The crown gem of the Mediterranean, where beachcombers and night owls, foodies, and travelers share some of history’s greatest stories and secrets. Turn every stone and you’ll find a narrative behind every ancient ruin, from Athens to Thessaloniki, Rhodes to Santorini.
Greece has approximately 3000 islands and islets, with over 200 of them being inhabited. Each island has its own distinct personality, and they are all worth seeing. Everything about the country and its thousands of islands is geared towards delighting travel explorers no matter what they are looking for. However, no one has time to go visit all of them, so here are the top six.
Beautiful beaches, intriguing history, stunning landscape, exquisite food… Greek islands have everything you need for a fantastic holiday…But what are the greatest Greek islands to visit in Greece?
CORFU: The island of Corfu, located on the West coast of Greece, enjoys a mild Mediterranean climate with excellent beaches and tavernas making it a popular destination among holiday lovers. Corfu is very green compared to other Greek islands: hot and dry summers along with winter rain create lush vegetation which is dominated by over 2 million olive trees. The olive trees on Corfu, planted by the Venetians, are the main cultivation, although Corfu’s tourism now provides the most income. Many overlook Corfu thinking that it has become spoiled by tourism. Thankfully, this is not the case. There are many quiet areas where you can rent a holiday villa. The island offers a traditional Greek island holiday; little beaches and coves all to yourself, or a visit into the mountain villages; untouched by tourism!
PAXOS: Paxos is officially listed as one of the top ten great escapes in the world. With crystal clear waters, pretty harbors, and quiet bays – Paxos is the perfect location for a quiet, restful, family holiday. Paxos is the smallest of the Ionian Islands, lying just 11 km from the southernmost tip of Corfu. Many visitors return year after year to Paxos to experience the intimacy of this peaceful haven, the genuine friendliness of the local Patriots, and the captivating scenery. Paxos is covered in many olive groves intersected by dry-stone walls and paths that often lead to a derelict villa or abandoned stone olive press. The gnarled and twisted olive trees, some of them hundreds of years old, shelter numerous species of wildflowers at their roots, while here and there, small vineyards flourish. This serene and unspoiled landscape is what makes a holiday to the island of Paxos truly memorable.
CRETE: Crete, an island in Greece, is renowned for its natural beauty and diverse landscapes, speckled with mountain ranges and dotted with caves. The most dramatic features though are the spectacular gorges that cut through the mountains and spill out to sea. The rugged interior is interspersed with vast plateaus and fertile plains. The east boasts Europe’s only palm-tree forest beach and the south coast has some of the most stunning beaches and isolated coves. The almost guaranteed summer sunshine (on average Crete has more sunny days than any other Greek island) makes Crete the perfect destination for a beach and pool-focused holiday. Hundreds of sandy beaches – some almost deserted even during the peak summer months – are a perfect retreat from the rigors of city life.
ZAKYNTHOS: Zakynthos will live up to any holidaymaker’s expectation. Floating on the turquoise waters of the Ionian sea, south to Kefalonia, Zakynthos (or Zante) is the closest to paradise on earth! Home to the worldwide famous Navagio (Shipwreck) beach and glorified by innumerable travel guides, Zakynthos island is one of the most popular Greek islands. Breathtaking landscapes, exotic beaches with sugar-fine sand and turquoise waters, and crazy nightlife are the main reasons why this island is wildly popular. But, there’s more than that. Exploring Zakynthos, you’ll discover picturesque hilltop villages, traditional monasteries, and dreamy natural landscapes. What’s more, the exotic Zakynthos beaches are home to the endangered sea turtle species Caretta-Caretta, which every year hide their eggs in the fine white sand of Zakynthos beaches.
SKOPELOS: Skopelos has become one of the famous Greek islands as one of the filming locations of the Hollywood movie Mamma Mia. The picturesque church of Agios Ioannis Kastri, where the wedding scenes of the movie were filmed, is known as the Mamma Mia church! Eye-catching landscapes; azure waters on golden coasts; traditional Pelion architecture; rugged natural monuments and a pure island atmosphere are all essential elements of the image of this, the greenest island in Greece, more than half of whose territory is covered with virgin pine forest. Its picture-perfect setting and its unspoiled charm make Skopelos a popular holiday destination, especially for families and couples.
LEFKADA: Lefkada is one of the most breathtaking Greek islands and it is located in the heart of the Ionian sea, connected with the mainland by a small bridge. Sand, impressive turquoise waters, and majestic rocky cliffs compose the amazing landscape of this mountainous and verdant island. Whether you’re heading to Lefkada to enjoy a romantic getaway, some wild windsurfing, or unpredictable island adventures, you’ll find a lot to enjoy there.