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The Greek islands are always a spot that people want to explore as an option for their holidays. Why not? With dozens of islands to choose from, and the promise of both good weather and beautiful beaches, what’s not to like? Some of the islands are a bit more hectic in terms of nightlife and party scene than others, so it’s important to keep this in mind when picking your island. But don’t worry – we’re going to break it all down for you in this handy guide to the Greek islands. So why not catch a cheap flight out to Athens and then find your way to one of these unique, welcoming and beautiful spots for your next holiday abroad.
Also known as Kerkyra, this large island off the western coast of mainland Greece is an ideal place for first timers looking for a true Greek island experience. Fishing trips, sunbathing, snorkeling and more are on offer, with fresh catches of local seafood available throughout the island. Hiking is plentiful, and you can visit Corfu’s past by visiting Corfu Town where they have an impressive old fortress that stands guard over the harbour. Explore its charming back alleys lined with shops, cafes and restaurants before going for a swim in Corfu’s crystal clear waters. You won’t regret a visit to this beautiful island. As a bonus, if you’re interested in visiting Sarande in Albania, you can do so from Corfu Town’s ferry terminal.
One of the most popular of the Greek islands, Santorini is a volcanic handful of islands that has become insanely popular with not just tourists, but honeymooners especially. With its amazing sunsets, gorgeous hillside villages and unique spots to explore such as the heard-shaped rock, Santorini is home to a variety of hotels and guesthouses offering a little something for those looking for something more mid to expensive range in terms of holidays. You definitely get a lot of bang for your buck though with Santorini – from swimming in volcanic craters to just lazing away on some of its most pristine beaches, you won’t want to leave.
Crete is probably the most well known of the islands, but it’s also hard to miss. Being the biggest of the islands in terms of area, Crete is home to the ancient Minoan civilization which gave us such stories as those that feature the Minotaur creature and his labyrinth. Crete has been inhabited for over 130,000 years, with the general isolation from the mainland helping to preserve some specifically Cretan cultural points such as music, poetry and dance. The Mycenaean civilization from mainland Greece eventually came over and overran the island, creating an interesting blend of Minoan and Mycenaean cultures. Today, Crete is a popular holiday destination with a number of unique seaside towns and villages, and a small pocket of raucous nightlife in Malia.
Kefalonia is one of our favourite places in Greece for a number of reasons. Not only does it have adorable little seafront villages and towns, but the pure, natural and unspoilt beauty of its olive tree lined roads, azure bays with sandy stretches of beach and the bright blue skies that herald brilliant weather just make us want to keep coming back to this place of majesty and beauty. Many of the beaches are only accessible through walking to bicycle, meaning that the en masse tourism that driving brings doesn’t exist in Kefalonia – at least not for the beaches. It’s a great way to unwind from the hectic day to day of the big city, and even if you’re staying in the capital of Argostoli, you will feel like you’re in a small town compared to staying in the likes of Athens or Thessaloniki. You will find a whole variety of great options for food, accommodation and adventure on Kefalonia, meaning it’s an ideal option for those who have a lot of cash to splash as well as those on a tight budget.
When it comes to visiting the Greek islands, most of the time flying into Athens and then onwards to your destination will be your best bet for the cheapest flights. Almost all of the islands have small airports that allow aircraft from the mainland, but if not, you can always take yourself on an extra adventure in the sense that you can get boats to take you from island to island, if you have time. So if you’re coming to Greece, try to sneak in at least one island. You won’t regret it.