Exploring the Greek Islands: A Journey Through History, Culture, and Beauty

Last updated April 16, 2024

Although Santorini and Mykonos typically steal the spotlight, Greece’s archipelago plays host to a spectacular mosaic of over 6,000 islands and islets, of which only 227 are inhabited. Below, our curated selection of the best Greek islands to visit!

Located in the azure waters of the Aegean and Ionian Seas, each and every island possesses its own distinct character, history, and charm — making it a microcosm of Greek culture and natural beauty.

Best known for their crystal-clear waters, golden sandy beaches, rugged mountains, and verdant valleys. the islands also boast ancient ruins, medieval castles, and Byzantine monasteries dotting the landscape. The local cuisine, a blend of Mediterranean flavors, fresh seafood, and traditional Greek dishes, adds to the islands’ flavor.

With a myriad of islands to choose from, the excitement of choosing where to stay often rivals the adventure itself. So, whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a solo retreat, these eight Greek islands are sure to weave their spell over you.

Eight Postcard-Worthy Greek Islands to Visit

From the iconic whitewashed buildings of Santorini to the cultural diversity of Corfu, the buzzy nightlife of Mykonos to the tranquil beaches of Naxos, the Greek islands offer a diverse range of experiences. Here is our curated pick of the eight best Greek islands to visit.

1. Corfu

Praised for its stunning Venetian architecture, Corfu’s old town is a UNESCO World Heritage site, showcasing a fascinating mix of historical influences. The island’s beaches range from serene, hidden coves to lively, sandy stretches, offering a variety of experiences for beach lovers. Corfu’s interior is a tapestry of olive groves and cypress trees, leading to quaint villages and panoramic views.

How to Get There: Corfu International Airport welcomes flights from Europe; ferries connect the island with Italy and mainland Greece.

Where to Stay: Luxurious resorts like Angsana Corfu Resort & Spa or traditional villas in the countryside.


Venetian Architecture: Explore the old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site with unique Venetian flair.

Achilleion Palace: The neoclassical palace offers insights into European history and stunning gardens.

Paleokastritsa Monastery: Overlooking Agios Spiridon Bay, the monastery is a place of serenity and beauty.

2. Crete

Crete, the largest among the Greek islands, is home to the majestic Palace of Knossos and the imposing White Mountains. Delve into the remnants of ancient civilizations, wander along sandy beaches, traverse steep gorges, and immerse yourself in the island’s dynamic culinary scene.

Cities like Heraklion, Chania, and Rethymno blend historical appeal with modern vitality, while the coastline offers secret coves and wild swimming spots acclaimed for their pristine waters.

How to Get There: Crete has two main airports, Heraklion and Chania, and is accessible by ferries from Athens.

Where to Stay: Luxury resorts like Domes Aulus Elounda or the boutique NEMA Design Hotel & Spa.


Palace of Knossos: Visit the ancient Minoan palace, a centerpiece of Greek mythology.

Samaria Gorge: A must-visit for hikers, offering spectacular natural scenery.

Cretan Cuisine: Explore local tavernas for authentic Greek food, especially in rural villages.

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