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Best Greek Islands (2020 UPDATE)

Greek islands are some of the most beautiful travel destinations in Europe and depending on what your situation is, a trip to a greek island might be the perfect trip for your wedding, your honeymoon or your family holiday.

best greek islands

The best greek island really depends on your situation and what you are looking for from your vacation in Greece as every island is different.

The best greek islands to visit at least once, are:

But not all greek islands are the same and the best time to visit them actually might differ.

All of them are extremely idyllic locations and a top 10 wouldn’t make any sense as they are all equally beautiful (at least in my greek eyes!)

And I can tell you that because I am actually Greek and I have been to all of them!

(yes…you will find greek island travel guides on the internet from people who have been there once or twice and are not even greeks…). 

So, I am explaining here what are the differences and what is the best greek island for you depending on your situation and who are you traveling with.

Keep reading…

RECOMMENDED WEBSITES FOR HOTELS, VILLAS, FERRIES, TOURS AND FLIGHTS TO GREEK ISLANDS:

  • Booking.com is the website with the most available rooms and Private Villas in Greece (more than Airbnb)
  • Let’s Ferry is the best website to book your ferry tickets or check the timetables for all greek islands
  • Expedia has all the available flights from Athens or other European cities to all greek islands
  • Get Your Guide has the best and largest variety of tours and excursions in Greece
  • Rentalcars is the best website to rent a car in Greece (highly recommended as you won’t waste time waiting for local buses)
  • Bikesbooking is the best website to rent a quad for a greek island
  • Transferwise is the best service for travel money with the lowest rates compared to any bank worldwide and their Mastercard is accepted all over Greece (you can thank me later…) 
  • High season for the greek islands is between May-October. This is the time when the greek islands are most crowded with tourists but also when the weather is the warmest (temperature between 25-30 degrees Celsius or 70-100 Fahrenheit)
  • Best Time to visit greek islands is at the end of the high season which is September and October, when the weather will still be warm (more than 20 degrees Celsius) and you would still be able to swim in the sea water. 
  • When You Can Actually Swim in the Sea Water of the greek islands: the sea water is perfect in greek islands between June-October (and including these 2 months), so if you are visiting anytime outside of these months you may get sunshine and 30C degrees temperature but the sea water won’t be warm enough; you can certainly give it a try though!
  • Best Greek Island: undoubtedly Santorini is the best greek island and the one you have to visit if you are only visiting Greece for a few days; you should know though that it is the most touristic and the most visited by cruise ships
  • Best greek islands near Athens: Aegina, Hydra, Poros, Spetses (all are very cute and scenic but only worth a daytrip from Athens as they are very small)
  • Best greek islands for beaches: Mykonos beaches, Naxos beaches, Paros beaches and Crete beaches are the best in Greece; Santorini’s beaches are nice but not the best in Greece
  • Best greek islands for families: Naxos, Crete, Rhodes and Corfu
  • Best greek islands for couples: Santorini, Mykonos, Milos and Skiathos
  • Best greek islands for honeymoon: Santorini, Mykonos, Milos, Paros and Skiathos
  • How to get to greek islands: almost all of the greek islands have direct flights from Athens (Expedia has all the options) but you can always take a ferry from Athens (check Let’s Ferry website for timetables and prices – Piraeus or Rafina Athens main ports )
  • Most romanic greek island: Santorini (but each one can be romantic if you want it to…)
  • How to avoid tourist crowds and cruise ships on greek islands: visit in late September or early October
  • How to get around on greek islands: all islands have local buses and taxis (no Uber or Lyft unfortunately) that run frequently but it is highly recommended that you rent your own means of transportation as it will give you more flexibility and let you visit more areas on any island (Rentalcars.com is the cheapest and safest website to rent a car for greek islands)
  • MY SECRETS: if this is your first time in Greece you should start with the Cyclades islands fist (Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos) and then at your second trip visit Crete and leave for your third trip the Ionian islands like Corfu or Kefalonia; the main reason for this is that what you probably have in mind as a greek island is what Mykonos, Santorini or Paros look like. Also, unless this is your very first time in Greece (and even so I do not highly recommend it more than once) try to fly to a greek island instead of taking the ferry. Ferries in Greece are very expensive, very slow and very unreliable. Oh and before I forget it… you need to hire a car at almost every greek island so that you explore them at your ease and be independent.

Ok….so without further ado, these are the best greek islands :

1. Santorini

best greek islands
Santorini is the most famous and for some people the most beautiful greek island; it's also the one that attracts the most tourists and that might be an issue sometimes...

Santorini is the most famous greek island and there are many good reasons for that.

Santorini on Google Maps

Believe all the hype and all the instagram pictures you have seen.

This island is amazing and you have to visit it!

When it comes to honeymoons, Santorini is the place to have your ideal honeymoon as the island offers some of the most romantic hotels in Europe.

It is indeed the ideal location for couples but it has lots of things to do for families and solo travellers too.

There is a ton of things to do in Santorini and there is no shortage of activities and amazing restaurants you can visit and enjoy a romantic dinner.

Best Time To Visit Santorini Island

  • READ THE DETAILED GUIDE: Best Time To Visit Santorini
  • The best time to visit Santorini is late September, early October or early June where the sea water will still be warm enough to swim, all businesses/hotels will be open (this is still high season) and you won’t find the millions of tourists that July and August have. This is also called the “shoulder season” as it is not in the middle of the high season (July, August and September).
  • If you visit Santorini in the winter (between November-May) then you won’ t be able to swim in the sea and you may get strong winds and cold weather (below 10 degrees Celsius). Also, most of the businesses will be closed and you should stay in Fira town as it will be the liveliest place.

How To Get To Santorini Island

Where To Stay in Santorini

  • READ THE DETAILED GUIDE: Where To Stay in Santorini
  • The best area to stay in Santorini is called Imerovigli (this is it on Google Maps).
  • Oia is packed with tourists, overpriced and I do not recommend it.
  • The sunset is the same from Imerovigli and also from Fira.
  • The best hotels of Santorini are located at Imerovigli.
  • If you cannot afford Imerovigli (get prepared to pay at least $200/night unfortunately) then you should stay at a hotel close to the beach (Perissa, Kamari or Perivolos) but you won’t have the famous Santorini views. 
  • If you are visiting with your family with kids or seniors then staying close to the beach is the best option (Perissa, Kamari or Perivolos)
  • If you are visiting Santorini in the winter (November-April) then the best place to stay is the capital called “Fira” as this is the liveliest place (all beach town will be empty in the winter)

Best Hotels in Santorini

  • Cosmopolitan Suites : one of the most luxurious hotels in Santorini with amazing views and close to all shops and main restaurants of the island at the capital town Fira
  • Grace Hotel Santorini : the most impressive swimming pool in Europe and 5-star luxury with stunning views at Imerovigli – perfect hotel for honeymoons with very seclusive suites and villas
  • Maregio Suites : the best hotel in Oia with stellar service and some of the best hot tubs and private plunge pools of the island; also one of the best honeymoon suites in Santorini…

Best Things To Do In Santorini :

Best Restaurants In Santorini :

2. Mykonos

mykonos
Mykonos is the second most famous greek island and one of the most glamorous and celebrity-style places in Europe; it has some of the best beaches in Greece.

Mykonos is the second most famous greek island with millions of tourists every year.

Mykonos on Google Maps

Mykonos is all about the amazing nightlife, incredible parties, celebrities boats and lovely sandy beaches.

Mykonos though has some of the most amazing beaches and beach bars in the world.  

Some of the most famous chefs in the world have established restaurants in Mykonos and some of the most famous DJs play every year in the nightclubs of Mykonos.

But Mykonos is not only about partying.

The island offers amazing opportunities for a relaxing trip as it has some of the best hotels in Greece with incredible 5 star service and amenities.

Also, Mykonos town is one of the most picturesque and cute among the greek islands.

Best Time To Visit Mykonos Island

  • The best time to visit Mykonos is pretty much the same as it is in Santorini: late September, early October or early June. This is when the sea water will still be warm enough to swim and all hotels and restaurants will be open (September and October is still high season).
  • July and August are the worst months to visit Mykonos as you will be packed on every beach you visit and in every town you walk! 
  • The prices on everything in Mykonos (from accommodation to restaurants) skyrocket in July and August.

How To Get To Mykonos Island

Where to Stay In Mykonos

  • READ THE DETAILED GUIDE: Where To Stay In Mykonos
  • The best area to stay in Mykonos is Mykonos Town (the capital) (this is it on Google Maps).
  • Mykonos Town is the best place to stay if you want to enjoy the nightlife oF Mykonos and the best restaurants and bars of the island
  • If you are visitng with family and kids and you want a much quieter area then you should stay at Ornos or Platis Gyalos towns which are also beach side towns with some really good hotels.
  • Avoid staying in areas like Kalo Livadi or Elia beach beacause apart from the amazing beach there is nothing else around and you will need a car to get around if you stay there.

Best Hotels In Mykonos

  • Rocabella Mykonos Hotel : Possibly one of the most instagrammable hotels of Mykonos, with one of the most incredible swimming pools on the island.
  • Lyo Boutique Hotel : This is a truly 5-star hotel with one of the best restaurants of Mykonos and impeccable design.

Best Things To Do In Mykonos :

  • Go to a beach: Mykonos beaches are some of the best in Greece (and in Europe) so don’t miss out on these ones – all of them have golden sand and crystal clear blue waters; the thing is that most of them are occupied by expesnive and luxurius beach bar restaurants but nothing and nobody is blocking you to sit down with your towels; sitting on a sunbed though might cost you anything from 20 euros to…3000 euros…!
  • Eat at some of the most amazing restaurants in Greece: Mykonos is full of famous restaurants and chances are you will be dining next to a celebrity 
  • Go on an island cruise to Delos and Rhenia cute nearby islands: Delos was an ancient island that is only inhabited by cats today!
  • Enjoy the amazing Mykonos Nightlife in places such as Skorpios , Scandinavian Bar or Cavo Paradiso
  • Visit a traditional Mykonos home and take a Greek Cooking Class

Best Restaurants In Mykonos :

Just to warn you: Mykonos is super expensive so get prepared to pay New York, London and Tokyo prices at the restaurants.

3. Crete

crete
Crete is the biggest greek island with a million things to do and hundreds of beautiful beaches; but you need at least 1 week there and definitely a car to move around

Crete is the biggest greek island and definitely one of the most beautiful in the meditteranean sea.

Crete on Google Maps

Crete is a big island.

It’s almost the size of Hawaii ‘s big island, so you definitely need a car to move around 

Crete is famous for its unique beaches , the amazing local food and produce, the hospitality of its local people and the thousands of years of history.

Honestly though, Crete beaches are out of this world… 

Crete is full of impressive hotels and all-inclusive resorts that make it an ideal destination if you are in the hunt for an islands that has everything.

The biggest cities of Crete are Chania (West), Rethymnon (West), Heraklion (East), Aghios Nikolaos (East).

In fact, Heraklion city (the capital of Crete) is the 4th biggest city in Greece (population wise).

It is not advised to visit Crete for 2-3 days.

You need at least a week in Crete and even during that time you will only be able to see 20-30% of the island.

You definitely need your own means of transportation in Crete (preferably a car) unless you will only be staying in your all inclusive resort and you are not interested to see the rest of the island.

Best Time To Visit Crete Island

  • The best time to visit Crete is in late September or early October. Crete is one of the hottest places in Greece (and one of the northest) so the summer lasts till November…
  • July and August are still the most crowded months but the island is so big that you won’t be annoyed by the tourist masses even during these months
  • Crete is relatively cheaper than other greek islands because it is a big island with thousands of businesses to choose from. Obviously the most touristic areas will have more expensive prices (restaurants, hotels, shops)

How To Get To Crete

  • With a 7hrs , 10hrs or 12hrs direct ferry from Athens (Piraeus or Rafina ports) to Heraklion or Chania citiesBook your Ferry ticket to Crete here 
  • The cost of the ferry varies from 30 euros to 80 euros (depending on the ferry speed and the seat)
  • With a direct 1hr flight from Athens (all year)  – you can book flights on Expedia (Chania airport: CHQ and Heraklion: HER)
  • There is also a direct flight from all major European capitals (London, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Rome) – mainly between April and October (check Expedia for specific schedules)
  • You can fly directly to Chania or Heraklion city as this is where the biggest airports of the island are.
  • It not advisable to visit Crete for 1-2 days because you will be missing a lot…You should dedicate you entire holidays to Crete. So, you should not start thinking of combining a trip to Santorini and Mykonos with 1-2 days in Crete. They are connected with ferries but it’s not worth it. 

Where to Stay In Crete

  • READ THE DETAILED GUIDE: Where To Stay In Crete
  • The best area to stay in Crete is the west side of the island in or around Chania town (this is it on Google Maps).
  • The west side of Crete has the best beaches and the most impressive hotels but there are amazing resorts in other areas too (Elounda Beach Hotel is probably the best hotel of Crete and it’s in Elounda on the east side of Crete)
  • If you are visiting with family and kids then staying close to Chania is also the most preferable option and renting a villa in Crete is generally a very wise option too as the island has lots of them.
  • Avoid staying in very remote areas or up in the mountains (there are lots of villas located in the mountains of Crete) as you will be very isolated and the road network of Crete is in very bad condition
  • Avoid staying in Heraklion as unfortunately it is not a pretty city; Chania , Rethymnon and Agios Nikolaos are the most picturesque towns you can stay

Best Hotels In Crete

  • Elounda Beach Hotel : Undoubtedly one of the best hotels in Greece. You will be having the aegean sea on your balcony and 5-star service 24/7. One of the best hotels in Europe!
  • Mitsis Rineia Beach Resort & Spa : One of the best spas in Greece and Crete with lots of spaces for kids and families. An ideal all inclusive resort for families with amenities for everyone.
  • Amirandes Grecotel Resort : Located on a private beach between palm trees and a sea lagoon this is the best resort close to Hearklion city. With more than 10 restaurants and lots of shops this is probably the most impressive all inclusive resort of Crete.

Best Things To Do In Crete :

  • Visit the amazing Knossos Palace ancient ruins (close to Heraklion which also has an impressive archaeological museum) – a guided tour like this one is highly recommended as there are lots of things to see and learn from Minoan history; this is one of the most impressive archaeological sites all over Greece so it’s a must-do!
  • Visit the incredible beaches of Balos lagoon and Elafonissi : These are 2 of the most impressive beaches in the world with the most impressive sea waters you will ever find; these are easily compared to Maldives 
  • Wander the picturesque towns of Chania and Rethymnon and go for shopping
  • Take the boat and visit the famous island ex-lepran colony of Spinalonga (featured in many films and books)
  • Taste some of the best olive oil in the world and learn about olive oil production in Crete through the incredible Terra Creta Olive Oil Experience
  • Visit the unique palm tree forest of Vai beach (Google Maps)
  • Hike the wild Samaria Gorge alone or with a guided tour like this one

Best Restaurants In Crete :

Cretan food is probably the best in Greece and you will be surprised by the large portions and the free stuff you will be offered in every restaurant (free fruits, deserts and local drinks at the end of the meal)

4. Corfu

corfu
Corfu is an island on the west side of Greece between Italy and Greece and the scenery is completely different than Santorini and Mykonos as there are lots trees and green areas

Corfu is one of the bigest islands in Greece and it has a completely different landscape compared to Santorini and Mykonos. The scenery is much greener but the sea water is still incredibly blue and crystal clear.

Corfu on Google Maps

Corfu is an island at the sea between Italy and Greece (Ioanian sea) and the italian and venetian influence is spread all over the island.

The greek name of Corfu is: Kerkira

Corfu has been a famous tourist destination for the last 70 years and there are many good reasons for that.

The island is full of beautiful beaches and picturesque towns and villages.

You need at least a week in Corfu as it is a pretty big island.

It is nearly impossibel to combine a visit to Corfu along with another greek island like Santorini or Mykonos because these islands are on the other side of Greece and you need to travel through Athens. Doable but not smart…

Best Time To Visit Corfu

  • The best time to visit Corfu is in September. Corfu is on the north-west side of Greece and this means that temperatures get colder by the end of September and rains start. This does not happen in southern Greece or Crete for example, so it’s good to have that in mind. 
  • Avoid by any means July and August as they are very crowded and you will pay extraordinary prices on everything (along with bad service most of the times…)
  • Corfu is one of the most touristic islands in Europe that attracts people from western Europe and Scandinavia mainly.

How To Get To Corfu

  • There is no ferry from Athens to Corfu. There is only a flight that connects Athens to Corfu.
  • But there is also a 1.5hr ferry service that connects Corfu to Igoumenitsa (a town opposite Corfu which is about 5hrs drive from Athens) – Book your Ferry ticket to Corfu here 
  • The easiest way to get to Corfu is to take the direct 1hr flight from Athens (all year)  – you can book flights on Expedia (Corfu airport: CFU)
  • There is also a direct flight from all major European capitals and big cities (London, Paris, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Rome, Manchester, Newcastle, Madrid, Barcelona, Warsaw, Oslo, Hamburg, Hanover, Stuttgart etc) – mainly between April and October (check Expedia for specific schedules)
  • There are no direct flights to Corfu from outside of Europe (like USA, Australia, India or elsewhere).
  • You should not think of visiting Corfu along with the other famous greek islands like Santorini and Mykonos as they are not connected. you have to travel through Athens and literally take 2 flights. Doable but silly, as you will be wasting too much time in transfers.

Where to Stay In Corfu

  • The best area to stay in Corfu is Corfu main town as it will give you the opportunity to explore the island and also enjoy a venetian old city from within.
  • If you want a quiet and picturesque area close to the beach then Paleokastritsa is your best bet as it has plenty of hotels and it’s next to turquoise waters and pine trees forests.
  • Paleokastritsa is also very good if you are visiting with family
  • Avoid staying in Kavos as it is a famous teenagers’ resort with cheap nightlife… (unless this is what you are actually looking for obviously)

Best Hotels In Corfu

  • Corfu Imperial Grecotel Resort : One of the most impressive and largest hotels in Greece at an amazing location with lots of swimming pools and incredible 5 star services (including one of the best breakfast buffets in Greece…)
  • Bella Venezia Hotel : This is undoubtedly the best hotel in Corfu town and it really feels you will be staying at a venetian palace! Service is always very good and you won’t be disappointed by the breakfast options and the lovely views of the old town of Corfu.
  • Lena Mare Boutique Hotel : A small oasis, a little boutique hotel with some of the best reviews online. Excellent and friendly owners that would take the extra step to make your stay unforgettable. Location is also perfect at a 10 mins walk from the lovely beach of Acharavi. 

Best Things To Do In Corfu

Best Restaurants In Corfu

There is no shortage of amazing restaurants in Corfu but these are the best of the best!

5. Zakynthos (or Zante)

navagio beach
The worldwide famous Navagio beach is located in Zakynthos island but this is not the only attraction of this greek ionian island.

Zakynthos (or Zante) island is another famous greek ionian island in the sea between Greece and Italy with landscapes similar to Corfu (lots of green pine trees forests) and of course the famous Navagio Beach that you may have seen all over Youtube and Instagram the last years.

Zakynthos on Google Maps

Zante is a pretty big island (6 times the size of Santorini) which has become a famous tourist destination for people from all over the world

Zakynthos is also called “Zante” .

You should not combine a visit to Zakynthos with another greek island because it is not easily accessible.

Though the main town of Zakynthos is not as picturesque as Corfu, it is still a beautiful island town and the island has lots of picturesque villages by the sea.

Best Time To Visit Zakynthos

  • The best time to visit Zakynthos is in June or July when the weather will be hot but the island won’t be that crowded as it is in August.
  • You can still visit Zante in August but availability will be low and prices higher.
  • The weather might not be that good in September or October with lots of rains. Also, winter is not advisable for a trip to Zakynthos because the island gets pretty much deserted with only locals and quite cold weather.

How To Get To Zakynthos

Where to Stay In Zakynthos

  • The best area to stay in Zakynthos is the main town (capital) as it will allow you to be in a central location to explore the island (yes, you need to rent a car in Zakynthos)
  • Avoid staying in Laganas as it is a famous teenagers’ resort with cheap nightlife… (unless this is what you are actually looking for obviously)
  • If you want to stay near the beach then you should stay close to Gerakas or Dafni beaches

Best Hotels In Zakynthos

  • Lesante Blu : One of the most impressive infinity swimming pools in Ionian islands and 5 star service from expert stuff. The hotel is brand new so all facilities are very good!
  • Olea All Suite Hotel : A unique quiet hotel with impressive architecture and amazing views. The private suites with the pools are some of the best in Greece and the hotel in general is ideal for relaxing and calming holidays.
  • Exensian Villas & Suites : Stone-built private villas with amazing views to the turtle island and great swimming pools. The villas are built in olive tree plantations and are the perfect place for quiet and relaxing holidays.

Best Things To Do In Zakynthos

  • Simply, the best thing you can do in Zakynthos is to visit the famous Navagio Beach. It’s a smart thing to do that with a guided tour like this 8hr guided tour and cruise to Navagio beach and the blue Caves.
  • Visit all the other beautiful beaches of Zakynthos like: Dafni, Gerakas, Agios Sostis, Makris Gialos, Kalamaki, Tsilivi
  • Go for caretta caretta sea turtle watching to the beautiful small island of Marathonisi. There are organised excursions to the turtle island where you will be snorkelling next to sea turtles if you get lucky. This turtle boat tour is one of the best in Zante.
  • Visit the beautiful Grampsas Winery (Google Maps) and do some winetasting in a lovely location.

Best Restaurants In Zakynthos

Apart from amazing food , Zakynthos is home to some extraordinary wineries with some seriously good greek wine. These are some of the best restaurants in Zante:

6. Kefalonia (or Cephalonia)

kefalonia island
Kefalonia or Cephalonia is not only famous for its beauty but also from the fact that it has been the set of the famous 2001 novel and movie with Penelope Cruz and Nicolas Cage "Corelli's Mandolin"

Kefalonia or Cephalonia is one more greek island in the ioanian sea between Greece and Italy that you should really visit if you are looking for green scenery, beautiful fish villages and emerald mediterranean waters.

Kefalonia on Google Maps

Kefalonia is the 6th largest island in Greece and it is 10 times larger than Santorini…so have that in mind when you are thinking of renting a car (yes, you definitely need to rent a car in Kefalonia).

Kefalonia cannot be combined with a visit to other greek islands such as Mykonos, Santorini or Crete because it is in the Ionian sea like Corfu or Zante. It is only advisable then to combine it with a visit to Corfu or Zante otherwise you have to travel through Athens which is going to be quite expensive and time wasting if you only have a few days.

Kefalonia has many pretty villages (Fiskardo, Assos and Skala being the most famous ones) and it is one of the greenest islands in Greece.

The island is perfect for family holidays and it has some really good opportunities for boat excursions in the surrounding emerald waters.

Best Time To Visit Kefalonia

  • The best time to visit Kefalonia is also (like Corfu or Zante) in June or July. The weather will be pretty hot and the island won’t feel that crowded as in August.
  • As a general rule of thumb for greek islands: avoid August by all means as it is also the month that the greeks go on holidays, which also makes things even worse for availability and prices…
  • Winter is not particularly enjoyable in Kefalonia as there is no life in the beautiful beach areas and you may find seriously bad weather (lots of rain and wind) at any time

How To Get To Kefalonia

  • The best way to get to Kefalonia is by taking a direct flight (either from Athens or from a European city) to the island.
  • There is also a 2hrs ferry service that connects Kefalonia to Patra or Killini (Patra is 2 hrs drive/bus from Athens and Kilini is about a 3hrs drive/bus from Athens) – Book your Ferry ticket to Kefalonia here (you should put Killini or Patra as your departure port but bear in mind that you have to take a bus from Athens to Killini or Patra first)
  • The easiest way to get to Kefalonia though is to take a direct 1hr flight from Athens (all year)  – you can book flights on Expedia (Kefalonia airport: EFL)
  • There is also a direct flight from all major European capitals and big cities (London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Rome, Manchester, Newcastle, Madrid, Barcelona, Warsaw, Oslo, Hamburg, Hanover etc) – mainly between April and October (check Expedia for specific schedules)
  • There are no direct flights to Kefalonia from outside of Europe.
  • There are no flights or ferries connecting Kefalonia with other greek islands (sometimes there is a 30mins flight to Zakynthis island but that is not happening every year so always check Expedia first)
  • If you want to visit other greek islands from Kefalonia then your main option is Zakynthos, Lefkada or Ithaca through local ferry boats (no need to book online you can just check these out when you are there)

Where to Stay In Kefalonia

  • The best area to stay in Kefalonia is the capital town Argostoli because you won’t be that isolated and you may also use the public buses more easily as they all go through the city center.
  • If you want to be closer to the beach you should stay at the picturesque Assos, Skala, Poros or Fiskardo villages but you will need to have your own means of transportation or basically spend most of your time there (still ok as these places are lovely)
  • Alternative locations for staying are the beautiful second largest town of Lixouri and the picturesque beachfront town of Sami

Best Hotels In Kefalonia

  • F Zeen Hotel : Exceptional service, amazing views and a stunning swimming pool at Lourdata. A very relaxing and calming environment (mostly for adults though) but overall an impressive brand new hotel with very caring stuff. 
  • Kefalonia Grand : The best hotel in Kefalonia’s capital Argostoli with stunning views to the quiet port and yummy breakfasts. An excellent option if you want to stay in Argostoli.
  • Emelisse Nature Resort : Just minutes away from the fabulous small beach of Emplisi this chic hotel is ideal if you want to relax by the pool surrounded by pine and olive trees and also be close to the famous Fiskardo fish village. The awesome breakfast is also a big plus! 

Best Things To Do In Kefalonia

  • One of the best things you can do in Kefalonia is to visit the unique beaches of the island like Myrtos (many times voted as the best beach in the world), Platis Gialos, Petani, Emplisi, Antisamos and many more
  • Take a boat trip to see the famous Melissani Cave (this tour is very good)
  • Go hiking at the national natural park of mount Ainos; one of the most beautiful mountains in Greece.
  • Visit the extremely interesting museum of Ancient Greek Technology (Google Maps)

Best Restaurants In Kefalonia

Kefalonia is a pretty big island and there is no shortage of amazing family restaurants but also really unique flavours and diverse greek dishes all over the island.

7. Rhodes

rhodes
Rhodes is the 4th largest greek island and along with Crete, it is the island with the most impressive all inclusive family resorts in Greece.

Rhodes is the 4th largest greek island and it really resembles Malta in many ways (the old town, the castle, the beaches…), though Rhodes it’s 5 times the size of Malta. 

Just to give you the scale of its size: Rhodes is 20 times bigger than Santorini…!

Rhodes has some of the most impressive and well established hotels and resorts in Greece and all large tour operators in Europe have all inclusive (or not packages) for Rhodes as it has been an extremely popular destination since the 60’s.

Rhodes on Google Maps

Rhodes belongs to the Dodecanese islands group of Greece and it is the furthest of all islands on this list, from Athens (still within 1hr flight though).

Rhodes cannot be combined with a visit to any other island; the island is pretty big and you should better dedicate at least a week to explore it and have a good time without any rush. Apart from that, Rhodes is not well connected with other famous islands in Cyclades (like Santorini or Mykonos) and you will waste to much time and money in transfers as you may have to go back to Athens.

Rhodes has lovely long sandy beaches, a beautiful old town and it is in general very well organised touristically (compared to other islands).

The island is an ideal destination for holidays with kids and if you are looking for an all inclusive in Greece, chances are you will find it in Rhodes or in Crete.

Many people say consider Rhodes the all-inclusive capital of Greece…!

Best Time To Visit Rhodes

  • The best time to visit Rhodes is May, June or late September and October. The island is literally packed with tourists in July and August (though it won’t feel that packed as Santorini or Mykonos for example) because it is pretty big.
  • The good thing about Rhodes is that the island is so big that it is actually quite lively even in the winter or low season months between November-April.

How To Get To Rhodes

  • The best way to get to Rhodes is by taking a direct flight (either from Athens or from a European city) to the island.
  • There are also ferries that connect Athens (Piraeus port) to Rhodes but they literally take ages to arrive (more than 15hrs on average!) and I would never advise anyone to waste 15 hours of her/his life and bore to death in a slow ferry to Rhodes… Book your Ferry ticket to Rhodes here
  • The easiest and fastest way to get to Rhodes is to take a direct 1hr flight from Athens (all year)  – you can book flights on Expedia (Rhodes airport: RHO)
  • There is also a direct flight from all major European capitals and big cities (London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, Rome, Manchester, Newcastle, Madrid, Barcelona, Warsaw, Oslo, Hamburg, Hanover etc) – mainly between April and October (check Expedia for specific schedules)
  • There are no direct flights to Rhodes from outside of Europe.
  • The great thing about Rhodes is that it’s very well connected with a few hrs ferries to all the surrounding Dodecanese greek islands like: Kos, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Ikaria, Samos and even Crete (though it’s not advised to combine a trip to Rhodes with a trip to Crete as you need at least a week on each island)
  • You can even take a ferry to Turkey from Rhodes (Marmaris) – always check Let’s Ferry website first because ferry schedules change every year. 

Where to Stay In Rhodes

  • The best area to stay in Rhodes is either the charming old town or Lindos because you will be able to have access to the best restaurants, the beautiful beaches and also be able to access the main tourist attractions of the island.
  • If you decide to stay at an all inclusive resort (there are some good ones in Rhodes) then… it doesn’t really matter as you won’t spend much time outside of your resort but it will be good if you are closer to the old town as it is always nice to spend a night there for a dinner.
  • Avoid staying in Faliraki as it is a famous teenagers’ resort with cheap nightlife (unless that’s what you are looking for) 
  • Staying in the new town of Rhodes is also not advisable either as it might feel you live in the center of a big greek city (like Athens) whereas there are much more beautiful locations on the island (like Ialyssos for example) 

Best Hotels In Rhodes

  • Mitsis Alila Resort & Spa : Possibly one of the best all-inclusive hotels in Greece and in Rhodes. Exceptional 5 star service at a hotel that has everything…sushi restaurants, greek restaurants, spa, massive buffets and even a pizza oven on its private beach!
  • 10GR Hotel : Hands down the most unique hotel in Rhodes and a a very artistic building that will make your accommodation very special in the old town of Rhodes. Drinking a glass of greek wine on these colourful patios can be unforgettable…
  • Casa Cook Rhodes : A brand new hotel, designed to perfection and serviced to absolute relaxation and tranquility. As this is an adults only hotel this can be the ideal getaway for couples. Not to mention that literally everything on the hotel is instagrammable! 

Best Things To Do In Rhodes

  • Undoubtedly the highlight of Rhodes is the old medieval town of Rhodes with its castles and stone-paved allays
  • Visit the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights which is a beautiful castle  which is now home to the museum of medieval Rhodes. Yes, the place might be packed of tourists in the high season but be patient and you won’t regret it…
  • Hike in the “Valley of Butterflies” in a lovely natural park filled with thousands of butterflies (Google Maps
  • Visit and swim at the beautiful beaches of the island: Tsambika, Faliraki, Traounou, Pefkos, Traganou, Lindos and many more
  • Wander the beautiful streets of picturesque village of Lindos
  • Go an a day cruise to the beautiful nearby island of Symithis one is very good

Best Restaurants In Rhodes

The italian influence is still vivid in Rhodes cuisine but there are so many options and good restaurants to choose from that you won’t be disappointed:

8. Naxos

naxos island
Naxos is the largest island in Cyclades island group and it is ideal if you want long sandy beaches and some of the best greek food in Greece!

Naxos is one of the largest greek islands and the largest in Cyclades island complex.

It’s one of my personal favourites…

Naxos is 6 times bigger than Santorini…!

Naxos has long and sandy beaches that can be hit by strong winds in times during the summer which has actually made the island a surfers’ paradise the last years.

There are however lots of beautiful beaches and picturesque villages you can visit with the most unique one being the famous Apeiranthos village.

Naxos on Google Maps

Naxos can easily be combined with a trip to Santorini but it’s an island that you need to spend at least 3 days to appreciate it. The good thing is that the ferries that go to Santorini and Mykonos (especially the Blue Star Ferries) connect both islands very well.

Naxos is a perfect destination (3hrs ferry from Athens) for families and people who want the simple things in life: good food, simple accommodation and lots of beautiful uninterrupted sunsets away from the tourist crowds…

9. Ios

ios greece
Ios used to be a party island back in the 90's but things have changed and it is now an amazing destination (close to Santorini) that you can have a great 3-4 days of holidays.

10. Paros

paros greece
Paros island is relatively close to Santorini and its whitewashed houses and alleys look quite similar; Paro's beaches are also amazing and look like Mykonos'

11. Milos

milos greece
Milos is the hidden gem of the greek islands with lots of beautiful beaches and not that many tourists even in August; the perfect island for calm, relaxing, alternative couples holidays off the beaten track

12. Skiathos

skiathos greece
Skiathos belongs to the Sporades islands group and it's northern than Santorini or Mykonos and much greener; it looks more similar to Corfu or Cephalonia but it's smaller and probably more charming

CONCLUSION

Greek islands are simply amazing.

They are considered some of the most magical, romantic and stunning places on the earth.

No matter which one you choose for your holidays (or your life) you will have amazing weather, amazing food and be surrounded by people who love life and care about each other in their local communities. 

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Highest Rated Villas in Santorini:

Best Villa in Oia: Anemi House

Best Villa in Fira: Anteliz Villa

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Best Villa in Firostefani: Villa Aura

Best Villa in Imerovigli: Grace Villa

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