Greece, as a country, covers about 6,000 islands in the Aegean and Ionian seas. While only a small percentage of these are inhabited, the island cultures feature prominently in the culture and traditions of the Greek people. From the country’s storied past as mighty sea warriors to the eternal appeal of sunny shores and romantic scenery, the luxury Greek Isles are in many ways, the soul of Greece.
The Cyclades are famous for the whitewashed homes and blue-domed churches synonymous with Greece. Located in the southern Aegean Sea, this chain has the most famous of the islands, and those most people think of when they think of the Greek Isles. What was once one of the poorest Greek Islands, the cosmopolitan island of Mykonos has made a complete turnaround to one of the most famous, with busy, narrow streets and a vibrant night life.
Santorini is considered one of the most beautiful and romantic places on earth with villas perched on cliff faces 1,000 feet above the sea giving way to breathtaking views of land and sea and some of the most remarkable sunsets in the world. The legendary island of Atlantis owes its dramatic scenery to a volcanic eruption around 1630 BC, creating a caldera in the middle of the now crescent-shaped island. Likewise, the beaches of Santorini are varied and stunning, from the dark-grey volcanic sand and black pebbles to the unique red sand beach.
Other nearby chains offer deep history and charming villages to compliment any itinerary. Hydra is only 90 minutes from Athens by catamaran, and is completely car-free. The donkeys that have taken their place roam the island like friendly locals, walking up and down the steep hillside.
Crete, with its enticing and varied terrain, is worth a visit for lovers of history and ancient literature. Pay a visit to Mt. Ida to explore the Ideon Cave, the mythological birthplace of Zeus. For more verifiable history, visit the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, which includes artifacts reaching back as far as the Minoan age.
History enthusiasts will love a trip to Rhodes, a strategic military post of the ancient world. Visit the medieval Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and catch a glimpse of Greece as it was at the midpoint on the timeline between ancient and modern.
Your Ker & Downey consultant can help you decide which of the luxury Greek islands best fits your journey.