The Greek Islands Worth The Visit

Rich in culture, and with excellent food and turquoise waters – it’s no secret the Greek islands are some of the most beautiful holiday destinations in the Mediterranean, or for that matter, the world. Plus, it looks like it might be a safer option for a chance of sunshine this year. Whether you want to give island hopping a go later this summer, or want to plan for some autumn sun, when rules allow, these are some of the best ones to visit…
AMANZOE

Best For… Food

Sifnos

A great option for solo travellers, Sifnos is home to some of the best food in Greece. During the summer months, the island comes alive with food markets and outdoor merchants selling local seafood and sweet treats. Culinary delights aside, the island is dotted with whitewashed houses and chapels, where visitors can appreciate the laidback way of life which is more slow-paced and relaxed than at its neighbouring islands. Sifnos also has several good hiking trails and secluded swimming spots to explore – Vathi Beach is a particular highlight.

Where To Stay: Verina Astra

There are plenty of stylish holiday homes and villas to choose from, but Verina Astra is a failsafe choice. Set on the side of a steep hill, this beautiful hotel has breath-taking views. There are 14 rooms and suites to choose from, each one with distinct minimalist design, as well as an infinity pool and wellness area for yoga and massages. 

From £112 per night.

Visit VerinaHotelSifnos.com

Best For… Low-Key Bliss

Antiparos 

Located in the south of the Aegean, Antiparos is one of the lesser-known Greek islands but it’s one of our top choices this year. An ideal option if you want to escape the crowds and enjoy a laidback holiday, Antiparos has all the beauty of its neighbouring islands, without the fuss. The island is famous for its beaches which have some great swimming spots with crystal clear waters – Psaralyki Beach is a particular highlight. Visitors should also head to the Cave of Antiparos and the charming village of Antiparos Town for a bit of culture. 

Where To Stay: The Rooster

Due to open in June, The Rooster is set to add a touch of glamour to Antiparos. Tucked away between the unspoilt beaches of the Aegean coastline and the dramatic landscape of the Cyclades, the hotel is all about space and privacy. With 17 suites, villas and houses to choose from, the interiors are some of the most stunning on this list – expect minimalist décor with rattan furniture and plush accent accessories. There’s also an organic farm on site where guests can enjoy a farm-to-table concept at The Restaurant. Whether you want to explore the surrounding area, enjoy a treatment at the spa or simply relax by the pool, The Rooster has everything you need. 

From £500 per night.

Visit TheRoosterAntiparos.com

GEORG ROSKE
IKOS ARIA
YANNIS RIZOMARKOS; ANESTIS MICHALIS

Best For… A Long Weekend

Kos

Home to some of the most picturesque beaches in Greece, Kos is great for a long weekend. Ideal in the summer but equally beautiful in the autumn, the island is home to lush valleys and Dikeos – a rugged mountain range well worth exploring. Head to Kos Town for food markets, ancient Greek ruins, a towering medieval castle and plenty of good restaurants – Pote Tin Kyriaki is a lovely traditional place which serves delicious seafood. Mastihari Beach is best for families, while Paradise Beach is 12km of white-sand bliss. The thermal springs at Agios Fokas, where visitors can bathe in the sea-pool, is also not to be missed.

Where To Stay: OKU Kos 

Set to launch next month, OKU is the new stylish hotel collection making waves in the Mediterranean. OKU Kos has 100 rooms, including suites with semi-private pools and a handful of private two-bedroom villas. Large terraces extend into outdoor spaces where the pool overlooks a beautiful private beach. Guests can enjoy sunset cocktails at the pool bar in the evenings and relax at the on-site spa and hammam by day. In terms of food, expect a selection of delicious local Greek and Mediterranean cuisine at To Kima, the hotel’s restaurant. The hotel is strictly adults only, so bookmark it for a restorative long weekend. 

Price available on request. 

Visit OKUHotels.com/OKU-Kos

If you’ve got kids in tow, head to Ikos Aria instead. With 374 contemporary and stylish rooms, the hotel has a complimentary club for kids and teens, plus a crèche for younger children. Guests can paddleboard at the nearby beach, explore the area on bike, or dine at local restaurants on the island as part of Ikos Resorts' 'Dine Out' initiative. 

From £219 per night.

Visit IkosResorts.com

Best For… Total Relaxation

Skiathos

If lounging on the beach with a good book is your idea of bliss, head to Skiathos. Home to some of the Aegean’s most beautiful beaches, the island is a great choice for a relaxed trip. Don’t miss Skiathos’ ancient monasteries and tucked-away churches – the Monastery of Panagia Evangelistria about 5km north of Skiathos Town, is surrounded by lush greenery and is well worth a visit. A day out can also be spent hiking along the forested trails in the Koukounaries, before stopping off at one of the many beautiful beaches on route. 

Where To Stay: Elvi Skiathos

Perched on a lush hilltop on a secluded part of the island, this 161-room hotel has a picturesque backdrop nestled amongst pine trees and olive groves with direct access to four sandy beaches: Big Banana, Little Banana, Ampelakia and Koukounaries. Visitors can explore the many hiking routes nearby or head on a horse-riding trip in the hills before relaxing at the stunning hotel pool. There are several restaurants and bars to choose from, including a cool beach bar, plus an on-site Elemis spa.

From £245 per night.

Visit EliviHotels.com

Best For… Families

Crete

For something the whole family can enjoy, head to Crete in southern Greece. The largest island in the region has a rich history, as well as a buzzy food scene, long white-sand beaches and charming villages tucked away in the hills and mountains. There are several ancient ruins to see, including the Palace of Knossos, Gortyna (a Neolithic archaeological site), Zakros Palace and Lissos – 3km of ruins along the coast. Elafonisi, a pink-white sand beach is a must visit, as is the Melidoni Cave. Another highlight is the food – opt for fresh seafood with plenty of Cretan olive oil. 

Where To Stay: Daios Cove

Tucked along a craggy cliff overlooking a private cove, Daios is a collection of contemporary villas and suites with private pools and beautiful sea views of the bay. Ideal for families, choose between one, two- or three-bedroom villas set across two levels, each with a heated saltwater pool and a private terrace. There are plenty of activities on offer, from archery and trips to local olive farms, to treasure hunts and games on the beach for younger guests. Adults can also make use of two tennis courts, a fitness centre and spa with an indoor pool. 

From £243 per night.

Visit ScottDunn.com

Best For… Luxe Parties

Mykonos

Known for being one of the most stylish and exclusive party islands in the Med, bookmark Mykonos for your next girls’ trip. Full of glitz and glamour, there are plenty of cool restaurants, bars and beach clubs to visit, but Principote Beach Club is a the ultimate way to spend the day relaxing by the pool with a drink (or two) in hand. If you want to avoid the crowds, skip high season and head to the island in September or October where temperatures hover around a comfortable 25°C. The island is fairly small, so you can see the best sites in a week, including Elia Beach, Paraga Beach and the famous Panagia Paraportiani Church.

Where To Stay: Kalesma

Mykonos has some of the best accommodation on offer in the country, but we’re excited about this new hotel which is set to open on 20th May. Kalesma has 25 suites and two villas with a boho-chic feel. The hotel itself is like its very own village with whitewashed houses and breath-taking sea views. Plus, it’s the only hotel in Mykonos where every room has its own private heated pool – ideal for early morning swims and late-night dips. Everything at Kalesma oozes luxury, from the décor and the private dining experiences to the pool bar and the resident DJ – we can’t think of a better place to head to post-lockdown. 

From £1,032 per night.

Visit KalesmaMykonos.com

The Greek Islands Worth The Visit - Mykonos
The Greek Islands Worth The Visit - Kefalonia

Best For… Sun, Sea & Sand

Kefalonia

The biggest Greek island in the Ionian, Kefalonia is renowned for its landscape and delicious food. There’s a lot to see on the island, so it’s best to plan your trip carefully. Antisamos, Lourdas, and Skala are some of the best beaches, while Fiscardo, Assos and Argostoli are the must-see villages. Myrtos Beach is also not to be missed – regarded as one of the best beaches in Greece its electric-blue waters and white-pebbles are beautiful. In terms of food, you’re spoilt for choice with plenty of beachside restaurants and local delis to choose from. Kiani Akti serves great seafood, while Tassisa in the north is a lovely spot for a romantic dinner.

Where To Stay: F Zeen Retreat

Located in the Lourdas area, F Zeen is a luxury boutique hotel. The adults-only retreat has everything you need for a relaxing stay, from chic accommodation to a vast wellness offering. There are 13 different types of room to choose from – we’ve got our eye on the Superior Raw Retreat, complete with an ocean view and a walk-in shower. The hotel also has two restaurants which both serve homegrown produce in their tasty Greek dishes. Guests can book onto a detox retreat, or simply enjoy daily yoga sessions and make use of the outdoor gym.

From £160 per night.

Visit FZeenRetreat.com

Those looking to island hop should take the 90-minute ferry to mainland Peloponnese to stay at the stunning Amanzoe. From there, it's about a six-hour drive to the hotel, but the journey is well worth the trip. As part of the iconic Aman group, this hotel is a must-visit, even if you just stop by for a couple of nights. Amanzoe’s spacious villas are surrounded by olive groves overlooking the Aegean Sea. Each features an open terrace with sand-coloured marble floors, traditional dry stone-clad walls and concrete columns and cornices. Guests can relax at the beach club, explore the nearby villages via speedboat, enjoy water sports in the bay, and dine at the hotel’s restaurants and bars. 

From £860 per night.

Visit Aman.com

Best For… Pure Luxury

Santorini

A firm favourite with honeymooners and those after a luxurious getaway, booking a trip to Santorini is always a good idea. As one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, whitewashed buildings and beautiful ocean views have made the island one of the standout spots in Greece. Aside from walking along the beautiful mile-long beaches and exploring its famous narrow streets, visitors should visit one of the many vineyards, take a caldera cruise, and visit Nea Kameni and Palia Kameni to see hot springs. If you visit one top restaurant during your stay, make it Selene for an authentic Greek meal.

Where To Stay: Vora Hotel

Vora is a beautiful micro hotel with three villas carved into the cliffs of Santorini. An ideal choice for experiencing the island away from the crowds, it has some impressive views that overlook a volcano and the Aegean Sea. Each villa has chic, pared-back interiors, while an infinity pool awaits outside. Guest can enjoy breakfast on their terrace each morning and make use of private chefs and bartenders, or book bespoke island excursions, from yacht trips to private dinners. 

From £512 per night.

Visit VoraVillas.com

Best For… Outdoor Adventures

Serifos

With steep mountains and a rugged coastline, Serifos was made for lovers of the outdoors. Large parts of the island are uninhabited and have been able to grow wild, so the remote location is ideal for hiking, climbing, mountain biking and diving. There are also several beaches to explore, including Livadi Beach which has crystal clear waters. Kali’s in the south of the island serves great seafood, while Metalleio nearby is renowned for its ice-cream.

Where To Stay: Coco-Mat Eco Residences 

There’s one standout hotel in Serifos – Coco-Mat Eco Residences. Located on the idyllic Vagia Beach, the property has 13 miners’ houses that have been converted into stylish suites, each with stunning views of the beach. Guests can enjoy cocktails and the Lounge Bar, relax on a daybed at the beach, and enjoy traditional Greek dishes at the on-site restaurant. 

From £269 per night.

Visit Coco-Matserifos.com
 

*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information.

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