As one of the largest and greenest of the Ionian Islands, Corfu is far more than it’s glistening cobalt-hued waters and tawny coastline. Continuing to welcome travellers each summer with its enticing rural landscapes, UNESCO World Heritage status and blankets of history, it makes a special escape away from touristic honeypots. Throw in scattered ruins, delicious delicacies and sleepy villages and you’re on the way to a well-rounded summer vacay.
Best for: Travellers looking to get off the beaten track.
Must see: Take a break from Corfu’s good-looking beaches and visit Mount Pantokrator. Overlooking the islands’ northeast region and standing at 906 metres tall, Corfu’s highest mountain is a must.
Must eat: The Corfiot diet predominantly consists of seafood. So, head to Maistro Resturant which has a riveting beachfront location and a menu to match. If it were me, I’d go for the mussels cooked in white wine with garlic and crumbly feta cheese – because cheese is life.
The island of Crete is the kind of place to make all your dreams of a holiday in Greece come true. Crystal-clear blue waters, postcard-worthy seafront towns, history in spades and jaw-dropping landscape, Greece’s largest island has everything you could wish for. Whether you want to trek the Samaria Gorge or wander the atmospheric winding alleyways of Chania, boat-trip to deserted beaches or learn the art of Cretan cooking there’s no Greek island that offers more variety.
Best for: Wanderers.
Must see: Tropic like it’s hot on Elafonissi Beach, which didn’t earn its nickname, the Caribbean in Crete, for nothing. White and pink sand swirl around warm, clear waters, making it one of the nicest beaches in Crete.
Must eat: With an atmospheric al fresco dining area overlooking Chania’s old harbour, Palazzo Almare is as popular for its position as it is for its food.
Looking for a destination with a party-hard culture, cashed-up A-listers and hip new everything, Mykonos ticks all three. It was one of the first of the Greek islands to be considered a holiday destination and has been popular since the 60s. There are over 25 beaches on Mykonos, all but a handful are well-organized with sunbeds, umbrellas, water sports, beach bars, restaurants and markets. The golden sand and shallow, clear water make them ideal for pretty much everyone.
Best for: Trendy travellers.
Must see: The iconic 16th-century windmills that dominate the landscape of Mykonos town. Until recently they were used to provide wheat and bread for the locals, but nowadays are emblematic of the beauty of the island.
Must eat: Buddha Bar Beach offers a delicious selection of Pacific Rim cuisine; ceviche, sushi, dumplings, noodles and more – get ready for a refined feast.
The supermodel of the Greek islands, Santorini. The volcanic nature of the island contributes greatly to its drama; the towns sit perched on top of steep cliffs and boasts white-washed houses peppered with blue church domes with bright pops of candy colours. Swoon.
Best for: Romantics.
Must see: Take in the sunset from Oia. Often donned one of the prettiest towns in Santorini, you’ll fall in love the maze of cobblestones and most famously the blue-domed church. It’s the one and only way to get your Grecian sunset fix.
Must eat: To Psaraki offers quite possibly the best seafood (and value for money). The restaurant’s location enjoys views over the island’s main fishing port. The menu includes sea urchin, pork “souvlaki” and traditional filo pastry desserts.
Paros sleeps in the shadow of the limelight and yet it continues to welcome a steady stream of summer travellers. The island shares the same qualities as many of the other Cyclades Islands – whitewashed villages, fishing harbours, a flurry of tavernas and golden beaches – our favourite being Kolymbithres. The granite rock formations on the beach will transport you back to your fav sci-fi movie. Paros lacks the same glitzy appeal as Mykonos and Santorini, but in our eyes, it’s a star.
Best for: Live like a local.
Must see: To truly gauge what Paros is all about, walk along the white-washed alleys of Old Town which leads to its picturesque port.
Must eat: Siparos is on the Santa Maria Beach and you can trust us when I say it’s a good ‘un. The location and the food are gorgeous.