Greek island essentials
Zeus+Dione selects the places to visit for a Greek summer
“Happy is the man, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean Sea” said the Greek novelist Nikos Kazantzakis in his novel Zorba the Greek published in 1946.
With thousands of islands to choose from, summer is a perfect time to visit some of the spectacular Greek islands. The islands themselves are split up into groups: the Argo-Saronic Islands in the Saronic Gulf near Athens; the Cyclades in the central part of the Aegean Sea; the North Aegean islands, off the west coast of Turkey; the Dodecanese, between Crete and Turkey; the Sporades; and the Ionian Islands. Many are accessible via plane and most are connected via ferry which means if visiting one island is not enough, you can always opt for island-hopping. Whether you are after beautiful beaches, romantic harbors, mountain for hiking, historic sights or just the perfect escape, there is a Greek island for everyone. In anticipation of summer holidays, Zeus+Dione selects the best islands to visit.
Santorini is known as a romantic and quintessential idyllic Greek escape with clear blue waters and breathtaking views. Located in the Aegean Sea, in the Cyclades group of islands, Santorini was formed on the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in the world and what remains today is a submerged volcano and a caldera. With little villages dominated by traditional Cycladic whitewashed buildings dotted around the island’s hilly landscape and a rich wine culture, Santorini is the the most beautiful getaway destination.
Where to stay | Grace Santorini
Grace Santorini is an exclusive boutique hotel in Santorini, Greece, perched above the world-famous Caldera with breathtaking views and sumptuous sunsets. It is one of the best places to stay.
Named after the son of a legendary Arcadian chief Dardanus, Zakynthos island is located around 20 km west of the Greek mainland in the Ionian Sea. With a rich history and architecture that reminds of the Venetians who ruled the island from 1484 to 1797, the island has a lively cultural life steeped in literature and music. Zakynthos is most famous for its sandy beaches in secluded coves, isolated by high cliffs and often only accessible by boat, where the tranquil waters are deep blue.
Where to stay | The Lesante Luxury Hotel & Spa
Situated in Tsivili village and overlooking the sea, Lesante is the best place to stay when visiting Zakynthos. Amid nature’s vibrant green and the calming blue of the sky and the sea, this hotel captures the island’s spirit and rhythm.
According to Greek mythology, Symi was the birthplace of the Charites, goddesses of charm, beauty, nature, human creativity, and fertility. This tiny island is part of the Dodecanese, of the cost of Turkey and its landscape is dotted with small valleys, and its coastline alternates between rocky cliffs and beaches, and isolated coves. The main town was built by 19th century sponge and spice merchants and features architecture marked by elegant neoclassical mansions in every shade of apricot and peach, constructed amphitheatrically on the slopes of a hill and offering breathtaking view to the sea. The Monastery of Panormitis, on the southern side of the island is worth a visit whilst there.
Where to stay | Iapetos Village
Iapetos Village is an Oasis right in the heart of Symi town. It is constituted by a newly established group of traditional houses that frames the exotic garden and the astonishing swimming-pool of the hotel.
On the island of Crete, you can admire the remnants of Minoan civilization, explore glorious beaches, impressive mountainscapes, fertile valleys and steep gorges, and become part of the island’s rich gastronomic culture. As the largest Greek island located in the southern side of the Aegean Sea, it is one of the most popular destinations of the country that forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local traits. Whilst there, be sure to sample some of the boutiques in Heraklion and to visit the harbor towns in Lassithi.
Where to stay | Daios Cove
Located in the privacy of a pristine cove in Vathi, Daios Cove is the perfect choice for travelers seeking spa accommodation in Agios Nikolaos. The fortress of Spinalonga, the village of Elounda and the archaeological site at Knossos are close to this resort.