Geographically closer to Turkey than mainland Greece, the Aegean Islands include the Dodecanese, Cyclades and Sporades archipelagoes. The major draw of these island clusters is their year-round beautiful weather and sublime beaches, which rank among the most beautiful and popular in the world. However, the intrepid traveler will also find a great deal of culture and history beneath the glitzy surface of the Aegean Islands, and digging deeper can be a very rewarding experience.
The major islands in the Aegean group include:
-Chios: Excellent beaches, world-class sailing and glorious weather are among the things Chios is famous for. The island is also a major producer of figs, olives and wine, and its orchards and vineyards make for a stunning visual feast.
-Ikaria: If you want to strike a balance between enjoying a traditional holiday and relaxing with the unspoiled beauty of nature, Ikaria is the ideal destination for you. The inhabitants of this island are dedicated preservationists, with a permanent population of only a few thousand people.
-Lesvos: A cradle of culture and artistry, Lesvos is the birthplace of the famous poet Sappho, and is the home of some of the most important museums and cultural centers in the Greek Islands.
-Limnos: Though its popularity and profile are on the rise, Limnos has traditionally been one of the quieter members of the Aegean Islands. Still, this is a wonderful place to enjoy a romantic holiday.
-Thasos: Because of its relative proximity to the mainland, Thasos is a popular weekend getaway for Greeks living in the northern part of the country. It is one of the most popular and visited of the Aegean Islands, so this is the place for you if you want to feel like you're in the middle of the action.
The warm-weather months, which span roughly from Easter through the end of October, are the best for visiting the Aegean Islands. A vacation rental makes for ideal accommodations if you're visiting the Aegean Islands. Your options include beach villas, apartment-style residences, and spacious condos, perfect for those traveling in a large group.
From the Aegean Islands, you can go on to visit Athens on the Greek mainland or take a boat ride to nearby Turkey. The Turkish city of Istanbul marks the border between the western and eastern worlds, and makes for a unique sightseeing experience.