Virtual and immersive reality experiences are gaining momentum with every passing day, and the travel industry is certainly no exception. From Thomas Cook’s VR headsets letting customers road-test their holiday choices, and Google Street View allowing us to wander neighbourhoods on the other side of the world from the comfort of our sofas, there is no corner of the globe left unexplorable.
Inspired by this burgeoning trend, we thought we’d try our hand at creating a real ‘try before you fly’ experience, in one of the planet’s most unquestionably beautiful locations – the Greek Islands. From temple ruins to sweeping beaches, rugged landscapes to cobbled streets, join us as we take a whirlwind virtual tour…
Famed the world over for its unique, white-washed, blue-roofed brand of Greek charm, Santorini is as alluring as it is beautiful. From the dazzlingly multi-coloured beaches lapped by the Aegean Sea, to majestic vestiges of the past in the form of hilltop villages and Cycladic houses, Santorini is a sun-soaked island paradise. Here’s a few of its most charismatic features to whet your appetite:
The enchanting ruins of a Byzantine castle, this spectacular setting offers panoramic views across the sea and, in the other direction, of Santorini itself.
Constructed in 1892, this is among the oldest of Greece’s many lighthouses and is beautifully located, overlooking Santorini’s southern peninsula.
Due to the volcanic nature of its sands, Santorini’s beaches and rugged cliffs have a character all of their own. This is one of the island’s most picturesque.
Glamorous and sun-kissed, Mykonos is distinguishable by its clusters of coastal seafood restaurants, stylish locals and elegant white windmills. At the height of summer, the island buzzes with life and vibrancy, especially after dark. Away from the chic bars and cafes though, Mykonos retains an idyllic, serene way of life well worth getting to know, so here’s a little introduction:
Although sprinkled throughout the island, most of the windmills are concentrated in Chora, and overlook the northern sea where the winds are strongest.
One of the island’s most popular attractions, Mykonos’ port was the only one until very recently, hosting cruise liners, fishing boats and everything in between.
Popular with holidaying families on account of its soft sand and sweeping expanse, Ornos Beach is great for pulling up a towel and soaking in some rays.
Arguably the most wildly beautiful of the Greek Islands, Corfu has been beckoning travellers into its fold since Odysseus. But Corfu is not just a pretty face, with countless glimpses into its past as a centre of European learning in the form of ancient libraries, academic centres and well-curated museums. Whether wandering through the mountains, cypress trees and olive groves or stretched out, cocktail in hand, overlooking the dazzling sea below, Corfu never fails to enrapture those who visit – can you resist?
Built in 1840 for British settlers, this well-preserved church is a picture of the past, perched high on a cliff overlooking the sea.
A beautiful Athonite monastery dating back to the 1300s, this is one of Corfu’s most spectacular sites.
Located in north eastern Corfu, this is the island’s highest mountain and a popular attraction for ramblers, hikers and fans of the great outdoors.
Full-bodied and classically beautiful, Rhodes offers lush landscapes, crystal clear diving opportunities and historical sites in abundance. Whether kicking back and relaxing by the sea, exploring wooded valleys or getting in touch with Byzantine civilisation in the charmingly cobbled Old Town, Rhodes has much to offer those looking for a holiday in the sun. Here’s a little taster of its unique charm:
Also known by the much catchier title, Kastello, this rambling palace is one of few examples of truly gothic architecture in Greece, and once acted as a citadel and headquarters of the Knights Hospitaller.
A magical oasis accessed by a 186m long tunnel, Seven Springs is one of Rhodes’ most dazzling natural wonders.
Overlooking the island’s eastern coastline, this waterpark offers a range of ways to make a splash.
Overflowing with history and ancient mysticism, Naxians hold Dionysos, the Greek god of wine and ecstasy, at the heart of everyday life. Indeed, the island’s own wine has long been considered enough to fix any broken heart. Hosting the majestic Mount Zeus, endless quaint villages, picturesque churches and the cobbled streets of Hora city, Naxos is beguiling even aside from its soft sand beaches and watersports opportunities. Start exploring right here!
A crumbling ruin with faded allure, Portara Apollo is made from pure Naxian marble, and overlooks the sea from its own peninsula.
Dating back to the 6th century BC, these hauntingly beautiful temple ruins act as one of the island’s greatest historical sites.
Naxos has endless stunning stretches of coastline to choose from, but Plaka Beach is one of its most rugged and idyllic.
Newly emerging as one of the Greek Islands’ holiday hubs, Paros offers quaintly quiet villages, stylish and contemporary resorts and largely untouched natural beauty. The island’s marble was at one time used to fashion many of the Cycladic temples, and most notably the Venus de Milo. For holidaymakers looking for serene seclusion and to get off the beaten track, Paros is optimal. Get to know it a little better here:
A typically Parian village, Lefkes is ridiculously charming and unapologetically picturesque, with only 500 inhabitants calling it home.
A Byzantine church complex in the town of Parikia, this temple offers a glimpse into the island’s past.
A deliciously unspoilt beach, Molos is strewn with chic sunloungers and serviced by one elegant bar.
Inspired to explore the Greek Islands for real? Find a great deal on a trip here!