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16 Of The Best Greek Islands To Visit In 2024

With over 6,000 islands and islets – more than two hundred of them inhabited – choosing which Greek island to visit might seem an impossible task. These are sixteen of the best for 2024.

If you think you know the Greek islands, think again. Even the most-seasoned travellers, Greek or not, probably can’t claim to have explored them all.

Well-known destinations such as Mykonos and Santorini are still worth spending time on. Alongside the (many) crowds, they offer lesser-known places to seek out astonishing beauty – they became popular for a reason, after all. But it’s well worth exploring places a little further off the tourist-radar too.

These are some of the best islands in Greece for 2024: expect a truly diverse mix of history, culture, views, food, experiences and more. The one thing they all have in common is brilliant beaches.


Quietly cool – with an emphasis on the quiet and on the cool – visit Sifnos for an off-grid Greek-island experience. Beaches aside, days here are filled with slow wanders around churches and monasteries (with 237, it has more than any other Cycladic island, most dating back centuries); boat rides to discover nearby islands including Milos and Polyaigos; and village hopping, from the capital, Apollonia, dotted with chic boutiques, to perhaps the most picturesque of them all, Kastro. A foodie scene is emerging here too; eat with your feet in the sand at Yialos Seaside Obsession or overlooking the countryside at To Christo in Artemonas. Expect to see a goat or two in the next-door fields from the latter.

The Best Greek Island For: Foodies

Where To Stay: Sigma Residences


The beaches of Milos – where moon-like cliffs overlook bright, cyan waters – truly need to be seen to be believed. Its raw natural beauty was kept hush-hush for years, with only those-in-the-know venturing to the Cycladic island. Thanks to social media the secret is out, and Sarakiniko Beach, the most famous of them all, will be crowded by 9AM. Visit early. With more than 70 beaches dotting its coastline there are, thankfully, plenty of other stretches of sand to pitch up at for the day. Papafragas, Paliochori and Agia Kyriaki all make a wonderful place to do so. In the port-town, Adamantas, while away a few hours shopping at chic boutique stores, and from here, head slightly north to Klima – another place you’ve likely seen on social media – home to quaint fisherman’s houses clinging to the coastline.

The Best Greek Island For: Beaches

Where To Stay: Skinopi Lodge, or a Fishermans House for something straight off your Instagram feed


Greeks have been quietly holidaying in Paros for years but, until now, have managed to keep it under wraps. All that changed when Netflix released a hit series based on David Nicholls’ popular book, One Day. In the screen adaptation, main characters Emma and Dexter, visit a Greek island together. While the in-show island was never named, filming took place in Paros and the world woke up to the Greek secret. Visit for a good mix of lively restaurants, upbeat bars and relaxed beaches; this is a place with plenty to do, but also plenty of opportunity for downtime. The main town, oh-so-pretty Naoussa, is a hub for dining (visit Barbarossa for a harbour-side dinner of freshly-caught fish) but has managed to keep its traditional charm; expect to see plenty of whitewashed buildings with trails of bougainvillea flowing off them like waterfalls. 

The Best Greek Island For: Set-Jetting

Where To Stay: Cosme Hotel Paros


This might just be the trendiest Greek island to visit right now. Laid back and effortlessly cool, Hydra, a car-free island in the Greek Saronics, first found its place on the global stage when big names such as John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Eric Clapton, Maria Callas and Leonard Cohen visited in the sixties and seventies. Yet, despite still attracting a cosmopolitan crowd of Greek and international artists, musicians and politicians, Hydra has managed to remain somewhat off-radar. Just 90-minutes by ferry from the country’s capital, Athens, visit to soak up contemporary art across the island: DESTE Foundation is a good place to start, before sinking into a seat at all-day bar-restaurant, Plakostroto, for Greek, international and vegan dishes.

The Best Greek Island For: Art

Where To Stay: Mandraki Beach Resort

The beach at Oku Kos


Forget any preconceptions you may have, Kos, an island in the Dodecanese, is more than just a party-holiday destination. So much more, in fact. Side step all that, and instead explore the historical sites – the Temple of Dionysus, the Asclepieion of Kos and the Roman Odeon all date back to the 2nd or 3rd centuries AD, to name just a few. Elsewhere, head to black-sand beach, Thermes, so named thanks to its hot springs with therapeutic qualities, or hop on a bike to explore the island’s cycling routes which might take you through olive groves and traditional villages, or pass by large lakes home to flamingoes. Last but not least, take a tour of the coastline by boat – Kos is one of the closest Greek islands to Turkey, and you’ll spot the neighbouring country within minutes of leaving the port.

The Best Greek Island For: Exploring by bike

Where To Stay: Oku Kos


Located in the Ionian islands, and perhaps one of the most varied Greek islands of all, in Kefalonia you’ll find quaint villages to explore, local-design stores, elevated dining and plenty of lush greenery. Oh, and there’s lots of picturesque beaches too – one of which, Myrtos, is consistently voted as one of the world’s best. To get to Myrtos you’ll need to have a car – and nerves of steel – as you navigate the island’s unique mountainous landscapes with twists, turns and tight corners. The view from above is worth a pit-stop for photos, and once on the beach be sure to head to the very left to swim through a small cave. In the north of the island, visit the small harbour town of Fiskardo for boutique stores and seafood dining, or spend a day on the Asos peninsula to soak up the sun on small beaches and at seaside dining spots with serious views. Argostoli, the capital, is worth an evening stroll too – stop for dinner at Captain’s Table and order the honey-drizzled baked feta. You won’t regret it. For an offbeat activity, and one where you’ll probably learn a thing or two as well, stop by the family home of Thanassis and Eleni for an introduction to beekeeping.

The Best Greek Island For: Rugged beauty

Where To Stay: F Zeen Retreat for the ultimate in relaxation and wellbeing. 

One&Only Kéa Island


The once little-known island of Kea is ready to step into the limelight. The closest Cycladic island to Athens (and served by direct ferry routes from it) Kea hasn’t seen the fame of many of its neighbours, such as Mykonos and Santorini (or more recently, Paros and Milos), but all that is about to change. Global hotel group, One&Only is gearing up to open on the island, following their debut in Greece on the Athens Riviera. Visit for a somewhat surprising change of scenery; rather than the rocky, slightly-barren landscapes of many Cycladic islands, Kea boasts lush green forests, and instead of villages awash with blue-and-white houses, here you’ll find more natural and terracotta tones.

The Best Greek Island For: A taste of the quiet life

Where To Stay: One&Only Kéa Island – opening on 1 June 2024. 


You can’t go much further east than Kastelorizo without leaving Europe. More easterly than even Istanbul, this tiny Dodecanese island sits just two miles beneath the Antalya region of Turkey and is a well-guarded secret amongst in-the-know Greeks. At just 10 square kilometres and with only one village to speak of, you’d be forgiven for thinking a trip here might prove somewhat dull. But you’d be wrong. Take a boat trip to one of the biggest underwater caves in Greece; admire the pastel-coloured neoclassical houses and island Minaret; soak up the sun before descending a ladder into the sparkling waters; visit the ancient Acropolis and castle; and hike the 400 steps of Kastelorizo Mountain to the Monastery of St. George, taking in views of the nearby Turkish coastline as you go.

The Best Greek Island For: A remote, sophisticated escape

Where To Stay: Mediterraneo Kastelorizo 


There’s no airport on the island of Tinos, instead you’ll need to take a ferry from Athens, or from one of its nearby islands; the journey from Mykonos takes just 30 minutes. For years, Tinos has been most famous as a pilgrimage site: destination, the marble Monastery of Virgin Mary Evangelistria, believed to be the site of a miracle. Marble is a common theme throughout the island, you’ll spot sculptures made from it in most places. But beyond this, visit to while away time draped across sun loungers or towels on its beaches and small coves; explore small village streets; hike the 150 kilometres of dedicated, signposted walking trails through wildflowers, valleys and monasteries; and taste-test the local food and drink – you won’t be disappointed.

The Best Greek Island For: Hiking

Where To Stay: Odera Tinos – opened in May 2024. 


The largest of the Cyclades, Naxos lays claim to a long, rich and extensive history – it’s been inhabited since prehistoric times. As such – and as you might expect – there’s a wealth of ancient monuments to explore here. Acropolis remnants dating back to 2400 BC can be found in Panermos, there’s a castle built in 1207 AD, and the Temple of Apollo’s timeline stretches back to the 6th century BC. Beyond this, discover a slew of old-time villages to meander around, a number of art, design and boutique stores (you’ll find many of them in Chalki), and of course, plenty of beaches for soaking up the sun – the best are along the island’s southwest coast.

The Best Greek Island For: History

Where To Stay: Naxian Collection


At 260 kilometres wide, Crete is the largest of all the Greek islands and offers a true bounty of culture, landscapes, experiences and cuisine. Here, you’ll find miles upon miles of beautiful beaches, as well as mountain roads to cruise, Byzantine churches to peer into, traditional towns and villages to explore, and ruins to wander. The Bronze Age Minoan Civilisation called Crete home, and one of the island’s most impressive sites – the 17th century BC Palace of Knossos – is located just inland from is capital, Heraklion. Add a large choice of high-end hotels and plenty of unique Cretan dishes to try and this becomes the most diverse of all the Greek islands. You’ll likely find you can’t cover everything in just one trip.

The Best Greek Island For: Variety

Where To Stay: Elounda Peninsula All Suites Hotel, Domes of Elounda, Numo Ierapetra – but the list goes on.


While many of the Greek islands all but shut down over winter, Syros – the capital of the Cyclades – is a year-round destination. As a result, it pays less attention to attracting tourists than its neighbours do, and in this lies its charm. The capital, Ermoupoli, surrounds a large harbour and is a vibrant mix of stores, cafés, restaurants and bars. Look out for Turkish delight (known as loukoumi in Greek): during the 1922 Greco – Turkish war, Syros welcomed refugees from Smyrna (now Turkish Izmir) and some families brought recipes for the sweet with them, so this is the real deal. Elsewhere head to the quaint hillside town of Ano Syros to shop boutique stores and dine with a birds’ eye view of the island; head to one of the beaches; or make like the locals and visit Asteria – a small concrete platform with steps into the sea and views back towards the surrounding Venetian-inspired architecture.

The Best Greek Island For: Year-round exploration

Where To Stay: Aristide Hotel


Ask a handful of Greeks which is their favourite island, and no doubt a few of them will say Folegandros. It’s not hard to see why. Intimate and understated, this is a place where days are spent splashing in the sea, and evenings entail long dinners in traditional tavernas as groups gather nearby to play card games or backgammon. But that’s not to say there’s nothing to do here – there’s plenty should you wish to step away from your sun lounger. The main square is somewhat of a meeting place come sunset, and fringed by small bars and restaurants. For an aperitivo, Aquarius is a favourite, followed by plates of Greek mezze at family-run restaurant, Asyngrito.

The Best Greek Island For: Escaping the crowds

Where To Stay: Gundari – opened in May 2024


We’ve all seen the iconic Instagram photos of Santorini’s cave-like accommodation and almost impossibly-beautiful views across the caldera. So what’s left to say about this island? As it turns out, plenty. Yes, social-media darling, Oia village, is a must – but once you’ve snapped your photos (arrive early to beat the majority of the crowds), escape it to the more rugged, untouched areas of the island, of which there are plenty. Inland, the small village of Pyrgos is worth visiting for the food alone (Penelopes is a good spot to enjoy it) and don’t miss the local wineries – Santorini is famous for its viticulture, thanks to its mineral-rich soil. Santo Wines, close to Pyrgos, hosts wine-tasting sessions with caldera views, merging the best of two worlds.

The Best Greek Island For: Romance and sunset views

Where To Stay: Inland, Noūs Santorini or Santorini Sky. In (or close to) Oia, Andronis Arcadia or Nobu Santorini


No guide to the Greek islands would be complete without Mykonos, the undefeated holiday and party Queen of the Cyclades. It’s true, the town centre sees more guests than it can realistically handle but, if you can keep your patience as you wander amongst the crowds, you’ll soon discover why. Whitewashed streets with overflowing bougainvillaea in all shades of pink and red lead the way to the island’s most famous site: Little Venice. The views of Mykonos’ ever-so-Instagrammed windmills from here really are worth the hype. Take a seat at one of the many restaurants and bars overlooking them – we love Cocco by Belvedere Hotel – order a cocktail, and soak it all in. For a beach day filled with music and dancing at some of the most-coveted island spots head to Scorpios, Nammos or Kalua. For a less-lively tanning day, visit any of the beachside restaurants at Platios Gialos, or the untouched stretch of coastline (yes they still exist in Mykonos) of Agios Sotros – but be sure to bring everything you’ll need for the day including snacks, water, beach towels and sun hats.

The Best Greek Island For: Living the high-life

Where To Stay: In town, Belvedere Hotel. On the southern coast: Myconian Ambassador


Staying in Athens and short on time? Hop on a ferry from Piraeus Port in the southern Athens suburbs and, in under an hour, you’ll find a slice of the good life. Aegina is well-known amongst Athenians as a quick weekend getaway, yet it retains its island charm. You’ll find less beaches here than on other islands, but this is more than made up for by ancient sites to visit. Hire a car and drive the Saronic island – you could circumnavigate it in 40 minutes minus any stops, though the Temple of Aphaia and the abandoned town of Paleochora are good places to do so. There are also small, authentic Greek villages to explore: in the fisherman’s village, Perdika, wander the beachside streets and watch as the catch of the day is brought to land on small boats before making its way to your plate. Nontas Fish Restaurant is a great place to settle for the evening to dine on a dinner of fresh calamari, muscles and octopus. Many of the dishes are pistachio-infused thanks to the surrounding pistachio fields: this island is known to produce the best pistachios in Greece, some may even say in Europe or the world.

The Best Greek Island For: An authentic way of life (and plenty of pistachios)

Where To Stay: The Amber Houses

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