15 Most Beautiful Greek Islands You’ve Never Heard Of
When it comes to Greece and sun vacations, we think of Kos, Mykonos, and Zakynthos. Which is a shame because the unknown beautiful Greek islands are the real gems.
In this post, I’m showing you 15 of the most beautiful Greek islands you’ve probably never heard of. The nature is unspoiled, the sea a beautiful blue, and the villages cute.
15 Most Beautiful Greek Islands
Walk along the mountainous paths of the volcano Kerkis to the highest point from where you look out over the natural Samos. The island just off the coast of Turkey is one of the greenest islands in Greece. The Valley of the Nightingales is one of these green forest areas that, not surprisingly, is called so because of the many birds you hear there. In and around the nature reserves you will find picturesque villages with the typical Greek white and light colored houses.
Be sure to visit the capital Vathy on Samos, where you can enjoy the sun on one of the terraces and discover the Tunnel of Eupalinos that used to serve as an underground water pipe from one side of the island to the other. Check here for a bus tour of Samos
Ios (certainly not the same as Apple’s iOS) is a sparsely populated island where you can discover the beautiful surroundings at your leisure. During the day the center of town is a relaxed village with the Gremiotissa Church as its central place. At night it becomes lively.
The steep route to the church with the blue domed roof runs through narrow streets and past the houses of the inhabitants. From the top you look out over the island and the sea where Mylopotas Beach sits. Mylopotas is a popular beach where you can find yourself in a cozy beach club within a few steps from the lounger. Enjoy an extensive Greek lunch or a delicious wine at the end of the afternoon while overlooking the water.
Pay a visit to Ios if you like a lively but beautiful environment. Besides Chora, it is worthwhile to travel to the other side of Ios where you can look out over the deep blue sea on the golden sand of Manganari beach. Check here for a sunset cruise of Ios
About two hours from the Greek capital of Athens, you are on the island of Evia. Stroll along the boulevard of Karystos, enjoy the sun on the white beach of Marmari and walk through the various nature reserves on the island. Along the coast you do that at a leisurely pace and you look out over the Gulf of Euboea.
Inland you, on the other hand, need your hiking boots. No problem at all when you consider that you overlook the island from the Dirfis Mountain. Climb the challenging route along the Agali gorge with fresh water from local sources, waterfalls, narrow passages with breathtaking views and atmospheric local villages with friendly inhabitants.
Discover the lively center of Evia, Chalkida; the Chalkida bridge towards Athens; ferries to neighboring islands from Kimi.
Upon arrival at the port of Poros, the bell tower of this small island immediately catches the eye. Climb the tower for some of the most beautiful views of Poros. For a day of doing nothing in the sun, the Neorio beach is the place to be. Lie down in the sun and when you need a break, walk to the supermarket for some water to sip from under one of their umbrellas. Try a local dish in one of the restaurants on the coast. When doing nothing is boring, you can always discover the sea through one of the many water sports options.
In the evening you can enjoy the day in one of the cafes of Poros town, but of course you can also choose to linger on the beach or walk along the long boulevard of Poros.
On the small-scale island of Kea you really get away from the any sort of city feeling. The mountainous area provides beautiful views where you end up along narrow roads over slopes and along canyons. These adventurous walking routes also lead you to places of interest that you cannot reach by car. Even some beaches cannot be reached by car. Kea is a beautiful destination where you really experience Greek culture and see unspoiled nature at its best.
The capital Ioulida is not to be missed. The typical white houses with terracotta-colored roofs, the stone roads, and the many blue doors make Ioulida a photogenic destination. It is also the place where you can discover the real Greek food.
Twice a year (March 25 and August 15) you will find large groups of people on Tinos who go to the island to visit the Church of Holy Mother Mary. Believers travel to Tinos all year round to visit this special location, but regular visitors also increasingly visit the island. In villages, you will find the historic architecture. Through the narrow streets with a hodgepodge of houses you’kk come to viewpoints over the beaches.
On Tinos you will find, throughout the island, many churches of all shapes and sizes that are worth admiring. Also worth a visit is Pyrgos where Greek marble techniques can be found in every step you take in the village.
You will not encounter many tourists on Kythira. The journey to the island takes longer than to the popular islands, and Kythira is simply not large enough to accommodate crowds of tourists. Those two elements are fortunately its power. On Limnionas Beach, for example, you can lie on the white sand while the clear blue sea awaits you. The Bay of Kaladi is also a breathtaking location. The bay borders a rocky area that you walk through when you visit the beach.
Stroll through the center of the town and meet the locals. Discover the history of Kythira in the archaeological museum or admire one of the Byzantine churches.
Near the aforementioned Evia you will find the island of Andros. In the main town, you will undoubtedly admire the neoclassical and Cycladic architectural styles. The buildings are surrounded by narrow, stone streets that border cozy restaurants where you can enjoy an extensive lunch, or dinner. Walk outside the villages through the rocky surroundings where you can look out at the olive trees and pine trees. Afterwards, take a dip in the sea on the sandy beaches of Gavrio, Batsi, or Vitali.
Andros is a relatively large island so it pays to rent your own car, so you can easily travel to all beautiful places. Visit the Panachrantos monastery and discover the interior of Andros where you will find the sariza springs at Apikia.
Wondering where Mamma Mia was filmed? Skopelos! Skopelos was the film location of the cheerful film(s). Walk the nearly 200 steps to the Agios Ioannis Kastri and imagine yourself as Donna from the movie or simply enjoy the spectacular view after the climb. The climb to the church is also worthwhile when the sun goes down. You don’t have such a view quickly! Skopelos town has many churches, narrow streets, and all kinds of flowers with which the inhabitants decorate the area. Take a dip in the sea after a walk towards the beach. Many beautiful beaches on Skopelos can only be reached on foot.
Also don’t miss a visit to Glossa, one of the larger villages on the island, and enjoy local wines and dishes on one of the terraces.
On the rocky Amorgos the many small villages are connected by roads that lead through the beautiful nature reserve. It is therefore not surprising that Amorgos is a favorite destination for hikers. Walk to Aghia Anna beach for a relaxing day in the sun. Also Aegiali and Kalotaritissa are beautiful beaches that you encounter when you take walks on Amorgos.
One of the most famous points on Amorgos is the Hozoviotissa monastery that you recognize immediately by the white building against the rock face. It is quite a climb to see this special monastery. Fortunately you can look inside almost daily and you have a beautiful view over the water.
Near the Turkish coast you will find the island of Chios. When you walk in the south of Chios you quickly pass the Mastic trees. Take a moment to look at the Mastic trees and let yourself be aware that you are surrounded by nature that you will not find anywhere else in the world. These trees can only be found on Chios and produce a resin type. The architecture on the island is also different than on most Greek islands. In the villages of Mesta, Pyrgi, and Olimpoi, for example, you see particularly decorated houses.
Also visit the Nea Moni monastery dating from 1042, the beaches Karfas, Vrondados and Emborios and the stalactite caves at Olympoi.
Relax in nature and then go enjoy the liveliness of Spetes’s main town. Upon arrival at the port you immediately see the cozy restaurants, stone streets, and the people walking through Spetses. The smell of freshly baked snacks mixed with the sounds of the people and the pleasant sea breeze instantly give you that holiday feeling. On the beaches, Agioi Anargyri and Agia Paraskevi, you can enjoy the sun and the peace of a smaller island.
The art of letting go and unwinding is something you don’t have to put a lot of effort into here. You enjoy a drink in one of the taverns while overlooking the beautiful capital Vathi. Also on Ithaki you walk into the archaeological museum where you learn more about the island. Of course you also learn about the island by visiting the villages. Perachori, for example, is within walking distance of Vathi at the foot of a hill where you will find many olive trees and vineyards.
During your walks on the island you will also come across the old windmills that are a special sight in the Greek landscape. The Katharon Abbey, the church of Kimiseos tis Theotoko, and the cave of Nymphion are some of the sights you can walk to. So you not only see the beautiful buildings, but also the beautiful nature of Ithaki.
On the pebble beach Lalaria beach you know for sure that you are no longer in the Netherlands. A rock wall with vegetation borders the golden pebble beach from where you look out over the azure blue sea. Although you can enjoy quiet hours here, Skiathos has more to offer. You travel by boat from Lalaria beach back to Skiathoswhere you have plenty of choice on the boulevard with cafés and restaurants.
Admire the old Moni Evangelistria monastery and be amazed by the extremely short runway at Skiathos airport. For an active day you visit the Achladies beach where you can go windsurfing and water skiing.
From Parikia, the capital of Paros, you can easily discover the many beaches of the island. Visit Agios Ioannis Detis for an active afternoon full of water sports or the Bay of Parikia if you prefer to choose from several beaches side by side. The villages are also worth exploring. You will find the typical white houses with blue doors in all shapes and sizes in Lefkes, Marmara, and Naoussa. In the last village you can also enjoy fresh fish dishes in one of the cozy cafés.
Also not to be missed in Paros is Petaloudes. Petaloudes is also called the Valley of the Butterflies and is a densely populated area where you can walk among the flowing streams, green trees, and various hiding places for the butterflies that live there.
Which do you think are the most beautiful Greek islands?
General Travel Tips
- For accommodation, I always check Airbnb or Booking.com for the best prices.
- If your insurance at home doesn’t cover travel, you may want to look into SafetyWing for an affordable option.
- I always recommend checking Get Your Guide for the best tours in Europe.