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The Perfect 10: Greek Islands

15/03/2011 18:48 | Updated 22 May 2015

There are fewer better ways to spend the summer than hopping between some of Greece's 227 inhabited islands. From crazy Corfu to cultured Kos, there's something to please everyone. But which is your favourite?

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Perfect 10 Greek Islands

Santorini owes its dramatic beauty to explosive volcanic eruptions, which left a huge lagoon surrounded by 300 ft high cliffs on three sides. Many of its prettiest towns, including Oia, Fira and Thera are built on the side of this huge caldera, with sublime views. Perhaps the most spectacular of all is Imerovigli, with its blue domes and winding stairwells perched over the azure abyss.

Perfect 10 Greek Islands

Many historians claim Homer's legendary hero Odysseus was not from what is now called Ithaca, but from Kefalonia. The largest of the Ionian Islands, it is home to natural wonders such as Myrtos Beach - one of Europe's most spectacular - while at Kaminia Beach you can see an endangered species of turtle, the loggerhead. Also worth visiting are the caves at Drogarati and Melissani Lake.

Perfect 10 Greek Islands

The Mediterranean's fifth largest island is forever associated with the Knossos, the ancient Minoan palace that was home to the Minotaur - a terrifying creature who was half man-half bull. Other attractions include the beautiful Venetian port of Rethymno, the leaping gorges of Samaria and the lively ouzeri taverns of Heraklion.

Perfect 10 Greek Islands

Corfu's old town is full of bistros and tavernas dotted along the 'kantounia' (cobbled streets) leading to a lovely marina and Venetian fortress, the Palaio Frourio. Large Georgian houses of white Malta stone are a reminder of bygone British rule. Paleokastritsa is one of Greece's loveliest spots, where olive and cypress-clad mountains tumble down to cliffs, harbours and sandy beaches.

Perfect 10 Greek Islands

Ios is as famous for its camping sites and lively backpacker scene as it is for its rocky coastline - great fun for diving. The village of Chora is a gem, with its labyrinth of stairways climbing a steep hill from the port.

Perfect 10 Greek Islands

Named after Apollo's grandson, Mykonos is one of the most hedonistic resorts in the Mediterranean, attracting top DJs and a cosmopolitan, gay-friendly crowd. Cobbled alleys wind beneath balconies overflowing with bright flowers. In the late afternoon locals love to enjoy a glass of ouzo on the waterfront and watch the sun go down over the sea.

Perfect 10 Greek Islands

Naxos is the largest of the Ciclades Islands and has some of the finest beaches, particularly at Plaka, Agia Anna and Alikos. Its capital is the picturesque, whitewashed city of Naxos, which has wonderful seafood restaurants.

Perfect 10 Greek Islands

Lesbos is known as the Emerald Island because of its wonderfully verdant landscape, dominated by olive groves and petrified sequoia forests. The poetess Sappho lived on Lesbos, and it is from her homoerotic poetry that we get the word lesbian.

Rhodes is associated with the Sun God Helios and the sun does seem to shine brighter here, just off the coast of Turkey. Rhodes Town is home to the stupendous Palace of the Grand Master, a huge 14th Century fortress built by the Knights of St John, a bewildering labyrinth of medieval alleyways with some of the finest shops outside Athens and minarets dating back to Ottoman rule. On the south-east coast is Lindos - its delightful beaches and old town dominated by the towering presence of a ruined acropolis.

Perfect 10 Greek Islands

This island is just four kilometres from the Turkish coast and in antiquity was considered one of the most beautiful in the Aegean. Today, with its Genoese castle, glittering waterfront and Roman ruins, Kos Town has plenty of reasons to linger, while inland, picturesque villages dot an enchanting mountainous terrain.

Perfect 10 Greek Islands

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