Greek Islands have long been the subject of holidaymakers around the world, but which one should you consider visiting? Which one offers you complete isolation? Which has the best snorkelling? And which one has the most delicious meze for dinner? Now, while there’s one question here clearly far more important than the others (*cough* food *cough*), we thought the best way for all prospective visitors to make the decision themselves would be to present them with a useful snapshot of some of the most-visited islands.
Complete with pictures to illustrate just exactly what we’re talking about, the following information offers ‘best of’ summaries for Corfu, Kos, Crete, Rhodes and Santorini. These introductions will hopefully help you choose your next holiday destination, or at the very least provide a brief break from staring at the dreary British weather outside, because we could all use a distraction from that.
Best for lush greenery and vistas
Intermittent rains have caused this island to be one of the greenest around, offering stunning vistas whichever way you look. Spreading over mountains away from the beaches, this greenery is a picture of untamed beauty. Though the main sights of Corfu Town have been resolutely visited for the past couple of decades, there are still a number of villages found in its fertile grounds which have yet to be explored. Additionally, sandy coves are ripe for the keen explorer who wants to roam the length of the beach. The best way to really experience the scenery of Corfu is by grabbing a pair of comfortable shoes and walking the Corfu Trail, which has an official companion guide to learn more about the route’s history.
Best for fascinating history lessons
Located very close to the coast of Turkey, Kos is a hotbed of different cultures. Displaying Venetian and Ottoman relics throughout the island, it has a number of sights with a history as interesting as the stunning structures themselves. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, was born on the island and his tree, where he was said to teach students, is a sight most come from far and wide to witness. The stunning 3rd-century BC Asklepieion continues the theme of wellbeing as a tribute to the God of health and medicine, while the Roman Odeon conjures thoughts of drama and intrigue when thinking about the countless performances it has played host to.
Best for luxurious holidays
Though its history is as arguably as decorated as Kos’, Crete is hard to look past when it comes to holidays high on pampering and exclusivity. Five-star properties are abundant on Crete and their beautiful builds are more than matched by the facilities and amenities inside. With spas, luxury treatments and a host of superlative restaurants and bars, this is the place to come if you want your every need taken care of.
Best for natural excursions
An enormous variety of natural wonders are accessible throughout the island of Rhodes, dotted around traditional villages with hospitable locals, there are a plethora of examples to witness the natural world at its best. The Valley of Butterflies is a famous spot known for its array of well, butterflies, the Seven Springs are a magical oasis in the heat of summer, the Anthony Quinn Bay is the most scenic water-adjacent spot on the island, and Prasonisi is an absolute haven for anyone wanting to try their hand at windsurfing.
Best for whitewashed buildings and startling beaches
No doubt when you imagine Santorini you think of the painted houses that speckle the cliffs and contrast dramatically with the azure sea they overlook. Explore the precariously placed towns by wandering the quaint streets, and be sure to watch the sun setting behind the dramatic skyline. The striking beaches also set Santorini apart. Though beaches are plentiful across every island, the ones that hog headlines are undoubtedly found here. With startling black and red sands, the volcanic island provides sights you won’t forget in a hurry.
Every profiled island offers a mixture of the ingredients we’ve listed here and they all have a number of talents outside of those we’ve highlighted. So if you’re still unsure on which element to focus on when planning your next Greek Island holiday, don’t worry, each island is similar to how I like my Greek platter – they have a little bit of everything.