Greek Islands for Summer Fun: Corfu and Rhodes

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Greece, Hellas, Ellada - World-wide Famous for Its Beautiful Islands

Greece is famous for its numerous wonderful islands, each of them making for a (larger or smaller) paradise in itself. The beauty of the Greek islands is of world-wide renown and tourists from all over the world go back home pleased after having spent the time of their lives in Greece. Turquoise warm waters, impressive mountainous landscapes with their pine tree forests and fields of multicolored blossoming flowers, the pure whiter-than-white traditional houses, all well-tended by the lovely locals, known for their open heart, hospitality and generosity – all these, and many more, are to be found in the Greek paradise islands.

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Still, Greek islands are hundreds of and maybe it might get difficult to choose at one point even for a well-acquainted traveler. One must know that Greek islands are, however, grouped on categories, each defined and defining a geographical department and each symbolizing unique cultural features that are to charm and seduce the curious visitor. Therefore, we have The Ionian Islands, The Aegean Islands, The Cyclades and The Dodecanese, apart from Crete, which is big enough and so self-imposing (both on the map and through its character and features) that can be considered as standing all by itself, as a sort of pride and glory of the Greek island universe, as the queen of them all.

Greece - The Med
Greece - The Med | Source

But in this article I won't reveal about Crete, but about two other islands, each comprised in a different geographical and cultural category, being the proud representatives of their sister-islands as well. The first one is Corfu, comprised in the group of Ionian Islands, and the other one Rhodes, part of the Dodecanese Islands.

The Ionian Islands in A Nutshell

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The Ionian Islands, also known by Greeks as Heptanesa – The Seven Ones – are a group of Islands bathing in the Ioanian Sea, part of the Mediterranean. The Ionian Islands are comprised of Corfu (or Kerkyra), Lefkada (or Lefkas), Cephalonia (or Kefallonia), Ithaka, Zante (or Zakynthos), Kythira, Paxi and Antipaxos. The Ionian islands are particularly favored by Italian visitors, due to the long-standing Venetian influence cast upon these islands throughout history, but also due to the fact that can be easily reachable by ferry.

However, the islands are also the favorite ones for visitors from other parts of Europe (such as The UK, Scandinavian countries, all other Western-European countries) and they are easily reachable by them as well, since there is always the option of booking flights and finding yourself there, in your longed-for islands, in no time.

Navaggio, Zakynthos, The Ionian Islands, Greece
Navaggio, Zakynthos, The Ionian Islands, Greece | Source

There are particular sun and fun attractions in The Ionian islands, such as, for instance Porto Katsiki beach in Lefkada, which is always included in Top 10 Best Beaches Worldwide, or Myrtos Beach in Kefallonia, or, why not, Laganas in Zakynthos for its sands and caretta caretta turtles, or Navaggio, also in Zakynthos.

Corfu

Corfu - Kerkyra
Corfu - Kerkyra | Source

Corfu (or Kerkyra) is an island of a distinguished beauty and maybe the most exquisite of them all, standing as the pearl of the Ionian islands. Its charm lies not only in the perfect beached and luxuriant nature, but also in the elegant buildings and their sophisticated Venetian, Parisian and British design, with the cosmopolitan atmosphere that can be felt at every breath in Corfu, reminding the visitors that they find themselves in Europe, on one of its finest pieces of land par excellence.

What can be more enlightening and enriching than having your coffee in the old town center of Corfu (also known as Kastropolis due to its positioning among two historic fortresses)! Due to its distinctive rich beauty, the island has been so inspiring along the centuries that even William Shakespeare used it as the setting for its well-known play The Tempest.

Peroulades beach, Corfu
Peroulades beach, Corfu | Source


But no worries – there are no tempests coming soon in Corfu! The island is shiny and a jewel from mid-spring up until mid-autumn, with its peak during the summer months, when its marvelous waters and sandy beaches can be the endless joy of those who are hosted in Corfu. There are many resorts to choose from in Corfu, but it would be useful to know what to expect: if you choose to be located in the northers side of the island, expect pebbly beaches – which have the advantage of never having sand spread on all of your belonging every time you go to the beach.

Corfu Island, Greece - Beach
Corfu Island, Greece - Beach | Source

The southern part of the island is dominated mainly by sandy beaches. Some of the sandy beaches that you should know of are Sidari, Kassiopi, Glifada, Pelekas, Lifkimmi, Issos and also Chalikounas and Massonghi, which are a mix of sand and pebbles. Benitses should definitely go on your list! A former fisherman village, Benitses attracts many visitors each year due to its charms and the good food you could enjoy in the local tavernas.

Liapades Beach Taverna
Liapades Beach Taverna | Source

The Dodecanese

Some say that the grass is greener on the other side and, if applying it to The Dodecanese compared to The Ionian Islands, one might say that the Ionian ones (positioned in the western side of the Greek archipelago) are a shade greener than The Dodecanese, placed in the eastern side of it. However, The Dodecanese are not at all arid islands and have their share of green. More than that, The Dodecanese are blesses with the absolutely perfect waters of the Aegean Sea and their own distinctive cultural character. It's in a cave in Patmos (one of The Dodecanese Islands) where Saint John wrote the Apocalypse, after all!


The Dodecanese stand for The Twelve Ones – a group of twelve marvelous islands, dominated by wonderful Byzantine churches and solitary monasteries, as well as medieval fortresses and a history dominated by rock-solid chivalry, as Rhodes was once the headquarter of the Knights of Saint John. Apart from the 12 larger islands, there are many other (more than 100) smaller islands and islets, some inhabited and some not, that are not included in the touristic circuit, but would nevertheless be worth a try for the most daring that prefer going off the beaten track. But, in order to make it to the hidden paradises, one must first have to reach the well-established ones, which are Rhodos, Kos, Patmos, Nisyros, Karpathos, Astipalea, Leros, Tilos, Kasos, Kalimnos, Symi and Kastellorizo.

Rhodes

Rhodes-Statue Marking Colossus Feet
Rhodes-Statue Marking Colossus Feet | Source

As mentioned before, Rhodes – the largest of the Dodecanese islands - has been the headquarter of The Hospitaller Knights (also known as The Knightsof Saint John), before they moved to Malta in the 16th century. But before dealing with The Hospitaller Knights, I must bring to attention another remarkable detail, that dates back to The Greek Antiquity: Rhodes was the host of one of The Seven Wonders of The Ancient World! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it was right here: The Colossus of Rhodes, a remarkable giant statue bringing an homage to Tital Helios, to the Sun itself! Unfortunately, the monument once dominating the harbor was destroyed way back in time during an earthquake.

Rhodes Medieval Moat
Rhodes Medieval Moat | Source

No worries, though! Rhodes is still abundant in cultural treasures, to the delight of culture-vultures and intellectuals with a deep interest in the history of Europe. The Hospitaller Knights, that got to be known also as the Knights of Rhodes due to the almost two centuries of domination over the island, left a strong and distinctive mark on the island's character and landscape. Starting with the beginning of the 14th century, the strong medieval character of Rhodes started to be built of solid rock, due to the hard work, involvement and efforts of the Hospitaller Knights. They left a marvelous cultural heritage to the island. The Palace of the Grand Master makes for an amazing experience for all those who come to visit the island.

 Rhodes Harbor, Agios Nikolaos Lighthouse
Rhodes Harbor, Agios Nikolaos Lighthouse | Source

Apart from its cultural treasures, Rhodes has much more to offer to the holiday-maker. It is considered to be one of the most exquisite summer destinations, even though one can go to Rhodes all year round. The island is just one of these places blessed with perfect climate, where one is able to enjoy the sun regardless of the time of the year. During summer, however, the sun is bright and the water is warmer than ever.

Lindos, Rhodes
Lindos, Rhodes | Source

One of the best details about Rhodes is that it also benefits from a very effective infrastructure and the perfect resorts. Rhodes has no less than five ports, which counts as a significant number when it comes to an island. Many of the hotels are luxurious or above the average. inviting its visitors to spend holidays worth the treatment of kings and queens. There is nightlife in Faliraki, there is wind-surfing in Gennadi, there is snorkeling in Kalithea, there is the picturesque authentic feeling in Lardos, there is some history in Lindos, there is a bit of everything in Ialysos, and then there are the irreproachable services everywhere, no matter the resort you choose to go to on the island!

Rhodes town beach in spring. Rhodes
Rhodes town beach in spring. Rhodes | Source

I could only wish you to have your perfect summer holidays in Greece! Have fun!

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Comments 23 comments

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Great pictures. Thank you for the tour.


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London Author

You're welcome, Mhatter99! Anytime! The pictures are great just due to the locations being so wonderful - it couldn't be otherwise! :) Cheers! Mike


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 3 years ago from Scotland

Beautiful pictures and you made it sound very inviting.


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London Author

Thank you, Anna! Glad you liked my hub!


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Mike. How timely, we will be visiting Rhodes in October. Looking forward to visiting the Palace of the Grand Master. We'll only be there for a day as part of a Mediterranean cruise but would be interested in how you think one day could best be spent. I found a National Geographic walking tour of the Old City that looks interesting. Thanks for the info.


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London Author

Hi Bdegiulio! I think you're one of the lucky ones! A cruise on the Mediterranean with a stop in Rhodes sounds magnificent! The Old Town of Rhodes is a cultural treasure; apart from the Palace of the Grand Masters, there is the Archaeological Museum to be explored and also the different quarters of the Old Town. There's the Knights' Quarter(or The Kollakio), where the Palace is to be found along with many other medieval sights. It's also worth to mention the Temple of Aphrodite, in Plateia Symis. But there is also the Hora, a quarter bearing a strong Ottoman influence and here is where you can see the Mosque of Suleyman; then, there is the Jewish Quarter, with the Kahal Shalom synagogue, which is still in use. The Old Town's a mix of cultural influences, telling the long-standing and vast history of Rhodes, by simply walking in the Old Town you get a kaleidoscopic grasp of it. In case you might feel like getting away from the Old center and there is still time left, then you might also want to check on Rodini Park, one of the oldest in the world, actually! Or you might want to stop by in a cafe and enjoy the spirit of the place :) I hope the info will be of use to you! And I wish you a very enjoyable holiday!


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Thanks Mike. This is great information that I'll share with our travel companions. I think this will be very helpful. Thanks so much.


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London Author

You're welcome! Have a great time in Rhodes! :)


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Truly beautiful...and a place I'd love to visit. Thanks for sharing, Mike!


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London Author

Hi midget38! Glad to know you liked my virtual tour! Hope one day soon you'll visit the Greek islands! :) Mike


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

Beautiful! A very interesting travel hub. I have learned a lot from this. Thanks for sharing;-)


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London Author

Hi Thelma and thank you for your nice words! :) Glad you liked the hub!


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

Before I got married, my Aunt and I took a trip to Greece. It included a week long cruise to some of the islands and parts of Turkey. Your photos bring it all back and are incredible. I have always promised myself I would go back someday. Rhodes was one of my favorites.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

Hi Mike, we stayed in Sidari Corfu, and yes it was amazing, I would love to tour all round the islands, just let me win the lottery! lol! great hub, and fabulous photos, nell


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London Author

@Glimmer Twin Fan: It must have been such a wonderful trip! I am glad this hub managed to bring back nice memories of beautiful places. I hope one day you'll keep that promise & make the wish come true :)


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London Author

@Nell Rose: Hi Nell! So nice to have you by! And glad to hear that you had such a wonderful time in Corfu! As for that lottery, well ... I guess we're both hoping for the same thing ;) Cheers!


LaThing profile image

LaThing 3 years ago from From a World Within, USA

Very interesting and beautiful hub! Wish you had included Crete.... We are planning to visit it at the end of this summer :)

It's hard to choose which one to visit since they are all so beautiful! Thanks for sharing this wonderful hub, voting up and across...


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London Author

Hi LaThing! Thank you for the comment and the vote! As for Crete, I actually wrote about it quite recently: 'Live Your Myth in Crete' - http://hubpages.com/travel/liveyourmythincrete...

I hope it will be of help to you in organizing your summer holiday! :)

Mike


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 3 years ago from Taos, NM

How beautiful! Your photos are stunning and breathtaking! I so enjoyed this article. Greece is a paradise - I have not been to these islands so this was interesting and informative for me. I have been to Hydra, the island closest to the mainland and I believe an Ionian island also. There is no more beautiful place than the Greek islands in my opinion. Thanks for sharing this with us!


LaThing profile image

LaThing 3 years ago from From a World Within, USA

Thanks! I will look it up...... Any info. will be helpful :)


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London Author

@suzettenaples: Greece is, indeed, the place for an ideal summer. And there are so many islands to choose from! I am glad that you enjoyed this hub! And thanks for the comment! :) Mike


GypsyFootedWoman profile image

GypsyFootedWoman 3 years ago

Astonishingly beautiful! Thank you for sharing.


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London Author

Glad you enjoyed it, GypsyFootedWoman! Thanks for the comment! Mike

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