📌 Read in / Lire en : Français (French)
Greece is one of the most popular Mediterranean destinations, famous worldwide for its beaches, wines, and the legendary hospitality of its people. The weather here is warm and the waters turquoise, making it an ideal setting for a relaxing holiday or a romantic getaway. Scattered across the Aegean, Ionian, and Adriatic seas, the Greek islands attract hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world each year, all searching for a change of scenery. Of the 227 islands in Greece, here are the 15 most beautiful, in our opinion, for your future vacation. We also tell you about the resources we have on some of them. Happy reading!
Corfu, the Beauty of the West
Located on the western side of Greece, near its border with Albania, Corfu is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful Greek islands. With a relatively large area (660 km2), it is characterized by a very rich architectural and cultural heritage, found the crossroads of Greek and Latin influences. There are portions of the coast of Corfu, notably Kavos, where tourism has taken over, but the interior of the land is much calmer and more conducive to beautiful hikes. There are also many family hotels renowned for their hospitality.
Delos, the island of the gods
If you are passionate about history and mythology, Delos will not disappoint you. It is a small rocky island (350 hectares), located in the heart of the Aegean Sea, considered by ancient Greek culture to be “the most sacred of all islands”. According to legend, Apollo, the god of sunlight, was born here, along with his twin, Artemis, the goddess of moonlight. The site is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and, uninhabited, Delos is like an open-air museum. You can get there easily from Chora, a town on the much friendlier island of Mykonos.
Santorini, the pearl of the Cyclades
It is difficult not to mention Santorini on a list of the most beautiful Greek islands. This volcanic island, a true pearl of the Cyclades, is renowned throughout the world for its villages of whitewashed houses, black sand, and its luxurious hotels with breath-taking views. To visit Oia or Fira, enjoy a view of the Caldera or taste a succulent dish from the sea, you will need a little patience, because the ferry crossing from Athens can be long. But on arrival, it’s all worth it…
Paros, the paradise of the French
This island is very popular with the French, and often features as a stopover on the journey to Santorini. Despite thinking we know Paros well, it always has surprises in store for us. With its little sister, Antiparos, on its western flank, the island can be crossed by quad in one day. But you would be wrong not to take advantage of its small coves or the excellent restaurants of Naoussa to the north.
Mykonos, more than just a party…
It is surely the most party animal of the Greek islands. However, Mykonos has so much more to offer. There is, in fact, something for everyone. Admittedly, the place is popular for its feverish evenings, and DJs from all over the world continue to flock there. But another form of tourism, more fun for all the family, is conquering the island. Between its famous windmills, overlooking Little Venice, the 18th century captains’ houses, and its famous Agrari beach, there is no shortage of things to do in Mykonos. What’s more, the hotels, which have had a bad reputation for a long time, have become very upmarket. You will find examples below.
Nisyros, the volcanic
This is not the best known of the Greek islands and for good reason; it has been saved from mass tourism. Nonetheless, the place has something to seduce anyone. The volcanic island of Nisyros is home to several points of interest, including Mandraki, its capital shaped like a small fishing port, and Stefanos, the largest crater on the island, with its eerie beauty. Although there are vast beaches and excellent cuisine to be found on the island, Nisyros is ideal if you like geology and the disturbing beauty of volcanic formations.
Milos, beyond the mines…
Here is an island of the Cyclades which travellers do not prioritize. However, beyond its mines of all kinds (some of which can be visited, despite being very old), Milos has an extremely rich heritage to offer its visitors. Its capital, Plaka, is typical of the towns and villages of the region. This boasts a charm that cannot be envied by the picturesque ports on the north coast, Firopotamos, Mandrakia, and above all, Apollonia, which has become a popular seaside resort for families. As for the south coast, it has a string of beaches, each more welcoming than the last. So, expand your horizons!
Skyros, the spiritual
Part of the Sporades group in the northwest Aegean, off the large island of Euboea, Skyros isn’t quite like its sisters. Its vegetation is quite different from one end of the island to the other – a verdant north and a rather arid, rocky south. It is an island truly dedicated to relaxation and spirituality. In Atsitsa Bay, you can learn sailing, painting, music, yoga, or even dance. You will also find picturesque villages in the north of the island, like the city of Skyros, the island’s capital.
Symi, the little treasure north of Rhodes
Direction your attention towards the Dodecanese islands, this time around Rhodes, to discover Symi. Here is a little paradise hidden not far from the Turkish coast, which dazzles its visitors with its picturesque colourful houses and the microclimate that reigns there. The Italian neoclassical style of its residences gives the city, also called Symi, an incredible charm, but do not confine yourself to this beautiful city and its magnificent Gialos (port). There are magnificent monasteries across the rest of the island and very beautiful, though difficult to access, beaches.
Andros, a hiker’s paradise
Andros Island is the northernmost and second largest island of the Greek Cyclades. It lies between Tinos and Naxos, from which it is separated by a 3km-wide channel and is home to some of the most beautiful beaches you will ever see. However, don’t expect a debauchery of luxury like in Mykonos or Santorini. You’ll find that Andros has retained its laid-back vibe, with only a few hotels dotted around its shores. If you are looking for an authentic Greek experience, this is where you should go. What’s more, if you like hiking, don’t hesitate: its green landscapes is sure to delight you.
Epano Koufonissi, for pure calm
This island is one of five forming the Koufoníssia (“hollow islands”), part of the archipelago of the Small Cyclades, southeast of Naxos. It is perhaps the quietest place in Greece; there is not a single road to be found. Only a small fishing community of about 300 people live on the island and its rustic charm also makes it one of the most beautiful Greek islands for a romantic getaway.
Zante, the turtle refuge
This is one of the most beautiful Greek islands in the Ionian Sea. With a bay stretching out over the Mediterranean, Zante (or Zakynthos in Greek) has some of the best beaches in the region, with breath-taking cliffs as a backdrop. Zakynthos Wreck Beach is arguably the best choice of the lot, so it sometimes falls victim to its own success, being generally very busy in the summer. Therefore, visit in low season. The northern, mountainous part of the island is the quieter part, ideal for spending a day away from the crowds. And the last major asset of Zante? It is one of the breeding grounds for loggerhead turtles.
Crete, the den of epicureans
It’s the perfect island if you’re looking to sample the revival of Greek cuisine; it is the site of a flourishing Agrotourism industry. If that inspires you, the farms of Crete are the best place to sample authentic regional cuisine, washed down with locally-distilled raki or tsikoudia. But Crete is also the cradle of Greek mythology and an island well-endowed with natural wonders, from the bay overlooking Spinalonga to the caves of Matala, passing by the beach of Elafonissi. Below, moreover, we have plenty of content to help you plan your Cretan getaway.
Rhodes, between the sacred and the modern
If you are single and looking for a fun vacation in Greece, you should go to the island of Rhodes. Considered one of the best Greek islands for nightlife (and there’s plenty of competition!), Rhodes, and especially its capital, is full of world-class bars – Platia Arionos and Miltiadou are among the most popular with visitors. However, families are also welcome, of course. The largest island in the Dodecanese, this archipelago of twelve Greek islands are geographically close to Turkey and has no shortage of tourist attractions, including the Acropolis of Lindos and the ancient site of Kamiros. What’s more, as stated previously, it is a good starting point for visiting other islands, such as Symi, by boat.
Hydra, the little-known pearl of the Saronic Islands
Despite its disturbing name, this rustic Greek island, located just 1h30 by boat from Athens, is very welcoming. What’s more, it is home to perhaps the most beautiful port in Greece. There are no cars there; just mules and donkeys to take you from place to place – but leave those beasts alone for a bit and use your feet. All construction was banned when Hydra became an architectural reserve and the island makes you feel like you are lost in time. It therefore has its place in this selection of the most beautiful Greek islands.
That’s it, our selection of the most beautiful Greek islands. There are many others to visit, of course. But start with these and you won’t be disappointed.