Places in Greece and the Greek islands you shouldn’t miss
Greece travel can really be split into two: mainland travel and island travel.
The only tours to visit the islands, as far as I know, are day-tours and cruises. As the latter always leave at sundown or so as far as I’m concerned they actually miss the best part of the day, eating out in the evening, so I wouldn’t really recommend them. On the other hand, if you’ve a really tight schedule and want to see as many islands as you can, a cruise may be a good option.
Travel between islands is not too difficult and it’s quite easy to get around once you’re there, so why not do it yourself?
But first, let’s deal with the mainland.
A few tours enter Greece from Italy (we did one of these and found it quite enjoyable). However, most begin in Athens so we’ll start there. The suggested route below pretty much covers the major tourist destinations on the mainland.
Obviously you may want to spend longer in different places depending on your interests; it would be easy to spend several days wandering around the Meteora monasteries area if you were so inclined.
Athens – Corinth – Mycenae – Epidaurus – Nafplion – Arcadia – Olympia – Patras – Nafpatkos – Delphi – Lamla – Trikala (Thessaly) – Metsovo – Perama Caves – Kalambaka (Meteora) – Larisa – Thermopylae – Thebes – Marathon – Athens (Sounion)
The Greek Islands
As far as the islands go, they can be roughly divided into seven groups from the travel aspect:
- The Saronic Gulf islands (Aegina, Poros, Hydra, Spetses);
- The Cyclades (Naxos, Santorini, Mykonos, Delos, Paros/Antiparos, and Ios are the best known)
- The Dodecanese (Rhodes, Karpathos, Kos, Patmos, etc)
- Northeast Aegean islands (Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Samothraki etc)
- The Sporades (Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnisos, Skyros)
- The Ionian islands (Corfu, Paxi/Antipaxi, Lefkada, Ithaki, Sami)
- and of course, Crete.
There are other smaller islands, but these are really the main ones.
According to one classification (Greek Island Postcards), the islands can be put into the following categories:
- Popular: Corfu, Crete, Kefalonia, Kos, Lefkas, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Skiathos, Zante;
- Peaceful: Aegina, Andros, Ios, Kalymnos, Lesvos, Naxos, Paros, Samos, Thassos;
- Sleepy: Alonissos, Leros, Lipsi, Patmos, Paxos, Skopelos, Symi;
- Offbeat: Angistri, Hydra, Ikaria, Ithaca, Skyros.
Well, you might agree or disagree, but that may give you a few clues to encourage further investigation!
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