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Choosing among Greece's 227 islands – which are the best Greek Islands to visit?

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How to choose which Greek Islands to visit

When it comes to choosing which Greek island or islands you would like to visit, there are a number of things to consider. Shoulder season, in spring or autumn, has the best deals and helps you avoid the sweltering heat and crowds of the summer high season. You should also pick which island to visit based on what you want to do. Some are perfect for outdoors activities like hiking, while others are great for exploring ancient ruins and archaeological sites.

Our small group trips offer you the highlights and hidden gems in both popular and lesser known islands, with the best rates secured and everything planned in advance, so you can relax and enjoy your Greek Islands adventure.

 

The best Greek Islands to visit

Based on our years of experience guiding in the region, we've handpicked the best Greek Islands for you to explore.

1. Naxos

Climb to the top of Mount Zas, said to be the childhood home of the god Zeus in Greek mythology, roam through 1,000-year-old olive groves, and discover the ancient ruined Venetian castle of Apano Kastro on Naxos. The largest island in the Cyclades island group, Naxos is also home to beautiful beaches of white sand washed by clear waters, traditional villages of cube-shaped whitewashed houses, and local gastronomic specialties including flavourful potatoes and a range of extra fine cheeses.

2. Corfu

Part of the Ionian Islands off northwest mainland Greece, Corfu's rocky hills, mountainous interior, and rugged shoreline on the Ionian Sea make Greece's greenest island an exceptional hiking destination. The famous Corfu Trail connects towns and villages along the entire length of the island. The capital, Corfu Town, has streets lined with pastel-hued Venetian houses and tavernas where you can savour traditional local cuisine such as sofrito, thinly-sliced veal served with a white wine and garlic sauce, and fried fresh fish served with spicy savoro sauce.

3. Crete

The largest Greek island, Crete is a must for lovers of the great outdoors, thanks to the Samaria Gorge. Located inside Samaria National Park, this huge gorge with its towering cliff faces, winding canyons, and lush forests makes for fantastic hiking territory. Crete is also the best Greek island for history buffs due to its many archaeological sites, such as the ancient Palace of Knossos dating from the time of the Minoan civilization.

4. Syros

Part of the Cycladic Islands in the Aegean Sea, Syros is one of the most underappreciated of the Greek Islands. You can soak up the sun on gorgeous beaches without the crowds, explore the medieval hilltop town of Anos Syros, and relish regional delicacies like the scented sweet treat loukoumi. Syros is also one of the easiest Greek islands to visit from Athens, with daily direct flights from the capital.

5. Evia

Despite being only a couple of hours from Athens, Evia is very much an under-the-radar gem. With its expansive coastline, it's one of the best islands to experience on a boat tour. Visitors can swim and scuba dive in brilliant blue bays, explore secluded beaches and charming fishing villages, dine on fresh seafood, and even soak in hot springs.

6. Paros

Crisscrossed by ancient Byzantine roads, and home to imposing architecture and historic churches, the small island of Paros is one of the best Greek Islands in which to explore traditional settlements of white houses with blue doors and windows, such as the quaint village of Lefkes.

7. Andros

On Andros, you can hike up hills and through orchards along a recently-restored historic trail, and visit the coastal old town of Batsi, before relaxing on stunning beaches bordering crystalline bays. This mountainous island is easily reached from Athens, with frequent ferry connections, but remains a relatively undiscovered treasure to most Greek Island visitors.

8. Tinos

Andros' sister island, the peaceful, verdant Greek Island of Tinos makes for great hiking and walking. It's best known for its architecture, such as the traditional, artistically decorated dovecotes that pepper the landscape, and the 13th-century Venetian fortress perched at the top of Mount Exomvourgo from where there are sweeping panoramas of the entire island.

9. Santorini

With its whitewashed cliffside houses, rugged landscapes, and breathtaking beaches of colourful sand and lava rocks overlooking the Aegean Sea, the volcanic island of Santorini is frequently at the top of travelers' lists when visiting Greece. It does get crowded during peak summer season, so consider visiting the island in the spring or autumn shoulder season.

10. Mykonos

Known as the place to party in the Greek Islands, Mykonos is the destination to head for if your ideal holiday features plenty of visits to beach bars and all-night dance clubs. But this very popular island also offers fine beaches and plentiful water sports, as well as designer boutiques and numerous dining options in Mykonos Town.

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