4 GREEK ISLANDS IN THE WORLD’S TOP 30 LIST
Condé Nast Traveler readers ranked the 35 best islands in the world in the Readers’ Choice Awards survey. From far-flung stunners in Southeast Asia to volcanic outcrops in the Mediterranean, Greece and its majestic islands could not be absent from this list.
Said to have been where Hercules killed the giants, Mykonos is steeped in mythological history. A popular cruise ship stop, the island hasn’t quite outgrown its wild party reputation that would impress even Dionysus, but is on the path to attracting a more sophisticated and upscale type of traveler. Avoid July and August to miss the major crowds and get a better sense of local life. Head to Little Venice in Mykonos Town, an neighborhood full of bars and tavernas.
The largest Greek isle, Crete is also one of the most distinctive, with its own unmistakable culture, landscape, cuisine, and mythological history. If you make it beyond the beach, make sure to visit the Minoan Palace in Knossos. Skip the bumpy drive or three-hour hike to one of the most photographed spots in Crete. Balos Beach is most easily accessed by ferries from Kissamos port.
It seems as if all the Greek islands are framed by that killer shade of emerald blue, but there is something about the waters at Navagio Bay on the tiny island of Zakynthos that will make your heart skip a beat. Perhaps it’s the sheer seclusion and protected location that keeps its aquamarine waters so perfect and pure. For the ultimate vantage point of Navagio Bay, follow the signs to Agios Georgios monastery, which has a viewing platform overlooking the entire length of the beach.
Craving Santorini’s famous whitewashed houses and cobblestoned streets, but without all of the crowds? Look no further than Folegandros, Santorini’s smaller neighbor to the northwest by some 40 miles, which has all that and more. During the day, visit the island’s most famous monument, Chrysospiliá (“Golden Cave”); if it’s remote beaches you’re after, try Agios Georgios or Ambeli. Come evening, tuck into a bowl of traditional matsáta (handmade noodles with rabbit or rooster) in Chora, the island’s center, which rests atop a 650-foot cliff.