Embarking on a Greek sailing adventure should definitely be on your bucket list. But you must be wondering how many Greek islands altogether are there in the first place? Well, Greece is a country with more than 6000 islands, islets and rocks surrounding it. This naturally makes it very difficult for sailors to choose the best ones for their Greek island-hopping adventure. If you hadn’t had time to visit and explore this paradise scenery yet, we are here to help!
We’ve divided the islands into several categories and prepared a guide that will make things a little bit easier. Keep reading and find out more about the best Greek islands for couples and honeymooners, young adults and families, best getaway islands, party islands, etc. So let’s take the bull by its horns and allow us to help you plan your Greek island-hopping trip. Ah, and did you know that the mentioned expression actually originates from the Greek language? According to one of the many famous Greek myths, Hercules saved Crete from the raging bull by seizing its horns.
Best Greek Islands for Couples
Whether it comes to choosing the best honeymoon Greek island destination, or just a dream gateway with your loved one, Greek islands are on the top of the list. Moreover, among the top Greek islands that have proven to be ideal for the newlyweds are Santorini, Corfu, Paros and Milos.
Santorini and Corfu
This topic about the best Greek islands for couples wouldn’t be complete without the most famous romantic getaway with your spouse, Santorini. Santorini, quite expectedly, is one of the best islands for couples and honeymooners in the world. This kaleidoscope of an island reflecting white, red or black sand beaches or volcanic pebbles, blue-domed chapels and impressive lunar landscapes, unsurprisingly attracts numerous visitors from all over the world.
Hence, don’t be surprised that Santorini, due to its huge popularity among couples, gets very crowded in high season. If you decide to charter a yacht or a catamaran, you’ll be able to escape these crowds and spend romantic evenings far away from prying eyes. While you’re there, visit the villages of Thira, Imerovigli and Oia. Truly a must-see Greek island.
If you’re a nature and culture lover, then Corfu would be the best choice for your honeymoon. Take a history lesson by walking the streets of Corfu, a city strongly influenced by the Venetian style, or spend your honeymoon in an active way – rent a bike or a scooter and explore numerous natural beauties. Corfu is also known for its idyllic beaches, one of which is situated in the Canal d’Amour (Love channel).
The legend says that all couples who swim there remain in love forever. It’s worth visiting, isn’t it? After a swim, you can go to one of many taverns and try the regional delicacies, and then end the night in the city of Kavos in one of the local bars or clubs.
Paros and Milos
Situated right next to Naxos island and close to the popular Mykonos and Santorini, Paros island is ideally located for your Greek island-hopping adventure and a great destination for a more laid-back holiday. Paros offers a great combination of modern and traditional.
While you’re there, you can practice windsurfing and kiteboarding or do a bit of sightseeing in historical villages. You should also try out local delicacies in waterfront restaurants. Join one of the wine tasting tours or simply enjoy the sun on one of Paros’s sand beaches, such as Santa Maria or Golden Beach Paros. Its many faces will not disappoint even the most demanding tastes.
Milos, the island of Aphrodite, is another suggestion for couples. The volcanic soil of Milos has created the dream sight – rocks painted in orange, red and pink combined with an emerald-coloured sea. Because of this, Milos has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Cyclades. If you are an explorer at heart, discover the caves of Kleftiko and sail the area that was once ruled by the pirates. Afterwards, take a swim in Sarakiniko Bay whose all-white rock landscape will leave you breathless. Then finish your day strolling the streets of Little Venice. Milos island will captivate anyone visiting it but particularly couples due to its beautiful setting for their romantic sailing holiday.
Apart from the already previously mentioned ones, we also recommend Folegandros, Lesbos, Rhodes.
Greek Island-Hopping Dodecanese and Aegean Islands Close to Turkey
If you’ve decided to spend your vacation sailing the Aegean Sea, you’ll have the opportunity to visit both the Greek and the Turkish islands. There are a few Greek islands that you can visit as a day trip from Turkey.
Just a few miles from Bodrum you can find Kos, one of the Dodecanese’s islands and a real sailing paradise. This island offers a little bit for everyone. There are Greek and Roman ruins for those who enjoy history, bike rides for the adventurers, clubs for those who like to party and turquoise water of the Aegean Sea for those who enjoy water activities. Make sure to include Asklepieion on your sightseeing list when you visit Kos. This healing centre of the ancient world follows the medical guidelines of the father of moder medicine, Hippocrates who was actually born here.
Chios, believed to be the birthplace of Homer, is another island that is worth visiting if you’re sailing in Turkey. Only 4 miles from Çeşme, Chios is famous for its aromatic resin, mastic. It was used as a breath refresher and a teeth whitener in Roman times. While you’re there, do a little bit of shopping at city markets and buy all sorts of mastic-based products. Or visit charming medieval mastic villages. When you get tired, take a break in one of its waterfront restaurants, or sunbathe on the black pebbles of Mavra Volia beach.
Other Greek islands we recommend that are close to Turkey: Rhodes, Samos.
Best Greek Islands for Families
If a family vacation is what you’re looking for, there are some amazing Greek islands you can take your loved ones to and spend the best family vacations.
Due to a versatile kid-friendly entertainment program, Rhodes, is extremely popular among families. It is , and one of the most popular Greek islands in general. Ever wished to feel like knights or princesses? Than this fortified mediaeval town will take you right back in time to experience your own fairy tale. On the other hand, if you’re looking for relaxation and beach fun, there are lots of beaches with shallow waters. Faliraki and Agathi for example are deal for kids to practice water sports or snorkeling. Another idea is to take them on excursions like Valley of Butterflies or Marine Aquarium. For the perfetct ending of your day there are plenty of restaurants where the entire family can enjoy the traditional Greek cuisine.
Crete is Greek’s largest and most affordable island and yet another location that is ideal for a family vacation. This historical island offers a great variety of activities for the entire family. There are lots of accessible sand beaches with shallow waters like Elafonisi. Then plenty of water parks and other adequate parks for children to play and for parents to relax in. Or you could visit some of the many museums that offer guided tours for kids etc. The opportunities are endless. Such a diverse island as Crete would take you weeks to fully explore. Thus, we definitely recommend chartering a catamaran as the best option for the Greek island-hopping tour. This way you will fully enjoy your vacation and visit must-see spots en route. For more inspiration on sailing around Crete island check out our dedicated blog.
Other recommendations: Corfu (budget friendly), Lefkada, Zakynthos (for teenagers).
Saronic Islands – Greek Island-Hopping Close to Athens
The capital of Greece, Athens, is a great starting point for your sailing vacation. There are 3 ports that connect Athens to the islands: Piraeus, Rafina and Lavrion. They are all a short ferry ride away. However, a more relaxing and pleasurable way to explore Saronic islands is sailing on a private yacht. They are all very conveniently located for sailing enthusiasts seeking Greek island-hopping ventures. Situated in Saronic and Argolic Gulf, they are also often called Argosaronic islands. Due to their proximity to Athens are very appealing not only to tourists but also the locals looking for weekend getaways.
From the port of Piraeus, you can sail to the closest island to Athens – Aegina, the island of the pistachio nuts. If you don’t like big crowds, this island is ideal for you. Magical Aegina has kept its charm and stayed far away from mass tourism. You might be surprised learning that for a short period of time, between 1827 and 1829, Aegina Town, the capital of this small island, was the temporary capital of the newly founded Greek state. Due to this part of its history, today we can find impressive neoclassical residences. Its beautiful architecture, numerous beaches and a simple way of living might make you want to move there, so be careful!
Hydra is a great island to visit if you’d like to escape the traffic noise as motor vehicles are forbidden on Hydra! If you’re an adventurer, you’ll enjoy spending time there because Hydra is a real mecca for hiking enthusiasts. We highly recommend climbing up towards Profitis Ilias Chapel. It is merely 100 m below the highest peak on the island, Mount Eros at an altitude of 600m. Soaking up the gorgeous view of the Port of Hydra, the Aegan Sea and the shores of the Peloponnese should definitely be on your bucket list when visiting Hydra.
If time permits, hop on these islands as well: Agistri, Poros, Spetses.
Greek Island-Hopping for Escaping the Crowds
If you’re among those people whose idea of a fulfilling and relaxing vacation is far away from the corwds in peace and quiet, we have a solution for you too!
Anafi is the island you have to visit when you’re looking to escape technology and modern life. Situated at the very edge of the Cyclades, Anafi’s architecture reminds so much of its close neighbour – Santorini.
However, Anafi has something that Santorini doesn’t – unspoiled exotic sand beaches and tranquility. It could easily be inlcuded on a list as the quietest greek island. The enchanting village of Chora with white-washed dome-roofed houses, and the Kalamos rock, the second highest monolith in Europe after Gibraltar, are two of its most valuable treasures. Moreover, chartering a yacht to get there will be the best decision you ever made!
Even though it’s famous all around the world as the mythical island of Odysseus, Ithaca is not as popular among the tourists as one might think. This beautiful island is a great sailing destination due to numerous bays ideal for diving explorations. There are also great beaches that you can access with your chartered yacht. Explore the unexplored villages of Ithaca such as Vathy, Kioni and Frikes. Or go back in time following the routes of Odysseus and spend the most relaxing holiday ever.
Also visit: Ikaria, Kalymno, Leros.
Best Greek Party Islands
After a long day of swimming and sightseeing, there are two types of people: those who can’t wait to go to bed and those who can’t wait to party. If you belong to the second group, keep on reading.
Mykonos, bearing the name of the Apollo’s grandson himself, is mostly known for its vibrant nightlife and is the most popular party island in Greece. No matter if you go there with your friends or your partner, this island is a great choice as it will most certainly meet all your expectations. It has some of the best bars and clubs of all Greek islands, but it also has great restaurants where you can enjoy delicious traditional food.
However, Mykonos is not just a party island. It offers lots of hideaways as well as beautiful white sand beaches where you can relax and recharge your batteries after nights of partying. If you wish to have a great night out clubbing plus enjoying the gorgeus scenery, look no further and visit this mecca for party seekers but also history and tradition enthusiasts.
Visit Psarou Beach and sip drinks all night long in Nammos club. If you’re in for an intense house music party, head to Cavo Paradiso on Paradise Beach. It is where you can enjoy the beats of famous DJs from all around the world, such as Tiesto, Axwell and Alesso.
Zakynthos or Zante with its trademark – the Shipwreck beach, is another Greek island with an awesome party scene. For nights of entertainment, visit the southern part of the island. It offers some of the best bars and clubs in Europe, such as Catakomves, Rescue club or Factory club. Thus, if you enjoy loud music and big crowds and you’re into meeting new people, don’t miss out on Zante!
We also recommend: Ios, Kos, Skiathos.
All that’s left for you to do after reading this article is to book a yacht on Greek islands and finally find out why people can’t stop praising this magical sailing destination. Charter a yacht today and enjoy your summer island-hopping Greek islands.