The Cycladic Islands are the prototypical «Greek islands,» boasting chalk-white houses with colorful windowsills and doorways; rocky, sun-parched landscapes; delightful beaches; old-fashioned white windmills topped with tufts of grass like unkempt hair; and an almost overwhelming crush of international visitors. Mykonos and Santorini are the two best and most famous of the Cyclades.
Sporades & Evia
The Sporades Islands, due east of Athens, are dominated by the giant Evia island, which is attached to the mainland by a bridge. Thickly forested and less touristed by international visitors, the Sporades are a popular and handy weekend getaway for Athenians.
The Saronic Gulf Islands (Argosaronikos), conveniently wedged between the Peloponnese and Athens, ooze lots of island charm and give you a chance to get away from it all without actually going very far. Hydra, my favorite, is in this group.
The Ionian Islands
Closer to Albania and Italy than to Athens, are Greece’s northwest gateway to the Adriatic and the rest of Europe — they’ve had more foreign invaders and rulers (from Venice, France, Britain, Russia, Austria, and so on) than anywhere else in the country. The main island is Corfu (Kerkyra in Greek), with a bustling, architecturally eclectic main town and a lush, green islandscape dotted with attractions and beaches.
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