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Stuart Messham
There's something truly captivating about the Greek islands and each one has its own very specific, irreplaceable charm. Here's three of our favourites…
Santorini: so picturesque it'll make your heart sing

Best for: Mesmerising views and romance

Three thousand five hundred years ago a huge volcanic explosion devastated the heart of Santorini, its ruinous reverberations giving rise to much of the island’s modern charm.

Everywhere you look there’s something rather wonderful staring back.

First, you’ll be enthralled by the brilliant blue sea, black-sand beaches and polychromatic cliffsides.

Then you’ll sample the island’s Vinsanto wines paired with exquisite dishes that bring its exquisite grape to life.

You’ll take boat trips to the simmering crater of Nea Kameni and soft-focus hot springs at Palia Kameni, then lollop contentedly at your accommodation to savour the sunset.

And every time that evening sun flutters behind Santorini’s flooded volcanic crater – the “caldera” – every romantic bone in your body will flicker.

Yes, it’s sometimes crammed with cruise ships, cooing honeymooners and over-eager Instagrammers, but Santorini still lives up to its reputation of making your heart sing.

Fresh ingredients make for foodie paradise on Sifnos

Best for: Foodie feasts and culinary enchantment

If food tends to take centre stage on your summer sojourns, then the remarkable chickpea croquettes and stewed capers of Sifnos’ teeming tavernas should ensure your taste buds are well and truly tantalised.

Potteries are scattered across the island producing the earthenware masterpieces (glorious souvenirs) used to create its revered revitháda (slow-baked chickpea stew) and majestic mastello (lamb with red wine and dill).

It’s not all erstwhile tradition though, some of Sifnos’ chefs are really pushing the Aegean envelope in inventive new culinary directions.

Described as the “chicest shack in the Aegaen”, you can spend swimsuit-days at Omega 3 scoffing locally foraged ingredients and the kind of unique small plate dishes that simply aren’t available anywhere else, including sumptuous seafood risottos, sinful salads and perfect purees.

Or how about Cantina where the team pluck Lobsters out the sea and serve them with spaghetti at the relaxing jetty on Heronissos?

On Sifnos, you can be decadent and indulgent at lunch and then cosy and classical at dinner, and be both traditional and luxuriant all at the same time. And it’s this incredible mix of styles that makes it so special.

Earthenware so elaborate even the donkeys take notice

Best for: chic Greeks and art lovers

Greece’s most famous art collector, Dakis Joannou, is Hydra’s most famous resident and every summer the world’s most on-trend artists are invited to create installations and exhibitions in a former slaughterhouse on the island (see left).

It doesn’t usually disappoint.

In fact, it never really has. It was a mainstay and inspiration for Leonard Cohen in the 1960s and contemporary artists such as Brice Marden and the art dealer Sadie Coles have second homes here. With its remarkable acoustics and incredible ceilings, the 18th-century Old Carpet Factory also inspires the world’s finest musicians to visit.

You can reach the car-free, art-heavy island in less than two hours from Athens, so it does tend to fill up with the most chic of Greeks at the weekends.

As its name suggests, Hydra has many different heads, all of which are trendily coiffured and enviably decorated. And there’s more delights springing up every year, so don’t miss out.


British Airways operates a number of short-haul routes to Greece and there are some really exciting deals to be found. Why not take a look?