Greece’s roughly 3,000 islands and islets are scattered far and wide across the eastern Mediterranean. Most are in the Aegean Sea (south and east of mainland Greece), while fewer but even prettier are in the Ionian Sea (west of the mainland).
The Greek islands are divided into distinct clusters:
1.The Ionian Islands, traditionally called the Heptanese (i.e. the seven islands) closer to Albania and Italy than to Athens, are Greece’s northwest gateway to the Adriatic and the rest of Europe. They’ve had more foreign invaders and rulers (from Venice, France, Britain, Russia, Austria, and so on) than anywhere else in the country. These are Corfu, Paxi, Lefkada, Ithaca, Cephalonia, Zante & Kythira.
- The Saronic Gulf Islands (Argosaronikos), conveniently wedged between the Peloponnese and Athens, ooze lots of island charm and give you a chance to get away from it all without actually going very far. They are Aegina, Agkistri, Spetses, Hydra, Salamina, Poros & Metahana.
3.The Sporades Islands, due east of Athens, are dominated by the giant Evia island, which is attached to the mainland by a bridge. Thickly forested and less touristed by international visitors, the Sporades are a popular and handy weekend getaway for Athenians.
The Sporades islands fall into 5 different Sporades groups, which are:
- Thessalian Sporades: Skopelos, Alonissos, Skiathos, Kyra Panagia, Peristera, Gioura, Skantzoura, Piperi and Tsougria
- Thracian Sporades: Thasos, Samothrace, Imbros, Lemnos and Agios Efstratios
- Western Sporades: Salamis, Aigina, Poros, Hydra, Spetses, and the other islands of the Saronic Gulf and the Myrtoan Sea
- Eastern Sporades: Samos, Ikaria, Lesbos, Chios, Tenedos, Psara, Oinousses and other smaller island groups
- Southern Sporades (They correspond to the Dodecanese plus a few northern islands – especially Samos and Ikaria -; also included are the islands of Chios and Lesbos.)
- The Cyclades — a bit farther south, between Athens and Crete — are the prototypical “Greek islands,” boasting chalk-white houses with colourful windowsills and doorways; rocky, sun-parched landscapes; delightful beaches; old-fashioned white windmills topped with tufts of grass like unkempt hair; and an almost overwhelming crush of international visitors. The Cyclades comprise about 220 islands, the major ones are Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Folegandros, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Syros, Tinos, and Thira or Santoríni. There are also many minor islands including Donousa, Eschati, Gyaros, Irakleia, Koufonisia, Makronisos and Schoinousa.
The Dodecanese Islands, literally 12 islands, at the sunny, southeastern end of the Greek lands, are more rustic and less developed than the Cyclades. Their proximity to Turkey and historic ties to Venice give them a hybrid Turkish-Venetian flavour and they are a group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands, of which 26 are inhabited. Τhis island group generally defines the eastern limit of the Sea of Crete. They belong to the wider Southern Sporades island group.
The most well-known is Rhodes, which has been the area’s dominant island since Antiquity. Some of the others are Kos, Patmos, Agathonisi, Astypalaia, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kasos, Leipsoi, Leros, Nisyros, Symi, Tilos, and Kastellorizo. Other islands in the chain include Alimia, Arkoi, Chalki, Farmakonisi, Gyali, Kinaros, Levitha, Marathos, Nimos, Pserimos, Saria, Strongyli, Syrna and Telendos.
- The North Aegean Islands lie roughly between Turkey and Thessaloniki (at the northern end of mainland Greece). The southernmost of these, Samos, is a particularly handy springboard for Turkey, as it’s very close to the Turkish port city of Kuşadası (near the remarkable ancient Greek site of Ephesus).
7. Crete is Greece’s biggest island and practically a mini state of its own (in fact, from 1897 to 1913 it was an autonomous state within the Ottoman Empire). While many of Greece’s smaller islands merit a day or two of fun in the sun, Crete could occupy even a busy traveler for a week or more.
So now you don’t need to get the same old Athens – Santorini – Mykonos’ group trip but rather you can plan your own island hopping to Greek islands according to what you really want to do in your holidays by simply search & book a flight at Skyscanner below that perfectly suits your needs (days, times, arrive and departure airport etc.)
If, for instance, you want to explore the Sporades islands, you should look for a flight to Thessaloniki airport but if you want to visit the Ionian islands, it is better to look for a flight to Aktion (i.e. the airport serving Preveza and Lefkada in Greece. It is also known as Lefkada Airport).
Bear in mind that, if you arrive to Aktion and your first island is Lefkada, you don’t need to book a ferry ticket as Lefkada is the only island in the country that is connected to the mainland with a bridge.
You can then search for your ferries tickets here
and book your accommodation in any of these islands here below
Do not forget to comment which Greek islands will you visit this year..!!
Are you interested in what’s like inside of a sailing boat?
The Greek Islands have long been an alluring destination and ticketseller.gr offers the perfect way to appreciate their natural charm and beauty. Drop anchor by a deserted beach in the Dodecanese; wander through the Cyclades’ whitewashed villages; immerse yourself in Ionian culture, dive over shipwrecks in the Sporades; climb Mount Olympus in the Aegean and marvel at magical Crete because the holidays on a sailing boat are freedom and help you fully re-charge your batteries even if it is just for few days.
A sailing boat is perfect holiday for those who want to visit more than one places and don’t want to spend a fortune and ticketseller.gr include everything at the final price, from the cost of 1 or 2 skipper to the cost of gas and water for all the days that you will rent the sailing boat and, if you cook on the boat instead of eating out in a marine, it would save you more money.
Ticketseller.gr has currently two service providers on sailing boats and if you choose incrediblue.com you can search for a boat according to which islands you want to explore. However, if you choose the second provider, vyra.com, you can find more boats across the whole Mediterranean sea!
It is a life experience to sleep in a sailing boat in a bay than in a hotel.
In a bay, you can stay up as late as you want and have fun without disturbing other people next to your boat and no one will disturb your sleep with their voices and their music. You can wake up and immediately dive in the sea and spent the whole day by diving in more than one beaches or caves, most of them isolated.
Let’s see now what stuff you need to have with you on a sailing boat. To start with, make-up, hair dryers, hair strengtheners, and high heels are not acceptable in a sailing boat (the last because most of the time there you will be barefoot). So, you only need 1 pair of shoes (preferably sneakers or flat espadrilles) and flip-flops – I personally could live on flip-flops only –
Moving on to clothes, you only need as many bikinis and swimsuits as you want ; they don’t take up space and you are going to need them all. In addition, you will need shorts, tops, dresses and a wind cheater or denim jacket and that’s all (most of the day you are going to be with your bikini).
The only thing you need in excess is towels. You will need one beach towel per day and 1 bath towel.
As for cosmetics and make-up, you will only need your suncream lotion for face and body (do not pack a suntanning oil for holidays on a sailing boat; they are useless because you only need protection and suntanning oils can be very dangerous in a sailing boat as they are quite slippery), a shampoo and a shower gel – I prefer the Johnson’s baby head to toe wash because it is the best 2 in1 shampoo in the market, smells incredible and it doesn’t take up space in your cosmetic bags if you get the travel size – However, if you can’t live without make-up, you can take bronzer, mascara, blush and lipstick with you.
You will also need razors but you don’t need shaving cream for legs, just shave your legs with sea salt water and you will be amazed how soft they are, and of course travel size toothbrush, toothpaste, a face wash gel and a hydrating face cream.
Last but not least, you will need hat and sunglasses, phone and power bank, camera or even better an action camera that can shoot underwater and anything that will keep you entertained e.g books and crosswords or even a table game such as monopoly.
My last tip for staying safe on the boat:
Be aware of all time and respect the boom (some of the most common sailing injuries are a result of not being aware when the boom is about to swing) and of course always listen to your skipper (he/she is there to give you a safe lifetime experience).
Sail away my friends, have fun and let me know on the comments where will you choose to spend your holidays this summer.
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*Disclosure: Elena’s travels blogs receives compensation from affiliate links to generate income to offset costs mainly for travel expenses.
Hello my fellow travellers
Have you already planned or booked your easter break?
Greece is a beautiful country all year long and easter is the biggest celebration for the Orthodox church. More especially, easter in Corfu is even greater, more spectacular and more impressive, with rituals that are found nowhere else in the world.
Easter preparations begin from Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday practically opens the Hole Week. It commemorates the Jesu’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem where, according to the gospel truth, the residents of the city welcomed Him holding branches of palm trees, laying their clothes on the ground and applauding him by saying Hosanna; blessed the one who came in the name of the Lord.
In the churches of Greece, priests offer palm leaves to the pilgrims.
The procession with the relics of the patron saint of Corfu, Agios Spiridon, gathers the pilgrims in a spectacular ceremony, with the participation of any Band of the island.
Red eggs are dyed in every Greek house and the Twelve Gospels are read. The red eggs symbolise the fertility and the powers of creation. Others claim that they stand as a symbol of the resurrection of the whole world, in other words, the regeneration of nature. Some people believe that easter eggs are dyed red to symbolise the commemoration of Jesus’ shed blood during his crucifixion. For others, the red colour stands for joy and happiness caused to humanity after the joyful event of resurrection but most importantly red eggs acts as a deterrent to evil powers.
The Epitaphs of the island visit every neighbourhood and cross under the mournful sounds of the Philharmonic Bands.
Epitaph and litany of St. Spiridon is established as a tribute to the miracle of St. Spiridon in 1553, where in a period of great famine ships with wheat approached the island at time procession of the Epitaph of St. Spiridon. The story goes that the sailors dreamed of a monk who led them to Corfu in order to protect them from the weather and to sell their products. Philharmonic bands are participating to the litany.
The locals revive the custom of artificial earthquake, symbolising the resurrection of Christ. Shortly after, the procession of the Epitaph of Saint Spiridon is held and then everyone expects the First Resurrection.
When the church’s bells start ringing vigorously on the island, it’s time for the first resurrection and people buy clay pots and drop them from their balconies, filled with water. In this way, they cast out evil spirits and participate in probably the most famous Easter customs in Greece.
This habit possible bears the influence of the Venetians who would throw old objects out of their window on New Years Day, so the New Year would bring them health, luck, happiness and prosperity. Another, most likely, explanation is that the custom is of pagan origins. By smashing things and making loud noises the Ancient Greeks wanted to wake up Persephone, the goddess of spring , and accelerate the coming of Spring .
At midnight, the Resurrection is celebrated, with the bells ringing loudly at midnight and making the miracle of Christianity known in every corner of the world, anywhere there is a Greek orthodox church and people get the Holy light on white candles. Later they return home and gather round the table to celebrate the resurrection by eating local delicacies such as red eggs and the so-called magiritsa.
The roasted lamb, slowly cooking on the spit on Easter Sunday, is not only a mouth-watering delicacy but it also carries rich symbolism.
The origin of eating lamb on Easter comes from the Jewish Passover and is associated with the exodus from Egypt.
Before the Jews set out on the great exodus, God, through Moses, told them to gather in small groups and each family to sacrifice a lamb. With the animal’s blood they were to paint their doorposts so they were not exterminated by the angel of God, who on that night would bring pestilence to the firstborn of each family who would not mark the entrance to their house with the lamb’s blood.
That night, each family offered as a sacrifice to God a lamb for the salvation of all people. They ate the lamb, without breaking its bones, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. With the lamb’s blood, they stained their doors.
Later, Christians adopted the sacrificial lamb as John the Baptist likened Jesus Christ to the lamb of God who will take the brunt of the sins of the world with his sacrifice.
In most parts of Greece, on Easter Sunday the faithful roast a lamb on the spit along with the intestines.
On Easter Sunday and 40 days on, Orthodox Christians greet each other saying, “Christ is Risen” and answer, “Truly He is risen.”
A way to visit Corfu and live unique experiences is by clicking here.
I am waiting for your easter experiences on my Facebook page.
With lots of love,