An Adventure Guide to the Greek Islands

With its numerous islands dotting the picturesque blue waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Greece undoubtedly ranks high on many aspiring world travelers’ must-visit lists. Not only is this Southern European country the site of one of the world’s earliest civilizations, but it is also a veritable treasure trove of bays, cliffs, and caves for the adrenaline junkie in you.

After all, the best way to get a glorious, olive-toned tan on a Greek vacation is to sample all the adventurous delights that this ancient island nation has to offer.

So, how do you make the most out of your sojourn into these islands?

Start your day right, with a cup of joe at the nearest kafedaki, that is. These traditional Greek cafés are sure to be a welcome change from your usual neighborhood coffee shop chain. Knock back a cup (or two) of Greek coffee with a bit (metrio) or a whole lot (glyko) of sugar, or if you’re feeling particularly brave, take your daily dose of caffeine straight orsketo, as the locals would say.

Scale the iconic, pale white cliffs of Santorini. Some first-time travelers like to take a camel up this renowned resort town’s sloping alleys and streets, but if you’re fit enough, you can do that on foot. The glorious sunset that you’ll catch at the tip of this little island is more than worth the trip, and the view is certainly better than anything you can get on a postcard.

Go sailing. There is no better way to see the Greek islands than while skimming the azure waves of the surrounding oceans towards them in a yacht. The Cyclades are a popular option for this activity, and you can charter your own yacht (preferably with an experienced guide lest you get lost) for island-hopping. You are sure to find each island to be as distinctly beautiful from the last one, from the dainty, jewel-like Sifnos to the rugged and rustic Serifos.

Stop for a long lunch. No Greek vacation is complete without partaking of that glorious Hellenic tradition that is the “long lunch.” After a busy morning hitting the islands on your yacht, make a pit stop in Crete or Corfu. Sit down at a local seafood tavern and feast on authentic small dishes or mezedhes like grilled octopus, meatballs, zucchini balls, and heaps of that tangy fish roe dip called taramasalata. Make sure you take refreshing shots of the Greek anise-flavored liquor known as ouzo between bites. Do this all al fresco for best results and repeat as needed (or desired) throughout your vacation.

Go kite-surfing on the beach. Greece is nothing if not famous for its beaches (well, they are also known for their mythology and civilization, but that’s not really why you’re going there, is it?), so be sure to get your fill of typical summer activities like scuba diving, beach volleyball, or just plain sunbathing. If you want to try something different, the island of Paros is perfect for kitesurfing.

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