Best Greek Islands – Greece is a land of stunning landscapes, ancient ruins, and fascinating culture. With so many islands to choose from, it’s hard to know which ones to visit. But don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll discuss the top five Greek islands for tourists, as well as provide tips on how to make the most of your trip. From planning your travel route to packing your essentials, we’ve got everything you need to know! So put on your swimsuit and let’s take a trip to paradise!
First-timers frequently refer to their trip to “the Greek islands” as if they were a single entity that could be easily entered and exited, similar to shopping mall boutiques. The size and variety of the archipelagos are only apparent once a visitor gets to know the country. There are, in fact, more than 200 inhabited Greek islands (out of approximately 6,000 total). From the white and blue houses on the Cyclades islands to the lush, green Ionian islands to the castle-line Dodecanese islands, each inhabited island has its own personality.
Best Greek Islands
- 1 Best Greek Islands
- 2 Best Greek Islands Details
- 3 The Best Greek Islands to Visit and Stay
- 4 The Cyclades Islands
- 5 Crete
- 6 Saronic Gulf Islands
- 7 The Ionian Islands
- 8 The Sporades Islands
- 9 The Northeast Aegean Islands
- 10 The Dodecanese Islands
- 11 Conclusion
There are so many wonderful Greek islands to visit and stay on! Which one is the best for you? Read on to find out which five Greek islands have been rated as the best by Trip Advisor users! These islands are beautiful, comfortable, and perfect for a relaxing getaway. Whether you’re looking for a quiet escape or want to party hard all week long, these islands have something for everyone. So don’t wait any longer – book your vacation today.
Greece is made up of six main island groups and one significant isle :Crete. Generally, archipelago-hopping is easier than traveling between islands within a group. In this guide, we’ll break down the best Greek islands to visit, including what each island group is known for, and how to travel within each archipelago. Due to its status as a major tourist destination, Santorini is an excellent destination for first-time travelers and families. Since most tourists congregate around the major islands and cities, the best places to avoid them are within the Peloponnese. Athens is the one city that everyone must visit when in Greece.
Best Greek Islands Details
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The Best Greek Islands to Visit and Stay
Looking for a relaxing and enjoyable holiday? Then look no further than the Greek islands! These stunning islands offer unspoiled beaches, crystal-clear waters, and plenty of cultural attractions to keep you busy. Whether you’re looking for a small island getaway or a full-blown holiday, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll take you on a tour of some of the best Greek islands to visit and stay on. Ready? Let’s go!
Getting Around the Greek Islands
Although there are airports on many Greek islands, not all of them are international. You can only fly from neighboring islands or Athens to many of the islands, which are only served by domestic airlines like Aegean Airlines. However, you can fly directly from European or Middle Eastern cities to some of the most popular islands, such as Crete and Santorini, which have international airports.
Especially if you stay within a single archipelago, island hopping is easy to do by ferry. The high-speed ferry in the Cyclades Islands is Sea jets, but Greek Ferries provides access to all options, including cheaper ferries. Naturally, you can rent a car in Athens or on one of the islands and drive it to the ferry, turning your island-hopping excursion into a road trip through the open sea.In any case, it’s easy to lease a vehicle on every one of the islands, as well, gave you have a worldwide driver’s permit with you.
When to Visit the Greek Isles
If you want good weather but still want to avoid crowds, the Grecian islands are great to visit in May, June, and September. More ferry and flight options are available during the peak season, which runs from mid-June to mid-September. Additionally, this is the time of year when there are the most restaurants and beach bars open, but with more tourists competing for your business and higher prices. Each island group has its own weather, but Crete is a great choice for late fall or winter because it is warm all year. And while some islands, like Hydra, have a lot of locals and tourists all year long, others, like Santorini, are quiet during the off-season (November to March). In order to help you plan your next Grecian adventure, we’ve compiled a summary of each archipelago and its highlights here.
The Cyclades Islands
With two of the most popular islands, this archipelago is the most popular first stop for Americans traveling to Greece: Santorini and Mykonos This group of 24 inhabited islands (out of 220 total islands) resembles every postcard depicting Greece: white churches with blue domes and pink bougainvillea vines that covered small side streets.
Mykonos is known for its nightlife and beautiful beaches that can be seen from a distance. However, the island also has a beautiful Cycladic village in the middle with windmills and narrow streets that were built to stop pirates centuries ago. Honeymooners adore Santorini because it is opulent and romantic, and they love to relax in their own pools with views of the caldera. There are numerous alternatives to Mykonos and Santorini for travelers.
Anticipated Milos has powerful sea shores and the renowned Kleftiko caves, Tinos is the site of a popular church to the Virgin Mary, and the rural Lesser Cyclades (Koufonisia, Donousa, Schinoussa, and Iraklia) are perfect for setting up camp. There are large islands like Naxos and Syros, the archipelago’s capital, as well as smaller ones like Sikinos that see very little tourism.
How to Travel the Cyclades Islands?
The tourist season on the Cycladic islands runs from mid-April to mid-October (peaking in June, July, and August). If this is your first time in the area, you should definitely start with a trip to either Santorini or Mykonos. Great wineries like Venet sanos and Santo can be found on Santorini. On Mykonos, the nightlife with famous clubs like Scorpios and Super Paradise will keep you coming back. Swim, snorkel, and wander the fortress-like capitals of the smaller islands like Ios, Folegandros, and Milos, which are home to shops, galleries, bars, and taverns (the main town on most islands is called “Chora”);”Plaka” is the name on Milos. Additionally, check out companies like Sunset Oia Cruises on Santorini and Polco Sailing on Milos for sailing excursions on the Cycladic islands.
Where to Stay
On Santorini, begin your outing by remaining in the midst of the notable, cliffside white-and-blue places of Oia at Andronis Extravagance Suites. Then, move along the caldera to Imerovigli, where you’ll discover probably the most beyond ludicrous and heartfelt lodgings, including Andronis Idea Health Resort and Effortlessness Inn, Auberge Resorts Assortment. At long last, remain a night in the old town of Pyrgos at Santorini Sky.
On Mykonos, begin your get-away at The Wild Lodging by Interni, which has a lavish store environment and best of all a confidential ocean side open just to inn visitors. For to a greater degree a vacation insight, put in a couple of extraordinarily heartfelt evenings at Kalesma Mykonos, where every suite has its own boundlessness edge pool
Somewhere else in the Cyclades, search for extravagance store lodgings (many, similar to The Wild and Kalesma, will be family possessed). Attempt Milos Breeze on Milos, Coco-Mat Eco Homes on Serifos, Calilo on Ios, and the Naxian Assortment Extravagance Manors and Suites on Naxos.
Crete, the largest and southernmost island in Greece and roughly halfway between Africa and Europe, has its own distinct culture, climate, accent, and cuisine. Travelers typically choose to concentrate on the 257 km long island of Crete rather than exploring other archipelagos because there is so much to do there.
How to Travel on Crete?
Crete’s two main airports make it easy to get there from Athens. You will need to rent a car once you arrive on the island; To drive from one end of Crete to the other, it takes about six hours.
On Crete, check out Elafonissi Beach, which is famous for its pink sand, and Elounda Beach, which is famous for its five-star beach clubs. Walk through wildflowers along mountain village paths or take a five- to seven-hour hike through streams and between cliffs in the Samaria Gorge. If you’re an oenophile who wants to try some Cretan wines, pay a visit to the Boutaris winery and the ruins of the Palace of Knossos, which was the home of the Minoan empire and the dreaded Minotaur monster. Last but not least, if you have time for a day trip, the isle of Spinalonga off the coast of Elounda is worth a look for its breathtaking natural beauty and tragic past: it was a leprosy colony until the middle of the twentieth century.
Where to Stay on Crete
A slope of olive forests inclining down to sandy sea shores, the Elounda landmass has become something of a Cretan Riviera, fixed with fancy retreats including Crete’s just Relais and Chateaux property, the Elounda Female horse, as well as one of Crete’s fresher lodgings, Cayo Selective Hotel and Spa.
Beyond Heraklion is family-accommodating, five-star, ocean front retreat Amirandes, part of the public Grecotel chain (take a diversion to eat on their ranch, Agreco). Moving west, you’ll track down the very much safeguarded Venetian town of Rethymnon, and more notable store choices like Kapsaliana Town Lodging, a changed eighteenth century olive press, and Casa Delfino, a revamped seventeenth century house outside the port of Chania.
Saronic Gulf Islands
The closest island group to Athens is also that home to some of the most scenic, under-the-radar isles. Hydra, Spetses, Poros, Aegina, and little Agistri are popular with Greek weekenders and European visitors, but are less known to Americans.
How to Travel the Saronic Gulf Islands?
Hydra, Greece’s Nantucket without cars, is small but powerful. Horse-drawn carriages trundle along the waterfronts of Spetses, and yachts are park in the harbor. Family-friendly Poros, with a large, cute town dominated by a clock tower and tree-shaded beaches, is popular with sailing aficionados. The largest island closest to Athens, Aegina has four sandy beaches, a large port, and its very own ruin, the temple of Athena Aphaia. It is simple to reach the Saronic Gulf islands because they are so close to Athens: You can get to each of these places from Athens via a hydrofoil that departs from the Piraeus port.
Where to Stay
We like the Cotommatae on Hydra and the Orloff Resort on Spetses, two convert captains’ homes, which can be found in abundance on both islands. Sto Roloi is a collection of holiday villas made from traditional island homes on Poros; Sirene Blue Resort is a more opulent take on Poros accommodations. It’s also possible to rent a private villa, especially on Aegina, where weekend homes are more popular than hotels. Also, the gem in the crown of the Saronic Bay is Spetses’ harbor front Poseidonion Great Lodging, laid out in 1914, which is similarly essentially as amazing as its name recommends.
The Ionian Islands
Lush and green, the Ionian Islands (also known as the “seven islands” or “Eptanissia”) offer unique local culture, music, art, cuisine, and architecture in their Island. While the Ionians are known, first and foremost, for Corfu, the six other main islands hold their own and attract their fair share of tourists, too much.
How to Travel the Ionian Islands?
You should spend some time on Corfu exploring the UNESCO-protected Old Town. Paxos, a small island near Corfu with three charming bays and a satellite island known for its translucent waters, is cover in olive trees. Mount Aenos in the center of Kefalonia, the largest island in size, is surround by wild horses. Shipwreck Beach, which can only be reach by sea, and the famous blue caves that you can swim through are located on Zakynthos. A bridge connects Lefkada to the mainland, which has some of Greece’s best beaches along its shores and woodland villages in its that middle. Small Ithaka, which is refer to by fans of Homer as the residence of Odysseus, is still relatively unknown. Finally, Kythera stands out because it is closer to the Peloponnese and appears more Cycladic than Ionian.
Athens receives both domestic and international charter and airline flights from the airports of Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Kythera.
Where to Stay
On Corfu, choices range from current extravagance coastline resorts like the Grecotel Corfu Royal to notable eighteenth century homes in the Tuscan-like inside, for example, the Pelecas Nation Club. Close to Old Town, Banyan Tree as of late opened their most memorable European property on Corfu, and the flawless shoreline area has 159 rooms and sumptuous pool manors.
On Kefalonia, there’s super present day Tesoro Blu in Skala, and the Emelisse Workmanship Inn is a pearl outside the completely flawless town of Fiscardo. Its sister property on Ithaka, the Perantzade, is a contemporary inn inside a nineteenth century manor on the harbor in Fathy. Little Paxus is all estate rentals and rooms to lease with the exception of a couple of close inns, as Paxos Ocean side and Paxos Club Resort and Spa. On Zakynthos, Porto Zante Manors and Spa is a fancy desert spring on the bustling eastern coast, and in the tranquil north of the island, close to the blue caverns, Nobelos is a four-suite, family-run lodging cherished for its natural eatery.
The Sporades Islands
Only four of these green islands off the northeastern coast of mainland Greece are inhabit; if you’ve seen “Mamma Mia,” you already know what they look like. There are 24 of these islands.White churches, a lot of sand, rocks, and singing surround dark-green pines. The Sporades experience encompasses everything.
How to Travel the Sporades Islands?
While low-key Skopelos is a natural paradise of white pebble coves, oak forests, monasteries, traditional villages, and numerous shipwrecks off the coast in the National Marine Park, buzzy Skiathos is known for its nightlife and gold-sand beaches. Alonissos is a great base for fishing, bird watching, and spotting the protected Mediterranean monk seal because it is in the middle of the National Marine Park. Finally, Skyros is well-known for its churches, local ceramics and crafts, beautiful mountain top capital Chora, which is crown by a Venetian castle.
To get to the Sporades Islands, thereare direct flights from Athens to Skiathos and Skyros. From Thessaloniki, a ferry also goes to Skiathos. In summer, hydrofoils sail to every one of the four islands from the port of Agios Konstantinos on the central area. By ferry or boat, each Sporade connects to the other.
On these four islands, sailing, swimming, mountain biking, sea kayaking, and hiking are the primary forms of tourism.Go to the beaches: Skopelos’ Hovolo for pine-scented breezes, Skyros’ Kalamitsa for wind surfing, and Skiathos’ Ambelakia for seeing and being seen. Sailing, swimming, and scuba diving are all must-do activities in the National Marine Archaeological Park.
Where to Stay
All over the islands, villas with private pools like those offer by Poikilma Villas on Alonissos can be rent. Try the family-run Atrium Hotel above Agia Paraskevi Beach in Skiathos or the Adrina Resort on the beach in Skopelos for a more full-service hotel.
The Northeast Aegean Islands
Ikaria, Samos, Limnos, Lesvos, and Chios are the five most well-known of these 13 islands, which make up the region of Greece closest to Turkey. Amazing beaches and natural wonders (a petrified forest on Lesvos, volcanic rocks and sand dunes on Limnos, and thermal springs on Ikaria) will reward you for your journey here.
How to Travel the Northeast Aegean Islands?
There are domestic airports on Chios and Ikaria, as well as international airports on Limnos, Lesvos (also known as Mytilene), Samos, and Limnos. From Athens’ Piraeus port, you can take a number of ferries to these islands as well.
The Temple of Hera on Samos, the acropolis on Thassos, the ancient city of Ifestia on Limnos, and the magnificent castle on Lesvos are all worth a visit. In addition to their history, these islands are well-known for their water sports. One of Europe’s best places to kite or windsurf is Kleros Beach on Limnos. The Seitani coves on Samos, Kipos beach on Samothrace, the white-sand Seychelles on Ikaria, and Vatera on Lesvos are all excellent swimming spots.
Where to Stay
Stay at the magnificent Argentikon Luxury Suites in a 16th-century estate to travel back in time to when Genovese nobility ruled Chios. At the Armonia Bay Hotel on Samos, you can sleep above the popular Tsamadou beach, at the Toxotis Villas on Ikaria, or on the beach in a luxurious safari tent provided by Surf Club Limnos.
The Dodecanese Islands
Because it has 12 main islands and a number of smaller ones, this archipelago gets its name from the Greek numeral 12 (dodeca). Rhodes and Kos are the two largest islands, while the ten smaller ones are less well-known and quieter.
How to Travel the Dodecanese Islands?
Astypalaia, Kalymnos, and Karpathos receive domestic flights, and their international airports draw charter flights from England and Germany to Rhodes and Kos. From Piraeus, the Athens port, there are ferries to all 12 main islands.
Rhodes is famous for its well-preserve wall city with Crusader castles, an ancient synagogue, and other historical structures. And in the town of Lindos, there’s an ancient Greek acropolis at the top of the hill, a medieval village in the middle, and a modern town on the beach at the bottom. You should pay a visit to Kassos’ mansions, Kastelorizo’s brightly painted houses, and Astypalea’s hilltop Chora, one of Greece’s prettiest fortified villages, on adjacent islands. Retreat to Karpathos to hike, windsurf, or scuba dive among the World War II wrecks on Leros for a more active Greek island experience.
Where to Stay
On Rhodes, absorb the air at Melenos Lindos, a seventeenth century working with a pebbled mosaic rooftop deck offering ocean sees, set into the slope simply under the Acropolis. On Astypalaia, the island’s stunning Chora is both the motivation for, and the area of, Pylaia Inn, which has a pool, spa, and sea sees from the Plori eatery at its pinnacle. Lastly, on Patmos, ignoring the ocean (and the well known Kalikatsou rock), luxury Petra Lodging and Suites is similarly helpful to the ocean side and the Cloister of St. John.
In point of fact, they are about as distinct as two Greek islands could possibly be. We’d sum it up by saying that foodies, out-of-season vacations, outdoor adventures, and hiking are all better on Crete. Corfu is a more traditional haven, has more beaches for families, and is easier to get to. Greek Island Hopping is a thrilling experience that you should not miss. At least once in their lives, everyone should go island hopping in Greece, where they can see Greece in its many different forms rather than just one. One of Greece’s quietest islands is Lemnos, also known as Limnos. This rather large island in the blue Aegean sea is not part of the main circuit of destinations visit by the crowds of tourists that Greece receives every summer.
It takes a week to properly visit and explore Crete due to its size (renting a car is highly recommended). Rhodes is a great option if you have limited time; even though it’s that packed with great things to see and do, it can be explored in three or four days.