Surrounded by the deep blue of the Aegean, Ionian and Mediterranean Seas, the nation of Greece encompasses more than 1,400 islands and islets in addition to the Greek mainland.
Each of the Greek islands offers a unique vacation experience. Red Beach on the island of Santorini is a peaceful area strewn with black and red volcanic rocks. The island of Crete features quaint colorful houses, botanical gardens and rich cultural events. Mykonos offers an exuberant nightlife with a venue for every preference and persuasion.
On the mainland, the capital city of Athens is known as the “cradle of modern civilization.” The birthplace of democracy, the sciences and philosophy, the city was named for Athena, the mythological Greek goddess of wisdom. The ancient Parthenon temple dedicated to her still stands atop the Acropolis alongside other temple ruins.
Whitewashed villages set against the blue of the Aegean Sea paint a postcard-perfect picture in the Cyclades. Mykonos is a sun-drenched beach haven by day and an anything-goes party destination by night.
The island of Crete featured prominently in ancient Greek myths, and even today, its scenic beauty remains legendary. With its forested mountains, turreted fortresses and sandy beaches, the island of Rhodes is a captivating mix of natural, medieval and Mediterranean.
A distinctive landscape and culture distinguish the Ionian Islands from most others in the Aegean. Kefalonia offers stunning views from atop Mount Enos. Corfu features a mix of architectural styles, from a true British manor house to a palace built in 1890 for an Austrian empress.
Athens boasts some of the most famous landmarks of the ancient world, such as the Parthenon atop the rocky Acropolis. Another ancient symbol, Mount Olympus stands in Macedonia to the north, while the Peloponnese to the south is known for its medieval ruins and castles.
The remote Northern Aegean Islands are significantly less accessible but no less rewarding. Spas are a major attraction on the unspoiled island of Lesvos, while the green Kambos valley attracts the aristocracy. The castle-village of Mesta offers a glimpse of Greek life in the Middle Ages.