Greece is one of these enchanted locations; the country’s hundreds of islands and archipelagos are home to breathtaking natural beauty, picture-perfect beaches lapped by warm waters, a year-round balmy Mediterranean climate, and delicious traditional Greek cuisine.
You’ll experience authentic Greek culture no matter which island you choose to visit. Everyone, from beach bums to foodies to explorers to those looking for a more active vacation, can find one island to suit their needs.
Nisyros is a volcanic island in the Aegean Sea and a part of the Dodecanese group of islands. The establishment, a circular island between Kos and Tilos, is home to Greece’s youngest and most active volcano.
This place is not your typical Greek island, which is probably why it hasn’t become overrun with tourists. Learn about the unique volcanic geology of Nisyros, which ranges from black pebbled beaches to hydrothermal craters. Over 40 hiking routes wind their way over the island, some of which lead to the summit of the island’s active volcano.
The island is more well-known for its picturesque towns and delicious Greek taverns than its beaches. Paleokastro, the main fishing settlement in Mandraki, is notable for its picturesque squares, cobblestone alleys, and ancient acropolis. Travel to the highland hamlet of Emporio, home to the stronghold of Pantoniki and a natural volcanic sauna within a tiny cave, and to Nikia, home to the famed Porta Plaza and Volcanology Museum.
Located in the southern Saronic Gulf is the little island of Poros. Poros Town, the island’s capital, sits on a dormant volcano overlooking the Aegean Sea, while the rest of the island has been left mostly undeveloped across a narrow canal. On the mainland side of the strait, you’ll find Galatas’s twin town.
This destination is a favorite weekend getaway for Athenians due to its close proximity to the city and its picturesque landscape of churches, monasteries, pine woods, and citrus orchards. Take your time wandering the charming alleyways of the town. Poros Town is home to the Poros Town Clock Tower and the Poros Archaeological Museum.
The Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi and the Sanctuary of Poseidon are only two of the many sights to see outside of Poros Town and all around the untamed island. Love Bay, Vagionia Bay, and Askeli Beach are just a few of the great places to spend your days kayaking, tubing, stand-up paddleboarding, waterskiing, banana boating, and wakeboarding.
Serifos, a tiny island in the western Cyclades, offers all the perks of a distant Greek vacation without the throngs of tourists: pristine, quiet beaches; superb walking paths; outstanding tavernas. Furthermore, the scenery is breathtaking. Hundreds of Cycladic structures, including churches and monasteries, cascade down a barren hillside to the rocky shore below.
Once a bustling mining center, modern-day Serifos is nothing more than its hilltop capital and some abandoned mining paths. If you want a great perspective of this somewhat wild and untamed island, go up to Hora (also called the Chora, the Greek word for an island’s major town).
Don’t miss the historic mining museum at Megalo Livadi and other interesting sights along the Serifos mining route, including rusted railroad lines, ancient tunnels, and decaying bridges. You may take a stroll around the scenic Serifos port, people-watch in Pano Piatsa, and eat at a local restaurant along Mega Livadi Beach.
The Eastern Sporades consist of many islands, although only Alonissos is inhabited year-round. The island is not as busy as its neighbors due to its isolated position and few boat connections. The majority of its visitors are Italians, Britons, and Athenians.
One of the region’s most unspoiled islands is Alonissos. Passion flowers, pine woods, honeysuckle, olive groves, and apricot orchards add to the island’s vast natural beauty; the island and many islands off its coast make up the National Marine Park of Alonnisos Northern Sporades.
Alonissos is a marine park, which means that it has some of the world’s best white-pebble beaches and clearest water. Dolphins, uncommon birds, and the Mediterranean monk seal are regulars along this beach. Activities like hiking, boating, and scuba diving are common here.
Milos, nestled just above the Sea of Crete, is home to more beaches than any other island in the Cyclades—definitely one of Greece’s best-kept secrets. This destination is a long way from Athens, so unless you have a lot of time on your hands, you should probably just fly there instead of taking the boat.
The volcanic island of Milos is well-known for its breathtaking landscape, which includes everything from steam vents and mineral quarries to stunning rock formations and hot springs (the island has been mined since the Neolithic period).
The island’s western part is a protected nature preserve teeming with exotic animals such as the Mediterranean seal, Milos viper, and the crocodilian-like Mlos wall lizard. You may relax on the beach all day and then try out some water sports like windsurfing, boating, sailing, or even horseback riding in the afternoon.