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17 Lesser-Known Greek Islands You Should Explore!

Had Enough of Santorini and Mykonos? Visit One of These Lesser Visited Islands Next!

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Published by
C. 'silver-tooth' Sharpe·5/18/2022
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Greece is one of the most popular places to spend summer, and with so many gorgeous islands, it's not hard to see why.

But once you've visited large popular islands like Corfu and Crete, the quiet, undiscovered feel of its smaller islands offers something unique.

Check some of our favourite lesser-visited Greek islands, largely untouched by mass tourism. It may just help you plan your next trip!

Destination

  • Greece

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1. Evia (Euboea)

The second-largest Greek island, Evia, is a popular destination among mainland residents but lesser so among international visitors. The island's landscape offers a bit of everything - you'll find sandy beaches, steep cliffs, waterfalls, canyons, rocky coastlines, and numerous olive groves and wheat fields. There are more ancient sites here than on any other island, apart from Crete, an incredible amount of natural thermal springs, and lots of walking trails across the mountainous landscapes.

2. Skiathos

A small island that is part of the Sporades, with as many as 60 beautiful beaches. You'll also find charming white houses with traditional blue shutters. Most of the sandy beaches are accessible from the mainland, but some secluded coves are only accessible by motorboat. You may even have a chance to meet Hollywood stars like Kate Hudson or Russell Crowe here!

3. Lefkada

An extremely picturesque, fertile, and green island. On its west coast, you can find some of the finest beaches in the Ionian Islands and breathtaking cliffs like on Zakynthos. Great for those looking for peace, relaxation, incredible views, and a chance to connect with nature.

4. Kefalonia

It's been called "the best-kept secret in Greece" because it has long avoided mass tourism. It's easily one of the most beautiful islands in the Ionian Sea, with its turquoise sea and beautiful beaches. You'll enjoy great local food and some great white and red wines here; why not take a bottle home?

5. Milos

Milos is often overlooked in favor of Mykonos and Santorini, but this volcanic island is a fantastic option for those looking for a more tranquil getaway. Famously, the marble statue known as 'Venus de Milo' was found here and put on display in the Louvre in Paris. It's a landscape of peaceful fishing villages, quiet coves, and a diverse array of beaches.

6. Folegandros

Located between Paros and Santorini, this gem of an island is almost untouched by international tourism. The Cycladic architecture of whitewashed houses, tiny alleyways, and blue-tipped churches makes it a very aesthetically pleasing place (very Instagram friendly, let's say). Don't miss a visit to Kastro, the village of Chora's Venetian quarter.

7. Amorgos

One of the larger islands in the Cyclades, it's long, thin, and offers dramatic views at every turn. You won't need to worry about crowds here, largely due to the lack of an airport - although there are plenty of ferries that can take you here. The medieval capital, the Chora of Amorgos, is one of the most beautiful and authentic old towns you'll find.

8. Paxos

Accessible by boat from neighboring Corfu, Paxos is unspoiled and full of charm. Think rolling olive groves, villas, and turquoise waters. You can explore the largest town, Gaios, on foot, stopping at waterfront bars, shops, and restaurants on the way, of course. No visit is complete without a visit to the hidden cove, dubbed the Blue Caves, for their vivid blue waters.

9. Ithaca

Ithaca is famed for being the mythical island of Odysseus in Greek mythology, but Ithaca doesn't just rest on its laurels! The island is quiet, but full of things to do for those curious: such as archaeological museums, monasteries, and ancient town ruins. For photographers, Vathy, Kioni, and Frikes are the most picture-perfect villages.

10. Patmos

It may be known as the 'Island of the apocalypse,' but don't let the name fool you; this spot is far from a catastrophe (the name comes from the Book of the Apocalypse written by Saint John the Divine). Visit the island's capital of Chora for incredible views of the Aegean Sea and a bustling village full of things to do and see.

11. Symi

Elegant, relaxed, and with postcard-worthy views, Symi is a gem in the Dodecanese island chain. It's an ideal place to explore on foot, with the main port surrounded by pretty villages. A visit here is about chilling out, lingering in seaside taverns, and exploring tiny chapels dotted around the island.

12. Sifnos

If you love food, this may be the island for you. The air around the island is heavy with the scent of sizzling seafood from the tavernas, and with a rich foodie scene, you can eat your way across the island with ease. Sifnos is just three hours from Athens, but it feels like a island paradise.

13. Skopelos

A beautiful island where the famous musical "Mamma Mia" starring Meryl Streep was filmed. Skopelos is overgrown with pine forests and is a natural paradise with beaches, picturesque coves, and many cultural treasures. The island is also known for its great olives, feta cheese, honey, and sun-dried plums.

14. Thassos

Nicknamed "Emerald Island", Thassos lies 8km from mainland Greece. You'll find wonderful beaches and charming coves with crystal clear green waters where you can relax in peace and quiet. It is known for its natural swimming pool among the sea cliffs called Giola and the "marble beach" Saliara with its white sand and marble particles.

15. Samos

This is a dream island for lovers of quiet beach walks and hikes. The island's ancient heritage can be seen at every turn. You'll spot Roman baths, an ancient theatre, and a unique tunnel aqueduct. The local people are very warm and friendly, olive groves dot the island, and the wonderful sweet wine that is famous throughout Greece (ever heard of Malmassia?) is found here. It's also the greenest of the Aegean islands.

16. Lesbos

Lesbos is associated with the poet Safona, who lived here in ancient times. And, of course, with lesbians, whose term comes from this very island. However, it is also a place ideal for those who want to spend an unforgettable trip among the monuments and picturesque landscapes. One of the tourist attractions is the "Petrified Forest," a geopark with an area of 150 km². This area is covered with the volcanic lava remains of a subtropical forest.

17. Paros

This island belongs to the Cyclades. Here you'll find bustling resorts and villages that have retained their authenticity. There is a quarry for the famous Parian marble, and on Paros you'll find a lot of water-sports schools. Numerous churches, characteristic mills, beautiful beaches, and local architecture make this island a marvelous choice for a vacation!

Feeling Inspired to visit on these islands?

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