Greece is one of Europes best holiday destinations. With it’s turquoise Aegean sea and mountainous landscapes, it’s no wonder that so many of us flock there every year.
As we all know, there are literally thousands of islands that make up the entirety of Greece with some being more well-known than others. Your greek islands vacations can have you island hopping, taking in deep blue waters, local history, and culture; experiencing everything that these islands have to offer.
So, if you’re looking to head to Greece but don’t want to just jump on a typical package holiday to the main resorts, here are some of the lesser-known islands that are guaranteed to give you a more traditional taste of Greece.
Don’t be fooled when you land in the familiar Kos airport as the island of Kalymnos is just a ferry ride away. Upon docking in the port, you’ll spot a statue of Poseidon, a subtle nod to the islands rich history with the sea.
Once famous for its sponge-fishing, Kalymnos is now a quiet Greek island that offers unparalleled hiking and climbing experiences. Similarly, Kalymnos is also a great diving spot thanks to the crystal clear waters surrounding the coast.
If adrenaline-fuelled activities aren’t your thing, there is plenty of culture to scope out on the island. From the sea sponge factory to the archaeological museum, and as with any Greek island, there is plenty of historical information to discover.
In between all of this adventure, make sure to kick back and enjoy the beautiful beaches on this island with Platis Yialos beach being a particular favourite. You also won’t have to look far for good food as the island has many traditional tavernas serving up locally caught fresh fish and other Greek staples.
Another island accessed by ferry, Thassos is just 10km away from mainland Kavala. A relatively small island, the best place to stay while visiting would be near Golden Beach. This blue flag winning beach offers a 3km stretch of soft golden sand paired with calm, shallow waters.
There are plenty of restaurants and bars that line the beachfront. This makes for some incredible evening dining with a handful of tavernas dishing up some of Greece’s most recognisable dishes.
Head over the Thassos town via local bus for a day packed full history. Here, there are many archaeological sites with highlights being the Roman Amphitheatre and the Acropolis.
Tourism here is just kicking off which means that all of the sites are fairly quiet which gives you a chance to properly delve into the rich mythological past of the island.
Positioned at a crossroads between the Aegean and Ionian seas, Kythira is relatively untouched by tourism.
With a population of fewer than 4000 people, you’ll be in for a real Greek gallivant on this island. The unspoilt landscape offers up lush greenery, unbelievable cliffs and cavernous gorges all surrounded by gorgeous blue ocean.
While on the island, make sure to pay a visit to one of the most famous waterfalls, the Neraida. This waterfall, sometimes called Fonissa, showcases nature at its finest with free running water falling from a spectacular height of 20 metres. Remember to bring your swimming kit to take an unforgettable dip in this mesmerising spot!
Of course, no trip to Greece is complete without a little history. The Venetian castle and the Cave of Agia Sofia give some insight into the beginnings of this island.
End your day of historical findings by visiting Palaiopi beach. Not only are the azure waters breathtakingly stunning, but the beach is also, quite fittingly, said to be the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty.
Rumoured to be named after the famous Icarus, who supposedly fell to the island after flying too close to the sun, Ikaria is a real taste of Greece. Characterised by its rocky landscape and secluded beaches, Ikaria won’t disappoint if you’re looking for something off the beaten track.
Because the island isn’t frequented by hoards of tourists, the islanders still maintain a traditional way of living. Therefore, it’s no surprise to learn that Ikaria is one of the world’s five Blue Zones — the places where people are healthier and live longer.
If the idyllic scenery and happy locals aren’t enough to tempt you, the island is also well-known for its wild parties. Back in the day, once pirates and foreign invaders were no longer a threat, the island grew a notable nightlife in celebration.
The island now attracts many Athenians at the times of the famous Panagiria, otherwise known as Saints Days. These celebrations involve village feasts in honour of Saints’ name days. Prepare to be thrown into an authentic Greek experience with the help of mouthwatering local food, smooth wines and traditional dances.
If you’re looking for something a little more low-key after the festivities, visit the Seychelles, Nad and Agios Georgios beaches for those dreamy white sands and aquamarine waters.
While we’re all familiar with some of Greece’s better-known islands, there are still plenty of hidden gems to discover. From the ancient history in Thassos to the wanderlust inspiring beaches of Kythira, where will your next Greek adventure take you?