Mykonos

A cross between Capri and Ibiza (in its good days) but with a very cycladic feel, Mykonos boasts of the best beaches in the country, the craziest nightlife and the most ridiculous prices you’ll pay in Greece. Celebrities, gay, and wannabes flood the island every summer. They sunbathe their days away on their pre-booked sunbeds and the nights squeezing pass each other in the narrow streets of the picturesque village, moving between bars and clubs. Bring along the best pieces of your wardrobe (preferably white), all your energy and credit cards. The fact that world famous Japanese restaurant Nobu set up shop first in Mykonos and a few years later in Athens says a lot about the kind of holiday you should expect here.

Paros

Probably the most typical of the Greek islands and a convenient base for island hoping around the Cyclades due to its excellent ferry connections. The beaches, the nightlife and the accomodation choice are all above average and many holiday makers return year after year. Parikia with its lovely old town is the capital and the port of Paros, but most nightlife is concentrated in piqturesque Naousa. Regular international windsurfing competitions are held at noisy Chrysi Akti beach but you can easily find quiet and isolated beaches if all you want is to relax and enjoy the blue waters. And if really quiet holidays are more up your street, Antiparos is the tiny and alternative neighbour just minutes away on a local boat.

Santorini

If you’re going to visit only one Greek island in your life then let it be Santorini. Breathtaking volcanic views and one of the best sunsets in the world consistently place it at the top of any Greek islands list. Its beaches are very peculiar (and do not appeal to everyone) due to the black and red volcanic sand. Couples should opt for tranquil and romantic Oia, where luxury rooms with a Caldera (the volcanic crater) view can cost a forune, whereas those young at heart should choose Fira, the lively capital of the island built on top of the Caldera cliff with equally fantastic views. The eastern side of the island is generally cheaper and has little of the magic Santorini feel

Hydra

Just an hour and fifteen minutes from Piraeus, Hydra is one of the prettiest Greek islands with a unique architechture that has been preserved due to a strict development policy. Large houses belonging to historic figures loom on the hills on both sides of the picturesque harbour and there is a total car and motorbike ban on the island. Instead, mules lining up with their owners untertake all the transportation burdens of locals and visitors (and litter the narrow cobbled streets). To go to one of the sandy beaches of the island, one must hire a sea-taxi, but the deep blue waters just off the harbour are where most people go to swim. Nightlife is basic but adequate for a relaxing holiday.

Porto Heli

The small, seaside town of Porto Heli, on eastern Peloponnese, is a relaxing place for vacations. There you can find both organized and remote beaches and a drive around the area will lead you to beautiful natural landscapes, traditional villages and ancient sites to see.
The location of Porto Heli is also great as it is great to mainland Peloponnese and the Saronic islands, as well. From there, you can visit Porto Heli town and the ancient theatre of Epidaurus or you can also take to hydrofoil to Spetses and Hydra islands.

 

Milos

Milos is an island with two diverse personalities. Its rich mineral deposits have attracted enough investment for mining and its unique volcanic landscape attracts a great deal of summer visitors. The coast of the island is truly unique and shelters some of the best beaches of the Aegean, while its hilly interior (especially in the south and the west) has been severely scarred by strip mining. Beyond the excellent beaches and the unique coastal landscape, Milos is an island best suited for those who enjoy the quiet and slow pace of a Greek island. What distinguishes Milos from the other Aegean islands is its colorful landscape that has been slowly forming through gentle volcanic deposits. Milos, just like the neighboring Santorini is a volcanic island but its geological history is much gentler than Thera’s. Milos did not suffer a catastrophic eruption but instead it was formed in successive deposits of volcanic material that was layered over time to form the island.

Skiathos

Unlike the Cyclades, Skiathos and its neighbouring Sporades complex are flooded with pine trees that reach the sea and surround its numerous sandy beaches, like Koukounaries, one of the pretiest and busiest in the country. Hora, the capital of the island is an idyllic village with red-roofed white houses built on a hillside sourounding the harbour. An ideal destination for families and those not attracted by the harsh and rocky natural beauty of the islands of southern Aegean. Easy access to the rest of the Sporades, Skopelos, Skyros and Alonissos, makes a local island hopping possible.

Zakynthos

Zakynthos is a popular tourist destination because it has been blessed with an amazing number of beautiful sandy beaches. The entire southern coast of the island is filled with sandy beaches on a string like a beaded bracelet. Most are organized, clean, and inundated with package tourists.  One of the most stunning views in Greece must be this one from the observation deck above Navagio beach in Zakynthos. The waters of shipwreck beach are a joy to swim at. Probably some of the best you will find anywhere. o the north of the islan you will find a feature very much worth visiting. The Blue Caves. Taking a boat tour around the cape reveals a large array of caves of all sizes. The promenade of Zakynthos town is alive with vivid colors and life every night.

 

Lefkada

One of the beautiful islands of the Ionian sea, Lefkada has the added advantage of being easily accessible through a small draw bridge. Lefkada belongs to the province of Eptanisa (or Heptanese = seven islands) in western Greece. From Preveza to Lefkada island you can visit many beach:
Porto-Katsiki beach is one of the best in Greece (it was number two behind Myrtos Beach in Kefalonia).
Kathisma beach is also a large beach that did not feel overcrowded despite the multitude of people who were there.
The town of Lefkada is a small town with Italian architectural character and a lively street life. As the sun dipped bellow the horizon, people of all ages and ethnicity came out for a slow stroll through the narrow streets and to have a quiet dinner with friends. The town square where we sat for dinner became the center of life with a magical flare as small street vendors setup shop anddemonstrated their goods for all who passed by. Balloons, windmills, jewelry, plastic toys, cotton candy, young and old tourists, children on bicycles and on running feet, tourists and locals, all assembled there in the little square to paint a picture of life and happiness. It was the perfect end to a nice day at the island.

Cephalonia

Louis De Bernières has done for Cephalonia what the best PR consultant wouldn’t even begin to imagine with his wonderful novel and worldwide best seller ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ (Amazon £5.99) which is set on the island. And when the film came out a few years later the natural beauty and the sapphire waters of Cephalonia were advertised on screen too and its tourism fortunes were turned upside down overnight. Myrtos is the most famous of its beaches, but there is a plethora of things to do and wonderful nature to appreciate away from the coast too. Argostoli and Lixouri are the two (rival) main towns, while Fiscardo and Sami (the village where the film was set) are well worth visiting.

 

Paxos & Antipaxos

The smallest of the Ionian Islands, lying just 11 km from the southernmost tip of Corfu. Many visitors return year after there to experience the intimacy of this peaceful haven, the genuine friendliness of the locals, and the captivating scenery. Paxos is covered in many olive groves with ancient gnarled and twisted olive trees, some of them hundreds of years old, which shelter numerous species of wild flowers and  small vineyards. This serene and unspoiled landscape is what makes a holiday to the islands truly memorable. Since the 1960s, many of the 2,500 inhabitants are involved with tourism, fishing and the production of olive oil. There are excellent beaches and quiet coves, with crystal clear waters, perfect for swimming. Although only one or two are sandy beaches, Paxos & Antipaxos has the most magical clear waters for enjoyable swimming. The islands has become a favourite destination but continues to remain unspoilt.

 

Corfu

A northern Ionian island with a mixture of influences ranging from the Venetians to the French, Italian and British (the only place in Grecce that you can watch locals playing a cricket game and drinking ginger ale!). The old town with the two fortresses is an UNESCO world cultural heritage site and the nature one of the best you can find on any Greek island. Fine beaches with freezing cold waters on the eastern side attract thousands of visitors every summer and as in every large tourism-orientated Greek island the range of holidays one can enjoy is vast.