The Greek Isles are one of the most popular cruise destinations in the world. With over 6,000 islands and islets dotting the Aegean and Ionian Seas, each with a unique personality and flair, we can see why!
What are the most famous Greek islands? Here’s a quick guide to ten favorites.
Crete is the largest and most populous island in Greece, with not one but two Azamara ports! On the east coast of the island, Agios Nikolaos blends the charm of a small fishing village with the glamor of a chic resort town. On the northwest side of the island rests the old Venetian port of Chania, known for its diverse culture and history. No matter which port you choose, the island’s varied terrain is home to beaches, mountains, and vineyards waiting to be explored and local delicacies to be enjoyed.
The island of Rhodes offers a stunning combination of sea, sand, and sights. With more than 300 days of sunshine per year and 10,000 years of history, there is plenty to tickle your fancy. As one of the best-preserved medieval cities in all of Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city center is a must-visit—a tour of scenic Rhodes can be checked off your bucket list with an Azamara Shore Excursion. Don’t miss the island’s main attraction, the Colossus, a large statue dedicated to the sun god Helios.
Kefalonia’s main town, Fiskardo, is known as “the Saint-Tropez of Greece.” By day, the island is beautiful, with luxury yachts dotting the harbor and bright Venetian-style buildings lining the waterfront. By night, the island is electric with lights, cafes, bars, and restaurants. If you’re itching to explore a bit more, our Drogkarati Cave & Assos Village Shore Excursion is for you! Along the way, you’ll explore Agia Efthimia, which was one of the island's more important centers of trade before the 1953 earthquakes, and the unspoiled and small village of Assos.
The idyllic island of Corfu is said to have been the inspiration for Shakespeare’s The Tempest. With a beautiful landscape of silvery olive trees, turquoise blue waters, and gorgeous sandy beaches, we understand why! It’s the great beaches and quaint villages that make it a popular pick for families. If you’re looking to make the most of Corfu, be sure to explore the cobblestone streets of the Old Town—a UNESCO World Heritage Site—as well as Corfu’s countryside of island villages.
The biggest and greenest island in the Cyclades, Naxos is known as “the Hawaii of Greece” thanks to the lush, green landscapes. It’s also home to incredible beaches and charming, off the beaten path villages. So, it’s fair to say that the island’s diverse natural setting is sure to satisfy your appetite for adventure.
Mykonos looks like a scene straight from a postcard: whiter-than-white houses with brilliant blue shutters, vibrant bougainvillea, and a beautiful blue harbor drenched in warm sunlight. For one of the island’s most iconic views, visit the iconic 16th-century Venetian windmills. Beneath the idyllic scenery, Mykonos has a thriving nightlife scene and is a popular LGBT travel spot. Lucky for you, with Azamara’s late night departures, you can let loose when the sun goes down!
Santorini is a quintessential Greek Island. Its whitewashed, cliffside villages and saturated sunsets make it one of the country’s most photogenic destinations and a can’t miss stop when exploring the Greek Isles. For the best photo-ops, the village of Oia offers panoramic views of plummeting cliffs and nearby islands surrounded by blue seas—perfect for catching a seaside sunset. Our Village of Oia & Winery Visit Shore Excursion takes you through this beautiful village and gives a taste of local wine.
Skiathos may be Sporades’ smallest island, but it is one of the most popular with jet setters for shopping, swimming, and sunbathing. With narrow cobbled street lined with local artisan shops, cafes and restaurants and over 60 beaches, it’s no surprise why! Beach lovers particularly enjoy the white sands and turquoise seas in Koukounaries and Kanapista.
The tiny island of Patmos holds a prominent place in Christian history, as it is where the last book of the New Testament was allegedly written. A highlight of Patmos is visiting the impressive Monastery of Saint John the Theologian—a massive 993-year-old monastery that still stands guard over Patmos town to this day. Another must on the island is a pilgrimage to Skala. After all, all roads on the island lead to this village, known for its beautiful vineyards and olive trees.
Delos is small but mighty. The island—a Unesco World Heritage Site— is a famous archaeological site and boasts some of the most extensive remains of temples, statues, and more from the Hellenistic era. While it is not possible to stay on the island, visitors arrive by boat from nearby Mykonos.
Feeling inspired to island hop around the Greek Isles? There is no better way to experience each island than by cruise. You can relax, unpack only once, and avoid the hassle of booking multiple accommodations and ferry trips—meaning your journey will be just as pleasant as your destinations! And while some cruise lines might simply add a couple of Greek ports to their itineraries, spending a few hours in each, cruising with Azamara is all about staying longer and experiencing more.
So, what’s the best way to experience more of Greece? Our 2018 LCV Voyage that will island-hop between the Greek Isles to Italy.
To help you plan your Greek Isles vacation, check out our seven things to do while in Greece!
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