Today I was chatting online to a friend who is thinking of moving to Greece. She is very undecided as to where she should make her new home. As I have visited over 40 Greek islands on our yacht Fandancer, she has been asking me for advice. She asked me the following question, and I thought it would make a good blog post –
“If you were told you had to live on a Greek island and don’t factor in location or ease of travel where would you choose?”
The first thing I told her, was that some people might immediately choose one the most picturesque and beautiful islands, the favourites of holiday brochures, with turquoise sea, a sandy beach and traditional Greek buildings. Like Paxos or Ithaca in the Ionian Sea, or Mykonos, Serifos or Amorgos in the Aegean…
However, these beautiful islands may not be like this in the winter. Well, I know for certain they won’t be. The tourists have left, the tavernas have closed, the sea is colder, the weather is very different. Sometimes the ferries will stop in the winter. The bus timetable will be restricted. There will be little chance to see a doctor or dentist.
If you are going to live on a Greek island all year round, you will need access to different things compared to what you want on holiday. You might not need a souvenir shop where you can buy a colourful beach towel, sun lotion, or flip flops. But you would like access to emergency services, banks, phone shops, a decent supermarket, butchers, bakers, hardware shops, plus all the multitude of other businesses that you might need.
As well as visiting the islands by yacht, I have also lived on land in various parts of Greece, including being there in the off-season. The four islands I would recommend would be Aegina, Syros, Lefkas and Corfu. All of these islands have busy populations with shops and businesses open all year. They also have facilities like doctors, dentists and hospitals, unlike some of the very remote islands where you may have to rely on small ferries to take you to a town some distance away for assistance.