Whether you’re watching the sun set over Santorini’s caldera or watching it rise on Paradise Beach in Mykonos after a wild night of parties, holidays to the South Aegean Islands deliver 24/7.
The South Aegean is one of 13 building blocks that make up Greece. The region stakes its claim on an area of the Aegean Sea on the south east of the Greek mainland, and it wraps its arms around the islands of the Cyclades and the Dodecanese.
The big four
The South Aegean name drops some of the best known islands in Greece. It’s home to Rhodes, which is the most visited Greek Island, Santorini, which is one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations, and Kos and Mykonos, which are known for their nightlife credentials.
The beach scene
The beaches of the South Aegean Islands pack a punch. Kos alone is circled by 290 kilometres of white sandy beaches. Mykonos, meanwhile, lays claim to one of the longest ribbons of sand – Ellia beach stretches out for eight kilometres.
The timeline of this part of the world stretches back to 1200BC. Evidence for this can be found at the Lindos Acropolis in Rhodes, among the winding streets of ancient Thira in Santorini, and at the Asklepieion in Kos, which dates back to the 3rd century BC.
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With a coastline that unravels for over 290 kilometres, Kos has more than its fair share of beaches. They come in all shapes and sizes, from golden swathes backed by beach bars, to hidden bays and little-known coves. The island’s good looks don’t end with its shores, either. Inland, whitewashed villages spill down the hillsides and wild flowers blanket the fields. Then there’s Mount Dikeos, whose slopes are peppered with pine forests and castles.
With boutique hotels, luxury villas and label-laden shops, Mykonos is Greece’s answer to St-Tropez. Its list of A-list visitors starts with Jackie Onassis in the Sixties and moves on to P-Diddy in the Noughties. But the LA faithful happily share their space with the island-hopping backpacking crowd.