Things took an unexpected wrong turn this year with the spread of the Covid-19, but Greece has emerged as a welcome surprise and stood out as a bright example limiting its outbreak significantly. With lockdown behind us and international travel to and from Greece slowly returning to normal, here are three of our favorite island destinations we can’t wait to get back to.Crete – An Unforgettable Feast for the Senses
With a heady mix of unspoiled nature, fascinating history, mouthwatering cuisine, and a local culture that is unlike anywhere else in Greece, Crete really has it all. From swanky hotels frequented by international jetsetters, to intimate boutiques where you get to be on a first name basis with the owners, to a stunning variety of different landscapes and beaches to choose from, beautiful Crete has something for everyone to fall in love with.
Traveling through Crete is almost like moving through a series of postcard settings, each unique and captivating in its own way. To the west, the old cities of Chania and Rethymno resonate with hundreds of years of Ottoman and Venetian influence. To the east, high-end resorts dominate large swaths of land and further still towards the island’s easternmost edge, you will discover one of the most exotic beaches in the Mediterranean surrounded by the largest palm tree forest in Europe. Heading inland, the small towns and villages that dot the landscape are the keepers of the true Cretan identity. Like small worlds unto themselves, here time-honored traditions still play an active role in daily life, locals still tend to their livestock like their parents and grandparents before them, and regular folk dance to the sound of stringed lyras during the island’s many festivals.
Then, there’s the food. Unlike most Aegean islands, Cretan cuisine relies more on its shepherds than its fishermen. Goat, lamb, fresh cheeses, bountiful herbs, and the purest of olive oil synthesize an extraordinary culinary tapestry that can surprise even the most demanding of palates.
More than anything, what makes Crete special is its people. Their profound love for their homeland and their local customs, both of which they are all too happy to share with those visit the island.Mykonos - It’s All About the Glamorous Vibe
Cosmopolitan, lively, and full of the kind of excitement that can only be found in the world’s most celebrated destinations, Mykonos is the ultimate VIP hotspot of the Aegean where anything is possible.
Seeing the luxurious villas, hip fashion boutiques, and million-dollar yachts anchored on Mykonos’ shores today, it’s hard to imagine the humble beginnings of this small Aegean island. Until the early 20th century, Mykonos was little more than a backwater territory where locals had to struggle to survive. The famous windmills on the eastern edge of Mykonos Town where originally used for grinding grain, while picturesque Little Venice was built the way it is so that boats could approach and unload their cargo.
The fate of the island started to shift in the 1950s with the arrival of international jetsetters like Aristotle Onassis, Maria Callas, Jackie O, Marlon Brando, and many others that put Mykonos on a one-way ticket to global stardom.
To visit Mykonos today is to experience the magic of Greek summer at its best. From the brilliantly uplifting Cycladic architecture, to the luxurious hotels and their top tier services, to the gorgeous sandy beaches and the clear Mediterranean sunlight that showers the island all summer long, Mykonos is one of those rare destinations whose unique vibe makes life-long devotees of all those who visit its shores.Santorini – Discover Beauty Beyond the Views
Santorini is best known for its gorgeous hotels, magnificent views, and magical sunsets. The deeper story of Santorini however, is not only the pristine whitewashed villages that hang from the island’s cliff and the beautiful people that walk its streets, rather, it is a tale of struggle and endurance as old as the island’s creation.
Over the past 650.000 years, Santorini has been the epicenter of no less than twelve major volcanic eruptions. In 1950, the island’s brooding volcano sent a 3000-foot column of ash flying into the air and the island was abandoned in the aftermath. There is always a looming sense that what happened on Santorini over 3 millennia ago might happen again, but it is this endless cycle of destruction and rebirth that reveals the island’s truest character. You can taste Santorini’s history in the sweet notes of its produce and the volcanic dryness of its wines, and you can feel it in the shops, wine cellars and elegant frescoed walls of Akrotiri where ancient peoples lived and died in the shadow of the island’s volcano.
As travel shifts to favor a more meaningful and intimate experience of the destinations we have grown to love, perhaps this is an opportunity to study Santorini under a more inquisitive light. The hotels, the views, and the awe-inspiring sunset from Oia will always be part of the island’s unique charm, but to venture inland, explore its ancient ruins, and sample the distinctive flavors of its land is to discover Santorini’s soul, and that’s what meaningful travel is all about.