Did you know that there are over 6000 Greek islands and islets located in the Aegean and Ionian sea? This figure is rather daunting when trying to narrow down which Grecian islands to visit. So below is a top 10 list including the more well-known islands such as Mykonos and Santorini or which ones the Greeks prefer for the weekend getaway!
1. Zakynthos: One of the most stunning beaches can be found on Zakynthos in an area only accessible by boat. Shipwreck Bay is popular with the Greeks due to the gorgeous emerald blue water surrounded by mountainous cliffs.
2. Delos: If you would like a dose of ancient culture on your island hopping trip, then add Delos to your list. This island, located near Mykonos, is a UNESCO World Heritage site as it offers the most comprehensive ruins from the Hellenistic period of Greece. On your tour, you’ll be able to explore an ancient theater, temples, statues and beautiful mosaics.
3. Mykonos: One of the most popular islands is Mykonos due its active night life, extensive shopping and the distinctive white windmills that dot the island. Best part of Mykonos is getting lost through the winding, narrow streets and having a bite next to the sea in an outdoor café.
4. Crete: One of the largest islands in Greece is Crete giving you the opportunity to enjoy island with a variety of things to do. Popular attractions including sunbathing in one of the many pristine beaches and sampling the island’s plethora of homegrown staples such as avocados, olives and Greek wine.
5. Hydra: This picturesque island is located near Athens, a perfect day trip for those who don’t have too much time with their travel plans. After taking a hydrofoil to the island, you’ll discover that this island is “auto-free” with three modes of transportation – foot traffic, bicycles and the ubiquitous donkey.
6. Santorini: This iconic island, with its white painted structures and blue-capped dome churches, is one of the most visited islands in Greece. The island is actually a volcano that collapsed into the sea with rocky cliffs forming the majority of the island. Once you’ve made your way to the top of the island, enjoy the panoramic views of turquoise blue waters below amidst the rock walls.
7. Naxos: This island is one of the largest in the Cyclades chain and offers a number of attractions including gorgeous beaches, ancient ruins and a Venetian castle.
8. Kos: Another island boasting mile long, white sandy beaches to enjoy a stress-free vacation. You can also have a dose of culture by visiting numerous ruins such as an ancient marketplace or a 14th century fortress built by The Knights of Saint John of Rhodes.
9. Paros: Quaint villages, cobblestone streets, white painted structures and stunning beaches are hallmarks of this wonderful Greek island in the Cyclades. In addition, you’ll find an active night life with numerous bars, clubs and restaurants to keep the party going into the wee hours of the morning.
10. Samos: Boasting year-round sunshine, the island of Samos offers warm and inviting pebble beaches and clear, turquoise water for a leisurely swim, snorkeling or scuba diving. Other attractions include the ruins of the Temple of Hera and what’s noted as an ancient engineering feat, the Eupalinian aqueduct.