Greece is the type of country you could spend a lifetime exploring. From the beautiful buildings of Santorini to the powder-pink sands of Crete, there’s more than enough to keep every traveller happy.
But the question is – where do I start? Well we’ve made it a little easier for you, by compiling a handful of Greek islands we’re certain you’ll love.
We’ve chosen our top 5 with every kind of traveller in mind, so you’re bound to find the perfect island destination for your next holiday.
Word-famous Santorini never fails to impress visitors with its stunning clifftop villages and lava-sand beaches. The traditional village of Oia is perhaps the most photographed in all of Greece, and it’s easy to see why. Here, whitewashed buildings, blue-domed churches and walled terraces stack together to present one of the world’s most iconic sights.
Of course, there are other beautiful villages to explore, such as the capital Fira, where you’ll experience wonderful panoramic views of the Aegean. You’ll also find a number of boutiques, cafes and restaurants, as well as cocktail bars where you can take in the stunning vistas at sunset.
Santorini is also famous for its volcano. This means there are some fascinating geographical features to be explored, like the popular Red Beach, with it’s red-hued sand and cliffs, and the Hot Springs of Santorini, where you can bathe in amazing orange-tinged spring water, said to be a cure-all for aches and pains. The island is also well-known as being one of the best places in Greece for snorkelling and scuba diving, with fish teeming its reefs, and shipwrecks to explore.
Timing it right
There’s no denying that Santorini gets busy in July and August, so if crowds aren’t your thing, it’s best to avoid the summer months. May, June and September are less busy, but still give you plenty of warm weather, while the cheaper low season runs from October through to March.
Whether you’re a family with kids to entertain, a couple after a romantic getaway or a group of friends seeking fun in the sun, Corfu has it all. Home to some of Greece’s best beaches, there are plenty of ways to soak up the rays, and enough bars, bays and ancient sites to keep all ages content.
Corfu’s east coast is a good starting point for the first time traveller. Here you’ll find Corfu Town, perfect for day trips from your resort. This stunning citadel boasts ancient Greek architecture, fascinating museums and a huge array of cafes and tavernas that line the narrow streets. Don’t forget to visit the Liston, a beautiful old arcade with an impressive choice of cafes and restaurants, and the ideal place to sample sweet treats like Fogatsa, a local speciality.
There are also a number of wonderful beaches in the area. Kontokali Bay is safe, well-equipped, and an ideal spot for family beach days. A bit further up the coast lies Dassia Bay, where you’ll find a lovely pebble beach with shallow waters for safe swimming and water sports including water-skiing and wakeboarding. While in the north, the beautiful Canal D’ Amour beach in Sidari is a must-visit. It is said that couples who swim here together are destined for marriage!
Splash n’ slide
For an exciting day away from the beaches, Corfu is home to some top water parks, including Aqualand, home to one of the world’s biggest wave pools. This watery adventure land boasts an amazing 49 slides, including free-fall drops , double-twisters, and others too scary to mention.
While Mykanos has a well-deserved reputation as a party-goers paradise, it is also highly accessible to families who want to enjoy a quieter time away from the crowds. In fact, this idyllic isle has the perfect mix of beaches, activities and parties to keep to all discerning vacationers happy.
From Mykanos Town, a number of family friendly beaches are in easy reach. With calm, clear water and soft sand, Ornos Beach is ideal for little ones, and nearby cafes, shops and restaurants make it a convenient and fun-filled day out. You’ll also want to pay a visit to the magnificent Platos Gialos, a soft, sandy beach set in a beautiful bay surrounded by pine trees. Free from water sports, this tranquil beach is the perfect place to unwind and grab a refreshing drink from the beach bar.
For party goers, Paradise Beach is not to be missed! With parties starting from mid-afternoon to sunrise, this hot spot for revellers is just 6km south of Mykonos Town. Overlooking the beach you’ll find the world-renowned Cavo Paradiso, attracting big-name DJs over the summer. If celeb-spotting is more your thing, head over to Remezzo in Mykanos Town, where you might bump into a superstar or two – but even if you don’t, the club itself remains a big draw, with famous names at the decks and stunning views over the harbour.
How about skipping the car rental this time around? A frequent bus service runs to and from Mykanos Town and stops at all the best-known beaches over the busy months.
From kid-friendly bays with shallow waters to kite surfing and parasailing, this varied isle has more than enough for every kind of beach-goer. And, when you’re done exploring the endless miles of golden sand, this popular destination has plenty to do away from the beach, with ancient streets and buildings waiting to be discovered.
The medieval city of Rhodes is a must-see, and presents a number of attractions for all ages. Top of the list is the popular Palace of the Grand Masters, an important medieval fortress, and a rare example of gothic architecture in Greece. History fans will also want to pay a visit to nearby Mandraki, where Colossus is said to have straddled the harbour entrance, protecting the city from invaders. For families with young children, the Rhodes Aquarium is just a walk away, home to all manner of exciting marine life.
For beaches, many of the best are situated on the east coast, not far from the city. Here you’ll find Faliraki beach, featuring calm, shallow water great for little ones, and a host of water sports, cafes and bars. A little further down the coast is Tsambika, one of the finest beaches on the island. This peaceful, golden-sand beach has a number of amenities, and is geared up for families with children.
A day to remember
A day trip to the beautiful town of Lindos makes for a truly memorable experience. Here you’ll find crystal-clear water perfect for swimming and snorkelling, while the walk up to the acropolis rewards magnificent views of the bay below.
A true all-rounder, Crete ticks all the boxes for almost any kind of holiday. Whether you’re after a fun-filled family beach getaway, a romantic adult only escape, or an adventure-filled holiday of a lifetime, Crete delivers the goods.
The popular town of Hersonissos offers arguably the best family friendly holiday in Greece. With safe, golden beaches, clear azure waters, and a huge variety of cafes, bars and restaurants, this lively resort town has more than enough for the whole family to enjoy. And with attractions including a dinosaur park, aquarium, minigolf, and two exciting water parks, there are plenty of ways to keep children of all ages entertained.
For those travelling kid-free, Hersonissos offers a wide choice of action-packed adventures, with quad biking, speed boat trips, water-skiing and parasailing all ready to be ticked off the bucket list. For a more sedate experience, why not aim for a hole in one at the island’s only golf course, or wind your way through a local vineyard on a wine tasting tour?
The nearby town of Malia is one for the party crowd, where club-lined streets play music for all tastes, from 80s hits and club favourites to disco and karaoke. There’s also a great beach, perfect for daytime sun-soaking, and a whole host of activities to keep your group entertained.
Whether its jet-skiing and parasailing or racing your friends around the track in a go kart, there’s plenty of action and adventure here for thrill-seekers. For a day away from the beach, Acqua Plus water park boasts an impressive collection of extreme slides, a wave machine, and even a chilled-out lazy river.
The incredible pink-sand beach of Elafonisi island is a sight to behold and promises an unforgettable day out for families, friends, and couples. Day tours are available from all the major resorts.