Island hopping in Greece

Capt. Erin Dorrance
Kaiserslautern American

The greenish-blue waves, white buildings with perching royal-blue domes and fresh Greek salads were just a few of my favorite things during a recent visit to the Greek islands. 

Greece has 1,400 islands of which 227 have inhabitants. Due to the geographic formation of the country, the best way to see Greece is by boat, which allows you to visit several of the islands – each offering its own splendor. 

One of the most famous Greek islands is Santorini, which is made up of a small circular chain of volcanic islands in the southern Aegean Sea. The island is world-famous for its picturesque white-painted villages atop steep cliff sides. About 13,000 people live on the island with approximately 450 blue-domed chapels.

I was surprised to find several shops selling wine made in Santorini. The windy, dry island that sits upon the volcanic rock does have vineyards; however they are like nothing I have ever seen in the past. The vines grow on the ground in basket-like groupings which allow the plants to sustain the winds and collect the morning dew in order to give the plants water.

Another tourist favorite is Corfu, which lies off the coast of Albania. Ninety-four percent of tourists visiting Corfu are from Europe, according to our tour guide. I do have to say that a lot of Americans are missing out on the Greek experience if they do not stop at this island. 

Corfu is much more tropical than the volcanic Greek islands to the south. Some of the greenscape can be attributed to the three million olive trees. When you first enter the island you notice two large forts situated atop steep hills. The forts give tourists a breathtaking view of the island and its surroundings. 

The island’s true tourist attraction, and a local favorite, are the Paleokastritsa beaches. The six sandy and pebble beaches offer several out-of-the-way locations to suntan and enjoy the water. The area is scattered with local taverns and restaurants overlooking the seaside.

Once you are finished floating around the islands, it is essential to stop at coastal city Athens to tour one of the oldest cities in the world. 

Athens is known to be the cradle of Western Civilization and the birthplace of democracy. From just about anywhere you stand in Athens you can view the large Acropolis perched on top of a rock in the middle of the city. The ancient temple is usually covered with scaffolding; however, it is worth the hike to view it closer and walk through the museum.

 The Acropolis admission ticket is one of the best deals I have discovered while traveling because it also gives you entry into the Parthenon, Temple of Athena, Theater of Dionysus, as well as a dozen other ancient sites around the city. 

Santorini, Corfu and Athens are just a few of the enchanting locales Greece offers tourists to visit. During your travels to Greece, regardless of location, be sure to grab a meal as each place specializes in their own local cuisine. When in doubt, order a Greek salad.                       

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