Home DestinationsDestination: Greece Island Hopping in Greece – Our Picks for Summer 2023

Island Hopping in Greece – Our Picks for Summer 2023

Our Picks for Summer 2023

by Elba Slamecka

With the New Year fast approaching, there’s nothing like planning the summer holidays to get through the grey-skied winter months. From friends’ getaways to honeymoons and family trips, Greece’s islands have something to attract every kind of tourist. 

Struggling to decide where to go? Look no further – we’ve put together a selection of five gorgeous villas scattered around Greece, to help you choose the island, and the home, that best fits your needs.

Ilios Private island Greece

Zakynthos – Villa Anastasia

Chances are you’ve seen a picture of the world-famous Navagio beach, also known as “Shipwreck Cove” after the large smugglers’ boat that washed up on it in the 1980s. Navagio is considered to be one of country’s most beautiful beaches, and if you’re for looking to spend time by, or in, the water, Zakynthos is the island for you!

Villa Anastasia Zakynthos
Villa Anastasia

Where to stay

Villa Anastasia in Keri features stunning views of the ocean and Marathonisi island. The elegant but cosy villa includes three double bedrooms, an open-plan kitchen and living area, excellent outdoor space and a heated pool. Private, but walking distance from the beach and the town centre, Villa Anastasia hosts up to seven guests and is ideal for families, small groups and couples.

Splash about

You’ll find Caribbean-hued beaches at every turn – alongside Navagio (accessible by speedboat or helicopter), the best loved include the Porto Limnionas and Banana beaches. 

Adventurous tourists shouldn’t miss the island’s magical Blue Caves and Keri Caves, which can be explored through regular boat tours.

Time for turtles

Zakynthos is famous for its Bay of Laganas, the nature reserve that is the breeding ground for Loggerhead (or Caretta caretta) sea turtles. Despite restricted access, boat trips run regularly to the Keri Caves and Marathonisi island, famous for its untouched natural scenery and very frequent turtle sightings!

In the summer, early risers can head to the Gerakas beach in the South of the island to see masses of baby turtles emerging from the sand and scrambling towards the sea! Whatever you choose, turtle-spotting is a must for wildlife enthusiasts, families and the child in all of us. 

Ilios – A Private Island Retreat

At the beginning of the Cyclades lies the beautiful island of Ilios, which means “sun” in Greek. Situated within a 900-acre estate, the seclusion of the surrounding natural landscape makes for the ultimate private retreat. You can sample rural living hiking along the estate’s numerous trails, fishing, or even picking the produce of your own organic vegetable garden, all with the benefits of a five-star hotel. Along with several private beaches and coves, the villa’s extensive amenities include a personal concierge, full internet and cable TV coverage, private boat and helicopter hire and water sports facilities. 

Your gateway to Greece

With a private boat with a captain available to hire for the duration of your stay, at Ilios seclusion means anything but exclusion. From island hopping to shopping, sightseeing and Fine Dining at top destinations like Athens and Marmari, Greece’s best spots are at your fingertips. 

Play the host

Combined with a traditional cottage-style guest house, the villa at Ilios can accommodate up to 18 guests, perfect for large family gatherings, special occasions and wellness retreats – yoga and massage sessions are available on request. For a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience, Ilios makes an idyllic setting for weddings; the island can host up to a hundred guests and even has its own Greek Orthodox Chapel dating back to the mid-nineteenth century.

Ilios Private Island Retreat Greece - Square
Ilios Private Island

Kefalonia

Corfu’s relatively less-known neighbour is increasingly the destination of choice for lovers of natural beauty, food and wine. Home to some of Greece’s finest beaches and dotted with quaint, colourful villages, Kefalonia has something for every kind of explorer.

Where to stay 

Villa Orpheo in Poriata-Mousata, surrounded by an olive grove within a historic country estate, is where local tradition meets modern luxury. Step inside this fantastic five-bedroom villa and you will be transported into a nostalgic blend of old Greece and Tuscan tones. With two double and three twin bedrooms, Villa Orpheo is perfect for families and island breaks for up to ten guests. 

This is the place for foodies – experience Kefalonia’s rich culinary scene in the nearby capital Agrostoli and around the island, or stay at home and let the villa’s wonderful chef create delicious meals chosen by you! 

For maximum relaxation, you can make the most of the onsite massages and Tuscan-style swimming pool and lounge area. Once you feel restored, be sure to hire the villa’s own skippered yacht to sail through the Ionian or enjoy a meal on the water.

For the adventurer

Take a boat tour and see the sun stream through a hole in the rock onto the glittering waters and stalactites of the Melissani Cave, one of the island’s unmissable hidden gems. 

If you’re an avid hiker, you’ll be spoilt for choice with the island’s mountain trails. Walk up Kefalonia’s tallest mountain Megas Soros through the surrounding natural park, and take in spellbinding views of the Ionian Sea once you’ve reached the top.

Sit back and enjoy the view

Nestled between two mountains is Myrtos beach, the island’s largest and one of the country’s most famous beaches. 

Across the island, the gorgeous white-pebbled Antisamos beach boasts equally breathtaking views, surrounded by mountains covered in lush vegetation. You’ll be in good company – actors Penelope Cruz and Nicholas Cage filmed scenes from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin here. 

For those looking to pair gorgeous views with comfort and amenities, head to the island’s luxurious Makris Gialos beach, which is well-equipped with sun loungers, bars, and sports facilities.

Take a sip, and a stroll

The island’s many villages are a great place to experience Kefalonia’s vibrant culture. Some of the  prettiest towns are Assos, Fiskardo, and Sami. For a deep-dive into ancient history, catch a regular boat from Sami to Ithaca, home to the classical hero Odysseus.

Be sure to try Kefalonia’s famous pies with all kinds of fillings, and to catch the sunset over a glass of homegrown wine – Robola, one of Greece’s best wines, is native to Kefalonia, as are local varieties of Moschato and Moavrodafni. 

Villa Orpheo Cephalonia views of the estate
Villa Orpheo

Mykonos – Villa Joy

White-washed interiors meet stone and earth tones in the delightful Villa Joy, a boutique-style haven with unparalleled views just 300m from the sea. Immersed in the silence and stillness of its surroundings, the villa offers complete seclusion for families and friends looking for a retreat from the noise of busy lives. 

Out and about

If you can manage to part with the villa’s beautiful views and infinity pool, some of Mykonos’ best-loved beaches are a short drive away. The closest is Ftelia beach, and a fifteen-minute drive will take you to the Kalo Livadi and Elia beaches.

For those looking to explore the island, the town of Ano Mera is just 3km away from Villa Joy, offering cosy tavernas with fresh fish and local cuisine, and services such as supermarkets and a pharmacy.  

Change of scene 

Mykonos is also, of course, a famous destination of choice for celebrities and the global jet-set. Villa Joy is an easy commute from the island’s wealth of luxury experiences, and cosmopolitan centres with shopping, fine dining and buzzing nightlife. 

Be sure to visit the town of Hora: stop by Little Venice, one of the island’s quirkiest and most snappable locations, and stick around into the night for great food and music. Return to Villa Joy to complete your VIP experience – the villa was used as a shooting location for a Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection campaign. 

Mykonos Joy - Pool
Villa Joy

Santorini – Villa Erossea 

Synonymous with romance, Santorini is the island of choice for destination weddings, honeymooners and couples. But with options ranging from panoramic walks to winery tours and water sports, the most famous of the Cyclades has something for everyone.

Where to stay

Tucked away and built in the island’s traditional “cave” style, Villa Erossea combines many of the features for which Santorini is best known – whitewashed minimalist architecture, luxury, and a prime location overlooking the endlessly-photographed Aegean Sea and Caldera. 

With five bedrooms and room for up to eleven guests, the recently-renovated villa includes five-star amenities set on two levels, each with en-suite bedrooms and their own living area and kitchen space – ideal for groups of friends and couples’ retreats. 

Wine and dine

It is no surprise that the island’s unique climate and rich volcanic soil has produced some of the world’s finest wine. Santorini’s vineyards are the oldest in the world, and are as enchanting aesthetically as they are fruitful. The island is full of wineries offering tours and wine-tasting sessions.

Explore

The white buildings with blue cupolas Santorini is known for are at your doorstep in Imerovigli, the famous Caldera town in which Villa Erossea sits. Simply walk through the town and take in the magnificent vistas, quaint little shops and restaurants, and enjoy a glorious sunset to crown your day. 

Lace up your boots

Hikers of all abilities will enjoy a quick walk up the Skaros Rock in Imerovigli, formerly the site of a thirteenth-century fortress. 

A half-hour’s scenic walk will take you from Imerovigli to Fira, Santorini’s main town and the place to go for the island’s well-known social and nightlife scene. 

If you’re feeling ambitious, walk the complete 10km trail that will take you across the cliffs from Fira to Oia, stopping by Firostefani.

Villa Erossea - Terrace
Erossea Santorini

Feeling inspired? Browse our collection of properties in Greece.