Are you finding it difficult to decide which island to visit for your next holiday? As the island specialist, Olympic Holidays gives you a choice to visit over 50 islands throughout the Mediterranean including many of the lesser-known Greek islands. There are even great options to hop to other islands if you want to visit two or three. Problem solved!
It’s a wonderful feeling to fly to an idyllic island, and so special when you then hop to a smaller island, arriving on a ferry to quaint towns, steeped in history and oozing charm – or on bigger islands, such as Crete and Cyprus, spend time in one destination and then swap to another side of the island for a satisfying change of pace and scenery.
Need some inspiration? Read on!
Rhodes and Symi, Halki and Tilos
Fly into Rhodes. Bathe in sunshine and culture, hit the beaches (see our top 10 beaches in Rhodes) and in the evening find plenty of bars and restaurants. If it’s a holiday to wind down consider tranquil Tilos, a protected ecological park with green valleys and beautiful beaches. It’s a three-hour ferry ride from Rhodes and the best of laid-back Greece awaits!
On Halki, there’s barely any traffic and some of the cleanest beaches in the whole of Greece. After a 1 hour and 30 minute hop from Rhodes find yourself slipping into the traditional fishing village way of life. Breathtakingly beautiful Symi is another peaceful hide-away, about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Rhodes.
There are sponges and spice stalls in Yialos, the main harbour, as well as boutiques, cafes and bars. Many of the small beaches and coves which can be reached by water taxi, bus or hire car.
Kos and Kalymnos
Fly into friendly Kos which has superb organised beaches (see our top 10 beaches in Kos), a lovely harbour, busy shops and cafes. Kardamena and Lambi have great nightlife while Kefalos, Tigaki and Aghios Fokas are quieter places for families.
The castle in Kos Town, built for the Knights of St John more than 600 years ago, was called the Castle of Nerantzia, the Greek name for the sour orange trees that covered the island.
It’s a 40-minute ferry hop to rugged Kalymnos, a paradise for walkers and climbers. The island is small but packs a punch with four mountain ranges, green vine-clad valleys, thermal springs, caves and a Scandi-style fjord that cuts through the mountains at peaceful Vathy.
Corfu and Paxos
Blessed by Mother Nature with glorious beaches, mountains, olive groves and so much wildlife, the Emerald island of Corfu draws back Olympic Holidays’ guests back year after year. In Corfu Town, admire the elegant Venetian architecture, visit 500-year-old St Spyridon Church and wander in the pretty streets before sitting outside a café to watch the world go by!
It takes just over an hour and a half to sail over to unspoilt Paxos with its white beaches and turquoise blue sea. Gaios boasts a sandy beach on the southern tip of the island and there are enchanting coves along the east coast which are best explored by boat. Go hiking to discover sleepy villages and ancient olive groves (see our article on outstanding olive oil from Greece). You will never want to leave.
Skiathos, Alonissos and Skopelos
The three Sporades islands are close to Greece’s east coast – all enticing with a choice of traditional and luxury hotels so perhaps swap islands and holiday style for a ‘real Greece’ experience sprinkled with some serious pampering.
Fly into Skiathos, with gorgeous beaches, incredible cuisine and the friendliest of welcomes, while the Mamma Mia! island of Skopelos is bigger and more rugged with spectacular countryside including plum, apricot and pear orchards.
Sail into Alonissos for a laid-back break as this island is all about exploring the landscape, diving and wildlife. Visit one, two or three of the islands on an island hop and you will want to return again and again.
Athens, Aegina, Spetses and Andros
Ancient meets modern in the action-packed capital city of Athens and the Athenian Riviera adds to the allure. Then it’s time to hop! Aegina is new to Olympic Holidays, so sail into Aegina Town, the main port with narrow lanes, small shops and tavernas, colourful boats and horse and carriage rides along the waterfront.
Athenians also love to holiday in elegant Spetses, an easy three-hour ferry ride from the mainland. Or another unspoilt and lesser-visited destination is Andros, a stunningly beautiful emerald isle, two hours’ from Athens but distinctly different where the neo-classical houses in the main town of traffic-free Chora are a legacy of the island’s rich nautical history.
Santorini, Naxos, Ios
Santorini offers an incredible adventure with the most fabulous views of all the Greek islands with its outer edge plunging 900ft into the sea. Stay in uber-cool boutique hotels, wander in delightful villages and explore fascinating archaeological sites to understand the island’s immense history.
Famous for its sandy beaches, Naxos is considered by many to be the most beautiful island in the Cyclades with many ancient sites to explore as well as opportunities for wreck and reef diving. The three-and-a-half hour boat ride from Santorini simply adds to the holiday fun.
Ios, between Naxos and Santorini, has 21 beaches and offers fun-filled nights as well as quieter resorts with plenty of charm. Visit the ‘poet of poets’ Homer’s Tomb with top-of-the-world views. The hydrofoil from Santorini to Ios takes about 40 minutes.
Crete is much more than the biggest Greek island, it’s the full package with beaches, cities and beautiful villages, mountains, history and wonderful locally grown produce. Stay in the capital Heraklion, former seat of the legendary wise King Minos, with its fantastic archaeological museum and Venetian harbour, for lively break with nightclubs, bars and designer boutiques.
Elounda, once a charming fishing village, has become a five-star resort with fabulous beaches while Aghios Nikolaos has three main seafront areas – Kitroplatia Beach, the marina and Ammos Beach, and a lake connected to the sea, with restaurants, tavernas and cafés.
In the west, there’s a rugged landscape where the town of Chania oozes romance with evenings spent at waterfront restaurants. Rethymnon has a lovely old town and taverna-lined harbour and there are nearby waterfalls and rock formations to explore. So why not book a two, or three, centre stay to see so much more of this evocative island?
The island of love, fringed by glorious golden beaches with a cool, green, mountainous heart is year-round holiday island. Stay in a lively beachfront resort with top restaurants, luxury spas and sparkling pools. In Paphos and Limassol, there are also fascinating ancient sites to explore so hire a guide to learn more about the island’s incredible history.
You can also consider swap to a mountain retreat for wellness-themed days of walking and cycling in vine-clad slopes or hire a car to follow a vineyard trail because a new wave of viticulture is sweeping the island. The Limassol winemaking villages’ dry climate combines with a unique geology to result in first-class wines, made mostly from local grape varieties Xynisteri (white) and Mavro (red) while the mountainous Larnaca to Nicosia wine route marries old viticultural history with the modern face of the winemaking industry.