Greek Island holidays

Strewn across the brilliant blue of the Aegean and Ionian seas, the Greek Islands are a mecca not just for beach bums but for lovers of the great outdoors. Here you can hike up hills beneath endless blue skies, watch for dolphins from the deck of a sailing ship, snorkel with sea turtles and explore shipwrecks in the deep blue depths. What’s more, island hopping is both a culinary and cultural adventure. Every isle, big or small, has its own distinct take on local cuisine, as well as its own monuments to a rich past, with the crumbling remains of ancient Greece a common sight.
Tours will take you to explore an island group – the Cyclades or Ionian islands, for example – or on an extended exploration of one the larger isles such as Crete or Rhodes, with sailing, walking and cycling the main means of discovery. Whichever island you choose, each is a unique example of Greek gorgeousness.

Walking holidays

The Greek Islands are not just for swimming and sailing, they’re stuffed full of walking wonderlands, and a perfect way to get to grips with the soul of the islands is to take to the trails. You could spend your time in the hills and pathways of Rhodes or Crete for example, exploring the Butterfly Valley on the former and the White Mountains on the latter.

Or you could hop from island to island in the Cyclades or Ionians, travelling by public ferry or on a combined sailing and walking holiday, where days will be spent cruising the deep blue waters, and anchoring near the shore to hike on land. On the Cycladic island of Syros, follow near deserted hilltop trails that take you through sugar-cube villages, past blue domed churches, mountain springs and deep gorges.

Also ripe for Hellenic hikes is the mountainous, valley rich landscape of Lefkada, one of the beautiful Ionian Islands, the homeland of Homer’s Odysseus. Milos has rock formations and other fascinating geological wonders to explore while the hidden gem that is Evia is home to rugged mountains and sleepy villages.

Ancient sites

The mainland may hold the most famous ancient Greek sites – the Acropolis and Olympia among them – but the islands have more than their fair share of ancient Greek goodies, as well as remnants from the Byzantine and Venetian eras. In Naxos, in the Cyclades Islands, Byzantine chapels, Venetian citadels and olive groves line ancient walking trails. In Crete you’ll find magnificent Minoan marvels including the palace cluster at Knossos; and Amorgos has the famous old capital Hora, with ancient churches, white stone houses and maze of alleyways, as well as a the white washed Hozoviotissa monastery, built right into the cliff face overlooking the Aegean.

Small ship cruising

The quintessential Greek Islands adventure takes place on the water, and the islands entice people from far and wide to navigate their waters, whether they’re sailing a yacht to dock at the hedonistic island of Mykonos, or ferry hopping from island to island in the Ionians. You don’t need to be an expert sailor either to take to the seas. Small group holidays take you on everything from tiny and traditional gulets sleeping a maximum of 17 to sleek motorised yachts sleeping up to 50. Days start with a dip in the Ionian or Aegean Sea, perhaps followed by an exploration of olive grove covered hills or an ancient site, and then a beach barbecue at sunset, or a few drinks in a local taverna.
If that all sounds too laid-back, you could opt to muck in with all of the boat business on one of our smaller sailing trips, combine diving and cruising on a liveaboard yacht for the ultimate Big Blue experience, or mix boating with dolphin conservation in the Cyclades.

Our top Greece Holiday

Greek Island cruising holiday

Greek Island cruising holiday

Discover a side of Greece riddled with myth and magic.

From £3115 9 days ex flights
Small group travel:
Travel Team
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Family holidays

With all those beaches, calm waters and fantastic food, it’s no surprise that the Greek Islands are a top choice for family holidays, but that doesn’t necessarily mean spending all your time at the beach or a hotel pool. More and more families are opting for multi activity holidays, for example. Take the kids to Rhodes and you can get your active kicks in a plethora of different ways. You could have a sailing lesson from a friendly boat captain, try your hands at windsurfing, hiking, mountain biking and horse riding, or head under the water on a scuba diving taster session. Alternatively, you could go for a week’s family sailing holiday in the Cyclades on a traditional Greek motorised sailing boat, anchoring in bright blue Aegean bays to swim in the sea, explore forts and ruins and visit laid-back fishing villages.
Written by Nana Luckham
Photo credits: [Page banner: Alex Antoniadis] [Topbox: Mark Harpur] [Ancient sites (Hozoviotissa monastery): Creative commons] [Small ship (Santorini): Vesela Vaclavikova]