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The Cyclades is the most popular Greek group of islands in Greece. Visited by thousands of tourists every year, the Cyclades include some super-star Greek islands. The most popular islands of the Cyclades are Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Milos, Ios, and Amorgos. Nevertheless, all the Cyclades islands are incredibly beautiful and photogenic!
The Dodecanese islands lie on the southeastern side of Greece, between the Cyclades and the coasts of Turkey. Less popular than the Cyclades and with a whole different style, Dodecanese islands stand out for their Medieval architecture and idyllic beaches. The most popular islands of the Dodecanese are Rhodes and Kos, while Karpathos, Astypalea, and Symi have started getting famous over the last years.
The Ionian islands are one of the most popular island complexes in Greece, after the Cyclades. This island group lies on the western side of the country and stands out for its exotic beaches and verdant landscapes. Some of the most famous Greek islands of the Ionian group are Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Lefkada.
The Sporades island complex lies between the Greek mainland and the islands of the north-eastern Aegean. This island group includes 4 islands in total: Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos, and Skyros. Relatively unknown to international tourists, Sporades manage to keep their unspoiled charm and virgin natural beauty!
The Saronic islands are very popular as a weekend getaway destination, as they lie very close to Athens. Famous for their relaxed atmosphere and elegant ambiance, these islands attract both local and international travelers not only in the summer but also in spring and autumn. The main Saronic islands are Aegina, Poros, Hydra, Spetses, and Agistri.
The Eastern Aegean islands are located north of the Dodecanese and east of the Sporades. Tucked away in the Aegean, close to the coasts of Turkey, the Eastern Aegean island complex is largely undiscovered by tourists, keeping its unspoiled charm. The most popular Greek islands of the Eastern Aegean complex are Samos, Thassos, Ikaria, Lemnos, Chios, Lesvos, and Fourni.
Sterea region lies in the central part of Greece, above the Peloponnese region. On the eastern side, Peloponnese borders on the Aegean Sea and on the western side, on the Ionian Sea. Some of the most popular towns of the Sterea region are Athens, Arachova, Delphi, Mesolongi, and Nafpaktos.
The Thessaly region lies on the northwest side of Greece, between Macedonia and Sterea. Famous for its natural beauty, mountainous landscapes, and unique geology, Thessaly has emerged as a popular winter holiday destination. Some of the most well-known towns in Thessaly are Meteora and Pelion.
The Epirus region is geographically located on the northwestern side of Greece, close to the Albanian borders. Most of the region is covered with mountains and lush vegetation, so it is an ideal destination for nature lovers. The most popular towns of Epirus are Parga and Zagorochoria.
The Macedonia region covers the biggest part of northern Greece. Macedonia is perfect for both winter and summer holidays! More specifically, Thessaloniki, Kastoria, Florina, Loutra Pozar, and Mount Olympus are famous winter destinations, while Halkidiki, Pieria, and Kavala are ideal summer holiday destinations.
Located on the southern side of the Aegean Sea, Crete is the biggest island in Greece. It is famous for its breathtaking natural beauty, amazing natural landscapes, fantastic beaches, and renowned gastronomy. Crete is divided into four prefectures: Heraklion, Rethymno, Chania, and Lassithi.
The Peloponnese region is a popular tourist destination all year round, thanks to the diversity of its landscapes. It boasts amazing beaches, wild natural landscapes, rural villages, cosmopolitan resorts, archaeological sites, and big towns, so there is something for everyone. The most popular towns in Peloponnese are Patra, Nafplio, Epidaurus, Kalavryta, Kyparissia, Sparti, Mycenae, Porto Heli, and Olympia.
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In numbers, Greece has 16.000 km total coastline, more than 6.000 islands in total, scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, of which 227 are inhabited. The best beaches in Europe are definitely here!
Spreading in two main seas, the Aegean Sea on the East and the Ionian Sea on the West, the Greek islands are divided into smaller groups: Cyclades, Crete, Ionian, Dodecanese, Sporades, Saronic and Eastern Aegean islands. The most popular island group is certainly the Cyclades islands on the Aegean sea. Sandy beaches, turquoise waters, picturesque villages and whitewashed houses are just some of the elements that make the Cyclades so special. Santorini is a top romantic destination worldwide, while Mykonos is a party island with the most amazing beaches and fancy restaurants. Paros, Naxos, and Ios are also famous all over the world. The rest of Cyclades keep a lower profile in tourism development and offer calm and carefree holidays.
The islands of the Dodecanese and especially Rhodes and Kos are also very touristic and ideal for family vacations.
The Ionian islands of Corfu, Zakynthos, Lefkada and Kefalonia are of unparalleled beauty. Their famous emerald waters and amazing landscapes are breathtaking and a bucket list destination for many people.
Other famous islands are located in the Saronic such as the instagramic Hydra and Spetses, while the Sporades and Eastern Aegean islands are becoming more and more famous every year.
Crete is also very popular. It is a land rich in history, gastronomy and has amazing landscapes, not to mention the countless idyllic beaches.
Overall the Greek islands are the ideal destination for every taste, from luxury to budget holidays. Despite the tourist development, their original character remains and is strictly preserved, providing a wonderful atmosphere of a high-quality holiday to visitors.
Want to discover more islands? Check our travel guides and use the filters to find your next holiday destination according to your criteria.
View more: List of Greek islands by popularity
The Greek Mainland is basically famous for its rich history of more than 2.500 years. The most important ancient sites and temples of Ancient Greek Civilization are located here and the majority of them are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. These are some: the Acropolis in Athens, the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, the Tombs at Mycenae, the stadium where the ancient Olympic Games were held in Olympia in Peloponnese, Delphi in Sterea, Ancient Dodona in Epirus, Dion and Ancient Philippi in Macedonia and more.
Most of them can be easily accessed with tours from Athens.
Although mainland Greece is not as popular as the Greek islands, it provides interesting sightseeing, amazing landscapes, beautiful towns and wonderful beaches. The amazing and mysterious Meteora is located in the Greek Mainland as well and is one of the most visited places in Greece. This amazing natural wonder will leave you speechless and is a top destination for hiking, climbing and landscape photography.
The most tourist developed places in the mainland are Halkidiki and Parga with amazing beaches and crystal blue waters. Various coastal towns of the Peloponnese such as Nafplio, the first Capital of Greece and Kalamata, are gaining a huge reputation, especially for family holidays.
Last but not least, the mainland has potentials to develop tourism all year round. It provides gorgeous nature to hike in spring, sightseeing to explore off the beaten track and even ski centers for the wintertime, whereas Athens and Thessaloniki are very popular City Break destinations.
Want to discover more mainland destinations? Check our travel guides and use the filters to find your next holiday destination according to your criteria.
View more: List of Mainland destinations by popularity