Greek Islands — A Necklace of Pearls
Greece — the birthplace of the great kings and generals, the home of philosophers, thinkers and scientists and the cradle of ancient civilization. This country fascinates and delights, with intoxicating scents of orange and olive groves, boundless flower gardens and an array of aristocratic villas and fishing villages. In Greece, there are over three thousand Greek islands, of which no more than three hundred are inhabited. Each island has a rich history, displayed in their ancient and orthodox monasteries and in the beautiful facades that pepper the landscape. Of the many Greek islands, the most famous are: Crete, Rhodes, Corfu, Santorini and Mykonos.
Corfu — the most northerly of the Ionian Islands, it attracts tourists with its lush vegetation and picturesque villages bragging a peaceful atmosphere. In the Old Town of Corfu, there is the largest medieval complex of Greece, where one can find the preserved architectural monuments of different European cultures. Here, you can see houses with arcades in the Empire style, the old Venetian fort and the royal palace.
Rodos — the pearl of the Mediterranean. The Island of the Knights, as Rhodes was once called, is famous for its medieval city, surrounded by high walls with imposing towers and ancient gates. In addition, the Castle of Monolithos, The Palace of the Grand master of the Knights of Rhodes (Kastello), the ruins of the ancient city of Kamiros and Archangelos Castle all deserve attention. The surroundings of these places are very picturesque, with conifers, luxurious valleys with countless vineyards, citrus plantations and olive groves.
Santorini — The most Greek and the most romantic island in Greece. Santorini is what remains of an enormous volcanic eruption, with steep rocky shores and tall, white and blue houses on the edge of bizarre rocks. There are many monuments of architecture to see. One of the oldest in the world comes from the remnants of the Cycladic civilization. To view this beauty, you can take a ferry or a monorail, although walking or riding on a donkey are also options. Despite the lack of fresh water in Santorini, they do grow a lot of fruits and vegetables. There are also beautiful eucalyptus groves to enjoy and luscious grapes waiting to be harvested.’
Oia — The most beautiful and the most romantic town in Santorini. The white-washed town literally hangs over the caldera. The city was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1956, but it was quickly restored to its original form. The architectural style is defined by the many traditional Cycladic houses, with their rounded shapes and blue and white and ochre colours. The narrow streets are paved with stones, with many stairs leading to courtyards in front of houses carved into the rocks.
Some of the best and most expensive restaurants and shops are situated in Oia. As well, you will enjoy some of the most impressive views of the sunset anywhere in the world if you are staying on the western part of Oia. In fact, this is an attraction that gathers thousands of people every evening. Come to also discover the incredible views of Ammoudi Bay, with its old fishing port. You can try to descend the 235 steps to circle around the bottom part of Oia village. Ammoudi may immediately seem very familiar, which is not surprising, since it has made appearances in many movies.
The eastern part is also very picturesque, with its beautiful views of the Gulf of Armenia, but the sunsets in the west will not be found here! Oia is a place that offers unforgettable peace and quiet in the evenings and allows you to enjoy a stroll through the streets, the promenade or the shops. If you are inclined, there is no shortage of cafes and restaurants to serve your every culinary need.
Zante or Zakynthos — the most southernmost of the seven Ionian islands, famous for its incredibly beautiful bays, which are densely dissected by its western shore. Zakynthos’ mountain ranges are covered with tall pine trees and their valleys are surrounded by olive groves and orchards. The beaches are separated from one another by bizarre rocks, which form mysterious caves and grottos. Many of them can be reached only by sea, which, in Zakynthos, is an unusual azure colour.
On the southern and south-eastern part of the island, there is a marine reserve. Here, one can find such rare species as the Monachus Seal and the Caretta Turtle. In the northern part of Zakynthos, there is the famous «Blue Cave», the beautiful bay Navajo and Askos Zoological Park. The zoological park has on display a multitude of plants and animals from around the world.
Crete — the largest Greek island, Crete has the longest swimming season in the country, running from April to November. Most resorts are located on the northern coast of the island, where the flow through the water is much warmer. The centre of cultural life is the city of Heraklion. You can visit the Archaeological Museum, the Palace of Knossos and Koules Fortress, built by the Republic of Venice. The city has many lovely narrow streets, squares, fountains and an Orthodox cathedral.