Greek Islands: The Ultimate Travel Guide

Melina Thalassinou
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Key Takeaways

  • Greek islands offer diverse experiences: There are various types of Greek islands to choose from, catering to different preferences and vacation styles.
  • Popular islands have convenient accessibility: Islands like Santorini and Mykonos have their own international airports, making travel more convenient for visitors.
  • Booking in advance is important: Due to high demand, it's recommended to book flights and Greek ferry tickets early, especially during the high-season months.
  • Each island has unique attractions: From historical sites to vibrant nightlife and tranquil beaches, each Greek island offers its own distinct charm and experiences.

Long, golden, sandy coasts. Endless, deep blue water. Bright sunlight. Seaside taverns that serve delicious Greek cuisine. Steep cliff offering magical views. Traditional villages. Old-time charm. Freedom. In three words: the Greek islands! Here is all the free information you will ever need!

The wildly beautiful and wonderfully diverse Greek islands are the dream holiday destination for the vast majority of people around the world –those who have good taste, at least!

However, despite being exceptionally widespread, very few people know much about the Greek islands outside the cosmopolitan destinations of Mykonos or Santorini, a problem we’re about to solve!  

Here, you’ll find a comprehensive guide to Greek island vacations that will provide you with everything you need to know about the pride and joy of our country!

About the Greek islands

 boats in heraklion pamuk shutterstockHeraklion, Crete - credits: pamuk/Shutterstock.com

Everyone who has visited one of the many gorgeous Greek islands can admit that their extraordinary natural beauty is nothing as they’ve ever seen anywhere else in the world. Although all the Greek islands share a remarkable charm and splendor that makes them so sought after by travelers worldwide, each island is unique and different from one another.

Despite its small size as a country, Greece has one of the largest coastlines in the world, thanks to its many islands and subsequently a great number of ferry tickets varying in price. Its coastline exceeds 15,000 kilometers and ranks 9th in the world rankings of the countries with the longest coastlines. As a result, this makes Greece the perfect destination for an island-hopping itinerary.

In total, in Greece, there are about 6,000 islands and islets scattered across the Aegean and Ionian seas, of which only 227 are inhabited; a unique phenomenon on the European continent. Furthermore, only 53 of the islands have a population of more than 1,000 permanent residents, with the total population living on the islands being 1,754,325.

The islands of the Aegean Sea are divided into seven main island groups. In fact, there are six main island groups plus Evia and Crete. The Greek main island groups are the North Aegean islands (Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Lemnos, Thassos, Ikaria, Samothrace, Fourni, Oinousses, etc.), the Sporades islands -with the most important of the Sporades islands being Skiathos, Skopelos, Skyros, and Alonissos-, the Saronic Gulf islands, - the most important of which are Salamis, Aegina, Poros, Spetses, Hydra, and Agistri-, the Cyclades islands -with the most important islands being Syros, Santorini, NaxosParos, Andros, Mykonos, Tinos, and Milos,- and the complex of the Dodecanese, -with the most important islands being Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Karpathos, Patmos, Symi, Astypalea, Kasso, and Nisyros.

balos lagoon crete Georgios Tsichlis shutterstockBalos Lagoon, Crete - credits: Georgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock.com

The Ionian islands are -as their name suggests- they are located in the Ionian Sea and are equally as beautiful. They consist of Corfu, Paxoi, Lefkada, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Kythira, which are all beautiful and popular destinations for your Greek trip.

While the islands of Meganisi, Ereikousa, Kalamos, Othonos, Mathraki, Kastos, Strofades, Antikythera, Antipaxos, Atoko, Arkoudi, Petalas, and Oxia also belong to the Ionian islands complex, despite enjoying little to no recognition. Regardless, the Ionian Islands have nothing to be jealous of the Cyclades islands except the hype that surrounds the latter.

There are still a number of islands that are not part of a complex and are located very close to the mainland of Greece, which boasts incredible sandy beaches. The most important of those is Elafonisos at the southeastern tip of the Peloponnese, Ammouliani in the bay of Mount Athos, Paleo Trikeri in Pagasitikos, and Trizonia Fokida in the Gulf of Corinth.

A special case of islands is those found on inland waters, such as natural or artificial lakes and rivers, with the most important being the Island of Ioannina on Lake Pamvotida and Agios Achilleiotis Lake Mikri Prespa and lagoons, with the most important being Tourlida in the Lagoon of Messolonghi.

The land on the Greek islands, and mainly on the Cyclades islands or the islands found in the Aegean Sea, is generally mountainous. Regardless, there are small plains, especially on the coast, while, as a rule, their shores are rich and complex in their morphology.  

Depending on how far from the mainland the island you want to visit, you can book cheap ferry tickets and more expensive ones. The prices of the ferry tickets also depend on when you book them, so please keep in mind that in order to book cheap ferry tickets, the earlier you get it over with, the better. 

How to Decide Which Islands to Visit

Chios pantoukios village Milan Gonda shutterstockPantoukios village, Chios - credits: Milan Gonda/Shutterstock.com

Deciding which island –or islands, because an island-hopping itinerary is never out of the question- you should visit when traveling to Greece is like picking a chocolate from a chocolate assortment box: you’re going to love whatever you choose, but the task of choosing alone from so many excellent options makes you nervous.

To increase your chances of choosing the right island for you, you need to take into consideration a number of factors, such as the style and type of vacation you’re after, your traveling partner or partners, the number of days you’re willing to spend in Greece, your age group, your interests, and your budget.

You can’t expect to enjoy Mykonos during August with your kids on a budget of 20€ a day.

Bespoke Santorini: Private Customized Tour With Driver-Guide

If you’re visiting Greece in order to party all day and night and experience the famous Greek island nightlife to the fullest, then your predominant options and the best Greek islands for you vary between Zante, Rhodes, Paros, Mykonos, and maybe Santorini, which is a good mix of Ionian islands and Cyclades islands.

There, you can find everything you need to have a great time and dance yourself into the next morning, from jazz and blues bars to packed, loud clubs that play mainstream hits and attract crowds of all ages.

Especially in Mykonos, the beach bars and nightclubs are infamous for being full of party animals all through the night and until the first light of day, while it is the number one destination for gay Greece travel!

If you’re looking for the perfect family holiday that will offer you some much-needed relaxation and rest while your little ones are kept entertained on sandy beaches, then our top picks are Naxos and Corfu.

The calm nature, shallow waters, and sandy coasts of the islands are the perfect safe environment for your kids, while the abundance of things to do, see, and experience will keep you on your toes, preventing you from ever getting bored.

On the occasion that you’ve come to Greece as a retiree or just someone whose ultimate vacation goal is to spend their in peace and quiet, enjoying the relaxing setting and whimsical ambiance of most Greek islands, then your options are pretty much limitless, especially if you choose to travel during the offseason.

Our top picks include Ithaca, Koufonisia, and Amorgos, where you’ll have the opportunity to give yourself a break from reality, however, not only are there hundreds of offbeat islands that are perfect for you, but even the busiest of islands can offer tranquillity if you know where to search for it.

Additionally, on the alternative –and increasingly popular- the island of Ikaria, which belongs to the North Aegean islands, you can follow the incredibly slow pace of life of the locals, spend your whole day on the beach and then eat, drink, and dance at the traditional 'panigiria,' where you’ll experience the true Greek spirit away from the bars and the clubs, which is always a good idea!

greek circular dance NDT shutterstock copyTraditional Greek circular dance in a 'panigiri' in Ikaria - credits: NDT/Shutterstock.com

Of course, if you want your vacations to be ultra-alternative and unconventional, you’d like to be as far away from the large crowds as possible, the best places to visit would be Symi, Astypalaia, Kythnos, Anafi, and Donousa, which offer the ultimate haven from mass tourism and a private island feel most people would beg for.

There, along with wild beauty and seclusion, you’ll find incredibly low prices and a serenity that feeds the soul like no other place.

Taken for granted that under every rock you turn in Greece, chances are you’ll find thousands of years of history and culture, if you’re interested in history and archaeological sites, literally any region of Greece will do.

Nevertheless, the most impressive Greek island in regard to its heritage is without a doubt the island of Crete, which is full of important archaeological sites and museums, with Santorini, Paros, Rhodes, and the Ionian islands of Zakynthos, and Corfu following closely.

Apart from a museum exhibit and archaeological sites, on those islands, you can admire the trademark architecture of past times and civilizations, such as the impressive Venetian and Frankish castles that still stand tall on the islands of Zakynthos and Rhodes.

Don’t forget to explore the traditional old towns and the archaeological sites that host remnants that have survived thousands of years on the island alongside knowledgeable Greece travel guides. Even if history is not you’re thing, you can’t help but be fascinated by Greece’s past and archaeological sites even if you tried!

If the time you can spend enjoying the Greek islands is restricted, then the Saronic Gulf islands and their close proximity to the Greek capital are the perfect solutions to your problem!

Places in the Saronic Gulf islands like Aegina, Hydra, Spetses, Poros, and Kea offer all luxuries that any bigger island would, while at the same time, they are easy to access; you won’t be spending even a single minute of your precious free time traveling unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Last but not least, if you’re a lovebird in search of someplace to host your love, then, as expected, the island of Santorini is the ideal place to visit. Magical sunsets from steep cliffs, romantic restaurants, and cobbled streets full of whitewashed houses to walk hand-in-hand with your other half set the scene for the most magical getaway for couples in the world.

The vast size, amazing beauty, and versatility of Crete, also make it a very popular destination for couples or even honeymooners that love to include it as the background of their photos.

Of course, all of the above are general suggestions and free information that don’t necessarily cover all of your requirements. You can be a history buff and visit the Greek island of Mykonos. You can be a party animal and visit Amorgos.

You can party in the Sporades islands. You can even consider sailing across the Greek islands so you can visit more than one in just a short amount of time and let each destination cover a different need. 

Just remember that when it comes to Greek islands, the sky is the limit for ways to spend your time, so try not to restrict yourself to the hype and make educated decisions following your research.

Here is the best free information we can give you: the best way to enjoy the Greek islands is without stress and alongside a professional guide that will lead the way!

How to Get to the Greek Islands

corfu by night Markus Mainka shutterstockCorfu - credits: Markus Mainka/Shutterstock.com

In order to enjoy the Greek islands or even an island-hopping itinerary, you first need to get there. Considering that your flight to Greece will land you in Athens airport, the gorgeous capital city you should take a minute to explore, accessibility to the islands is easy as ABC; if you know a few things first, that is.

Mainland Greece, and the region of Attica in particular, has three main ports from where you can travel to every Greek island on the map, regardless of the island complex they belong to, namely Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrion.

There are other ports in Greece as well, but chances are, you’ll never have to reach those, as the three aforementioned cover a wide range of Greek islands most visitors want to travel to, and most ferry companies, including the popular Blue Star Ferries, limit their routes there.

The port of Piraeus

 Piraeus port Milan Gonda Shutterstock copyPiraeus port, where more ferry companies are based - credits: Milan Gonda/Shutterstock.com

The largest and most important port in Greece is the port of Piraeus, located about 10 km south of downtown Athens.

It is the port from where most ferry companies have their vessels depart, and it has been ranked as the third busiest port in the world, carrying a whopping 20 million passengers a year, with ferry tickets varying in price depending on the season of your travel.

As with every corner of Greece, the port of Piraeus has a long history and has been in use since antiquity.

Within the port of Piraeus, a free shuttle bus is provided to take travelers around to different gates. Consider it included in the price of the ferry tickets. With Gate E7 as its starting point, right across Piraeus Metro station, the bus connects Gate E7 with Gates E3, E2, and E1 roughly every 20 minutes.

From Piraeus, ferry companies travel to the most popular Greek islands, including the Saronic Gulf Islands, Ionian Islands, Cyclades islands, Dodecanese islands, Eastern Aegean islands, the North Aegean islands, and Crete.

Most of the Aegean islands are served by the popular Blue Star Ferries company, which owns some of the faster vessels you can enjoy. Of course, it is up to you to compare ferry companies and go for the one that fits you best!

How to get to the port of Piraeus from Athens’ city center

 Athens street overlookin hadrian arch Viacheslav Lopatin shutterstock copy copyAthens - credits: Viacheslav Lopatin/Shutterstock.com

Reaching Piraeus is relatively easy, and there is a number of ways to do so via both public and private transport. In order to reach Piraeus from the center of Athens

Using the subway, or the metro as locals call it, will take you to the port in the quickest and cheapest way. All you need to do is take the green metro line that starts from Kifissia, passes by Omonoia Square, and ends in front of the port.

If the green line doesn’t pass by your place of accommodation, don’t worry, it is connected to the other two metro lines in a couple of spots, so you can access it no matter where you’re based at.

The ride from central Omonoia takes around 25 minutes, but you need to keep in mind that the metro works from 05:30 am until midnight Sunday to Thursday, while on Fridays and Saturdays, it works till 2 am. There are trains to Piraeus from all metro stations every 10 min, while the regular ticket that lasts for 90 minutes is 1.40 €.

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If you’d rather take the bus, then you can hop on Bus 049 from Omonoia to Piraeus or Bus 040 from Syntagma to Piraeus and get off at Kotzia Square.

From there, it is a 10-minute walk to the port of Piraeus. However, you need to check beforehand the Gate from which you’re departing as the port of Piraeus is huge, and that 10-minute walk can turn into a 30-minute walk before you know it.

The buses to Piraeus pass every about 20’, and although normally buses work from 06:30 am until 22:00 pm, Bus 040 works 24/7 for the convenience of travelers. The regular ticket price is the same as for the metro at 1.40 €.

Of course, if you can afford it and you don’t want the hassle, you can always take a taxi. Because the district of Piraeus is located around 10 km from the city center, the ride will only last about half an hour and will set you back around 20 € in the daytime and 25€ after midnight and until the crack of dawn.

How to get to the port of Piraeus from Athens International Airport

airport Michail Makarov shutterstockAthens International Airport - credits: Michail Makarov/Shutterstock.com

If you’re eager to reach the Greek islands as soon as you step foot in Greece, then you’ll be glad to know that the connections between Athens airport and Piraeus port are designed to make your life as easy as possible.

Regardless of the fact that right outside the airport, you’ll find long queues of taxis waiting to take you to your desired destination, public transport can also take you to the port easily, safely, and cheaply!

A taxi ride from the airport to Piraeus port will normally take 40-60 minutes at most, depending on the traffic. However, the price to pay for convenience is pretty steep, as indicatively, it will cost you from 50€ during the day to 65€ between midnight and 5:00 am.

If you’d like to opt for a more affordable means of transportation in Greece, you can reach the port directly by train. The train station is incredibly easy to find as it is located just outside the airport and the ride will last about an hour and will cost you 10€. The trains run from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm every 9’, so you’ll have no problem whatsoever with your schedule.

On the same spot that lies the train station also lies the metro station, giving you the opportunity to take the fastest route to the port of Piraeus with little to no effort. Hop on the blue line and switch to the green line at Monastiraki; before you know it, you’ll find yourself right outside the port of Piraeus.

The metro runs daily from 06:30 to 11:30 pm every half an hour. From start to finish –including the change of lines- the ride will take you around 1 hour and 20 minutes and will set you back 10.00 €.

A cheaper way to reach your destination that is faster –depending on the traffic, of course- but just as convenient is the bus. Bus X96 runs on a 24-hour basis and covers directly the route from Athens airport to Piraeus port.

The ride takes about 90 minutes, and the buses leave every 20’ during the day and every 40’at nights. Apart from being one of the easiest ways to reach the port, Bus X96 is also exceptionally cheap at 6.00 € for your ticket, which makes the ride that much sweeter.

The port of Rafina

rafina port greekaRafina port - credits: greeka.com

Following the humongous port of Piraeus, the second busiest port in the wider region of Attica is the port of Rafina. Rafina is in fact a little seaside town north of Athens 30km from the city center.

From the port of Rafina, you can travel to the islands of Tinos, Mykonos, Ios, Naxos, and Santorini, while it is the only port from which you can travel to the picturesque island of Andros. The port of Rafina usually allows passengers to book cheap ferry tickets, cheaper than Piraeus, mainly due to the fact that it is closer to the islands it serves.

How to go to Rafina from the center of Athens

Taking a taxi from the center of Athens to the port of Rafina is obviously the easiest, most comfortable, fastest, and definitely the most expensive way to reach your destination.

The ride is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes long and costs about 50€ in the daytime and 65€ at night. If that seems too expensive to you –because it is- then you can take the blue metro line to Nomismatokopio station, which is the station closest to Rafina, and then take a taxi from there.

Alternatively, you can reach Rafina by bus. The bus to Rafina leaves from Pedion Areos, in Athens center every hour and takes 70 minutes to reach its destination, always depending on traffic.

How to go to Rafina from Athens International Airport (El. Venizelos)

If you’re eager to reach Rafina straight from the airport, you can do so by taking a 20-minute taxi ride to your desired port by paying 35 €. During the day and 50€ at night.

However, in about the same amount of time, you can reach the port of Rafina by taking the bus that you’ll find right outside the airport and will take you there at a price of just 3 €; talk about a money-saver!

The port of Lavrion

lavrio port my seaThe port of Lavrio - credits: my-sea.com

Lavrio is the third-largest port in Athens and serves a large number of passengers all year round. The port of Lavrio is the main passage for Kea –or Tzia- and Kythnos, however, due to its location on the southeast coast of Attica, it is a good choice for traveling to islands in the Cyclades and the Northern Aegean Islands.

Especially in the summer months, there are several routes to many Aegean ports, but also a route that connects Lavrio with the port of Kavala in northern Greece. Indicatively, some of the islands you can reach via Lavrio are Syros, Paros, Naxos, Milos, Kimolos, Folegandros, Sikinos, Ios, Chios, Agios Efstratios, and Lemnos.

How to get to the port of Lavrion from the center of Athens

You can reach the port of Lavrion either by bus or by taxi. The taxi will take around 1 hour and 15 minutes from central Athens’sport, such as Syntagma Square, where all Athens private walking tours start, and will cost 65€ in the daytime and 80€ at night.

If you don’t want to pay so much money, you can choose to reach the region of Voula by public transport, and then take a taxi from there that will cut down the time you’ll spend in the taxi to about half.  

Of course, as always the most affordable option is the bus, which, however, takes about 2 hours to reach the port of Lavrion. The bus leaves, from Pedion Areos, just like the bus to Rafina!

How to get to the port of Lavrion from Athens International Airport

To reach the port of Lavrion straight from Athens airport, you can take the bus that leaves Athens airport usually every hour and reaches Markopoulo, a town in the midway from the airport to Lavrion. From Markopoulo, you can then take the bus to Lavrion, which follows a very frequent schedule and costs only 4€.

Alternatively, you can take a 30-minute taxi ride to Lavrion for a price of 50€ during the day and 70€ at night; it all depends on your budget and your mood!

That being said we highly suggest you also spend time in Greece's capital city. An Athens private walking tour can get you around the best of what this urban paradise has to offer with no hassle, so don't be quick to exclude it from your itinerary!

What's more, if you decide to include the Greek capital in your itinerary, you can always choose to splurge on an Athens transfers roundtrip, which will help you get to anywhere you need to be without having to move a muscle.

Specifically, an Athens transfers roundtrip will take you from your destination to whatever you want and then return you safely and comfortably. If you want to take our advice on something, let it be this: an Athens transfers roundtrip is the way to go!

There are some islands that are served by none of the ports above, such as the Sporades islands. The main ports to the Sporades islands are the ports of Volos and Agios Constantinos, in central Greece. Ferries from these two ports go, in addition to the Sporades islands, to the smaller islands of Skiathos, Skopelos, and Alonissos.

Greek Islands You Can Fly Directly

little venice mykonos Pawel Kazmierczak shutterstock copy copy copy copyMykonos - credits: Pawel Kazmierczak/Shutterstock.com 

Convenience is everything when it comes to vacations. That’s why there is a big number of Greek islands that can be accessed directly from abroad without making a stop in Athens; see, airlines have finally taken the hint, and now offer

Of course, the list of islands you can get to from abroad includes the obvious choices of the Cyclades islands of Santorini, Mykonos, the Ionian islands of Corfu, and Zakynthos –or Zante- and Crete, the most popular destination for your Greek island holidays.

Apart from these extremely popular and cosmopolitan islands, there are direct flights to islands that are off-the-beaten-path and somehow remain shielded against mass tourism, such as Kefalonia, Lefkada, Kos, Karpathos, Lesvos, Lemnos, and Samos!

As expected, the smaller islands of Greece don't have the capacity for an airport, and therefore, in order to reach them, you will need to get into the trouble of booking a ferry ticket. In some cases, you may even need to take indirect ferry routes.

 Therefore, you can opt for the ease of not having to deal with the hassle of connecting flights and travel straight to the Greek island of your choice no matter what type of vacation you want to experience; whether you want to go to party mayhem or a tranquil paradise, you can, cause Greece has it all!

How to Get Around

naxos island panoramic saiko3p shutterstock copyNaxos, Greece travel - credits: saiko3p/Shutterstock.com

The Greek islands are not like Athens, where unless you're on an Athens private walking tour, there is little to no chance to get around walking.

However, if the best Greek islands for you are big and require a means of transportation other than your two feet, then the only options you’ve got are either renting a vehicle, relying on public transportation, or taking a taxi every time you want to go somewhere.

As expected, the latter choice is not the one your wallet is going to be happy about. Regardless, taxis have their pros: you don’t need to know the way to your destination, avoiding hours of getting lost in the intricate streets of the Greek islands, while you can drink as much as you want without being worried about the consequences –all within reason, that is, please don’t try to give yourself alcohol-poisoning.

On the flip side, taxis on the Greek islands cost a ridiculous amount of money for even the quickest of rides, so keep in mind that the cost of your transportation may match the cost of your accommodation if you plan on moving around a whole lot.

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If you don’t have the fortune to spend in taxis but would like the comfort and privacy of your own vehicle, rentals are the way to go. Thankfully, there are a plethora of rental companies across all Greek islands, so finding one won’t be difficult at all.

Regardless, if you’re visiting during the high-season months, you’d better book your rental ahead, as, during that time, rentals are in incredibly high demand.

Provided that you have the right driving license, you can rent whatever you like, from adventurous ATVs to comfortable cars and freeing motorcycles. ATVs, especially, are vehicles favored by many during summertime as they offer the carefree vibe of a motorcycle without needing a license for one. You can travel around every Greek island you want and admire Greek nature up close.

If you don’t know how to drive or are scared to do so in a foreign country, don’t worry! All Greek islands have buses that serve their visitors with frequent routes to each village or attraction. All you need to do is ask around, find the starting point of the bus that is the most useful for you, and check out its timetable; it’s easy, it’s cheap, and it is safe!

Of course, if you want to go all out and go around the islands in style and admire all important sites in comfort, you can always opt for a tour that includes transportation or even solely dedicated to showing you around the island,  such as our Mykonos Jeep Safari, which is in our opinion one of the best tours of the Greek islands and an original experience you don’t want to miss!

Last but not least, if you want to avoid transportation altogether, you can choose small islands like Spetses, which belongs to the Saronic Gulf islands, where you will have the opportunity to walk wherever you need to go.

Alternatively, you can look into one of our many Greek island vacation packages and solve all of your problems once and for all; It is a lot easier to explore Greece alongside its locals!

The Best Time to Visit the Greek Islands

mykonos beach Aerial motion shutterstock copyMykonos Beach, Greece travel - credits: Aerial motion/Shutterstock.com

Let’s be real; Greece is a good idea all year round. It is understandable, however, that you want to make sure that your precious vacations have the best chance they can to be perfect, so figuring out the best time to visit Greece, and the Greek islands, in particular, is very important.

Although there are a lot of reasons to visit Greece in winter when it comes to the Greek Islands, that’s not the case.

During the colder months or Christmas in Greece, the Greek islands get deserted, windy, and exceptionally cold –shock, horror, Greece is not sunny 365 days a year!

For those reasons, if you have put your mind to visiting the Greek islands, cross winter out of your list and go for the warmer months that will allow you to experience the island life at its full potential.

By warmer months, we don’t necessarily mean the middle of summer. Although the summer is when the Greek islands flourish, you must note that –just like you- the vast majority of Greece’s visitors choose the high-season months of July and August to visit, which results in the Greek islands flooding with tourists from around the world.

Now, depending on the type of person you are, that may not be a problem. If overcrowded beaches, swamped bars, and hustling and bustling alleyways don’t scare you, you have nothing to worry about.

However, if you’d like to experience Greece in an authentic way, relax, enjoy a leisurely walk without bumping shoulders with other people, and spend all your day on the beach without having to worry about finding a place to lie on, then visiting from late June to late August may not be the smartest idea.

 In our opinion, the best time to visit the Greek islands, especially if you're a first-time visitor, is either late spring or early autumn, as, during those times, you get the best of both worlds: incredible weather and lively neighborhoods without unbearable temperatures and larger groups of tourists.

From May to mid-June and early or mid-September to mid-October, the Greek islands are in full bloom both figuratively and literally, and you can put together the perfect vacation!

How Many Days to Spend on the Greek Islands

kastellorizo Foxys Forest Manufacture shutterstock 426227026 copyKastellorizo island, Greece travel - credits: Foxys Forest Manufacture/Shutterstock.com

If you’ve made it all the way to the Greek islands and want to visit, how many days to spend without cutting your holidays too short but also not overstaying your welcome? You need to take into consideration the number of islands you want to explore.

As you can imagine, much like with every other destination, when it comes to vacations, the more days, the merrier! However, because we understand that not everyone has an unlimited amount of days of annual leave to spend in our beautiful country, we won’t suggest spending all three months of summer on the Greek islands –although if you can, be our guest and so!

Practically, if you plan on visiting only one Greek island, we suggest you don’t stay any less than three days. You want to have time to explore the landscape, swim at the beaches, and learn about the culture of the island before you hop on the plane to go back home.

Following the same logic, we’d suggest that if you want to visit more than one Greek island, you should dedicate at least three days to each destination. Of course, this is an ideal situation for the perfect world we’re talking about. 

You can still make it work even if you stay for fewer days, and you can do so successfully by embarking on one of the many cruises in the Greek islands that are being offered;  we have the obligation of giving you the optimum solution to your problem, and this is exactly what we’ve done!

What to Pack for the Greek Islands 

paroikia streets Sven Hansche shutterstock copyParos, Greece travel - credits: Sven Hansche/Shutterstock.com

The age-old question: what to pack for your trip to Greece in general, and the Greek islands in particular? We’ve all made the mistake of packing a silly amount of clothes only to wear the same two outfits for the whole duration of our trip.

We’ve also all made the mistake of thinking that just because we’re going for the summer holidays, all we need to pack is paper-thin clothes and no long-sleeved anything; “Who’s gonna need a light jacket in the middle of August after all?” You. You’re going to need it.

In order to avoid common mistakes you’ll bang your head against the wall for later, here is our top advice regarding packing for the Greek islands:

First and foremost, don’t forget to bring your bathing suit, or your whole collection of bathing suits, even. It is the garment you’ll be wearing the most! Some days your swimming suit may be the only garment you’ll wear through the day, so make sure to pack at least two so you can change out of your wet and into your dry one.

Along with your swimsuit goes your sunscreen. The bright Greek sunlight is harsh even on the Greeks’ already tanned skin, so it will be a matter of seconds before you turn lobster red if you forget to slather on some high SPF like your life depends on it –after all, it literally does.

Cover every square inch of your body with a thick coating of sunscreen, and your body will thank you for it!

Soon you’ll see that SPF doesn’t that you won’t get the golden hue you desperately want; on the contrary, it will give you the perfect tan without all the redness, the patchiness, and the peeling of a sunburn.

When it comes to clothing, go for the thinnest and most breathable material you can find. The Greek islands may not be as hot as the mainland; they do, however, reach insane temperatures in the dead of summer, sometimes climbing all the way up to 40 Celsius.

Especially if you live in a colder country, the heat is something you should take into account when packing your bags.

greek suitcases MarinaD 37 shutterstock copy copySuitcases on a Greek island, Greece travel - credits: MarinaD_37/Shutterstock.com

Choose comfort over everything. Leave fashion on the side for a minute and choose comfort. Please, we beg you. All you need to think about is if the clothes and shoes you have are weather-appropriate and comfortable enough to wear and walk in all day long.

If the answer is “no, but they look cute,” then leave them out of your suitcase. And for god’s sake, please don’t even think about bringing heels with you on the Greek islands. The combination of high heels and cobbled alleys is a sprained ankle waiting to happen!

Similar to your clothes, your makeup needs to be as minimal as possible. Bid your full beat goodbye or watch it melt under the sizzling sun, leaving disaster in its wake.

Opt for a tinted moisturizer, or even better, a tinted sunscreen and waterproof cosmetics, and try putting on as little as possible as you want your skin to breathe. Think of it as the perfect opportunity to show off that golden tan you worked so hard for!

Last but as further as least possible, you need to keep in mind that summer in Greece will leave a mark on you. Nope, I’m not talking about the emotional mark, but the mosquito bites are bound to decorate every inch of your exposed body unless you protect yourself against their attack.

Whether it is spraying yourself with bug spray, buying mosquito plugins, or even a mosquito repellent bracelet, you need to make sure you keep those annoying creatures away!

And since we’re on the topic of ‘things you find in the pharmacy, it’s always a good idea to pack some essential drugs, such as paracetamol, ointment, and cortisone cream, just to be on the safe side; no one ever got hurt from being too prepared.

Please also keep in mind that the Saronic Gulf islands, due to their proximity to the Greek capital, are hotter than the rest of the Greek islands, so make sure to pack your bags accordingly and put together outfits that are appropriate for extreme heat.

By all means, if you forget something from the above, it’s not the end of the world. You can find whatever you need or want in Greece without having to move a muscle. Therefore, don’t get too caught up in your packing anxiety. Chances are, you’ll be having such a great time, you won’t notice even if you’re missing something!

The Best Greek Islands to Visit Based on Your Travel Persona

happy woman in santorini Photocreo depositphotosHappy woman in Santorini, Greece travel - credits: Photocreo/Depositphotos.com

I don’t know many things in life, but what I do know is that no matter who you are and what your dream holidays consist of, you’ll find a Greek island that checks every box on your list.

Naturally, the destination you’ll choose to visit will be based on your travel persona; not every Greek island is suitable for every person. As mentioned above, there are Greek islands that are famous for catering to a specific type of travel persona, and here we’ll make it even easier for you to grasp by being quick, efficient, and to the point.

If you’re visiting Greece as a family, we suggest the islands of Crete, Corfu, Rhodes, Naxos, and Santorini. If you’re visiting Greece as a couple, we suggest the islands of Santorini, Mykonos, Kythira, and Astypalea. Not least of all, if you’re visiting Greece as a single individual, we suggest the islands of Mykonos, Paros, Ios, and Ikaria!

Although those lists of Greek islands that better fit you depending on your travel persona are indicative, they’re also full-proof and will have you thanking us not long after you’ve reached one of their ports!

Final Thoughts

Greek island holidays are an absolute fantasy. By choosing the Ionian Islands, you will feel the strong Venetian influence, while if you visit the Cyclades islands, you will be overwhelmed by the classic traditional style that prevails everywhere in the atmosphere.

If you really want to spend your holidays in the Greek islands and put together an unforgettable itinerary, you have many options. And if you're still indecisive regarding where to go, you can indulge in an island-hopping itinerary that will take you around the best destinations!

If Athens is not all you want to see during your vacation in Greece and an Athens private walking tour will not suffice, we've got you covered. Wherever you go, you will find what you are looking for because all the islands offer something for everyone, even the most demanding visitors.

Rest assured that these holidays will be unforgettable. No matter what the question is, the answer is always the Greek islands, and the number of ferry tickets issued every year testify to that!

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