You dont want to miss the real beauty of the Greek islands which consinsts in some simple elements:
the purity and simplicity of the bright white traditional island houses,
the crystal clear waters of the deep blue sea that shines under the warmth of the medditeranean sun,
the ancient wisdom of the sea that you feel - wave after wave - when you relax and listen while lying on the beach,
the fresh fish, the traditional tavernas, the handmade wine and finally the simplicity, the smile and the hospitality of the locals.
This is real Greece, this is how the Greek islands really are, but not all of them and not all of the time...
On the other hand, if you plan to visit the Greek islands for luxury holidays in a hotel with a swiming pool or because of the crazy nightlife that some of them provide, then this guide is not for you but i am sure that if you go on reading you will still find some usefull information.
My native language is Greek so i will try my best to keep this guide short and simple. (As the ancient Greeks used to say "to lakonizin, esti filosofin" which meant that "it is wise to talk like a spartan" . Spartans were famous Greek warriors known to talk very rarely, only when they actually did have something meaningfull to say, and when they did talk, they used as few and simple words as possible to best describe what they wanted to say).
choose your greek island paradise in 4 easy steps:1) There are more than 6.000 big and small Greek islands, but only 53 of them have more than 1000 inhabitants. So unless your ideal holidays are very much alike the life of robinson crusoe, this leaves you with 53 islands to choose from.
2) Two of them, Evia and Crete are lovely places - especially Crete - but they are so large that you hardly get the feeling that you are actually in an island. So that leaves you with 51 medium to small lovely islands to choose from.
|The Ionian sea on the left and the Aegean sea on the right|
Ionian sea islands vs Aegean sea islands3) As you can see on the map of Greece the remaining islands fall into two categories. The islands of the ionian sea on the left side of Greece which is near Italy, and the islands of the Aegean sea on the right side of Greece.
So how do you choose which of the two you prefer better without seing all the islands? Easy. :-)
landscape of Ionian islands:
The islands of Ionian sea have a humid climate, thus they have rich vegetation, green colorful landscape and the sea reflects that green colour and appears slightly green too. Looks fantastic but please don't make up your minde before you hear about the Aegean sea islands..
|As a rule of thumb this is what ionian sea landscape looks|
like. Notish the greenish colour of the sea because of the
rich vegetation on this island of the ionian sea.
On the other hand the islands of Aegean sea have a dry climate. This make the plantation go dry on the summer and have a golden colour. The sea has the perfect Aegean deep blue colour. So the main colours for the Aegean sea islands are golden and blue. The photo does not make justise of the beauty.
|The sun is shining over the blue sea and|
over the golden wheat valleys
Ionian islands Architecture:
|Ionian island architecture|
|Ionian island Zakynthos by night|
Aegean islands Architecture:
|Santorini island architecture, almost all the houses|
of the Aegean sea are all colored white with blue windows..
|Aegean sea island by night|
Well, i hope you get the picture. These are the main differences between the islands of Aegean sea and the islands of Ionian sea. There is no significant difference regarding the prices.
The Ionian sea tends to receive more tourists from Italy than the Aegean sea. Also it tends to receive slightly more families than single people or couples.
If i had to choose among Aegean sea and Ionian sea i would definitely go with the islands on the Aegean sea but this does not mean that the islands of the Ionian sea are not worth your visit. It's just a matter of what you like best.
Which islands have the wildest nightlife?All the islands do have night life for all tastes. But if you are a party animal then from Ionian sea islands you should choose Kefalonia, and from Aegean sea: Myconos, Ios, Paros, Santorini and Kos. These islands not only have beautifull beaches and landscapes but they will satisfy even the most demanding pary animal :-) And please let me repeat and reassure you that this does nt mean the the rest of the islands dont have a rich nightlife.
4) Finally , to find the perfect Greek island for you, please go through the categories on the menu to find out detailed information about the Greek islands of the Ionian and Aegean sea accordingly and find the one that you like the best!
When is the best time to visit the Greek islands?The best time to visit is mid May and June. In fact if i could choose any date i want i would choose 1st of June. Why you say. Well, first of all, at that time its the begining of the summer. During winter the greek islands hibernate, just like the bear hibernates in the winter. Summer means perfect weather, visitors arriving in the island, music, happiness. Everyone is in a perfect mood in the begining of the summer! Also the weather is warm but usually not as hot as it becomes on July and August. If you can choose a date, please take my word and visit on June!
On July and August the islands are simply full of people. Especially on August. August is the date that almost all Greeks go on holidays. This is not necessarily bad, but it means some things such as:
- If you like quite private beaches it will be impossible to find one.
- The service in the tavernas and bars will be of lower quality because of the amount of people that must be served.
- The prices for accomodetion usually climb up.
Some people suggest September as a good date to visit. It is true that on September, especially the first half of September the weather is still very good and the visitors ariving are far less than on July and August. Perhaps even less than June. However i would suggest you to visit on September only if you dont like the idea of an overcrouded island but on the same time just can't visit on June. September means the end of summer is coming.. This tends to somehow circulate in the atmospaire and the mood in general. But for sure there are still people in the island, and the nightlife still goes on, nothing is over yeat.
Tha being said, the prices tend to drop on September.
Should you visit Athens on your way for the Greek islands?
If you love ancient history and have a day to spare there are places worth visiting in Athens such as the Acropolis and the Acropolis museum. But while you look at the magnificent Acropolis please keep in mind that the best parts of the Acropolis were made from Paros island famous marble! One of the most beautifull islands on the Aegean sea... :-)