Whether messing around in boats in Corfu, walking through flower-filled gorges in Crete or enjoying a lengthy, open-air meal, the Greeks understand life’s essential pleasures. They practically invented hospitality, translating it as “friendship to a stranger”, and their welcome remains as warm as the turquoise waters that lap their languid coastline.
That coastline covers 8,400 miles, taking in thousands of islands and islets across the Aegean and Ionian Seas. And with over 200 inhabited islands to choose from, selecting the one that’s best for you can seem daunting. In general, the islands that offer good year-round life are most appealing to international buyers. Here, we explore five of our favourites and help you find your perfect fit.
Best for families: Crete
As the largest Greek island, Crete provides a fabulous range of locations and properties for homeowners. Choose from a village house in the foothills of the White Mountains, a resort townhouse or a light, airy and private contemporary villa perched alluringly above the sea. Glamorous Elounda on the northeast coast is the most expensive area, but buyers are also drawn to the local charm in and around the buzzy north coast towns of Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion.
Crete’s efficient infrastructure of schools, hospitals and three airports offers an easy lifestyle choice. From hiking along its famous gorges to water fun on the beach, Crete packs in great variety, ideal for active families, and this – along with eight months of good weather and a wide choice of restaurants, bars and nightlife – keeps rental potential strong. Over recent years, Crete has also become an on-trend destination for digital nomads and those able to work from home for extended periods.
Across the island, village homes requiring renovation can be more affordable with substantial detached villas in generous, private grounds from €1,000,000, while resort homes start from around €350,000.