The Greek Archipelago!
The islands are the main characteristic of Greece’s morphology and an integral part of the country’s culture and tradition. Greek sovereign land includes 6,000 islands and islets scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, of which only 227 islands are inhabited. This is a truly unique phenomenon for the European continent.
The Greek Archipelago takes up 7,500 km of the country’s total 16,000 km coastline, offering a highly diversified landscape: beaches stretching over many kilometers, sheltered bays and coves, sandy beaches with sand-dunes, pebble beaches, coastal caves with steep rocks and dark colored sand typical of volcanic soil and coastal wetlands.
Many of these Greek beaches have been awarded the blue flag under the Blue Flags of Europe Program, providing not only swimming, but also scuba diving, snorkeling, water skiing, sailing and windsurfing.
Some of the oldest European civilizations developed on the Greek islands (Cycladic, Minoan civilizations, etc.), so therefore the islands have unique archaeological sites, a distinctive architectural heritage and the fascinating local traditions of a centuries-old and multifaceted civilization.
The ideal climate, safe waters and small distances between ports and coasts, have made the Greek islands extremely popular among Greek and foreign visitors.
Let your dream come true in one of the following islands:
- Andros is the northernmost island of the group with a great naval tradition and no landscape like the postcards from the Cyclades: apart from the sandy beaches, there are rocky coastlines, mountain ranges alternating with fertile plains, lush vegetation and abundantly flowing streams.
- One of the most enchanting yet less known islands of the Cyclades, Tinos is the religious centre of the country thanks to the church of Panayia Meyalóhari (the Blessed Virgin Mary). Pilgrims from all over the country come here to fulfill their vows and to seek spiritual comfort.
- One of the most famous destinations worldwide and a favorite holiday spot of the jet set, Mykonos, is extremely beautiful and well known for its bare hills, the amazing sandy beaches, the white country chapels and the Cycladic architecture.
- Cousteau looked for the lost city of Atlantis on Santorini. Crescent-shaped Santorini (or Thíra), the precious gem of the Aegean, is actually a group of islands consisting of Thíra, Thirassiá, Asproníssi, Palea and Nea Kaméni in the southernmost part of Cyclades.
- Also called “Thermiá” on account of its thermal springs, Kythnos is very close to Attica; still, it is one of the less visited islands of the Cyclades.
- Greek Mythology has it that Anafi, a paradise of pristine beauty and “exotic” beaches washed by crystal clear waters, had emerged from the bottom of the Aegean sea to give shelter to the Argonauts.
- Ios. The locals call their island “Nios” but its formal name comes from “ion”, the Greek name for the flower violet. It is said to have been the birthplace of Homer’s mother and the place of his own tomb.
- Remaining untouched by the growth of the tourist industry, Folegandros (or Polykandros) offers complete relaxation in a typical Cycladic landscape. The Greek mythology refers to Folégandros as son to Minos and head of the first colonists on the island.
- Ideal for a relaxed holiday, Serifos is a typical Cycladic island with white villages, quiet harbours, golden beaches, bare hills and beautiful landscapes. The mild tourism growth has not affected the island’s nature and traditional features.
- Kimolos.This tiny and extremely beautiful island lies in the western part of the Cyclades, close to Milos island. Possessing a volcanic soil and a unique variety of minerals, it is famous for its fantastic beaches, ranging from thin sand to pebbles.
- Sifnos will definitely turn a holiday into an unforgettable experience, having a rich tradition in pottery and gastronomy. Due to its gold mines, it used to be one of the richest islands in the ancient times.
- Delos, the birth place of Apollo and Artemis, used to be a religious centre for the whole of Greece in the ancient times, as well as the principal trading port in the Eastern Mediterranean during the roman times. Delos is uninhabited today and is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site, receiving large numbers of visitors who flock to admire remarkable monuments and impressive mosaics.
- Unrivaled natural beauty, beaches of crystal clear waters, “unique” Byzantine footpaths connecting traditional villages and breathtaking landscapes make Paros, located at the heart of Cyclades, one of the most beloved holiday destinations in Greece.
- Naxos: the biggest and the greenest island in Cyclades with impressively high mountains, fertile valleys, lush green gorges, stunning seascapes and traditional villages perched high on mountain tops, where the inhabitants still wear their traditional dress and live off the fruits of the land! Nàxos is also an island of beautiful old churches, monasteries and Venetian castles coexisting harmoniously with Cycladic cubic houses.
- Koufonisia is a small group of two islands, Pano Koufonìsi (Upper Koufonìsi) and Kato Koufonìsi (Lower Koufonìsi), that are separated by a narrow strait. They are located southeast of Nàxos and west of Amorgos; Pano Koufonìsi is inhabited, with a land area of 5.5 sq. km and a population of 366 residents.
- Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Wander around its magnificent Old City, surrounded by medieval walls with seven gates, and admire the Palace of the Grand Master, the most awe- inspiring building in the whole island. Take a romantic stroll around the famous Street of the Knights and feel like a holy warrior in shining armour, or a noble princess. Peer into the historic past of the city with a visit to the Archaeological Museum.
- Kos. Sandy beaches, turquoise waters, lush vegetation, ancient and medieval monuments, tree-lined wide roads, large squares, parks, a superb city plan and an extensive bicycle-only routes network are the distinctive characteristics of Kos! The island’s trademark is its medieval castle (Nerantziá Castle) situated at the entrance of the port. Interested in history? Pay a visit to the ancient city of Kos and observe important archaeological finds dating back to the 4th century. Did you actually know that you can sit under the plane tree where Hippocrates himself, the Father of Medicine, used to teach his students and examine his patients?
- Kalymnos. Welcome the opportunity to visit the “island of the sea sponge harvesters”, an internationally known alternative tourism destination. Did you know that after WWII Kálymnos remained the only Greek sponge-harvesting industry supplying both domestic and international markets with sea sponges? A perfect occasion to visit the island would be the International Climbing Festival in May, a unique festival that will thrill the action fans!
- Karpathos. An island blessed with an abundance of streams, pine-tree forests, vineyards, olive groves, rocky caves (which are actually home to monachus monachus) and mountainous landscapes, Kárpathos is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and lovers of deep-rooted tradition. The villages of the island seem like open folklore museums, whereas their inhabitants are still dressed in old traditional costumes, and speak their local, old dialect.
- Patmos. The “island of the Apocalypse” or “Jerusalem of the Aegean” welcomes you! Pátmos is quite popular amongst pilgrims since in one of the island’s caves John the Theologian, one of Christ’s disciples, wrote the “Book of Revelations”. The stunning beauty of Hóra, a carefully preserved medieval settlement with narrow, maze-like alleys and stone-built houses will take your breath away. Don’t miss the imposing fortified monastery of Saint Ioannis and the Theologian Apocalypse cave! Visit Patmos at Easter, when deeply religious and spiritual celebrations are held throughout the Holy Week.
- Symi. There are many reasons to visiting Simi apart from experiencing its unique cosmopolitan atmosphere, and wandering around its remarkable neo-classical settlement. Many visitors, for instance, come here to venerate the miraculous icon of Archangel Michael kept at the monastery of Panormítis, one of the most significant monasteries of the Dodecanese. Alternatively, you can come to Sími in summer to attend the famous Simi Festival, which includes among others classical music concerts, dance performances, and art exhibitions.
- Kastelorizo lies at the easternmost end of Greece, a stone’s throw away from the Turkish coast. Its main settlement is filled with cheerfully painted houses of exceptional architecture, awe-inspiring churches and picturesque alleys. Taste the island’s traditional sweets katoumári and stráva, and organise a boat excursion to Galazio Spileo, the largest and most spectacular sea cave in Greece. Don’t forget to visit the nearby legendary island of Ro where the famous “Lady of Ro” Despina Achladioti used to raise the Greek flag every day.