The Best Of The Greek Islands

  • by XpatAthens
  • Tuesday, 10 May 2016
The Best Of The Greek Islands
With so many Greek islands to choose from, it's hard to know which one would be the best for you. Conde-Nast Traveler recruited a frequent islander-goer, Rachel Howard, to give us some of her favourites! Here are just a few.

Best Greek island for: a long weekend with the art crowd

Less than two hours from Athens, Hydra fills up with chic Greeks on the weekends. Wily cats and weary donkeys patrol the back alleys, but all the action happens along the waterfront.

Car-free and protected by a preservation order, Hydra has always been an artists' muse. Leonard Cohen, Brice Marden and Juergen Teller have homes here.

Best Greek island for: cosmopolitan cachet and lush landscapes

Corfu is the It Girl of the Ionian. The cosmopolitan capital is a charming clash of Venetian, British, and French colonial influences. With its pastel villages, rolling olive groves and grand manor houses, the rest of the island recalls Tuscany - but with far better beaches.

Best Greek island for: Decadent parties and five-star hotels

Mykonos has seduced glamorous hedonists since the 1960s. It had gay clubs and sunrise parties before rave culture was even invented. Its bohemian allure has never faded, although nudist beaches now have nail bars, personal trainers and house music pumping out all hours. The influx of supermodels and superyachts has inspired ever more decadent resorts and restaurants.

Best Greek island for: Castaway coves and a picture-perfect port

Little Symi has the prettiest port in Greece. As you round the headland, neoclassical mansions in every shade of apricot and peach rise like a mirage from the sea. Built by 19th-century sponge and spice merchants, the whole town is now a national monument.

With its laid-back glamour, luminous sea and almost tropical microclimate, Symi is a hit with French and Italian yachties. You will see them eating shrimp at a local taverna by the harbour, while in the rugged hinterland, more than 100 monasteries are hidden among the pine and cypress forests.

Best Greek island for: Antiquities, active adventures, and sunshine all year round

Greece's largest island, Crete has ancient ruins, snow-capped peaks and beaches galore. Sunshine is pretty much guaranteed year round, but spring is especially lovely for rambling and sightseeing.

Time slows almost to a standstill in the mountain villages, where locals with formidable whiskers welcome you with shots of raki (Cretan grappa) for breakfast and celebrate saints' days with a volley of gunshots.

To read more of Rachel's top picks for best Greek islands, please visit: Conde Nast Traveller