Sun, sand and culture: Six Greek islands worth travelling for
Most travelers visiting Greece for the first time will want to ensure that the Greek Islands are on their to-do list. With breathtaking scenery and impeccable food and wine, there is an adventure waiting for travelers on every island shore.
But when there are so many spots to choose from, deciding where to go or what to see can be overwhelming. To get you started, here are six of the most memorable experiences of the Greek Islands to try out on your next trip.
Sunbathe at Livadaki Beach
Found on Folegandros, a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea, Livadaki Beach is a small sandy beach surrounded by unspoiled greenery. Accessible only via a 2.5 kilometre long dirt road, the area is truly a hidden gem, with crystal clear turquoise waters that are calm enough for swimming and snorkeling. Plus, it’s dotted with amenities that make spending the day there easy: grab one of many free sun chairs and lounge for the day, or stop by the beach bar and full-service restaurant, Livadaki Taverna. Try to catch the sunshine from the beach and get that perfect Instagram shot. This might just be the most blissful stop on your vacation!
Museum of Prehistoric Thera
Museums can be hit or miss when traveling. But this one hosts a rich collection of artifacts that is definitely worth a visit. The Museum of Prehistoric Thera, located in Fira, on the island of Santorini, was built on the site of the old Ypapanti Church, which was destroyed in the 1956 Amorgos earthquake. From the outside, the building is architecturally stunning, and on the inside, exhibits excavations from the sites of Akrotiri and other Cyclades islands dating back as far as the 17th century. This is the perfect stop for those who love both art and history.
Kastro, a hilltop castle
On the Greek Island of Naxos, you’ll be able to visit a hilltop castle in the Island’s old town. Kastro, which was fortified by the Venetians in the 13th century, has a profound history originally built under the supervision of Markos II Sanoudos. The castle is shaped like a pentagon and was once shielded by three gates, two of which still exist to this day. One of the noteworthy towers, popularly referred to as the Krispi, is the only one in Naxos with a round shape. Entry to this tower also showcases a coat-of-arms that once belonged to the Crispi family, who once inhabited it. The castle contains everything from museums, a cathedral, a monastery and several look-out points with seriously sweet views. Right now, the Archaeological Society is planning further restoration work, to update the ones that took place in 1995. It’s a great place to explore the architecture and history of Greece, but be forewarned: there are lots of stairs.
Shopping in Heraklion
No trip to Greece would be complete with a shopping trip, and the best place to do so across the country’s many islands is Heraklion, the capital of Greece’s largest island, Crete. Most shopping can be done in the street markets found along 1886 Street, a paved path lined vendors selling clothes, hand-made jewelry, and other traditional products. You’ll also find some additional shopping options and larger retailers in Heraklion Town and Old Town, including Marks & Spencer and Funky Buddha. The streets can be a bit crowded, however, so rest your weary feet in one of the town’s quaint cafes and do some people-watching. Heraklion is a great place to stop off to bring home memories of your Greek adventures.
If you plan to visit Santorini, stopping into Ammoudi, a charming port village, is a must. This area is charmingly picturesque, with its towering cliffs for diving, epic hiking trails, and fishing and tour boats. It’s also known for its incredible food; many top chefs have said that this village is the place to go for a truly authentic Greek dining experience. For the freshest seafood and the best Mediterranean meals, try Ammoudi’s Fish Tavern and Dimistris Ammoudi Taverna.
Saint John Hotel Villas & Spa
When you’re in the town of Mykonos and looking for a place to rest your head, Saint John Hotel Villas & Spa is the place. The full-service luxury resort overlooks the water, a perfect background for romantic dinners and relaxing nights of sleep. During the day, you can check out the resort’s 200-meter long private beach, spa, indoor and outdoor pools, and tennis courts – all options to keep you busy no matter your vacation mood. This facility offers a stylish and completely carefree atmosphere while preserving the natural beauty of the Mykonos island.
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