What springs to mind when you think of Greece? The crumbling ruins of Athens, the blue-topped villas of Santorini, the crystal clear waters of Corfu? While there’s no doubting you’ll be blessed with endless sunshine, pristine beaches and delicious local cuisine on a holiday to Greece, the hard decision is choosing which one of these beautiful islands to visit.
The Greek Islands are always a popular hotspot for couples, families and party-seekers alike thanks to the variety of activities and attractions on each isle. Santorini is famous for its spectacular sunsets, Crete for its diverse landscapes, Zante its signature beaches and Corfu for its traditional village life. If you’re up for some sun, sand and history, then a visit to one of the many stunning Greek Islands could be just what you need.
Greece Holiday Factfile
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Top Resorts and Hotels
Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands and boasts stunning archaeological ruins such as the Palace of Knossos, Spinalonga Island, and the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion. Another major draw is the diverse Cretan landscape – mountains, valleys, olive groves, gorges, beaches, forests and deserts all make up this magical island.
Zante’s Navagio Beach has become an emblem for Greece thanks to the large shipwreck sitting in the middle of the sandy bay. However, it’s not just Navagio that pull the sunseekers in – Agios Nikolaos lays claim to the best beach in Zante, while Gerakas is a beautiful loggerhead turtle nesting beach. Book in at a deluxe resort and enjoy the abundance of beaches, sunbeds and umbrellas.
Corfu lies to the northwest of Greece and is an ideal choice for families and children, with welcoming people and a friendly culture. Visit the traditional villages of Kinopiastes and its monastery, Nymphes and its waterfalls, Roda and its mix of old and new world charm, and Sidari and Arillas with their romantic beaches. The village of Kassiopi even hosts it’s own wine festival!
Santorini is a world-famous volcanic island, completely different to its neighbours. Here you won’t find the white sand beaches, but instead white villas perched upon rocky cliffs, panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the best sunset in the world. Widely recognized as one of the most romantic spots in Europe, Santorini is known for its luxury villas and secluded swimming spots.
Attractions and Things to Do
A visit to Crete calls for a day trip to Spinalonga Island, a former leper colony and island fortress, while adventure seekers can walk the 16km-long Samaria Gorge to spot local wildlife and spectacular views. Don’t miss Knossos, the mythical home of the mighty Minotaur, which is one of the wonders of the world and Europe’s oldest city.
It goes without saying that Shipwreck Beach is a must-see when it comes to Zante, however the watersport facilities are also equally impressive. Try scuba diving through underwater caves, or look out for loggerhead turtles between May and July.
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Take the kids to Corfu’s Aqualand Water Park – you’ll find more than enough slides, rides, pools, rivers and playgrounds to keep everyone happy. Mum and Dad can relax in the Jacuzzi or lazy river, while the little ones will hopefully tire themselves out on rides like the Black Hole and Four Twisters!
Meanwhile, Santorini is all about relaxation – swim in the hidden shallows of Amoudi Bay, watch the sun set from a rooftop in Oia, indulge in freshly-caught seafood in any one of the many fish tavernas, and take a day-trip around the caldera to walk on the island’s active volcano.
Annual Temperature and Rainfall
Greece experiences a range of weather conditions and temperatures, however the Greek Islands are famous for hot summers and mild winters, with temperatures over 30ºC in July and August.