Every country has outstanding attributes. In Chile, you can’t go wrong wth the wine. In Australia, you’re missing out if you don’t see the vibrant wildlife. In France, take note of the architecture. And in Greece, you ought to see the islands.
For millenia Greeks have built trade routes, villages and myth on and around the 6,000 islands that dot the Agean and Ionian seas. Of these the 200-some that are inhabited were populated based on soil quality, safe harbors and other natural qualities. Those things are still important–nowadays, travelers from around the world come to the Greek islands to sample ouzo and farm- and sea-fresh cuisine, to walk along storied paths between ancient monuments and to take ferries between the fortified harbors. But modern travelers, escaping to sun and sea from their normal 9-to-5s are also looking for another attraction–the beach. Here’s our list of awesome islands and fantastic beaches that deserve a look when you’re planning a trip!
Looking for a different beach every day? You could stay on Lemnos for a month and never see the same stretch of sand twice. This low-rise, beautiful island in the Agean sea has 30 sandy beaches
How about links to myth? In ancient Greek tradition, Lemnos was the site of the blacksmith god Hephaestus’ forge. Additionally, the Argonauts are said to have landed here and left many descendants.
One the Ionian Islands on the western side of the mainland, Lefkada is a destination popular with travelers looking for some time on the beach and some fun sports to do on vacation. It boasts some of the country’s best beaches as well as awesome mountain biking trerrain on the inland mountains and great conditions for windsurfing. Looking for some links to history? Lefkada may be the site of Ithaca in Homer’s Odyssey, and is the site of the poet Sappho’s suicide in myth.
Best beaches: Porto Katsiki and Eggremnoi
A picturesque islet just of the coast of Crete, Elafonisi is best visited on a longer trip to that island. Elafonisi’s beach is a long crescent of pale sand bordered by crystalline water.
Looking for inland activities? The island is small, but Chrysoskalitissa Monastery makes a destination for a beautiful walk across the island.
Other beaches to discover: On Crete itself, Ierapetra has beaches and a Roman ruin to explore.
Lesbos, also spelled Lesvos and sometimes called Mytilene, is an island in the Agean Sea where you can warm up both in the sun and in the island’s natural hot springs. Geology, culture and history make three great foci for your trip in addition to visiting the island’s celebrated beaches. For the first two, explore the island’s geological museum and petrified forest and sample some of the country’s best ouzo and learn about the myriad poets and writers who were born here (the most famous outside of Greece is probably Sappho, of course).
Looking for history along with sun and sand? Because of its position along the trade routes of the Agean Sea, Lesbos bears the marks of classical Greek and Roman occupations, as well as artifacts left by the Byzantine Empire and the Crusaders. There’s also the remains of an important Neolithic settlement, Chalakies.
Best beaches: Skala Eressos, Molyvos, Tavari. At Eftalou you can visit both a beach and a natural hot springs.
Have you been to Greece recently? Tell me about your trip in the comments!
Hi! I’m Beth. Thanks for visiting Everyday Travel Stories, a site that celebrates all of the glorious travel opportunities on our planet.