Greece can lay claim to some 6,000 islands and islets scattered in the Aegean and Ionian seas. The 227 islands which are actually inhabited have long been a popular destination for those seeking a unique cultural experience, diverse natural attractions or simply a relaxing environment.
With a history dating back to ancient times, the Greek Islands are steeped in mythology and legends, vestiges of which can still be explored today. Among the most visited archaeological sites are the Palace of Knossos on Crete, underneath which sits the fabled labyrinth of the Minotaur, and the sanctuary of Apollo on Delos, a tiny uninhabited island near Mykonos.
The islands’ traditional architecture, music and cuisine have also been preserved, offering yet another glimpse into the past. You can taste local specialties such as fava, a puree made from yellow split peas, or try your hand at traditional Greek dancing at one of the many cultural events held throughout the year.
Arguably the most popular of the Greek Islands is Mykonos. Ever since Jackie Kennedy’s famous visit in 1961, it has been a magnet for the super-rich, a place where footballers, Hollywood A listers, musicians and models flock to enjoy party spots like Scorpios and Nammos. Giving Mykonos a run for its money in terms of tourist numbers is mountainous Crete with its gorgeous beaches, spectacular green outcroppings and aforementioned ancient Minoan sites, as well as the beautiful but challenging Samaria Gorge Trail. Other much-visited destinations include Corfu, with its mythic connotations; Santorini, for its legendary sunsets and long volcanic beaches, and Rhodes, once a Wonder of the Ancient World and today a World Heritage Site.
The islands also offer plenty of opportunities to observe wildlife, such as the loggerhead sea turtles that nest on Zakynthos; the rare monk seals, sperm whales and dolphins that swim off the coast of Alonissos and the 200 species of birds that have made Skyros their home.
The Greek Islands also offer a peaceful and rejuvenating environment. Their slow-paced lifestyle encourages you to unwind and enjoy the moment, whether that’s taking part in wellness experiences such as yoga retreats, spa treatments and natural hot springs or simply strolling through a quaint, white-washed village.
Just as there is a Greek island for every taste, so its hotels are equally diverse. Rivalling some of the best in the world are the ten deluxe properties on Mykonos that make up The Myconian Collection; adults-only seafront luxury resort Domes Miramare Corfu; Perivolas, Santorini, home of the ultimate infinity pool, and new for summer 2023, Lindian Village Beach Resort Rhodes, Curio Collection by Hilton.
To help plan your visit to the Greek Islands, please contact one of our travel managers on 0203 535 9290.