Best Greek Islands for sightseeing, history, Beach, Party, Adrenaline junkies


Are you a fashion lover looking for a cosmopolitan sanctuary? Are you suffering from burnout and all you want is to relax on a secluded beach? Maybe you’re searching for the most romantic destination for spending quality time with your spouse? Or do you want to enjoy a culture-fuelled holidays in Greece?

 

No matter in what category you fall into, there’s the PERFECT Greek island for you. Read on to find it!

Best Greek Island filtered by Traveller Type

Couples & romance

Culture & history lovers

Party animals & cosmopolitan travelers

Ios

Beach enthusiasts

Hippie souls

Adrenaline junkies

Island Scenery Beaches Party Unspoiled Scenic

Corfu

5/5

5/5

3/5

3/5

4/5

Santorini

5/5

1/5

3/5

2/5

4/5

Crete

5/5

5/5

5/5

4/5

4/5

Mykonos

5/5

4/5

5/5

1/5

3/5

Rhodes

5/5

4/5

4/5

2/5

4/5

Zakynthos

5/5

4/5

5/5

3/5

4/5

Koufonisi

5/5

5/5

1/5

5/5

5/5

Ios

5/5

4/5

5/5

2/5

4/5

 

The best Greek islands for couples

 

01
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Santorini


Why: Santorini is famous for its enthralling sunset, volcanic landscape, and dramatic caldera. Watch the sunset from the picturesque Oia and Fira villages, book a wine-tasting session at the island’s famous wineries, visit the volcanic red and black beaches, and take a dip in the hot springs. For an extra-romantic experience, go for a sunset boat trip under the caldera!

 

Don’t miss: Santorini volcano, Akrotiri settlement, Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Emporio Castle, Archaeological Museum.

 

Best beaches: Perissa, Red Beach, Perivolos, Kamari.

 

How to get there: By ferry or by air. In summer, there are daily direct flights from Athens (and other European towns) to Santorini and frequent ferry schedules from Piraeus to Santorini. There are also ferry connections between Santorini and many Aegean islands, like Mykonos, Paros, and Crete.

 

Distance from Athens: 40 minutes by plane/ 5-8 hours by ferry.

 

02
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Milos


Why: Milos island stands out for its volcanic landscape, lunar beaches, turquoise little bays, Cycladic architecture, and romantic Chora. Long loved by couples and honeymooners, the home of the infamous Venus de Milos statue has a serene romantic atmosphere that’s going to seduce you!

 

Don’t miss: Paliorema Sulfur Mines, Sea Caves, Catacombs, Folklore Museum, Agia Marina Church.

 

Best beaches: Sarakiniko, Kleftiko, Firiplaka, Tsigrado.

 

How to get there: There are frequent ferries from Piraeus port in Athens to Milos throughout the summer. There are also domestic flights to Milos from Athens and other islands, but there aren’t direct flights to Milos from other European cities.

 

Distance from Athens: 40 minutes by plane/ 4-5 hours by ferry.

 

03
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Hydra

Hydra island port
Why: Hydra is an island inextricably linked with arts and culture. It’s where artists from all over the world used to gather every summer to find inspiration and where the love between Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen blossomed. You can feel this artistic and romantic atmosphere everywhere on the island, from the horseshoe-shaped port to the bougainvillea-filled narrow streets. What’s more, the car-free status of Hydra gives the island a vintage charm and a nostalgic feel!

 

Don’t miss: Historical Archives Museum, Mansion of Coundouriotis, Town’s Bastions, Merchant Marine Academy.

 

Best beaches: Spilia, Kaminia, Hydronetta, Vlichos.

 

How to get there: In summer, many ferries depart from Piraeus to Hydra every day from morning till the afternoon. There are also daily ferries to Hydra from Metohi in the Peloponnese.

 

Distance from Athens: 1.5 hours by ferry.

 

The best Greek islands for culture lovers & history buffs

 

01
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Syros

Syros island port
Why: Syros might be a Cycladic island, but it looks nothing like its whitewashed neighbors. The island’s capital, Ermoupolis, is full of elegant colorful houses, Venetian mansions, and cobblestone piazzas with Italian flair. Every summer, Syros plays host to several cultural events, like music concerts, theatrical performances, and art festivals.

 

Don’t miss: Archaeological Museum, Town Hall, Apollo Theater, Church of Resurrection, Industrial Museum.

 

Best beaches: Galissas, Kini, Megas Gialos, Ampela.

 

How to get there: You can get to Syros either by air or by ferry. In summer, there are frequent ferries to Syros from Piraeus port every few hours and regular flights from Athens International Airport.

 

Distance from Athens: 40 minutes by plane and 2-4 hours by ferry.

 

02
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Rhodes

Rhodes Island Lindos
Why: Rhodes’ moniker is ‘The island of the Knights’ -that’s enough evidence that the island has an enduring history and interesting culture. The UNESCO-listed Old Town of Rhodes in the medieval part of the city will make you feel transported to the era of the Knights. The castles, the forts, the museums, and the mysterious alleys will seduce you even if you’re not a history lover!

 

Don’t miss: The Palace of the Grand Master, Archaeological Museum, Valley of butterflies, Acropolis of Lindos, Street of the Knights, Ancient Kamiros.

 

Best beaches: St. Paul’s Bay, Anthony Quinn, Tsambika, Prassonissi.

 

How to get there: There are regular flights to Rhodes from Athens throughout the year and frequent ferries from Piraeus port to Rhodes in summer.

 

Distance from Athens: 1 hour by plane and 13-17 hours by ferry.

 

03
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Crete

Crete Chania
Why: Crete is famous for its ancient Minoan civilization and unique culture. On the island, you’ll find not only Minoan ruins, elaborate palaces, and ancient sites, but also quaint mountain villages, interesting customs, and epic traditional feasts. Culture and history at their best!

 

Don’t miss: Knossos Palace, Samaria Gorge, Gramvousa Castle, Phaestos Palace, Spinalonga.

 

Best beaches: Elafonisi, Balos, Preveli, Vai, Falassarna.

 

How to get there: There are daily overnight ferries from Piraeus to the main cities in Crete (Chania, Heraklion, Rethymno) and regular flights from Athens throughout the summer.

 

Distance from Athens: 1 hour by plane and 9 hours by ferry.

 

The best Greek islands for party animals & cosmopolitan travelers

 

01
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Mykonos


Why: It’s not a secret: Mykonos is the ultimate party island in Greece! Every summer, international top models, multimillionaires, moguls, and Hollywood stars flock to Mykonos to enjoy the luxurious island life. Collectively reffered to as the ‘Ibiza of Greece’, Mykonos knows how to throw epic beach parties and celebrate summer like there’s no tomorrow!

 

Don’t miss: Delos, Little Venice, Windmills, Panagia Paraportiani.

 

Best beaches: Psarou, Paraga, Super Paradise, Kalo Livadi, Elia.

 

How to get there: There are daily direct flights to Mykonos from Athens and other Greek islands and ferries from Piraeus and Rafina ports in Athens, as well as from several islands of the Aegean.

 

Distance from Athens: 40 minutes by plane and 3-5 hours by ferry.

 

02
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Zakynthos


Why: If you’re looking for exotic beaches and crazy nightlife, Zakynthos is a go-to. Home to the most photographed beach in Greece, Navagio, Zakynthos attracts numerous tourists every summer thanks to its dramatic landscape and vivid party scene. It’s the absolute Instagrammer’s dream!

 

Don’t miss: Blue Caves, Post Byzantine Art Museum, Askos Stone Park, Marathonisi Islet.

 

Best beaches: Navagio, Kalamaki, Banana, Porto Zoro.

 

How to get there: There are frequent ferry connections from Killyni, a small town in the Peloponnese, and flights from Athens International Airport.

 

Distance from Athens: 1 hour by plane.

 

03
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Ios


Why: Ios has a reputation of being a party-island, that’s why it’s very popular with youngsters from all over the world. But it has a lot more to offer than beach parties and day-to-night dancing with people from every corner of the world. Its beautiful natural landscape, stunning beaches, Cycladic architecture, and delicious food make Ios a must-visit!

 

Don’t miss: Panagia Gremiotissa church, Skarkos archaeological site, Tomb of Homer, Odysseas Elytis theater.

 

Best beaches: Manganari, Mylopotas, Koumbara, Gialos.

 

How to get there: There are daily ferry connections from Piraeus to Ios throughout the summer. There are also some ferries from Lavrio port in Athens to Ios.

 

Distance from Athens: 4-6 hours by ferry.

 

The best Greek islands for beach enthusiasts

 

01
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Naxos

Naxos Portara
Why: Naxos has long been famed for its endless sandy coasts, which are ideal for both luscious swimming and watersports, thanks to the Meltemi winds that blow in the Cyclades. Amazing beaches are not the only reason why this island is worth being on your list. Its delicious cuisine, which is based on local produce, its ancient sites, and its amazing landscape make Naxos a locals’ and tourists’ favorite!

 

Don’t miss: Portara, Castle, Temple of Demeter, Marble quarries, Melanes Kouros and Apollonas Kouros statues.

 

Best beaches: Agios Prokopios, Saint George, Migri Vigla, Plaka, Sahara, Maragas, Aliko.

 

How to get there: Ferries to Naxos depart every day from Piraeus port in Athens and other islands of the Aegean in summer. There are also direct flights from Athens to Naxos Airport.

 

Distance from Athens: 40 minutes by plane and 4-7 hours by ferry.

 

02
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Lefkada


Why: Lefkada is arguably one of Greece’s beach meccas. Lefkada’s coastline is fringed with countless sandy beaches with mesmerizing turquoise waters and dramatic surroundings. The overall atmosphere screams ‘Caribbean’ -it doesn’t come as a surprise that the beaches of Lefkada are among the best beaches in the world!

 

Don’t miss: Nidri Waterfalls, Faneromeni Monastery, Castle of Agia Mavra, Archaeological Museum.

 

Best beaches: Egremni, Porto Katsiki, Kathisma, Agios Ioannis, Megali Petra, Agiofili.

 

How to get there: The interesting thing about Lefkada is that although it is an island, it is accessible from the mainland through a bridge. So, you can either go to Lefkada by car from anywhere in Greece or you can fly to Preveza, a mainland town just a 40-minute drive away from Lefkada.

 

Distance from Athens: 1 hour by plane and 6 hours by car.

 

03
of 03
Paros


Why: Paros is famous not only for its cosmopolitan flair and vivid nightlife, but also for its fabulous beaches and long sandy coasts. The strong Meltemi winds that batter the island make Paros a very popular destination for water sports, particularly windsurfing and kite. Thousands of water sports enthusiasts from all over the world flock to Paros every summer to catch the perfect wave!

 

Don’t miss: Lefkes village, Panagia Ekatontapiliani Monastery, Venetian Castle, Archaeological Museum.

 

Best beaches: Golden Beach, New Golden Beach, Kolymbithres, Santa Maria, Marchello, Pounda.

 

How to get there: There are frequent ferries from Piraeus to Paros and regular flights from Athens International Airport to Paros throughout the summer.

 

Distance from Athens: 40 minutes by plane and 3-6 hours by ferry.

 

The best Greek islands for the hippie souls

 

01
of 03
Koufonisi


Why: Koufonisi (Ano) has emerged as a trending destination for the bohemians over the last few years. Its laid-back atmosphere, unspoiled nature, luminous turquoise waters, and peaceful vibe will introduce you to a slower way of life, which is going to be hard to leave behind.

 

Don’t miss: Kato Koufonisi, Sea Caves, Agios Georgios Church.

 

Best beaches: Nero, Pori, Gala, Fanos, Finikas.

 

How to get there: In summer, there is usually one overnight ferry per day to Koufonisia from Athens. There are also frequent ferry departures from other islands of the Cyclades.

 

Distance from Athens: 7-9 hours by ferry.

 

02
of 03
Folegandros


Why: It’s easy to understand the instant appeal of Folegandros. Its picturesque hillside Chora, the romantic church of Panagia above it, the rocky landscape, the sandy beaches… Everything oozes a bohemian charm that’s going to seduce you -before you know it, you’ll be feeling like you’re living in a postcard!

 

Don’t miss: Panagia Church, Kastro, Chrissospilia Cave.

 

Best beaches: Galifos, Katergos, Agali, Karavostasi, Agios Nikolaos.

 

How to get there: Ferries to Folegandros depart from Piraeus port in Athens every day throughout the summer. There are also ferries to Folegandros from several Aegean islands.

 

Distance from Athens: 4-5 hours by ferry.

 

03
of 03
Serifos


Why: In Serifos, you won’t find cosmopolitan beaches, packed beach bars, designer boutiques, or 5-star resorts. This island is still untouched by mass tourism, keeping its natural beauty and artistic charm. It’s all about traditional whitewashed houses, delicious food, breathtaking sunsets, unspoiled beaches, and a lack of crowds. Would you need anything more?

 

Don’t miss: Old Mines, Pano Piazza Square, Agios Konstantinos Church.

 

Best beaches: Ganema, Agios Sostis, Livadi, Lia.

 

How to get there: There are frequent ferries to Folegandros from Piraeus and Lavrion ports in Athens, as well as from several Aegean islands.

 

Distance from Athens: 2-5 hours by ferry.

 

The best Greek islands for adrenaline junkies

 

01
of 03
Thassos

Thasos island Lagoon beach
Why: If you’re a hiking enthusiast, you’re bound to love Thassos! Greece’s northernmost island (surprisingly) remains under the radar, keeping its unspoiled charm and natural beauty. Thassos is an island with an extraordinary natural setting and unique geology, thanks to which it is a paradise for hikers. The island has some beautiful hiking trails that will get you to quaint villages, hidden caves, and idyllic beaches.

 

Don’t miss: Ancient Agora, Alyki Archaeological Site, Archaeological Museum, Ancient Marble quarry, Pan Cave.

 

Best beaches: Aliki, Paradise, Saliara, Giola.

 

How to get there: There are regular ferries to Thassos from Kavala and Keramoti towns in mainland Greece.

 

Distance from Kavala: 1-2  hours by ferry.

 

02
of 03
Alonissos

alonissos beach
Why: Lush vegetation, crystal clear waters, unspoiled beaches, traditional villages, abundant flora, and fauna…Does it sound like heaven to you? If so, Alonissos might be your dream island. Its diverse landscape and natural beauty make Alonissos an ideal destination for activities like hiking, scuba diving, and sailing. The best part? It has yet to be discovered by international tourists!

 

Don’t miss: Marine Park, Mavrikis Folklore Museum, Blue Cave.

 

Best beaches: Agios Petros, Agios Dimitrios, Kokkinokastro, Lefto Gialos.

 

How to get there: Ferries to Alonissos depart frequently from Volos and Kimi in mainland Greece. There are also ferries to Alonissos from other Aegean islands, like Skiathos.

 

Distance from Volos: 3-5 hours by ferry.

 

03
of 03
Skyros


Why: One of the least commercial islands in Greece, Skyros is a well-kept secret among locals. Its landscape is out of this world: a pristine coastline, verdant hills, blonde-sand, and pebbly beaches…everything seems to have been created just for nature lovers. It’s not a surprise that Skyros is an ideal destination for exciting activities like climbing, scuba diving, hiking, and water sports!

 

Don’t miss: Marine Park, Mavrikis Folklore Museum, Blue Cave.

 

Best beaches: Pefkos, Molos, Agios Fokas, Atsitsa, Acherounes, Kalamitsa.

 

How to get there: There are ferries to Skyros from Kimi town in Evia and flights from Athens International Airport to Skyros Airport.

 

Distance from Athens: 40 minutes by plane.

 

FAQs

 

When is the best time to visit Greece?

 

Summer seems to be the best season to visit Greece, but it’s not the only option. Although in summer the weather is hot, the sun shines, and the water is warm enough for swimming, it’s also the most crowded season in Greece. To skip the excessive crowds and enjoy the good weather, opt for late spring (May), early summer (June), and early fall (September). But, if you want total isolation and peace, your best bet lies in early spring and late fall.

 

How to get to Greece?

 

The best way to get to Greece is by air. Athens, the capital of Greece, is connected with numerous international airports via many direct and indirect daily flights. Even if you travel from a European country or from the USA or Australia, your best bet is to fly to Greece. Keep in mind that air ticket prices are higher during the peak season (June to August) and drop in shoulder season. If you’re traveling to Greece from a European country or the UK, you can also opt for a train or a car journey.

 

What are the best Greek islands close to Athens?

 

The island groups that lie within a close distance of Athens are the Saronic islands and the Cyclades islands. Some of the best islands close to Athens are Hydra, Spetses, Poros, Kythnos, Kea/Tzia, and Aegina.

 

What are the Greek islands with the best beaches?

 

The Greek islands that are famed for their beaches are Crete, Lefkada, Paros, Naxos, Paxos, Corfu, and Rhodes, among others.

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