A Multi-Island Trip to Greece
Greece has attracted visitors since ancient times because of its heritage and culture. Today the country is known for its historical sites, beaches, Mediterranean lifestyle and especially Isles. With over 6,000 islands, Greece’s landscape makes up about 82 percent of all the islands of the Mediterranean. Almost all Greek islands either sit along the coastline of the Ionian Sea or in the Aegean Sea.
With so many gorgeous Greek Isles to choose from we suggest you explore five of them. Sit back and prepare to experience an intriguing multi-island trip. Our favorites include Crete, Santorini, Mykonos, Chios and Corfu. These islands are well-connected by planes and ferry services.
Crete is the largest Greek island and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. On this island there is a consistent Mediterranean climate. Crete with its 300 days of sunshine per year along with Cyprus is the sunniest island in the Mediterranean.
The oldest traces of human inhabitants on Crete date back at least 130,000 years ago, as proved by archeological findings. There are many important historical sites of Crete including Hagia Photia (Minoan Manor), Amnissos (Minoan harbor), Eleutherna (Roman city), Heraklion ( archaeological museum), Itanos (Minoan / Doric port city), Knossos (Minoan palace), Palace of Malia (Minoan palace), and many other sites.
Natural sites on Crete include the waters of Lake Kournas and Votomos Lake, the high levels of Anopolis, beaches and bays which include among others the bay of Agios Farango, the beach Komo, the palm beach of Preveli and gorges such as the Aradena Gorge, the Perivolakia canyon (southeastern Crete at Moni Kapsa monastery), and the Gorge of Cha Monastiraki in Ierapetra.
Crete has three airports in the cities of Heraklion, Chania and Sitia. Ferry services are mainly to Piraeus (Athens), year-round, and during the season to Thessaloniki, Santorini, and other places. The main public transport on the island is the bus.
Santorini is the name of an archipelago in the south of the Cyclades. Its main island, which in Greek is usually called Thira.
Santorini has (like the Cyclades in general) the most hours of sunshine in Greece. During the summer months from June to September the island experiences a little more than a day of rain per month. The average daily temperatures range in August up to 29 ° C, the water temperatures reach the high of 25 ° C or in August.
Since September 1989, there has been the International Music Festival of Santorini hosted by the Cultural Association Friends of Santorini. The open-air cinema in Kamari is the venue for the Jazz Festival. The new Archaeological Museum, the Gyzi, and the old archaeological museum at the cable car Fira offer exhibitions which include faithful replicas of frescoes from Akrotiri.
The buildings on the island are similar to the Cycladic architecture on the neighboring islands. The house forms emerged in the typical agglutinative construction and are joined in the cubic cells as needed, usually representing a space. This formation results in irregular streets, squares, corners and angles, connected by staircases, terraces or patios. This design has obvious advantages in the climate of the island and keeps the streets safe from storm and sunshine. In addition, the early settlements were easy to defend.
Mykonos is an island of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece.
In Mykonos, the typical Cycladic architecture is particularly good to see. Their characteristics are white houses with flat roofs, colorful wooden doors and windows and balconies decorated with flowers, and of course, the striking, but sometimes steep cobbled streets.
On a slightly higher location Ano Mili, is the symbol of the island, the Kato Mili. Five of the ten former windmills are still preserved. There is also the agricultural museum which features a stone wine-press and water storage among others.
The unique St. Mary’s Church is well-known because it actually consists of five separate white chapels that have grown together over time to form a complex. The first chapel, Agii Anargyri, dates from the year 1425. The resulting religious building is a very popular photo opportunity. Since the Church is in danger of collapse, it can not be seen from the inside.
Mykonos connects via ferry to many Greek cities like Thessaloniki, Piraeus, Santorini, Naxos, Heraklion and others. Mykonos Airport offers flights to Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Vienna, Zurich and other top European airports. It is one of the most accessible islands of the Cyclades.
The Greek island of Chios is the fifth largest island of Greece and the tenth-largest in the Mediterranean. The island of Chios sits in the eastern Aegean near the coast of Asia Minor.
The monastery of Nea Moni is one of the most important Greek religious buildings of the 11th century and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On the island of Chios is a very interesting stalactite cave named Sykias. The island is one of the best diving areas in Europe. Clear warm water, small underwater caves, impressive rock formations and cliffs, interspersed with species-rich coral create the perfect scenery for diving.
The medieval “mastic” Mesta, Olymbi, Vessa (and others) and Pyrgi have townscapes strongly influenced by the in graffito technique as seen in the design on the facades.
The National Airport Omiros is located about 3 km south of the city center. Both the Greek National Airline Olympic Airways and Aegean Airlines offer scheduled flights from Athens. In addition, the airport offers direct flights from Thessaloniki, Samos, and Rhodes. During the summer, charter flights come from many European countries.
Many times during the week, there are direct connections by ferry from Piraeus to other locations. Neighboring islands Psara and Inousses and Çeşme in Turkey are regular destinations from Piraeus. Seven bus routes open up the island and the connections are good.
Corfu is the second largest of the Ionian Islands and the seventh largest in Greece. It sits southeast of the Italian coast and two kilometers north of the Albanian coast. Because of its balanced proportions of Mediterranean climate Corfu is one of the most prosperous regions of Greece. The islanders are called Corfiots.
Corfu has a micro climate that favors the growth of wild flowers; there are 36 species of orchids on the island. About four percent of animal and plant species are endemic. The wetland and lagoon areas in the southwest of the island are an important habitat for birds. In the lagoon known as Korrision over 150 species have been recorded. About 4 million olive trees grow on Corfu, which originate from the 16th century, a time when the Venetians cultivated the first planting.
In the 20th century, the island became the ideal destination for both package tours and individual tourists. The season covers the months of May to October.
The Empress Elisabeth of Austria (“Sisi”) had built the Achillion, a palace in the Pompeian style, on her favorite island Corfu. The monastery Pontikonisi (“Mouse Island”) and the monastery island Vlacherna, were part of the Val Lewton film Isle of the Dead, which was inspired by the eponymous painting by Arnold Böcklin. The neighboring village Lakones is also called the “balcony of the Ionian Sea”.
We hope you have enjoyed this first installment of the Mediterranean Muse Series. Join us each month for a chance to travel along with our Muse to new and intriguing countries and cities found in this gorgeous region of the world. Don’t forget to spread the word about the Mediterranean Muse Series by telling your friends and sharing this article on your favorite social networking site.