With over 160 inhabited islands, there’s no wonder Greece is many people’s favorite holiday destination. And with such a wide selection at hand, you might find it hard to choose the best Greek island for your summer escape.
And that’s why I’m here, to help you make the best decision. I’ve gathered in one place a list of all the perfect Greek island destinations, based on the opinion of seasoned travel bloggers.
You’ll find something for everyone, from the best Greek islands for couples looking for the best honeymoon, to Greek islands for families traveling with kids.
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But before we get started, here are a few of my top tips for anyone planning a Greek vacation:
- Book your flight by checking Skyscanner.com – this is an online aggregator that will show you all the best combinations and will help you optimize prices and timetables.
- Discover Cars is a great aggregator that will help you find and book the best option for renting a car during your trip, helping you save up to 70% on your car rental. They have a pretty good Cancellation policy that would give you options in case your flight or travel plans change. Choose the best price here!
- Day trips and experiences can be easily booked through GetYourGuide – they have a wide selection of tours and a great cancellation policy that will offer you a full refund if you cancel up to 24 hours before the tour. Explore perfect tours here!
The best Greek islands for couples
By Jessica at Myfeetwillleadme.com
Folegandros is a small Greek island with a dramatic coastline. This is where you go to get away from the crowds commonly swarming the other Greek islands. Folegandros gives you a glimpse of what traditional Greek life must have felt like decades earlier. It’s not unusual to have to wait for a sheepherder and his flock to cross the road.
Because Folegandros is quite small, there is no airport.
The simplest way to see the small island is to rent a scooter or ATV. You can easily see most of the 12.5 square mile island in a day.
Spend a minimum of 2-3 days in there to experience the uncrowded rugged beaches, stroll the quaint town of Chora perched on the edge of a cliff, and climb the zigzagging path to the church overlooking the town for incredible views at sunset.
For anyone wanting to be transported back in time to a traditional way of Greek life and escape the crowds of other islands, they will find
Folegandros a breath of fresh air. This is definitely one of the most underrated islands in all of Greece.
By Claire at ZigZag On Earth
If you are looking for a Greek island holiday with a variety of landscapes and activities, Crete offers it all: white villages, stunning beaches (white sand, pebbles, pink sand), lagoons, ancient archaeological sites, magnificent gorges, mountains dropping into the sea, Venetian architecture… You won’t get bored!
It is very easy to reach the island either by plane to Heraklion or by ferry from Athens or another Greek island. But understand that this one is quite large. Therefore, you should plan at least a week to get a good snapshot or 2 weeks to explore the entire island.
The North Coast is developed with resort towns and all the main cities, while the South is wilder with canyons and smaller villages.
I think the best way to explore is on a road trip. But if you prefer staying in one place, I recommend splitting your vacation in half:
First, stay in the Venetian town of Chania to explore the West with the magnificent Balos Lagoon, the impressive Samaria Gorge, and the pink sand beach at Elafonisi.
And then, stay around Heraklion or Agios Nikolaos in Eastern Crete to visit the fort of Spinalonga, the hippie Matala beach, and the famous Knossos palace (home of the Minotaur).
No question about it, Santorini is the best Greek island for a honeymoon or even for couples looking for a romantic place to spend a vacation.
Easily reached by plane no matter if you’re flying from Europe, the US, or Athens, you can always choose to travel by ferry as well.
Narrow streets, unique cave houses, stunning sunset views, hotels with private pools perched on the cliffs overlooking the caldera, and you won’t have to break the bank to get here if you know where to stay and what to do.
Travel during spring or fall and spend one week on the island without getting bored.
By Jim Vail of Reflections Enroute
Chios, located in the Eastern Aegean, is the fifth largest of the Greek Islands.
Situated only a few miles off the Turkish coast it can usually be accessed by ferry out of Cesme. Other options are an overnight ferry out of Piraeus (Athens) or island hopping from Lesbos or Samos.
While the island is larger than other Greek isles, it isn’t as popular a destination as Mykonos or Santorini, and generally has fewer tourists, more pristine beaches, and a very laid-back atmosphere. At the same time, there is plenty to do on the island including ancient monasteries, castles, and picturesque beaches.
Spend a day or a weekend exploring the island or just relaxing in a quaint seaside village. Eat freshly caught calamari, lightly breaded and fried, or grilled while sipping the local liqueur, Mastika, made from the mastic resin for which the island is famous. Or head up into the northern hills to the Ariousious winery for spectacular views and delicious wine.
Chios is home to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Nea Moni Monastery, which should not be missed. Other top sites include the Painted Villages (Pyrgi and Mesta), and the picturesque little chapel, Saint Isidore (agios Isidoros).
Regardless of how you spend your time on Chios, you will leave more relaxed and rejuvenated than when you arrived.
By Linda at La Dolce Fit Vita
Aquamarine waters coupled with traditional fishing villages make Milos the ultimate Greek Island to head to for those looking to experience that Mammamia motion picture moment. With over 70 beaches to choose from, Milos has more beaches than any other Cyclade island- each one more stunning than the next!
Most of the coastline borders on cliffs which has allowed beaches to remain rather secluded (given uneasy access at times). Given the volcanic nature of the island, the many minerals present to allow for a spectrum of colors (even underwater!).
If you’re a fan of snorkeling you cannot miss Kleftiko caves, an area full of the most extraordinary coves only accessible via boat. If there is one tour you must opt for while in Greece, do a boat tour around Milos and discover all the remarkable hidden pirate coves.
The best way to visit Milos is to rent a quad and just beach-hop ‘til you drop. There are beaches for all tastes; sandy, rocky, wild, family-friendly – I recommend going to all types as the experience changes drastically.
Milos has so much to offer that any time less than 4 days there is just a shame. The island is so easy to get to from Athens or any other surrounding islands via plane or ferry. The total flight time from Athens is about 50 minutes. If you opt for traveling via ferry, make sure to check the ferry schedule ahead of time (before booking for accommodation) as not all routes operate every day.
By Lavina at Continent Hop
If you’re looking to spend a holiday on an island or even go island hopping Greece is the country for you. There are numerous islands one can visit however if you’re looking for an island where you’d like to spend some time, maybe partying then Mykonos is the island for you.
Not only are the whitewashed Churches and some streets the highlights of this beautiful island, but there’s also windmills and Little Venice here as well that are quite stunning!
There are numerous ways to get here; however, the most convenient is by a direct flight from most European countries, or even a ferry from Santorini that takes about forty minutes to get here. Some cruises also one of their stops as Mykonos.
The windmills of Chora is also where you’ll find Paraportiani Church which is featured in most movies.
There are many restaurants where you’ll find local Greek food and there are numerous colorful alleys that make for good pictures and to take a walk to explore this location.
Mykonos is also a great spot if you love history and architecture as it is the most convenient to get to the nearby island of Delos (where apparently the Greek God Apollo was born) from here.
Best Greek islands for families
By Chrysoula from Greece Travel Ideas
Naxos is the largest in the Cycladic group and one of the most beautiful Greek Islands. Naxos has sandy beaches, fertile green valleys, pretty villages, and imposing mountains. It is an idyllic place to stay for a few days or a week as you can relax and enjoy life at a leisurely speed.
There are no direct international flights to Naxos, so fly to Athens and then take a domestic flight or catch the ferry from Piraeus or another island.
The island has some of the best beaches in Greece and these include Plaka and Agios Prokopios. Alyko is a series of secluded white sand beaches with cedar forest and sand dunes. The old hotel there has been converted into an art gallery for street painters.
There are good water sports including water skiing and sailing. Mikri Vigla is famous for its windsurfing and kite surfing as it offers the perfect conditions – and the opportunity to learn either sport.
If you fancy exploring the island, it is fun to rent a car or to hike. Naxos has a rich history and many archaeological sites to explore. The best known of these is Portara, the remaining gateway of an ancient temple dedicated to the god Apollo – and the perfect place to watch the sunset.
The main town of Chora is dominated by a well-preserved Venetian castle and is a blend of Venetian and Cycladic architecture. There are lovely traditional villages to discover including Halki and Apiranthos.
Skiathos is the most popular stop in the Sporades Islands in central Greece. The island hosts some of the nicest beaches in the country. At the same time, it is famous for its lively nightlife.
There are about 60 beautiful sandy beaches on Skiathos. Koukounaries, on its southwestern tip, is the nicest. Agia Paraskevi, Troulos, and Achladies are other gorgeous beaches.
The island’s capital, Skiathos Town, is a cute little town packed with lively bars and restaurants. It hosts several nice churches and a colorful museum.
Close to the town, there is an 18th-century monastery that played an important role in Greek history. The Evangelistria Monastery was a hiding place for revolutionaries during the Greek Independence War. It is also here that the first flag of Modern Greece was created.
Skiathos is also one of Greece’s greenest islands. Lush green forests cover almost every corner of the island and there are hiking paths for every level and taste.
It’s easy to get to Skiathos, especially in summer. You can either take a ferry (from Volos or Agios Konstantinos) or fly directly to Skiathos International Airport.
Due to the abundance of things to see and do in Skiathos you should spend at least a week on this gorgeous island.
By Nichola at Family Hotel Expert
Rhodes is an ideal destination for anyone looking for a Greek Island break. It really does have it all, from a spectacular coastline to wonderful mountains and forests. It’s perfect for people who want to get active with mountain biking, snorkeling, and hiking being top activities in Rhodes. If you’re a fan of history there’s plenty here too.
Lindos Acropolis is wonderfully evocative – perched high up on the cliff tops overlooking the sea with a scattering of whitewashed houses below. Wander past fallen pillars and inscribed stonework of this site that was first inhabited 3000 years ago and feel the past come to life. Or take a walk through Rhodes Old Town which will leave you feeling you have stepped back into Medieval Times.
If you’re visiting Rhodes for a family holiday then there are some fantastic resorts and hotels dotted along the coast, taking full advantage of the gorgeous setting of this wonderful island.
The best way to get to Rhodes is to fly in as it’s a fair trek from Athens on the boat otherwise. You need at least a week to really appreciate this varied island, however long you come for though you’ll be left feeling like you wish you’d come for longer.
By Marco at Nomadic FIRE
When you think of life in Greece, images of the islands of Mykonos and Santorini usually pop into minds first. While these two islands are undeniably gorgeous, they can also be extremely crowded. If you’re looking for a place to feel like you have the island all to yourself, Alonissos is the best Greek island to visit.
For about $50 in tickets and four hours on a bus and ferry from the capital Athens or slightly over six and half hours from the cheaper city of Thessaloniki, Alonissos is an ideal weekend escape from the thumping bass-heavy music or crowded Greek party scene.
Alonissos is a tiny island in the North Aegean Sea, situated between the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos, is a part of the Sporades island group.
Ideal for travelers looking to relax for a tranquil island getaway, Alonissos has the same Greek turquoise blue crystal-clear waters to romp in but significantly fewer tourists to deal with.
After spending the day on one of the many secluded beaches (Chris Milia beach has the best pillowy golden sand), the old town has several charming cafes and quaint bistros for a drink or dinner under the night sky.
On the next day, visitors can choose an excursion to take some unique Instagram photos of the half-sunken barge wreck just off the coast between the island and Peristera, or nature-loving snorkelers and scuba divers can dip in for a swim in the Alonissos Marine Park. The marine park is known to contain hundreds of species of fish and loggerhead turtles. Dolphins and whales are also known to make an appearance. However, the park’s most significant inhabitants are the endangered Mediterranean monk seals, of which only 800 or so survive.
If the peak summer Greek crowds start to fray your patience, a weekend trip to Alonissos is just what you need.
Islands close to Athens
By Chantae from Chantae Was Here
An idyllic island near Athens, Aegina is one of the most beautiful islands in Greece thanks to its ancient history. Here, you can admire the Doric temple of Athena Aphaia, dedicated to the goddess Athena, built mid-400 BC.
The Temple of Apollo is also found on Aegina, with one remaining column marking the edge of Aegina’s most beautiful beach. You can learn more about Greek history at the tiny Archaeological Museum of Aegina that features tools, sculptures, and other works of art found on the island.
Above all, Aegina is famous for its pistachios, and it’s clutched onto a coveted reputation of producing the best in the world. In Aegina town, you can sample pistachio ice cream, chutneys, nut butter, and pistachios both sweet and savory.
Aegina is about an hour away by boat from Athens, and ferries run regularly throughout the day. While you can do it easily as a day trip, it’s best to spend two days in Aegina to enjoy the many museums, ruins, and stretches of sandy beaches.
Plan your visit during the week as it gets quite crowded on the weekends with tourists flocking to Aegina’s quiet shoreline. While it’s possible to bring a car over on the ferry, the highlights of Aegina are easily seen on foot or by bicycle. There are also a handful of taxi stands found in town.
By Phil from JOURNICATION Travel Blog
You are overwhelmed by the many things to do in Athens and you are looking for a way to escape the crowds and touristy streets of Plaka? The very touristy island destinations like Hydra and Aegina are not an alternative for you? Then Agistri is the place to be!
The small island in the Saronic Gulf is only a short speedboat ferry ride from Athens’ city port of Piraeus, but it’s still a great place to slow down.
On Agistri, there are only a few villages, little traffic, only one bus and especially during the week only a few tourists. You don’t have to worry about a long list of must-sees and attractions – they don’t exist.
Rent a scooter or a bike and explore the whole island in a relaxed way. Yes, you read that right. Because of the small area, you can relax and explore every corner.
On the small island, you will find great small beaches, just as uncrowded as the rest of the island. Some beaches and bays are not very easily accessible, which in turn increases the chances of being there completely alone.
For sunset, take a seat in a cozy restaurant on the promenades, enjoy the sunset over the sea with a plate of delicious fresh seafood.
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