The northeastern Aegean Islands (Τα Νησιά του Βορειοανατολικού Αιγαίου) are notable (like the Dodecanese) for their proximity to the Turkish mainland. Influences from Asia Minor abound in old-fashioned island cuisines, traditional village culture, dramatic celebrations and even the language.
Eccentric Ikaria is marked by jagged landscapes, pristine beaches and a famously long-lived, left-leaning population. Nearby Chios provides fertile ground for the planet’s only gum-producing mastic trees. Other islands range from rambling Lesvos, producer of half the world’s ouzo, to midsize islands such as semitropical Samos and workaday Limnos, and bright specks in the sea such as Inousses and Psara. Samothraki is home to the ancient Sanctuary of the Great Gods, while well-watered Thasos seems an extension of the mainland. Lesvos, Chios and Samos offer easy connections to Turkey’s coastal resorts and historically Hellenic sites.