Guest Post: The Top 5 Most Scenic Greek Islands

 

Greece is one of the top destinations for vacations in the world, and for good reason. With a beautiful climate, long-standing history, and vibrant culture filled with friendly natives and delicious food, it is easy to understand why it is that tourists flock to Greece. Most people, when they think of Greece, think of the mainland culture. However, many more people make sure that their visit includes some of the many Greek islands that float in the Mediterranean. There are around 140 inhabited islands, and many more that have no human inhabitants. Here are the top five islands that you should make sure to visit while spending time in Greece.

1. Crete

With its unique culture, Crete is almost a country set apart from Greece itself. Being the largest, it also is the most varied in terms of climate: the western end is covered in dense evergreen forest, and the east is more arid and Mediterranean, with many sandy palm groves. High, rugged mountain peaks inhabit the interior of the island, and are a favourite among hikers and rock climbers. The island’s beauty is renowned around the world and has been throughout time. With a population of 650,000 people, Crete is much more than just a vacation island of sea, sun, and sand: it thrives through the hospitality, warmth, and culture of its inhabitants. With its history stretching back to the 7th millennium B.C.E., Crete is one of the longest inhabited islands in the world. Most famous for the Minoan culture which was the first civilisation in Europe and of which there are many ruins on Crete to explore. Crete is the ideal Greek island, offering something for everyone.

2. Santorini

Renowned around the world for its white-washed homes and idyllic beaches. A volcanic island, Santorini is rugged, and its main volcano, which ruined the Minoan culture, remains active to this day. Its main tourist towns, Fira and Oia are carved into rugged cliff faces, making the streets steep and winding. The island has so much to offer that one could spend a lifetime exploring it. From ancient Minoan ruins, to naturally beautiful mountains, volcanoes, and beaches, to one-of-a-kind architecture, Santorini is a favourite among Greek tourists. Many exclusive resorts on the island cater to millionaires and celebrities, as well as put up the perfect setting for a wedding, mostly thanks to its peace and famous sunsets. Popular activities on the island include sunbathing on the many beaches, scuba diving in the Mediterranean, winery tours, visiting historic sites, and hiking along the cliffs for splendid views.

3. Rhodes

Another of the most visited islands, Rhodes is heavy with tourist activity. But all the activity on Rhodes is warranted due to its perfect combination of modern fun and ancient history. The climate is usually always sunny and mild, contributing to its popularity. Rock-roses grow pretty much everywhere on the island, causing it to be referred to as “the Island of Roses”. Worth visiting on the island is Filerimos Hill, where a medieval church and other ruins are located. Rhodes Old Town is a stroll full of wonder at the mixture of medieval and modern architecture. Surfing is a popular activity, especially on the western coast.

4. Corfu

This island contains perhaps some of the most undeveloped land, making it a perfect island for naturalists. It lies in the Adriatic Sea, east of Italy. Corfu Town is the largest and most populated city on the island, containing a port and airport for easy access. Corfu has a history of tourism for at least 130 years, so there is a considerable infrastructure supporting tourist activities. Some of the most popular are snorkelling in the Adriatic, sunbathing on the myriad of beautiful beaches, and yachting – Corfu is the most active yachting island amongst the Greek islands. Benitses is the perfect destination for tourists – mixing traditional Corfu style living with modern amenities and great places to stay, eat, and shop, all set along the beautiful coast.

5. Chios

Chios, in the northwestern Aegean Sea, is probably the most quiet island for tourists, making it the perfect destination for those who like to travel off the beaten path. Famous for its scenery, full of lush woods and traditional culture. Chios is also famous for its intensely flavourful tangerines and tomatoes, so be sure to grab some from a local farmer. The perfect time to visit the island is during Easter, which the natives celebrate with great pomp, lighting the sky with thousands of fireworks. The flavour of Chios comes from its chief export – gum mastic. Mastic is used as a chewing substance, but also for flavouring. Introduce yourself to this uniquely Chiosan taste with mastic flavoured hard candies, and you will soon be craving the taste. Bring some candies home as souvenirs for children, and mastic flavoured liquors for the adults!

 

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