house at Greece

With over a hundred inhabited islands (but more than a thousand uninhabited), it can be confusing to know which island in Greece you might want to visit with your limited holiday time. Some islands are quiet, remote and perfect for a solitary getaway. Others are bustling centres of trade and business that are always moving and showing off.

One thing you can expect every single Greek Island to appreciate is the beautiful blue sea that surrounds them. The turquoise waters and picturesque beaches are a perpetual draw for tourists looking for rest and relaxation in a picture-perfect paradise. Wherever you end up among the islands you are sure to enjoy some fun in the sun.

Top 5 Greek Islands to visit:

#1. Santorini

Famous for breathtaking views and dramatic, fiery sunsets, there is no question why Santorini is one of the top destinations in the world, especially for weddings. Many opt to stay among the white-washed villas lining the Mediterranean Sea.

Take a visit to Akrotiri, Santorini’s version of Pompeii, or visit one of the Scuba diving shops and explore life beneath the clear, turquoise sea.

For the best sunset view, you’ll want to be in the town on Oia. Oia is one of the only spots close to the sea where the sun doesn’t disappear behind the volcano, giving an awe-inspiring finale to the day.

#2. Mykonos

In true Greek fashion, everything here starts later. This is a nightlife city focused around going out and letting loose, so visit many of the popular nightclubs and dance until the early morning for a true Mykonos experience.

For beautiful architecture, Little Venice will be a perfect place to explore. This town is famous for its medieval houses with colourful balconies.

This island is also a heavy tourist destination, many visiting only for the day from a cruise ship. In July and August, Mykonos will be heavily congested with people so it might be best to plan accordingly.

#3. Crete

The largest of all the Greek Islands, Crete is sure to win the hearts of all who visit. Crete is not only popular for its views, scenery and seaside charm but also the culture and warmth of its people.

Such a large island takes a bit to explore when visiting, so you’ll want to stay for an extended period to see all this beautiful island has to offer.

You can explore the Ancient ruins of the Minoan Civilization; see the firebrick columns at the Palace of Knossos and the camel coloured stones from the Palace of Malia. Jeep Safaris and Horseback riding are also popular, especially along the gorgeous, glistening beaches. A popular staple of Crete culture are the Crete Kafeneion (coffee shops). Life in Crete centres on them, so this may be a perfect break from your many explorations.

#4. Paros

The second-largest island and third-most-popular island of the Cyclades group, Paros is full of charming, old fishing towns and sprawling beaches. The town Drios is particularly famous for its speciality in water sports. Here you can participate in windsurfing and kiteboarding, among others.

If you want the Mykonos experience without actually going there, Drios also offers many beach clubs and luxury bars for the higher-budget travellers.

#5. Naxos

If you’re looking for traditional Greek life, Naxos is a great choice. It’s true that Naxos offers some stunning beaches, a Venetian castle and ancient ruins, but it would be best to spend some time exploring the small villages on the island, each with their own speciality such as jams, pastries, and musicians. This will get you away from any tourist traps that lack culture and idealism of true Greek life.

Pack up your sunnies and your swimmers for a Greek holiday that is sure to make memories for a lifetime. Whether you enjoy the sunsets on Santorini or stroll through old Paros, the spirit and culture of the Greek Islands will get in your blood and make you feel alive. 

Image courtesy of Flickr user Mateus Pabst