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Archive for August, 2014

5 Ideas To Keep You Active At The Beach

Posted on: August 29th, 2014 by Quik Shade

people in beach

Many people head to the beach to relax and sunbathe, but sometimes you want to do much more than just sit when you are on the beach. Luckily, there are plenty of easy and inexpensive ways to keep active on the beach that go beyond just swimming or playing in the ocean. You can play these games in between swimming or enjoying other water sports, spend the whole time playing these games, or just get a little activity before catching up on your beach reading. One of the best benefits of playing these games on the beach is that if you get too hot, you can always go for a quick dip in the water.

Frisbee

Playing with a Frisbee on the beach is a simple and inexpensive way to stay active that has several options. You can just simply toss the Frisbee between people, or you can play Frisbee games, such as Frisbee golf and ultimate Frisbee. You can create a Frisbee golf course by simply pointing out particular locations to be the “holes.” Then, you compete to see who can get the Frisbee to the goal in the fewest throws. If you want to be really active, start a game of ultimate Frisbee, a game similar to soccer that uses a Frisbee instead of a ball.

Volleyball

Beach volleyball is a popular activity, so many beaches have volleyball courts on which to play. You can also find kits in the store to purchase to make your own court on the sand. If you do not want to use a court, you can also just volley the ball back and forth without using a net.

Paddle Ball

Paddle ball is another classic beach game. You can find paddle ball sets in many stores, and they are inexpensive. It is a simple game, as all you do is just hit the ball back and forth, so even children can enjoy playing it. If you have enough paddles, you can play in teams. Paddle ball can be a low-impact game for those who just want a little activity, or it can become a very intense activity if you want more of a workout.

Bocce Ball

The classic lawn game bocce ball can also be enjoyed on the beach. You will have to buy a bocce ball set, but they are inexpensive and do not take much room in your car to carry them to the beach. The game is simple for everyone to play, even children. It is a relaxing game that will keep you active, without wearing you out.

Build a Sandcastle

Another idea to keep active at the beach is to build a sandcastle. It may not seem like this is much of a workout, but it takes a lot more work than you think to build a sandcastle. When you build a sandcastle, you often dig and perform other actions that get your body moving. You will be getting physical activity without even feeling like you are working out. It is a fun and creative way to get off your beach chair and moving, while still feeling like you are relaxing and enjoying the day.

There are plenty of opportunities on the beach to do more than just lie in the sun and read all day. Whether you want to swim or play water sports, just take a stroll along the beach, or enjoy one of these five activities, you can have a fun day at the beach with the level of activity you want. These activities are enjoyable for people of all ages, so whether you are spending the day with your family or just your friends, you can have use these ideas to have fun.

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Harmony Arts Festival Offers ‘Living Art’ Canopy Installation

Posted on: August 28th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Harmony Arts FestivalThe annual Harmony Arts Festival, in its 24th year, offers visitors food, music, and visual art to enjoy. It takes place in West Vancouver, and draws people from all over the world. This year, the dates for the event are August 1st to the 10th. Visitors to the event will receive a special treat: a living art canopy installation made from thousands of plants. Matthew Soules, the architect and creator of the canopy piece, known as Vermillion Sands, is an award winning architect who grew up in West Vancouver. This is his first living art and architectural living exhibit in his home town.

An Idea is Born

The project began about five months prior to the Harmony Arts Festival, when the director and head curator of the West Vancouver Museum, Darrin Morrison, approached Soules about submitting a joint proposal for a temporary art and architectural installation for the festival. They had a general idea of what they wanted to create, and after being approved fro funding by the B.C. Arts Council, they began to work.

Living Art Canopy

Part of the idea behind building the canopy was to provide shade and sun protection, but Soules sees it as a multipurpose art installation. He wanted the piece of art is to celebrate the entrance into the exhibit. He felt visitors should have something dramatic under which to walk to create the perfect entry into the festival.

Soules also created the canopy to pay tribute to the Vancouver artist and architect B.C. Binning. Soules lives in B.C. Binning’s house as a live-in caretaker, which inspired him to use a pattern of repeated geometric shapes reminiscent of some of Binnin’s abstract work. This ambitious canopy project is the largest site-specific piece to date for the festival. 

Soules says he was inspired to create a man-made creation that also incorporated natural elements to create a hybrid of “strange and surreal mutations.” He says, “I find the idea of building that pattern out of growing plant material, which you can only control to a partial degree, very intriguing. The geometry is very specific and pure, but then the plants will do their own thing.”

The canopy measures 90 feet long, 20 feet wide and 13 feet tall. It is made from two different plants, the white clover and perennial ryeglass. There were 260 models created about a month prior to the installation. The canopy also features an LED lighting system and a misting system. About 35 people worked together to create the final canopy. It is truly an impressive addition to this year’s festival.

Harmony Arts Festival

Harmony Arts Festival takes place in Millennium Park on the West Vancouver waterfront. It features outdoor cinema, art, food, drink and music. It lasts for ten days and features 400 established and emerging visual artists, as well as 150 performing artists. The visual arts have always played a significant role in the Harmony Arts Festival. Within the festival is an Art Market, which offers art for sale from a variety of mediums, including ceramics, musical instruments, and woodwork. Participants can also walk to local businesses to see the work from the local artists. There is also an ArtSpeaks tent that hosts workshops, demonstrations, and talks focused on a variety of artistic mediums.

Other Special Features at the Festival

The festival also offers additional must-see exhibits beyond just the canopy. One such exhibition is a group exhibition that features mixed media artwork by local artists. There is also a special area for exhibiting work by emerging artists who are under the age of 18 called Love of Art. For children, there is also an art camp that includes an opportunity for the children to sell their artwork in the Art Market. 

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Exploring Colorado’s Ski Country In The Summertime

Posted on: August 22nd, 2014 by Quik Shade

Many people make vacation plans to Colorado during the winter to take advantage of the many ski slopes, but by only visiting during the winter, you miss out on many fantastic opportunities for outdoor activities amid spectacular views. Many popular ski resorts are home to hiking and other outdoor activities during the summer season. The sunny days and mild weather, with an average high of 75, makes for a perfect setting for summertime fun. Exploring Colorado’s ski country in the summertime makes an excellent vacation for the whole family, and there is plenty of options for activities the whole family can enjoy.

Hiking

One of the best summertime activities in Colorado is hiking. The ski slopes turn into trails offering the same beautiful panoramic views. Just as the mountains offer a variety of slopes for every skill level, they also provide hiking opportunities for all skill levels to enjoy. You can enjoy simple hikes that take less than an hour or long, strenuous hikes that can extend to days. Many of the ski resorts fun their gondolas and chair lifts during the summer to help people get up the mountains. You can take the gondolas up for gorgeous views of the entire area, or you can get to the top on your own steam power.

Colorado Hiking

Biking

Colorado is a bicycle friendly state, offering beautiful trails, many that are dedicated to biking. Winter Park offers many great road biking routes, while Crested Butte has the best mountain biking trails, and is known as the birthplace of the sport. Some of the ski lifts are also open to bikers who want to ride down the trails. You can take biking tours around the cities, or go on an extended biking trip around the whole state.

Horseback Riding

You do not have to only explore the trials by your own power; you can also take a horse around many of the trails. Several dude ranches offer guided tours through the forests and mountains. You do not need to be an experienced horse rider to enjoy these tours. They will teach you the basics you need, and then an expert will lead you around with plenty of stops for taking pictures.

Adventures

Colorado also offers adventures for the strong of heart. You can find plenty of opportunities to go ziplining, paragliding, and more. Vail offers Adventure Ridge, which has a ropes course in addition to a zipline. You can also go white river rafting in many of the rivers around the state. Some of these activities are family friendly, offering an adventure the whole family can enjoy.

Water Sports

The many beautiful lakes in Colorado offer summer visitors hours of fun. You can rent a boat to sail around Grand Lake. You can also go fishing, enjoy kayaking, swimming, as well as other water activities. If you do not want to enjoy any of the water sports, you can still sit and enjoy the sunshine on the beaches of the lakes, or hike around and enjoy the views.

Golfing

Many of the resort towns in Colorado have golf courses, which are some of the best mountain courses in the world. These courses offer stunning views, especially the ones in Eagle Country. You can also have a more impressive golf game, as the higher altitude makes the ball fly further.

Festivals

During the summer, Colorado hosts numerous festivals for music, food, art, film, comedy, wine, and more. Several towns offer a variety of festivals, making it easy to find one celebrating your interests, or you might just stumble into one during your stay. These festivals typically offer a unique cultural experience.  

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The Trails You Need To Hike In Yosemite

Posted on: August 18th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Hike In Yosemite

Yosemite National Park features amazing natural landscapes, including waterfalls higher than a 200-story building, more than 100 lakes, gigantic towering trees, mountains and even beaches. The park is actually larger than some European countries, and almost equals Rhode Island in size. With more than 800 miles of trails, each filled with its own picturesque vista to enjoy, you might have difficulty deciding which trail to take during your stay. There are trails for every skill level, including paved trails that remain close to the populated areas, remote trails, trails that take days to hike, and trails that take less than an hour to enjoy.

Yosemite is divided into four regions: Yosemite Valley, Tioga Pass Road, Southern Yosemite, Glacier Point Road, and Hetch Hetchy and Big Oak Flat. Most of Yosemite’s most famous landmarks are in Yosemite Valley. Below are some of the best trails to hike during your visit to Yosemite.

Vernal and Nevada Falls

This hike is one of the best in Yosemite Valley, especially in the spring. Vernal and Nevada Falls are two of Yosemite’s most stunning waterfalls. You also can see some other waterfalls during your hike, including Yosemite Falls and Illilouette Fall. You start this loop either at the Mist Trail or the John Muir Trail. The easiest route begins by climbing the Mist Trail, ending at the John Muir Trail.

Half Dome

Half Dome is one of the most famous hikes in Yosemite, but it is not for the faint-hearted. The summit of Half Dome offers 360-degree views of the surrounding park.  Most people take two days to make this hike. Day hikers need advance permits, and the cable route to the summit is only open during the summer season, from May to mid-October.

The Panorama Trail

This hike offers exciting views of many of Yosemite’s famous landmarks, including Half Dome, Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall, Yosemite Falls and the rest of Yosemite Valley.

Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias

On this trail, you walk among giant Sequoias and see some of the oldest trees in the world. This protected grove features over 300 hundred giant sequoias, some of which date back to 2,000 years ago.

Upper Yosemite Fall Hike

Yosemite Falls is the highest waterfall in North America, measuring 2,425 feet from top to bottom. This trail takes you up to the top of the falls, where you can look down over the falls and the rest of the area. There are also trails among the lower part of the falls for those who want an easier hike.

Cathedral Lakes

The Cathedral Lakes trail, located in Tuolumne, takes you to two lakes. The first is Cathedral Lake, which sits within a glacial cirque with views of the nearby Cathedral Peak. You can stay and enjoy this lake, or you can continue on to Tenaya Lake. The trail is located at the side of Tioga Road and takes you through beautiful pine forests with views of the surrounding mountains as you walk to the lakes.

May Lake and Mount Hoffmann

Mount Hoffman sits in the park’s geographical center of the park. Hiking to the summit offers amazing views of the entire area. Those who do not want to make the trek all the way to the summit can stop at May Lake. This beautiful lake offers views of Cathedra Peak, Half Dome and Mount Clark.

Tueeulala and Wapama Falls

If you enjoy waterfalls and want to get up close and personal to one, then you should hike this trail. This trail brings you closer to Wapama Falls than any of the trails to the other falls do. The trail also takes you by the spectacular Tueeulala Falls. You also can see the Hetch Hetchy Dome and Kolana Rock in the distance.  

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5 Resorts you Need to Know about in the Caribbean

Posted on: August 15th, 2014 by Quik Shade

The Caribbean Sea offers some of the best Island resorts in the world. The beautiful, sparkling ocean offers incredible diving and snorkeling opportunities, while the resorts provide luxurious locations to relax and unwind while on vacation. The islands in the Caribbean include Jamaica, the British Virgin Islands, Grand Cayman, Aruba, Antigua, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Anguilla, St. John, Virgin Gorda, Dominica, St. Martin, the Dominican Republic, the Grenadines, and St. Thomas.

Many travelers list the Caribbean as one of their top destinations, and you do not have to settle for just cruising through the islands. Instead, you can stay at one of these five resorts, which offer the best locations to relax and enjoy the beautiful vistas.

Jade Mountain, St. Lucia

 Jade Mountain

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Jade Mountain resort on St. Lucia sits above the 600-acre beach front of its sister resort, Anse Chastanet. It offers beautiful architecture that is in harmony with the island. Its architecture is stunning, which alone makes it a must-see resort. Additionally, the spacious rooms and private pools provide the perfect sanctuary for enjoying a relaxing vacation, especially with a romantic partner. It also features a boutique spa and fitness, and has limited media and technology to make it even easier to escape from the world. Visitors get to enjoy privacy and exclusivity, while enjoying all the amenities of the Anse Chastanet resort.

Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort and Spa

Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort and Spa

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This all-inclusive resort opened in 1997, and has become a popular destination for tourists traveling to Turks and Caicos. This resort offers exciting all-inclusive family vacations with a variety of activities. It features a 45,000 square-foot water park, in addition to a 12-mile beach that has been named one of the world’s best beaches by Conde Nast Traveler. It also has four villages and all the amenities travelers would want. This resort has been voted as the best family hotel in the Caribbean and best all-inclusive resort by Travel & Leisure.

Couples San Couci, Jamaica

Couples San Couci is located on the cliffs along the coast of Jamaica, offering gorgeous views of the Caribbean. It provides a relaxing atmosphere and healing natural mineral springs for a truly serene experience that can fuel the body, mind and soul. In addition to the many rooms, it also has private cabanas. Activities include glass bottom boats, scuba diving, and trips to Dunn’s River Falls.

W. Retreat and Spa, Puerto Rico

 This Puerto Rican resort offers visitors a luxurious resort in an area of the Caribbean not as heavily visited as some of the other islands. In fact, most people do not think of Puerto Rico when they think of a Caribbean Island, even though it offers many of the same gorgeous vistas. The brightest bioluminescent bay in the world and gorgeous beaches surround the resort. The 156 rooms and suites have private patios or balconies from which to enjoy the beautiful surrounding views. It also has a spa that features more than thirty custom treatments, as well as an oceanfront pool and several dining options.

Hermitage Bay, Anitgua

Hermitage Bay, Anitgua

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Hermitage Bay resort is located in a hidden cove on the west coast of Antigua. It is an all-inclusive luxury resort with only twenty-five individual suites. Hillsides, tropical gardens, beautiful beaches, and 140 acres of undeveloped land surround the resort. Its isolation provides the perfect island escape from the stressors of a hectic life. Their food is made from their own on-site organic kitchen. For guests who want to do more than rest, relax and enjoy the beach, the resort offers a fitness center, tours of historic sites, sailing, scuba, and cooking courses.

7 Ideas For A ‘Cool’ Outdoor Birthday

Posted on: August 13th, 2014 by Quik Shade

outdoor birthday party

 

Summer birthdays provide the perfect opportunity for a fun outdoor birthday celebration. However, the hot, sunny days can also lead to feeling hot and uncomfortable, making some people take the parties back inside. There is no need to suffer in the heat, or settle for an indoor bash. With these seven ideas, you can have a fantastically “cool” outdoor birthday celebration.

Water Party

With a water-themed birthday party, you can invite your friends and family over to have fun in the water, no pool required. Even adults can enjoy an old-fashioned water party. You can play games with water balloons, turn on the sprinklers, create a slip-and-slide, play with water guns, and just have fun getting wet. This themed party is not recommended during a drought, but otherwise, you can have a blast and keep cool during a sunny, warm summer day.

Pool Party

A classic pool party is a great way to stay cool during an outdoor birthday celebration. You can simply host a party at a pool in your backyard, neighborhood, or the city pool. You can play games, such as Marco Polo, ring toss, water tag, and more. Adults can also enjoy lounging at the pool for a birthday celebration.

Your own County Fair

You can make your own county fair in your backyard with a few simple games. You can have bobbing for apples, water balloon toss, sponge toss, watermelon seed spitting, and more. You can use a variety of games made for cooling down outside, including a small outdoor pool, to create your own county fair-inspired games. Everyone will enjoy having fun at the local county fair. Just warn people to dress for the occasion.

Kayaking or Tubing the River

If you live near a lake or river, you can rent some kayaks or tubes and go kayaking or tubing, an enjoyable activity for all ages. You can also go paddle boarding. Tubing on a river offers the best opportunity, as you do not need any skill level. These activities can also be enjoyed on a beach. You can also just enjoy swimming and frolicking in the water.

Camp Out

One way to make an outdoor birthday party cooler is to celebrate in the evening, when the sun goes down and the temperatures drop. Instead of just having an evening dinner or barbeque, you can have an all night camping party. You can go to a local state or national park, or you can just camp out in your own back yard. Do not forget to bring the s’mores. You can also plan fun activities while it is cool outside.

Ice Cream Making Party

An ice cream making party is where you make ice cream, snow cones, popsicles, and other frozen treats, and then enjoy eating them. Kids and adults alike enjoy making these frozen snacks. To enhance the fun, and flavors, you can find creative recipes online and try them out. You can also have a competition for the most creative creation.

Beach Party

You do not have to live near the beach to have a beach party. You can create a beach-themed party and bring the sand and ocean to you, at least in spirit. You can use some small plastic pools and imported sand to create the atmosphere. Everyone can water their swimsuits, and you can play water-themed games to play. For example, you can play traditional beach games, such as Frisbee and volleyball, but with a twist. The volleyball and Frisbee can be filled with water, so everyone gets wet. You can feel like you are on the beach, even if you are not.

 

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Santorini Named Best Island to Visit in the World

Posted on: August 11th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Sataroni Island

Every year, the magazine Travel & Leisure conducts a reader survey to discover the best travel destinations around the world. There are different designations for the awards, including hotels, islands, and more. This year, the top overall island in the world, as selected by Travel & Leisure readers, was Santorini, in Greece. The island moved up three places from fourth place in 2013. It had an overall score of 89.98 out of 100. On the top overall island list, it was followed by three Hawaiian islands: Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island, with Bali rounding out the top five.

How the Rankings Work

The rankings come from the readers of the magazine, not from travel experts or people in the industry, making them truly based on the traveler’s experience. The Travel & Leisure survey was available for readers to fill out for four months, from December 2013 to March 2014. Any responses that were from an identified travel-industry professional were eliminated to keep the results strictly from the readers. Each area had characteristics in which respondents ranked the areas. For islands, there were five characteristics. There were also optional characteristics, although those were not included in the final score. The ratings were averaged and totaled to create an overall score, which then allowed the locations to be compared and a list to be formed . The categories for islands included natural attractions/beaches, activities/sights, restaurants/food, people, and value, along with an optional category for romance.

Not just Travel & Leisure Readers

It is not just Travel & Leisure Readers that rank Santorini as the best island in the world. The U.S. News and World Report ranks Santorini as number one, a ranking based on experts and readers voting. The top five for this list include Bora Bora, St. Kitts & Nevis, Maldives and St. Martin in St. Maartin. Many other lists likewise rank Santorini as the top, or one of the top, islands to visit in the world.

Historically Beautiful

Santorini, one of the Greek islands, is located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is famous for its white buildings and stunning sunsets. It has long drawn visitors to its white, red and black sand beaches. The island is just as famous for its nightlife as it is for its beautiful vistas. As with many areas of Greece, remnants remain of the ancient empire. Visitors enjoy seeing the archeological findings in the preserved Ancient Akrotiri, or climbing the ancient stairs to the city of Manolas in Thirassia. The myth of the lost island of Atlantis is associated with Santorini. A volcanic eruption in 1650 B.C.E. caused a single island, Strongyli, to succumb to the sea and form the archipelago of today, which is made up of two inhabited islands and several islets. Many people believe that Atlantis was on Strongyli. The volcano remains active, and it last erupted in the 1950s and ruined many of the towns on the island. 

Things to Do on the Island

Like many Mediterranean islands, Santorini’s top attractions typically revolve around beach or ocean activities. The best beach to visit is Kamari Beach, located about 4 miles southeast of Fira. It features powdery black sand, which can get hot. Because this beach is so popular, it can get crowded. A quieter beach is the Red Beach, located in Akrotiri. Visitors should also look at the many beautiful views of the caldera, especially from Amoudi Bay. To get to this spot, there is a 300-step hike that can be taxing. This little port town also features beautiful sunsets, along with quaint taverns offering fresh fish of the day. For those looking to learn more about ancient Greece, Ancient Thira and Ancient Akrotiri offer beautiful ruins from various eras to explore.

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Top 5 Tourist Destinations that Require Sunscreen

Posted on: August 7th, 2014 by Quik Shade

Cornwall Beach

 

Skin cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer worldwide. The UV damage caused by sun exposure contributes to over 90 percent of skin cancer cases. One of the best ways to prevent skin cancer is to wear sunscreen, especially when outdoors on a sunny day. Any exposure to sun, even for a few days on vacation, can contribute to skin cancer. Everyone should wear sunscreen when outdoors. However, if you normally live in a climate with less sun, or spend a limited time outdoors, it is even more important to wear sunscreen while on vacation, as you will not have any natural protection in your skin. When you travel to the following top 5 sunshine-rich destinations, be sure not to forget the sunscreen.

Australia

Australia provides many beautiful destinations for touring. You can choose to dive or snorkel the Great Barrier Reefs, sail between islands, cruise along the Gold Coast, catch some sun on the Sydney beaches, drive the Great Ocean Road near Melbourne, tour the Outback, or see Uluru rock. Whether you only have time for one of these unique and picturesque locations, or you squeeze them all into your trip, you need to wear sunscreen. Although parts of Australia are southern enough to have real winters–and even penguins–many parts of Australia stay warm and sunny all year long.

However, it is not just due to the weather that you need sunscreen. The ozone layer above Australia is thinned, which allows more UV radiation to reach the earth. Since the 1960s, there has been a five to nine percent depletion of the ozone layer over Australia. The extra UV exposure provides a higher risk of skin cancer. Australians have the highest skin cancer rates in the world, which is two to three times the rates of Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.–and it is not just because they like to spend time outdoors. It is recommended that you wear sunscreen with high SPF levels year round in Australia, even on cloudy days, to prevent skin cancer.

Bora Bora

Bora Bora is considered by many to be the most beautiful island in the world. Located in the South Pacific, this volcanic island is surrounded by a lagoon and barrier island. Several resorts feature over-water bungalows at a variety of prices, so everyone can enjoy the expierence. Bora Bora provides visitors several options for water-centric activities, in addition to simply relaxing and enjoying the sun.

Hawaii

The Pacific islands that make up Hawaii each offer tourists a different experience, but they all provide a paradise setting in which to relax and enjoy the sun and ocean. The islands offer mild tropical weather, with year round sunshine and warm weather, in which to enjoy the gorgeous vistas. Most activities in Hawaii are outdoors, including swimming, diving, snorkeling, hiking, relaxing on the beach, or enjoying luaus.

Caribbean Islands

It can be really difficult to decide which of the Caribbean islands to visit, which is why many cruise companies offer cruises that go through many of the different islands. Many visitors enjoy Barbados, the easternmost island in the Caribbean Sea. It features many world-class hotels, as well as private villas. The islands of Barbados feature white and pink sands. The east coast offers large waves, popular with surfers. 

Greek Islands

The many islands of Greece provide visitors beautiful views of the Mediterranean Sea, along with historical artifacts from Ancient Greek and unique architecture and culture. Each island has its own traditions and local culture, but they all feature areas to enjoy the sunshine amid the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. The most popular island is Santorini, with is famous for the beautiful views and gorgeous sunsets. Mykonos, Rhodes and Crete are also popular island destinations in Greece. 

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