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10 Best Greek Islands to Visit: Trip Ideas & Inspiration

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Santorini Island, Greece

Santorini island, Greece

You can embrace the past, enjoy island life, and indulge in simple pleasures with our list of the 10 best Greek islands to visit.

They embody nature’s timeless beauty and cultural preservation, and each can ignite your imagination as you settle in to enjoy splendid views, connect with ancient myths, or uncover the flavors of land and sea.

The best Greece islands can satisfy any traveler's appetite by providing access to active exploration, stunning beaches, or the legacy of Mediterranean cuisine with a Greek twist.

  1. 1. Crete
  2. 2. Naxos
  3. 3. Paros
  4. 4. Santorini
  5. 5. Rhodes
  6. 6. Milos
  7. 7. Tinos
  8. 8. Symi
  9. 9. Folegandros
  10. 10. Paxos
  11. Find the Best Greek Islands to Visit for You

1. Crete

The old port of Chania in Crete, Greece

Chania on Crete island, Greece

As the largest Greek island, Crete celebrates its history and culture from the depths of the inland gorge to the heights of the rugged mountains, the preserved ambiance of mythological palaces to the waters lapping at the coastline.

The island can feel like a mosaic that weaves together past and present, taking you from contemporary, vibrant cities with touches of days gone by to dreamy villages with generous spirits.

From museums to beaches, hiking to Venetian harbors, you can travel Crete at a leisurely pace on vacations from the capital or nearby islands.

Crete Vacation Idea

Athens, Crete, and Santorini Luxury Family Tour is an 11-day journey of Greece with an emphasis on its majestic scenery and endless activities that can entice a couple or an entire family.

Highlights: Stroll the steps of the Athenian way to find the Parthenon • Amble along the cobbled avenues and alleys of the Agora • Meander between charming cafes and the Aegean Sea in Chania on Crete • Trek through the Cretan countryside in search of one of Europe's longest gorges • Indulge in a three-course meal at an authentic Greek taverna • Ponder the hidden messages and faded frescoes at the famous archeological site of Knossos • Enjoy a sunset cruise in beautiful Santorini

Learn more: Athens, Santorini, and Crete Itineraries & Vacations

2. Naxos

Naxos Island, Greece

Naxos island, Greece

Naxos captures the Mediterranean as a paradise of sun-kissed beaches, azure waters, fishing ports, and antique villages. Cubic houses with colorful shutters glow against hilly backdrops and cobbled lanes wind between elegant Venetian mansions.

Whether looking for an isolated beach or a view from the mountains, you can sample ripe olives and juicy grapes, visit Byzantine churches, or travel through time in a museum gallery as you explore one of Greece’s best islands.

Naxos Vacation Idea

From vineyards to sunsets, white-sand beaches to classical ruins, this eight-day Island-Hopping Tour of Naxos & Santorini With Athens demonstrates why Greece is one of the world’s most desirable destinations.

Highlights: Visit Athens’ remarkable ancient highlights of the Acropolis and the Pantheon • Tuck into traditional Greek mezze and witness the Temple of Apollo on the island of Naxos • Spend peaceful moments away from the crowds on the secret beaches of Koufonisia • Sip wines that have been grown in volcanic soil in Santorini • Watch the sunset over evergreen vineyards from the terrace of a Santorini estate

Learn more: Naxos Vacations & Tours

3. Paros

Cozy street with cafe in Parikia on Paros Island, Greece

Parikia on Paros island, Greece

Paros is a living representation of the millennia of Mediterranean civilizations. From Cretans to Minoans, Romans to Byzantines, the island can feel ancient, lively, and rural.

Explore the coastline with windsurfing or scuba diving, lounge on a quiet gold-sand beach, or enjoy the sunny glare of whitewashed cubic houses that contrast former Venetian mansions.

With the preserved glamor of Byzantine artifacts, the protected wonder of ancient life, and the charisma of little towns decorated with bougainvillea, Paros is the most atmospheric of Greece’s best islands.

Paros Vacation Idea

The Perfect Grecian Honeymoon: Mykonos, Santorini & Paros is an 11-day immersion into Mediterranean paradise as you explore the romance of famous Greek islands like Santorini and Mykonos, and discover the serene shores of Paros.

Highlights: Lose yourself in the romance and magic in which the island of Santorini is steeped • Gaze out onto whitewashed buildings that contrast the twinkling blue sea as you sail between Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini • Experience the vibrant energy of Mykonos after dark • Wander through the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo at the Unesco World Heritage Site in Delos • Unwind on the quiet shores of Paros

4. Santorini

Oia town on Santorini Island, Greece

Oia town on Santorini island, Greece

Santorini is beauty incarnate, an island famous for romance and discovery, breathtaking panoramic views over the caldera, and charming whitewashed homes clinging to the volcanic cliffs.

With millennia of heritage woven into contemporary lifestyles, the villages reveal a combination of natural wonder and local culture.

Boasting one of Greece's best beaches, celebrated wines, enticing hiking trails, ancient cities, and timeless luxury, Santorini has a reputation for glamor and enchantment.

Santorini Vacation Idea

Capture the elegance and natural beauty of blue waters, coastal cliffs, and beaches during your Glamorous 12-Day Getaway to Athens, Naxos, Milos, and Santorini, as you experience the essential spirit of Greece’s Cycladic islands.

Highlights: Admire the ancient architecture and artwork of Athens • Discover the ruins of Ancient Greece on Naxos • Delve into the traditional agricultural and artistic practices of Naxos • Tour Santorini’s finest wineries to savor vintages and blends • Float off the coast of Santorini at sunset on a private yacht

Learn more: Santorini Vacations, Tours & Trips

5. Rhodes

Lindos on Rhodes Island, Greece

Lindos on Rhodes island, Greece

Rhodes may have once been famous for its colossus, but has now become a monumental island in Greece in its own right, with endless beaches, wooded valleys, and a vibrant lifestyle that connects to the ancient streets.

From its maze of cobbled lanes that connect the Classical and Byzantine to picturesque towns overlooking turquoise waters, Rhodes can feel like a breath of fresh air. The Temple of Athena, boutique shops, labyrinths of historic walls, and past myths make this a legendary island destination.

Rhodes Vacation Idea

Expansive Greece Itinerary: Athens, Rhodes, Crete, Santorini is a 12-day excursion into the natural and cultural history that defines Greece, while embracing the Mediterranean coastline, cuisine, and heritage.

Highlights: Stand in the shadow of the Acropolis on a scenic walking tour of Athens • Embark on a foodie tour of the Athenian love affair • Explore Rhodes’ ancient ruins • Ponder the ancient world on a walking tour of Rhodes • Visit the birthplace of the Minoan civilization on a visit to Crete • Plunge into the depths of the Imbros Gorge for a guided trek • Continue your appreciation of Santorini's geologic origins as you enjoy local wine

Learn more: Rhodes Vacations, Tours & Itineraries

6. Milos

 Firiplaka Beach on Milos Island, Greece

Firiplaka Beach on Milos island, Greece

The dramatic coastline creates a ring around the volcanic caldera, while colorful landscapes create surreal beauty. Picturesque villages and remote beaches only reachable by boat peel back history, from the Minoan world to the production of the Venus de Milo.

Crystal-clear waters that turn from sapphire to turquoise, strings of rocky caves and cliffs, and inspiring views from antique churches and ancient fishing ports reflect the multitude of colors you can embrace across Milos.

Milos Vacation Idea

With blue water, mouthwatering cuisine, and mythological history that continues to inspire, this 13-day Greek Island Itinerary for the Ages: Crete, Santorini, Milos & More is a celebration of Greece and its islands.

Highlights: Ascend to the Acropolis and learn more about Ancient Greek civilization • Deepen your sensory experience of Athens with a gastronomic tour • Stroll the forested headlands of the Cretan caldera • Step foot on the soil ancient Minoans at Knossos once did • Set sail across the sea for sunset panoramas • Swim off the shores of Milos and the islands of Polyaigos and Kleftiko

Learn more: Milos Vacations & Tours

7. Tinos

Greek island village with white houses on a the hillside of Exobourgo Mountain on Tinos Island, Greece

Village in the foothills of Exobourgo Mountain on Tinos island, Greece

Enchanting Tinos has a unique atmosphere, its shores a spiritual center of the Cyclades for thousands of years. Its surprises include stone houses, quiet plazas, and classic marble churches.

Terraces texture hillsides, mountains glisten in mist, and crystal-clear waters connect it to Venetian legacy. No longer just a destination for Greek Orthodox pilgrimages, Tinos has become an exciting destination for island life and culture.

Tinos Vacation Idea

Idyllic Greek Islands Itinerary for Seniors is the perfect 10-day tour for an immersive experience at a leisurely pace, from ancient mainland sites to robust island flavors.

Highlights: Marvel at the historic attractions of Athens • Witness the age-old windmills of Mykonos • Explore the island of Tinos, considered one of the holiest Greek Islands • Tour charming Parikia, a town known for its custom boutiques of artisan goods • Stroll through the museums of Paros • Travel the roads of Fira and Oia on Santorini • Bask in the relaxing hot springs of Nea Kameni • Immerse yourself in the wines of Santorini

8. Symi

Symi Town harbor on Symi island

Symi island, Greece

With neoclassical architecture and pastel-colored houses, Symi is alluring.

From historic villages and sparse landscapes to a secluded monastery and unparalleled blue coves, it captures the charisma of the islands within a relaxed atmosphere.

Romantic walks along the coastline, burning sunsets on the horizon, and a beautiful barren interior create a charm unlike any other island in the Greek archipelago.

Symi Vacation Idea

Private cooking experiences, impressive scenery, and one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe make the Best of Remarkable Rhodes: Island Tour in One Week a magnificent opportunity to actively discover an island inhabited since the Stone Age.

Highlights: Indulge in an oceanside yoga session before setting off on a hiking adventure in the town of Lindos • Paddle through the sea on a morning kayak adventure • Embark on a private sailing excursion • Gaze at the grandeur of Rhodes’ majestic Mt. Filerimo • Visit Butterfly Valley and witness the spectacular migration of thousands of the insects • Learn how to craft an authentic Greek meal from a local master chef

9. Folegandros

Village of Chora on Folegandros island in Greece

Chora on Folegandros island, Greece

Folegandros's quiet beauty makes it feel like an undiscovered treasure of the Cyclades. Amplified by the main town that crowns the cliffs, Folegandros connects lush countryside to dramatic seaside slopes.

Its remote splendor winds along cobblestones and narrow alleyways, with bougainvillea draped across whitewashed houses and sun-soaked beaches perfect for a relaxing moment. Look for romance or a secluded island getaway as you indulge in the beauty of Folegandros.

10. Paxos

Levrechio beach on Paxos Island, Greece

Levrechio beach on Paxos island, Greece

Paxos, one of the 8 best Greek islands for families, embodies the idea of an island off the beaten path that shines like an undiscovered gem. Gorgeous beaches fade into clear turquoise waters. Ancient ruins glint with preserved marble foundations. White stucco architecture reflects the golden sunlight.

With charming villages and cafes, colorful houses, and quiet marinas, you can spend your time lounging on a boat, lingering on the white sands of neighboring Antipaxos, or diving deep into the water in search of lobster and marine life.

Find the Best Greek Islands to Visit for You

Sarakiniko Beach on Milos Island, Greece

Sarakiniko Beach on Milos island, Greece

With its ancient history, lively culture, and welcoming traditions across thousands of islands, Greece can suit every kind of traveler. Whether learning about wines or tracing myths, you can find inspiration for your trip with our sample tours and vacations in Greece and our best Greece island hopping vacations.

You can also find helpful information, like the best time to visit the Greek islands and more, in our Greece travel guide and a travel specialist can customize your vacation with experiences tailored for you.

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