Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice 2016 Awards: Crete voted among the best islands in the world
Three Greek islands and four Greek hotels are included among the best in the world according to the Condé Nast Traveler 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards.
The top Greek islands are Mykonos, Crete, and Santorini and are decribed by the leading travel magazine as follows:
Said to have been where Hercules killed the invincible giants, Mykonos is steeped in mythological history. A popular cruise ship stop, the island is more recently known for its raucous party reputation that would impress even Dionysus.
Pro tip: Avoid July and August to miss the major crowds and get a better sense of local life. Head to Little Venice, an uncrowded neighborhood full of tavernas. While in the area, stop by Kounelas, close to the harbor, to eat what locals say is the best fish.
Getting there: Daily flights from Athens take about 35 minutes. Ferry trips, the less expensive option, last between three and five hours on high-speed or slow ferries.
The largest Greek Isle, Crete is also one of the most distinctive, with its own unmistakable culture, landscape, and mythological history. Make sure to visit the Minoan palaces in Knossos if you make it beyond the beach.
Pro tip: Skip the bumpy drive or three-hour hike to one of the most photographed spots in Crete. Balos Beach is most easily accessed by ferries from Kissamos port.
Getting there: Most flights to Crete connect in Athens, but visitors can also take the year-round ferry from Piraeus or the summertime ferry from Santorini.
No island group is so shrouded in myth as the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. Santorini, on the southernmost end of the chain, is a volcanically formed island with dramatic cliffs, ancient ruins, and picturesque towns said to be the inspiration for Plato’s Atlantis.
Pro tip: Watch the sun set from Oia, a small village on the southwestern coast made up of whitewashed structures and cave houses built into the cliff side.
Getting there: Direct flights to Santorini are available from London and Athens. But if you want to take the scenic route and get the full Cyclades experience, take a ferry from Athens (5 to 8 hours).
At the same time, four Greek hotels are included among the world’s 50 best hotels according to the Condé Nast Traveler 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards.
The leading travel magazine describes the four hotels as follows:
Canaves Oia Santorini, Greece
There’s so much more to Santorini than clear blue skies and craggy hillsides awash in pristine white homes—though we’re certainly not complaining about either of those. At Canaves Oia Santorini, the draw extends to a cliffside infinity pool that overlooks the Aegean, and dinners whipped up from freshly-caught fish, plus a sampling of some of Greece’s finest wines.
Chromata Hotel, Santorini, Greece
Overlooking the island’s caldera, this boutique hotel and its 22 (nearly) all-white rooms epitomize all that Greek island life is about: Breezy, bright, and simple, they manage to flush out any memory of city grit from back home. After a hard day of watching the clouds pass over pristine blue waters, tuck into a flaky slice of spinach pie at the hotel’s CHROMA restaurant, and wait for one of Santorini’s legendary sunsets. The views from the hotel’s clifftop infinity pool alone are worth the trip.
Kirini Suites & Spa, Santorini, Greece
Sometimes, a little simplicity goes a long way—and that’s our favorite feature of this sweet Santorini hotel. Awash in a sea of fresh white linens and furniture, from the end tables, to the bed frames (and even the wall sconces), it’d be easy to clear your tired mind here. Take a table at Anthós Restaurant, hewn right from the rocky cliffside, where views of the cerulean waters below are best appreciated with a glass of Grecian red.
Kos Aktis Art Hotel, Kos, Greece
The Greek island of Kos is famous for its abundance of Greek and Roman landmarks—Hippocrates’s shady tree has its home here—and you could make a strong case for Kos Aktis being added to the list. Its minimalist décor is a far cry from the fanciful flourishes of temples or forums, but what it lacks in flair, it makes up for in features like floor-to-ceiling bedside windows, and tasty, traditional Greek breakfasts comprising local favorites (try the loukoumades, sticky, honey-covered bits of fried dough, for a true taste of the island).