UM2
Island hopping: Greece holiday cottages

Greece

Island hopping: Greece

Kate W 18 July 2018

Journey across the Greek Archipelago in style, staying in luxury retreats and dropping by award-winning beaches.

A place of beauty and myth, Greece has a long and complex history with events that once sent ripples throughout all of the islands and has shaped today’s incredible landscape and culture.

Greece is brimming with gorgeous locations and stunning sights. When there’s so much choice, it can be tricky to narrow down the perfect places to visit so we’ve done the hard work for you. Take a look at our itinerary below and select the top picks for your trip.

At the bottom of the page we have provided a Greek Islands Map that follows this route across the islands.

The journey

Many of the islands are served by ferries and there are plenty of flights for those who truly wish to hop quickly from location to location. Of course, the most luxurious way to get around is a yacht charter but large groups may prefer to style it up on a ferry.

An enchanting way to begin your journey is by sailing on a ferry across from Athens into the largest of the Greek islands: Crete.

West Crete

Corfu Boats 

The west of this island is the place to go for unspoilt beaches and dreamy harbours and makes a wonderful spot to begin your exploration across the Greek Archipelago. Uncover ancient treasures, enthralling cities and charming villages with a break in the west.

A region synonymous with Grecian myth, tales of gods and epic adventure, Crete is a magical destination to explore. Rugged mountains meet the sea, quiet coves are hidden around every corner and the area is noted for friendly residents. Spend your time at the harbour town of Falasarna or take a boat across to the vibrant eastern coast. Venture into the White Mountains, these can remain snow-capped until mid-spring, and visit the unspoilt Samariá Gorge.

For a long time Balos Bay at Gramvoussa, found on the tip of the westernmost peninsula of Crete, remained a secret spot only accessible by private boat or a long walk. A dirt road track has been created and daily boats now sail down to this splendid stretch of white sand. Discover lagoons and a turquoise sea.

Elafonisi

Unique and breath-taking is the pink beach of Crete, Elafonisi, just off the west coast. The unusual colour of the sand is created by red and pink coral sand and crystal-clear waters. Ensure you see this incredible spot.

Stay on the sophisticated west coast of Crete.

Santorini

Santorini landscape

After lazing on the beaches of West Crete, it’s time to turn it up a notch with an adventurous trip to this tiny island paradise.

Many withdraw to Santorini for its stunning vistas and volcanic rock. Yet it would be a shame to stop by without getting up close to the geology of this magnificent place. It is an excellent location to go bouldering and climbing along the rocky outcrops and up the sides of mountainous cliff faces.

After a day of adventure soak in the hot water of Red Beach, named for its volcanic pebbles. The island’s small size means you are never far from the sea so for a wider selection try Vlychada Beach near the ancient ruins of Thera or discover the secret beach of Ammoudi Bay near Oia.

On a getaway here, take the time to visit the village of Imerovigli for spectacular views, enjoy a wine tasting beside the sea, taste fresh octopus and venture into Fira for the museum, cathedral and to glimpse the Nea Kameni, a still-active volcano to the west.  

Mykonos

Little Venice Mykonos

Ready to celebrate? With a sophisticated style reminiscent of St Tropez and a vibrant party scene, Mykonos is the place to stop for a day or two unwinding on a beach before heading out for a night on the town.

Paradise and Super Paradise are classic party beaches lined with clubs, however those looking for something a little more secluded will be pleased to know there are plenty of glittering bays far away from the crowds.

Mykonos Street View

Anyone seeking clean crystal-clear waters, fine white sand and a little solitude will benefit from a trip to Agios Sostis, Merchia Beach, Fokos Beach or the unspoilt Fragia Beach that until recently was privately-owned.

Escape into the city for a day of wandering the labyrinth of narrow, white-washed streets that make up Hora. Known for its startling architecture, this city is overflowing with museums, eateries and world-class galleries.

The Church of Panaghia Paraportiani on the seafront is one of the most photographed churches in the Cyclade islands and is a great example of the traditional architecture that can be found throughout the city.

Little Venice is a particularly charming section of the city with views of the famous windmills and out across the Aegean. This is the ideal spot to dine whilst taking in the sunset.

Celebrate in a traditional white-washed property on Mykonos.

Skiathos

Skiathos

Another exciting island known for beaches and a lively atmosphere is this stunning destination. Carry on the party at the main resort on the island, Skiathos Town on the West Coast, which is split into two quays with plenty of eateries and bars.

If you prefer a more secluded space to relax venture up to the secret beaches of the north where you’ll come across Agistros, Mikros Aselinos and Krifi Ammos (or ‘hidden sand’).

Charter a yacht west to the peaceful island of Tsougria, a protected natural habitat with glorious beaches where you can enjoy an early morning swim or go diving in the crystal-clear waters.

Take in the exciting atmosphere of Skiathos.

Kefalonia

Fiskardo Village Kefalonia

After enjoying the bustling nightlife of Mykonos and Skiathos, move on to relaxing and unwinding on the shores of stunning Kefalonia.

Unearth the treasures of Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian Islands. Alongside the exquisite beaches of the island, that include Kanali, Foki, Platia Ammos and Myrtos, the coast is home to spectacular caves at Melisani and Drogorati with turquoise waters that are ideal for sailing or diving.

Drive into the mountains for splendid scenery and wildlife or stop by Assos, quite possibly the most beautiful village on the island due to its pastel-coloured buildings on a craggy hillside, surrounding lush forests and stunning Assos Castle.

Explore the harbour village of Fiskardo and from here, take a ferry across to the endearing and surprisingly unspoilt Lefkada, the only island connected to the Greek mainland via a causeway.

Laze on fine white beaches and dive the caves of Kefalonia.

Corfu

Corfu Assos

The steep slopes of this island are covered in trees, notably the gnarled, silvery trunks of olives. It is known for being one of the leafiest of the Greek islands and it is rare to encounter bare land or open spaces, except when you reach the long sandy stretches of white sand beach.

Stay in the sophisticated north east to escape the crowds and de-stress on the sheltered coast. You can find typical Ionian architecture amongst the lush surroundings.

Along the coast is the vibrant Corfu Town, containing a wealth of museums documenting its tumultuous history and a magnificent Venetian fortress on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea. In the city you’ll find some spectacular restaurants with a choice of fine dining and local cuisine. For a special activity, sail along the turquoise water and go diving in the coves and caves of Paleokastritra.

Retreat into the lush landscape of Corfu.

Corfu Assos

When the final day of your journey across the islands has come to an end, it’s a simple matter of stepping onto an aeroplane at Corfu International Airport and waving goodbye to the spectacular Grecian landscape.

You’ll be left with memories of pink beaches, white-washed churches and the view across a turquoise sea to a live volcano.

If any of these destinations would suit your upcoming celebration or you like the sound of travelling with a group of friends on this phenomenal island adventure, browse our selection of large properties throughout the Greek Archipelago

Around The World
Joe 18 March 2019
Italy
Emily 13 March 2019
The Big Domain Limited is registered in England and Wales. | Registered Office Travel Chapter House Gammaton Road Bideford EX39 4DF | Company No. 04707652 | VAT reg: 942636610