Athens has been my home ever since I was born – with the only exceptions being the summer periods when I settled in Crete, my place of origin. One of the best parts about my city is that it combines mountains and sea.
It’s a lively city with a lot going on through the day and night, and offers countless choices for food, drinks and nightlife. Also Athens is a place of great historical interest and the birthplace of democracy. So I am proud to be living in the city which set the roots of modern culture and civilisation.
Visiting 17 Amazing Greek Islands
Since my dad is from Crete, I have been visiting the Greek Islands every summer as my second home since I was born. The first time I visited a different island was when we took a family trip to Naxos when I was eight.
Why I Absolutely Love Santorini
Without a doubt, my favourite island is Santorini. I visited it for the first time in 2015 after a last-minute proposal from a friend. The incomparable beauty of the island that you can’t find anywhere else as well as the spontaneity of our trip made it unforgettable and ranks it first on my list of favourites.
My Top 10 Favourite Greek Islands
As mentioned above, the first place on my list belongs to Santorini. This is because of its unique volcanic landscape and amazing views. Taking second and third place are Mykonos and Paros – two islands filled with white-washed houses, blue doors and bougainvilleas. They are perfect for travellers who want to add some cosmopolitan vibes to their holidays.
Naxos and Koufonissia are two less crowded options offering crystal clear blue waters, sandy beaches, delicious food and relaxation. Of course I can’t miss out on mentioning my hometown of Crete. It offers some of the most outstanding beaches in the world such as Balos and Elafonissi.
Crete provides a wide range of holiday styles including adventure, relaxation, nature, festivals and partying. Two more islands on my Top-10 list are Kefalonia and Zakynthos. They are both green islands with some cute and colourful towns. Not only that, but Zakynthos is home to the most famous beach in the world with turquoise water and incredible views.
Finally, I will close my list with Milos and Folegandros. Although I have not yet been to these two islands, I have them high on my bucket list for their wild beauty and rocky landscapes. Plus, they offer beautiful sunsets and are considered to be ideal Greek Islands for couples on vacation.
Cherished Memories in Serifos
I have one special memory from my trips to the Greek Islands that happened in Serifos. One evening we were attending a traditional Greek festival which occurs there every summer. It took place in a remote church and we had to climb up the mountain to get to the other side of the island.
The plan was to return at night, so we would catch the local bus to be safe. We were having such a good time that we didn’t realise how the time passed and that we had missed the last bus! Not only that, but the people were gone too and the last people were getting in their cars to leave.
So we ended up being alone and waiting until dawn at this church in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, early in the morning, a driver passed by and offered to take us back to the main town. It was such a crazy adventure!
Need to Know Before you Go
The Greeks in general can be characterised as outgoing and approachable. Especially the people of the Greek Islands who are even more hospitable, helpful and kind – living a more relaxed way of life. When you visit a Greek Island you will see that the people seem like one big family all together!
In the bigger cities of Greece, such as Athens, life is definitely more stressful and relationships are not so close. This means that travellers can expect to meet some friendly people on their visits to the Greek Islands. So be open minded and be sure to strike up a conversation and make new friends.
I also recommend booking your trip for the off-season (May or September) as the islands are far less crowded and you can also enjoy better prices. In general, plan early and book ahead because accommodation and tickets can get expensive if you wait until the last minute.
Lastly, leave your worries behind and enjoy the beauty of the Greek Islands!