If you’re planning a trip to Greece, you might be overwhelmed by the number of Greek islands and trying to decide which ones to visit. Unless you have time to visit all of them – which sounds like the ultimate dream vacation – you’ll have to pick and choose which ones to see, and which ones to skip. Of course, since Greece is so stunningly beautiful, you can always come back and visit the other islands on your next trip.
Here’s my list of the top five islands to consider…
Corfu is the second largest of the Ionian Islands, and is known as the emerald island because there is so much green. There are two million olive trees on Corfu! You’ll find Roman ruins along with medieval castles and fortifications to explore. You can also visit museums, monasteries, Corfu Old Town, and any number of fantastic beaches. Paleokastritsa is a must-see, with its charming tavernas and gorgeous blue bay. If you’re taking the family, you might want to include Aqualand with its 36 different water slides; it’s one of the best water parks in Europe.
Santorini is for lovers. Honeymooners flock to Santorini in droves to see the magnificent beauty of the deep blue water, sandy white beaches, whitewashed homes with blue roofs, and the amazing sunsets that light the whole sky a lovely pink and orange. Go one step further and find luxury villas in Santorini to fully complete the romantic experience. However, you don’t have to be in love with a partner and have a honeymoon just to enjoy Santorini. Plenty of other tourists visit and spend time relaxing on the beach, or going on excursions and seeing all the sights the island has to offer.
This is the island to visit if you’re just after a relaxing getaway. The west coast of Naxos boasts one giant pristine beach, perfect for sunbathing lazily and taking in the spectacular view of the sea juxtaposed with the mountains and lush, green valleys. If you’re looking for some water sports to indulge in while on your vacation, Naxos is a great choice because there are good winds that come in the east end, and kite surfers and windsurfers will often be spotted on a Naxos beach since it’s the most comfortable place to practice.
Like Santorini, Paros is a couples’ island, but unlike Santorini, there are many other kinds of tourists that visit as well; it isn’t exclusively for couples. Paros has a vibrant nightlife, more so than Santorini, so if you’re looking for an excuse to go into the cities, look no further. Delicious local food, trendy shopping, and plenty of local cultures await you on the island of Paros. Paros is also famous for its beaches and charming villages.
You can’t visit Greece and skip all the history. In fact, it’s almost impossible to physically miss it since there’s such an abundance of historical sites, architecture, and stories. Crete is one of the best islands to visit, next to the mainland, if you’re traveling for the historical aspect. Sure, the island is also rich with white, sandy beaches, excellent food and shopping, and surreal hiking trails, but the diverse history of the landscape, Greek legends, castles, fortified villages, churches, and museums is most prevalent on the island of Crete.
I hope I’ve given you a good idea of which Greek islands you might want to visit. My personal favorite is Santorini, so I hope you get to experience it!