Which Greek islands to visit this summer Vol.1

All of them? Joking aside, that’s a bit of an impossible question to answer.

With 6000 islands to choose from – only 227 of which are inhabited – there’s enough secluded beaches, ancient history, simply epic food, dramatic nature, charming towns (and people) to fill a lifetime of travels.

That’s why we’ve chosen some champions to represent the many Greek island holiday possibilities – from adventure hiking to wine and dining – and to give you a sense of the wonder they have to offer.

Skiathos, Sporades – for the picture perfect beach

Top things to do:

  • Take a boat to tucked away Lalaria Beach
  • Explore the Bourtzi fortress on the waterfront, and the Chora’s old town
  • Dive and see a shipwreck up close

Santorini, Cyclades Islands – for the non-platonic romantics

  • Go to the dark side of sea and sun at Perissa Black Sand Beach
  • Watch the sun set over Santorini and the caldera (preferably while sipping a great wine)
  • Soak in the sights on the scenic 9 km Fira-Oia hike

Crete – for those who want history (and food) on a grand scale

  • Shell out for Crete’s signature snail dishes
  • Go off the beaten track to see eye-opening natural wonders at Samaria Gorge and the Elafonissi lagoon (best reached from Chania on the west of Crete)
  • Travel back in time at Knossos, one of the major Greek archaeological sites

Rhodes, Dodecanese Islands – for a place where culture is in full bloom

  • Take a tour of Kritinia, a 16th century Venetian fort, and the sea-facing Lindos Acropolis.
  • Spend a day relaxing on the quiet, golden sands and clear waters of Agtathi Beach.
  • Get lost in the narrow, nameless streets of the Old Town.

Chios – for those searching for a hidden gem

  • Admire the pretty patterns on the building facades in Pyrgi village
  • Develop a taste for the aromatic mastic gum, which graces everything from pastries to liquor
  • Pay your respects at one of Greece’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Nea Moni Monastery

Kalymnos, Dodecanese Islands – for serious adventurers

  • After a day of adventure, replenish yourself with fresh seafood at the harbor tavernas in Pothia
  • Take a calm day trip to neighbouring Telendos
  • In between dives and climbs, take time to relax at Kantouni Beach

Thassos – for a luxurious, boutique holiday feel

  • Swim in a infinity pool made of rock by the sea at Giola lagoon – or at one of Thassos’ many blissful beaches
  • Visit the picturesque Monastery of Archangel Michael, perched on a cliff with a view of the Aegean
  • Taste Thassos’ fine olive oil and dishes like pitarakia – a light, tasty courgette fritter

Mykonos, Cyclades Islands – for a party that never stops

  • Swim and soak up sun by day, sweat and dance to world-class DJs by night at Mykonos’ famous beach clubs
  • Try out windsurfing at Kalafatis
  • Stroll around the well-preserved, Instagram-friendly streets of Mykonos town and see the powder-white walls of Paraportiani Church

Corfu, Ionian Islands – for an all-round wonder island

  • Explore the abandoned town of Old Perithia – and the wild fruit trees, vineyards and Venetian ruins around it.
  • Take your pick of the 6 heavenly beaches of Paleokastritsa
  • Find your way around the Venetian old town

Aegina, Saronic Islands – for Greek island hopping within an hour of Athens

Kefalonia, Ionian Islands – for film-like natural beauty and phenomenal wines

  • Walk the trails of Mount Ainos National Park, and Fiskardo
  • Watch the sunset at Myrtos Beach – and get a view from above if you can
  • Fall deeply in love with Melissani Cave, or explore the depths by scuba diving at Fiskardo

Amorgos, Cyclades Islands – for those who like a deep blue sea and towering beauty

  • Indulge in the beauty of Hozoviotissa Monastery, and the oh-so-pretty white houses of Amorgos town (Chora)
  • Taste local delights like Xerotigana – fried pies filled with white beet and fennel
  • Snorkel in the deep blue waters, or sit back at Ayia Anna Beach, where The Big Blue was shot

Symi, Dodecanese Islands – for those who want more colour in their lives

  • Enjoy an ouzo at one of the tavernas on the coast – and try out Symi’s famous mini shrimp
  • Make your way to Nos, Agios Georgios, Agios Nikolaos, Nanou, Marathounta or Faneromeni beach… any beach really
  • Climb the 500 stone steps of Kali Strata to see the postcard-worthy town from above

Zakynthos (Zante), Ionian Islands – for storied beaches and a storied past

  • Visit the Solomos Museum – and the Byzantine Museum in Solomos Square – to immerse yourself in local culture and history
  • In addition to famous Navagio, visit Laganas beach – it’s where the endangered loggerhead turtles lay their eggs
  • Take a trip to the Venetian Castle, which stands where the Acropolis once did

Kos, Dodecanese Islands – for a holiday that will heal your soul

  • Rejuvenate in the pool at Therma Beach, where hot springs meet cool sea water
  • Visit the medieval settlement of Palio Pyli
  • Explore the Ottoman quarter and end the day with fennel pie, fresh fish and proper tsípouro (or ouzo) at Pote tin Kyriaki – the name translates to “Never on Sundays”, and should give you an idea on opening times

Lefkada – for striking views and sea sports

  • Visit the protector of the island, the 15th century Castle of Agia Mavra
  • Lounge and swim in the shadow of cliffs at Porto Katsiki
  • Find some time to explore the Dimossari Waterfalls

Naxos, Cyclades Islands – for those who want an even more exotic Greek island experience

  • Climb up to see the rectangular marble arch of Portara – or see the island from a thousand metres above at Mount Zas
  • Visit a 6th century Byzantine monastery at Panagia Drosiani
  • Get away to secluded Alyko or Plaka Beach

Samos, North Aegean Sea –  for those who loves philosophy and taste wine

  • Explore Heraion of Samos
  • Visit Pythagoreio Archaeological Museum
  • Climb to the cave of Pythagoras