The largest, greenest and most fertile island in the Cyclades, Naxos was the centre of ancient Cycladic tradition and Greek and Byzantine culture, but its period under Venetian rule means Italian influences can be seen in the mansions, castles and churches, which sit alongside the traditional Cycladic cubic houses and cobbled alleyways. Naxos is also home to the Cyclades’ highest mountain, Mount Zeus, at over 1000 metres, and traditional mountaintop villages such as Apiranthos, with their stone houses, marble-paved paths and pretty squares, sweep down to vibrant green valleys and shimmering seascapes, where you can dine on exquisite local food and wine while overlooking the azure waters of the Aegean- a perfect way to enjoy your holiday in Greece.
Folegandros has become fashionable in recent years, yet still provides an unspoilt taste of the real Greece for an authentic holiday. Some parts are closed to traffic, and with atmospheric old towns, romantic squares, picturesque beaches and the scent of lime trees and hibiscus on the breeze, all you need to do is kick back, relax and enjoy the beauty and solitude. Paros benefits from being a little off the beaten track. Historically, it prospered from its fine white marble, which can be seen around the island and was used to carve the Venus di Milo and Napoleon’s tomb.
These days, Paros has become a bit of a holiday haven for those in the know, home to ancient monasteries, castles, temples, magnificent marble churches and neoclassical mansions, as well as museums full of archaeological and Byzantine treasures. Sifnos is a foodie’s paradise, boasting the most delectable Mediterranean cuisine to be found in the whole of Greece, where you can sample an ouzo with octopus, olives and feta cheese, roast lambs, steak and an assortment of fresh fish, followed by baklava and Greek coffee.