The entire Western world along with most of the rest of the globe, are currently under strict social-distancing rules and isolation. However, God willing, this pandemic will at some point indeed be over.
Here are Greek Reporter‘s ideas for a short or longer excursion to some of the most iconic and beautiful Greek islands, which will be a full recompense for all the time you spent at home doing nothing but dreaming of the next sunny adventure.
First, let’s take a look at some of the islands located in the Aegean Sea, on the eastern side of mainland Greece.
Located in the southeasternmost part of Greece’s territory, and once home to one of the seven wonders of the world, the Colossus of Rhodes, this Greek icon has everything a visitor could want, ranging from dazzling ancient and medieval ruins to great food and spectacular beaches.
While Rhodes has long been one of the most popular Greek islands, with thousands of tourists walking around its picturesque streets and alleyways, it still remains one of the country’s most beautiful destinations as well.
The mention of Mykonos brings to mind the classic Greek scenery of pristine white buildings and golden beaches dotted with bronzed sun worshippers.
Over the years, Mykonos has gone from an island of sleepy fishing villages, to a jet set, LGBTQI and hipster haven; but it is now settling into more mainstream tourism, while becoming Greece’s most popular — and at times expensive — Greek destination.
Located in the northern part of the Aegean Sea, the small island of Skiathos is covered — unlike the Cyclades — with dark green pine forests which reach down to the sea and surround its archaeological ruins. Skiathos’s deep blue coves are also home to some of Europe’s best beaches.
Its idyllic scenery makes it a popular destination yet the neighboring Northern Sporades islands of Skopelos and Alonnisos enjoy a more relaxed and easy-going pace.
Conveniently located near the mainland and conveniently close to Athens, the island of Paros is a perfect escape for a few (or more) days. Small, quaint and charming, with picturesque harbors and fishing ports along with nature and trails for exploring, Paros is at the top of the Greek destinations one should consider visiting after this pandemic.
The island’s beautiful beaches and its traditional Aegean architecture make it an ideal choice for later this summer.
Now let’s move to the western part of Greece, to see where we can go to enjoy the crystal clear waters of the Ionian Sea, the sapphire blue body of water that separates the Greek from the Italian coasts.
The beaches on the island of Corfu have either sand or pebbles, so depending on what you are looking for, there are always options. The island has a wide diversity of types of beaches and historical villages as well, offering ideal solutions to young groups of friends, couples or families.
A must-see is also the old town of Kérkyra, which will allow you to get to know the island and its many charms. Why not spend the afternoon strolling the streets of this UNESCO landmark, with its pastel-colored buildings complete with Venetian-style shutters?
Lefkada (or Leukas)
The one and only Greek island which can be reached from the mainland by automobile, Lefkada is an ideal destination for families and couples.
Its almost-unbelievably lovely beaches of Egremni and Porto Katsiki offer stunning views that only a few other places on Earth can equal them in natural beauty.
If you are island hopping with your siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, or maybe even your sporty and active parents, you can also check out the large marina at Lefkada Town for yachting and Vasiliki Bay in the south, which is exposed to local thermal winds, and boasts many water sports activities.
From surfing to kayaking, there is something for everyone on Lefkada.
Zante (or Zakynthos)
This is simply one of those islands that you don’t want to miss, especially after weeks of the self-isolation which has been imposed on nearly all of us. So be sure to include it in your Ionian island-hopping itinerary.
Take a day trip to one of the world’s most well-known locations, the amazing Shipwreck (Navagio) Beach, where the dramatic cliffs and white sand beaches will transport you and your family to a paradise unlike any other. Not to mention you can get the best selfie ever right there…
Kefalonia (or Cephalonia)
The beautiful island of Kefalonia is the largest of all in the Ionian Sea. Its numerous locations offer an unforgettable experience that transports you somewhere between Greece, Italy, and the south of France, as the island’s architecture is heavily influenced by these two other European nations.
Locations such as Myrtos Beach, Fiscardo, Melissani Cave, Argostoli, Assos, The Venetian Castle ruins, Mount Ainos and Petani Beach are waiting to dazzle all those of you who are fortunate enough to choose them for your next, post-pandemic trip to Greece and the Mediterranean.