Greek Island Holidays – over two thousand islands to choose from

Balos Beach and Lagoon - Crete, Greece

Greece arguably offers the widest choice of vacation anywhere in the Mediterranean, if not the world.  Apart from the mainland, there are over two thousand islands to choose from although a large proportion of these are only accessible by sea.

With such a wealth of islands, it is little wonder that the Greek hero Odysseus reputedly took some ten years to return home to his homeland of Ithaka after The Trojan War. Some islands are little more than rocks and there are many that remain largely uninhabited and are natural havens for wildlife.

Balos Beach and Lagoon - Crete, Greece
Balos lagoon, Crete, Greece

There are people who say: ‘If you‘ve seen one Greek Island then you’ve seen them all’ but this is largely untrue.  Each island has its own individuality and unique attractions even if there are others close by which share a similar climate. For instance there is no other island like Santorini (in the Cyclades group) with its massive volcanic cliffs and picture postcard villages perched precipitously above the coastline. Santorini villas are also exceptional.

Although geographically speaking the Greek islands all lay in the Mediterranean Sea there are other seas within this sea; there is The Ionian to the west of Mainland Greece, The Myrtoan  Sea to the east, The Aegean to the North East and the Sea of Crete to the south east.

The main groups of islands are as follows and for the purposes of this article we will concentrate on just one island from each group:

The Ionian chain is located on the western seaboard of the Greek mainland. The main islands are Corfu, Lefkas, Kefalonia (and Ithaca) Zacynthos (otherwise known as Zante) Paxos and Kythira.

Corfu, Cape Drastis
Corfu, Cape Drastis

Corfu is indisputably the most visited of the Ionian group, having embraced tourism on a grand scale from the very onset of package holidays. If it is golden sands you adore and soft yielding sand underfoot when you take swim then look no further than Glyfada on Corfu’s west coast. Here you can sunbathe without the constant feeling that you are a feature in an ornamental rock garden. The children can build sandcastles to their heart’s content and topless and even nude sunbathing is allowed on certain parts of the beach. So for those in search of an all over tan, Glyfada can be as near to paradise as they can get. Corfu also boasts an interesting beach at Sidari which has quite unique rock formations and is thus worthy of a mention. Paleokastritsa too has an individual atmosphere that has made it increasingly popular.

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