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The islands of Greece have long been a destination for European travellers and those from further afield also. The 6000 islands that Greece has to offer mean that there is something for all tastes and ages. If it is rest and relaxation you desire, you will find that on these island paradises. If it is more of a party atmosphere that you wish to find, these islands will satisfy that for you also.
With stunning scenery, food and friendly people, the Greek islands are an excellent destination of choice. Crete is the largest island but perhaps Santorini has enjoyed more press in recent years, having been the location and setting of certain big budget movies including the worldwide hit, Mamma Mia.
This infographic charts the geography of these beautiful islands, suggests the best time of year to travel and gives some other interesting information and tips that will come in useful.
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GREEK ISLAND HOPPING
WHY CHOOSE ISLAND HOPPING?
GREEK ISLE FACTS
Greek sovereign land includes 6,000 islands and islets scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas of which only 227 are inhabited.
Only 78 Greek Islands have more than 100 people living on them.
Some of the oldest European civilizations developed on the Greek islands (Cycladic, Monoan civilians, etc.)
Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands. It has a total land area of 8,336km square miles which is the same thing as 3,219 square miles.
The Greek islands are divided into seven main groups.
Argosaronic Gulf from which we feature Aegina, Agistri, Hydra, and Spetses.
Cyclades including Andros, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, and Santorini.
Dodecanese with Halki, Karpathos, Rhodes, and Symi.
Sporades with Alonissos, Skiathos, and Skopelos.
Aegean with Thassos.
Ionian featuring Ithaca, Kefalonia, Lefkas, and Zakynthos.
Crete not far from the coast of North Africa, Crete is the largest of the Greek islands.
Best for BEACHES: Crete, Lipsi, Kefallonia, Skiathos, Mykonos
Best for HISTORY: Rhodes, Delos, Corfu, Patmos
Best for WALKING: Crete, Naxos, Alonnisos, Skopelos
Best for CYCLING: Evia, Kos, Thasos
Best for DIVING and SNORKELING: Karpathos, Milos, Paros, Kastellorizo
Best for FOOD AND DRINK: Lesvos, Samos, Corfu, Folegandros, Crete
WHEN TO GO
For discounted room rates, better teverna service and moderate weather, mid-May to late June all of September, are the best times.
During July and August, everything is fully functioning and the sea thoroughly warmed up, but you’ll have to contend with crowds and either intense heat or the meltémi, the infamous northerly wind which buffets beaches all afternoon.
The only real winter options are Kérkyra town. Haniá or Réthymno on Crete and Hydra.
When eating out, get an assortment of mezé (appetizers) to share, rather than expensive mains.
Bulk (hýma) wine (by the quarter, half, or full kiilo is cheaper than the bottled version and usually drinkable.
Beers cost €4.50 – €6 cocktails €7 – €8.50. The only budget tipple may be island rakí or mainland tsípouro in a small carafe.
PICTURE PERFECT LACES
This Greek island is known for its picturesque, whitewashed villages that scale the steep cliffs overlooking the Aegean.
Agios Nikolaos, Crete
This lovely city on the island of Crete faces the sea on three sides.
The ancient Roman ruins of the Nymphaeum on Kos are an opulent archaeological site today.
The town of Nikia is perched on the crater of a semi-dormant volcano on the island of Nisyros.
The Antoni Queen beach is considered to be one of the best beaches on the island of Rhodes.
WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY
“Hydra is my favorite [island], thanks to its speedy connections to Athens and the Peloponnese, its relaxing car-free ambience, its easily reached beaches, and its charming harbor that invites you to just linger.” – Rick Steves, Guidebook author and travel TV host
“There are many opportunities for outdoor activities in the Greek Islands. Samaria Gorge is the most famous hike, but there are great walks on almost all the islands.” – Josh Cohen, Travel Blogger on Openjourney.com
“With miles of beaches, a forested, mountainous interior. Crusader castles, frescoed churches, one of the finest medieval towns in the Mediterranean and eight sunny months a year. Rhodes can’t help but be a winner for holidaymakers.” – Marc Dubin, Telegraph Travel’s Rhodes expert