The correct answer to the question of how many greek islands are there depends on what each of us understands by the word “island”.
A certain fact about how many islands are in Greece is that there are more than 6.000 islands and islets spread in the Aegean and the Ionian Sea.
The total number of the inhabited island is just 227 inhabited islands out of the total number of 6.000.
The vast part of the Greek territory is occupied by the sea ( about two-thirds of it) and Greece is the country with the largest coastline from the whole of Europe.
And when I say that, I take into consideration not just the mainland coastline but also the isles.
In total, Greece has more than 15.500 kilometres of beautiful coastline, the largest from the Mediterranean countries and the 11th coastline in the world.
No wonder why Greece has so many beautiful beaches with pebble and sand, stretching over many miles and also a large number of bays and coves, some amazing coastal caves with steep rocks and dark sand typical for volcanic soil.
Not all the isles and islets from Greece are inhabited; part of them being used by shepherds, fish farmers, hunters and fishermen.
From all the Greek islands only 53 have more than 1.000 residents and 95 of them have less than 100.
Nowhere on a map can you find all the Greek islands because most of them are very small; only the nautical map has all the isles and islets marked on their exact position.
Another interesting thing about the sandy beaches from these isles is that many of them been awarded the blue flag, the highest distinction for beaches given under the Blue Flags of Europe Program.
This award confirms that the beach is the best not just for swimming but also for water sports.
From the most popular water sports practised on these strips of land I would mention scuba diving, windsurfing, snorkelling, water skiing and others.
Although spread all over the Ionian and the Aegean Sea, the isles played a very important role along with history.
Some of the oldest European civilisations were born on these isles like Cycladic and Minoan civilizations so all these places stand out with their ancient ruins, archaeological sites and a very rich architectural heritage.
Not to mention the local traditions and culture shaped over the centuries and influenced by all the people who lived there.
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The large diversity of the landscape, the high number of beautiful beaches, the small distances between ports and coasts have made Greece one of the most popular destinations from entire Europe.
Some of the islands, especially the larger ones have their own airport with direct connections from Athens and direct charter flights from European cities during the peak season.
The domestic flights from Athens to most of the islands last somewhere between 50 minutes to 1 hour.
There are also regular flights from Thessaloniki, an important Greece town located on the northern part of the mainland.
Most of the islands are linked with Athens, the Greece capital by ferry and the journey might last up to 13 or 14 hours from mainland to destination.
There are a few islands located on the northern part of the Aegean and the Ionian Sea which have direct ferries from other mainland cities like Thessaloniki, Alexandroupoli or Igoumenitsa.
Now that you know how many islands are in Greece let’s discover together how they are divided and grouped.
The Ionian Sea
There is only one group of isles in the Ionian Sea which form the so-called Eptanissa or the Seven Ionian islands and which consists of Zakynthos, Corfu, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Lefkada, Paxi and Kythira.
Other smaller islands from the Ionian Sea are: Antipaxi, Kalamos, Mathraki, Othoni, Strofades, Ereikoussa, Kastos, Meganiss and Skorpios.
The Aegean Sea
Here, on the Aegean Sea there are seven groups of islands as follows:
- The Northeastern Aegean islands which consist of Agios Efstratios, Ikaria, Thasos, Lesbos, Inouses, Limnos, Samos, Chios, Psara and Samothrace
- the Sporades: Skyros, Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos
- Evia which comprises also the isles of Skiros
- Saronic islands made up from Angistri, Aegina, Poros, Salamina, Methana, Spetses and Hydra
- the Cyclades islands which contains a group of 56 isles out of which the most important are: Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Serifos, Sikinos, Sifnos, Syros, Tinos, Folegandros. This group also contains the Minor Cyclades which comprise Donousa, Irakleia, Koufonisia and Schinousa.
- The Dodecanese islands comprising Astypalaia, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kasos, Kastellorizo, Kos, Lipsi, Leros, Nisyros, Patmos, Rhodes, Symi, Tilos, Chalki.
- Crete which is the largest Greek island split into 4 prefectures: Chania, Rethymno, Heraklion and Lasithi.
Now you know how many Greek islands are there and how they are grouped into the seas around Greece mainland.
Beside these ones, there are 3 isles that are not part of any group and they are stand-alone islands, and here I am talking about:
- Gavros which is located south of Crete
- Elafonissos located in the Gulf of Laconia
- Trizonis from the Gulf of Corinth.
Conclusion how many islands are in Greece
So, don’t forget that the answer to the question of how many islands are in total in Greece is 6.000 islands and islets spread all over the Ionian and the Aegean Sea.
All these isles are beautiful and unique and are among the best holiday destinations from Europe.
I strongly recommend you to visit them as they are very accessible by plane or ferry and there are many beautiful places to see on each of them.