Best Greek Islands to Visit for Different Types of Travelers: Which Island is Right for You?

By | Senior Writer
Last Updated: August 8, 2023
The Best Greek Islands To Visit on Your Next Vacation

It seems ironic that travelers frequently end up in popular islands such as Santorini or Mykonos when Greece has over 6,000 (though just 227 inhabited) islands. And while those two famed islands are amazing for specific types of travelers, other Greek destinations may be a better fit for you and your travel needs. Although names like Naxos, Paros or Sifnos may not seem like familiar Greek territory, there’s so much more to this Mediterranean country than just its most popular namesakes.

While many of the islands offer incredible beaches, prime hiking trails or delectable food, we’ve narrowed it down to our top picks. Whether you’re traveling alone, on your honeymoon, just need that perfect beach or want a dose of history, there’s an island right for you, regardless of your budget, interests and travel style. Read on to discover Winetraveler Greek Island favorites.

Travel Logistics and Details for Visiting Greece

Fly nonstop from US hubs like New York to Athens on airlines like Delta. Once in Athens, take a ferry or short-haul flight (if available) to the islands. Some European hubs like London offer nonstop flights to islands such as Crete or Mykonos. Click here to get updates on flight deals as they arise.

Once there, car rental is an option, but stay alert, as locals tend to invent their own rules of the road. Make sure to get some Euros too, as many smaller taverns or donkey taxis might only accept cash.

Once you’ve decided on which Greek islands you’d like to visit, you can compare hotel prices on many of the islands discussed in this travel guide right here. These hotels were recently rated by travelers as some of the best throughout the country, for a variety of reasons.

Best Greek Islands to Visit: Choices Depending on Traveler

For Couples: Milos

Discover the enchanting hidden gems of Milos on a boat tour: intimate coves, mysterious sea caves, and secluded beaches await couples looking for the perfect Greek island. Tour operators like Salty Rides offer private boat tours around Milos, with a captain, food and drinks included. Half-day options are also available.

Milos, a lesser-known and picturesque Greek island, is an ideal romantic getaway for couples seeking a relaxed atmosphere. The island boasts over 70 unique beaches with crystal-clear waters, many of which are secluded and perfect for a romantic day out. Sarakiniko and Kleftiko are among the most notable beaches, offering striking landscapes and colors. Couples can also stroll hand-in-hand through the narrow streets of charming villages like Plaka, Pollonia, and Mandrakia, admiring the traditional Cycladic architecture and enjoying authentic Greek cuisine at local tavernas.

Milos is known for its breathtaking sunsets, which are best enjoyed from the village of Plaka, providing couples with magical moments as the sun sinks into the sea. Boat tours around the island allow for intimate exploration of hidden coves, sea caves, and secluded beaches accessible only by water. History-loving couples can visit fascinating sites such as the ancient Roman Theatre, early Christian Catacombs, and the archaeological museum in Plaka, where the famous Venus de Milo statue was discovered. In summary, Milos is a peaceful and idyllic destination for couples seeking a romantic escape away from the more popular Greek islands.

For Families: Crete

Step back in time at Knossos Palace, Crete: uncover the legends of ancient Minoan civilization and marvel at its architectural splendor.

Greece’s largest island offers more than just beautiful beaches (though there are plenty of those on Crete). From wandering through the Venetian harbor of Chania to exploring the ancient ruins of Palace Knossos, families have endless choices for activities. The pink sands of Elafonissi and clear, shallow waters of the Balos Lagoon are world-famous — and apt for children. Plus, lodging and dining on Crete range from budget to luxury, so you can find just the right fit for your crew. 

RELATED: 5 Reasons Crete is a Must-Visit Greek Island

For Foodies and Wine Lovers: Paros

Savor the flavors of Paros: indulge in exquisite local cuisine and fine wines, as the island’s culinary delights awaken your senses and captivate your palate.

With over 7,000 acres of vineyards, Paros is one of the best Greek Islands to wine taste on. The island has its very own PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), which is made from grapes like Monemvasia and Mandilaria. Paros’ grapevines have deep roots in the soil that grow parallel along the ground. This way, the leaves and grapes are protected from the elements like wind, rain and sun. Don’t miss a tour and tasting at Moraitis Winery

Paros is also an underrated foodie island, featuring delicious Mizithra Greek cheese soaked in honey, fresh seafood like gouna (roasted mackerel) and other Greek delights. Visit Naousa to find some of the best restaurants on the island.

For Honeymooners: Amorgos

Best Greek Islands To Visit
Amorgos, the idyllic honeymoon destination: unwind in serene landscapes, enjoy intimate moments, and create lasting memories in this romantic island paradise.

While most honeymooners head to Santorini, newlyweds should head to the island of amor— Amorgos. The island is best for couples wanting a private escape — a lesser-visited, more authentic version of Santorini. With white villages, clear azure waters and plenty of far-flung hiking paths, this spot feels like a true getaway. A hike up to the Monastery of Hozoviotissa will offer honeymooners a dose of Greek culture and history while offering a romantic view of the crashing Aegean Sea below.

For Luxury Travelers: Santorini

Best Greek Islands To Visit for Wine | Best Luxury Island to Visit in Greece - Santorini
Santorini: a haven for luxury travelers, where breathtaking views, lavish accommodations, and world-class service converge to create the ultimate indulgent experience.

We know Santorini is a fan favorite, but if you go there, prepare to spend some serious cash. Santorini is geared towards luxury travelers — think fancy, seafront dining, five-star hotels and lots of other tourists. Of course, the famous sunsets of Oia are just as incredible as you may have heard, but beware that this island, though beautiful, is chock full during high season. If you’re dying for a splurge, though, stay alongside celebrities at the Cavo Tagoo Santorini, a hotel that features private hot tubs and plunge pools inside their exclusive suites (room rates start around $800 per night).

For History and Culture: Rhodes

Best Greek Islands to visit for History and Archeology | Rhodes
Rhodes: a treasure trove for history, culture, and archaeology enthusiasts, where ancient ruins, medieval castles, and vibrant traditions narrate tales of a storied past.

Rhodes, the largest of the Dodecanese islands, has a number of ancient ruins and historical sites to visit. Make sure to check out the ancient ruins of city Kamiros, the Asklipio Castle and the Rhodes Archeological Museum. Discovering all of the old city centers of Rhodes is also a must — it’s a UNESCO World Heritage site. Don’t worry though, the island also has gorgeous beaches and delicious Greek cuisine for those who need a break from sightseeing.

For Budget Travelers: Andros 

For Budget Travelers: Andros
Andros: The hidden gem of Greece for budget travelers. With its affordable accommodations, low-cost dining options, and stunning natural beauty, this island offers the perfect blend of adventure and relaxation without breaking the bank.

The greenest of the Cyclades Islands, Andros, is just a two-hour ferry from Athens. This means that travelers looking to cut costs can fly into Athens and won’t need to spend money on a second flight to an island. With affordable home rentals and B&Bs as low as $50 per night, you can enjoy the magic of the island without breaking the bank. Well-priced excursions include visits to beaches like Tis Grias to Pidima Beach, where you can admire the giant rock formation or trek to the rushing Remata Waterfall.

For Off-the-Beaten-Path Travelers: Sifnos

For Off-the-Beaten-Path Travelers: Sifnos
Sifnos is an unspoiled island paradise for off the beaten path travelers. Immerse yourself in the authentic Greek culture and traditions, explore secluded beaches, and indulge in delicious local cuisine. Discover a hidden gem that’s waiting to be explored, away from the tourist crowds.

Greece has numerous island options for off-the-beaten-path travelers; one of them is Sifnos. The island features numerous hiking trails and over 350 churches. You’ll find traditional beaches, of course, but some of the best spots to enjoy the island’s crystal clear waters are rocky areas where you can sunbathe and dive into the refreshing water. Don’t forget to visit the hilltop white villages, such as Kastro and Artemonas or seaside spots Kamares or Faros.

RELATED: 15 Less Touristy, Underrated Greek Islands to Visit

For Solo Travelers: Zakynthos

For Solo Travelers: Zakynthos
The perfect getaway for solo travelers seeking adventure and tranquility. From breathtaking beaches and picturesque villages to thrilling outdoor activities and vibrant nightlife, this island has something for everyone. Embrace the freedom of solo travel and make unforgettable memories in Zakynthos

While the Greek Islands in general are very safe for solo travelers, Zakynthos is one of the best. The island has plenty of action (though not quite as much as Mykonos) so that solo travelers can make friends and meet other travelers, but also has calm and quiet beaches for some alone time. The island is relatively easy to reach by ferry and offers plenty of affordable room rentals on Airbnb. Make sure to visit the famous shipwreck beach and the towering cliffs of Keri. Plenty of tour operators on the island welcome solo travelers; consider a boat trip to see the island from a new angle.

For Party Animals/LGBTQ Travelers: Mykonos

Best Greek Island For Party Animals/LGBTQ Travelers: Mykonos
The ultimate party destination for those seeking non-stop fun and excitement. With its legendary beach parties, world-renowned DJs, and vibrant club scene, this island is the place to be for partygoers. Get ready to dance the night away and experience the ultimate party vibe in Mykonos.

Mykonos is one of Greece’s most popular islands. All the cool kids flock to the island to enjoy the nightlife scene. The Mykonos airport can be extremely crowded and the island can see heavy traffic especially during the summer season, so if you aren’t ready to hit the club, it may be best to choose a Greek island that’s less lively. Some of the best nightlife happens in downtown Mykonos at spots like Scandanavian Bar and Cavo Paradise. Mykonos also caters to LGBTQ travelers, who can find gay-friendly beaches and nightlife around the island.

For Beach Bums: Naxos

For Beach Bums: Naxos
The paradise for beach bums seeking a slice of heaven. With its endless stretches of golden sand, crystal-clear waters, and stunning natural scenery, this island is the ultimate destination for beach lovers. Relax under the sun, swim in the turquoise waters, and unwind in the laid-back atmosphere of Naxos.

If all you want to do during your Greek getaway is relax on white sands, head to Naxos. The largest in the Cyclades island group, Naxos has numerous sandy stretches of coastline to choose from. Some of the best beaches are Agia Anna, Plaka, Ammitis, Kastraki and Agios Prokopios. Consider renting a car to get out to some of the more deserted beaches such as Sahara or Orkos.

For Hikers: Corfu

Top Greek Island for Hiking: Corfu
Corfu: The hiking haven for adventure seekers. From rugged mountain trails to scenic coastal paths, this island boasts an abundance of hiking routes with breathtaking views at every turn. Lace up your boots, explore the diverse terrain, and discover the natural beauty of Corfu on foot.

This Ionian island features one of Greece’s best hiking trails: the Corfu Trail. Hikers and walkers can do all or just part of the 110-mile trail which laps a majority of the island. The best times to do the trail are between April and October. Make sure to wear layers and bring your appetite — the small taverns located in hidden villages along the trail feature some seriously delicious gastronomic options. And don’t forget your swimsuit either, as the trail goes past spectacular beaches like Paleokastritsa and Myrtiotissa Beach.

Book Tickets and Activities for Visiting Greece Online

Frequently Asked Questions about the Best Greek Islands

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Comments ( 2 )

  1. I have never been to Greece but would like to get there one day. This is a great resource as I would not know where to start! I like the sounds of Corfu for some hiking and Paros to see those vines! Opa!

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