Greece, famous for its cobalt blue seas, whitewashed houses and rustic fish restaurants by the ports, comprises of over 6000 islands in the Aegean and Ionian seas. Yet we only hear about a handful of these beautiful islands. This time Santorini is not in the list. Here are some others that most people have never heard of before…
Located in the Halkidiki peninsula, this beautiful island has a good dose of rustic flavour combined with powdery white sand beaches. Relatively unknown to tourists, most visitors to the island are Greek and it retains an authentic atmosphere.
Try a boat trip to nearby Mount Athos to witness the famous cliff hanging monastery.
Lying opposite the relatively well known isle of Paros you can find the smaller peaceful island of Antiparos. Popular with celebrities and those who value being in a relaxing haven away from the crowds, Antiparos provides the perfect holiday destination.
Visit the incredible cave in the centre of the island if you don’t mind all of the steps!
If you really fancy getting away from it all then head to the idyllic island of Schinoussa, home to a mere 250 residents. There are a handful of hotels available on this tiny slice of paradise and as you can imagine the vibe is very chilled out.
You can reach the island by ferry from Piraeus, the main port of Athens and most hotels will meet you off the boat.
Once a thriving fishing and merchant capital, Halki still retains its majestic aura. Arriving in the port of Emborio you will notice the grand 19th century mansions that attest to the island’s illustrious past. Halki now possesses a sleepier atmosphere that makes walking around the island a delight; make sure you visit the 14th century castle perched above the remains of Horio, the view from the top is spectacular.
Leros is a tranquil and unspoiled island of the Dodecanese with beautiful white sand bays and coves, located between Patmos and Kalymnos. Fortunately its remained low key and uncrowded, and is large enough to explore; spend your days wandering around the picturesque whitewashed villages and enchanting coves.
Meander through the pretty main town of Platanos, exploring the traditional windmills, fortresses and narrow lanes dotted with large antiquated mansions.
Only a short boat ride from Athens, this little island is very popular with the locals and therefore best avoided in high season. Out of season, when the crowds have left but the weather is often still fantastically warm, Agistri becomes a fabulous place to visit. Relaxing on the beach is always an option but you could also hire a kayak and do a circuit of the island to earn your lunch!
The enchanting island of Tilos is more luxuriantly verdant than many other Greek islands. As a result it’s renowned for its abundant wildlife; particularly its bird species which are many and varied, Tilos will indeed bring out your inner ornithologist!
Its gentle rolling landscape dotted with tiny traditional fishing villages and deserted coves, is perfect for leisurely hikes.
In the hills above the port of Livadia you will discover the haunting medieval hamlet of Mikro Horio, abandoned in 1940 and uninhabited ever since this makes for a spine tingling visit.
This dramatic island is famous for its hiking and diving, fans of the movie The Big Blue (that was shot here) pay pilgrimage to Amorgos.
Make sure you visit the 11th century whitewashed monastery of Hozoviotissa, which clings to the cliffside and is approached by a precarious looking narrow pathway. The sweeping views of the Aegean sea below are well worth the stiff climb.
The volcanic island of Folegandros looks strikingly similar to the ever popular island of Santorini, yet is thankfully far less visited.
Explore the charming village of Hora, dramatically perched on the edge of the cliffs with breathtaking views across the cove below, meander around its central squares flanked by whitewashed buildings draped in flowering bougainvillea.
Sifnos has remained until now a secret amongst the Greek set. Achingly trendy and exclusive, they haven’t wanted to let the outside world know about this gem of an island. The atmosphere is chic yet authentic and is perfect for foodies with its reputation for fantastic local dining.
The landscape of Sifnos is just made for hiking and local guidebooks detail trails around the island that you can walk.
After the sun sets pay a visit to the main town of Apollonia, the place where the jet set go to see and be seen, you’ll find a variety of buzzy bars along the Steno.