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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 17 March 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 17 MARCH 2018 19 TRAVEL Three Greek islands amongst the ‘Best in the World’ “Above all, the Greek islands are peopled by the Greeks, among the most hospitable nations in the world,” says travel writer Paul Hellander THEODORA MAIOS travel magazine Condé Nast Traveler’s (CNT) Readers’ Choice Awards 2017 list of the best islands in the world. "For a country that is the T guardian of some 6,000 islands of which some 227 islands are inhabited, the Greek islands cannot be anything else other than special. Nowhere else on the planet does such a congregated collection of seagirt land exists," travel writer, interpreter and translator, Paul Hellander told Neos Kosmos. Condé Nast Traveler readers ranked the 30 best islands in the world outside the US in the awards survey, and in fifth place was,the island of Mykonos, a whitewashed paradise in the heart of the Cyclades, remains Greece's most cosmopolitan island and the most popular tourist magnet in the country. Having inherited its name from the grandson of Apollo, when tourists set out on a journey to discover the world of Mykonos, where glamour meets simplicity, they are taken aback by the island's he islands of Mykonos, Crete, and Santorini were included in luxury rich history as well as its luxurious and trendy lifestyle. "Said to have been where Hercules killed the giants, Mykonos is steeped in mythological history. A popular cruise ship stop, the island hasn't quite outgrown its raucous party reputation that would impress even Dionysus, but is on the path to attracting a more sophisticated and upscale type of traveller," wrote CNT editors Jenna Scherer and Cynthia Drescher. "The islands' collective histories reflect those of the parent mainland and offer an irresistible pull to travellers equally interested in culture as they may be into ouzo, octopus, and sand. The Greek islands hosted a rich culture when most islands in the world were undeveloped or uninhabited," says Hellander. The island of Crete ranked 13th with CNT readers paying tribute to the island's unmistakable culture, landscape, cuisine, and mythological history, urging visitors to include a visit at the Minoan palaces in Knossos. "Each island is different in some way from the other; no two look or feel the same despite their shared proximity, geography, fauna, or flora and this is what is most fascinating. They are akin to differing pieces of jewellery scattered in one big unlocked jewel box. "The most defining feature of the Greek islands that makes them universally unique is their location in a closed and for the most part non-tempestuous sea and being never really far from some mainland. Neither the Caribbean, nor the islands of Thailand, or Australia's [Great] Barrier Reef islands offer the same fortuitous mix," notes Hellander. All-time favourite Santorini charted at number 25. "No island group is so shrouded in myth as the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea. Santorini, on the southernmost end of the chain, is a volcanically formed island with dramatic cliffs, ancient ruins, and idyllic towns said to be the inspiration for Plato's Atlantis," wrote Scherer and Drescher, urging tourists to watch the sun set from Oia, a village on the southwestern coast made up of whitewashed structures and cave houses built into the side of cliffs. "The Greek islands beaches are unparalleled in variety and photogenic beauty and because they are closed sea beaches in the main, they are safe, warm and not subject to ocean surf. They are perfect for families. At the same time, the islands are alive with visitors from April to the end of October and enjoy excellent weather throughout their domain. This has to be a prime attraction for visitors from colder northern climes," explains Hellander. Historically, Greece has been well known for its beautiful landscapes, rich culture and heritage, and the hospitality and warmth of its people. Despite the refugee and economic crisis, international visitors continue to arrive to experience what is considered a piece of heaven on earth, and they never cease to stray away from that part of the Mediterranean. Greece is a unique, miraculous land. The birthplace of democracy continuous to rank as a top tourist destination that guarantees warm weather, legendary natural light, crystal and pristine waters, delicious traditional Greek cuisine, endless cultural pursuits, breathtaking scenery, and famous hospitality. "Above all, the Greek islands are peopled by the Greeks, among the most hospitable nations in the world. Combine that with the stunning brilliance of the light, irresistible cuisine that is simple yet healthy, the permanent presence of the sea and a packaging and presentation that is unprecedented and you have a total winner," concludes Hellander.
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