Choosing the perfect Greek island

From tiny rocky islets to the sprawling hot spot of Crete, Greece is made up of more than 2,000 islands. A great way to discover them is on an island hopping cruise, but if you prefer to spend your week away with your feet firmly on the ground, it can be tricky picking the right island for you.

Is archaeology your thing, do you just want to laze on the beach or do you want to get out and about in the great outdoors? Our simple guide might just help you to choose the perfect destination.

HISTORIC SITES

Greece is the perfect place to head to if you’re a history buff. Said to be the birthplace of Western civilisation, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to well-preserved ancient sites.

The island of Rhodes, ruled by the Knights of St John from 1309 to 1523, is home to a magnificent walled Old Town and the impressive 14th century Palace of the Grand Masters. Also, be sure to visit the Acropolis of Lindos, which looms over this picture-postcard Greek village.

Crete

was home to Europe’s first advanced civilisation, the Minoans, and here you can explore the incredible Palace of Knossos. Legend has it that King Minos had a labyrinth built here to contain the Minotaur – a monster which had the head of a bull and the body of a man.

A UNESCO-listed site since 1990, Delos, is according to mythology, the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo, and therefore a sacred site for the ancient Greeks. At its height, it was home to numerous temples and sanctuaries dedicated to various gods, and today it displays many fascinating ruins. 

BEAUTIFUL BEACHES

The Greek islands are renowned for their glorious stretches of golden sand and the clear, warm waters that surround them. One of the most famous is Shipwreck Bay on Zakynthos, so called because it is home to the rusting remains of a ship which ran aground in the early 1980s. This beautiful secluded stretch of white sand is lapped by turquoise waters and is only accessible by boat but well worth the trip.

With the names of Paradise and Super Paradise it’s no surprise that these two beaches on Mykonos are so popular, particularly with the party crowd. Soft sands and enticing waters are part of the attraction, but these are not for those seeking peace and quiet, disco bars turn up the volume come afternoon, and nudists are not only welcomed, but in some parts of the beach it’s obligatory – you have been warned!

If you’re looking for choice, Corfu can offer you a little bit of everything, from long sweeping sandy beaches, where children can safely play in the gently shelving waters, to tiny rocky coves and completely deserted bays where the only sound you’ll hear is the waves crashing onto the rocks.

LUSCIOUS LANDSCAPES

Thanks to its varied terrain, Crete is a paradise for walkers. Trek along ancient trails, pass through charming villages and take in superb sea views from mountain paths dotted with wildflowers. The west of the island is dominated by the magnificent White Mountains, and it’s here that you’ll find Samaria National Park and the Samaria Gorge. Europe’s longest gorge is home to hundreds of species of plants and is one of just two remaining habitats of the Cretan wild goat.

A stroll around Mykonos will reward you with striking views of hillsides scattered with a tumble of whitewashed houses. This island is also famed for its picturesque windmills, built by the Venetians in the 16th century.

An island which offers incomparable views is Santorini – possibly the prettiest Greek isle of all, which is balanced on what’s left of a sunken volcanic caldera. Make your way up to the towns of Oia and Fira, perched way above the sea and enjoy colourful views of whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches which cling to the cliffs, and turquoise waters which lap beaches of red and black volcanic sand. Watching the sun set as you sip a glass of Vinsanto wine produced in the vineyards cloaking the hillsides, really is an unforgettable moment.

Every Travelsphere holiday offers exceptional value for money. Included in the price are return scheduled flights/rail travel and internal flights, where applicable, overseas transfers and transportation, carefully chosen hotels, many meals and excursions and the services of a Travelsphere Tour Manager or Local Guide.