Psarou Bay: The hidden gem of Mykonos

10 things to love about the Greek Islands

ANN Rickard has visited the Greek Islands every year for the past 15 years. She gives us ten reasons why, she'd love to buy the Greek Islands.

 

1. Because it sounds marvellous: There is something special about saying, 'the Greek Islands.' It's like saying 'the Bahamas' or 'the Maldives.'. It has a ring of the exotic about it. (Not that you want to go to the Greek Islands just to say it out loud...but...it sounds pretty good, no?)

 

2. The Aegean. I could give you ten reasons alone about the joy of the sea in Greece. Swimming in the Aegean is like wrapping yourself in silk, like immersing yourself in an invigorating salt bath. The sea is so clear and blue it is like looking through a bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin.

 

3. Sunshine, lots of it: If you go in summer - and when else? - you are guaranteed consistent sunlight. In my 15 years of summers in Greece, I have never once encountered a cloudy sky or a drop of rain. It is the guarantee of consistent sunshine from sunrise to sunset that makes it ideal.

4. Greek Salads: Sun-ripened tomatoes, briny black olives, crunchy cumber, rings of red onion, full-fat feta, a sprinkle of oregano and a dressing of olive oil (Greek of course) and lemon juice. Greece on a plate - eat it every day.

 

5. The sea again. There is no fear of shark attacks or rips or currents to wash you out to sea, so swim out as far as you dare, look down through the crystal-clear water past your toes and the ocean bed below, tread water and stay there until you feel ten years younger.

 

6. Choice: So many islands offering different aspects. Party person? Mykonos is your go. Crave peace and quiet? Karpathos is still reasonably empty. History and culture? Rhodes has so much of it. Making new friends from around the world? Crete has a plethora of global visitors in the summer.

 

7. Getting around. Fast ferries and speedy catamarans are good if you want to island hop. They run all day and early evening in the summer. Best to do your research, arm yourself with timetables and plan. Flying is quick, but you must contend with small airports and often delayed flights...not for us seniors.

 

8. Blue and white and splashes of red. White-washed villas, blue domed churches, crimson bougainvillea...don't need to say anymore.

 

9. Santorini. Santorini is the rock-star of all the islands. Soaring brown cliffs rising from the caldera topped with clusters of white buildings that look like icing sugar, give Santorini the wow factor. Vivid lingering sunsets that defy belief, windmills, panoramic views out over the caldera...Santorini tops the bucket list of travellers all over the world.

 

10. Plate smashing. Mostly only done in the tourist restaurants but fun to watch, as is a Greek dance show: lots of zorba and leg lifting and swift kicking. You'll find plenty of these tourist restaurants in the Plaka below the Acropolis in Athens. Starting your Greek Island hop with a stay in the vibrant Plaka will set you up for a perfect holiday.

Read more of Ann's musings at www. annrickard.com


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