From the sun-washed cyclades south of the mainland, to the forested hills of the Ionian Islands, the Greek islands are equally rugged and paradisiacal.

Pictures alone are evidence enough as to why they reign supreme as some of the most coveted holiday destinations in Europe.

With over 200 to choose from, picking which to visit can be overwhelming. So to make your holiday planning easier we’ve compiled a list of the most beautiful islands that Greece has to offer.

Here are the best islands in Greece to visit this summer:


With a real sense of mystique and enchantment in the air, Santorini is arguably the most romantic island in Greece. The extremely popular honeymoon destination sees thousands of loved up couples and newly-weds flock to its shores every year.

Believed to be the site of the ‘Lost City of Atlantis’, the island was formed around 4,000 years ago by a sudden volcanic eruption.

The climax of an enormous volcano, the island’s dark volcanic rock hillsides plunge into the the world’s largest caldera, where the sea is so tranquil that it could be easily mistaken for an enormous lake.

The most exciting way to arrive in Santorini is by boat, followed by a donkey ride up the steep switchback road that leads to the capital city of Firá (Thera).

While it’s modern centre is fairly unremarkable, the scenes from its cliff tops are unforgettable.

The best islands to visit in Greece this summer
Beautiful view of Churches in Oia village, Santorini | The best islands to visit in Greece this summer

Making the most of their incredible location, iconic whitewashed houses cling to the steep hillsides, and many hotels, restaurants, and cafés have outdoor terraces with panoramic views.

The Museum of Prehistoric Thera displays objects uncovered at Akrotiri, an archaeological site known as the “Greek Pompeii” because the ruins were hidden under volcanic ash for several centuries.

Pretty much every corner of Oia looks like the scene depicted in an iconic painting or postcard. Here you’ll find the bulk of Santorini’s best hotels. Be sure to book an outdoor table for your sunset drinks as Oia is known to provide some of the best in the world.

Kamari Beach with its volcanic black-sand shores is well worth a visit for a day in the sun. Ammoudi Port, the scenic old harbour, features wonderful waterfront tavernas that serve the finest fresh seafood.

For a more peaceful Santorini experience, head to the quieter southern region of the island.


If nightlife and a party vibe are what you’re after, then Mykonos is the place for you.

Mykonos has long been one of the best islands in Greece for carefree travellers in search of a good time. The island was home to gay clubs and sunrise parties before rave culture was even invented.

Located in the Aegean Sea, the island is fully fitted with trendy restaurants, vibey tavernas and live entertainment venues. Most of which run through the night, into the early hours of the morning.

Views over Mykonos with Tinos island in the distance | The best islands in Greece to visit this summer

The best beach clubs are those at Paradise beach, Super Paradise Beach and the island’s longest beach – Elia. The influx of celebrities, super models and superyachts has brought with it various new hotels and restaurants, which only add to the island’s allure.

For an escape from the glitzy excess, head over to Chora Mykonos. Here you’ll find a labyrinth of winding cobblestone streets brimming with whitewashed houses, quaint old churches, and narrow alleyways draped in bright bougainvillea.

Must-see attractions within Chora Mykonos are the Little Venice area where balconied buildings resemble Venetian edifices thanks to their waterfront facades.

The tiny island of Delos is also well-worth a day visit. The archaeological sanctuary is the rumoured birthplace of Apollo, the Greek god of light and here you’ll find a temple dedicated to his honour.


The largest island in Greece and the birthplace of Zeus, Crete has long been a crossing point for humanity. The Minoan civilisation thrived here during the Bronze Age, while various parades of conquerors have left their mark over the centuries.

In Crete you’ll find a little bit of everything, from glorious beaches to snow-capped peaks and ancient ruins. The best of the island’s history is preserved in and around Heraklion, including the Minoan Palace of Knossos – the world’s oldest city.

Aptera and Malia are stunning ancient sites worth a visit!

Agios Nikolaos and Voulismeni lake in Crete | The best islands in Greece to visit this summer

The best way to take in the island’s beauty is by exploring its outdoor attractions. One of the most beautiful hikes runs through the Aradena Gorge in the rugged Sfakia region. The hike ends at Marmara, where you can cool off in a glassy cove on the Libyan Sea, and enjoy lunch at one of Crete’s finest tavernas, Dialiskari.

Head south to find Crete’s dreamiest beaches. Paleochora is a long, sandy stretch lined with hotels and restaurants. Sougia is a more secluded, pebble beach, but the added privacy also means there are less easily-accessible amenities.

Ligres and Kedrodassos are also fantastic choices, while Elafonisi features an incredible pink sand shoreline straddled by turquoise waters.

In the east you’ll find the Lassíthi region, esteemed for its exceptional beaches that boast crystal waters ideal for snorkelling.


Once the location from which local Naxiots made a mint exporting potatoes, cheese, marble and emery, today Naxos is known for its beaches. Some of the finest of all the Greek Islands, to be more specific.

Naxos was the site of one of the most ironic transfers of wealth in modern Greek history. Seaside land – deemed useless for farming and therefore undesirable- was generally given away to the laziest offspring and extended family members.

However once the rest of the world caught wind of the calibre of these endless stretches of sand, this land became a gold mine.

The best islands in Greece to visit this summer
The cityscape of Naxos town, Naxos | The best islands in Greece to visit this summer

The west of the island is home to its best beaches, with Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna being particularly popular choices. Here you’ll find powdery white sand, shallow waters and numerous beach bars.

Further south, the beaches are equally as beautiful, and wilder in landscape. Plaka is where you can gallop across the dunes on horseback, Mikri Vigla is ideal for windsurfing, and Kastraki boasts crystal clear waters.

For a break from the sand and sun (is that a thing people need?) Naxos town will draw you in with the allure of any of the islands in Greece. Whitewashed houses, Venetian mansions and catholic churches characterise the colourful seaport town.

Kastro, the 13th century fortress, and Portara, the gate of an ancient temple, are both worth a visit when in Naxos.

There are also numerous small villages to wander through, and 3 oversized Kouros statues hidden in the hills.



A superb addition to an island-hopping itinerary, Paros offers a quiet escape from the busier Greek Islands, while still sharing all the same benefits.