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12 Best Greek Islands You Have to Visit This Summer 2024

Updated: Sep 25, 2023

There are so many Greek islands to visit during summer that it would be impossible for you to see them all. I mean, we are talking around 6,000 islands. That's a lot.

That is why I made this list (much shorter than 6,000, of course) where I explain to you everything you need to know about the best Greek islands to visit. From how to get there, what to expect and help you choose which island or islands are perfect for your holiday style.

To book a ferry, check out all the ferry routes available on my favorite website Ferryhopper.

12 best greek islands you have to visit this summer

If you plan to visit a Greek island, I advise you to visit Greece during the summer season because winter in Greece can be pretty cold.

During the summer months in Greece, you will enjoy stunning beaches and swim in crystal clear waters.

Maybe spend one day or more on a sailing boat, with the wind between your hair, watching your skin getting tan and staying at some beautiful accommodation.

12 Most Visited Islands in Greece

Greece is all this and much more. You are going to fall in love with the quite relaxed lifestyle. The delicious and fresh food, the people, everything about Greece is going to make you wish never to go back home.

Did I say enough to convince you to plan a vacation in Greece? I am sure I did.

So, without further ado, here is my list of the most beautiful and visited Greek islands.

which greek island is the most touristy?
Me and my fiance' in Santorini

Which Greek island has the most tourists?

Santorini island is the most visited island in Greece, with its 2 million tourists choosing it as a holiday destination. Most people visit Santorini during a Greek cruise, so they don't have the chance to explore it as it deserves.

Many tourists or travelers, only visit the most important towns on the island, the famous Fira and Oia. They are absolutely stunning, on top of a cliff, but many more areas of Santorini are well worth a visit.

samothraki island, greece, one of the least touristy island

Which Greek island is the least touristy?

Samothraki island also called Samothrace, is one of the least touristy Greek islands. Mostly for foreigners because it is not very known outside Greece.

It's, instead, particularly popular among Greeks who love to spend their holiday there.

me and my father in Kefalonia island
Me and my father in Kefalonia
Travel Tips: As soon as you book your next adventure, buy good travel insurance in case you need to “unfortunately” delay, extend, or cancel your trip. I recommend VisitorsCoverage for trips up to 1 month and SafetyWing for longer trips.

*This post contains affiliate links. I receive commissions for purchases made through those links at no extra cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and valuable, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something.

Read 12 Most Visited Islands in Greece Below


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12 Most Visited Islands in Greece, kos island

1. Kos island:

Located in the south-eastern Aegean Sea, Kos is the third-largest island and the second most visited island in the Dodecanese after Rhodes.

Kos is the perfect island if you love tall palm trees and long sandy beaches. It is also famous for its landscape and many archaeological sites, left there to be explored by Romans and ancient Greeks. A very famous excursion is the boat tour to visit the famous volcanic island of Nisyros.

In Kos, you will also find many beautiful activities to book, to make your vacation the best ever, from Boat Tours, Jeep Tours, snorkeling, and much more. Check here all the activities available on the beautiful island of Kos.

12 Most Visited Islands in Greece

Here you will visit an important archaeological site, the first healing holistic centre, the Asclepeion, dedicated to Asclepius, the first doctor-demigod in Greek mythology.

On the island, you can also enjoy some well worthed relaxation from a thermal natural Spa beach day to some delicious local wine tasting.

You will love exploring the main town with its large squares, and modern buildings with shops, bars, and restaurants.

You will enjoy local food after visiting the medieval district, the Nerantzia Castel of the Knights of Saint John, the ancient Greek agora ruins, the Roman ruins, and the old arbor.

12 Most Visited Islands in Greece, kos island

How to get to Kos Island?

There is an airport in Kos well connected to many European cities. You can also reach the beautiful island of Kos after visiting Athens by spending 11 hours on a ferry from Athens port Piraeus or by plane from Athens airport.

Otherwise, there are ferries from Rhodes, Leros, Patmos, and Kalymnos if you prefer to visit other islands before or after. Check out the ferry websites I used to travel to Greece, Ferryhopper, the best ferry websites to reach the Greek islands.

To know more about Greece, check out "Best Guide of Greece" where you can find all the information you need to know to plan your next dream vacation.

12 Most Visited Islands in Greece, santorini island

2. Santorini island:

Situated in the Aegean Sea, Santorini is part of the Cyclades islands. A volcanic eruption in the 16th century BC shaped its mountainous landscape. It is one of the most famous and photographed islands globally.

Tourists spent hours taking stunning pictures in its two principal towns, Oia and Fira, located on top of cliffs above the underwater crater.

Check out "The Complete Guide of Santorini" to get all the information and tips to plan your next dream vacation.

santorini island

These two picturesque towns are the perfect places where to enjoy the famous Santorini sunsets.

Many say the best sunset is from Oia, probably the most famous sunset spot in Greece. Visitors wait for hours, hoping to capture a stunning picture.

In Santorini, you can find fantastic accommodations. From little cheap hotels near the beach to hotels with an infinity pool on top of the cliff, and also stunning suites with a private cave pool.

12 most visited islands in Greece, santorini

Santorini is an island for everyone. It has bars where to party all night, top of cliffs restaurants where to enjoy a romantic dinner while losing your sight looking at the sunset with your loved one, but it also has friendly family hotels along the southeast side, where kids can play at the beach.

You can book delicious food and wine tastings (Santorini's wine is very famous), romantic photoshoots with a private photographer or a Santorini photography expedition to explore all the best places to take stunning pictures.

12 most visited islands in Greece, santorini

Santorini is not only a beautiful island where to take stunning pictures. Santorini also offers wonderful activities (that I highly recommend booking in advance because of high demand), from day trips and excursions to visiting the famous hot springs, the volcanic island and Thirassia island.

Wonderful activities include the horseriding tour on the beach, a catamaran cruise with bbq lunch, a sunset cruise, and much more.

You can find all the activities available in Santorini here, and if you find something you like, book it today. Santorini is in high demand, so many tours and activities get sold out pretty quickly.

12 Most Visited Islands in Greece, santorini

How to get to Santorini?

Santorini has an international airport well connected to most European capitals, but flying to Santorini is pretty expensive compared to flying to Athens or other islands.

If you plan to visit other islands before or after Santorini, remember you can fly to Athens, visit the Greek capital (that is absolutely worth a visit, two days could be enough), and then do as I did.

I flew to Athens, spent 2 days there and then I caught a ferry to reach Santorini.

You can reach Santorini from Athens in 4 -10 hours. Depending on which ferry you choose, the faster, the more expensive.

Many islands are easily reached by ferry from Santorini, like Milos, Kea, Crete, Rhodes, Kasos, Chali, Naxos, Paros, Sifnos, Syros, Mykonos, Ios, and many more.

Travel Tip: Check out the best ferry website to reach the Greek islands, Ferryhopper, where you will find all the ferry routes available in Greece.

To know more about Greece, check out "My Complete Guide to Greece" where you can find all the information you need to know to plan your next dream vacation.

12 Most Visited Islands in Greece, skiathos

3. Skiathos Island:

Skiathos Island is part of the Sporades, and it is also the closest to the mainland.

It is a well-known island for its active nightlife, exceptional natural landscapes, and beautiful beaches (like every other Greek island). However, you are going also to find some natural spots, just in case you want to get rid of the swimsuit signs on your skin and, of course, for the mouthwatering food.

will also

There are also many little villages to try regional specialties after admiring ancient masterpieces from the middle ages.

skiathos island

Skiathos offers many activities for everyone, from a romantic visit to the famous Mamma Mia Island tour to see the famous little church in Skopelos, a relaxing day cruise to see hidden bays and beaches, and much more, have a look here for all the tours available in Skiathos.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 12 Most Visited Islands in Greece

How to get to Skyatos?

You can get there by ferry from the mainland ports of Volos, Thessaloniki, Mantoudi, Agios, and Kostantinos.

If you come from Athens, you will need to drive or catch a bus direct to the port of Volos (3.5 hours) and then catch a ferry for Skyatos (1.5-2.5 hours).

To book a ferry, check out all the ferry routes available on my favourite website Ferryhopper.

12 Most Visited Islands in Greece, zante island

4. Zante/Zakynthos island:

Located in the Ionian Sea, Zante or Zakynthos is where you will visit one of the most famous beaches in Greece, Navagio beach.

This beautiful beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach, is an exposed cove that appears in most videos, postcards, or articles about the beautiful Greek beaches.

Zante offers any kinds of outdoor activities, like ceramic making experiences, road tips, turtles cruise, ATV safari and much more. Check out on GetYourGuide and Viator for all the activities available in Zante.

12 Most Visited Islands in Greece, zante

You will entirely fall in love with its aquamarine blue water and its white sand.

Zante also offers a vibrant nightlife with many bars, clubs, and boat parties after having a delicious Greek dinner in one of its many restaurants.

If you are not looking for a party vacation, Zante has got you covered, with its many activities, like food tours or cooking classes to enjoy a romantic sunset dinner or a boat tour followed by a relaxing walk by the beach.

To see all the activities available in Zante, check out my favourite websites GetYourGuide and Viator, where you can find all the activities available.

zante natural caves, greece

How to get to Zante?

You can get there by plane thanks to its international airport. Still, if you plan to visit another fantastic holiday destination before or after, Zante is well connected by ferry to Kefalonia, Corfu, Patras, and Ithaki.

To book a ferry, check out all the ferry routes available on my favourite website Ferryhopper.

naxos island, pier with town behind

5. Naxos island:

Naxos is the greenest and most significant island in the Cyclades, in the south Aegean Sea where you are going to find beautiful beaches, ancient ruins and also mountain villages.

Its capital is a picture-perfect postcard with its white cube-shaped houses and its Venetian castle.

In the little port, you are going to find many boats and catamarans that will take you out in the sea to enjoy a wonderful boat trip, exploring what these island coasts have to offer.

naxos island temple at the sunset, greece

There is something for everyone on this island, from hiking and exploring its mountain villages, to enjoy every kind of water sport such as scuba diving and snorkeling.

Suppose your ideal holiday is to relax on the beach. In that case, Naxos offers many beautiful beaches and tiny coves where you will find all the peace you are looking for, plus crystal water to swim and refresh yourself from the hot sun.

There are many boat tours to book to explore everything that this wonderful island has to offer.

naxos island beach, crystal clear water

How to get to Naxos?

From Athens different ferries will take you to Naxos, the trip can last between 3 to 6 hours, it all depends on which ferry you choose (remember, the fastest one is always the most expensive one).

Otherwise, there is a small airport in Paros (the closest island) or an international airport in Mykonos that is only 1 hour away by ferry.

To know more about Greece, check out "The Most Complete Guide of Greece" where you can find all the information you need to know to plan your next dream vacation.

corfu island, greece, beach

6. Corfu island:

Corfu island is well known for its local specialities, traditions, landscape, and exceptional beaches.

Also called Kerkyra by Greeks, it is located on the north side of the Ionian Sea, very close to the coast of Albania.

Its old town is part of UNESCO's world heritage sites, the perfect place to lose yourself during a walking tour and local food tasting along its narrow brick roads while admiring the sumptuous villas that make this charming town a place you will end up dreaming of visiting again.

beach of corfu island, greece

For beach lovers, Corfu offers many shore excursions to visit its stunning beaches, where to relax during your stay.

While for the explorers, Corfu has many day trips and excursions available to visit castles, old mansions, and hiking tracks.

pier in corfu island, greece

Like every other perfect vacation spot, you will find many places to dance on the beach all night and make the most of your time on this famous Greek island.

corfu island, bay and beach Greece

How to get to Corfu?

You can fly to Corfu thanks to its international airport, which is well connected to many European capitals, and by ferry from the mainland.

Do you want to know more about Greece?

Check out my other articles about what to see and do in Greece.

hydra island

7. Hydra Island:

If you are looking for a place to visit on a day trip from Athens, this island could be perfect. This tiny romantic island is between the Myrtoan Sea and the Argolic Gulf in the Aegean Sea.

Described by many as a perfect island, small and quiet, with fantastic beaches to go for a swim, delicious Greek food, and a place to go for a vacation full of relaxation.

hydra island, greece

Where you won't need a car to move around (actually, there are no cars or other motor vehicles in there because the law prohibits them). You will only need to walk around to explore it, or as some people do, ride a donkey.

If you are looking for a place where to party all night, Hydra could also be your perfect destination because as quiet as it is during the day, Hydra's port becomes the ideal spot where to have fun and party all night long till the early morning in one of its many bars and clubs.

hydra island port, with boats Greece

How to get to Hydra?

It only takes 2 hours by ferry from Piraeus (Athens port) to reach one of the most beautiful islands in Greece.

To know more about Greece, check out "Everything you need to know about Greece" where you can find all the information you need to know to plan your next dream vacation.

rhodes island, greece

8. Rhodes Island:

The island of Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese and the fourth largest in Greece. It is one of the most popular destinations because it offers the perfect vacation for everyone.

In Rhodes, you can find beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, boat tours excursions to explore sea caves, snorkeling, and having fun all day.

activities to book in Rhodes, Greece

And after a fantastic day full of fun, enjoy the fantastic nightlife.

butterfly valley rhodes

Learn Rhodes culture, visit medieval sites, explore the island, and its famous butterfly valley, maybe with a delicious wine-tasting tour. Check out every kind of entertainment in Rhodes here and try delicious Greek gastronomy in a restaurant on the beach or in one of the many local tavernas in town.

If you fancy something more romantic, check out some sunset dinner cruise to plan a fantastic surprise for your loved one.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 12 Most Visited Islands in Greece

How to get to Rhodes?

Rhodes international airport is well connected with most European capitals and other minor cities.

In case you are planning to do some island hopping, keep in mind that Rhodes is connected by ferry to Turkey, Athens, the Dodecanese Islands, the Cyclades Islands, Crete, Aegean Islands, and also Ikaria and Samos.

view of mykonos own, chora, with white houses, windmill and ship cruise, blue sea water

9. Mykonos Island:

The famous Mykonos is a cosmopolitan destination where to have your dream vacation.

In Mykonos, you can party all night every night and spend hours sightseeing.

In its town's little alleys, you will lose yourself while taking so many pictures that you will run out of battery quickly.

You will enjoy delicious food in its beach bars, tavernas, and fine-dining restaurants. In Mikonos, there is everything you have always dreamed about in a perfect Greek holiday.

Check out "How to Plan a Trip to Mykonos" to get all the tips and information you need to plan your dream vacation.

mykonos island, town chora with pink flowers

In Mykonos, you can have a super luxury holiday in one of its beautiful villas or resorts. Still, you can also find some lovely bed and breakfasts at a reasonable price, as I did, owned by locals with a fantastic sea view.

If you are traveling on a budget, my advice is to book a place not too close to the main town, where you will surely be able to sleep all night with open windows, far from the noisy parties.

You must rent a car to move around or catch the local buses.

You can also visit Mikonos on a budget, and remember that it is not only a party island. Mykonos is a beautiful place with much to offer to every kind of traveler, families included.

mykonos island, greece, little venice

How to get to Mykonos?

You can reach Mykonos by plane thanks to its international airport well connected to many European capitals and other small cities.

Or you can reach it by ferry from Athens or one of the islands around, like Andros, Paros, Santorini, Naxos, Tinos, Delos, or Syros.

When I went to Mykonos, I got there by ferry after visiting Athens, and then I went by ferry to visit Paros, Ios, and then Santorini.

To know more about Greece, check out "The Ultimate Guide to Greece" where you can find all the information you need to know to plan your next dream vacation.

crete island, beach, Greece

10. Crete Island:

Crete could be the perfect destination if you want to enjoy a warm temperature and spend time on the beach all year round.

Crete is the largest island in Greece, and it is located in the south Aegean Sea.

If you dream about snorkeling in Crete on some of the most beautiful waters in Greece, you should book a vacation on this island.

Prepare yourself and mostly your camera, because you will spend a lot of time taking pictures of every place you are going to visit and every outdoor activity in Crete you will enjoy.

crete island, beach at sunset

You will see marvelous coasts in Crete, but it is also perfect if you like hiking, thanks to its stunning mainland with forests and mountains. I highly recommend you book a Crete excursion tour in advance to visit the marvelous places around this fantastic island.

There are many big cities where to spend an afternoon doing shopping and sightseeing but don't forget to save some energy for the busy nightlife.

crete island beach Greece

How to get to Crete?

You can get there by plane from every European capital and other major cities. If you prefer to come by ferry, there are always some coming from Athens, from the islands of the Aegean Sea and the Cyclades.

To know more about Greece, check out "The Best Travel Guide to Greece" where you can find all the information you need to know to plan your next dream vacation.

kefalonia island, myrtos beach Greece
Me and my mom in Kefalonia

11. Kefalonia/Cephalonia island:

The wonderful island of Kefalonia is the best place to spend a fantastic holiday full of delicious food and relaxation. It is a lovely island in the Ionian Sea, not a party island.

It is a very quiet place where you can enjoy every day a different beach or explore its vast land full of magnificent natural sceneries. Or book a boat tour to explore it by the sea.

kefalonia island, greece, melissani cave

Explore the underground lake of Melissani and cave of Drogarati. Find the little family-owned restaurant right on the beach, where the fish has been caught only a couple of hours earlier and is being cooked in the best way.

12 most visited islands in greece, cephalonia

Kefalonia is also famous for being the location of the movie Captain Corelli's Mandolin which made this island famous worldwide.

Unmissable is the Myrtos beach with its blue water and vegetation all around. It has also been voted as one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece and the world.

Valentina's Travel Guide, 12 Most Visited Islands in Greece

How to get to Kefalonia?

The best way to get to Kefalonia is by plane, thanks to its airport connection to most leading European cities. Otherwise, if you plan to go there by ferry from the mainland, ferries come from Patras and Kyllini ports.

If you would like to get there from Italy by ferry and take your car with you, there are ferries from Brindisi to Kefalonia. The journey lasts 15 hours.

Still, you will spend a day in the middle of the sea, and once you get there, you will have your car to visit the island (this is exactly what my parents did when we met in Kefalonia to spend a week together, and they loved it).

paros island, Greece, port boats

12. Paros Island:

Paros is probably one of my favorite islands in Greece (of course, I haven't been on every island, not yet at least). Still, I have been to most of the famous ones, and I found Paros as a more quiet and livable version of Mykonos, but still absolutely stunning.

In Paros, there are beautiful beaches where you spend all your days relaxing, maybe reading a novel, swimming, and playing in the water.

Do some snorkeling, go on an exploration of the island hiking, and take stunning pictures in its little town's alleys (that look like those in Mykonos, with the only difference that here everything is much, much cheaper).

paros island, beach, blue water Greece

How to get to Paros?

Many ferries are coming here from Athens, but this island is also (like every Greek island) very well connected to other Cycladic islands.

When I went there, I was coming from Mykonos, and then I went to the island of Ios by ferry.

To know more about Greece, check out "What to see in Greece," where you can find all the information you need to know to plan your next dream vacation.

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