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Greek Islands - Part 1 - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

If you spend all year dreaming of sitting on a beach with your toes in the sand and a book propped on your lap – be it a prizewinner or a ‘forget it once it’s finished’, summer read – then these are the islands for you. Corfu – already a literary stalwart thanks to Gerald Durrell – is packed with secluded coves to hunker down in and forget about the real world. One particularly lovely stretch of coastline is just outside the village of Angelokastro; or head for the buttermilk-colored dunes of Issos Beach and its nearby forests.

Follow this with a local feast in one of the cafés in Corfu Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Afterwards, visit the Archaeological Museum, where you can admire treasures from the Temple of Artemis. Just south of the island are pint-sized Paxos, and half-pint-sized Antipaxos. Soak up the history with a morning spent at the Venetian fortress at Agios Nikolaos on Paxos, followed by a swim on the lovely Gianna Beach. Or go for total tranquility and spend the day on one of the unspoilt beaches on tiny Antipaxos.

You may have fallen for Ithaca – Greece’s most mythical island – long before setting foot on it. Anyone who studied The Odyssey will have imagined its still, clear waters, cypress-covered hills and lush forests – and, happily, the reality is just as good. There’s the fascinating Archaeological Museum in Vathy, and the coastline near Stavros is so pretty you’ll see why Odysseus wanted to come home.
Wander under the fig trees that surround the village of Perahori, a whitewashed settlement with views across the entire island. Built on the edge of the Afentikos Logos forest, it is the ideal starting point for walks alongside medieval ruins and under shady oak trees.

A quick ferry ride away is Kefalonia, home to cerulean waters and serene beaches, as well as ice-cream coloured villages such as Fiskardo and Assos. Visit the world-class Korgialenios Public Library early in the morning too. These pocket-sized Cycladic sanctuaries have become it-islands of the moment – at least according to the Athenian smart set.

The beaches are unbeatable; you’ll spend half your waking hours wallowing in velvety soft water. Start your trip at Milos, the busier and slightly naughtier sister to sleepy Kimolos. By day explore its 80 sandy beaches, swimming through caves or floating in the thermal springs. Don’t miss Kleftiko for its bright waters and Sarakiniko, which has dramatic white cliffs that plunge into the deep, dark-blue sea.

Evenings, meanwhile, should be spent in Plaka, the island’s capital, or in the harbour town of Adamantas, both of which are poring over manuscripts from Ancient Greece before diving and swimming with sea turtles and monk seals. Packed with busy cafés and markets selling mouth-watering produce.

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