A region wild and paradisiacal, rugged and pristine, wondrous and whimsical, the Greek islands are known to be some of the best tourist gateways in Europe. But with so many exotic islands, it can be overwhelming to pick the right one for your next holiday escape.
Worry less. We have done the hard part for you and narrowed down to the 5 best and the most popular islands in Greece. Here are the top Greek islands that you can put on top of your travel list for your next holiday in Europe.
Mesmerizing sunset in Santorini
Santorini is our all-time favorite Greek island for a holiday. If you only had to visit one island, this should be it. It is packed with sightseeing, great tours and lots of things to do.
The easiest way of getting to Santorini is by flying from Athens
. The plane trip takes 45 minutes, and there are lots of flights every day. Prices range from $50 to $150 for a roundtrip. You can also go by ferry
, by which you board it from Athens to Piraeus. The fare for a roundtrip is around $120, and it will take you 5 hours to arrive at the island if you board the high-speed ferries.
What to Do:
The majority of visitors to this island spend time at the beach, dining at unique Greek restaurants
, exploring quaint towns, soaking up in spa pool while enjoying stunning views of the caldera or experience one of the great tours in the island
. Besides the vistas, there are some great sights in the island. These include the Santorini Volcano, the Museum of Prehistoric Thira and the Museum of Thera.
Get enchanted with turquoise, crystal clear sea in Crete
Crete boasts numerous beaches, engaging hikes, and amazing historical sites. It is the most expansive of all Greek islands. It is so huge that if you have one week only to tour Greece, you should confine yourself to Crete only. Here are top beaches in Crete
Just like Santorini, the easiest, and the fastest way to get here, is by flying from the Greek capital of Athens; the flight takes roughly 50 minutes and will set you back around $150. Crete is located in the southern part of Cyclades
, and it is a long ride with the ferry. Overnight options are also available, and usually, depart at 10 pm and arrive at roughly 6 a.m. Roundtrip costs $80.
What to Do:
One of the many interesting cultural spots is Knossos
. It is home to the leper colony and historical fortress. Samaria Gorge National Park provides magnificent scenery and exploratory hiking. Read here
for a comprehensive guide.
Read also: Top 10 Scam Cities To Know Before You Travel
Explore the beautiful side Mykonos, Greece
Mykonos hosts some of the best clubbing and nightlife in Greece. With massive clubhouse presence, it attracts world-class DJ to it’s home. It also has stunning beaches and an inconceivably charming capital village, the Mykonos Town.
Getting there: The flight from Athens, the Greek capital, to Mykonos takes 40-minutes, and the roundtrip flights can cost anywhere from $50 to $250. If you want to travel by ferry, you might want to consider boarding shuttle ferries which take about two-and-a-half hours and cost between $50 and $150.
What to Do:
For most holidaymakers, Mykonos is about exploring the different beaches and exploring the alleys of Mykonos Town. However, the Delos ruins
are also well worth a trip. It is an ancient settlement and archaeological site near to Mykonos. In the town of Mykonos, Little Venice is a waterfront district that is worth stopping at, and another popular stop to snap a photo is the famous windmills in the town
You can hire scooter or car
to drive all around the island as it is pretty much a small island. Some of the great beaches to visit are Psarou Beach, Agios Sostis Beach, Panormos Beach and Ornos Beach.
Gate of the Temple of Appollo – Naxos Town
Naxos is undoubtedly the most family-friendly of all the Greek islands. Its main town and the stunning beaches are crammed with great local taverns
that serve among the most delicious food on Greek islands.
Getting there: There are daily flights to Naxos, and a single trip takes 40 minutes. Airfare is in the range of $150 to $200. There are also many daily ferries from Paros, and a trip, which takes 25-45 minutes, costs about $25 and $60 roundtrip. Ferries from Athens take 4-5 hours. you can also catch ferries to other islands like Mykonos and Santorini while in Naxos.
What to do: Most days are just good to spend at the beach. Both windsurfing and kitesurfing are great activities here. However, the island is also home to several interesting archaeological sites like Portara, the Temple of Demeter ruins and Temple of Apollo.
Beautiful Paros sea
Paros is located between Santorini and Mykonos. A place where visitors can visit the Panagia Ekatontapiliani, an ancient Byzantine Church from 4th century AD. It is larger compared to its two popular neighbors, but it receives fewer visitors most of the time. The place is like a haven, blessed with picturesque beaches which are well above than those on Santorini.
Getting there: There are many daily flights from Athens, and each takes 40 minutes, the number of such flights are not as many as those to Mykonos or Santorini. Flight prices are a bit more expensive, in the region of $100 to $200.
Instead of flying directly to Paros, most people go to Mykonos or Santorini first and catch a ferry later. The ride takes two hours from Santorini, and a round trip costs $50 to $100. From Mykonos, the ferry takes 45 minutes with roundtrip costing less than $100. You can also catch a ferry from Athens to Paros.
What to Do: Paros, just like Mykonos, has a lively party scene. It is also a famous for windsurfing and kitesurfing spot. The top activity here is beach hopping although the historic Panayia Ekatondapiliani church is also well worth a stop.
If you are looking for the perfect gateway in Europe, you will realize that not many places can be as lively as these Greek Islands. From stunning beaches to rugged islands and delicious Greek culinary, these islands provide a home away from home. We’ve sampled the very top Greek Islands for you, and all you need to do is to pick your most favorite and experience the haven in no time.