Tourism is growing big in Greece and it is visible by the increasing tourist numbers. According to Greek national news agency AMNA, foreign tourist arrivals in Greece rose by 23 per cent year-on-year to 2.365 million in May 2018. So how do you choose which island to visit? A little exploration is all that you need, to go beyond the usual.
Mainly visited by Greeks, Lemnos (aka Limnos) is located between Lesvos and Thassos. Still away from being a bustling tourist destination, you can find fishermen here mending their nets by the harbourside in its capital Myrina, a working fishing port. Come here for the Castle of Myrina, the Church of Panagia Kakaviotissa and the ancient site of Ifestia. The Keros beach is home to a kitesurfing and surfing centre, an ideal place for wind sports. Luxury safari tents and bungalows are easily available for rent. While here, do try a seafood pikilia, or a mixed plate – calamari, shrimps, mussels and various small fried fish.
Also known as the “Island of Long Life”, Ikaria may look similar to the other Greek islands. However, when we dig deeper, the difference is visible. Surrounded by beautiful coves, rocky cliffs, steep valleys and broken canopy of scrub and olive groves, the people of this land live much longer than the population on other islands and on the mainland. In fact, people here live on an average 10 years longer than those in the rest of Europe and America. The reason? Apparently, bathing in the radioactive hot springs of Ikaria is beneficial for health and the reason behind the islanders’ longevity. You can experience the hot spring at several bathhouses there.
Consisting of three villages and a population of just over 2,000, the small island of Meganisi is just across from popular Lefkada. Ideal for a day trip, this island offers complete relaxation in a typical Greek atmosphere. You can laze by a beautiful pool with a view of the countryside, take a leisurely stroll down the beach or savour local food at the village taverna.
Its proximity to Athens, fabulous beaches and famous thermal springs make this a perfect place for visitors. While here, take a sea taxi to Kolona, a narrow strip of sand connecting to a small island, Kolona is the most beautiful beach on the island, with soft sand and crystal water. The two bays on either side have azure water, which is rarely without a few yachts at anchor. Chora and Driopida are the most traditional villages in Kythnos island with stone houses and paved streets, while Loutra and Merihas offer many tourist facilities.
Hora, the main town of Serifos, is one of the utmost picturesque in Greece. Its whitewashed cubes clinging to the side of a mountain are one reason so many artists choose to settle on this island. Visit Livadi, the port town, for a pleasing throwback to what the Greek islands used to be like. What makes Serifos irresistible is that it is incredibly low-key, confined really to the main town, Chora, whereas the rest of the island is as wild and raw as any tiny speck on the map you could hope to unearth.