There are so many reasons to visit at least one of the stunning Greek islands in your lifetime. Greece is a country rich with fascinating history, culture and stunning architecture - and that’s just scratching the surface! Its iconic beaches, breathtaking sunsets, delicious food, and good weather will make you want to stay forever. Here's our list of the top little-known Greek islands to add to your list. Number three is our favorite!
The photo says it all! Santorini is one of the most magical places in the world, let alone in Greece. This is one of the many reasons it has become a hotspot for honeymooners and first-timers to Europe.
Alongside its postcard-perfect appearance, the island has much more to offer. In the heart of Kamari Village, you can find streets full of magnificent open air restaurants offering local delicacies, such as the island wine, (which is quite punchy!) and tomatokeftedes (tomato dough balls fried in oil). If sunsets are your thing, then hop over to Oia to witness the best sea views on the island.
Popular daytime activities include a trek up the ridges of the Caldera to get a panoramic view of the island. Adventurous souls can even sail around it during the summer months and jump into some of the hot springs created by the volcano!
If you’re looking for charm and character, then you’ve come to the right place. Undoubtedly the highlight of Corfu is its magnificent landscapes. Throughout the island, you find a mixture of rolling olive groves like central Italy, along with some of the best beaches in Europe!
We haven’t even mentioned the food yet! Corfu has its own unique cuisine, a mix of traditional Greek, Venetian and British food rooting back to its multiple spells of colonization. Olives, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, and the signature dish, pastitsada (meat braised in red wine, garlic and onion, reduced to a sauce with fresh tomato and spices and served on pasta) are some of the must-try items on our list! For the best authentic meals on the island, head out to Petriti, a tiny fishing village, and grab a seat on the open-air terrace of Limnopoula seafood restaurant.
Paxos is probably the opposite of its neighbor, Mykonos. A sophisticated and serene Greek paradise, this island offers rest, relaxation and plenty of fun experiences.
Paxos, along with its little sibling Antipaxos, are considered as one group, so you get to experience two different islands for the price of one! The beaches on these two islands are some of the most secretive in the Mediterranean: Be ready to hike or hop in a water taxi to seek out the best beaches, as they are often quite far from the main harbors.
The pick of the bunch is the east coast of Paxos offering the most instagrammable views such as Kanoni, known for its azure waters on the side of Lakka harbor. Loggos Lakka and Gaios, are two other quaint harbors we recommend you add to your itinerary.
From the quiet shores of Paxos, we now move on to Greece’s largest island, Crete. The birthplace of Zeus and the setting of some of the country’s oldest ruins and history, it is steeped in Greek history. The Minoan palace of Knossos, and the ancient sites at Aptera and Malia are amongst the particular highlights.
That said, With 650 miles of coastline, Crete is also a beach-lover’s paradise. Our favorite is Elafonisi, which is the largest but never overcrowded. Crete’s beauty does not stop there. Most of Crete is mountainous and the hillsides roll into the distance, covered in bright green: perfect for a rustic picnic amongst the olive trees!
Another reason to visit this magnificent island above all is the balance between the luxury comforts of a big city and charms of small little villages. Chania and Heraklion, the two main cities on the island, have gorgeous cathedrals, picturesque old towns and lots of places to shop, while smaller towns have small churches filled with frescos and quaint little cafes!
Skiathos may be the smallest of the Sporades islands, but by no means any less attractive. You can get lost down its mosaic-paved narrow streets in town, or relax on any of the 60 prime beaches surrounding the island. Papadiamanti Street, especially, is a fascinating place to be around dusk, as it is lined with authentic tavernas, and stalls where you can buy small souvenirs of your stay.
Overall, Skiathos has calmer seas compared to other places in Greece. Water sports are a must-try, even for beginners, and more experienced fanatics can enjoy a whole range of waterskiing and even paragliding! The ideal beach for all these activities is Koukounaria, full of ski and surfing schools with experienced instructors.
Fans of Mamma Mia! can even visit the small adjacent island of Skopelos and make the long climb up the scenic steps to the church used in the film. Did someone say photo opportunity?!
Pictures speak a thousand words, right? We’ve tried our best to do justice to the beauty of all our favorite Greek islands. In this list, we’ve got selections for quick getaways, luxury holidays, history tours and even outdoor activities, all for varying prices. Honestly, a trip to anywhere in Greece is magical, but if you can, try all five!