Greek Island Geography

As the southernmost point of the Balkan Peninsula, Greece is comprised of a mainland territory, with an extensive coastline, but is also formed from thousands of small islands that create a massive archipelago. This gives Greece frontage on the Aegean and Ionian Seas, as well as the Adriatic and Mediterranean seas.

The island landscapes are the classic result of ancient volcanic activity, and feature sandy beaches ideal for sunbathing and swimming, but also miles of craggy coastline dotted with caves and cliffs or pebbly beaches, mountainous terrain ideal for trekking, and some of the finest scuba conditions imaginable.

Some of the world's finest snorkeling, sailing, diving and windsurfing are enjoyed here, and it is the safe waters, preserved natural beauty, and diversity of the terrain that makes the islands just as popular (if not more so) than the mainland areas.

There are more than 6,000 islets and islands in Greece, but only roughly 227 of them are inhabited, and an even smaller number prepared to host visitors with the kind of luxury the region is famous for providing. The vast majority of the islands are set in the Aegean Sea and are typically divided into several major groupings.

Cyclades

One of the most frequently visited areas, this is the Greece that many envision when planning a journey to the islands. Villages of bold white buildings set on hills and surrounded by the sea…picture postcard perfect and ideal for a holiday getaway. This is the region that contains Paros, Antiparos, Mykonos, and Santorini among its 56 inhabited islands.

Western Greek Islands 

The Ionian Islands are in this group, including the wildly popular Corfu. Unbelievably scenic, these islands offer an iconic mixture of classic Greek architecture, gorgeous lush landscapes, sea villages, clear waters, sandy beaches, and endless beauty.

East Aegean Islands

Close to Turkey, this group contains Lesbos, Patmos, Chios, Samos, and many more. Varying landscapes are dominated by low vegetation, rocky olive and pine forests, and some volcanic mountains

Crete 

The largest of all Greek islands, it is in the Mediterranean Sea and home to more than half a million people. Beautiful and historic, it is a destination all its own.

Dodecanese 

Far south and close to Turkey, they include the famous island of Rhodes as well as Patmos, Kos, and the gorgeous Kalymnos, among many others

 

Just this brief listing of the islands paints an accurate portrait of their amazing diversity and their uniqueness. Only a small percentage of all of the islands are developed and/or inhabited, and those that are maintain their own "flavor" persistently.

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