The sea has always meant adventure to Greeks. It’s how the ancients exchanged ideas, crafts and produce, and fishermen continue to make their living today. And it’s part of the identity of every island or coastal community in the country.
So your challenge is a simple one. If there’s sea where you’re heading – be it the Aegean, Ionian or the Libyan Sea off the southern coast of Crete – don’t just admire its beauty it, make it your point of departure to venture beyond the shores surrounding you.
When you’re in Zakynthos, you won’t need any encouragement to take a boat trip to Shipwreck Beach. But how about a day trip to the wild and protected isle of Marathonisi, where you’ll have the opportunity to experience the Loggerhead sea turtles who nest on is sandy beach and swim in its crystal-clear waters?
Or perhaps head to the marine park and islands around Alonissos, containing the largest population of the incredibly shy Mediterranean Monk Seal.
When you’re on Kefalonia, you could be entranced by the blues of the Melissani Sea Cave, or you could even get a taste of neighbouring Ithaca – the island home of Odysseus and pretty-as-a-picture beaches.
From cosmopolitan Rhodes you can get a completely different island vibe by visiting Halki and Symi for the day, as you will by heading to uninhabited Polyegos from Milos.
So many islands have smaller neighbours: Saria next to Karpathos, Samiopoula next to Samos, and Chrysi and Koufonisi off Crete, all of them just a boat trip away.
If you’re on Mykonos, almost every inch of next-door Delos is an archaeological treasure trove. And on Thirasia (one of the islands within Santorini’s famous caldera) you’ll have the experience of visiting the Santorini of 50 years ago.
Even Halkidiki – the three-pronged peninsula in northern Greece whose photogenic coastline is the drawcard for sunbathers in the region – has an island that can be visited for the day: little Ammouliani and the even smaller cluster of exotic isles next to it, the Gaidouronisia (Donkey Islands), so close to each other that you can swim between them.