We feel like the azure blue waters and whitewashed homes are the epitome of Greece’s islands. There’s no doubt about it – from Mykonos to Santorini, and Rhodes to Crete, each island is a Grecian dream. Read on for five facts about the islands of Greece that might surprise you.
1. There is a colour code in Mykonos
Buildings on Mykonos stick to a historical colour code. Doors and windows are painted blue, green or red; while the exterior is painted white. The colours of the doors and windows used to indicate your profession – sailors used to paint them blue, farmers used to paint them green and everyone else used to paint them red.
2. Mykonos used to be a pirate’s paradise
Back in the 1900’s, pirates used to either raid Mykonos or – on the opposite end of the spectrum – dock here to catch up and have fun.
3. Mykonos is home to over 600 churches and small chapels
Most of these churches and chapels have storied histories that date back to the Byzantine era. Mykonos township has about 60 of them alone, including Panagia Paraportiani. This church was built in 1475 and is the most photographed on the island.
4. Santorini has a volcanic island
In the heart of the Santorini caldera lies a volcanic island called Nea Kameni. The waters that surround it are consistently warm, known for their therapeutic benefits as they contain manganese and iron.
5. Santorini is a large wine producer
…in proportion to its size. Santorini’s volcanic soil is high in acidity, perfect for growing its nine indigenous grape varieties. This includes assyrtiko, known as the most popular Greek wine. It’s no wonder that vineyards and wineries abound on this Greek island.
6. The statue of Aphrodite was found on Milos
Aphrodite is one of Greece’s revered goddesses, the one of love and beauty. The statue of Aphrodite (or Venus of Milos) that you see at the Louvre Museum in Paris was originally discovered by a local on Milos in 1820. This beautiful statue was believed to have been sculpted between 130 – 100 BC.
7. Milos’ catacombs date back to the 1st century
The catacombs of Milos are a revered site, believed to pre-date the catacombs found in Rome. As a burial site, place of worship and place of refuge, the catacombs are the most important monument of early Christianity in Greece.
8. Crete is large
Not only is it the biggest Greek island, but it is also the fifth biggest island in the whole of the Mediterranean! Crete sits pretty after Corsica, Sicily, Cyprus and Sardinia.
9. Crete has pink sand beaches
10. It snows in Crete
Despite being the southernmost Greek island with warmer temperatures than its neighbouring islands, can you believe that it snows in Crete?! Crete is home to some extremely high mountain ranges (the White Mountains, and the Psiloritis and Dikti mountain ranges) which see regular snowfall in winter.