Each one of our islands has its own distinctive character. Although some might be similar in many aspects, there are also those that differ significantly in terms of size, atmosphere, popularity and scenery. Most of us have a checklist when searching for our ideal holiday destination. Some seek action packed itineraries, bustling cities and wild nightlife, whereas others search for hidden gems, authenticity and deserted beaches that provide the perfect setting for a relaxing retreat. Then there are those who look for something in between, offering the best of both worlds which can be done by combining two or more contrasting islands into one delightfully diverse holiday.
Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese Islands with a big personality to match. A luxurious, cosmopolitan feel engulfs the island while it still stays true to its fascinating history with a multitude of cultural attractions and a mesmerising UNESCO-protected Old Town. As one of the most popular Greek Islands, there are plenty of great restaurants selling the freshest local and international cuisine and resorts with buzzing nightlife. Rhodes offers a wide selection of cheaper traditional hotels and apartments as well as luxury 5 star resorts, something for everyone.
Halki promises a little more peace and relaxation and is where time really has stood still. A place to discover “authentic Greece” and where friendly locals welcome visitors like long lost friends. The blissful little port of Emborios, with its pastel-coloured houses and red-tiled roofs that cluster around the horseshoe-shaped bay is a picture perfect setting with taverna tables sprinkled along the quayside where colourful boats bob. With a few beaches and minimal transport, Halki is perfect for the well-travelled and those looking for an insight into the Greek way of life.
Although quite different, Rhodes and Halki make for the perfect pair on an island-hopping holiday, ideal for experiencing two different sides of Greece.
The magical island of Malta with its Mediterranean climate, baroque architecture and fascinating archaeological sites is a truly unique destination. Valletta, Malta’s cosmopolitan capital is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world. The island’s top attraction is the Blue Lagoon, a gorgeous natural pool that has been described as paradise on earth. Year round, Malta offers festivals from art to music and carnivals. Explore the rest of the island and discover prehistoric temples, hidden coves, diving spots and marinas filled with colourful boats. There are many sandy beaches across the island plus a wide range of hotels to choose from.
Gozo, Malta’s sister island, offers a haven of tranquillity with crystal clear waters being a prominent feature. It is the perfect place to re-energise with its calm, rural open spaces and more than 7,000 years of history surrounded by remarkable landscapes and friendly locals. This small island offers life at a slower pace compared with Malta. Picture postcard villages and stunning landscapes make this gloriously pretty island very different to its sister. With a sleepy feel, Gozo offers plenty of opportunities for relaxation as well as the chance to sample some fine local produce and wonderful wine. Hotels on Gozo are generally smaller and more boutique in style.
Can’t choose between these two gems? Combine both of these magisterial Mediterranean delights into one island hopping holiday.
Lanzarote has rugged volcanic landscapes including the Timanfaya National Park and Las Montanas del Fuego (Fire Mountain). One of the most famous attractions is the museum dedicated to the celebrated local artist Cesar Manrique who holds an important place in the hearts of the locals. There is also the Los Jameos del Agua, a spectacular lava bubble formation, which were formed from the eruption of a volcano some 3,000 years ago. Located next to the Green Caves in the north of Lanzarote, the interior of the lava formations have now become a dance floor, with two bars and a concert room (for 600 visitors) where you can enjoy the natural acoustics of this natural phenomenon. The island also offers a mix of lively resorts with a wide range of self-catering properties as well as 4 and 5 star hotels.
With slightly warmer average year-round temperatures than Lanzarote, a UNSESCO Biosphere reserve and a wide selection of activities for the outdoors types, Fuerteventura has it all. As the name suggests (translates as “strong winds”), Fuerteventura is popular with windsurfers (particularly during October-May) and sailing enthusiasts. If it’s stunning views you are after, then a hike up the sacred Mount Tindaya is a fantastic option (permit required). Parque Natural De Las Dunas De Corralejo is one of the most visited areas on Fuerteventura hosting the largest sand dunes on the island with miles and miles of near white sand reaching down to clear turquoise waters. Although the island caters very well for the more adventurous, the pace of life is much slower than Lanzarote.
These two captivating Canary Islands are the perfect combination for an island-hopping adventure, being only 30mins boat ride apart.
Skiathos boasts more than 50 sun-kissed sandy beaches lapped by Caribbean-blue water which are among the best in Greece. The charming capital of Skiathos Town has a chic nightlife, lovely old town with charming shops in a maze of alleyways and a beautiful waterfront offering an array of bars, boutiques and restaurants. The hillier quarters above the old port, near the churches of Tris Ierárhes and Ágia Triáda, have pretty little plazas and gardens for evening strolls. Just outside the town, culture seekers can find the beautifully maintained Evangelistrias Monastery where the modern Greek flag was woven and blessed in 1807.
Approximately 90mins boat ride away is the island of Skopelos which paints a breath-taking picture on your approach into the harbour. Known for its starring role in the feature film Mamma Mia, which gives you a good insight into the slow pace of life and stunning scenery of the island, its picture postcard scenery is adored by artists. Skopelos is almost double the size of neighbouring Skiathos and more than 50% of the island covered by a virgin forest of pine trees. With a more laid-back atmosphere and beautiful architecture the island also has over one hundred tiny chapels that are dotted around Skopelos Town creating a striking contrast against the deep blue skies. The island is a haven for walkers and hikers, offering breath-taking scenery, as well as beautiful flora and fauna.
Unite these two stars of the Sporades together in one holiday or combine them with Alonissos on our popular Emerald Gems island hop.
Renowned for spectacular sunsets and volcanic beauty, incredible Santorini curves around a giant lagoon in the Cyclades Islands. The volcanic origins of the island have resulted in a coastline of dark sandy beaches against a backdrop of whitewashed dome buildings enhancing the most spectacular setting imaginable. Holidays in Santorini are perfect for those looking for a romantic getaway, it’s one of the most popular islands to get married on and ideal for honeymoons. It is famous too for its archaeological heritage with the Akrotiri Excavation Sites. Santorini wines are some of the most famous in Greece and enjoyed around the globe. There is always a buzz around the main towns of Fira, capital of the island, and Kamari, where a wide selection of bars and tavernas and the only cinemas on the island including an outdoor cinema can be found.
Beautiful Naxos is a sparkling star in the deep blue galaxy of Aegean Sea islands. Golden beaches, crystal-clear waters, charming and historic villages, friendly people, ancient sites, stunning countryside and wonderful food are the ingredients that make this place so memorable. As the greenest island in the Cyclades, the landscapes are quite different to that of Santorini. Blessed with high mountains, fertile valleys, lush gorges and stunning seascapes, this larger but much quieter island has an enchanting atmosphere that mesmerizes all that visit it. According to local mythology, Dionysus the God of wine blessed the island with fertility and unlike many of the other Greek islands, fish isn’t the main stable diet, due to lack of ports, on Naxos many of the dishes are meat based and supplemented with cheeses, butter, potatoes, olive oil and Kitron, a local spirit made from leaves and fruit. Naxos boasts 100km of beaches, most of them with gorgeous soft sand, tavernas, sunbeds plus many hidden coves. The classic Naxos moment is watching the sun set through the iconic ancient Portara Doorway.
These two contrasting islands can be enjoyed in one holiday or combined with Mykonos for the ultimate romantic getaway.
Greece is full of island contrasts with each pair having their own unique personalities and reasons to visit. Compare for instance the largest of the Greek islands Crete with the small, charming, and secret Cycladic Island of Paros or the bustling metropolis that is Athens with the quiet and enchanting island of Poros. The magnificent islands of Corfu & Paxos, Kos & Kalymnos and Zante & Kefalonia complement each other perfectly with differences in size, atmosphere, and scenery.
For those looking to combine these contrasting islands into one incredible getaway, our bespoke island-hopping holidays are the perfect answer.