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Best Greek Islands to visit

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Crete

Corfu

Rhodes

Zakynthos

Kos

It's looks likely that the Greek Islands are going to be top of the list for UK tourists this summer - so here are five Greek Islands you could choose for your summer holiday.

Crete

Direct flights normally available daily

Flight time approx. 4 hours

Time zone GMT+3

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and the mythical birthplace of Zeus. The capital, Heraklion, is home to one of Greece's finest archaeological museums and the island gets some of Greece's best and warmest weather.

The island is larger and has a higher population than many European countries. It sustains its own agriculture and vineyards, so there's enough to see and do for almost any length of visit.

To the north of the island are bustling, cosmopolitan cities. The interior of the island boasts the White Mountains, ideal for climbing, hiking and other outdoor adventures. To the east is Agios Nikolaos, now a resort town but with some of its original Greek character. On the southern coast you'll find the most authentic, unspoiled beaches and villages.

Whether you prefer to have a week lying on a beach enjoying the sun or heading out for a trek up a mountain there's something for everyone.

Crete at night

Corfu

Direct flights normally available daily

Flight time approx. 3 hours 15 mins

Time zone GMT+3

On the opposite side of Greece (to the west) is the island of Corfu. Not far off of the mainland this island has been influenced by Venetian, French and British culture throughout its long history. It has some distinct architecture you might not find elsewhere in the Greek islands. One of these buildings is the Liston Arcade which was built under French rule in the 1800s.

As with every Greek island, there are also many beautiful beaches to visit. Some of the most popular can be found at Avlaki, Paralia Issos and Agios Georgios.

Liston Arcade, Corfu Town

Rhodes

Direct flights available daily

Flight time approx. 4 hours

Time zone GMT+3

Rhodes (or as the locals say, 'Ro-dos'), is the 4th-largest Greek island in the Aegean Sea and the capital of the Dodecanese islands. Famous for its beaches and ancient ruins, we were lucky enough to visit to film one of our travel guides there!

Check out our guide for everything you need to know about a holiday in Rhodes. Our number one tip is to make sure you visit the old town. It's the oldest inhabited medieval town in Europe, and you can spend hours wandering the streets and taking in the sights of this famous walled city.


Island hopping from Rhodes

We think Rhodes is worth visiting in its own right, but it's also the gateway to the smaller Dodecanese islands which aren't directly reachable from the UK.

Ferry services run between the islands, so here's a quick guide to some of the islands you can explore either when they come back on the travel corridor list, or if you're travelling and don't mind a stint in quarantine when you get back to the UK.

Halki (approx. 1 hr 15 mins) The smallest and quietest of the islands - visit for secluded beaches reachable on foot, seafront tavernas, historic ruins and an 'authentic' Greek experience.

Tilos (approx. 2 hrs) One of the most curious bits of trivia for the Greek islands, Tilos was home to Dwarf elephants and is the last place elephants lived in Europe. We're not making this up, really!

Nisyros (approx. 4 hrs) Nisyros is an active volcanic islands and one of the easiest volcanoes to visit - it last erupted in the 1880s. This has made it a unique landscape, with almost moon-scape craters and thermal springs you can bathe in.

Symi (approx. 2 hrs) Visit for the colourful harbour at Symi Town, the 18th-century Monastery and of course its beaches!


Zakynthos (Zante)

Direct flights available daily

Flight time approx. 3 hours 25 mins

Time zone GMT+3

Zante has become a well known destination for partying, mostly centered around Laganas strip - so if that's what you're looking for after a long year indoors then Laganas is the perfect choice. That being said, it's also a great location to just chill out on a beach and in the amazing cerulean sea.

Be sure to check out Navagio beach where you'll find the famous shipwreck nestled in a sandy cove. You're also likely to find the native instagram influencer in their native habitat!

If you're a conservation fan, then there's also the National Marine Park of Zakynthos, which was the first designated sea turtle conservation spot in the Med. Zante is a really charming island, with a ton of amazing beaches to choose from - it's a perfect summer holiday spot.

Zakynthos

Kos

Direct flights available 5 days a week

Flight time approx. 4 hours

Time zone GMT+3

Last, but by no means least, there's Kos. To the east of Greece in the Dodecanese archipelago, the island is a stone's throw from Bodrum - the famous Turkish resort. Kos brings you an excellent blend of culture and relaxation - with some gorgeous beaches but also some excellent historic sites, such as the Plane tree of Hippocrates and the Asklepion. If you're travelling with kids (or big kids!), then there's also a couple of water parks on the island - great to keep everyone entertained if you tire of the beach.

Kos tavern

Island hopping from Kos

Though these islands can also be reached by ferry from Rhodes, the ferry time is much shorter from Kos. So - once more islands are added to the FCDO corridor, or if you're not worried about quarantining when you get home - hop on a ferry and get away from the crowds.

Kalymnos (approx. 1hr 20 mins) Visit for a laid-back holiday with beaches, diving, rock climbing and excellent tavernas.

Patmos (approx. 5hrs 20 mins) Known as the location in which the apostle John wrote the Book of Revelations, this is a significant site of Christian pilgrimage. There's a stunning cliff-top fortress which overlooks the Old town below.