What is it about the Greek islands? The myriad of large as well as small, sometimes miniscule islands provide the formula for a neverending exploration of blue waters, green coastlines, or stark white coastlines, and ofcourse, a multiplicity of characters to meet. Anything is within your reach – upscale to downscale, the flow of an island life is unlike any other. Here is a list of islands which reinforce the immensity of the Greek experience:
1. Koufonisia – an island inhabited since prehistoric times, back to the Cycladic period. Feasts are abundant on this island – celebrations for their patron Saint George, or for the “fisherman”, celebrated in June. A small island, still without a large hotelier industry which we love. Travel to Koufonisia by boat is optimal!
2. Milos– a volcanic island where Venus de Milo was discovered, now on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris. It has many choices for accommodation but one thing is a constant – the dentilated coastline with over 75 beaches will captivate you.
3. Kimolos – a volcanic island with calm beaches and underwater cities. The Greek word for chalk – “kimolia” comes from the islands name since this mineral deposit is abundant on the island !
4. Amorgos – deemed an “unspoilt” island, Amorgos is famous from the movie “Le Grand Bleu”. Appropriately titled, since the islands beaches are vibrantly blue. Celebrations in this island are abundant but the population is under 2,000. Give it a shot to see what life away from the madding crowd is like !
5. Folegandros – you thought 2000 citizens was so little, but this island has around 750 citizens. Although it has the expected white-washed Greek island landscape, its aged look separates it from other islands. Visit during mid-August for a captivating 3-day procession of an icon of the Virgin Mary throughout the island.
6. Paxi – one of the greenest and smallest island (well, actually island groups), has no airport. That, is great news. Modern tourism is distant so the emerald and blue waters, so clear they are almost translucent, are all yours to enjoy, and preserve.
7. Icaria – Where time is irrelevant. The island renowned for its festivals “panigiria” during the month of August for the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. People dancing in the thousands shoulder to shoulder until the early hours of the morning.
8. Astypalaia – this islands shape resembles a butterfly. A hilly sprawl in the Aegean sea which is only 18 kilometers long and 13 kilometers wide. This is where you come to relax and just be.
9. Kythnos – go to this island and seek out the thermal springs in the village of Loutra. Hot and healing, these springs where first discovered in the 19th century. The hydrotherapy building was completed in 1857 and are the only thermal springs in the Cyclades. Its healing nature is clear when you have immersed your body into the cleansing waters.
10. Serifos – to the South of Kythnos is an island which seems so similar to all the others – a small population, amazing beaches, great food, great hospitality. But at the end of the day its all about the experience. Whether you choose luxe accommodation like Coco Mat Residences or a small b&b, make you sure you give yourself the chance to stop and just be where you are. Take its rocky beaches or its tavernas as they are and make sure you toast your ouzo to good health and to life !