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Best Greek Islands?

I'm leaving for roughly 3 weeks in Greece at the end of September. I'm having trouble figuring out which Greek islands my friends and I ought to visit. In pictures, to me they all look about the same. I know that I want to go to Ithaca for the mythology and that's about it.

What in your opinion are the best of the Greek islands overall?

Posted by
194 posts

We spent our honeymoon in Paros, Mykonos and Santorini. Our favorites were Paros (for the scenery, laid-back attitude) and Santorini (probably the most beautiful of the three, unlike anything I'd ever seen). I'm glad we saw Mykonos, but I'll likely never go back. It was crowded, expensive and touristy. I'd recommend Paros and Santorini.

Posted by
536 posts

Hi AK - 227 Greek Islands are inhabited and most are scenic and beautiful. My top three after spending many weeks per year over the past 25 years in the area are ; Santorini, Mykonos, and Corfu. Spectacular in every way - think you would truly enjoy them.
Teleferico takes you from the port up to Fira - principal town on Santorini - views are incredible, lots of shopping, great beaches. On Mykonos, you can rent a three wheeler for about 10 euros and see the Island , from the fabulous beaches to the countryside. In Mykonos Town, designed to confuse Pirates, you can wander the quaint streets, stop at a Taverna for lunch, or shop!!
Corfu is a larger Island that you might want to rent a car and go up in the mountains and see the sights. Again, in the principal square great shopping, lots of excellent Restaurants, and a fun time to watch the people go by.

Enjoy Greece , Greg

Posted by
6015 posts

It really depends on what specifically you are looking for in an island (Quiet Beach, Party, History, Scenery) then beyond that, what time you have and transport options. The common mistake people make is to pick out a list of islands, then find that getting to each is nearly impossible, or requires repeated backtracking through Athens. Most wind up opting for islands that are on a common ferry route (Mykonos, Paros, Santorini, as the previous poster recommended).

In regards to your pick, Ithaca, I will point out that it is over off the Western shore of Greece, well away from the Aegean and what most think of the "Greek Islands". If you are interested in Ithaca, consider other islands in that group, Corfu and Zakynthos are two more that come to mind.

Posted by
2898 posts

Another thing about Ithaca. It is not the place to go for the "mythology." Why? Because none of the topography of the island agrees with the descriptions in the Odyssey as being Odysseus" home island. Scientists and classical studies people h have fretted about this for years. Then, about 5 years ago a major magazine of research (I think the Smithsonian) published a breakthrough finding -- all of the descriptions fit a part of the neighboring island, Kefalonia. The speculation is that it was once a separate island. THere was extensive documentation.

So there you are. Best to look into some Classical websites. How about Mycenae, which was -- with much better documentation -- supposedlly the Headquarters of the "Achaians" of the Iliad and its king, Agamemnon. What about Epidaurus, center of the healing arts in ancient Greece? What about Crete -- There yo go, major mythology!! Palace of Knossos, home of the Minotaur, slain by Theseus. How about Naxos, where Theseus supposedly dumped Ariadne after she helped him with the above deed? Naxos has regular day-excursions to Delos, the most sacred island of all, birthplace of both Appollo and Artemis his twin? And of Course, Delphi.

Posted by
4 posts

Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies. I'm interested in everything, relaxing, scenery, partying, history, swimming if it's warm enough. Looks like I'll be checking out the islands around Ithaca and then maybe consider going to either Crete or Rhodes.

Janet - I have heard that about Ithaca, but I'm not sure I agree with it, though of course I'm no historian. Thank you for your thoughtful reply though, I checked out the island you mentioned and it's gorgeous. I've wanted to go to Ithaca ever since I was little though. It's been a dream of mine. Just the symbolism of finally making it there is enough to make me feel teary eyed.

Posted by
875 posts

Haven't been to that many, but just on sheer beauty alone I'd say Santorini stands head and shoulders above the rest. Mykonos was nice, but certainly not as "everything" as I had been led to believe. It fell way short of my expectations while Santorini even exceeded my already very high expectations.