orientated resorts. There has been heavy development along much of the coastline, however, move inland and the island is actually very quiet. The old quarters of Corfu Town have been designated a UNESCO Heritage site, meaning its majestic beauty remains untouched. There’s plenty to explore if you are looking to get out and about, including castles, temples, architecture, mountain scenery, as well as an abundance of nice beaches.
South of Corfu town and in stark contrast, is the resort of Kavos; a purpose built party town with a reputation as a destination for young Brits to escape their parents and let loose. Avoid it if you are there with young children.

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and delivers everything you might want from a Greek holiday, from remote secluded beaches to a busy night life. Areas of the island are quite built up and it feels like it could be a country in itself. In fact, it is one of the only islands that could probably survive without tourism, thanks to its farming  industry.  Crete has the longest summer in Greece and you can expect to enjoy warm sunshine from early May until late October. However, the famous northerly wind is particularly strong here in August.

Crete is famed for being the home of Europe’s earliest advanced society, the Minoans, who ruled over the Aegean 4000 years ago. Throughout the course of the country’s history, it has been occupied and ruled by many civilisations from both Europe and Asia and so history lovers will enjoy exploring the Island.Irakilon is probably the most developed and most densely populated area of the island, with the greatest tourist infrastructure.

Hania, on the western side of the island is famous for its white mountains and national park. It is less built up than Irakilon but oozes style and tradition. Beautiful boutique hotels can be found in this area and its mountainous regions are unspoilt by tourism. East you will find the region of Lasithi, which includes Agios Nikolaos, a spot well loved by tourists but with a more relaxed feel than other areas. Lasithi has some fantastic restaurants and accommodation and the region has plenty of history as well as outdoor adventure to explore. Finally, Rethymnon has a beautiful and well preserved old town, whilst the region has some specatular scenery to explore, including great beaches, caves, gorges and Crete’s highest peak.

Renowned back in the 60s for its bohemian vibes and as a premier destination for gay travellers, Mykonos has seen somewhat of a revival in recent years, re-inventing itself to suit a wider, jet set audience and consequently becoming a firm favourite with the rich and famous.

Take that as a hint, it can be an expensive place to holiday, particularly during the peak summer months. Mykonos offers glamour and sophistication as well as a roaring nightlife. However, it  also offers some seriously stunning scenery comprising rolling hills dotted with white country chapels, white sandy beaches and authentic Cycladic architecture. You can also explore the uninhabited island of Delos from here; today the island is a fascinating UNESCO world heritage site, but as the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, Delos was sacred to the Ancient Greeks. 

Be warned that during the summer, visitor numbers to Mykonos can reach 15,000 a day as the cruise ships call in to Mykonos town to let people off, making it feel very crowded.

  • Otherwise known as Zante, Zakynthos has become a favourite amongst package holiday providers and overdevelopment in some areas detracts from what is an incredibly beautiful island. The beach resort of Laganas is infamous for its low cost party scene, however move away from these tourist heavy areas and you will find the real charm and beauty of the island. Zante does offers some great deals for families who are looking for safe beaches, shallow waters, activities to keep the kids entertained and a plethora of easy food and drink options.

  • There is plenty of opportunity to discover a different side of Zakythonos to the one often promoted by the holiday brochures. We suggest getting a car and exploring the island; for example head south east or into the hill villages for tranquillity. The hill village of Volimes is in fact made up of three small hamlets and is an insight into traditional Zakynthos, before an earthquake in 1953 destroyed much of its old architecture.  Kampi is a fantastic spot to watch the sun set, high on the western cliffs with some pretty tavernas to enjoy a drink or a bite to eat.

  • If you’re on a budget Zakynthos could offer you much more than some of its rival islands and so if you find yourself here, a little bit of research and effort to get off the beaten track could reap some beautiful rewards.

A violent volcanic eruption way back in 1620 BC caused the centre of Santorini to collapse, in turn creating the crescent shape of the island we know today. Now, as the multi-coloured layers of the Santorini Cliffs stand tall against the turquoise water of the Aegean, with traditional white villages dotted across the hill tops, Santorini epitomizes the Greek island of your imagination. You can fly from the UK to Santorini, but to get the full impact of the island’s beauty, approach by water.  Full of romance and beautiful sunsets over the Caldera waters, Santorini lives up to every hope and expectation you might have of a Greek island experience. Fira is the capital and its small winding streets are lined with an array of shops, restaurants and bars.

Oia on the north coast is smaller than Fira but is full of boutique hotels, beautiful shops and sophisticated nightlife and boasts some of the best views of sunset on the island.

Meanwhile the village of Akrotiri on the south-west tip of the island is the most remote but still offers plenty of hotels and tavernas for those looking for a bit more peace and tranquillity.

Pyrgos, Megalohori, Firostefani and Imerovigli, are all worth a visit. They’re usually quieter than the main villages but still well connected and equally beautiful in terms of scenery and views. Bear in mind though, unfortunately we’re not the only ones to know that Santorini is one of the most special places in the Mediterranean and therefore visitor numbers can be high in peak season.

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