The Greek Isles are Overpriced and Overrated

Greece has so much to offer. It has some of the best food in the world, great wine that’s surprisingly affordable, and an authentic personality that is contagious to locals and travelers alike… but all that is diminished in the Greek isles. If you love partying, great views, sunshine, and blue water then the island life may be right for you, but it’s not a complete representation of what Greece has to offer. Now, not every island is a tourist party spot. The largest island of Crete boasts a deep history with great food and beautiful oceanside towns. And the Ionian islands, west of Greece are green and are influenced by their Venetian, French, and British histories.

If you’re planning to be in Greece for two weeks or more, check out the Peloponnese peninsula. Its mountainous landscape is riddled with medieval castles and ancient ruins, and the local cuisine is arguably the best in Greece. If you don’t have quite that long, you’ll still find a couple of nights in Nafplio’s old city will give you a taste of what you could be missing. If you’re into wine, look for the red Agiorgitiko or the white Mantineia that this region produces. Be sure to try their eggplant dishes, olives, and cheeses to get the best culinary experience… and if you see “giant beans” on the menu, order them… you can thank us later.

aerial drone view of the Peloponnesian city of Nafplio in Greece
Nafplio, Greece

Committed to the island life for your Greek getaway? Take a ferry or plane down south to Crete. The historic island has plenty to explore for everyone. Chania is a popular seaside town, but our favorite is Rethymno. The old city is quaint and beautiful with lots of quality restaurants in the narrow city corridors. It feels reminiscent of western Europe’s towns and offers a quiet oceanfront view for those who want to be near the water. If you make it to Crete, taste some of the regional dishes like the Cretan rusk (Dakos) salads, fried snails, and local lamb. Whatever food you enjoy, wash it down with a glass of Cretan red wine (the house wine is actually delicious), and some Raki at the end of each meal. The Raki may take a few times to really grow on you but it’s usually complimentary at restaurants, and by the end of your time in Crete you’ll be craving it.

the old port of Chania in Crete, Greece is a great relaxing alternative to the Greek isles
Chania, Greece

Our goal is not to bash the Greek isles nor to advise against visiting them. In fact, we encourage visitors to spend a few days in Santorini or another beautiful island. However, millions of tourists flock to the islands every year and completely overlook the glory the mainland has to offer. There is an abundance of history and culture to be explored in this idyllic Mediterranean country, and travelers are missing out on it. When you plan your next trip to Greece, consider a few days in NafplioAthens, or the less popular island of Crete. You may not find an abundance of cocktails or clubs, but if you’re in good company already, you’ll be surprised with the diverse experiences Greece has to offer.

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