Mainland Greece is surrounded by enchanting archipelagoes comprising 2,000 islands, of which approximately 170 are populated. Santorini and Mykonos are justly famous, but there are other isles that also boast rich histories, ancient ruins, varied landscapes, charming medieval villages and unspoiled beaches ripe for exploring. Here, Indagare shares the best Greek islands for different kinds of travelers. Contact Indagare to plan a customized itinerary to Greece, which includes one of the below islands.
Related: Greece’s Greatest
Best Greek Island for Romantics: Santorini
Almost otherworldly in its dramatic beauty, Santorini is all about the simple pleasures of summer in Greece: sun, sand and the obligatory evening aperitif. The Aegean island is a caldera, with steep cliffs and towns dotting the upper ridge. Its unique C-shaped crater is the result of the second-largest volcanic eruption in world history, which took place 3,600 years ago. It is widely believed that this event is the source for the legend of Atlantis. True or not, Santorini has an undeniable air of mystery that enhances its idyllic charm.
Overview: Primarily a relaxation destination—guests can easily while away an entire day lounging poolside—Santorini also boasts rich volcanic vineyards, red- and black-sand beaches, underwater treasures and prehistoric ruins.
Getting There: Fly into Athens and then take a 45-minute flight to Santorini.
Where to Stay: Kirini Suites & Spa or Canaves Oia Hotel & Suites
Highlights: Going on a boat cruise with stops for snorkeling; visiting a winery; hiking; relaxing at your hotel; touring the ancient city of Akrotiri
Best Greek Island for Scenesters: Mykonos
Often referred to as the Capri or St.-Tropez of Greece, Mykonos seamlessly combines sandy beaches and a charming, authentic town, much-photographed windmills, chic hotels, sophisticated restaurants and an exciting night life.
Overview: Mykonos is defined by pebble-stone streets, pretty squares surrounded by whitewashed houses and a main town that is adorned with pots of geraniums and bougainvillea. It’s a joy to get lost exploring the boutiques, galleries, restaurants, bars and churches here.
Getting There: Fly into Athens and then take a 35-minute flight to Mykonos.
Where to Stay: Santa Marina Resort & Villas
Highlights: Lounging at beach clubs like Scorpios; visiting the ruins at Delos; shopping the boutiques in town; partaking in the nightlife scene
Best Greek Island for Adventurers: Crete
The largest island in the Aegean Sea, Crete has a diverse terrain, from snow-capped mountains to pristine beaches to dramatic gorges, as well as resorts offering a comprehensive list of amenities. As the birthplace of the Minoan civilization, it will enchant ancient history buffs, and active types will enjoy trekking through its jagged ravines, snorkeling in its aquamarine water and sailing to remote coves during their visit.
Overview: Greece’s largest island offers a dynamic mix of historic ruins, varied landscapes, glamorous hotels and beautiful beaches.
Getting There: Take a direct flight from Athens, a private helicopter from Mykonos or a hydrofoil from Santorini.
Where to Stay: Elounda Beach, a grand waterfront resort with villas and bungalows
Highlights: Visiting the ruins of Knossos, the Minoan capital, boating to Spinalonga island, trekking the Samarine gorge, snorkeling, rock climbing, hiking
Related: Best of Greece
Best Greek Island for Culture Lovers: Paros and Antiparos
Paros, the second-largest Cycladic island, reached the apogee of its glory during the Classical period, thanks to its world-famous marble. It is spotted with ruins, evidence of occupation by a series of cultures and civilizations going back to 3,200 BC. A longtime cultural hub, it attracts international artists and art aficionados to its contemporary exhibitions and events. Just off the coast of Paros, tiny Antiparos has largely escaped the effects of mass tourism and boasts lovely turquoise water, pristine beaches and stunning stalagmite caves.
Overview: Paros offers the best of the Cyclades: whitewashed villages, charming harbors and secluded coves, along with a rich cultural scene.
Getting There: Take a direct flight from Athens or a ferry from Santorini or Mykonos
Where to Stay: One of Indagare’s favorite private villas
Highlights: Visiting the beaches of Psaraliki and Soros, watching the breathtaking sunset from Vathys Volos, canoeing or kayaking between Antiparos and Despotikon.
Related: Cruising the Greek Isles
Best Greek Island for Families: Corfu
Located in the Ionian Sea west of mainland Greece and a one-hour flight from Athens, the island of Corfu is markedly different from the small, windswept Cyclades in size — it is about ten times as large as Santorini — and topography, with lush landscapes that are green year-round, thanks to heavy rains in the winter.
It also differs in its culture, which, due to its proximity to Italy, displays a strong Italian influence in its cuisine and architecture. Corfu Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with neoclassical mansions, wide piazzas and three forts designed by Venetian engineers. The island has spectacular swimming coves fringed with tropical plants and fruit trees, as well as Greece’s largest selection of private villas, making it an ideal spot for a family vacation.
Overview: Corfu is a lush gem of an isle evincing strong Italian influence in its cuisine and architecture.
Getting There: Take a one-hour flight from Athens.
Where to Stay: One of the island’s many private villas or Corfu Imperial, a seafront luxury resort
Highlights: Wandering around Corfu Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, visiting the many small bays and beaches, yachting to the pristine isles of Paxos and Antipaxos
Related: A Week in Greece
Where to Stay? Try a Greek Villa Rental
Greece boasts some of the most spectacular private villas in the world, with incredible sea views, open-air layouts and true privacy, plus luxe amenities like private pools, gyms, beach fronts, movie theaters and helipads. Indagare has excellent relationships with the islands’ top villa agencies and can help choose the best villa for your group based on your destination and interests. We can also arrange for private chefs, instructors and babysitters, as well as organize excursions and on-property activities.
Contact Indagare to plan a customized itinerary to Greece