Islomaniac - the name given to someone obsessed with being on an island - a term that I can certainly resonate with after spending a week island-hopping around the Greek Cyclades in the Aegean Sea.
With 120 Grecian islands to choose from it is hard to comprehend how different one may be from another, it's Greece after all! It's easy to see why the stereotypes exist; Mamma Mia-esque white-washed houses with blue doors and windowsills; maze-like streets packed with tavernas selling calamari and dodgy greek wine (where asking for a small glass translates directly to being served half a carafe); bougainvillea tumbling down stairs leading up to a blue door guarded by a stray cat or a weathered Greek man with a criminal moustache and a half-finished cigarette. But where many of the islands can be so characteristically similar, in the same instance and with closer inspection they are also entirely different.
Santorini is an island whose white-washed towns sit precariously on the cliff of the crescent caldera, all vouching for the best view of the famous sunset. The island is busy; a hotel for every night of the year and probably into the next, and with visitors whose cameras are never far. It is easy to see why: every angle, every turn, church and narrow street is picture perfect. Yet amongst all of the crowds there is an overwhelming sense of calm, peace and romance. It is undeniably and unapologetically (trust me I was there alone) a place for love birds.
Bundled out of our taxi we arrived at Perivolas, a family run hotel whose rooms are a network of spacious caves that have been hosting guests since way before Oia was famous. In fact, it is the hotel that undoubtedly put Oia on the map. The infinity pool is insta-famous, the cave rooms are more immaculate than a show home and the staff more magic than a gossip of mermaids.
Next a ferry to the larger but less populated Paros.
Altogether more laid back than the sophistication of Santorini. The island is an unspoilt place to explore with more than its fair share of beaches, coves and hilltop villages to trundle upon. Or, take to the water for a spot of kite surfing - Paros boasts some of the best beaches for the sport in all of Greece.
Final stop, Mykonos - the Greek Island of parties, windmills, little Venice and Delos, the mythical birthplace of Apollo. The old town appears the same as those of Mykonos's rival islands but with shops filled with Gucci and Prada rather than Greek ceramics and silver. The atmosphere difference is less subtle - gone is the contagious chill-factor of Santorini, in its place the slightly higher tempo of people giggling off a hangover over an iced frappe (extra sugar if you're feeling extra Greek and/or extra hungover) or people preparing for the next party with a cocktail at Scorpios or Nammas, two of the island's famous beach bars.
Immaculate clientele spill off their superyachts, strut in wedges down the sandy beaches and from time to time dip a dainty toe in the turquoise ocean or Mykonos Grand's saltwater pool. Yet amidst all this glitz and glamour, this is still Greece! Hop in a taxi (be sure to fasten your seatbelt) and hop on a boat for a short transfer to ancient temples that qualify to UNESCO standard and order a Greek salad for a portion of feta that fills your dairy allowance for the month.