Travel and Home logo icon profile picture transparent traveling

32 Beautiful & Best Greek Islands To Visit

Listed by size.

From the largest Greek islands to the smallest, Greece is calling you…!

Small but Packaged to the Brim!

  • Imagine excluding Santorini from our list just because it did not make the cut for the top 30 islands by size? With only 0.2 sq. km smaller than our 30th island, Santorini is a dream destination. So, we added this stunning dream holiday destination.
  • We end our article on a high note by adding another small but mighty island, namely Mykonos.  It’s quite down the list in size, but well worth a visit. Mykonos is a little paradise. No wonder it is a tourism hotspot in Greece! 
List of Greek Islands Best Greek Islands to visit Most Beautiful Greek Islands

The Greek islands are grouped into 6 clusters.

We refer to various clusters. The clusters will give you an indication of where the various Greek islands are located.

  • The islands in the Saronic Gulf near Athens fall are called the Argo-Saronic Islands.
  • When we talk about the Cyclades, we are referring to the islands in the central part of the Aegean Sea.
  • A loose group of islands off the west coast of Turkey is referred to as the North Aegean islands.
  • We have another loose group of islands, called the Dodecanese. These islands lie in the southeast between Crete and Turkey.
  • Then there is the small tight group of islands off the coast of Euboea, called the Sporades.
  • To the west of the mainland in the Ionian Sea, you have the so-called Ionian Islands.

Excluded from our list are Crete’s surrounding islets and Euboea. Also, the Peloponnese, which is technically an island, but is rarely considered to be one.

1. Crete

Crete, best beaches in Greece
1 Crete 3,219 sq. miles / 8,336 sq. km

Also known as Kriti, or Krete

June to September is the best time for a bewitching beach holiday fun. That said, the countryside is absolutely beautiful and very popular for hiking. From May to October, the weather is superb for outdoor adventures.

Probably the most famous Greek singer, Nana Mouskouri was born on the island of Crete on October 13, 1934 in Hania.

Crete is also known for its sultry and photogenic beaches, and enchanting villages. For instance, meander around the old town of Kritsa and admire the beautiful Byzantine frescoes. Krista is also known for its fine shopping.

What to eat and drink in Crete? Raki, Rakia, rakija  (Greek: Ρακί) is a very strong fruit brandy which Crete is famous for. And then, land snails is a Crete specialty.

From Athens, you can fly direct to Heraklion (the largest and the capital city) or Chania. Before Heraklion, Chania was the capital city, until 1971.

You can also take a ferry from Athens to Crete.

The best way to get around in Crete is by car. There is public transport to the major cities, but Crete has much more to see than the major cities. 

CRETE | Arina Beach Hotel 4*

Superb beachfront location | Good food | Spacious accommodation | 10 acres of beautiful gardens and lush vegetation | Relaxation, and fun for couples and families

2. Euboea

Greek islands to visit, Euboea
2 Euboea 1,417 sq. miles / 3,670 sq. km

or Evia (Greek: Εύβοια, Evvoia, pronounced [ˈevia]; Ancient Greek: Εὔβοια, Eúboia, [eúboja])

The island has it all, history, mythology, gastronomic delights, cocktail inspirations, coffee corners, the most gorgeous sunsets, promenades and villages to lose yourself in, museums, churches, monasteries, castles, fortresses, archeological sites and so much more. I can go on and on. (Lookout for a soon-to-be-published article on the beautiful Evia Island - Euboea - in the Aegean Sea)

Things do to and places to see in Euboea or Evia include hiking in the Ochi or Dirfi (highest peak on the island with spectacular sea views) mountains. Of the 40 different and amazingly beautiful beaches along the coastline of this fabulous island, Kalamos beach, consisting of two bays, stands out to me. I love it for the combination of nature on the 2nd bay and then the 1st bay lined with cafeterias and restaurants.  

Euboea does not have an airport.

From Athens, the best and fastest way is to drive 55 km to Agia Marina. Then, there is a car ferry 3 times a week to Almiropotamos (about 35 minutes). The last leg to Euboea will take you around 50 minutes by car (42 km). 

 
 
 
 

3. Lésbos

Holidays to Greece
3 Lésbos 630 sq. miles / 1,633 sq. km, North Aegean Islands

Also spelled Lésvos, also called Mitilíni

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This stunning island, facing the Turkish coast from the north and east, has something for everyone's taste. 

From art to beautiful beaches, to rich culture, romantic villages, and of course Ouzo. Ouzo is a dry anise-flavored aperitif that is widely consumed on the island.

The island was also the home of the Greep poet Sappho in the 6th century BC. 

You're bound to fall in love with Kea and its traditional, age-old cafes, salted sardines, quaint villages, and unsurpassed view.

Book a ferry from Piraeus port, Athens. Alternatively, if you find yourself on the northern side of Greece you can take a ferry from the port of Kavala.

4. Rhodes

Rhodes holidays
4 Rhodes 541 sq. miles / 1,401 sq. km, Dodecanese

The cosmopolitan Rhodes island has some of the most important historical sights and monuments of all the Greek islands. Despite modern diversity, the island kept its traditional character, and that makes it one of the best Greek islands to visit. 

And then of course the beaches. With around 300 days of the year bathing in sunshine, Rhodes long and beautiful beaches are enough to tempt anyone!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

You can book an almost 16-hour long ferry, or do island-hopping via the ferry, or you can fly into Rhodes International Airport "Diagoras". The air time is about 50 minutes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

5. Chíos

Chios, Ionian Islands
5 Chíos 325 sq. miles / 842.3 sq. km, North Aegean Islands

Chios, which was constructed on the east coast of the Greek island facing Ionia in Asia Minor, is evidence of the island's naval prowess and aristocratic heritage.

Visit the Naval Museum to witness exact reproductions of steamboats and sailing ships. The magnificent houses of the ship owners can be seen as you stroll through the charmingly tiny lanes of Kaloplitis. Continue all the way to Tampákika to witness the Ioustiniani Palace and the stately mills of the former tanneries.

Worth visiting are:

  • The Byzantine Museum, located in an old Ottoman mosque, houses an exact replica of the famous Delacroix painting "Massacre at Chios,".
  • The renowned "Korais" library contains Adamantios Korais' personal library among its 1,300 historical tomes.
  • Via ferries: From Athens, take the ferry from Piraeus port. Usually, routes are carried out all year round, 3 times per week, and the trip duration is about 9 hours. In addition, Chios is connected via ferries with some other Greek islands such as Lesvos, Mykonos, Syros, Ikaria, Samos, and the port of Kavala (the latter usually only during the summer). Chios is linked with the port of Cesme in Turkey throughout the year.
  • Flights to Chios: Chios National Airport "Omiros" receives domestic flights from Athens, Thessaloniki, Lemnos, Mytilene, Rhodes, and Samos. The airport lies near Kampos village, 3 km away from Chios Town.
  • Airport Transfer to Chios: You'll need a taxi transfer from the airport. Check out the following article, complete with contact information: THE 10 BEST Chios Taxis & Shuttles (with Photos) - TripAdvisor

6. Kefalonia

Greek island holidays, Kefalonia
6 Kefalonia 302 sq. miles / 781 sq. km, Ionian Islands

Also known as Cephalonia

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Kefalonia is the gem of the Ionian Sea. It’s popular for snorkeling and diving. 

The island is home to the rare, “caretta caretta”, sea turtle.

Greece is blessed with beautiful islands and this is another outstanding and beloved destination with pristine beaches, lots of history, lively nightlife, beautiful nature, and crystal clear waters. Enough to take your breath away!

Kefalonia has a medium-sized airport, Argostoli Kefalonia or also known as Argostolion Airport (IATA: EFL, ICAO: LGKF).

You can also book a ferry from mainland Greece, via the ports of Patras or Kyllini. From Athens you can use the public bus to get to the various ports in Western Greece. 

7. Corfu

Corfu Greece
Corfu Island, Greece

Also known as Kerkyra

 
 

By now you're definitely reading this article because you're keen to go to a Greek island. But what if I tell you, Corfu is not just another Greek island!? Corfu is most probably the most romantic and beautiful island of the Ionian cluster of islands.

As if this is not enough, we'll give you some more reasons to visit Corfu:

Picture epic cliffs and luscious green rolling hills falling into an epic coastline on a beautiful summer day from June to September.

Picture family-run tavernas in rustic quaint villages with traditional cuisine, as in yumminess overload, prepared by the friendliest, warmest people you could ever meet.

Picture the lively Greek culture and the many activities you can do such as snorkeling, exploring their history, museums and so the list goes on and on.... did I mention just relaxing on the beach and taking in the beautiful sunsets!?

Book a ferry from Piraeus port, Athens. Alternatively, if you find yourself on the northern side of Greece you can take a ferry from the port of Kavala.

UNESCO World Heritage Site: Corfu Town

7 Corfu 229 sq. miles / 592.9 sq. km, Ionian Islands

Also known as Kerkyra

 
 

8. Lemnos

Beaches in Greece, Lemnos
8 Lemnos 184 sq. miles / 477.6 sq. km, North Aegean Islands

Also known as Limnos 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Lemnos, with its relaxing vibes and beautiful beaches, will keep the family busy. There are so many things to do on the island if you like to explore that you'll need some planning to fit it all into one holiday. And then you want to soak up the sun on its beautiful sandy beaches, too! By the way, they have 4 Blue Flag beaches. Namely, Thanos, Evgatis (or Nevgatis), Agios Ioannis, and Platy. Not bad!

If you're a birdwatcher, go see Alyki and Chortarolimni, two small lakes that are the breeding places of many rare and endangered bird species.

Byzantine Castle overlooks Mýrina, the capital and main port of Lemnos.

The archaeological site of Hephaestia (prehistoric capital of the Pelasgians) is an absolute must-see with ruins dating back to more than 2,000 years ago.

It is believed that the oldest parliament in the world lies in the prehistoric settlement of Poliochni. It's also the oldest Neolithic city on the European continent.

Near Moudros is the Petrified Forest where you will see fossilized pieces from nature aged 20 to 22 million years!

And in addition to all the above, this lovely Greek island has a waterfront lined with traditional taverns and restaurants. Try their renowned golden-colored Muscat of Limnos, a sweet white wine traditional to the island. Alternatively, ask for Bougatsa (a sweet pastry with custard creme) and Kafedaki (coffee).

Fly in from Athens to Lemnos International Airport "Hephaestus", about 22 km from Mýrina. You may need an airport transfer to your accommodation.
 
Alternatively, if you're up to a 9-hour ferry trip, you can from Lavrion port to Lemnos. The ferries from Piraeus port is more than double the cruise time. 

9. Samos

fishing boat samos greece boat fisherman sea fishing portTravelBuddies TravelAndHome
9 Samos 184 sq. miles / 477.4 sq. km, North Aegean Islands

10. Naxos

cityscape body water daytime naxos town greece naxos cyclades TravelBuddies TravelAndHome
10 Naxos 166 sq. miles / 429.8 sq. km, Cyclades