One think about the beautiful Santorini whenever mentioning Greek islands but there are so many other islands which are just as charming in their own way. So skip tourist crowds and overpricing in Santorini and explore the rest of Greek islands. Thousands of Europeans visit Greece each summer. Greek islands are beautiful, offer a great climate and are relatively cheap compared to Italy and France. We have listed 10 charming Greek islands which are not crowded by tourists and have still managed to keep their initial charm.
Few islands can compete with volcanic Milos when it comes to beaches. Find a map and explore every bay and coastline. Sarakiniko with its milky-white, rounded rocks is great for snorkelling. Historically, the island is best known for Venus de Milo statue, which today can be found in the Louvre in Paris.
One of Greece’s greenest islands. Forest fires, however, occur here often during the summer. The picturesque cape in Kokkari Samos is the most photographed spot. Biggest tourist resort on the island is Pythagorion, named after the island’s famous mathematician Pythagoras. Excursion boats are going frequently to the seaside resort of Kusadasi and the ruined city of Ephesus in Turkey.
Egina is a weekend escape and a holiday island for Greeks living in Athens. The capital has pastel-coloured houses with iron balconies in Art Nouveau style with a blend of Cycladic and Neoclassical architecture. The Afea temple from 490 BC is one of the archipelago’s best-preserved. Pistachios are said to be Greece’s most delicious here.
One of Greece’s greenest islands and it´s mountainsides are covered with pine and cedar. The coastal road is just over a hundred kilometres long. The capital Limenas is very charming and several roads lead to the serenity of the mountains from the village. In Megalo Kazavati you can walk up the steep stone paths to the sound of birdsong and the hum of bees and admire stunning views.
Skyros is a a hidden gem with dense forests, Cycladic houses and miniature horses grazing in the fields. Poor ferry connections, combined with the lack of fine beaches and attractions has slowed tourism. The island is famous for ceramics and woodcarvings. Lobster with pasta are the delicious local speciality. At Skyros you have an opportunity to escape tourist crowds and enjoy genuine local Greek culture and lifestyle.
Sifnos still till feels like a genuine island despite an ever-increasing tourism. Unusually fertile and green for belonging to the Cyclades. Renowned for its culinary tradition, pottery and excellent olive oil. Biggest attraction is the small magical heritage listed village of Kastro.
Previously Leros had an undeserved bad reputation after years as a prison island and a mismanaged mental hospital. Today, Leros is famous for it´s traditional cooking. Eat sea bass lithrinia, the carp like grilled fish tsiboura with oil and lemon dressing and the grilled swordfish Xifias directly on the beach while enjoying beautiful sunsets.
Undoubtedly one of the Aegean’s most beautiful islands. In a holy, barren rock, in the capital Chora, you can visit John Monastery from the 1000’s with its famous library. Despite the crowds of tourists, cruise liners and yachts, the island has managed to retain its relaxed atmosphere. Night life here is quiet and peaceful.
Besides the myth of the ill-fated Icarus, who got hubris and flew too near the sun with his wings made of wax, the island is known as the red rock. During the communist period thousands of left-wing party members were sent here in order to weaken the Communists. Many of them stayed on the island for the rest of their lives. There are lovely sandy beaches at the resort of Armenistis, two of the best in Greece.
The Cycladic island of Kea is closest to Athens. It becomes lively only on weekends and in August when the weekend tourists and families from Athens come to visit. Rest of the year it is surprisingly quiet and offer doses of rural charm. Foreign tourists are a rare sight.