Greek island hopping is a trip of a lifetime for travelers who appreciate excellent food, sandy beaches, and rich cultural history. Where to start if you can only visit one? The following Greek islands are perfect for first-time visitors as a sole destination or as part of an island hopping itinerary. You’ll see that each isle is characterized by its own unique offering.
Milos – Best for Beaches
Milos is located within the Cyclades group of Greek islands. Both the Venus de Milo and the Asclepius of Milos were discovered on this horseshoe-shaped island. Milos consists of volcanic hinterland fringed with white sandy beaches and crystal-clear aquamarine water.
There are around 70 beaches and swimming coves in total, surrounded by dramatic white cliffs that have been molded by waves and wind. Some, such as Sarakiniko Beach, almost resemble the craters of the moon. This beach along with Firopotamos and Pollonia is just a selection of what awaits you on this glorious Greek island for beach lovers.
Its principal town, Plaka, is perched high above the island and provides incredible panoramic views. The town features the iconic whitewashed buildings of Greece and benefits from sublime sunsets.
Crete – Best for History
Crete is both the largest and southernmost island in Greece. It is an excellent all-rounder with a solid offering of history, beaches, and food. There is accommodation for honeymooners and families in equal measure.
Crete is the setting for the legend of the Minotaur and you can visit the Palace of Knossos where the remains of the labyrinth were supposedly found. History buffs will relish the chance to visit the palace complex in conjunction with the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.
Another historical point of interest includes the Arkadi Monastery. Although the facade you’ll see today was constructed in the 16th century the site itself dates back to the Byzantine era.
Naxos – Best for Food
Naxos is the largest island within the Cyclades. The island is punctuated with beautiful sandy beaches and historic ruins including the cliff top Temple of Apollo.
As the only island that is fully self-sufficient and does not depend on imported goods, food is paramount to the Naxos experience.
As well as the classics of Greek and Mediterranean gastronomy you can look forward to sampling the island’s cheeses, potatoes, and meats. Butter, oil, honey, and spices are all produced on the island. Naxos by far offers the most diversity in terms of cuisine. You can wash down your meal with Kitron, a spirit created using the leaves of the citron tree.
Santorini – Best for Landscapes and Luxury
The volcanic landscapes of Santorini are accented by the caldera – a colossal cauldron-like volcanic depression that is partially submerged in the Aegean Sea. Towns and villages on the western side of the island, such as Oia, Thera, and Imerovigli overlook the caldera.
Beyond the caldera and black sand beaches, the towns of Santorini consist of azure-domed churches, flowering bougainvillea trees, and narrow alleyways.
Santorini is abundant in luxurious hotels, many of which offer cave suites built into the cliffs. The top-tier accommodations also come with private plunge pools and hot tubs from where you can soak up the famous Santorini sunsets.
That’s just a taste of what awaits you when you embark on a Greek island hopping vacation. Contact me to start making arrangements for your trip to the Mediterranean.
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