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

In brief, the most preferred Greek islands are Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Rhodes, Kos, Crete, Skiathos, Corfu, and Zakynthos. Looking for an island-hopping trip? Discover the most popular island-hopping itineraries!

The most popular cities are Athens and Thessaloniki.

The most popular mainland destinations are the archaeological sites of Delphi, Epidaurus, Olympia, and the area of Meteora with its imposing rock formations.

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Destinations by regions

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Best Islands & Mainland destinations by category

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

Best for Island-Hopping

SantoriniMykonosNaxosParosIosMilosCrete
Taking the Greek Ferries and visiting more than one island is an ideal option especially if your holiday lasts more than a week. Many islands lie in proximity to others or are connected by ferry with other ports daily. Island hopping is very common among the islands of the Cyclades!

Best for First-Timers

AthensSantoriniMykonosParosNaxos
Athens, the capital of Greece is a large city located close to the sea, with mild weather all year round. Its historical significance, archaeological sites, shops, museums, upscale seaside neighborhoods, delicious restaurants, and its closeness to the islands make it ideal for first-timers.
Santorini is the top tourist destination in Greece and is also ideal for first-timers. It offers some of the world's most dramatic sea views and lovely boutique hotels.
Mykonos is considered by many as the Greek sister of Ibiza. It is a Cycladic destination with numerous beautiful beaches, a charming traditional town, several luxury hotels, and wild partying nightlife.
Paros and Naxos are two islands in very close proximity. Their location makes them sisters but their characters are quite different from one another. Both flaunt shimmering sandy beaches, wonderful whitewashed villages, and excellent accommodation options.
Lastly, Crete and Rhodes are two very different islands, but both are considered perfect destinations for first-timers since they boast unparalleled seashores and picturesque villages. An additional important aspect is their very well-organized tourist infrastructure. Both islands are large and wide, hosting buzzing international airports for the convenience of travelers from abroad that may fly there directly.

Best islands for Beaches

MykonosNaxosIosMilosParosKoufonisiaChania (Crete) • RhodesLefkadaZakynthosSkiathosKefalonia
Crystal-clear waters are a trademark of the Greek islands, although some beaches may be ranked higher than others. On the strength of that, some islands are more favored than others.
Mykonos boasts more than 28 sandy beaches with clear and calm waters.
Naxos hardly gets crowded on the west coastal side, which extends into a more than 9km beach.
Ios has managed to keep some of the most fantastic beaches of the Aegean away from the spotlight, although the island gets extremely busy during the summer.
Milos has uniquely white volcanic soil forming some of the most photogenic beaches in Greece.
Paros can satisfy any traveler with its variety of dazzling beaches.
Koufonisia are very popular for their sandy beaches, sea caves, and natural sea pools.
Chania in Crete has some of the most mesmerizing beaches: picture pink sand and different hues of turquoise waters!
Rhodes is an all-time classic option apropos spending days by the beach.
The beaches of the Ionian islands - Lefkada, Zakynthos, and Kefalonia - have ranked more than once as the best beaches in the world. Porto Katsiki, Navagio, and Myrtos are now synonymous with heaven on earth!
Lastly, the unique beaches of Skiathos are where the verdant pine trees and the azure Aegean sea intertwine.

Best for Couples

SantoriniMilosHydraSpetsesMonemvasiaFolegandros
Some islands boast a more romantic atmosphere than others. A combination of golden sunsets, dreamy boutique hotels, and delicious, candle-lit dining made those places the perfect destinations for love doves.
Whether a young couple, honeymooner, celebrating an anniversary, or simply planning an engagement during your holiday, those islands will create the perfect background for any occasion.

Best for Families

NaxosParosRhodesNafplionCreteHalkidiki
Greece is a common travel destination for families. Those places are all highly recommended summertime destinations to select from when planning a fun, quality family vacation.
They all flaunt comfort and easy access to fascinating beaches with safe, pristine, and shallow waters; tourist amenities and facilities are usually available near almost every bay.

Best for Luxury

MykonosSantoriniRhodesHeraklion (Crete) • CorfuHalkidiki
If you want to pamper yourself with a well-deserved summer getaway to a lavish hotel, those places never disappoint when it comes to luxury lifestyles.

Best for Party

MykonosIosKosZakynthosSkiathosHeraklion (Crete)
If beach clubs, bars, and, fun from dusk till dawn are what you have in your summer plans, then those islands are the party hubs of Greece and welcome young people from all around the world every summer.

Best for Honeymoon

SantoriniRhodesCrete
Luxury hotels, lavish restaurants, and idyllic landscapes are found on those islands, turning theminto the perfect destinations for honeymooners.

Best for Gastronomy

CreteNaxosTinosLesvosChios
Greek cuisine is well-know for its healthy, hearty meals and delicious fresh products.
Some islands have a more emphasized gastronomic scene due to their fertile soil, local products, and recipes.
If you appreciate quality meals and want to savor memorable culinary experiences, those islands are ready to welcome you to their delicious tavernas and allow you to taste local cheese types, wine varieties, fresh seafood and meat dishes.

Best for Exquisite Restaurants

MykonosSantoriniRhodesAthensCorfuChania (Crete)
Fresh ingredients, talented chefs, and beautiful settings make up a good restaurant.
The above places have award-winning establishments with Greek, Mediterranean, and Ethnic cuisines to die for.
If you want to savor upscale dinners, these are the perfect destinations for you.

Best for Sea Sports

NaxosLefkadaParosMykonosCreteRhodesLemnosKos
A few islands showcase the ideal weather conditions and have developed into hubs for adrenaline hunters and sports enthusiasts.
Naxos, Lefkada, Paros, Mykonos, Crete, Rhodes, Lemnos, and Kos have the perfect seashores for that.
Windsurfing and kitesurfing schools exist on the bays, offering you lessons, or allowing you to rent sports equipment. A very committed community has been created over time, visiting yearly. If you want to enjoy kitesurfing or windsurfing sessions on a beautiful island, you now know where to go.

Best for Photography

SantoriniMilosMeteoraMesolongi
The landscapes of those places are of unparalleled beauty.
Majestic volcanic seascapes, lunar beaches, otherworldly rock formations, mirror-like reflections on a sea lake, and interesting traditional architecture, are worth visiting and frequently captured by professional or amateur photographers.

Best for History

AthensCreteDelphiEpidaurusMycenaeMystrasOlympia
Greece is a country that counts more than 4000 years of history: from the Bronze age and the classical Greece to the Roman and Byzantine Empires.
In Athens, Crete, Delphi, Epidaurus, Mycenae, Mystras, and Olympia you will find royal palaces and tombs, theatres, temples, monasteries, and stadiums that testify to the rich heritage of this land.
Most of those monuments are UNESCO world heritage sites and are considered some of humanity’s most notable constructions.

Best for Luxury Chic

HydraSpetsesPatmosSifnosIthacaPaxiSyros
Those Greek islands are all effortlessly elegant destinations with an unpretentious approach to a high-quality lifestyle.

Best for Privacy

AntiparosAstypaleaAmorgosNisyrosAnafiSchinoussaKimolosSikinos
If you seek to experience a wonderful Aegean summer away from the crowds and immerse yourself in tranquility, low-profile Greek islands are ideal destinations.
Once on one of these islands, you can tune out of the hectic routine and find peace and meaning in the details of life; the golden, blazing sun above, a rejuvenating dive in the indigo sea, savoring a juicy watermelon by the beach, an evening stroll in their picturesque villages and more.

Best for Authentic Lifestyle

KarpathosAmorgosNisyrosIkariaKytheraChiosLesvos
Some islands have managed to preserve a more authentic lifestyle than others.
Average levels of tourism infrastructure accommodated along with centuries-old traditions and a vivid local life have given these islands their distinctive local colors.
During the summer months, don’t be surprised if you encounter a religious feast called "panigiri" where locals and tourists dance, eat, and drink together celebrating Orthodox commemorations.

Best for Remote Retreats

AnafiSchinoussaDonousaMathrakiMeganisiFournoiTilosLipsoiIrakleia
If you dream of a vehicle-free holiday where all you need is a good book, a swimming suit, a secluded beach, and a taverna serving the catch of the day, you don’t need to look any further.
Those destinations are small islands allowing you to lose track of time and truly enjoy life.

Best for Year-Round Holiday

AthensCreteThessalonikiPelion
Those year-round comprise holiday destinations. All four of them boast hotels operating and activities scheduled all year long, while the winter season does not last more than 3 months.
Athens and Thessaloniki are two European cities ideal for a city break.
On the other hand, Crete is the southmost point of Europe and has a very warm climate and an extended summer season starting in April and ending in early November.
Lastly, Pelion is both a mountainous and a seaside destination, which means it can accommodate all tastes.

 

Top Greek islands to visit

Greece has more than 6.000 islands scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, of which 227 are inhabited. It also flaunts a total of 16.000 km of coastline and the best beaches in Europe.

Spreading in two main thalassic parts of the Mediterranean, the Aegean Sea on the East and the Ionian Sea on the West, the Greek islands are divided into smaller groups.
In those groupings, islands of varying dimensions, coastlines, and sizes can be found, from very small to considerably large ones. Travelers can easily island hop by ferry between the smaller ones during their vacation while investing many days in exploring a larger one is recommended.
The most popular island group is the Cyclades islands in the Aegean sea. Sandy beaches, turquoise waters, picturesque villages, and whitewashed houses are indicative elements that make the Cyclades so unique.
Santorini is a top worldwide romantic destination, 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 the Cyclades keep a lower profile in tourism development and offer calm and carefree holidays.
The islands of the Dodecanese, especially Rhodes and Kos are also very tourist and ideal for family vacations.
The Ionian islands of Corfu, Zakynthos, Lefkada, and Kefalonia are of unparalleled beauty. Their world-widely acknowledged waters and breathtaking landscapes are a bucket list destination for many people.

Other famous islands are located in the Saronic gulf, such as the Instagramic Hydra and picturesque Spetses. Additionally, the Sporades and Eastern Aegean islands are becoming more and more popular.
Crete is also renowned as it is the largest of all Greek islands. Its land is rich in history, mind-blowing gastronomy, and amazing landscapes, while the idyllic beaches take the cake.

Overall, the Greek islands are the ideal destination for every taste, from luxury to budget holidays. Despite the ongoing tourist development, their original character remains vibrant and is well-preserved, providing visitors with a wonderful atmosphere and high-quality holidays.
Want to discover more islands? Check our travel guides and use the filters to find your next holiday destination according to your preferences.

The 10 most popular Greek islands are:

Santorini

Incontestably holding the title of the queen of the Aegean, Santorini island is the top Greek island, thus frequently included in the most romantic destinations worldwide. It is visited by millions of tourists every summer.

Mykonos

Famous all over the world for the exotic beaches and crazy nightlife, Mykonos island is the second most popular Greek island, after Santorini.

Naxos

Even though surrounded by very popular Greek islands, Naxos island has retained its family-oriented style and attracts more people every year thanks to its authenticity, great beaches, and delicious cuisine.

Paros

One of the most cosmopolitan Greek islands in the Cyclades, Paros island is famous for its traditional whitewashed architecture, wonderful beaches, and vivid nightlife.

Chania (Crete island)

Located on the westernmost region of Crete island, Chania amazes visitors with its Venetian-style Town, fascinating beaches, rich history, sightseeing options, and Mediterranean nature scapes.

Milos

As a volcanic island in the Cyclades, Milos island is receiving growing recognition in the last decades for its marble, lunar-like seascapes of Sarakiniko beach and Kleftiko, as well as for its picturesque seaside fishing villages.

Kefalonia

The emerald gem of the Ionian Sea, Kefalonia island boasts some awe-inspiring sapphire seashores, namely Myrtos and Antisamos, among others. Its unparalleled, colorful traditional villages of Assos and Fiscardo captivate travelers every summer season, with many visitors verifying just how unique that Ionian island really is.

Corfu

Corfu island is the elegant Greco-Italian queen of the Ionian Archipelago. Its unique Venetian architecture in the main Town, long shimmering coastline, and well-preserved royal palaces will steal anyone's heart.

Rhodes

The Island of the Knights, named after the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, Rhodes is a large island in the Dodecanese, adorned with a fascinating mixture of Venetian, Ottoman, and Byzantine architectural and historical heritage. Its Medieval town is a World Heritage Site and flaunts an interminable sandy coastline along with mesmerizing verdant landscapes.

Skiathos

If you are interested in a smooth and energizing Greek summer vacation, Skiathos island in the Sporades might be the answer. Featuring turquoise waters, lush vegetation, lovely villages, and spot-on vivid nightlife, it creates a perfectly balanced combination.

WANT TO SEE MORE?
Discover a list with 60 islands listed by popularity.

 

Top Mainland destinations

Mainland of Greece is famous for its rich history of more than 2.500 years. The most important ancient sites and temples of Ancient Greek Civilization are located there and with many listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Those include the Acropolis in Athens, the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, the Tombs at Mycenae, the stadium where the ancient Olympic Games took place in Olympia in Peloponnese, Delphi in Sterea, Ancient Dodona in Epirus, Dion and Ancient Philippi in Macedonia and more.
Most can be easily accessed with tours from Athens.

Although mainland Greece is not as popular as the islands, it provides engaging sights, amazing landscapes, beautiful towns, and wonderful beaches. The imposing and mysterious Meteora is also located on the Greek Mainland and is one of the most visited places in Greece. That amazing natural wonder will leave you speechless and is a top destination for hiking, climbing, and landscape photography.
The most tourist-developed places on the mainland are Halkidiki and Parga featuring amazing beaches and crystal blue waters. Various coastal towns of the Peloponnese like Nafplio, the first Capital of Greece, and Kalamata, are becoming popular destinations, especially for family holidays.

Last but not least, the mainland has the potential 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. As aforementioned, 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.

WANT TO SEE MORE?
Discover a list of Mainland destinations by popularity.

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