Sands and sights in Crete
Greece is all about blue-domed churches, bougainvillea-splashed villages and endless rounds of mezes. And nowhere does it better than the biggest of the Greek Islands, Crete. As well as miles of great beaches in places like the Chania area, this island is home to the kind of ancient sites you’ll want to write home about. We’re talking the ruins of the Minoan Palace of Knossos near Heraklion, and the Venetian fortresses in Rethymnon.
Trace your finger north-west on the map and you hit Corfu, a member of the Ionian Islands. If you want family-run tavernas and empty beaches, Acharavi is for you. And for the best parties on the island, there’s Kavos. South of Corfu you’ll find the island of Zante. Here, pick between lively Laganas or the quiet towns of Alykanas and Kalamaki. Kefalonia, meanwhile, is all about laid-back towns and Instagram-worthy beaches.
South Aegean Islands
Over in the South Aegean Islands, meanwhile, you’ve got the wide, sandy sweeps of Kardemena and Psalidi in Kos, or the timewarp old town of Rhodes’ capital.
Over on the mainland, the big names are Halkidiki and the Olympia Coast. Both regions serve up second-to-none sandy beaches and cypress-studded scenery, plus they open up daytrips to cities like Athens and Thessaloniki.