Greek Islands Destination Guide
Greek Islands Holidays
There are so many beautiful islands to choose from, but one way to narrow your choice down is to decide which group of islands takes your fancy, thereby minimising travel time between distant holiday spots.
The two most popular of the Aegean Islands are Santorini and Mykonos. For nightlife, waterside restaurants and super-yacht spotting, these two especially are bucket-list, must-visit isles.
The Ionian Islands provide some of the most beautiful views in the Mediterranean. Less touristy than the Aegean group, these will give you a more authentic, local and truly Greek cultural experience. One of the best-known islands on this side of the mainland is Corfu.
The Mykonos Windmills were built by the Venetians in the 16th century and overlook the strip of restaurants in Mykonos town called Little Venice (having dinner here will be one of the most memorable things you do on the island).
The town of Oia on Santorini is unforgettable, whether you go there for the day to see the spectacular sunset or stay for a week. The cliff face is dotted with bars and restaurants that are popular spots to soak in the last rays of the day. Alternatively, many sunset cruises sail around the island and its amazing beaches.
For a dose of history, don’t miss the Old Fortress of Corfu. A short walk from the Old Town, the clifftop citadel found fame in the Bond movie For Your Eyes Only and is now home to the public library.
Eat and Drink
For delicious traditional food eaten at tables on the sand, Taverna Nikolas on Platis Yialos beach, Mykonos, is the place to go. From the town of Oia, you can walk the 300 steps down to Amoudi Bay or take a donkey ride down, and choose from a half a dozen restaurants. With strings of octopus drying in the sun, this is the place for the freshest seafood.
On Corfu, a five-minute walk from the Old Town is the gorgeous bar and restaurant Naok Azur, a very cool new place to be seen with a reputation for some of the best cocktails in Greece.
Where to Stay
As the precincts of Mykonos are quite far from each other, where you stay will depend on your priorities. For beach time, staying at Platis Yialos or Psarou are your best bets. If it’s nightclubs you want, head for Paradise Beach budget accommodation.
Fira, the main town on Santorini, has villas, hostels and hotels to take advantage of its great nightlife, huge array of restaurants and alleys filled with shops. Staying in more upmarket Oia is worth the splurge to be among its iconic blue and white buildings for just a night or two.
The Old Town of Corfu is the most central place to stay. With dozens of places to eat and drink on your doorstep, it’s scenic, convenient and charming.
Mykonos main town is the place to shop. Wander the alleyways lined with handmade sandal and jewellery stores. You’ll also find designer labels like Louis Vuitton and Dsquared2. For more upmarket shopping, Oia has the uber-chic Ammos.
The Old Town of Corfu is a labyrinth of leathergoods stalls, places to buy white linen clothes, limoncello stands as well as all the tourist souvenirs you can dream up.
Greek Islands Like a Local
Beach club by day, nightclub after 6pm, Scorpios on Mykonos is a luxurious place to tan all day and party all night. On Santorini, the restaurant Candouni is hidden away up a side street of Oia, every nook and cranny of its ivy-clad courtyard filled with candles. The food is outstanding – you won’t leave this enchanting restaurant hungry. One of Corfu’s best bars is Amaze. Right on the water, there’s music and a chillaxed vibe until 10pm, then dancing under the stars ’til the wee hours.