The beautiful, sun-soaked islands of Greece are the sites of some of the most famous moments in ancient history, and boast excellent beaches and lovely port towns that make them a pleasure to visit. Without a doubt, the best way to see the Greek islands is on a cruise liner – this lets you visit dozens of different islands on a single trip without needing to worry about arranging accommodation.
Many providers offer special packages that stop off at the most famous islands, often with special excursions to see the many ancient ruins and natural wonders that Greece is so famous for. If you’re planning a visit this year, here are some of the must-visit islands:
One of Greece’s biggest party islands, Mykonos draws the young and not-so-young all year round with its many bars and nightclubs – in fact, it’s often considered the “Greek Ibiza”. It’s certainly not cheap, but world-famous clubs like Argo, Cavo Paradiso and Aigli are worth paying a bit extra for – and don’t forget the beach parties! If you’d prefer a quieter life, visit the Aegean Maritime Museum for a fascinating look at pre-Minoan shipbuilding.
Best-known for its incredible classical architecture, the island of Symi is a great place to spend a relaxing day. Pay a visit to the Monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis, an 18th-century Greek Orthodox monastery, and see the remains of the Kastro – a fortification built by the Knights of St John in the Middle Ages. Symi has a beautiful harbour and it is well worth hiring a boat for a tour around the island if you have the time.
Santorini is well-known as the site of one of the biggest volcanic eruptions in recorded history, and today you can visit the small volcanic island in the centre of the Santorini caldera and witness an otherworldly landscape of glassy black rock. The clifftop town of Fira is a beautiful place to spend a day exploring, with its whitewashed houses and arty cafes offering a welcome respite from the Greek sun.
Rhodes’ walled old town, once the enclave of the Knights of St John, is a fantastic destination for history lovers: there’s an extensive archaeological museum set amid lovely gardens and the Acropolis of Rhodes just a few kilometres from the town centre. There are also some great walking routes allowing you to take in the island’s magnificent scenery at your leisure.