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A view of the Aegean Sea from Santorini (photo courtesy citypictures.net)

One man’s loss is another man’s gain as the old adage goes. The financial crisis might have wreaked havoc on Greece’s economy but it has led to a number of Greek islands going on sale. Disposing of undisturbed spots, great climate and tsunami-free seas, the Greek Isles are an easy ‘A’ in any private island buying guide.

What is on offer… Out of the 6,000 islands surrounding the Greek peninsula, only 227 are inhabited. The rest, which cluster around the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas, are completely undisturbed. They vary in size from under two acres to
over 1,000.

Why you should buy… Few things will help you join the ranks of Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates than buying your own private island. Add to that the fact that ever since Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis on Skorpios (now owned by Giorgio Armani), the islands have been associated with all things glamorous. Also consider that some islands, such as St George’s Island, come for as little as $2 million!

Typical Greek minimalism (photo courtesy citypictures.net)

History, adventure and tragedy… The heroic bosom of ancient Greece which Homer wrote about certainly beats no more, but the islands remain seeped in history. It was on Ithaca that Odysseus was born, Pharmacusa where Julius Caesar was kidnapped, and near Icaria that Icarus flew too close to the sun.

Island hop… The islands are connected to Europe’s largest passenger ferry network, which ranges from luxury cruise lines to barely afloat open-deck boats. A number of inhabited islands boast airports with daily flights to Athens.

Much to do… Most islands have natural white sand beaches; others are a trekker’s paradise thriving with flora and fauna. Some also boast natural reserves, archaeological museums and historic monasteries. For shopping and an exciting nightlife, head to Crete or Mykonos, or take a flight to Athens.

The islands attract everyone from investors to tourists.

In a nutshell… Given the fact that they are comparatively cheaper, buying an island is probably your best bet. But if you aren’t rich enough to buy an island, Greece is still an ideal location to take a vacation – a thriving nightlife, Mediterranean food and plenty of sightseeing make it a great place to enjoy the summer.

– Shayan Shakeel
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First published in the Real Estate Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on May 13, 2012.