Destination Greece - The Greek Islands Series
It's never too early to start thinking of your summer travel destinations and if you have yet to visit the idyllic and not to mention super fabulous Greek islands you don't know what you are missing. In my new series, Destination Greece-The Greek Islands Series, I will be giving you a monthly dose of sunswept islands to visit and fall in love with. There are 6,000 islands in Greece but only 227 of them are inhabited. That's a bunch of amazing destinations that are just waiting to be discovered From the well-known islands of Mykonos and Santorini to the lesser known islands like Astypalea and Nisyros, we have a lot of ground to cover-literally..let's make 2017 the year you fall in love....with Greece!
The Greek Islands are categorized into groups of islands that are specific to certain regions of Greece. The island groups include The Cyclades, The Dodecanese, The Ionian, The Peloponnese, The Sporades, The Saronic Gulf Islands, and The Eastern Aegean Islands. Each group of islands is known for specific things, and each island within the group has it's own beauty, character, and things that it is known for. I have been lucky enough to visit many of the Greek Islands and no matter how many times I go back to the same island or same place, there is always something new to discover and to enjoy.....
1. Ionian-Paxi-located south of Corfu in the Ioanina Sea, Paxi is not super well known or touristy but it is probably one of the most beautiful islands that you can visit if you are looking for less crowds, waters that couldn't be more clean and exotically turquoise blue. The water is so clear that even the boats shadows can be seen clearly . There are 3 main villages in Paxi that are lined with fish taverns, cafes and restaurants that you can enjoy authentic Greek fare in and some of the freshest seafood around. You should also plan a day trip to Antipaxi, a small islet that you can access from Paxi by boat. If you want to explore the Ionian islands, start with Paxi.
2. Cyclades-Mykonos-If you want to party all day and night in some of the best day and nightclubs in the world you come to Mykonos. If you want to experience some of the finest gastronomy and some of the most luxurious hotel and villa complexes in the world, you come to Mykonos. If you just want to relax and swim in some of the most beautiful waters in the world, you come to Mykonos. There really isn't much that the island doesn't offer.
While all the beaches in Mykonos are amazing my ultimate fave is the beach at Ornos. It's a safe haven from the wind, it's still very affordable in comparison to other beaches like Psarrou and Kalo Livadi and the service, food, and atmosphere are top notch. Kuzina at Ornos specifically, is my favorite place to wine and dine after a beautiful long day at the beach. Located at The Mykonos Ammos Hotel, Kuzina has an amazing menu, a staff that has been there for years who always manage to remember you, and a really hip, but genuine vibe. They are authentically cool and they don't have to try. The Pasaji restaurant, located right next door is another restaurant that is part of the hotel that is equally gorgeous but with more of a Middle Eastern vibe. Think hookah, poufs, and Moroccan style decor.
Mykonos is not all glitz and glam however and it has a softer, beautiful side to it that can be enjoyed by simply strolling through the winding, whitewashed "stena" or small pathway/streets as the locals call them. You never know what you will find down these charming pathways...old friends, and new friends and always a surprise or two...And finally, what trip to Mykonos would be complete without a visit to Sea Satin Market Caprice of Mykonos???? Still going strong after all these years a truly amazing fish restaurant and always a night to remember with great music, friends and parea!!! Another one of my ultimate faves on the island-still after all these years!
3. Eastern Aegean-Ikaria- A bit off the beaten path, Ikaria is an island with raw, unbridled beauty that is just waiting to be explored. Ikaria is knowns as the island where people forget to die and for good reason. The locals are extremely laid back, they don't run their lives by the constraints of time, watches are rarely worn, and they really know how to sit back, relax, and take it SLOW. Ikaria's geographical location also gives it an energy that is hard to find in the other Greek Islands. Additionally, Ikarians have been living clean and organic before it was a thing. Everything is fresh, home grown, home prepared, and super healthy. There are vineyards in Ikaria with some of the most different and distinctive tasting wine I have ever had, beaches that you need to scale some pretty slippery slopes to get to, Seychelles, in particular, (I prefer accessing these beaches by boat) and miles and miles of unfinished roadways running along sheer cliffs that you can explore if you are the off road type. One thing that is great to do in Ikaria is to rent a sailboat. You will see some of the uninhabited islands that surround Ikaria and you will be able to have your captain anchor the boat so you can swim up to your own private beaches. Definitely an amazing experience not to mention a fabulous photo op session. Finally, If you visit Ikaria don't be annoyed by the slow pace of the locals-embrace it-you're on vacation!
Live Fab Repeat-XO Kathy
Looking to plan your summer trip to a Greek island? Don't start until you get a hold of our top travel planning secrets!