Unique beaches with crystal clear water and white sand. Greece should appear in the dictionary as a definition of ‘summer’. As you probably already know the most famous and tourist Greek islands, we share with you our favourite islands and recommendations that only the locals know.
The islands we are going to introduce you to will surprise you with their wild nature, their deserted beaches and their impressive landscapes. To reach them you must travel by plane or by ferry (part of the summer adventure).
Discover the treasures that await you in Greece …
Naxos: once is not enough
No matter how long you stay in Naxos, it won’t be enough. On the greenest island in the Cyclades you can achieve a perfect balance between adventure and relaxation. The capital of the island, Chora, is a small coastal town with a vibrant atmosphere and interesting places to visit, including ruins.
Naxos is known in Greece for its cheeses, potatoes (yes, they are incredible) and the Kitron, a local lemon liqueur perfect to finish a good banquet.
This island is bigger than many of the others and is lucky enough to have some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece; the best thing to do is to rent a car and drive around the coast of the island in search of the most beautiful and secluded golden sand beaches in Greece. Naxos is also a perfect place for water sports lovers like kitesurfing, windsurfing or even horse riding.
Enjoy the sunset from the Princess of Naxos hotel from only 55 euros per night.
But, if you are one of those who wants to enjoy the sea from the interior, then book a diving expedition and see the planes that were submerged in the sea during the Second World War.
Kythira: home of the goddess of love
Kythira is one of the most isolated islands in Greece where the tourism industry is still developing; which means that it is the ideal place if you are looking for peace and quiet. Situated between the Mediterranean Sea and the Ionian Sea, Kythira is characterized by an idyllic landscape of wild nature and natural waterfalls.
A morning dip in the cold, crystal-clear waters of the Fonissas waterfall in Mulopotamos will leave you refreshed and energized to explore this island (or to do nothing, mind you). If cold water isn’t your thing, on the other side of the island you can find dreamy beaches where you can relax and get rid of stress.
The most famous are Lagkadia (awarded the blue flag for its waters), Kalami and Palaiopi where, according to mythology, Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, was born.
A summer in Greece is not complete without local cuisine. You can visit some of the many taverns on the island or buy fresh fish from local fishermen and cook it at home. Don’t forget to try the Fatourada, a cinnamon liqueur typical of the island. Before you go, make sure you have tried ladopaksimadia, a kind of toast, and buy “siempreviva” seeds, a yellow flower that only grows on the island and stays fresh for a long time after being cut.
Ithaca: adventures in the land of Ulysses
Visit the island where Ulysses wandered for almost 20 years until he finally found his way back home… When you see the emerald color of the water and the beautiful beaches that look like a lie, you will understand perfectly why Homer decided to turn Ithaca into a mythical and symbolic place.
Its charming capital, Vathi, is full of little shops and restaurants of the best quality. If you feel like something more modern, visit the Schinos beach. Here you will find the famous Villa Schinos, which has hosted celebrities such as Madonna, The Beach Boys and the Mamma Mia casting.
Ithaca, also known as “Poseidon’s meadow”, is a paradise for diving lovers. If you are lucky you may find Mediterranean monk seals resting on the rocks.
How to get there:
Book a flight to Cephalonia (Argostoli).
Rent a car from 30 euros a day.
Drive to Port Sami and take the ferry to the port of Pisaetos (Ithaca). The trip takes about 30 minutes.
Ikaria: stop time and discover the meaning of life
Ikaria or “Nikaria”, as the locals call it, is an island that fascinates both foreigners and Greeks themselves. Perhaps this is due to the lifestyle of its inhabitants, who refuse to incorporate the word “stress” into their vocabulary, or to the fact that life here is based on enjoying the little things.
Some even say that by following this lifestyle you can find the true meaning to it. No wonder Ikaria is one of the five blue zones of the world; the places where people live the longest. Whatever the reason, Ikaria represents a unique adventure that is sure to change the way you look at life.
Where to go:
The whole island is a succession of breathtaking landscapes, but here it’s the beaches that are beyond reality. The best beaches to visit are Seychelles, Nas and Agios Georgios.
On the coast of the northern part of the island you can find white sand beaches and waves perfect for surfing. The most famous beach in this area is Mesakti, near the town of Evdilos.
There are many accommodation options to choose from in the island’s two largest towns; Agios Kirykos (the capital) and Evdilos.
Karpathos: wild beauty and Greek antiquity
With centuries of history behind it, Karpathos stands between the islands of Crete and Rhodes. Karpathos is an island of robust beauty, characterized by exotic beaches (mostly empty) and picturesque villages. The south of the island is slowly starting to attract the interest of tourists, but the rest of the island remains untouched and authentic, away from the masses.
In the medieval village of Olympos, built around the 9th century, traditions are still very much alive and it is not surprising to find women dressed in traditional costumes and baking bread in the open air ovens. Who can resist?
Karpathos is full of caves and diving spots. Dive into the crystal clear waters and discover the diversity of the local fauna and flora. An unforgettable experience.
Enjoy a stay at the Arhontiko Hotel from 48 euros per night or, if you want to give yourself a treat, book at the Alimounda Mare from 178 euros per night. A 5 star establishment, very luxurious and valued as “excellent” by other travellers.
Samothraki has only two options: either you fall in love with the island or you hate it. It is an island that will awaken your most intense feelings and that you will have to accept if you want to discover it in a proper way.
If it’s partying and beach parties you’re after, then change your destination. Samothraki is a place for trekking lovers, explorers and those who want to get away from the typical and tourist islands of the Aegean.
One of the distinctive features of Samothraki is the natural pools that form their waterfalls in the gaps between the rocks. These small lakes are pools of crystalline water.
If you dare to swim in these cold and refreshing waters, then visit the most famous pools: Gria Vathra and Fonia. Of course, we also have recommendations of beaches for those who are more saltwater: Paxia Ammos, Kipos and Valtos.
How to get there:
The only way to reach this island is by ferry. My advice:
Book a flight to Alexandroupoli
Then rent a car from 16 euros a day. You can also take a taxi from the airport to the port and rent the car directly in Samothrace for the same price.
Take the ferry from Alexandroupoli to Samothraki.
Chora: a traditional village that stands on Mount Fengari at 300 meters above sea level. Take a walk along its picturesque roads to travel back in time or have a coffee in the main square with extraordinary views of the Aegean Sea.
Sanctuary of the Great Gods: one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Greece. The ruins were excavated in 1863 by the French and it was here that one of the most famous pieces of the Louvre, the Victory of Samothrace, was found.
Lichadonisia: the Bahamas of Greece
Only 218 km from Athens you can find an exotic paradise known almost exclusively by the locals. Lichadonisia is located next to Evia, the second largest Greek island, only three and a half hours drive from Athens.
Lichadonisia is composed of a group of islands of volcanic origin. The islands are not inhabited, making them an even more exotic and exclusive destination. To get there you must take a boat in the port of Kammena Vourla that will take you to the beaches full of hammocks and parasols.
Some call them the “Maldives, Seychelles, Bahamas, etc. of Greece” and although it is not so easy to get here, it is worth the effort.