The Thoughtful Guide To The Greek Islands
Maybe you want to go to the Greek islands because of their rich history: home to ancient myths, gods and goddesses whose legends give the islands an alluring draw. Or perhaps you’re just craving some sunshine, sparking blue seas and an adventure to embark on. Whatever your reasons for visiting, the Greek islands are perfect for a late-summer getaway.
The eternal question is: which island to choose? Off the mainland, Greece has a dizzying 6,000 islands studding the Aegean and Ionian Seas. Just 227 are inhabited, however, which helps narrow your list down somewhat. To make it even easier for you to plan a low-key, luxe getaway, we’ve handpicked a handful of islands known for their low-impact tourism.
WHERE TO GO
Many travellers choose to island-hop, hiring boats and staying just one or two nights on each. Each island has its own unique charm, so it’s worth picking just one or two and soaking up the quirks and features of each island. Here’s our recommendations for destinations which are off the standard tourist trail.
Tinos is home to a burgeoning foodie scene , from natural wine vineyards to local organic cheeses. All are celebrated and served up at Tinos Food Paths, an annual food festival. There’s a yoga retreat on the island too, offering daily classes. Bergerie Tinos are two gorgeous, chic holiday homes on the island.
If you choose Amorgos, make sure to visit the stunning Hozoviotissa monastery, a dramatic, eight-storeys-high snow-white building set into a cliff face. It’s ideal for those wanting to build some exercise into their trip and burn off all the Greek foodie treats you’ll no doubt be consuming: hiking trails crisscross the island, leading down into secluded coves and sandy beaches.
This pine tree-clad island is dedicated to sustainability, taking home international awards for the islanders’ efforts to become plastic-free. Quiet and full of gorgeously golden beaches, it’s also home to Greece’s first national marine park, so you know the crystal-clear waters are being taken care of. If you take a boat trip you may even spot a dolphin or three.
WHAT TO EAT
The Greek Islands are bursting with family-run tavernas serving local meats and seafood that has often hauled off the quayside just before being cooked. If vegetarian dishes are more your thing, look for Kolokythokeftéthes on the mezze menu: these are delicious courgette croquettes sometimes served with a dollop of yoghurt and mint. Tiropita is a local cheese-based pastry, made of layers of feta and filo. Try the spirit raki. Also known as ‘Greek firewater’, this clear, aniseed-flavoured liquid is often taken with a meal and is a classic local tipple.
WHAT TO PACK
Swimwear and bright, breezy dresses are perfect for long, sun-drenched days. Elevate your outfit with some fine jewellery and make a nod to classic Greek sandals with lace-up flats.