Greek islands & Mainland: Best places to visit

Discover our list of the 90 Best Greek islands & Mainland destinations to visit during your trip in Greece, sorted by region, and learn all their secrets for the most incredible vacation!

How to decide which places to visit?
You can see our lists of destinations sorted by popularity in order not to miss the must-see places in Greece:
Best Greek islandsBest Mainland destinations

Alternatively, continue scrolling to find all Greek islands and Mainland destinations by region and use the filters to help you find your ideal vacation destination based on your preferences: Popular, unspoilt, for summer, spring, for a family with kids, couples and more. Then, just click on the Greek island and mainland destination name and discover a quick description and a link to the complete travel guide. You can also see the Greek islands and mainland destinations on a map of Greece.
Need more info? Discover the best destinations by category, more info about Greek islands and the mainland destinations.

Looking for an island-hopping trip?
Discover the most popular Greek island-hopping itineraries and book your ferry tickets with us!

Map view

Cyclades islands

Dodecanese islands

Dodecanese Photo

Ionian islands

Ionian Photo

Sporades islands

Sporades Photo

Saronic islands

Saronic Photo

Eastern Aegean

Eastern Aegean Photo

Sterea

Sterea Photo

Thessaly

Thessaly Photo

Epirus

Epirus Photo

Macedonia

Macedonia Photo

Crete island

Crete Photo

Peloponnese

Peloponnese Photo

Best Greek islands & Mainland destinations by category

No idea where to go? See below in a glance the best Greek islands & Mainland destinations to visit.

  • Best destinations for First-Timers: Athens • Santorini • Mykonos • Paros • Naxos
  • Best Greek islands for Beaches: Mykonos • Naxos • Ios • Paros • Koufonisia • Chania (Crete) • Rhodes • Lefkada • Zakynthos • Skiathos
  • Best for Couples: Santorini • Milos • Hydra • Spetses • Monemvasia
  • Best for Families: Naxos • Paros • Rhodes • Hydra • Nafplion • Crete
  • Best for Luxury: Mykonos • Santorini • Rhodes • Heraklion (Crete) • Corfu • Halkidiki
  • Best for Party: Mykonos • Ios • Kos • Zakynthos • Skiathos • Heraklion (Crete)
  • Best for Honeymoon: Santorini • Rhodes
  • Best for Gastronomy: Crete • Naxos • Tinos
  • Best for good Restaurants: Mykonos • Santorini • Rhodes • Athens • Corfu • Chania
  • Best for Sea Sports: Naxos • Lefkada • Paros • Mykonos • Crete • Rhodes
  • Best for Photography: Santorini • Milos • Meteora
  • Best for Island Hopping: Take the Greek Ferries and visit the most popular islands: Santorini • Naxos • Paros • Ios • Mykonos • Milos

Best Greek islands to visit

How many Greek islands can you find? Greece has more than 6.000 islands in total scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, of which 227 islands are inhabited. It also has a total of 16.000 km coastline and the best beaches in Europe are definitely here!

For our team, the best 5 Greek islands are:

  • Santorini: Considered as the best Greek island and frequently included among the most romantic destinations in the world, Santorini is visited by millions of tourists every summer.
  • Mykonos: Famous all over the world for the exotic beaches and the crazy nightlife, Mykonos is the second most popular Greek island, after Santorini.
  • Naxos: Although it is surrounded by very popular Greek islands, Naxos has kept its family-style and the reason why it attracts more people every year is its authenticity, great beaches and food.
  • Paros: One of the most cosmopolitan Greek islands of the Cyclades, Paros is famous for its Cycladic architecture, the wonderful beaches and the vivid nightlife.
  • Chania (Crete): The westernmost region of Crete island, Chania amazes visitors with the Venetian-style Town, the beautiful beaches, the interesting sightseeing and the lovely nature.

Discover a list with all Greek islands listed by popularity.

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. There are some big islands but also some very small 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 and it is the largest of all Greek islands. 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.

Read also:The top 10 best Greek islands for summer 2021Stunning Greek islands you have never heard ofGreek islands near AthensPocket size Greek islandsBest Greek Islands for ancient sitesGreek islands in winterBest Greek islands for spring breakBest Greek islands for windsurfing and kitesurfingBest Greek islands for couplesFinding the right Greek island | Top 10 Greek islands within 2 hours of Athens

Best Mainland destinations

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 | Best spring destinations

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