The 30 best Greek islands
There are more than a thousand islands in Greece: large and famous, small and charming, tiny and uninhabited. The most famous resorts are known by all travelers of the world, it’s Crete, Rhodes, Zakynthos, Santorini. But who has heard, for example, about the picturesque Skopelos or Andros? Among these many pieces of land you can find a truly heavenly places.
Greek islands – this is above all a stunning natural scenery, inviting sea coast, architectural monuments, remembering the flowering of ancient civilizations, hotels for every taste, a hearty cuisine, and an unforgettable vacation, which definitely want to repeat again.
Popular Greek islands for seaside vacations
The largest island and tourist center of Greece. It is equally good for lovers of classic summer holidays thanks to its many beaches and for people who are fond of ancient history – this is where the ancient Minoan civilization was born. Crete has two airports, several resort areas, a developed transport system and a huge number of attractions for travelers. Not for nothing it ranks first among the Greek islands in terms of popularity among Russian tourists.
The island in the Aegean Sea, which for the abundance of lush vegetation is called a sea garden. It is very small – 45 km long and 11 km wide, but in spite of this, it does not suffer from the lack of sights and interesting places. There is an ancient temple Asklepion, the Roman ruins, the fortress of the Ioanites of the XV century, the medieval mosque Hadji Hasana and of course a large number of sandy and pebbly beaches.
Rhodes has had a reputation as a popular resort since before the Second World War, thanks to its excellent beaches and climate. Even today it is worthy of the brand of one of the most popular in Greece – travelers from different European countries come here. The downside of its fame is the too many tourists in high season, who literally invade the promenades, restaurants and coastal areas.
Corfu’s first tourists were the ancient Romans. The island has always been so attractive that many nations fought for the right to possess it. Because of this here has formed a distinctive culture, absorbed the features of different civilizations. In Corfu, there are more than 20 resort towns, where you can find a warm welcome: those in the southern zone, more oriented to young people, west and north are suitable for a quiet family vacation, the central areas are the most diverse range of hotels and entertainment.
The island is located just 12 km from the mainland of Greece, it is separated from the latter by the waters of the homonymous bay. It is often called the “Emerald Island” because it is covered with cedars, pines, olive trees, linden trees, nestled on the hillsides. Tourists are attracted by the white sand beaches in harmony with the green slopes, the clear sea and the marble cliffs gleaming in the sun rays.
In the middle of the twentieth century, an earthquake destroyed almost all historical monuments of Zakynthos. Of course, they have been restored over time, but still the connection with the past has been partially lost. However, for travelers, it does not seem to matter, as most of them come to Zakynthos in search of sun, even tan and warm sea. The coastline is more than 100 km long. It is covered with landscaped and picturesque beaches.
Fabulously beautiful Santorini has a completely postcard-like appearance. Who has not seen advertising leaflets, which show snow-white houses with blue roofs on a background of sapphire sea and red-brown cliffs? It is not even an island, but an entire archipelago, which in addition to Santorini, includes Nea Kameni, Aspronisi, Palea Kameni and Tirasii. Here, tourists will find delightful landscapes, impeccable service and incredible sunsets.
Tourists come to the island not only for the beach holidays, but also because of the mineral springs with curative water, seeking in one vacation to combine business with pleasure. Evia landscapes are mountain gorges, pine groves, secluded beaches in small bays. The main tourist area is in the south, there aren’t many hotels in other parts, but all the better for travelers looking for peace and quiet.
This is a trendy resort where bohemians prefer to vacation. It is also a desirable place for advanced youth, nudists and sexual minorities. Prices for hotels on the island are higher than elsewhere, and in general, a vacation here will cost more. Most beaches are located in the southern part, which is well protected from the wind. Water sports such as diving, windsurfing and water skiing are well developed on Mykonos.
The island is situated in the Ionian Sea, named after the character of one of the Greek myths – Kefala. There are a lot of pebble and sandy beaches, awarded with a Blue Flag, as well as picturesque natural places and man-made attractions, belonging to different historical periods. There are Venetian castles, Greek monasteries and Roman villas. Kefalonia produces the famous wine Robola.
At different times the territory of Syme belonged to the Turks and the British. The island was returned to Greece only in 1948. In contrast to the more popular resorts, local beaches are more modestly equipped, but all the most necessary things they have. Holidays in Symi will suit the quieter tourists seeking solitude and wishing to enjoy the natural scenery without unnecessary fuss. The island has a pacifying and welcoming atmosphere.
Just an hour away from the Greek capital by ferry, Aegina is a pine covered island, full of tranquility and serenity. The island is famous all over Europe, for producing pistachios, which supply the stores of many countries. There are about 20 beaches for tourists. Due to the fact that the coastal strip is quite narrow, the bathing areas are crowded during the high season. Holidays on Aegina are equally suitable for both noisy youth groups and families with children.
To the resorts of Hydra like to visit the Greeks themselves. It’s a surprisingly atmospheric place that still retains its traditional spirit. Donkeys ride by the harbor, stone houses with red tiled roofs nestle on the rocks, and small church bell towers stand here and there in the narrow streets. In the city of Idra no wide sandy beaches – only the embankment, dressed in concrete, so it can hardly be called a classic resort.
The number of beaches on Milos is unbelievable – there are more than 70, which is very good news for tourists. Moreover, the island has a diverse natural landscape and picturesque panoramas: you can endlessly admire the rocks, plains, groves and sea harbors. The best beach of the resort is Paleochori, surrounded by colorful hills. It will also be nice to swim against the snow-white rocks in secluded bays.
The infrastructure of Paros began to develop relatively recently. The sun shines for more than 300 days per year, the weather is wonderful, the sea is warm and the weather is comfortable. Even in summer (thanks to the north winds), what more could a tourist want? You can visit Paros in any season and there is a lot to see.
The island is just a few tens of kilometers from the Turkish coast. Despite the quite extensive coastline (more than 60 km) there are not so many places suitable for bathing due to the prevailing rocky landscape. Tourists usually visit Patmos during a cruise, rarely staying overnight, so even in high season it is relatively quiet.
This is one of the largest islands in the Aegean Sea and in antiquity it was the center of the Ionian culture. Its fertile lands have been of great value even before Christ. Today Samos is a wonderful place for secluded vacations on quiet beaches, unhurried exploration of the rich historical heritage, recreational walks on mountain trails and sea cruises along the coast.
Almost the entire west coast of Lefkada consists of white cliffs, creating an incredible contrast to the sea of piercing blue. The sandy beaches of the island are long stretches of shimmering in the sun, surrounded by green-covered slopes. The area was once part of the mainland, but in the 7th century BC the locals dug a canal, thus creating an artificial island.
A small island with a population of only 6,000 people but is considered one of the busiest resorts in the region. It hosts over 300 hotels, not counting the locals who rent private apartments. It even has its own airport, serving charter flights from Europe. More than 90% of Skiathos is covered with pine groves, which surround the sandy beaches.
The island is also called Mitilini, as the locals prefer to call it. The island is famous all over the world thanks to the ancient Greek poet Sappho, who glorified the homosexual love. This fact is reflected in the modern times as well – the representatives of sexual minorities like to visit the resort and consider it their symbolic home. Agriculture and trade are flourishing in Lesvos, but the tourism industry also contributes the lion’s share to the budget.
The island is named after Icarus, a famous hero of the myths, who made wings and crashed in flight. The place is attractive because of its natural beauty and some remoteness from the noisy tourist centers, so the local beaches are perfect for those seeking peace and quiet. The main advantages of Icaria are the unspoiled beauty of nature and the healing mineral springs.
Home of Homer’s Odysseus. It is characterized by a rather rugged coastline, on which pebble beaches predominate. The tourist infrastructure here is rather underdeveloped, so the island still retains its special charm. Ithaca offers many interesting places to visit fishing villages, hiking trails, renting boats along the coast and strolling through the quiet streets of the towns.
Formerly better known as a major marble mining region, the island is now gaining popularity as a seaside resort, quickly gaining fame with travelers. Visitors to Naxos have a clear sea, hospitable locals, excellent beaches (about 20), green valleys and picturesque mountains. The land of the island is very fertile and excellent quality products are served in all the local tavernas.
For a long time, Chios was considered a home resort – it was predominantly visited by Greeks. However, nothing stands still and today the resort is being intensively explored by foreign tourists. They admire the beauty of nature, amazing national colors and hospitality of the islanders, not yet spoiled by the continuous flow of people and not seeking to earn as much as possible on travelers.
A small island that was once owned by pirates. Until the end of XX century the locals quietly grew grapes and fished, until tourists turned their attention to the place. But despite the intensive development of infrastructure, the island has maintained its reputation as a quiet harbor, where you can safely shelter from adversity. Legend has it that Paxi was created by Poseidon, god of the sea.
Tourists never cease to discover untouched corners among the many Greek islands to develop them and turn them into the next popular resorts. One of these places is Karpathos, which has until recently been living a quiet and measured life. The north is still dominated by the charming countryside of herds of grazing cattle, vineyards and half-empty harbors of small towns, but towards the south the picture changes and the island begins to take on a familiar vacation look.
Nisyros is an island between Tilos and Kos, very close to the Turkish coastline. It is of volcanic origin, but the activity of the crater has long ceased. According to myth, Nisyros was formed because Poseidon ripped off a part of Kos and threw it at the giant Polybot, who had dared to anger the sea lord. Nisyros has only one city with a population of about a thousand people.
Little known to foreign travelers, but beloved by Greeks, Andros is a surprisingly beautiful place and an ideal destination for domestic tourism. It is not very crowded even in high season. Numerous hotels and owners of private apartments that are ready to rent a room for quite reasonable prices offer their services. Holidays on the island will appeal to families with children and couples looking for privacy.
Skopelos is difficult to get to – unlike popular Crete and Zakynthos, where planes fly in from all over the world, it can only be reached by ferry. Most of the territory is covered by mountains, the settlements are located along the coast. There are a lot of hotels and people, but in the central part of Skopelos you can walk for hours and not find a single living soul. Stathilos is the largest beach of the island. It is the center of resort life.
It is difficult to call the island a tourist Mecca, as it has not yet managed to gain popularity and attract a large number of travelers. But all the better for people who seek solitude. What can be more beautiful than a vacation among the natural scenery in small cozy hotels, more like private homes of the locals, or days spent on spacious and not busy beaches?
The most beautiful islands of Greece, which everyone should visit
Greece is one of the ten most visited countries in Europe. Each year it is visited by about 20 million foreign tourists. Holidays in Greece will appeal to tourists with different preferences, there is “everything” from the magnificent blue seas, islands with charming Mediterranean architecture and ending with the delicious traditional Greek cuisine and cities, with a dynamic urban bustle.
Undoubtedly, you have heard more than once about the Greek islands, especially Santorini and Mykonos. And they are worth a visit, but believe me, there is still a lot to see for yourself in Greece. That’s why, in this article, we present a list of the other ten beautiful Greek islands. Maybe you will be lucky enough to visit them on your next trip to Greece.
The most beautiful islands in Greece
Zakynthos is the third largest island in the Ionian Sea. The island takes its name from the son of the famous in Greek mythology king of Phrygia, Dardanus. The island is also called Zakynthos or Zante. This island has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We speak of Navaio, a picturesque beach with an abandoned smugglers ship, which has become the hallmark of this beach. The name of the beach translates from Greek as “shipwreck”. Do not pass up a trip there if you get to the island of Zakynthos, and do not give up a trip to Zakynthos if you get to Greece.
Zakynthos will charm you with its coastal villages with a calm and beautiful atmosphere, and if you like to party, visit the resort of Laganas, it hosts the best parties on the island, the fame of which is booming all over Greece.
Thassos is the northernmost Greek island that has a lot to offer even if it is not as famous or visited as the other islands. First and foremost Thassos is proud of its products, which are grown and produced here. These are olives, olive oil, honey, sweets. You probably know that olives are grown all over Greece, it is a traditional crop for this country. But according to the locals, their sweets have a special taste thanks to the honey that is produced here.
A separate pride of the islanders is marble. Believe it or not, marble mining on the island began about 20,000 years ago! And, of course, you can always go to the beach and relax or have fun in the natural lagoon of Giola.
Lefkada is the fourth largest island of the Ionian Sea, it gets its name from the Greek word leukos, which means white, because of the white rocks located in the southern part of the island. It is also called Lefkada or Lefkas and is famous for its white sandy beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters.
Here you can find one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, called Porto Katsiki.
In addition to the beach vacation, you can explore the sights of the island, such as the town of Nidri, the medieval Venetian castle of Agia Mavra, the cape of Lefkata or the Dimosari waterfall. Nadar, we have included this island in our list of the most beautiful sights in Greece that every tourist should visit.
Crete is the largest Greek island and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean Sea. This island has something to offer for everyone: it has beautiful beaches and gorgeous sea water; vibrant city life in the capital Heraklion and other major cities, while for those looking for a quiet and relaxing holiday, there are also cozy places to stay.
Crete is mountainous, so those who like to hike and climb will also find something to do. While on the island, do not forget to visit the Venetian city of Chania, explore the archaeological sites of the Minoan civilization and enjoy the Vai, the largest palm forest in Europe.
Ios belongs to the group of Cyclades Islands, located in the Aegean Sea. The island is hilly and built up with white buildings, which may remind you a bit of the architecture of Mykonos and Santorini. This island is known for its wild parties, so be prepared for a busy nightlife.
Here you can always enjoy the sandy beaches and clear, blue waters of the Aegean Sea. A separate delight is the super delicious Greek cuisine. Locals are proud of the ruins of the first settlement, called Skarkos. The famous Greek poet Homer is buried on the island of Ios.
This island is the proud owner of over 60 clean beaches where you can enjoy the sun and clear azure waters of the Aegean Sea. Skiathos has become popular during the last few decades. Moreover, it is by far the most popular island among the Sporades. The town on the island, also known as Skiathos, is built as an amphitheater with many pine trees growing around the town. If you are here, do not forget to visit the two most popular beaches, Koukounaries and Lalaria.
By the way, on most-beauty.ru you can find out about the most beautiful beaches in the world.
The latest editions of Lonely Planet describe the island of Paros as “Mykonos for the poor”. Which means that you can vacation here in the same way and in the same style, but cheaper. Located in the Aegean Sea and being one of the Cyclades islands, Paros gives you a vibrant holiday atmosphere with lots of activities and options.
Most-beauty advises you to go to one of the three most popular spots on the island, the villages of Naoussa, Parikia and Lefkes. Here you will find typical but charming Greek architecture with houses of white marble, churches, blue windows and doors, and incredible smells of delicious national dishes.
Rhodes is the most popular island of the Dodecanese group and has the longest tourist season, lasting from April to November. Rhodes is also called the island of the Knights, as it is named after the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, who once conquered it.
On the island you can visit the medieval city of Rhodes, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you are there, be sure to visit the Old Town. Here you will find a Byzantine fortress known as the Palace of the Grand Master, which is now a museum. An amazing combination of nature, sea, beaches, history and culture, allow all tourists to have an unforgettable experience and, indeed, a break from everyday life!
Located in the Aegean Sea, Idra is one of the Saronic Islands. Every year a large number of tourists come here for a relaxing vacation. Most of them are Athenians, but more and more often foreign tourists can be found on the island.
The only popular attraction on the island is Hydra Port, where in fact, there is not much to see, but it is a must-visit. Holidays in Idra mostly involve long walks, fresh air, the pleasure of swimming and tasting the national cuisine. However, on this small island you can still visit the local villages – Mandraki, Kamini or Vlichos.
Patmos is called the “Jerusalem of the Aegean” because St. John wrote the Book of Revelation here. Forbes Magazine in 2009 called this “Holy Island” “the most idyllic place in Europe to live. The port on the small island of Patmos is called The Rock, like the largest settlement.
You won’t be offered a crazy nightlife here, and there aren’t many attractions, but it’s the perfect place for anyone who wants to relax and spend some time in peace surrounded by the sea and nature.