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Group Travel 101

Aegean Paradise: A Tour of the Greek Islands

By: Liz Patterson

Balmy beaches and lush landscapes blend with a fascinating, historically-rich culture to create an extraordinary travel destination. Whether you are a world-traveler, honeymooner, or vacationer, a tour of the Greek islands will be a trip of a lifetime. Amazing memories are created and wonderful adventures experienced when you travel to this Aegean paradise.

The Eastern Aegean Islands

The Eastern Aegean chain is a group of six islands. They are Chios, Ikaria, Lesvos, Limnos, Thassos, and Samos. Rugged and beautiful landscapes are what the East Aegeans are known for. Though not as popular a tourist destination as the Cyclades, they still hold an undeniable charm and attraction for any traveler. Also the fact that they are less popular, means that they are less crowded, which is a definite advantage.

Out of this group of islands, a personal favorite is lovely Ikaria. Residing in the northern part of the East Aegean Islands, near Samos, Ikaria is a piece of paradise rich with abundant natural beauty and intriguing mythical history. It is named after Ikarius, the son of an adventurous inventer named Daedalus. Daedalus invented wings so that he and his son could fly away and escape from a tower in which they had been imprisoned. However, Ikarius tragically flew too close to the sun in the recklessness of his freedom and fell back to earth, supposedly landing on this island. Though a sad myth, it certainly adds interest to this small island.

The Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands are a larger and more well-traveled chain than the Eastern Aegean islands. They are composed of: Corfu, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Kythira, Lefkada, Paxoi, Zakunthos, and a few other less significant isles. The Ionian Islands lie in the Ionian Sea, which can also be called the Adriatic Sea.

One of the most interesting destinations in this chain is Ithaca. Experience the wonder of its vibrant greenery and exquisite beaches as well as the stirring tale of its place in Greek mythology. The wise and brave Greek hero Odysseus (or Ulysses), who was immortalized in Homer’s works, suffered through many fantastical adventures and trials to finally return home to his beloved island kingdom of Ithaca and his faithful wife Penelope. Now as you see the enchantment of this lovely isle you can understand the passion that drove him to return after over thirty years of wandering.

The Cyclades Islands

The Cyclades Islands are made up of thirty-nine islands. But only twenty-four are actually inhabited. They are the highest in popularity of all the Greek islands for a reason. Beautiful, exciting, and lots of fun, these pieces of paradise will not fail to thrill you. Choose a few or all and visit them. Some of the most popular are: Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Folegandros, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Serifos, Sikinos, Sifnos, Syros and Tinos.

The island of Santorini (or sometimes called Thira) is one of the hottest spots in the Cyclades Islands. The location of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in history, Santorini is a dramatic and marvelous destination. With its breathtaking beaches, captivating views, charming villages, and amazing Greek cuisine, Santorini is a must-see island getaway.

The Greek islands offer a huge variety of destinations. You could spend a lifetime exploring each of their unique charms. So choose one or a few and begin your own tour of the islands in this Aegean paradise.
 

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