(From TIME on LINE, By Steve Keenan, 14/2/2008)
1. The perfect Greek island – Oh, that old one again. Well, actually Skopelos is the business says Matt Rudd. “If you do want to break the fabulous monotony of beach life, you can walk up into the forests, have a snoop around a hilltop chapel, spot birds – I don’t know. Some people even come to Skopelos on walking holidays. Weirdos.”
2. Three go wild on Paxos – “If olive trees were cathedrals, the Paxos trees would be Notre Dame – elaborate, vast, gnarled, ancient and heavily buttressed. They sprawl, fantastically,” enthuses Stanley Stewart in a tribute to the smallest Ionian island.
3. Simple values in the Greek Cyclades – The lesser known islands of Kimolos and Kythnos are as unspoilt as you’re going to get in Greece, says Nigel Summerley – “short of visiting uninhabited islands that are home only to rocks and temporarily visiting goats put out to graze.”
4. Back to the Greek islands – in style – Illustrator David Smith, an old Greek hand, returns again to the islands, this time Lefkada and Meganissi in the Ionian Islands – and this time in style. “The backpack has long since gone. The waist band is expanding the back is stiffening. Fastening ones shoelaces now counts as exercise.”
5. Chic and boutique in Ithaca – The island is packed with trendy bars and boutique hotels, says Annabelle Thorpe. “Downtown Vathy. It’s not a phrase I expected to hear on Ithaca. But perhaps our hotel should have given me some clue that there is more to the island than pastoral bliss.”
6. The tough little Greek islands – The Little Cyclades are no places for softies – but they are one of the greatest travel treats left in Europe for the adventurous holidaymaker, says Nigel Summerley. “Before leaving Amorgos, we accepted its greatest challenge: walking eight miles along its central range of mountaintops.”
7. Insider’s guide to Cephalonia – Resident Mary Gold is your guide to the largest of the Ionian Islands. “We looked at 13 destinations before building a villa here and we’ve never regretted it. Cephalonia was slow to bite the tourism apple and as a result, the islanders learnt a lot from other people’s mistakes.”
8. Trailblazing Crete – Away from the crowded resorts, Stuart Wavell finds a wilder side to go walking. “Dozens of wooden hives, painted in dual colours, were a reminder of the honey that was once exported from Candy, as the island was known to the Venetians. The music of bees and the wind’s sighs turn paths into soundtracks.”
9. Zakynthos, where the turtles rule – Midnight flights, hyper children – it’s worth it for the beauty of the island and the protection of its wildlife, says Emma Haughton. “Within minutes a small head breaks the water for a moment before submerging again, leaving me almost light-headed with excitement.”
10. Greek island hopping – Dana Facaros, author of the Cadogan Guide to the Greek Islands, selects three routes to take in the Ionian Islands, the Dodacenese and Cyclades.
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