25 Most Beautiful Greek Islands You Should Totally Visit
One of the world’s most beautiful countries, Greece is a charming country in Southern Europe that is surrounded by water. The country includes over 200 smaller islands in the Mediterranean Sea, and most of them are truly breathtaking.
In the summertime, the beaches are super packed with tourists, and when the summer is over, Greece offers you even more things to discover. Quaint fishing ports bring you the freshest seafood available and the small villages offer you a taste of history.
The culture is easygoing, the food amazing, and the climate balmy and temperate, even in the colder months. What’s not to love?
Each island has something unique to offer, from archeological ruins to Byzantine chapels, and let’s not forget the secluded medieval monasteries. They have so much to do and see, you will surely find something to your liking.
If you happen to love photography, you will surely enjoy visiting any of the islands we picked for you. They all have spectacular views and are extremely popular on Instagram and Pinterest. The house styles are characteristic of the area, and the purple bougainvillea adorns many terraces. It is the picturesque scenery that makes any vacation so much more joyful.
Waking up to the sound of waves and the amazing views is something we can all get on board with. So, before planning your next vacation, take a look at any of the following 25 Greek Islands for some inspiration.
For the fish lovers, Lefkada is your heaven on Earth. Your culinary palate will enjoy the local delicacies of the Vassiliki or Agios Nikitas villages that offer some great seafood taverns.
There are some great beaches along the coastline as well, where you can soak up some sun. Porto Katsiki is considered one of Europe’s best beaches, with its deep turquoise waters and golden sand.
The movie buffs probably know that Mamma Mia was filmed on the island of Skopelos. The island’s greenery is one of their best features. Orchards, olive groves, pine forests, and vineyards welcome you and give you a break from the busy city life.
Head over to Panormos, where you can feast your eyes on one of the best sunsets you will ever experience.
For a taste of authentic Greek lifestyle, hop on over to Kasos. You will experience their laid-back way of life first hand, especially when it comes to food. The fresh local cuisine is worth the trip alone, but there is so much more to the island.
Visit any of their five villages, or explore Emporios, a harbour with its own beach, or Bouka, a former refuge for pirates.
Not as famous as Santorini, for example, Lesbos is beautiful in a different way. Try to make time and visit the Molivos Castle, one of the best preserved castles in Eastern Mediterranean.
Perched on a hill and overlooking the Eastern Aegean Sea, it is a great historical monument that used to be a great fortress. For a change of pace, head over the Ouzo distillery in Plomari, and feast yourself on the best roasted lamb at the Tropicana restaurant in Molyvos.
This car-free island is a great getaway from reality, where you travel back in time to a simpler lifestyle. The cafe-lined harbour is where fishing boats are moored, so you can always enjoy fresh seafood.
Another thing the island is famous for is their jewelry, which is mainly crafted by local artisans. While there, book a visit to the Ecclesiastical Museum, where you can admire Byzantine artifacts.
Wild beauty and remote, uncrowded beaches await you on the island of Folegandros. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, this is the ideal spot. Lime trees that grow in the area add a sweet aroma to the salty, breezy air.
There are plenty of romantic cobblestoned streets to wander on, and lovely cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy local delicacies.
For outdoorsy activities and lots of fresh air, the island of Ikaria offers you a chance to taste a healthy lifestyle, like many of its inhabitants. You can swim, bike, hike, or even rock climb, if that’s more your speed.
Whatever you prefer, you’ll get a chance to do it. At the end of your busy day, you won’t feel too guilty about indulging in a glass of their local red wine.
For those of you who love historical sites, Kos is a great island to explore. They have a medieval castle and an 18th century mosque that are a history buff’s haven.
Not to mention the ruins of the ancient city, where the tree of Hippocrates is located. It is believed the famous physician used to teach his students there. But don’t fear, all Greek islands have beaches. Just drive along the 70 km of coastline, which offers you many options.
Goddess Hera was born on the mythical island of Samos. The Heraion temple, dedicated to Hera, is listed as a UNESCO heritage site and is considered an important sanctuary of the ancient world.
The island is home to another UNESCO world heritage site, the Aqueduct of Eupalinos. Kokkari village, a seaside resort, offers you some gorgeous beaches, and the traditional fishing port brings in fresh seafood daily.
Naxos is another island that offers a variety of things to do. You can visit any of their historic sites or rural villages, or soak up some sun at any of their sandy beaches. Some of the small communities along the island’s mountainsides still keep some centuries-old customs.
You will feel like you stepped into another era. The famous temple of Apollo is located on this island, and for some fun, you can attend their summertime village festivals.
The rugged coastline that surrounds the island of Koufonisia is breathtaking. It comprises three smaller islands, but if your main goal is relaxation, it’s actually perfect.
The most beautiful beaches are located on Pano Koufonisi, and some of them are even clothing optional! If you want a more secluded vacation, head over to Kato Koufonisi for swimming or sightseeing by boat.
Homer’s descriptions in the Odyssey live up to its expectations. This lovely little island is surrounded by the Ionian Sea and is almost completely covered in greenery. If you’re looking to relax and get closer to nature, you’ve come to the right place.
There are many secluded beaches as well, and you can also learn about their local folklore and visit their numerous archeological museums.
One of the least accessible islands, it is worth trying to get to it. Due to its remoteness, their beaches are uncrowded but definitely memorable. Take Apella Beach, for example.
It has gorgeous golden sand shores and emerald waters. On the most Northern part of the island, the village of Olympos sits perched on a hilltop. It offers great views of the sea and the surrounding countryside, and a look into their traditional way of life and authentic folk customs.
If beaches are not your only destination you have in mind, Andros offers you quite a lot of mountainous terrain to explore. Their mountain ranges and the rugged coastal villages offer a different experience, and the dramatic Cave Foros is great for the explorer in you.
The monastery of Panachantros is a great historical site to visit, but you can also sunbathe on their gorgeous sandy beach, Agios Petros.
Also known as ‘Holy Island’ and the ‘Jerusalem of the Aegean’, Patmos is believed to have been where Saint John was exiled by Roman Emperor Domitian. An island very rich in culture and history, it houses two sites designated by the UNESCO World Heritage.
The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian is renowned for its library, and it resembles a fortified castle.The cave of the Apocalypse is a sacred cave where legend claims that Saint John hearld the voice of God, then wrote the Book of Revelations in 95 AD.
This island is part of the Cyclades group, and it is a bit off-track. Perfect for a more secluded getaway, you can enjoy quality time with your loved ones and recharge your batteries.
You can also take day trips to the adjoining islands, or stay on-site and visit the monastery on the cliffs, Hozoviotissa. Everywhere you turn the views are spectacular, and the fresh seafood that arrives daily is scrumptious.
If you like exploring on foot, this island offers you lots of scenic hikes, such as the mountain village of Lefkes and the hilltop village of Marpisa. Once you reach the top, you are regaled with stunning views.
From the seaside to the mountains, the island of Paros has many lovely little towns to explore, where you can enjoy some great food. Near the town of Parikia you can find some lovely beaches as well, but the Byzantine museum is a must-see.
An exotic island that was formed by volcanic eruptions, Milos has a distinctive coastline with great colourful sand and crystal clear waters. If you’d like to see the real white volcanic rock, head over to Sarakiniko Beach.
There you can admire the striking rock formations and caves, then plan an escape to Plaka, the prettiest village on the island. Try to squeeze in Klyma as well, a charming old port that is home to some bright and colourful homes.
The largest island of the Ionian Sea, Kefalonia is a great spot to rejuvenate and relax. The seaside village of Assos offers you some picturesque scenery, and a lot of peace and quiet.
Enjoy the magnificent natural scenery of their mountains, and their pristine beaches. You get to enjoy both the sea and the mountains. They also have a couple of livelier port towns, where you can devour some fresh fish.
A lovely island that is perched within the Ionian sea, it is surrounded by stunningly blue waters. There are plenty of activities to do on the island, or hop on a ferry for day trips to some of the larger islands nearby.
The picturesque Navagio Beach is one of their most popular attractions, and it can sometimes get crowded with tourists. There are also the Blue Caves that are definitely worth a visit, or Porto Limnionas, an adventurer’s paradise.
The Old Town of Rhodes, a UNESCO-listed venue, offers visitors a culture-rich trip. You can tour the Palace of the Grand Masters, then take a walk on the cobblestoned Street of the Knights, which is originally preserved since the Middle Ages.
If you want a little getaway by the sea, Lindos is the perfect spot. Or climb to the top of the Acropolis and watch over the coastline. A well-connected island, you can hop on a ferry for numerous day trips in the vicinity.
If you’re looking for some R&R, Corfu is probably more up to your speed. People that visit the island usually tend to prefer their secluded getaways further up the coast. But the numerous resorts overlooking the Ionian Sea are close enough to the UNESCO world heritage capital of Corfu Town.
There, you can visit many historic buildings from the Venetian era. The city offers you lots of cultural venues, as well as many sandy beaches you can soak up the sun in.
The largest island in Greece offers you so much to do, you might want to come back more than once. Its cultural attractions are truly remarkable. From the Venetian Harbour to the Ottoman-era mosque, not to mention numerous museums and several Byzantine churches, you will definitely find enough to do.
Elafonisi, with its pink-sanded shoreline, is one of the island’s many beaches. Their crystal clear waters and fishing villages offer you a festive and atmospheric vacation.
This island is one of the livelier spots in the world to visit, especially during the summer months. Dance the night away after enjoying an exquisite seafood meal at any of their numerous restaurants.
Feast your eyes on the whitewashed architecture while sipping a glass of their local wine, or take a walk on their numerous cobblestones streets. The beaches are usually jam packed in July and August, but if you visit in spring and fall it is usually a bit calmer and more affordable too.
Santorini is probably the most visited and photographed island of Greece. The blue dome tops and the bright white cubic houses in the classic Cycladic architectural style are just some of the features the island has to offer. Even the sea is of a bright blue, and in certain places the water is so calm, it looks like a lake. But there is so much more to the island than just breathtaking views everywhere you turn.
The historic section of Thira is worth a visit, with its clifftops views, and amazing cafes, hotels, and restaurants. The Museum of Prehistoric Thira displays objects from centuries ago that were hidden under volcanic ashes. Their beaches, ports, and several small villages along the shoreline are all worth a detour.
I don’t know about you, but any of those Greek islands seem like paradise here on Earth to me. Which one is your favorite?