No country on Earth can offer what Greece provides to the millions of tourists year after year. It’s diverse offerings range from myth laced historical stories to thousands of miles long coastline spread over the Mediterranean sea, Aegean sean and the Ionian sea. With its mouth-watering cuisine, surreal natural beauty and plenty of fantastic experiences in store, the Greek Islands are the best holiday destinations in the world.
Best Greek Islands
Mainland Greece shares its borders with Turkey, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Albania. The country’s significant land mass is scattered over the nearby seas in the form of Islands. Greece is arguably home to 6000 islands of which only 227 are inhabited. Greek islands dot the Aegean and Ionian Seas, offering rich cultural & culinary diversity and an ultimate island-hopping opportunity.
Did you know: Greece is home to the oldest European civilization called the Minoans. The Minoans rose and flourished in one of the Greek islands called Certe.
Best time to visit Greece:
Peak season: The most popular time to visit Greece starts from June and goes on till September. July and August see hoards of sunworshippers lying on Greek beaches. August is not only the hottest month in Greece but the costliest month to visit Greece. October experiences some stormy weather and marks the beginning of the winter season in Greece.
The shoulder season in Greece is from mid-April to mid-June and mid-September to October. These months are great for those who wish to experience decent weather and lower prices.
November to March are the off-season months in Greece. These months have bad weather and lesser ferry services but the fewer crowds make this season quite appealing time to visit Greece for a few.
The Aegean sea to the southeast of the mainland is home to the maximum number of Greek islands that are classified into 7 groups;
- The Northern Aegean Islands
- The Sporades
- The island of Agrosaronic
- The Cyclades
- The Dodecanes
The Ionian sea is home to a group of seven Greek islands. These islands, also known as Heptanese (The Seven islands), have a rich history that dates back to the Venetian era.
Top Greek Islands for Indians to go on a holiday
If you are planning your first holiday in Greece, let the dazzling Santorini introduce you to the culture and beauty of this country. With stunning whitewashed towns hanging from the cliff-top, picturesque harbours, colourful streets and cosy cafes, Santorini has gained immense popularity among tourists.
This romantic and luxurious Greek island, lets you experience the best Greece’s cultures and natural beauty. Oia and Fira are two of the best-known towns of Santorini that have the surreal Cyclades-style architecture. Adding further to its appeal, Santorini offer’s amazing options for accommodation and plenty of things to do like going on boat rides, visiting art galleries, relaxing in vineyards and sunbathing in the beaches.
Indians going on a vacation in Greece must have Crete on their itinerary. This island in Greece was home to the first European civilization called the ‘Minoan’. Largest of Greek islands, Crete is best known for being a foodie paradise. Apart from having distinct cuisine, Crete boasts unparalleled natural beauty. Another reason why this Greek island should be a part of your holiday is its diverse offerings; pristine beaches, Venetian towns, historical landmarks and wondrous hike trail.
Tip: Tsikoudia is one of the must-have local drink. This alcoholic drink is made with grapes and has a distinct fragrance.
Notoriously known as the ‘Party animal of Greece’, Mykonos will teach you what partying really means. With amazing beachside party location and numerous clubs/bars dotting this Greek island, here you’ll meet revellers from all over the world. But, Mykonos offers more than just amazing parties. If you happen to visit Mykonos during the off-season, you’ll notice that Mykonos’ beaches are absolutely stunning! The island also offers amazing tourist attractions ranging from unique architecture and historical monuments that include iconic churches and windmills.
Best Greek Islands for Families
If you are seeking to experience authentic village life in the Greek islands, then Naxos is your best bet. Naxos’ blissfully slow pace of life will help you soothe your city-worn souls and get in touch with nature. With its sugar-white sandy beaches and tiny villages, this greek island gives you the opportunity to experience the traditional life as well as enjoy the trademark scenic beauty of Greece.
Located close to Athens, Hydra is the best Greek Island for families. This small island offers a unique experience to families with its car-free pedestrian paths. With amazing tavernas (Greek restaurants, and a quaint harbour, this island gives you a chance to disconnect from the hustle bustle of cities and slow down. It doesn’t come as a surprise that Hydra is among the most popular Greek Islands among the celebrities and artist; Beatles, Rolling Stones and Dakis Joannou to name a few.
One of the seven Greek islands in the Ionian sea, Ithaca is best known for its magnificent natural beauty. What makes this island an ideal location for your Greece Vacation are it’s amazing sightseeing options, historical sites, mythical stories and it’s awe-inspiring beauty. A visit to the local village of Kioni and a trip to the cave of Nymphs are among the top things to do on this tiny Greek island. Ithaca’s capital, Vathy is yet another place you can’t miss on your holiday in Ithaca.
Zakynthos / Zante
If you are travelling to Greece with kids or teens, Zakynthos is your best bet. This stunning Greek island is adorned with rolling green hills that overlook the stark blue of the Ionian Sea. Its Stunning location invites tourists with its natural beauty and plenty of fun activities to do including water sports. Beach-lovers must make their way to Tsilivi, Agio Nikolaus, Alykanas and Navagio. Apart from going on sightseeing tours of the island, Boat rides along the dramatic coastline are among the top things to do here.
Did you know: Navagio beach is among the few places that you’ll often see being Instagrammed by influencers. Navagio is also known as shipwreck beach.
Also known as Kelafonia, this greek island is another one of an ideal location for families to go on a vacation. located in the Ionian sea, close to mainland Greece, Cephalonia is the largest of Ionian Islands. Best known for its rugged limestone cliffs and sandy-white beaches, Kelafonia offers plenty of things for families to enjoy on their Greece vacation. Some of the top things to do on this heavenly greek island include trekking Mount Anios, unwinding in Melisaani cave, and seeing the stalagmite formation in Drogarati Cave.
Best Greek islands for honeymooners/ couples
Yet another one of treasures of the Cyclades, Antiparos is everything romantic. A tiny Greek island, situated in the Aegean sea, Antiparos has similar architectural style as Santorini and most of the islands in the Cyclades; whitewashed buildings, narrow cobbled streets lined by colourful bougainvillaeas. With no crowds and umteen romantic spots, Antiparos sets a perfect ambience for lover looking to spend some quality time.
A perfect blend of history, heritage and awe-inspiring natural beauty, Corfu offers you a chance to have a one of a kind experience on your Greece holiday. This tiny Greek island is home to spectacular beaches, a splendid UNESCO listed Old town and abundant serenity. With plenty of romantic spots ditting the city, Corfu makes an ideal honeymoon destination in Greece. Corfu’s pastel towns, lush green olive groves and it’s charming hip vibes promise you one of the best holiday experiences.
Looking for a Boho-buzz in your honeymoon destination in Greece? Folegandros is the place for you. Its languid pace of life, tiny towns, quaint tavernas and umteen romantic potential make it yet another perfect Greek island for you to go on your honeymoon. The island’s rugged beauty is yet another reason some people fall in love with this island. Couples looking for non-crowded places to spend their special time will love Folegrandos.
Best Greek islands for Culture and History Enthusiasts
While mainland Greece is home to amazing historical sites, there are a few Greek Islands that can take you back in time. Among the top islands for those looking for a dash of history in their holiday is the Rhodes. A part of the Dodecanes in the Aegean sea, Rhodes has withheld through centuries of crusades and invasions. The stories of it’s past linger throughout the island in the form of medieval castles, hilltop acropolis, the old town and the list goes on. History buffs will love a visit to the palace of Grand Masters, the archaeological site of Ancient Kamiros and the Monastery of Filerimos.
Situated in the Cyclades, Syros is one of the best places to experience greek culture and history. Home to the capital of Cyclades, Ermoupolis, Syros gives a distinct greek island experience to the holiday-goers. Ermoupolis is one of the biggest islands of Syros and gives you a chance to witness unique neo-classical building, massive churches also with the Greek-style picturesque natural beauty. Syros has some splendid beaches scattered around the island that one can tourists would love; Agathopes beach, Delfini, Varvarousa, and Aetos to name a few. Syros also hosts multiple cultural and art festivals along with animation, dance, digital art, film, classical music, jazz festivals. It’s no wonder it’s often considered to be one of the Greek islands for those looking for an off-beat experience.
Tinos is yet another Greek island in the Aegean sea, that is out to get your heart. Situated close to Mykonos, this island charms tourists with its old windmills, seriously delicious food and the little villages that dot the island. The most popular among 50+ villages that dot the island are Pyrgos and Volax. Considered to be a sacred island, Tinos is history is weaved with mythical stories. During your visit to Pyrgos, you’ll come across some marvellous sculpted birds and flowers decorate every doorway as this traditional village is known for its marble craftsmen. Some of the iconic places to visit on this Greek Island are the church of Panagia, Museum of Giannoulias and some other surfer bays and beaches.
Best islands for Nature lovers and photography buffs
Aptly so, mythology Milos is the place where the Greek Goddess, Aphrodite discovered her prowess. One of the most spectacular islands, the island’s barren landscape along with the amazingly blue waters of the Aegean sea creates jaw-dropping views. Milos is volcanic with rocky terrain and splendid beaches. Milos offers an amazing backdrop for your vacation in Greece. Nature lovers and Photographers will fall head over heels on this greek island. With world-renowned beaches like Sarakiniko, Tzigrado beach, Paliochori, Milos attracts beach lovers and sunworshippers from around the world during the summers. Some must-visit villages in Milos include Klima, Plaka and Pollonia.
If you are excited by the mention of Adventure, then you will probably have a blast on your vacation in Amorgos. To start off with, reaching this island is an adventure of its own. A perfect island for those who avoid crowds, Amorgos offers you unlimited natural beauty and a chance to disconnect from the chaos of the cities and reconnect with nature. To give you a sense of what it’s like to visit Amorgos, popular travel magazine explains Conde Nast Traveller “When you disembark at Katapola, a sleepy harbour lined with great little fish tavernas (our favourites are Prekas and To Mouragio), a sign announces: ‘Welcome to Amorgos. Nobody will find you here.’”
On your greek Vacation, if you are looking for non-crowded beaches, then Serifos is the Greek island for you. Blessed with umteen picturesque views and jaw-dropping beaches, Serifos is for those who don’t mind getting their feet dirty and like their holiday destinations raw. With no nightlife, fancy hotels or bustling shopping centre, Serifos is most inviting to those who are naturists from the heart. Some of the best beaches in Serifos like Kalo Ambeli, Vagia, Skala are accessible only by taking bumpy rides on dirt roads.
Greece has an island to match every holiday mode you find yourself in. Now that you know all about the best of the Greek islands, plan your vacation in paradise soon!