Greece is home to over six thousand islands so how on earth do you choose just one? If you have some time on your hands, indulge in an island-hopping adventure to see a selection. But which ones? And in what order? I like to think of my Greek Island getaway as a delicious meal with many courses. And just like the very best dining experiences, these islands offer a wonderful variety of flavours with something new and exciting to savour at each one. Read on to discover which were my favourites and the order in which I enjoyed them. I hope you are hungry..
Mykonos – The Aperitif
Small in size, but by no means impact, Mykonos s the perfect place to start your trip exploring the luxury Greek Islands. Enjoy quiet afternoons wandering along sleepy streets to see the scattering of identical bright white buildings with soft curved edges standing just two storeys high. Come evening, experience the epic party scene on Mykonos which reaches its peak in July and August with some of Europe's most iconic and fabulous beach parties. You will find a bar, restaurant and boutique for every occasion in Mykonos town, but you shouldn't leave without popping down to Little Venice for a cocktail. Watch the waves lap against the town walls of this pretty fishing village (albeit now with a Louis Vuitton). If partying and shopping isn't your thing, then fear not, Mykonos has some of the most famous beaches in the Cyclades. Hop on a motorised quad bike and you can explore the miles of winding coastline and traditional Mykonos villages at your leisure.
Paros – The Appetizer
Like any good appetizer, Paros is small and beautifully presented. With picture-perfect blue and white villages, crystal clear waters and magnificent monasteries perched on clifftops, it's the storybook Greek island you've always dreamt of. Paros is popular for its fantastic windsurfing conditions during July and August but there's plenty more to offer. Antiparos, the pretty little sister island, is the place to go for sublime sailing excursions. Explore private coves and calm, deserted bays and spend your time snorkelling and lazing on the warm rocks to your heart's content. Not to be missed are the gorgeous and very different Paros towns of Naousa and Lefkes. The former is a fishing village and the latter you will find perched on the hills in the centre of the island. Wind along the narrow streets and enjoy a fabulously fresh and authentic Greek meal at a local taverna.
Naxos – The Main
Now that you are warmed up and salivating, it's time for the main course. Naxos is the biggest of the Cyclades and also the meatiest. In contrast with Paros, villages on Naxos are located predominantly in the centre of the island rather than around the edge. Thanks to its inland setting, Naxos is renowned for its wonderful produce - including cheese, potatoes and meat to name a few. If you are keen to delve deeper into the Cyclades, then this is the island you want to devote the most time to. The architecture here - imagine Venetian-style beauties complete with crumbling wrought iron balconies - is different from both Mykonos and Paros (although you will, of course, find the iconic whitewashed villages perched on higher ground). Take the time to travel up tiny mountain roads and you'll discover more achingly beautiful architecture in the gorgeous Greek Orthodox churches. With so much to see and do, Naxos is a feast for the eyes (and the stomach), and should be savoured as slowly as possible when exploring luxury Greek Islands.
Santorini – The Dessert
As is common after a hearty meal, you may struggle to find space for dessert, but once you see the menu there is no way to resist. You won't find anywhere like Santorini on earth. If you were to gaze at Santorini from above, you'd see that the island is shaped like a crescent moon. This unusual shape is due to a volcanic eruption that destroyed the middle of the original landmass many years ago. As a result, the towns here are perched on towering black and red rocks that jut dramatically skywards from the ocean. Like most desserts, this has to be the prettiest course. The views here are simply legendary from the domed church tops to the glittering ocean that glows blush-pink at sunset. Enjoy them while mooching along the marble streets of Oia, stopping for fabulous food in one of the many restaurants before retiring to a luxurious hotel to rest your head.
Hopefully, your appetite for the Greek islands has been adequately satisfied for now. But like all great dining experiences, as soon as your food has gone down, you'll be dreaming of the next one. And that's just as well because there are another 2996 courses yet to be enjoyed!