Which Greece island to visit?
Greece is a country with a rich history and incredible natural landscapes. The 6000 islands of which 227 are inhabited are scattered over three seas and attract guests from all over the world. Not surprisingly, choosing which island to visit is not an easy task. The thing that all of them have in common is beautiful nature, crystal clear waters, sunny weather, and friendly people. But choosing which island to visit will ultimately depend on what kind of trip are you going on and your expectations.
Crete is the largest island in Greece. It’s extremely picturesque – it harmoniously combines the sea and the mountains with fields and little villages where you can easily enjoy the hospitality of the locals. Crete also has a history dating back centuries. The Minoan civilization that was based on the island is considered one of the oldest civilizations in Europe.
Heraklion, the largest city and the capital of the island, offers many attractions. For the most ancient beauties, head to the enigmatic Palace of Knossos, the largest remains of the Minoan civilization, and the beautiful Archaeological Museum in Heraklion. For a bit more laid-back atmosphere head west to Rethymno and Chania. Built by the Venetians, these two towns are a bit different – on their narrow streets, it seems as if time had stopped several centuries ago. Small multi-colored houses with little balconies and ancient fountains will tell you about the history of these cities as well as any guidebook. In Rethymno, you should visit the fortress, from where you can enjoy gorgeous views of the city and the coast.
Can’t talk about Crete without mentioning its beaches, some of the most beautiful in Greece. Balos, Matala, and Elafonisi are just a few worth mentioning, you can spend countless hours or even days laying in the sand and enjoying the clear waters on the shores of this Greek island.
Corfu is probably the greenest island in Greece. Olive groves, cypress forests, and citrus gardens can be found everywhere. There are many pebbly and sandy beaches on the island, where you can not only sunbathe but also do all kinds of water sports. Due to its location, historically the island has long attracted various nations seeking dominance in the region, each bringing their own culture, traces of which can still be seen in the narrow streets of the Old Town. There are many art monuments, churches, and the famous Corfu Fortress, built by the Byzantines in the early 15th century. The natural beauty of the island is no less impressive – the pictures of rocky shores bordered by the sea will stay with you for a long time.
Santorini island is a real highlight of Greece. The picturesque cliffs, densely dotted with small snow-white houses, the black sand beaches of the Aegean and the amazing view of the volcano will not leave anyone indifferent.
Due to its volcanic origin, the island is known for its colorful beaches, Red Beach and White Beach in Akrotiri will surprise you with their unique landscape, while the black beaches in Kamari and Perissa are more organized. Like many other islands in Greece, Santorini boasts many historical sites, including archaeological sites of ancient cities, monasteries, ruins of Roman baths, theaters and markets. The active volcano also attracts a lot of attention. Holidays in Santorini can please everyone, but it is especially suitable for lovers of all ages and travelers who are not afraid of constant descents and ascents along steep winding paths.
Rhodes (or Rodos)
Rhodes (or Rodos) is a very picturesque Greek island, which is famous for being the location of the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The pearl of the Mediterranean, as Rhodes is often called, is officially considered one of the sunniest places in Europe with 300 days of sunshine a year. Its capital, also called Rhodes, is a real eastern city, hidden behind a fortress wall, with a labyrinth of winding streets, tall minarets and typical Turkish style houses.
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the capital – go to Filerimos Hill. Here you’ll find ruins of ancient temples and the perfectly preserved monastery of the Holy Mother of God, where peacocks now live. Do you want something even more exotic? Head over to the Valley of the Butterflies, a place where thousands of butterflies flock from late June to mid-September.
Then go to the town of Profitis Ilias and find the abandoned cottage of Mussolini, left over from the days of the Italian occupation of the island.
Mykonos is the most cosmopolitan island in Greece and one of the most fashionable. Politicians, artists and show business stars come here to unwind. Mykonos is considered an island that never sleeps and a place of constant entertainment, which is quite fair considering the number of restaurants, clubs, bars and discos on the island. The landscape of Mykonos is interesting and quite recognizable: snow-white houses, intricate interlacing of narrow streets, windmills, countless churches, rocky hills and the sea of amazing azure color. If fine dining is something you’re into, Mykonos is the right place to be. Top chefs in Greece will amaze you with their dishes that are locally sourced, thus always fresh.
Zakynthos is a relatively small island, but it’s like a jewelry box – you open it and just wonder how many beautiful things can fit there. The most famous spot of the island, and one of the most recognizable in all of Greece, is the Bay of Navagio, where in the middle of the snow-white sand beach a smuggler’s ship in distress found its last refuge. You can only get here by water, so it’s recommended to go on a boat tour with a visit to the Blue Caves. Other beaches of Zakynthos are located in Xigia, where cold mineral springs come to the surface, giving the water a milky aquamarine color, and in Porto Vromi, where the sea is so transparent that swimming in it is like floating in the air. Another water activity on the island is a cruise in search of the turtles living here.
After seeing Zakynthos from the water, head to explore it overland. Once again, admire the beauty of Navagio Bay, only now from the observation deck, and then go to greet the neighboring island of Kefalonia, which is visible from the picturesque Cape Skinari.
Kefalonia is a fairly young tourist destination. During World War II, it was badly hit by the attacks of the enemy army, and in 1953 there was an earthquake that destroyed almost everything that was built on the island. Most people left, so it took a while for the tourism industry to start developing here in the 80s.
The three main attractions of Kefalonia are concentrated in the center of the island. Drogarati Cave, which is considered one of the most beautiful in Greece, thanks to the huge “ceremonial hall”, decorated with “chandeliers” of hundreds of stalactites. Even more impressive is the mystical underground lake Melissani, opened after the collapse of the cave’s ceiling, which now allows sunlight through and is just breathtaking. By the way, you can take a boat ride on the lake. And, finally, the gem of Kefalonia is Myrtos beach, with its waters so blue, it seems photoshopped. The color of the water is explained by the sediment of white rocks that bring out the blue of the Aegean sea.
Kefalonia’s roads resemble a large green spruce laid mountain labyrinth, which is a pleasure to travel through. Therefore, do not limit yourself to the three main attractions of the island and go in search of the rest. In the north, you will find the charming Venetian town of Fiskardo, the only one not damaged by a terrible earthquake and therefore retaining its historical flavor. Then stop by the village of Assos, next to which on a high peninsula lie the ruins of a Venetian fortress with amazing views from the top! It is best to end your trip to Kefalonia in its capital, the city of Argostoli, where the feeling of home comfort is so strong that you want to go for a walk right in your slippers!
Blog post written by Santorini Photographer Anna Sulte
I’m a Santorini photographer telling stories of love, stories of finding a true connection. Also, I can provide more information about Santorini Photoshoot and how to prepare for it. :) Let’s talk!
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FR: Disponible pour une séance photo en Grèce, photographe de Santorin.
DE: Verfügbar für ein Fotoshooting in Griechenland, Santorini Fotograf.