Cerulean blue seas, sleepy fishing villages, and endless sunshine remain as constant in the Greek Islands of today as they were in Odysseus’ time. Here, the best luxuries are truly the simplest: A good book and a spot on the sand is all you really need! If you want adventures, you’ll find them. Hike through ancient ruins, try your hand at water sports (windsurfing, kayaking, or SUPing), or island-hop by ferry or hydrofoil. Of course, there’s also the cuisine and no end of portside tavernes in which to sample mezethes, small dishes–hot or cold, spicy or savory–that are enjoyed family-style. Ready to go? For inspiration, here’s a 1-week itinerary for your villa rental experience in Greece:
Saturday – Arrival
Depending on your arrangements, meet your local contact at the port or villa. Familiarize yourself with the property, ask about the nearest grocery store, and the best local restaurant. Get some food in your stomach and stretch your legs with a leisurely stroll. Most stores will be closed on Sunday, so shop for any supplies you’ll need before Monday morning.
Sunday – Relax
Since most shops will be closed, grab a towel and head for the nearest beach. Enjoy a lunch of fresh fish and salads at a local taverna.
Monday – Hiking
Pack a lunch and head for the hills! Whether composed of verdant farmlands or rocky hills, the islands offer stunning land and seascapes. Exercise is also a great cure for jet lag! Be on the lookout for windmills and crumbling monasteries. Prefer not to walk? Rent a scooter and explore the island’s rural roads.
Tuesday – Water Sports
Windsurfing, sailing, stand-up paddling–you name it; rentals and lessons are available in most villages, so pick your favorite activity and enjoy the sea! For dinner, enjoy an authentic Greek island feast of assorted mezethes such as spanakopita, grilled octopus, and tzatziki. And don’t forget the ubiquitous Greek salad: a luscious combination of tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, feta, lettuce, and Kalamata olives.
Wednesday – Island Hop
The islands are serviced by an extensive ferry service, so pick one and visit for a day. Keep your eyes out for wonderful linens, pottery, and other handicrafts. For dinner, try a classic gyro with lamb or chicken and a glass of the traditional white wine, retsina.
Thursday – Ancient History
Every island has its own place in Greek history, so visit archeological ruins or a local museum. Have dinner in one of the larger towns… and stay late to sample Greek nightlife with a glass of ouzo at one of many bustling clubs and bars.
Friday – Make-Up Day
Didn’t get enough of the beach? Want to visit another island? Need to photograph those ruins at just the right time of day? Whatever you missed or simply want more of, go for it! For your last night, feast on rustic food at a local taverna – and try line dancing, if you dare!