Greece is one of those countries we keep going back to, and we still think we haven’t explored enough. This country, with more than 2000 islands and epic places on the mainland, like Meteora, has a lot to offer to its visitors.
Greece, with more than 250 sunny days per year, is an ideal destination for holidaymakers throughout the year. You can travel to some of the Greek islands such as Rhodes, Crete and Corfu even in autumn and you will still be able to swim comfortably.
There are direct flights from Athens, London and other major European cities to the most popular islands in Greece. If flying isn’t an option for you, taking a ferry is a common way to travel between the islands.
Planning a trip to Greece and choosing only one Greek island as a destination can be overwhelming. Lucky for you, my fellow travel bloggers and I put together the list of the most beautiful Islands in Greece and top things to do there to help pick your favourite destination and save you some time.
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Recommended by myself, Mansoureh
Rhodes, the 4th largest Greek island, with more than 300 sunny days a year, is a paradise for holidaymakers. This beautiful island is located only a 20-minute boat ride away from Marmaris in Turkey. Rhodes is also connected by ferry with Kos, Patmos, Leros, and Simi. The fastest way to get here from Athens and other destinations is by hopping on a plane.
This greek island is home to the largest medieval city in Europe: Rhodes Old Town. There are shops, restaurants and castles in the town, and you can explore the entire town in less than a day.
There are numerous beaches on the island like Kalithea Beach, Ladiko, Oasis Beach, and, if you fancy learning windsurfing or kitesurfing, you should drive to the south to Prasonisi Beach.
While in Rhodes, make sure to check out Lindos, the most beautiful village on the island. This village is known for its Acropolis and heart-shaped bay.
Rhodes is a destination with so much to offer and I have written a travel guide and the best things to do in Rhodes, which I highly recommend checking before your trip.
Recommended by myself, Mansoureh
Unlike other Greek Islands with whitewashed houses, Symi is famous for its colourful buildings and unique architecture. This tiny island is a real gem in the Dodecanese island chain and one of the prettiest islands in Greece.
This picturesque Greek island can be only reached by boat. When we were exploring Rhodes, we took a day trip to Symi. By taking a tour you will be able to visit the Panormitis Monastery and Symi Town. Check the prices here.
The first thing that catches the eyes of the visitors is the Port of Symi, which looks like it has popped out of a painting. The port is also considered as the centre of Symi town, where you can find shops, restaurants and cafes. While in the port, you can go to Taverna Haris for lunch and make sure to order some Symi shrimps, the traditional food of the island.
Within walking distance from the port, you can find small but beautiful and clean beaches to go for a swim. Symi can be an ideal destination for a romantic getaway or a relaxing family holiday.
Recommended by Chrysoula from Athens and Beyond
The beautiful and cosmopolitan island of Hydra is a popular island near Athens that can be reached in just two hours by ferry. Hydra is quiet and peaceful as there are no cars – everyone uses boats, donkeys, or walking to get everywhere.
Hydra Town has elegant stone mansions and a pretty waterfront and there are charming villages like Karminia and Vlichos to explore – which both have lovely beaches.
There are four museums to visit, but most visitors relax on the beaches and enjoy swimming. Scuba diving is really good as there are underwater caves and reefs to explore. There is plenty of good hiking too as the island is crisscrossed by numerous old pathways. Hydra town has a good selection of restaurants and family-run fish tavernas and there are great dishes to enjoy including kakavia, a delicious fish soup, classic moussaka, and paidakia (lamb chops). After dark, there are several bars with live music to enjoy.
Cotommatae Hydra 1810 offers charming accommodation as it is a 19th-century mansion situated just 200 meters from the port in Hydra Town. The comfortable rooms have beamed ceilings and there are gardens and a spacious terrace Breakfast includes delicious homemade pies. Check the price here.
Recommended by Nina from Lemons and Luggage
Corfu is one of the most charming and popular tourist destinations in Greece. This island, located on Greece’s northwest coast in the Ionian Sea, with its gorgeous beaches, breathtaking green landscapes, and Venetian architecture is the perfect choice if you're looking for nature, culture, and relaxation for your holiday.
Centuries of Venetian rule have left their mark on the island, particularly in the capital, and you might sometimes feel like you're strolling through an Italian town. The old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site so don't miss out on your visit.
Throughout the island, you can indulge in delicious food including a few vegan food options in Corfu, with the kumquat fruit being popular in local sweets. Of course, you can't possibly visit a Greek island without several trips to beautiful beaches. Corfu is home to ten beaches that have been awarded the Blue Flag for clear waters, accessibility, and other criteria.
Depending on your travel style and your interests you may spend more time in some parts of the islands than others. Staying in the centre of the island, close to Corfu Town makes it fairly easy to get around the island whether you rent a car or rely on public transport.
Recommended by Raluca from Travel With A Spin
Thasos, the northernmost Greek island, can be easily reached by ferry from Kavala and Keramoti. It's a great destination for families and couples looking to relax, enjoy the water and sun, hike or enrich their culture.
Thasos has many beautiful beaches. Sun lovers will fall for Golden Beach, a 4km long sandy beach with shallow waters, perfect for swimming. Unusual Saliara Beach, made out of small marble pieces from a nearby excavation, is charming and offers the best snorkelling opportunities. Even if technically not a beach, Giola, a natural pool carved in rocks, should not be missed either.
The Emerald Island is great for adventurous tourists that can enrol in a jeep safari tour or follow paths to lakes, springs, caves and abandoned villages in the middle of the mountains. History seekers shouldn't miss the Roman Amphitheater in Limenas, the 1000 years-old marble quarry in Aliki or the traditional villages Theologus and Panagia with stone-made houses.
One should definitely rent a car and roam the island, but as a base, Skala Prinos and Limenaria are best for couples, while Potos, Golden Beach and Thasos are more family-friendly and Pefkari targets older people.
Recommended by Stéphanie, Bey Of Travel
Zakynthos is one of the most beautiful islands in Greece and a perfect destination for couples and families.
When you think of Greece, you immediately think of the popular islands like Crete, Santorini, Kos, or Rodos. But the relatively small island Zakynthos (410 km²) is a magical destination for a sunny family vacation that should be high on your Greece bucket list. Book a room in St John Villas & Spa and enjoy your stay to the fullest.
Rent a boat and get amazed by the crystal blue waters, visit the blue caves, and take the time to go out snorkelling among sea turtles. Take a trip to Navagio beach, the island’s must-see shipwreck landmark. Snap the most beautiful family pictures at Navagio viewpoint.
Enjoy a delicious dinner in a romantic setting at Nobelos SeaSide restaurant, they serve all kinds of fresh fish dishes. On the hunt for some more local Greek dishes? Make sure to stop at Porto Limnionas Taverna. From the terrace, you can enjoy a beautiful view over the sea.
Recommended by myself, Mansoureh
The largest Greek island, Crete, is one of the most beautiful islands in Greece. With over 600 miles of coastline, numerous breathtaking beaches, gorgeous gorges, vibrant towns and sleepy villages, there is no shortage of things to do in Crete. Plus, the island is well known for its delicious Cretan cuisine.
Getting to Crete is easy, you can fly or take a ferry. There are three airports and two of them are international. Since Crete is a big island and going from place to place can take hours, it is wise to choose your arrival airport carefully.
The main Crete’s regions are Rethymno, Chania, Lasithi and Heraklion. No matter where you stay, you will find beautiful beaches, historic towns and stunning landscapes in all of the regions.
If you plan to travel between regions, you can rent a car. Driving in Crete gives you the opportunity to explore some rural areas and exotic places on the island. Whilst you’re exploring the island, you can take a day trip to Balos Lagoon, visit Elafonisi Island or relax at Preveli Beach.
One of the best things to do in Crete is taking a cooking class in one of its many villages. You will not only learn how to cook traditional Greek food, but you learn a lot about the local life and culture on the island.
Recommended by myself, Mansoureh
Undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful islands in Greece is Mykonos. This glamourous island is famous for its summer party atmosphere, luxury accommodation, crystal-clear waters and golden sands. There are some small towns and villages on the island; the main and most photographed town is called Chora and sometimes it is also referred to as Mykonos Town.
You can take a ferry or a plane to reach the island. There are direct flights all year round from Athens, London and some other European cities. If you plan to visit Mykonos by sea, there are frequent ferries from other Greek islands, like Santorini, Paros, Naxos, Syros, Andros, Tinos.
Mykonos is a small island, which means if you want to visit other destinations in Greece, you only need a day or two to explore it. Of course, it is always better to stay longer to enjoy the island life.
While on the island, grab your camera and roam around the charming town of Chora, where you can find unique Cycladic architecture. There are photo opportunities in almost every corner of the town.
Cycling around the island takes you to some of the less-visited parts of the island and beautiful empty beaches. You can also go on a boat tour and visit the historic islands of Delos and Rhenia. Whatever you do, make sure to watch the sunset at the iconic Windmills, the best spot to end your day.
You can also read: Best Places to Stay in Mykonos
Recommended by Maria & Katerina of It's All Trip To Me
There are countless gorgeous islands in Greece but there’s one that speaks right to the heart of each and every person who visits: Amorgos. Windswept and gloriously pretty, Amorgos is one of the most authentic Greek Islands and among the country’s best-kept secrets.
Amorgos stands out from the rest of the Cyclades Islands for its raw beauty. The best way to discover the island’s natural treasures and superb viewpoints is to hike along the ancient walking paths that locals have trodden for centuries on end.
Moreover, Amorgos is home to one of the prettiest Old Towns in the Aegean Sea. Chora is the oldest town on the island and it looks exactly the way it did centuries ago when all those whitewashed buildings, alleys and squares were built. In the evening, when it’s dimly lit and the streets come alive with small talk and laughter, Chora looks enchanting and utterly romantic. This is why Old Town is also the best place to stay in Amorgos.
If you’re looking for a laid-back island to spend your next summer holidays, look no further. Amorgos awaits to make you fall desperately in love with its charms.
Recommended by Anna from Paddling Space
Paros is a beautiful island in Greece that’s part of the Cyclades region. The capital, Parikia, is a large hub for boats and many people flock here during the summer months for the pristine beaches.
What makes Paros so special is that it hasn’t fully been discovered as an international tourist destination yet like Mykonos or Santorini, yet it has all the amenities you would want for an island vacation.
Other than Parikia you’ll find little fishing villages that dot the island - Naoussa being one of the most popular. Make sure you eat at one of the waterfront restaurants and have some fresh fish.
Another fun thing to do is to rent ATVs so you can easily explore the island. Head to the Panagia Ekatontapiliani, a Byzantine-era church, or ride over to Santa Maria Beach and find out what water sports the island has to offer.
Recommended by Alice from Adventures of Alice
Kos is the third-largest island in the Dodecanese, but it's one of those islands that you don't hear much about. Quiet and low key, this makes it a perfect place to go with your other half or with the whole family.
There are many wonderful things to do in Kos and it’s easily one of the prettiest islands in the Mediterranean. With its stunning beaches, picturesque mountain views, and ancient theatre dating back as far as the 2nd century, you can see why this is an island that has been attracting visitors for centuries.
You'll find fascinating sights here: history buffs can visit Ancient Pefkos; foodies will love exploring local cuisine at restaurants like Agkyra Fish Restaurant - featuring fresh seafood and traditional dishes from all over Greece. And if culture gems are more up your alley, then be sure not to miss out on Kos Town Museum which offers fascinating archaeological finds.
The heart of the city is a maze of winding streets and picturesque plazas. You'll find all that you need from restaurants to markets, museums, churches, and beautiful beaches; not to mention some incredible ancient architecture. Whether it's exploring Kos’ ancient Asklepion or exploring the Plaka Forest with breath-taking views over Greece's most idyllic coastline- there are endless ways to spend your time here!
Recommended by Katja from Travel n History
Lesvos is a stunning Greek island near Turkey, covered in olive trees and studded with charming mountain villages and coastal towns. If you’re looking for a beautiful, authentic island away from the usual tourist tracks, it’s the perfect option.
On Lesvos, you can easily rent a boat for the day and explore the island. Snorkel in the crystal-clear waters, spotting hundreds of brightly coloured fish and an octopus or two. Rent a bicycle and ride across the hilly terrain, admiring perfect views. And enjoy the absolutely incredible food! There are also some great castles and museums to visit, where you can learn about the local history and Greek myths, and how they were adapted to the area.
The island’s capital is Mytilini, founded all the way back in the 11th century BC. This vibrant city is home to historic gems, a large traditional market and a beautiful port. You can easily stay here a week or two, or venture further into the island to villages like Mthymna and Petra. These are lovely, lazy places, where you can spend long days in the sun, eating late and drinking ouzo.
Recommended by Lavina from Continent Hop Arguably, Santorini is the most beautiful Greek island and definitely one of the most popular ones. The picture-perfect island of Santorini may be trendy, but it is so for a reason!
Whitewashed buildings with blue domes and numerous Instagrammable spots make this island a tourist paradise. Santorini has a little bit of everything to please every type of tourist. Here you can not only enjoy eating delicious Greek food, but you can have freshly caught seafood. This island has plenty to offer, stunning sunsets (and sunrises) and a few beaches too!
Located a short flight away from the capital Athens, you can get to Santorini by boat as well, and it is possible to explore the island over a long weekend. There are flights from London and other European cities to Santorini too.
There are quite a few villages here like Oia, Fira, Imerovigli, Kamari that offer various activities. However, Oia is the most popular one and watching the sunset with the windmills in the background, exploring Atlantis, the unique bookstore here or taking a walk through the cobbled pathways are the best things to do in Oia.
You can also take a trip to the caldera and visit the hot springs and beaches there. The lighthouse at Akrotiri is another popular spot.
Fira, the town centre, Imerovigli and Pyrgos are some of your best options when looking for a spot to stay.
Recommended Roxanne by from Faraway Worlds
If you’re going island hopping through Greece, Naxos makes a wonderful addition to your trip. The largest of the Cyclades islands, Naxos is on the route to Mykonos and Santorini. The ferry stops at Naxos Town and one of the first things you’ll see is the Portara – a huge door which is all that remains of an unfinished temple to Apollo – on an islet near the town. It’s an impressive and enchanting welcome to the beautiful island.
You may want to stay in the town with its pretty white buildings and twisting streets, visit for a day trip to see the shops and sample the restaurants. If you like ancient history, explore further afield to see the ancient Temple of Demeter and the remains of the Kouroi, huge statues found in a quarry.
Of course, you need to visit the gorgeous beaches in Naxos. The long, sandy Agios Prokopios is a great place to stay, apart from July and August when it gets a bit busy. If you’re travelling at peak season, pick one of the beaches to the south of the island instead. Spend your time swimming, enjoying water sports and trying delicious food at the local tavernas.
Recommended by Lotte from Eschbach Consulting
A one-hour ferry ride from Piraeus Port brings you to lovely and pretty Agistri, a tiny island near Athens. While only small in size, there are plenty of fun things to do! Explore the villages Megalochori and Skala, where you’ll find nice restaurants, small shops, and lots of cafes to grab a drink.
Or rent a bike to cycle around the island. You can easily explore the entire island in a day when you have a bicycle. Limenaria (situated in the south of Agistri) is about a 45-minute bike ride from Skala (in the North of the island).
Dragonera Beach is arguably the prettiest beach on the island and a great place to spend an afternoon, no matter if you are a single traveller, travelling as a couple or as a family. You can walk to Dragonera Beach from Megalochori in about 30 minutes or from Skala in approximately 50 minutes (even if you have a stroller with you for your little one as the road is paved and flat).
If you are looking for a good place to stay, Oasis Scala Beach Hotel is both comfortable and affordable.
Recommended by Dymphe from Dymabroad
One of the most beautiful islands in Greece is definitely Milos. Milos is an island that belongs to the Cyclades islands group and there are many other Greek islands nearby. For example, it is easy to reach the islands of Santorini and Mykonos from Milos by ferry. You can also visit Athens, Santorini, and Milos in one trip!
Milos is a great island if you want to visit a more authentic Greek island. That's because the island receives fewer tourists than many other islands in Greece. One of the best activities on the island is going to Sarakiniko Beach. This is the most famous beach on the island and it is great because of how it looks.
There is a white volcanic stone that is shaped by the wind and the waves of the water to look a bit like the moon. Seeing this beach is a unique experience! Besides that, another great thing to do on the island is visiting the village of Plaka, which is the island's capital. This is the perfect place if you want to see lovely white Greek houses while wandering around!
Recommended by Katie from You Me Under The Palm Tree
Kefalonia island sits in the stunning Ionian Sea and is the largest of all the islands. This off the beaten track island is home to the only national park on a Greek island.
It is also renowned for its incredible beaches and is home to two of the seven turtles species. Such diversity is what makes this island so special. It has so much to offer and is perfect for a short getaway for a whole week of exploring.
Kefalonia also has some incredible towns and villages that are full of typical Greek charm. Our personal favourites are Fiskardo harbour and Assos. Both of these quaint towns are full of pastel-coloured houses and cosy Taverns.
Kefalonia beaches are beyond beautiful. Myrtos beach is incredibly stunning; the sea has tiny particles of marble picked up by the waves and illuminated by the sun, making the ocean look like it is sparkling! There are so many things to do in Kefalonia. The hardest part is picking what to do first!
Kefalonia has its own airport making it easy to reach, although one important thing to note is that public transport does not run from the airport. We would recommend hiring a car to allow you to explore the island and take in all its diverse beauty.
Recommended by Claire from Stoked to Travel
Lemnos, hidden away in the North Aegean Sea, is a lesser known Greek island but one of the most beautiful islands in Greece. The island is largely untouched by mass tourism and still has the traditional Greek charm and magic so many travellers seek to find on their travels.
Lemnos is blessed with a wonderful diverse landscape, offering a great destination for dozens of different activities. The island is particularly quiet and unspoilt, meaning traffic is minimal so its varied terrain is excellent for exploring, whether it be by bike, mountain bike or on foot. The twinkling sea surrounding Lemnos is also famous for its ideal conditions - great for waterskiing and wakeboarding in the early morning, and sailing and windsurfing later in the day.
Myrina is the capital of the island and a charming waterside town. Its quaint, charming streets are lined with whitewashed buildings, small stalls, old crumbling churches, shady trees and quiet, peaceful gardens. There are also plenty of excellent seafood restaurants in Myrina, all of which are very reasonably priced.