The Rough Guide to Greek Islands, 3rd Edition

The Rough Guide to Greek Islands, 3rd Edition

Paperback(3RD)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781858285238
Publisher: DK
Publication date: 05/01/2000
Series: Rough Guides Travel Series
Edition description: 3RD
Pages: 544
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.84(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Where and when to go
There is no such thing as a typical Greek island; each has its distinctive personality, history, architecture, flora - even a unique tourist clientele. Landscapes vary from the lush cypress-and-olive-swathed Ionians to the bare, minimalist ridges of the Cyclades and Dodecanese, by way of subtle gradations between these extremes in the Sporades and northeast Aegean. Setting aside the scars from a few unfortunate man-made developments, it would be difficult to single out an irredeemably ugly island; all have their adherents and individual appeal, described in the chapter or section introductions.
Most islands and their inhabitants are far more agreeable, and resolutely Greek, outside the busiest period of early July to late August, when crowds of foreigners or locals, soaring temperatures and the effects of the infamous meltmi can detract considerably from enjoyment. The meltmi is a cool, fair-weather wind which originates in high-pressure systems over the far north Aegean, gathering steam as it travels southwards and assuming near-gale magnitude by the time it reaches Crete. North-facing coasts there, and throughout the Cyclades and Dodecanese, bear the full brunt; its howling is less pronounced in the north or east Aegean, where continental landmasses provide some shelter for
the islands just offshore.
You won't miss out on warm weather if you come between late May and mid-June - when a wide variety of garden produce and fish is still available - or September, when the sea is warmest for swimming, though at these times you'll find little activity on the northernmost islands of Thssos and Samothrki. During October you will probably hit a week's stormy spell anywhere, but for much of that month the "little summer of yios Dhimtrios", the Greek equivalent of Indian summer, prevails. While the choice of restaurants and nightlife in autumn can be limited, the light is softer, and going out at midday becomes a pleasure rather than an ordeal. The most reliable venues for late autumn or early winter breaks are Rhodes and relatively balmy southeastern Crete, where swimming in December is not unheard of.
December to March are the coldest and least comfortable months, particularly on the Ionian islands, simply the rainiest patch in Greece from November onwards. The high peaks of northerly or lofty islands wear a brief mantle of snow around the turn of the year, with Crete's mountainous spine staying partly covered into April. Between January and April the glorious lowland wildflowers begin to bloom, beginning in the southeast Aegean. Early arrivals should keep in mind that travelling a few islands north or south often means the difference between tourist facilities open or still shut, as well as blossoms gone or yet to bloom. April weather is notoriously unreliable, though the air is crystal-clear and the landscape green - a photographer's dream. May is more settled, though the sea is still a bit cool for prolonged dips.
Other factors that affect the timing of a Greek island visit have to do with the level of tourism and the related amenities provided. Service standards, particularly in tavernas, invariably slip under peak-season pressures, and room rates are at their highest from July to September. If you can only visit during mid-summer, reserve a package well in advance, or plan an itinerary off the beaten track, gravitating towards islands with sparser ferry connections and/or no airport. Between November and April, you have to contend with pared-back ferry schedules (and almost nonexistent hydrofoil departures), plus skeletal facilities when you arrive. However, you will find fairly adequate services to the more populated islands, and at least one hotel and taverna open in the port or main town of all but the tiniest isles.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Part One The Basics
Getting there from Britain
Getting there from Ireland
Getting there from North America
Getting there from Australia and New Zealand
Departure points: Athens, Pires and main ports
Travellers with disabilities
Visas and red tape
Insurance
Health matters
Costs, money and banks
Information and maps
Getting around
Accommodation
Eating and drinking
Communications
The Media
Opening hours and public holidays
Festivals and cultural events
Sports and outdoor pursuits
Finding work
Police and trouble
Directory
Part Two The Guide
Chapter 1 The Argo-Saronic
Salamna
yina
Angstri
Pros
dhra
Sptses
Chapter 2 The Cyclades
Ka
K2thnos
Srifos
Sfnos
Mlos
Kmolos
ndhros
Tnos
M2konos
Delos
S2ros
Pros and Andparos
Nxos
Koufonssil
Skhinossa
Irklia
Dhonossa
Amorgs
os
Skinos
Folgandhros
Thra
Anfi
Chapter 3 Crete
Irklion
Knosss
Fests (Phaestos)
Mlia
Lasthi plateau
yios Niklaos
Sita
Ierpetra
Rthymnon
Hani
The Samarian Gorge
Kastlli
Chapter 4 The Dodecanese
Kssos
Krpathos
Rhodes
Hlki
Kastellrizo
S2mi
Tlos
Nssyros
Ks
Psrimos
Astyplea
Klymnos
Lros
Ptmos
Lips
Ark
Marthi
Agathnissi
Chapter 5 The East and North Aegean
Smos
Ikara
Forni
Hos
Psar
Inosses
Lsvos
Lmnos
yios Efstrtios
Samothrki
Thssos
Chapter 6 The Sporades and vvia
Skithos
Skpelos
Alnissos and minor islets
Sk2ros
vvia
Chapter 7 The Ionian Islands
Corfu
Mathrki
Othon
Erkoussa
Pax and Andpaxi
Lefkdha
Kefalloni
Ithki
Zkynthos
K2thira
Andik2thira
Part Three The Contexts
Historical Framework
Mythology
Music
Wildlife
Books
Language
Glossary
Index

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