Greece has more than 6.000 islands out of which 220 are inhabited so choosing the best Greek island to visit might be a tough decision.
It is not fair to name just one island as the best of all so that is why in this article I chose the best islands based on what you can do and see there.
Greek islands and culture inspired many movies like Mamma Mia! The Movie and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Zorba the Greek, High Season, For Your Eyes Only or Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.
As soon as you step in Greece you will quickly understand why this place inspired so many movies and song and I am sure you will fall in love with Greece from first sight.
My top with Best Greek islands to visit is:
- For honeymoon: Santorini
- For party and young people: Mykonos
- For couples and families: Paros
- For beaches: Naxos
- For history: Crete
- For culture and nature: Kefalonia
- For teens: Rhodes
- For an exotic vibe: Zakynthos
And now let me tell you a few words about each of them to see why I consider these islands to be the best of all.
The best Greek island to visit
Ranked as one of the most beautiful Greek islands to visit, Santorini is indeed a romantic island with breathtaking sceneries and interesting architecture.
If you have to choose just one Greek island to go, then Santorini should be your choice as it is really representative of the country.
It is also an island with many hot and sunny days, being the perfect destination in spring and autumn months when the prices are lower and tourists are fewer.
Avoid visiting Santorini during high season as the place is extremely crowded and the prices are incredibly high.
September is a great time to visit Santorini as most of the crowds have gone, the prices have dropped and you can enjoy quietly what this island has to offer.
Whitewashed houses with blue roofs give the romantic flavour of this island no wonder why many people rush to take photos of them.
If you are visiting this island for the first time, you need at least 3 or 4 days to explore the entire place and to enjoy the breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and the caldera.
The city of Oia is the main attraction of the island, a city considered by many experts as one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in Europe offering breathtaking sunsets over the nearby caldera.
The island has its own airport, so getting there by plane is quite easy.
There are direct flights from Athens and some European cities and during the summer season, there are charters from all over Europe.
Santorini has good ferry connections with the nearby islands, so if you plan an island hoping trip Santorini should be on top of your list.
Where to sleep
Offering breathtaking views of a volcanic caldera and the Aegean Sea, Vedema Resort Santorini is a fancy resort located just 6 kilometres away from the restaurants’ area of Fira and 10 kilometres from the Ancient Thera ruins.
Inspired by and built around the 400-year-old winery that dominates the heart of the property, the resort resembles a traditional fortified Greek village made up of 46 sophisticated villas and low-rise small handcrafted houses.
Definitely, it is one of the most romantic and chic accommodations from the area with great services and amazing facilities.
Party people from all over the world, this is the best Greek island to visit this summer as the island is famous for its vibrant nightlife and the huge number of bars and pubs.
Like most Greek islands, Mykonos has really great connections with Athens and other islands from the nearby area.
You can get to Mykonos by plane from Athens in about 30 minutes and during peak season, from May to September there are regular charters from many European cities.
There are also the ferries which connect the island with Athens and other Greek islands but this option is for those of you who have more time or who are interested in an island-hopping trip.
Mykonos town is the most popular destination from the island as most of the bars and clubs are located here.
But Mykonos is not just about parties till morning; it is also a very beautiful island with many wonderful beaches and amazing scenery.
One of the most iconic places from the island is the windmills lined up next to each other from Little Venice, right near Mykonos Town.
There are also the beaches spread all over the island with beach bars and clubs where you can have fun during the day.
The best way to explore the best greek island to visit for having fun is by car, and the renting prices are quite reasonable starting from 30 euros per day.
Get the best price for your car rental today
Where to sleep
Located in Platis Yialos, Trinity Mykonos welcome their guests with a private beach area and a seasonal outdoor swimming pool.
The resort is located within a few minutes walk from the famous beaches Scorpios, Branco, Nammos and Paradise and have clean and spacious rooms with premium toiletries and some of them have an outdoor jetted tub.
Some people like Paros because of its beautiful beaches and vibrant great facilities for tourists ( restaurants, shops, hotels and eve clubs).
I like to say about Paros that it is a mix of Naxos and Mykonos, meaning a mix of wonderful beaches and vibrant nightlife.
This is by far one of the best places to go if you are a couple or a family with kids as you will have many interesting activities and amazing places to visit.
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Paros is a small island in the Aegean Sea with beautiful traditional villages, amazing beaches and home to one of the oldest churches from Greece.
The month of September is a good time to explore the island as the weather is still sunny and warm, the tourists have gone and the prices are lower.
If you plan to explore the main attractions of the island you probably need at least 3 days in Paros.
Include on your list the beautiful port village of Naoussa with its amazing restaurants and shops, the traditional village of Lefkes and the amazing beaches from the island.
The best way to get to Paros is by ferry from Santorini, Naxos or Athens, with Santorini being the closest island.
Where to sleep
Overlooking Agia Irini Bay, the beautiful Archipelagos Resort Villas Paros is located just 6 kilometres away from Paros Archeological Museum and the beautiful Byzantine church complex Panagia Ekatontapiliani.
The rooms are overlooking the bay and have a fully equipped kitchenette and spa-style showers.
The best Greek island to visit for beaches is Naxos, a paradise island and the largest from the Cyclades Islands, an underrated Greek island which you definitely have to see.
With its high number of archaeological sites, the island is considered to be very rich in history and a hot spot for history fans.
The first thing you will see on this island is an unfinished temple dedicated to Apollo and known as Portara, a place which you definitely have to visit after you settle in.
The best way to explore the island is by scooter or quad bike and there are plenty of rental companies to choose from.
The main town of the island is Naxos Chora, an interesting mixture of Venetian and traditional Cycladic architecture.
Above the whitewashed houses from the town lays the beautiful Venetian castle, an architectural masterpiece which you definitely have to see.
As about the Naxos beaches, I can tell you one thing: the coastline of Naxos is fringed with small coves, creating an array of beautiful sandy beaches with turquoise waters.
Don’t leave the island without paying a visit to Agios Georgios beach, Mikri Vigla beach and Plaka beach.
Where to sleep
Antony Suites Naxos is our favourite place from this island because of its location, design and high-quality services.
The hotel is designed in traditional minimalistic Cycladic style but it also has all the modern facilities you might need for a perfect holiday.
The resort has a rooftop infinity pool where you can relax and admire the breathtaking landscape.
It is located just 30 metres from Agios Georgios and 500 metres from Naxos Chora, making it the perfect place to set your camp while in Naxos.
With its impressive ancient ruins, Crete is by far the best Greek island to visit if you are curious to find out more about the ancient times, not just looking to spend some time on the beach.
Crete is actually the largest Greek island and is located a few hours ferry ride from Santorini and has really great connections with Athens and the main European cities, especially during the summer season.
You will need more than a week to explore the island and visit the main attractions and beaches in the area.
From the colourful authentic roads of Rethymno to the deep blue waters of the Balos Lagoon, I’m sure Crete is not a complete stranger to those who have checked out Greek islands prior to.
Spend half of the day exploring Spinalonga, the Venetian citadel, wander via Chania with its colourful residences overlooking the seafront.
Take a day trip by boat to Chrissy island where waters are as blue as in the Caribbean, learn more about history at Knossos– Europe’s oldest city dating from the Bronze Age.
Or merely drive around the mountain winding roads and come by at neighbourhood tavernas where you’ll taste the genuine Cretan food.
No matter what you choose to do in Crete, hang around on the sandy coastlines, or explore this culture and history-rich island, you certainly will not be disappointed or burnt out.
Where to sleep
Blue Palace Crete is our top choice for Crete because of its wonderful location and incredible facilities and services.
The resort is located on top of a hill overlooking the sea right near Elounda town, the hotel welcomes their guests in beautiful bungalows, some of them having their private pool and a jacuzzi.
On-site there are 5 restaurants and 3 bars where tourists can taste the delicious traditional Greek food but also international cuisine.
This green island with its awesome beaches as well as crystal clear waters of greenish-blue colours will certainly take your breath away.
Kefalonia is a treasure in the Ionian Sea and it carries an abundant history in social tradition.
It’s the largest Ionian Island and the environment-friendly of its hills mix with the heaven of the water makes from it a great holiday destination.
Pine, cypress as well as olive trees cover Mt. Ainos’ height, while at its foot you’ll discover wineries where the popular Kefalonian Robola wine variety is produced.
If you are one of those who enjoy snorkelling or diving then the seabed around the island will absolutely please you.
If you are lucky enough you might even see the endangered Caretta caretta, a sea turtle that takes sanctuary right here, in addition to the monk seals.
Kefalonia’s culinary custom, history, typical villages, vibrant nightlife as well as immaculate beaches will certainly make you fall in love with the island.
Spend at least a day at Myrtos Beach, the most famous beach from the island to perfect your tan and relax.
Where to sleep
Surrounded by lush greenery, F Zeen Kefalonia resort is a 3-minute walk from Lourdas Beach, 4 km from Mount Ainos and 14 km from Kefalonia Airport.
Chic rooms with terraces or balconies offer free Wi-Fi, flat-screens, minifridges, safes and en suite wet rooms, plus tea and coffee making facilities.
Most of the rooms have sea views while some upgraded rooms add plunge pools, or outdoor showers and whirlpool tubs.
Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese islands, is the perfect holiday destination for families with kids and teenagers by offering a huge variety of activities to entertain the whole family.
Among the most important activities, I would name the Faliraki water park, the karting piste, riding schools and a large number of sandy beaches with shallow waters.
Rhodes is also famous for its ancient ruins and for its important role played along with the history.
I am sure that everybody heard about the Colossus of Rhodes, considered one of the Ancient World Wander, or about the imposing temples built to venerate gods from ancient times.
You can dedicate a few days to discovering and understanding better the Greek mythology and the ancient world exploring the ruins spread all over the island.
And for the rest of your holiday, you can plan a few days on the beach, as there are plenty to choose from and a few days to explore the island.
I will leave here the most interesting places to explore while on Rhodes:
- the Butterflies Valley, a charming valley 27 kilometres from Rhodes Town which is full of butterflies in the months of July and August
- Seven Springs, a true oasis where you can escape from the hot summer sun
- Marin Aquarium offers the visitors the chance to have a close-up view of the marine life of the Eastern Mediterranean
Where to sleep
Princess Andriana Resort Spa Rhodos is our choice for families with kids who travel to this magnificent island.
The resort is located 150 m from Kiotari Beach and it offers all-include facilities, such as 4 restaurants, 5 bars, a spa centre and a fitness room.
Each elegantly decorated room at Princess Andriana is equipped with air conditioning, a satellite LCD TV, mini-bar (refilled 3 times a week) and safety deposit box. Some units enjoy views over the Aegean Sea or come with shared or private pools.
8. Zakynthos or Zante
Home to the famous Navagio Beach or Shipwreck beach and glorified by many travel guides, Zakynthos or Zante island is one of the most popular attractions among tourists.
Amazing landscapes, exotic beaches and sugar-fine sand with turquoise waters and crazy nightlife are the things which attract tourists on this island.
Exploring Zakynthos, you’ll discover picturesque hilltop villages, traditional monasteries, and dreamy natural landscapes.
What’s more, the exotic Zakynthos beaches are home to the endangered sea turtle species Caretta-Caretta, which every year hide their eggs in the fine white sand of Zakynthos beaches.
Besides Shipwreck Beach, though, there are several wonderful Zakynthos strip of sands which you must see, such as Laganas Zante, Gerakas beach, Vasilikos beach, as well as Spiantza coastline.
Some of these beaches are where the endangered Caretta-caretta sea turtles lay their eggs every springtime and summer.
You may be fortunate enough to see them getting out of the sea to hide their eggs under the sand, but you must never interrupt them!
After checking out the emerald bays of the island, we recommend you to visit also the Zakynthos Town, the capital of the island.
Highly affected by the Venetians, that had actually additionally called the island “Fiore di Levante” (flower of the east), Zakynthos Town has many surprise gems to explore!
Saint Mark Square, the Venetian Castle, Solomos Square and the Post-Byzantine Museum of Zante are several of the very best locations to go to in Zakynthos Town.
Where to sleep
Conveniently located, yet tucked away from the crowds at Tsilivi village in Zakynthos island, Zante Maris Suites is the ultimate destination for infinite relaxation.
Each of the hotel’s 45 suites pays homage to relaxed, outdoor living, while at the same time offering its guests the quality pampering of a boutique hotel
All these islands are amazing and you have to choose the best Greek island to visit based on what you expect from a holiday in Greece.
I fell in love with Greece from the moment when I arrived there for the first time and I explore a different island each year.
I must confess that this country does not stop to amaze me even now, after many visits to different places from the mainland and islands.