The trick to perfect island-hopping in Greece is to plan a little, but not too much. While accommodation and ferries will need to be booked in advance, the whole spirit of exploring the islands is rooted in spontaneity.
The islands are dabbed across the turquoise Aegean and Ionian seas. Over the years different ones have been a la mode, but all of them are unique and beautiful.
It’s hard to describe the intoxicating excitement of sailing into the port of a new island when moving from one to the next.
My own 4-week adventure took place 20 years ago, but my memories of the islands, the beaches, the food and the architecture are as crystal clear as the Aegean. Every moment of that trip was spectacular, perhaps with the exception of one minor moped accident!
In spite of a huge surge in popularity in recent years and becoming a package holiday favourite, there are quiet pockets with isolated coves, serene villages and a mountainous interior.
Naviggo, a beach which holds the remains of a freight ship that sunk in the 1980s has become the hippest spot for young travellers. Its Instagram-worthy shores attract thousands of tourists a day by boat as it’s inaccessible by land.
Known as a party island since the 1970s, something I’m assured is still very much the case, the island also has something to offer the more chilled-out traveller. Leaning into the wellness market, there is an abundance of spa hotels.
A resort hotel named Calilo nails the laid-back ‘good vibes only’ atmosphere. Rising out of, and carved from, the native rock, Calilo is cradled by 1,000 acres of protected land and fringed by six miles of golden sand, lapped by a cerulean sea.
The hotel’s ethos advises you to leave cynicism at the door on arrival and live by the motto ‘Create a life you can fall in love with’.
The largest of the Greek islands and the one with the most diverse landscape, Crete, unlike the other islands which rely on tourism, is a working city which can come as a surprise to travellers.
Distinctive Venetian influences are apparent in some of the architecture and the island is flanked by the soaring White Mountains.
One of Europe’s most popular destinations, Santori packs a solid punch in the beauty stakes. Though possibly what you might expect from an island borne from an erupted volcano in 1613BC.
Sunset in Santorini is an event that can settle into your soul. The skies are blood orange and pink above the glittering water and amongst the chalky white buildings. Find a place to serve some sparkling Greek wine and you are guaranteed to fall in love with your life. At least at that moment.