The 15 Best Greek Islands to Visit


The islands of Greece are some of the most beautiful places you can travel to in Europe. With over 6,000 islands scattered in the Aegean and the Ionian Sea, there is so much to explore. The perfect turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, beautiful coves, and idyllic villages make the islands of Greece a dream destination. And don’t forget the fantastic Greek food!

What are the best Greek Islands to Visit? Santorini, Crete, and Mykonos are maybe a few of the most famous Greek islands, but there are many hidden gems still to discover! Have you ever heard of Lemnos or Milos? In this list, we cover 15 of the best Greek Islands!

Fun fact: Did you know that only 227 of the 6000 Greece Islands are inhabited?

Read all our other blogs about Greece here.

#1 Santorini Island (Greece’s Top Islands)

Santorini is one of the most popular islands in Greece. Honeymooners love it because this island has it all! Santorini has beautiful accommodations, first-class dining experiences, beautiful wineries, long-lasting vineyards, and probably one of the most amazing sunsets you can ever experience.

Ever wondered where those cute white houses with small swimming pools are, overlooking the sea? Look no further. That’s in Santorini. To be exact: you can find it in the town of Imerovigli, which is also known as “The balcony to the Aegean.”

This island is an urban oasis for talented artists, with various museums, cathedrals, and galleries for you to explore. And Santorini has a beautiful black-sand beach. A result of a volcanic eruption a long time ago.

You definitely will enjoy the beauty and charm of this Greek Island. And make sure to visit the beautiful places like Oia, the crater of Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni hot springs.

Do you want to go island hopping Greece? Read our perfect 10-day itinerary with the best of the Greek Islands.

Santorini

#2 Mykonos

Are you in for a party on one of Greece’s islands? Then Mykonos is your go-to island. This island is notorious for its parties and luxurious boutique hotels. The chances of bumping into a celebrity in Mykonos are very high because this island is visited by the rich and famous.

At Mykonos, you will have access to great beach clubs, authentic dishes, expensive champagne, and a feel of extravagance.

Are you trying to get over your hangover the next day? Spend your day with fun-filled activities like jet-skiing, windsurfing, horseback riding, and parasailing. And so many other activities on Mykonos.

Let’s be real. Mykonos can be very expensive. So if your traveling on a budget you might want to travel off-season to Mykonos when the weather is still great (spring/ Autumn). And off course there are budget-friendly things to do on the island like walking around the windmills in Chora and visit the Church of Paraportianican which are free.

Don forget to visit historical places like the Municipal Library, Little Venice, the archaeological museum and lots more on Mykonos.

Mykonos island

#3 Crete

Of all the islands in Greece, Crete is the largest one and has it all. Explore the beauty of Greece’s culture, history, wild nature, and Greece traditional cuisine all on one island. Therefore Crete is an ideal destination for families.

Relax on the beautiful beaches of Chania, Elafonissos and the famous beach Falassarna. Visit the beautiful Balos lagoon, and palm forest in Vai or hike to the Agia Irini Gorge, Mount Ida, and Oxia mountains to enjoy the natural beauty of Crete.

For your historical fix go to archaeological places like the Minoan palaces of Knossos, Phaistos, Malia, and Kato Zakros. And visit the many monasteries on Crete if you want to indulge in the culture of the Greece islands.

Crete

#4 Corfu

Corfu is a cosmopolitan gem because of its strong connection to Europe. This island has a blend of both the Greek tradition and contemporary European culture. It’s an all-year-round destination due to the beautiful natural landscape and the historical monuments.

Wander around the old town of Corfu that’s a UNESCO world heritage site and visit the largest square in the Balkans: Spianada. And scroll over the Liston Promenade at night.

Visit the many museums on Corfu and for the best view, go to Kanoni. The list of things to do on Corfu is endless.

Corfu Fort

#5 Kefalonia

This Greek Island gives you a beautiful blend of lush green mountains and turquoise blue water. Due to this beautiful blend, Kefalonia is a gem for travelers. It has a vibing nightlife, stunning beaches, excellent traditional Greek cuisine and fantastic history to explore. Kefalonia is a great pick to choose out of the list of many beautiful islands in Greece.

For a cultural day on the islands of Greece, visit the beautiful sacred monasteries of Agios Gerasimos, Kipoureon, Agios Andreas and many others on the island.

Relax on the many exotic beaches, go snorkeling/ diving with turtles and visit the beautiful Cave Lake of Melissani. Don’t forget to explore the picturesque village of Assos and go on a wine tour to drink the famous Kefalonian Robola wine.

Greece blue sea Kefalonia

#6 Zakynthos

Zakynthos is one of the most beautiful islands in Greece. If you aim to visit the best of Greece’s islands, then this unique Greek Island is for you!

This island has many mouthwatering sceneries such as crystal blue water, green mountains, smooth sand, beautiful cliffs dropping into the sea and nature in its purest form.

The land of Zakynthos is fertile that favors well the growth of olives and grapes. Which means … Wine. Yeah!

Dip in the sea at beautiful beaches as Navagio/ Shipwreck Beach (famous view), Laganas, Gerakas, Vasilikos, Marathonisi, the Blue Caves and Xygia Beach.

And visit some of the architectural designs such as the Solomos square, the Aghio Marcos Square, the Strand Hill, and the Venetian Castle.

Zakynthos Greece

#7 Lemnos

Looking for a more peaceful and less crowded island in Greece? Lemnos is your best pick to go-off-the-beaten-track! Because of the significant distance to Athens, Lemnos doesn’t have mass tourism like many other islands in Greece.

Lemnos has so many remote sandy beaches with nobody around. Whoop, Whoop!

And the great thing about Lemnos is that the community celebrates culture a lot. You can experience various religious and non-religious feasts filled with traditional music and dances.

Lemnos cultural Festivals

  • The village of Kaspakas celebrates the feast of Agios Ioannis on the 22nd of June. Locals are lighting fires to burn the wreaths of the first day of May.
  • The island celebrates Prophet Elias on the 20th of July. They host a ceremony at the small church in Therma.
  • The whole island celebrates the Assumption of the Virgin on the 15th of August.

Expect a lot of dancing, singing and eating al night long during these feasts.

#8 Amorgos

Amorgos is the perfect place for you if you desire the bliss of nature on Greece’s islands in its untampered form.

It’s an excellent island for hikers as there are beautiful valleys and hills and three mountains great for hiking: Krokellos (821m), Prophet Elias (699m) and Korakas (528m). Everywhere on the islands are hiking tracks that connect one village to another.

Make sure to visit the beautiful Langadas and the gorge of Araklos nearby.

Amargos

#9 Milos

Milos is also one of Greece’s best kept secret islands. It’s a unique island due to the geological diversity of nature you can find here. Mineral resources like Sulphur, alum, obsidian, and others were mined here.

This island is best known for the famous statue of Aphrodite (the Venus of Milo) that is found here. You can admire this statue now in the famous Louvre museum in Paris. There is so much more to Milos.

This Greek island has stunning and quiet beaches like Tsigrado, Provatas, and Sarakiniko. Go to the towns of Adamas and Pollonia for great restaurants, cafés, bars, shops, and hotels.

Read more about Milos in our blow about the perfect 10-day itinerary through Greece’s Islands.

Milos island

#10 Kos

This Greek Island is close to the Turkish coast. It’s also the island where the famous Hippocrates, a reputable physician, was born. Also known as the father of medicine.

It’s a very historical island so you can get your Greek history fix right here. You can explore medieval monuments like Nerantzia castle and medieval bridge Foinikes.

Relax on the many sandy beaches on Kos. A lot of the beaches on Kos are considered blue flag beaches.

“Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognized voluntary eco-label awarded to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators.”

Visit the most popular sandy beaches like Nomikou-Barbagianni, Zourouni, Nautical Club beach (Blue Flag), “Tam-tam” and Milos beach (Blue Flag). And the most beautiful beaches are considered to be Psalidi Beach, Paradise Beach, Marmari Beach, Camel Beach and Mastichari Beach. There are so many so pick your favorite when you visit one of the best islands in Greece.

Kos

#11 Rhodes

Rhodes is one of Greece’s top travel destination islands. It is rich in history, culture and has a vibrant nightlife. And you can book action-packed activities in Rhodes as well. What more do you want?

Did you know that the old town of Rhodes is the largest medieval city in the whole continent of Europe? Well, it is! Since 1988 it is a World Heritage City by UNESCO.

Explore a lot of historical structures like the medieval citadel of Rhodes, the Byzantine churches, and the beautiful synagogues. Go to the ancient and picturesque town of Lindos. This place is one of the most visited archaeological sites in the whole of Greece.

If you are planning to visit Rhodes between June and September, make sure to pay a visit to Butterfly Valley. This valley is filled with colorful butterflies during this time of year.

If you’re into watersports, you have to travel to the most southern point of Rhodes, Prasonisi. It’s a great place to go windsurfing and kitesurfing.

And don’t forget to on the golden-sand beaches such as Glystra, Tsambika, and Fourni.

Rhodes greece

#12 Symi

Of the many islands in Greece, Symi is impeccably cute that you will not want to leave once you arrive on the island.

Expect a low-key-vibe on this Greek island with beautiful secluded beaches like Nimporio, Lapathos, Agia Marina, Agios Nikolaos, Nanou and Marathounta. Several of these beaches are only accessible by taxi boat.

Best way to explore the island is to hire a moped or hike over the old donkey trails and pilgrim paths. For the best view, go to the Kastro in the south of Symi.

Symi is close to Rhodes so you can quickly go on a day trip to/ from Rhodes.Symi Greece

#13 Astypalea

Astypalea is an island for the introverts. Or the extraverts that need some downtime. This island is gentle, slow, and simple. And everyone needs slow and simple times at some point in life.

This greek island is ideal for hikers and snorkellers. Visit the impressive Venetian castle and other fascinating places such as Vatses, Kaminakia Beach, Koutsomiti, and Kounoupes. Enjoy the Greek sun on one of the most beautiful beaches: Livadi.

#14 Folegandros

Another hidden gem of Greece’s Islands. The traditional charm of this Greek island will make you fall in love with Greece all over again.

Visit the white-washed buildings and 1000-year old houses in the charming town of Chora. The best thing about this town is that motor vehicles are prohibited. So you can quietly explore this town on foot. Fancy a glass of wine and a great view at the end of your day in Chora? Go to Merkouri Wine Bar. They have over 40 different wines.

You can go to a different beach in Folegandros every day. A couple of great once are Agali, Agios Nikolaos, and Karavostasi beach.

Like many other hidden gem islands in Greece, this island is also perfect for hikers. The best way to explore the island is to follow the old donkey tracks.

Folegandros

#15 Ithaca

Ithaca is another amazing laid-back Greek island on this list.
With her crystal-clear water and emerald coves, Ithaca is becoming quite popular among travelers.

Fun fact: Ithaca is the mystical island of Odysseus.

This Greek island is perfect for hiking, nature lovers, and families. You can enjoy the sun and crystal clear waters on the many fantastic beaches like Filiatro, Sarakiniko, and Agios Ioannis. And at night you can stroll over the beach promenade of Vathy.

Ithaca is close to Kefalonia. You can easily go on a day trip to/ from Kefalonia and enjoy both of these Greece islands.

Ithaca Greece

You can find some of the oldest European civilizations on the Greek Islands, so it’s not only rich in beauty, but there’s also so much history to discover. The islands in Greece have so many archaeological sites and historical places. 

Island hopping through the Islands of Greece is very easy too because of the shorts distances between the islands. Hop on a ferry and discover another beauty of Greece within the same day!

Related Questions

Where should I visit in Greece? When you are not visiting one of the islands, Athens is a must visit when you’re in Greece. This historical city has so much to offer you simply can’t miss it! Curious about the best things to do in Athens? Read our Athens City Guide!

What is the best way to get around the Greek Islands? The easiest way is to catch a ferry between the islands. You don’t need to book tickets in advance, because of most of the ferry’s sailing at a regular schedule. Make sure to check the different schedules at your hotel or where you’re staying. There you’ll find the most accurate information.

Léon Kopijn

Léon Kopijn works and lives as a Digital Nomad. He travels the world with the love of his life and writes about inspiring cultures and practical travel tips. Find out more about Léon on his about page!

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