The Greek islands are some of the world’s most idyllic holiday destinations.
Characterized by clear turquoise water, pristine beaches and dramatic mountainous landscapes there’s an abundance of natural wonders here just waiting to be discovered!
Some of the islands are major tourist destinations enticing millions of visitors each year and others are barely explored by tourists at all. All are rich in history with ruins and archeological sites dating back over 5,000 years.
Dance the night away at some of Europe’s top party islands, including Corfu, Kos, Paros and Ios or live it up at the exclusive resorts of Mykonos and the fabulous volcanic island of Santorini. These are some of the best Greek islands for those in search of a party that never ends.
Nightlife is not your thing? Check out the gorgeous tranquil islands of Chios, Kalymnos and Karpathos which offer a fantastic adventure destination, exotic beauty and abundant outdoor pursuits for those who like to vacation without the crowds.
All are great places to discover the traditional dishes of the region, including delicious fresh seafood, peppery olive oils, rich moussakas and fruity salads. From the fanciest five-star restaurants to the humble and ubiquitous tavernas, you are sure to fall in love with the region’s cuisine.
Ready? Let’s explore the best Greek islands to visit right now.
1 – Crete
Greece’s largest island and one of its most popular tourist destinations, Crete has been charming visitors for thousands of years. Whether searching for history, outdoor adventure or lazy beach days, this sun-drenched island is the perfect destination.
With seemingly endless white sandy beaches and over 600 miles of stunning coastline to explore, Crete is one of the jewels of the Mediterranean.
The island is strewn with locations that are both historic and fascinating such as the ancient Knossos Palace, which dates back to prehistory and is thought to be the home of the fabled Minotaur.
For a more in-depth look at the history of the island, check out the Heraklion Archeological Museum to glimpse ancient artifacts and reconstructions of its famous locations.
Hot tip: Don’t miss our selection of fun things to do in Heraklion.
Explore the natural beauty of Crete’s rugged canyons, including the impressive Samaria Gorge Trail in the White Mountain’s National Park. Climb up the island’s highest peak Mount Ida Psiloritis for some of the most captivating views in the world.
Discover the old town of Chania with its magnificent architecture as well as the island capital Heraklion. Tour the cobbled streets and lively bars of Rethymnon and dip your feet into the crystal waters of Balos Lagoon and Elafonnissi Beach.
Read more: Best things to do in Chania.
The magical island of Crete is sure to keep you wanting to return again and again.
See also: Fun & Unusual Things to Do in Crete
2 – Syros
For those in search of a quiet retreat with authentic local culture and a laid-back atmosphere, Syros has a little bit of everything.
Its vibrant capital, the city of Ermoupoli will provide you with enough atmosphere during your stay. Explore the shops and cultural events that occur throughout the year, including Syros International Film Festival, The Guitar Festival and The Ermoupoleia Festival.
Unlike some of the more touristic Greek islands, Syros is inhabited year-round which means there are plenty of quality local establishments at hand. Discover the excellent bars and restaurants and listen to some local musicians play the popular Rebetiko music.
The island has calm and inviting beaches all of which have Blue Flag status for cleanliness and water quality. Explore the secluded Grammata and Lia Beaches or the popular resorts of Galissas Beach and Azolimnos.
Just a short hop to Mykonos, Tinos and Santorini, Syros is well located in the heart of the Cyclades making it the perfect island getaway whilst still close to the action.
There are also plenty of architectural and historical treasures to find here. Syros was once a prosperous trading port in the Mediterranean and this can be glimpsed in some of its extravagant buildings in the Vaporia Quarter of Ermopoulis.
The streets here are packed with Neo-Classical mansions and decorated with extravagant archways. Visit the Apollo Theatre and Archeological Museum to see some of the most splendid buildings on the island.
3 – Corfu
Lying in the Ionian Sea, the island of Corfu is both green and lush and has been one of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations for over 100 years.
It is the most densely populated of all the Greek islands and is culturally a little different from the rest of Greece. It spent over 400 years under Venetian rule and as a result, has a more Western feel than the rest of the country.
It also has a large English-speaking population and is one of the most tourist-friendly of the islands.
The city of Corfu and its historic Old Town is packed with Venetian architecture. On a stroll through its narrow cobblestone streets, visitors can see tall buildings — reminiscent of Northern Italian cities, as well as mighty castles, bustling streets and even a British-style Georgian palace.
Be sure to check out the Old and New Fortresses on a tour of the city as well as the magnificent San Giacomo Theatre — which is now the town hall, The 14th-century bell tower known as the Annunziata and the Palace of St. Michael and St. George.
Outside of the city, there are many spectacular attractions to discover. The Achillion Palace, built for Empress Sissy of Austria in 1891 is particularly stunning as is the Paleokastritsa Monastery and the ruins of Angelokastro fortress, which has awesome sea views.
Some of the best natural attractions include the beaches of La Grotta, Mirtiotissa and Canal D’Amour and Pantokrator Mountain.
Partygoers can check out the resort of Kavos or Corfu city to find lively nightlife and a booming bar scene.
See also: Fun Things to do in Corfu
4 – Skopelos
The verdant island of Skopelos is attracting more visitors each year with its laid-back charm, natural beauty and picture-perfect beaches.
The island has grown in popularity after appearing in the movie “Mamma Mia!” and it’s easy to see why. As well as beaches this idyllic and tranquil location has some great museums, monasteries and unique activities to try.
Skopelos is great for adventure lovers who like to explore under their own steam. Hire a mountain bike and cycle the coastal trails or take a moonlight bike tour of the island’s hidden treasures.
There is an abundance of water activities and sports to keep you busy too, including paddleboarding, kayaking and snorkeling in the pristine waters of the Aegean Sea. Why not try a sailing trip around the island for a truly unforgettable experience?
Most visitors will be excited to explore the beautiful beaches such as Panormos, Milia and Limnonari and the secluded bay of Cape Amorandos.
Visit some of the island’s unique tourist attractions such as the Pirate graves of Sendoukia and the church of Agios Ioannis Kastri which is featured in Mamma Mia! Learn local history at the Folklore museum and the Vakratsa Mansion and discover religious sites such as the monasteries of Agia Varvara, Timois Prodromos and Evangilistria.
Sample the beloved local dishes such as the cheese pie known as Strifti, fresh seafood and the island’s famous plums which are transformed into all kinds of delicious desserts.
5 – Santorini
Ah, Santorini! There are many reasons why this picturesque island is so popular. Visitors come to see the charming whitewashed buildings which give cling to the hillsides and look out over some of the most fantastic views anywhere in Europe.
The fertile island is formed from volcanic rock and is formed from a huge mostly-submerged underwater volcano — known as a caldera. The last major eruption was in the 1950s and the volcano is considered dormant but, needless to say, it has created a dynamic and impressive landscape.
The island has a lot to offer and tourists are spoiled for choice when it comes to activities. Why not take a vineyard tour and sample some of the best local wines, or take a catamaran sailing cruise to the nearby islands?
Adventure lovers should walk the Fira-Oia hiking trail along the island’s volcanic ridge or try a standup paddleboard and snorkeling experience.
Discover ancient Minoan artifacts at the Museum of Prehistoric Thira and see prehistoric ruins at the Akrotiri Archeological Site and Ancient Thera.
Explore the old village of Mesa Gonia, the streets of Pyrgos and the popular village of Oia. Walk on the volcanic black sand beaches and visit popular coastal locations such as Amoudi Bay, Kamari Beach and SKaros Rock, which was once the site of a fortress.
You are sure to be enchanted by Santorini!
See also: Best Things to Do in Santorini
6 – Karpathos
the island of Karpathos was famously mentioned in Homer’s Iliad and, in Greek Mythology, is said to be the home of the Titan, Iapetus.
As it is not a major tourist destination Karpathos has retained its authenticity and traditions and there are fantastic cultural delights to discover here. The island is generally at its busiest during the month of August when family members return home and the summer festivals take place.
The bright and traditional villages of Olympos and Manetes offer a laid-back atmosphere and plenty of local culture to discover. There are many spectacular photo opportunities, including fantastic views over the Aegean Sea and the pastel-colored buildings that rise up on the hillsides.
Discover enchanting beaches like the popular Kyra Panagia, Apella and Damatria and sample some of the popular water sports such as windsurfing, kayaking and paddleboarding.
Hike the Kali Limni mountain and take the short journey to the uninhabited Saria Island to spot wildlife. History fans should visit the Archeological Museum Karpathos as well as the ruins of Agia Fotini.
Food fans will not be disappointed with the selection of fine restaurants on the island selling traditional seafood, fresh and tasty salads and local favorites like moussaka and pastitsio. The main town of Pigadia offers the widest selection of excellent tavernas to discover.
7 – Naxos
The largest of the Cyclades islands, Naxos is the perfect destination for those seeking tours and activities but without the crowds.
Located between Santorini and Mykonos, the island has plenty to see and discover including historic sites, scenic mountain trails and glorious beaches.
The island’s capital Hora — also known as Chora as well as Naxos, is the first place visitors will see when arriving by ferry. The city is home to a 13th-century castle which also houses an archeological museum.
The ruined Temple of Apollo located near Hora is a must-see when visiting the island as are the narrow winding streets of the city’s Old Town.
Some of the most popular beaches include Plaka, Agia Anna and Panormos all of which are blessed with golden sands and clear turquoise waters.
Walk the trails of the Zas Mountains and see the legendary Zeus Cave which is one of the island’s most magical natural locations. The forest of Alyko which covers nearly 1,000 acres surrounding Alyko Beach is also one of the island’s most peaceful and scenic spots.
While in Naxos don’t miss the Kouros — enormous unfinished marble statues in the ancient quarries of Apollonas and Flerio.
8 – Mykonos
Mykonos has recently gained a reputation as one of the world’s most upscale party islands. If you like nothing better than a night on the town and lazy days in beach cabanas surrounded by the glamorous and wealthy, Mykonos is the place to be.
The island is fairly small but has 25 beaches to choose from. In the Summer months, visitors can see the spectacular yachts which line the coast, unlike many of the nearby islands.
Some of its most popular beaches include Psaros, Paradise and Super Paradise which are regularly frequented by celebrities and island-hopping millionaires. There are many other spots that are less crowded though and somewhat more accessible to people traveling on a budget.
in the town of Mykonos, Little Venice is a picturesque place to sit by the water and catch the sunsets but get there early as it fills up fast. Popular party spots on the island include Astra, Scorpios and Skandinavian Bar and Club — one of the oldest on the island.
Foodies have an abundance of high-class eateries to choose from including the Michelin-starred restaurants Varoulko Seaside, CTC and Hytra.
Mykonos is not for those who seek peace and relaxation on a vacation but for the younger crowd looking for a stunning summer party island, it is one of the top destinations in the world.
See also: Fun Things to do in Mykonos
9 – Chios
The large island of Chios lies just off the coast of Turkey and has traditional villages and alluring historic locations to explore that date back to the Medieval period.
The island is famous worldwide as a producer of mastic gum which is extracted from the Mastic tree. This prized natural gum has been used in everything from food and alcohol production to embalming and has shaped the architecture of the island’s villages.
The southern “mastic villages” were built with defensive walls which have protected them from pirates and looters throughout history.
The attractive town of Pyrgi is one of the most visually interesting on any of the Greek islands. It is decorated in unique geometric patterns, known as graffito, that are carved and painted onto the buildings.
The 11th-century Nea Moni monastery — in the Byzantine style, is decorated with fine mosaics and frescoes. Visitors can discover more about the island’s history at Chios Castle which houses restored Turkish baths.
The villages of Olimpoi, Mestra, Chios and Avgonyma are must-visits while staying on the island. Visitors can also explore the abandoned medieval village of Anavatos.
The black stone beaches of Mavra Volia are quite stunning to see and a nice place to swim in the cool deep waters. There are many more fine beaches to explore too such as the secluded bay of Vroulidia in the South of the island and the more touristic Karfas Beach.
10 – Rhodes
The famous island of Rhodes — once home to The Colossus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, is one of Greece’s most popular island destinations.
Offering a little bit of everything from beautiful beaches, historic towns and villages and tourist attractions, Rhodes is still one of the most family-friendly Greek islands.
Explore the city’s Old Town and visit the famous Palace of the Grandmaster of the Knights of Rhodes, which dates back to the 13th century. The palace is located within the medieval walls and is surrounded by historic Gothic buildings as well as Italian and Turkish architecture.
The island is one of the best for family-friendly attractions and kids can find plenty to occupy them at the Faliraki Water Park, Farma of Rhodes Petting Zoo and the Aquaworld Aquarium.
Visit the nearby town of Lindos or the picturesque island of Symi. Explore magnificent natural spaces such as the valley of the Butterflies and the calming Seven Springs.
The island of Rhodes also has magnificent beaches and coves to explore. Why not try snorkeling or paddleboarding in the deep pristine waters of Anthony Quinn Bay or take an unforgettable kitesurfing session at the wild and windy coves of Prassonissi Beach
If you’re on the hunt for lively nightlife, check out the area surrounding Hippocrates Square in the main city. Rhodes has something for everyone.
See also: Fun & Unusual Things to do in Rhodes
11 – Kalymnos
One of Greece’s most popular outdoor sports locations, Kalymnos has become a favorite destination for rock climbing in recent years.
With over 3,000 recognized climbing routes throughout the island, it is the unique limestone formations and overhangs that make it such a fantastic spot for rock climbers of all abilities.
If you like to live on the adventurous side there are a number of excellent professional guides that will have you scaling knee-trembling cliff faces in no time — even for first-time climbers.
Adventure-lovers can also try a scuba diving excursion in the clear turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea. Visitors often travel to Kalymnos on a sailing trip from the nearby island of Kos and this offers one of the most stunning ways to see the island.
The island had a prosperous sponge fishing industry up until the 1980s, the remnants of which can still be witnessed to this day. To see all manner of unusual sea sponges and learn a little history about the historic industry check out Sponge Factory in the town of Pothia.
The Agios Savvas Monastery — built in the 1900s, features spectacular frescoes and mosaic decorations and even houses the body of Saint Savvas in a nearby building.
There are some interesting museums to explore on the island too. Glimpse some of the most amazing finds from the marine depths at the Sea World Museum or learn about the local cultures and traditions at the Folklore Museum. Kalymnos is waiting to be discovered!
12 – Skiathos
The small island of Skiathos is a popular destination for younger travelers who come to enjoy its lively nightlife.
Many visit the island to relax on Lalaria Beach which, with its iconic rock arch, towering chalk cliffs and crystal waters, is both dramatic and paradisical.
The island is home to many beautiful beaches though and they are often in attractive forest locations such as the Koukounaries and Agia Eleni beaches.
There are many bars and clubs to choose from throughout the island offering everything from electronic dance music to live bands and DJs. Apotheke is one of the most popular venues for dance music and lovers of live music should check out Blind Dog and Totem.
Some of the must-see places to visit on the island include the peaceful and picturesque sanctuary of Monastero di Panagia Evangelistria and the Skiathitiko Spiti house museum which shows traditional clothing and items and tells the history of the island through one families story.
The clifftop ruins of Il Kastro offer a stunning vantage point to check out the scenery and the main town has a museum to the writer Alexandros Papadiamantis who is one of the island’s most famous residents.
13 – Thassos
A quintessential Greek island that benefits from a tourist infrastructure but isn’t overwhelmed with crowds, Thassos is one of the best Greek islands for a family vacation or quiet getaway.
Thassos is one of the largest of the Greek islands and boasts plenty of beautiful beaches dense forests and serene coastal scenery.
It has almost 60 miles of coastline and there are plenty of attractive beaches to explore and spend lazy days swimming and sunbathing. Paradise Beach is a good spot for families as the water is shallow and perfect for children.
The dramatic scenery of Golden Beach, which is surrounded by rugged hills and forests, makes it one of the most spectacular on the island along with Psili Ammos.
Those who like to live on the wild side should check out the Giola natural lagoon on the south of the island. This natural pool is a popular spot for diving and grabbing those spectacular holiday photos.
Culture vultures can explore the Archeological Museum in the main city of Limenas as well as the Aliki archeological site — an ancient marble quarry that has been in use for over 3,000 years.
The island is crisscrossed with excellent hiking trails that extend over its highest peak, Mount Ipsaron. These trails offer a great way to explore quaint mountain villages such as Panagia in the northeast of the island. Don’t miss out on the Sotirelis Olive Oil Museum when visiting the area.
14 – Paros
Just a short hop from the island of Naxos, Paros offers a fantastic blend of the traditional and modern. It has a lively club and bar scene in the main cities of Parikia and Naoussa but offers tranquil escapes throughout the rest of the island.
The island’s capital, Parikia, has a lot to discover, including historical sites like the city’s Old Town, a 13th-century castle, an archeological museum where visitors can catch up on the island’s history and an ancient cemetery that dates back almost 3,000 years.
The attractive seaside town of Naoussa offers some of the finest restaurants, bars and shopping opportunities on the island. It is nearby many of the island’s most popular beaches.
Take a boat cruise to the neighboring island of Antiparos to explore its spectacular sea caves and the stunning lagoon of Tigani on the Gramvoussa peninsula.
Adventure sports lovers can spend the day kitesurfing or windsurfing on the east and west coasts of the island or hiking the trails of Paros Park which covers over 190 acres at the very north of the island.
Paros has more than 40 beaches to choose from including some remote hideaways such as Kalogeros Beach. The most popular beaches are Pounda — which can be quite lively, Kolymbitheres and Sant Maria Beach.
15 – Ios
One of the top party destinations in Greece, Ios is the place to be for younger travelers on a budget.
Ios is a perfect spot for those who are looking for a fun and picturesque beachside party location without the high price tag of nearby destinations like Mykonos and Santorini.
The town of Chora is packed with small bars which cater to all tastes and are open until the early hours so you can be sure of a good night out here. There is also the FarOut Beach Club which hosts pool parties and DJs throughout the afternoon.
For your first night on Ios why not try a pub crawl to discover some of the best local bars and nightspots with the help of a knowledgeable guide?
For those who want to soak up some history and culture between the late nights and sunbathing, Ios doesn’t disappoint.
Visit Homer’s Tomb, which is said to be the final resting place of the poet and author of The Iliad and The Odyssey.
Catch live music at Odysseas Elytis Theatre, a modern coastal amphitheater with stunning views over the Aegean Sea or visit some of the island’s many churches and the traditional Monastery of Agios Ioannis of Kalamos.
Take a kayak tour out of the popular Mylopotas Beach or spend a lazy afternoon snorkeling in the pristine waters of Manganari Beach. Sun, sand and all-night parties, Ios has it all!
16 – Aegina
Lying just off the coast of Athens — only 16 nautical miles, Aegina is rich in history, picture-perfect beaches, traditional villages and modern resort towns.
Being just a stone’s throw from the Greek capital, Aegina is a popular getaway for Athenians looking to escape the city heat. It is well served by ferries which run regularly throughout the day.
If you want a more relaxed and luxurious crossing there are many sailing trips and cruises which offer lunch and swimming opportunities along with the journey.
The island’s must-see attraction is the well-preserved ruins of the Aphaia Temple which dates back to 500 BC. There are plenty of other ancient sites on the island to explore, including the Kolona Archeological Site and the Aegina Archeological Museum.
The Agios Nektarios Monastery is one of the largest and most impressive in all of Greece and is definitely worth a visit during your time on Aegina.
Although the island is fairly small it has an abundance of beautiful sandy beaches — one of the finest is actually on the nearby Moni Island which has wild deer and peacocks roaming around. Take time to explore the beaches and coves of Agia Marina, Marathonas and Vagia too.
Check out the main town of Aegina, especially the waterfront which has well-preserved buildings and abundant cafes to enjoy. The traditional coastal villages of Perdika, Souvala and Kypseli are pleasant places to explore.
17 – Zakynthos
One of the most popular and exotic Greek islands, Zakynthos —sometimes known as Zante, is home to rare wildlife, cool coves and dramatic and spectacular cliffs.
The picturesque island is actually the largest of the Ionian islands and has some of the most recognizable locations of all. One of the most famous is Navagio Beach which is surrounded by towering cliffs and is home to one of the world’s most famous shipwrecks.
Another popular spot is the protected nearby islet of Marathonisi which is one of the only breeding grounds for Loggerhead Turtles in the region. Visitors can take glass-bottom boat tours to the island and enjoy the diversity of local marine life.
The crystal clear waters around Zakynthos are a great place to snorkel or even try scuba diving for the first time. Explore the island’s famous Blue Caves in a kayak or hike the trails of Mount Skopos to discover its historic ruins and monasteries.
Zakynthos also has a party side and through the summer season, visitors can easily find all-night clubs, pool parties and lively bars in the town of Laganas.
There are many sides to Zakynthos and this scenic yet lively island is sure to have something for everyone.
See also: Fun things to do in Zakynthos
18 – Elafonisos
Looking for a tranquil and picturesque escape, the small peaceful island of Elafonisos could be just the place.
The island is situated just south of the Peloponnese and has shimmering white sandy beaches, turquoise waters and lots of space to relax. The island has only one village where most of the restaurants and shops can be found and is rarely overrun with tourists even in the summer season.
Its most popular destinations include the enormous Simos Beach and the numerous other quieter beaches such as Panagia, Lefki and Megali Paralia.
You can hire kayaks and pedalos on the beach but don’t expect to find too many beach bars or activities here. Elafonisos is better suited to those who like to relax and enjoy the peace and tranquility of nature.
Dine in the island’s many excellent and varied restaurants, hike through its floral countryside and take a dip at the spacious uncrowded beaches. Elafonisos is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered.
19 – Kos
After Rhodes, Kos is one of the most popular island destinations in the Dodecanese. Its abundance of sandy beaches, decent nightlife and fantastic historical sites mean that Kos is a great choice for those who like to experience a little bit of everything.
Kos has a lively party scene which is mostly concentrated in the island’s main town. There are clubs, bars and restaurants here to appeal to all tastes, whether you’re looking for cocktails and dinner or an all-night club-a-thon.
Outside of Kos Town, there are plenty of quieter places too such as Tigaki and Mastihari, which make it a great island destination for families. It has attractions for kids and adults to enjoy such as the Aquatica and Lido Water Parks and Plaka Forest — a haven for wild peacocks and cats.
History lovers should explore the ancient ruins of the Asklepion, a healing temple famous for its association with Hippocrates. There is also Casa Romana, the remains of a Roman villa with fantastic mosaics and decorations to see.
The picturesque Eleftherias Square in Kos town is home to some beautiful architecture, such as Kos Cathedral, the Defterdar Mosque and the market halls making it one of the best places to take an evening stroll on the island.
Here you will see locals and tourists alike drinking in the cafes and bars and enjoying the relaxing seaside ambiance.
See also: Fun Things to do in Kos
20 – Evia
The second largest of the Greek islands, Evia is separated from the mainland by only a narrow channel of water known as the Strait of Euripus.
The island is not well known to foreign tourists but is a popular destination for Athenians wishing to escape the city for a long weekend.
The mountainous landscape is a refuge for nature lovers and there are plenty of historic sites, unspoiled natural beaches and rolling vineyards to explore on the way.
History lovers should visit the Karababa Castle as well as the ruined town of Eretria which has an ancient theatre and an archeological museum displaying findings from the site.
Another must-see of Evia is the mysterious megalithic structures known as “Dragon Houses”, the best-preserved one being located on Mount Ochi.
For nature enthusiasts, the island is dotted with thermal springs, waterfalls and canyons that won’t fail to impress. Dimosari Gorge has great shaded trails to follow between the narrow rock faces which end in a number of cool natural lagoons.
You can also find wild and deserted beaches in the far reaches of the islands including the wonderful Thapsa Beach and the popular Chiliadou Beach but there are many more to discover close to the island’s capital, Chalkida.
21 – Milos
With fantastic beaches and a dramatic volcanic landscape, Milos is one of Greece’s top island destinations.
Milos has a wealth of history to discover and is possibly best known as the place where the famous Venus de Milo statue was discovered in 1820.
One of the island’s most famous beaches is Sarakiniko which has a moon-like volcanic rock landscape — a popular spot for tourists seeking stunning holiday snaps. It has a small white sandy beach and plenty of places to plunge into the cool turquoise water.
Take a boat tour of the island to discover its many beautiful beaches and iconic rock formations such as the Kleftiko Caves and try snorkeling in the crystal clear waters or just lounge on the deck and catch some sun.
Visitors interested in discovering the island’s past should check out the ancient settlements of Phylakopi, Klima and the Roman Theatre. Discover the Archeological Museum — which houses a replica of the Venus statue, and other attractions such as the Folklore and Mining Museum.
22 – Andros
For vacationers in search of something a little different, Andros could be the Greek island you are looking for. Located just a two-hour boat ride from Athens, Andros is one of the most accessible of the Cycladic islands.
The island has a great combination of architectural influences and instead of only the traditional whitewashed houses with blue roofs, visitors are also greeted with Neo-Classical-style buildings in the island’s main town.
Here you can find picturesque and lively squares as well as the Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art and the Archeological Museum of Andros.
The rest of the island boasts many kilometers of fantastic hiking trails, beautiful natural landmarks like the Pithara waterfalls, attractive villages such as Batsi and Stenies and inviting beaches.
Some of the island’s locations can be reached only by foot, bike or boat such as the beaches of Achla, Vitali and Zorkos. if you like peace, tranquility and unspoiled nature, Andros is a great option.
23 – Ithaca
Known as the home of Odysseus, also known as Ulysses, from Homer’s ancient epic “The Odyssey”, Ithaca has thousands of years of history and mythology attached to it.
This captivating Ionian island boasts a plethora of beautiful beaches, verdant scenery and cool coves to explore. The mountainous interior of the island is lush with greenery and offers a dramatic backdrop to the beautiful bays and small villages.
The beaches of Filiatro, Skinos and Sarakiniko are some of the most popular. Skinos in particular has plenty of shady cypress trees close to the beach making it a very comfortable spot. Gedaki Beach on the island’s east coast is particularly nice but best accessed by boat.
The island doesn’t have much in the way of attractions — other than its spectacular scenery of course, so if you like tranquil and nearly deserted beaches, rugged mountain scenery and outdoor excursions, Ithaca is the ideal Greek island.
Its small towns and villages, including Kioni and the capital Vathy, have some interesting places to discover such as the Nautical Museum and the island’s Cathedral.
The Monastery of Panagia Kathariotissa in the center of the island dates back to the 1500s and has beautiful views of the town as well as attractive Byzantine decorations.
24 – Tinos
Less than a half-hour boat ride from the luxurious and lively island of Mykonos, Tinos couldn’t be more different. This somewhat traditional Cycladic island is best known as a major pilgrimage site for Orthodox Greeks than a party mecca.
Many visit the island for the Church of Panagia Evangelitria especially in the middle of August during the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The church is particularly beautiful just do not try to visit during the festival as it gets very crowded.
The traditional village of Volax is situated in a dramatic boulder-filled landscape and has some nice tavernas and cafes to visit. Pyrgos is one of the island’s most attractive villages and is famous for its expertly crafted marble buildings and artisan marble workshops.
The picturesque village of Kardiani with its spectacular churches as well as the dovecotes of Tarambados, which is just outside the main city, are sure to enchant all visitors to the island.
Tinos also has beautiful tourist beaches such as Agios Sostis, Agios Markos and Kolimbithra as well as remote and deserted bays. Tinos is definitely one of the best Greek islands for those who enjoy culture, history and craftsmanship.
25 – Lefkada
Lefkada is one of the few Greek islands that can be reached by car. It is part of the Ionian islands and has an abundance of beautiful beaches and terrific scenery but remains largely unvisited by international tourists.
For those who prefer to spend their vacations exploring and adventuring as opposed to lazing by the pool, Lefkada is a great choice.
There are many activities to try from sea kayaking and surfing to scuba diving, mountain biking, horseback riding and much more. In recent years kitesurfing and windsurfing have become very popular in the area.
Some of its most popular beaches include Egremni Beach on the west coast, Porto Katsiki which is surrounded by towering cliffs and the sheltered bay of Agiofilli Beach. There are many more to discover during your time on the island as well as stunning natural features such as Nydri and Dimosari Waterfalls.
The most popular resort towns of Lefkada include Agios Nikitas, Vassiliki and Sivota but there are many lovely fishing villages to explore on the island. Lefkada is one of the best Greek islands for adventure lovers!
26 – Lesvos
The third largest of the Greek isles, Lesvos has a little something for every kind of traveler.
History lovers are in their element on Lesvos. Visitors can explore the huge castles of Molyvos and Mytiline which host summer concerts and events as well as the Castle of Sigri.
The island is home to many other historic sites such as the Temple of Messon, an ancient Greek theatre, the beautiful Bridge of Kremasti, Roman aqueducts and much more.
There are also lots of natural landmarks to discover too, including a significant petrified forest with its own museum, the beautiful Man’katsa Waterfalls and the Pessa Springs.
Though not too touristy there is plenty to see and do on the island. Catch a movie at the open-air cinema at Molyvos Beach or learn to make traditional Greek pottery by joining a class.
Sample the traditional dishes in the main town of Mytilene or explore the attractive villages of Molyvos and Agiassos and sample the area’s infamous spirit, Ouzo. With the wealth of interesting sights and charming places, Lesvos is one of the best Greek islands for families.
27 – Samothraki
The mountainous and densely vegetated, Samothraki island is the perfect place to relax, explore the wild natural environment and enjoy picture-perfect scenery.
The island is relatively small and has only recently begun to attract tourists from outside the country. It is perhaps most famous for the winged statue of Nike which was discovered here in the 1800s and has been in the Louvre ever since.
Here you can see beautiful waterfalls, particularly in the Fonias Gorge and Kria Vathra Gorge which have attractive freshwater lagoons and lush vegetation, surrounded by steep walls of rock. This alone draws plenty of visitors to the island.
The island’s most important historic site is the Sanctuary of the Great Gods — an ancient ruined temple and there is also an Archeological Museum with a reconstruction of the famous Nike statue.
The town of Therma is one of the most lively on the island and has a number of campsites nearby. Other than that the island’s capital Chora and the main port of Kamariotissa are its busiest towns.
28 – Samos
The world-famous birthplace of the mathematician Pythagoras, Samos is one of the best Greek islands for families.
Lying just off the coast of Turkey, Samos offers plenty of outdoor activities for visitors, mostly taking place around its stunning exotic beaches.
There are a lot of fun things to do in Samos. Try scuba diving in the nearby shipwrecks, wakeboarding or windsurfing on the blustery north coast — Samos is an adventure paradise! For some family action on dry land, check out the go-kart track in the town of Vathy.
Discover the remains of the Heraion of Samos —which was once a huge temple complex with over 150 stone columns, and the island’s famous Pythagoras Cave where the ancient mathematician lived and taught.
Get a taste of the island’s wines with a visit to one of the excellent vineyards or explore the Samos Wine Museum to learn about the traditions of wine production in the region. Samos has something for everyone.
29 – Symi
The picturesque port of Symi enchants many travelers each year with its colorful stone Venetian-style houses laid out on the hillside like an idyllic painting.
The town is really two towns, Gialos and Choria, of which the second is more traditionally Greek in its architecture. Take a stroll around the harbor area in Gialos for some of the most picture-perfect views of any Greek island.
Though fairly small, Symi is a lively destination through the summer months and holds yearly music, film and performing arts festivals which are often free to all.
The beaches of Marathounda Bay and Nanou are some of its most popular and have sun-bed rental and tavernas nearby. For those who like to live on the wilder side take a boat ride to Agios Georgios Dysalona Beach which is totally isolated and flanked by towering cliffs.
Some of the best historic sites on the island include the castle which overlooks the harbor area and dates back to the 15th-century and the magnificent Monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis in the south of the island.
30 – Hydra
One of the first things you may notice on arriving at Hydra is that the island has no cars — This definitely adds to the luxurious peacefulness of this enchanting island.
The island has retained its traditional method of transport, the humble donkey, and visitors will see many of them as they travel around the island.
Discover a little about the island’s proud naval heritage at the Museum of Hydra and explore its many fine towns and villages such as the main town of Hydra and the delightful fishing village of Kamini.
Many take a short day cruise to Hydra from Athens, around two hours, to soak up the tranquility and enjoy the pristine natural beauty of the island.
It has some fantastic swimming beaches such as Bisti, Vlychos, Kaminia and Agios Nikolaus. It is worth taking a boat tour of the island to discover its most secluded sites and locations.
There are also a number of excellent restaurants to discover throughout the island too. For fine dining Techne Restaurant is excellent and Il Casta offers traditional Italian flavors in a beautiful and rustic setting.
31 – Lemnos
If you like deserted beaches, archeological sites and wide-open natural spaces, Lemnos is one of the best Greek islands to vacation on.
One of the island’s most fascinating attractions is the small Panagia Kakaviotissa church that lies hidden inside a cave. Visitors climb steps through dramatic rock formations and are treated to a fantastic view over the valley.
There are many ancient sites such as the castle of Kastro Van Myrina which overlooks the island’s main port and the ruins of Poliochni, one of the oldest harbors in Europe. The legendary Cave of Philoctetes can also be found on the island.
There is plenty to keep you busy on the islands many beaches where visitors can take a surf lesson or hire a kayak or paddleboard to explore the coast.
For a unique Greek island “desert” experience check out the sand dunes of Gomati which are home to an abundance of wildlife and the unusual rock formations of Falakro.
Lemnos might not be one of the best-known tourist islands in Greece but it is a fantastic destination for adventure travelers on a budget.
32 – Skyros
The largest of the Sporades islands, Skyros is not as well known as nearby Skopelos but is a must-visit for those who love unspoiled nature, dramatic hillside villages and white sandy beaches.
The beautiful beaches of the island’s northwest coast such as Agios Petros are surrounded by dense forests and the main beach of Molos has the perfect blend of attractions but without the large crowds.
Take a day trip to the nearby islands of Skiathos and Alonissos to spot dolphins and monk seals in their natural habitats or snorkel in the transparent turquoise waters for the experience of a lifetime.
Culture lovers can explore the Faltaits Folklore Museum and the Archeological Museum of Skyros to see a collection of ancient artifacts including pottery, toys and jewelry discovered on the island.
Stop into the Skyros Centre to discover more about the local traditions and culture and explore this beautiful area of the island’s main town. Literature fans can visit the grave of the British poet Rupert Brooke who was buried on the island in 1915.
Just a short hop from Evia, Skyros is a fantastic destination for lovers of the outdoors and shouldn’t be missed on an island-hopping trip.
33 – Poros
With gorgeous beaches and bays, colorful traditional villages and authentic charm, Poros has been enchanting visitors for centuries with its serene beauty.
A popular place to take a day cruise from Athens, Poros is actually made up of two fairly small islands and is blessed with low-lying but mountainous scenery and dense pine forests.
It has to be said, most people come to Poros for its delightful beaches. The serene Love Bay is one of the island’s most beautiful and popular swimming areas due to its calm waters and shaded beach. There are many more great beaches to discover though such as Askeli, Poros and Kanali.
The attractive Poros Port is a must-see with its mixture of large expensive yachts and small fishing boats. This area boasts some lively cafes and waterfront tavernas and is a good place to enjoy the island’s nightlife.
History buffs can visit the ancient ruins of the Temple of Poseidon, or explore the Archeological Museum in the town of Poros to see some of the best historical finds on the island.
We hope you enjoyed this list of the best Greek islands to help you plan your next vacation.
There are many fabulous destinations to choose from in this region. Let us know in the comments below which place is your favorite one.
As always, happy travels!!