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GreekReporter.comGreek NewsCNN Presents Nine Greek Islands

CNN Presents Nine Greek Islands

santoriniCNN published a long article on August 16, entitled “Which Greek island should you go to?” presenting in detail nine Greek islands and giving information on where to stay and where to eat.

According to CNN, the number of 1,400 islands in Greece, 230 of which are inhabited, is one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful assets. From the Ionian islands till Albania in the northwest, to the Dodecanese, near Turkey in the southeast, they offer unique vacations.

“Each of the island groups has its unique allure, plus some of the most picturesque seascapes on Earth.”

“But for sheer variety in a small radius, proximity to Athens’ ferry port in Piraeus and the best inter-island boat connections, none compete with the Cyclades,” the article reports, presenting the top nine islands in and around the Cyclades.

Best scenery: Santorini
“The story behind this island is the stuff of legends — in 1600 BC after a volcano erupted and its center collapsed into the sea, it left behind parts of its caldera that today form the island Santorini,” the article mentions, praising the island’s views.

CNN describes the island: “Sheer rock faces are striated in multitudinous shades, villages and towns cling to the tops of cliffs, the caldera is filled with clear deep turquoise water home to the occasional cruise liner. The whitewashed buildings in the main town Fira resemble a fresh blanket of snow atop a mountain.”

And it continues: “On the northern tip, at Oia, where the sunsets are outstanding, houses, hotels and churches tumble down the rock walls.”

The article also describes Santorini’s beaches, Red Beach, Eros Beach and Caldera Beach.

Best nightlife: Mykonos
“Mykonos is Greece’s answer to Ibiza, but without the attitude and posturing,” the article says.

In the months of July and August, the main streets of Mykonos Town are full of revelers, even revelers with babies strapped into carriers. The narrow alleys are always jammed with people.

“In true Greek style, nothing here starts until late, though you can party in the daytime with 20-something Italians at Super Paradise beach,” as the article says.

The article mentions in detail the most popular bars and restaurants of Mykonos island, giving tips to those interested.

Best traditional village life: Naxos
“The largest island in the Cyclades has a string of swoon-worthy beaches on its west coast, a Venetian castle in its main town, some interesting ruins and great local produce and dairy,” CNN describes and continues: “But what sets it apart from the other islands are its traditional villages.”

There are 46 villages on Naxos, some of them are miniscule, but all a window to traditional life: “Each has a bakery or cafe, a village square where old men with sun-creased faces sit around tables drinking coffee and trading stories and an immaculately preserved church or two.”

The villages Kinidaros, Chalki, Keramoti, as well as Routsouna waterfall, are reported in the article.

Best kite -boarding and windsurfing: Paros
“The constant wind on Paros is evident as the ferry approaches the island — you can see giant turbine fans steadily cartwheeling on the north coast,” CNN reports.

The article says that Paros might be as cosmopolitan as Mykonos and pretty enough to attract Hollywood royalty, but the real draw is the force of nature.

The island is ideal for windsurfing and kite-boarding lovers, as the meltemi winds blaze down through the Aegean during the summer, while the winds peak in intensity during July and August.

The article mentions the main beaches for sports, which are Pounda, Santa Maria, Golden Beach (Chryssi Akti) and New Golden Beach (Nea Chryssi Akti), the winds of which are so reliable that The Professional Windsurfers Association held its World Cup there for six consecutive years in the 1990’s.

“Visitors should time their visit around the island’s most important festivity, on August 15, celebrating the Virgin Mary’s ascension to heaven and culminating in a giant fireworks display mounted on boats in the bay of the port town Parikia,” the article says.

Best beaches: Milos
“Every islander has their favorite beach, but none of the Cyclades promises the number and diversity of beaches as volcanic Milos. Some have white sand, some black, some are rocky, others offer the satisfying sensation of crushed shells underfoot, with water ranging from emerald to aquamarine to cobalt blue.”

The island of Milos has about 80 fine beaches and many of those are only accessible by boat.

Some of them are described in the article, which writes: “While each has its charm, some should not be missed.”

These beaches are: Sarakiniko, the three beaches of Paliochori, the small Tzigrado beach, the even tinier Papafragas beach, Paliorema beach.

Best for nature lovers: Ikaria
“This rugged, wing-shaped island on the cusp of the Cyclades and named for Icarus — the son of Daedalus who fled from Crete, got too close to the sun and tumbled into the sea just offshore — has gained fame for the longevity of its residents,” the article says.

“The 99-square mile island is basically one large mountain, peaking in the central Pramnos-Atheras range. For such a small area, the geographic variation is astounding — Ikaria has rivers and tiny lakes, high forests of pine and oak, and hills at every turn that combine to make Ikaria an Elysian Field for outdoor buffs,” as described.

The article reports the hiking guide Round of Rahes on Foot, published by the local municipalities, which details tracks and trails on the west of the island and also maps out a 15-mile tour along the mountain paths through the hills and villages of northwest Ikaria.

In Ikaria, there are also the mineral bath houses of Therma, where trekkers can rejuvenate aching muscles.

Best Robinson Crusoe destination: Koufonisia
Koufonisia are actually two islands, Kato and Ano, which means lower and upper, Koufonisia, with the former almost uninhabited. They are like a land that tourism forgot.

Ano Koufonisi is tiny, just 2.2 square miles and a few hundred residents live there.

The main industry, apart from tourism, is fishing and the main town of Chora retains the feel of an untouched fishing village, with small boats bobbing in the harbor, the article says.

“Life settles into a slow rhythm of going to beaches like Finikias, Platia Pounta, Fanos and the naturist-friendly Pori, taking a caique trip to the deserted strands of sand on Kato Koufonisia, or visiting the churches of Agios Nikolaos, Profitis Ilias, and Agios Georgios,” the article describes.

Best couples getaway: Folegandros
“Santorini is often the go-to island for couples in these parts, but another Cycladic island where houses perch on clifftops is an even better escape for lovebirds,” the article begins, adding: “The mountainous, mostly treeless Folegandros doesn’t get the crowds of the islands around it thanks to sparser ferry service, a boon for twosomes in search of some solitude with their sun and sand.”

The main village of the island is Chora, which is set on a cliff plateau 650 feet up, embodying the archetypal image of Cycladic buildings of small white houses with blue doors lining cobble-stoned streets.

The article also mentions the Kastro, the Venetian part of Chora, which is well preserved.

“Donkeys remain a widely used means of transportation and goats scramble up and down the sun-baked hills. Painters and writers from Europe come to Folegandros for quiet inspiration and the most enduring memories of a visit here are the silence and the bays with crystal clear water,” the article writes.

And it concludes: “The one not-to-be-missed site is the northeastern cave of Chrysopelia, where ancient names are written in clay on walls, a custom from the Hellenistic Period.”

Best food: Crete
CNN describes the island of Crete as Greece’s Wild West, “where the locals are fiercely independent and have a fondness for guns.”

Tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants, strawberries, watermelon and other fruits and vegetables that grow in Crete taste as nature intended, as “its 3,200 square miles are blessed with scores of micro-climate, fertile soil and crops that haven’t succumbed to the scourge of industrial farming.”

Crete is a hub for olive oil, cheese and wine production.

The author encourages the readers to eat at a traditional tavern or at a Greek cafeteria, named kafenio in Greek.

Elounda, which is on the island’s northeast coast, is surrounded by some of the island’s great agricultural areas, like the Lasithi plateau, as reported in the article.

Some tavernas and restaurants are mentioned in the article.

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