Whether it’s for some summer sun or any other time of the year, there’s no denying the allure of the Greek islands. Two hundred twenty-seven beautiful islands are waiting to be discovered, but which one should you venture to for a holiday? We’ve put this guide together for anyone looking to discover the magic of Greece with the best Greek islands around. 🇬🇷🇬🇷🇬🇷
Food lovers will rejoice in Sifnos, an island known for some seriously delectable delights. The Cycladic island is filled to the brim with spots serving traditional Greek treats, from revithada to mastello. You can eat your way through the island, stopping at family-run restaurants serving traditional dishes slow-roasted in a wood-fired oven. It just so happens that the neighbourhoods are as easy on the eye as the food is on your tastebuds. Artemón, for example, is a picturesque village with delightful taverns and the classic Cyclaid white-washed buildings.
A trip to Rhodes will see you visiting one of the largest Greek islands, which means there’s plenty to do and see. Visit the Acropolis of Lindos, the ancient ruins of a citadel set on a steep cliff with magnificent ocean views. Or take a wander around the old town and embrace the local culture while stopping at landmarks like the Palace of the Grandmaster, a majestic medieval castle. And let’s not forget the beaches and coastline – Rhodes has many spots where you can catch some rays before taking a dip into the crystal-clear waters on this Dodecanese island.
Kefalonia is an Ionian island located south of Corfu and Lefkada. It’s famous for its sandy coves and offers visitors plenty of opportunities to explore. There are also the beaches, with Myrtos Beach and Antisamos Beach two of the most popular on the island for catching some rays. Like Sifnos, Kefalonia is a destination for food, with plenty of gourmet treats awaiting you on the island. Lastly, nature lovers can spend some time at Melissani Lake, which was ranked as one of the best nature attractions in Greece.
You’ll have a great time at most of the beaches on the Greek islands, but Naxos really is the place for some sun, sea and sand. Long stretches of glorious beaches line the island and are filled with white sands, making this South Aegean a sun-worshiper’s paradise. And if you fancy cooling off, the bright blue water is the perfect tonic to make the most out of a great beach day. When you’re not lazing about on soft sands, head into Chora, the capital of the island, and stroll the cobbled alleyways or venture further out and see the vast countryside with its mountain villages and more idyllic beaches.
Visit a car-free island on Hydra, a place where artists go for inspiration. From Leonard Cohen in the 60s to Juergen Teller, Hydra is a chic island filled with creativity and a weekend favourite for locals from Athens, thanks to it being just two hours away. If you’re planning a visit, head to the waterfront and visit spots like The Pirate Bar or Hydronetta Beach Bar. What Hydra lacks in beaches, it more than makes up for in style.
There’s every chance you’ve heard of Santorini, even if you don’t know much about Greek islands. Those white-washed Cycladic buildings are unmistakable, and Santorini is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful places to visit in the whole of Europe. Everything about this island is iconic, from watching the sunset over Oia to enjoying the buzz of Fira, the capital of the island.
Another spot for amazing beaches, Kos is the place to go for a relaxing trip away. Head to Agios Foka beach, Kardamena beach or Agios Stefanos beach for some seriously good sands. You can even go island hopping or visit Athen if you’re staying in Kos, thanks to the regular ferry services that leave from the port.
Patmos is another Dodecanese island well worth your attention. It’s located near the Turkish mainland and is a particularly popular place to visit during Easter. This is when the locals hold several religious festivals to celebrate Holy Week.
If you’re looking for all-night parties, then Mykonos is the Greek island for you. There are strong bohemian vibes here, with music playing from just about every establishment you pass. It gives Ibiza a run for its money but isn’t just about the high life. Mykonos has many villages and local tavernas away from the buzz and bright lights. So you can enjoy this island whether you’re a party-goer or someone who wants to enjoy a slice of Greek authenticity.
The best islands in Greece
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the islands of Greece, and any one of the options on our list is a great starting point for your Greek adventure. Be prepared for stunning scenery, local gourmet delights, friendly locals, historic attractions and fantastic vibes. Greek islands have it all.