Greek Islands are among the most popular vacation destinations in the world, and with good reason! The islands have everything from quaint fishing villages to bustling capital cities to beautiful beaches, making them ideal vacation spots for families, couples, and groups of friends. And even though Greece has thousands of islands to choose from, each island features its own special set of attractions that make it unique and one-of-a-kind. Visitors to Greek Islands are sure to find an island that fits their interests and style, whether they’re looking for sandy beaches, rugged coastlines, peaceful villages, or bustling cities with fantastic nightlife. For example, if you are dreaming of a serene recess in a quiet fishing village with hospitable locals, Milos or Tinos is the perfect choice for you, but if you want a luxury Greek Islands vacation, living it up at hip sunrise parties and lounging lazily in the sun against the blue Aegean Sea in the afternoon, Mykonos is your island. For younger ‘clubbing in the Med’ vibes, opt for Ios. And of course, Santorini is the world-renowned spot for romance in a stunning, exotic Mediterranean setting. You can conveniently browse through the many luxury Greek Island vacations that Zitango has designed, and even customize them for your perfect dream vacation, but here is a quick guide on the most popular Greek Islands and what they offer.
Anyone who’s visited Santorini knows it’s the perfect spot for romance. It is a very popular destination for a luxury honeymoon because of its beautiful views, including white-washed buildings, deep blue water, and little fishing boats bobbing up and down in the water. You can find a romantic view just about anywhere on the island—be sure to plan your itinerary around sunset for prime viewing opportunities! Each house on Santorini has an unobstructed view of the ocean, which makes taking pictures even more fun than usual. On the main island of Thira, visit beautiful black and red sand beaches and archaeological sites well-preserved thanks to its volcanic history. Take a ferry to explore the tiny and quiet Thirassia. In addition to its gorgeous views, Santorini is also popular for its food, with many restaurants offering fresh seafood dishes and romantic candlelit tables with breathtaking views. A romantic Santorini vacation is never complete before visiting some of Santorini’s wineries. It’s not hard to see why so many couples flock here: after all, what could be more romantic than sitting at a seaside table while watching the sunset over some nearby islands?
If all-night clubbing in a Mediterranean setting sounds like the perfect vacation, Mykonos is your Greek island! The island offers wonderful luxury resorts, delicious seafood, and also an extremely fun party scene. The beaches are pristine, surrounded by turquoise waters, and dotted with vibrant beach clubs. Being one of the most popular vacation spots for celebrities, it has many hip and posh restaurants and bars. However, there are many other things to do on Mykonos that don’t involve partying. There are many historical sites to see such as Medieval Castle which was built in 1460 B.C., the white-washed windmills, the trademark for the island, and ancient churches with beautiful architecture. Also, if you want to get away from it all there is always the option to rent a private yacht or boat for you and your friends or family.
Nicknamed the Knights’ Island, Rhodes is historically rich and is peppered with buildings and monuments that bear testament to that. There is a rich history and uniqueness in Rhodes Old Town! The high walls, paved alleys, palatial estates, and medieval castle create the impression that you have stepped back into the era of the knights. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for sun or culture – both are found abundantly in Rhodes! You can spend an entire day wandering through its tiny streets filled with architecture from ancient times or head out into its sprawling countryside where you can see for miles and experience a whole new kind of beauty – untouched nature at its finest. If you’re looking for something more lively, then stop by one of the island’s stunning beaches where you’ll find various activities from surfing to scuba diving, or if adventure is what brings you here then head over to the Dodecanese national park where you can go hiking on mountains.
Ios is the Greek Islands’ challenge to Ibiza. Popular for its brilliant beaches and jam-packed nightlife, Ios is a frequent summer vacation spot for Europe’s youth. In addition to its bustling nightlife, Ios offers other well-known and not-so-well-known attractions, from miles of breathtaking coastline to picturesque villages with narrow, winding alleys. Guests will also find more peace and quiet on the island during the day when they can wander through the windy streets of Chora, the town’s old quarter with white-washed houses. Travelers who want to visit a more scenic area might want to stop by Panagia Gremiotissa (a church with views of the sunset), Skarkos (an archaeological site), and Homer’s tomb (where the world-renowned Greek poet is allegedly buried). Those who want to remain active during their vacation can hike to Pyrgos, the highest point on Ios, and enjoy the gorgeous views of all around them.
Naxos is where Zeus, the father of ancient Greek gods, was raised! Though it is the largest and one of the most beautiful of the Cyclades islands, it has managed to stay off the mainstream vacationer traffic. Visitors here can enjoy plenty of diverse beaches, like Plaka and Alyko, and tons of water sports opportunities. As it gets plenty of wind, especially on the west side, Naxos is the perfect island for windsurfing, kitesurfing, or surfing. If you want to start surfing or hone your skills, you can sign up for a lesson in one of the many water-sports schools. Make sure to also explore some of the island’s many ancient ruins like the Sanctuary of Sangri dedicated to Demeter and Apollo.
Though just 15 minutes from Mykonos by ferry, Tinos has a vastly different atmosphere. It has a deeply quiet and calming aura due to its spiritual heritage. Panagia Megalochari church, which houses the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, is one of the most visited religious pilgrimages in Greece. Every year on August 15th during Virgin Mary celebrations, lots of festivities and feasts take place all over the island. In addition to its spiritual atmosphere, the island is known for the traditional architecture of its more than fifty villages, charming sandy beaches, and authentic food culture. If you are searching for peace and quiet in the heart of the Mediterranean, with traditional tavernas serving local dishes, go to Tinos!
Crete, the largest of the Greek islands and the birthplace of Zeus has a lot to offer to all travelers, from the beautiful landscape and sandy beaches to well-preserved ancient ruins. To start with, its beaches are out of this world. Balos beach, Vai beach, and Elafonisi beach are some of the most beautiful ones. Crete has a rich history and culture. Its diverse history of the Minoans, the Venetians, and the Ottomans, as well as contemporary Greeks, is reflected in the architecture all around its bustling modern cities. The Minoan Palace of Knossos near Heraklion is a must-see for all visitors. For those seeking outdoor adventure, there are more than fifty gorges to explore, but the most famous ones are the iconic Samaria Gorge and the stunning Aradena Gorge. Crete is also arguably the best Greek Island for food. It has its own local food, distinctly different from mainstream Greek cuisine. The dishes are simple with few ingredients but very flavorful with fresh seasonal greens, sheep and goat cheeses, olive oil, some lamb meat, and a wide variety of herbs.
Situated in the Ionian Sea, on the west side of mainland Greece, Corfu is heavily influenced by the Venetians, the French, and the English, making it a highly cosmopolitan, multicultural island. The UNESCO World Heritage-listed capital of the island, Corfu Town is lively with many restaurants, bars, and shops. Corfu’s glorious past is reflected in monuments such as imposing palaces, stately mansions, and beautiful museums. Out of Corfu Town, there are picturesque seaside villages, tiny verdant islets, wild natural landscapes, and luxurious Corfu resorts overlooking the Ionian Sea. Achillion Palace, the former retreat of Empress Sisi of Austria, and Mon Repos Palace, where Queen Elizabeth’s late husband Prince Phillip was born, are popular places to visit in Corfu.
Milos, a volcanic island on the Aegean Sea, features breath-taking views, more than eighty beaches with scenery of exotic rock formations, and charming fishing villages with colorful houses. For nature lovers and adventure seekers, there is a lot to experience: hiking trails, hot springs, caves to explore, and even underwater caves for scuba diving. In the picturesque fishing villages on the island, you’ll find whitewashed houses with colorful shutters and boat garages, where fishermen park their colorful little boats. The island is also famous for its Venus de Milo statue, which was discovered in 1820 and is now displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris. A replica of the statue is housed in the island’s Archaeological Museum.
A short ferry ride away from Athens and in the middle of the Cycladic Islands, Paros is an ideal location for island hopping. Paros is particularly famous for its beautiful, sandy beaches with crystal clear waters and many facilities. It offers a wide range of water sports including windsurfing, kitesurfing, scuba diving, and boating. The majority of the island’s nightlife takes place in its main villages, Parikia and Naoussa. Their traditional taverns, extravagant restaurants, and upscale bars are lively with youthful visitors from all over the world at night. Those seeking tranquility can find what they want in the quaint towns of Lefkes and Marpissa.