My friend Grace had Greece on her bucket list for years, but she was caring for her ailing mother and never could get the time to go. When her mother passed away, we decided to take a Mediterranean cruise as a girl's trip and fulfill her dreams. I'm so glad we did because she unexpectedly passed away soon after the trip. The weather was perfect and we explored Athens and several islands including Rhodes, Mykonos, and Delos. It was a trip of a lifetime for all of us.
Greece has always been an ideal Mediterranean vacation destination. With over 1,400 islands (230 inhabited), it can be hard to choose which one to visit first. Hopefully, these eight guidelines will help you choose.
Best nightlife: Mykonos, also known as 'The Island of the Winds,' is world-renowned for its vibrant nightlife. Little Venice and Paradise Beach are popular party destinations where clothing is optional, and the LGBT scene is major. There are male go-go dancers everywhere, and parties typically last all night. July and August are the primary months for tourism and the wildest parties.
Best traditional village life: The island, Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades and has a little over 6,500 inhabitants and a bit over 20 small villages. Naxos has ancient towers, paved streets, and has maintained its unique Venetian architecture.
Best kiteboarding and windsurfing: With gusty winds that can be seen from a mile away, Paros island is best known for kiteboarding and windsurfing. Santa Maria, Prassonisi, and Pounda are the main beaches where the sport is practiced. The Thalasea Sports Center is at the bay of Mikli Vigla and is a popular hub for these activities.
Best beaches: Located in the Aegean Sea, Milos is a beautiful volcanic island that is rich in minerals as well as rich history. Firopotamos, Kastanas, and Paliorema are some top beach destinations in Milos. The white-washed Cycladic villages and black sands are picturesque backdrops. Although some may be only accessible by boat, there are over 80 mini beaches throughout Milos that you can explore.
Best for nature lovers: Ikaria has some of the World's most pristine and untouched nature territories. It has been identified as a place that promotes life longevity and better overall health.
Best Robinson Crusoe destination: Koufonisia is comprised of two islands, Pano (upper) and Kato (lower). The preferred way to navigate the area is by foot or cycling, as everything is within walking distance. The island has a museum and many sightseeing options.
Best couples getaway: Folegandros does not get the crowded tourist scene as most Greek towns do. It has a broad selection of restaurants and cafes. Chora is the main village and has been preserved well, with open landscapes and clifftop housing.
Best food: Cretan cuisine focuses on all-natural ingredients and can be enjoyed at any local tavern throughout the islands. Some dishes include Dakos, Gamopilafo, Mizithropita, and Apaki.
Now you're all set! With a myriad of beautiful architecture, scenic waterfronts, and rich history, there is much to enjoy. Just contact me when you are ready to set off for Greece!