Greece is one of the ten most visited countries in Europe, with more than 20 million international tourist arrivals last year. It offers so much to people who go there, starting from the gorgeous blue seas, islands with the charming architecture of the Mediterranean, tasty traditional cuisine and vibrant spirit in the cities.
You have already heard so many times about the Greek islands, especially about Santorini and Mykonos. No doubt – these two are a must visit, but consider the fact that there are many more worth to be seen. That’s why, in this article we are presenting you ten beautiful Greek islands. Check out the pictures, read some info and put your favorite on your bucket list.
Zakynthos is the third – largest island in the Ionian sea and got the name after the son of the famous Arcadian chief Dardanus from the Greek mythology. The island is also called Zante and it’s a proud owner of what is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We’re talking about Navagio, the beach from the picture, also known as the Shipwreck beach. Make sure to visit it ig you go here. Zakynthos offers you coastal villages with calm, but beautiful atmosphere, or visit Laganas, the famous party point on the island.
Thasos is the northernmost Greek island that has plenty to offer, even though it is not as famous or visited as the other islands. The island is proud of the products produced there, such as olives, olive oil, honey, sweets and marble. You know that the olives are common all around Greece, but according to locals their sweets are especially delicious thanks to the honey they are producing and using. Believe it or not, but the first marble extraction on the island happened around 18000 BC! Of course, you can always go to the beach and relax, or you can have fun at the island’s natural pool, Giola.
Lefkada is the fourth largest island in the Ionian city and got the name from the Greek word leukos, which means white, after the white rocks in the southern part of the island. It is also known as Lefkas or Levkas, and this island is famous for the sandy white beaches and crystal clear turquoise water. Here you will find one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, called Porto Katsiki (the one on the picture). Besides the beach fun, you can explore the island’s attractions, such as Nydri, a mediaeval Venetian castle of Agia Mavra, Lefkata cape, or the Dimosari waterfalls.
Crete is the largest Greek island and the fifth largest in the Mediterranean sea. The island has to offer something for everyone: it has beautiful beaches and great sea water; it has vibrant city life in the capital Heraklion and the other bigger towns, while it offers a quiet and peaceful vacation for those who seek such. Crete is mountainous, so everyone who likes to climb and hike is welcome here as well. While on the island, make sure to visit the Venetian city of Chania, explore some of the archaeological sites of the Minoan civilization and enjoy Vai, the biggest European palm forest.
Ios belongs to the Cyclades group of islands, located in the Aegean sea. The island is hilly with white architecture that can remind you a little bit of Mykonos and Santorini. This island is known for the wild parties, so be prepared for some great nightlife. You can always enjoy the sandy beaches and the clear, blue Aegean sea water and eat the super tasty Greek cuisine. One thing that the locals are proud of as well is the prehistoric site known as Skarkos. This is the island where the famous Greek poet Homer is buried.
This island is the proud owner of more than 60 clean beaches where you can enjoy the sun and the clear, azure waters of the Aegean sea. Skiathos became a popular island destination in the past few decades, with today being the most popular of the Sporades islands. The capital of the island, known as Skiathos Town is built amphitheatrically with plenty if pine trees surrounding the town. While on the island, make sure to visit two of the most popular beach, called Koukounariés and Lalaria.
In of the past editions of Lonely Planet, the island of Paros is described as “poor man’s Mykonos”, meaning that you can get both the style and the vacation, but for a cheaper price. Located in the Aegean sea and being one of the Cyclades islands, Paros offers such a vibrant atmosphere with plenty of activities to be done. Make sure to visit one of the three most popular destinations on the island, the villages Naoussa, Parikia and Lefkes. Here you will find the typical, but very charming Greek architecture of white marble houses, churches, blue doors and windows and the smell of the delicious cuisine.
Rhodes is the most popular island of all Dodecanese with having the longest tourist season of all, starting from April and it lasts until November. Rhodes is called The Island of The Knights, named after the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, who once conquered the island. On the island you can visit the Medieval city of Rhodes, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Being there means visiting the Old Town is a must. Here you will find a Byzantine fortress, known as the Palace of the Grand Master, that now is a museum. Enjoy the island as much as you can, in its nature, the sea, the beaches, the culture!
Located in the Aegean sea, Hydra is one of the Saronic islands with many visitors coming to seek relaxing vacation. Most of the visitors are Athenians, but more and more international visitors come every year. The only popular destination on the island is Hydra Port, where there isn’t much to be seen, but to be experienced. It’s all about long walks, breathing the fresh air, enjoying a swim or tasting the cuisine. However, you can explore this small island a little bit and visit the local villages, such as Mandraki, Kamini or Vlychos.
Patmos is also called as the Jerusalem of the Aegean – Saint John wrote the Book of Revelation here. The “Holly Island” was named “Europe’s most idyllic place to live” according to Forbes in 2009. The capital and the port of the small island of Patmos is called Skala, which is also the biggest settlement on the island. It doesn’t offer crazy night life and it doesn’t have too many attractions, but this is the perfect place for everyone who wants to relax and spend some peaceful time being surrounded by the sea and the nature.