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10 of the most magical Greek Islands

12 August 2019 08:20

Which Greek island will you explore next?

Which Greek island will you explore next?

There's more to Greece than the ancient wonders of Athens. Dip your toe in the cerulean waters off one of these breath-takingly beautiful Greek islands...

1. Kefalonia

If you've ever read Louis de Berniere's timeless classic, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, you'll already know Kefalonia to be insatiably mesmerising – and the island doesn't disappoint in real life. Charming fishing villages and sandy beaches abound, but head inland and you'll come across valleys of vineyards and thick forests that seem another world away.

2. Santorini

The iconic view of blue-domed churches and white-washed Santorini houses looking out over crisp cobalt seas are known the world over – and Santorini really is that beautiful. It's also a playground for Europe's rich and beautiful during the summer, so you may want to visit off-season to avoid paying over the odds.

3. Skiathos

Arrive at Skiathos Town, the island's main port, and you'll struggle not to be charmed by its tight cobbled alleys, buzzing cafes and bars and, if you stay late enough, surprisingly decent nightlife. However, the true beauty of Skiathos lies elsewhere – in the sleepy villages and remote ribbons of beach along its forgotten north coast.

4. Mykonos

One of the Mediterranean's most sought-after destinations, glamorous Mykonos has blended the glitz of the French Riviera with the hedonism of Ibiza and brushed it over the stunning backdrop of the Aegean Sea. Immensely popular with Europe's LGBT community, Mykonos can get busy in the summer months so book ahead or opt for off-season.

5. Corfu

Don't be fooled by the connotations with a certain type of tourism – Corfu is so much more than its compromised reputation as a party island. The island's capital, Corfu Town, is a warm and inviting place. A good rule of thumb is that the further from the south's riotous resorts you go, the more unspoilt beaches and countryside you'll find along the way.

6. Rhodes

Is there a Greek island that conjures up the spirit of the ancient quite like Rhodes? Probably not, which is why the island attracts so many history buffs wanting to explore its many ruined treasures. Crumbling temples perch on dusty hilltops, while a handful of beaches and well-appointed towns makes Rhodes popular with families.

7. Zakynthos

While the name Zakynthos (also known by its Italian name, Zante) often invokes images of package tourism, the island actually offers so much more away from its southern resort scene. The dramatic west coast sees craggy cliffs tumble towards turquoise tides – you won't want to miss Shipwreck beach – while inland you'll find forested trails perfect for hiking.

8. Crete

Crete is the largest of Greece's many islands by quite a way, and this size makes it a more varied option than some of its neighbours. Whether it's the party resort of Malia, the cultured streets of Heraklion, or the untouched villages sprinkled through the island's mountainous centre, there's plenty here to cater for everyone's tastes.

9. Koufonissia

Perhaps the least-known destination on our list, Koufonissia is actually two islands (Ano Koufonissi and Kato Koufonissi) separated by 200m channel. Kato is uninhabited, but Ano has a small, tight-knit community and a clutch of wide beaches still untouched by resort tourism. Visit in early summer or autumn to avoid the August crowds.

10. Hydra

Just a two-hour ferry ride from the Athenian port of Pyreas, Hydra is the perfect place to escape to if the throng of the big city gets too much. But despite its proximity to the capital, Hydra feels like another world entirely. The car-free island has a host of historical sites, cosy beaches and walking trails criss-crossing the rugged landscape.

And don't forget your insurance!

Before you hit the islands, make sure you've got the right cover for you! At World First we offer Greece travel insurance that'll give you peace of mind when enjoying your Greek adventure.