Did you know that the jaw-dropping natural beauty and crystal clear waters make many Greek islands irresistible and the Greek islands continue to amaze people from all over the world with their beauty?
The Greek islands are known for their beauty and tranquility and are integral part of the Greek culture and tradition. The Greek islands and islets, 6000 of them, arescattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas but only 227 islands are inhabited.
Whether you're looking for sandy beaches, unspoiled island life or history and culture, our top 10 List of Greek Islands to visit this summer will amaze you..
Must see Greek Islands this summer:
1 The Balos Lagoon beach on Crete
The famous beach of Balos, located northwest of Chania, is one of Crete’s and Greece’s most famous summer destinations.The peculiar shape of the Balos lagoon near Chania creates a unique landscape that amazes tourists every year, and its pristine turquoise waters appear to be something from another world. Beyond the rocks at the boundaries of the lagoon, the water is deeper and colder, ideal for a snorkeling. The lagoon and the wider area, with rare species of flora and fauna, are protected under the Natura 2000 program. Eleonora falcons, shags and cormorants nest in the caves of the area. Moreover, the area is a shelter for the protected monk seal and the loggerhead sea turtle.The many hotels in Crete and Chania are unlike other islands, open all year.
2 Sifnos Island
Sifnos is the foodie island among the Cyclades. In fact, it’s known as the cradle of Greek cooking and many a famous chef has come from its hills, namely the great Nikos Tselementes. Think chickpea balls, creamy Manoura cheese (a byproduct of Feta), slow-cooked goat stews, velvety sweet loukoumi (Turkish Delight), or lightly battered calamari needing just a squeeze of lemon. Work up an appetite along over 100km of walking trails, or with a stroll from Kastro to the ridiculously scenic Church of Seven Martyrs. Aside from its cuisine, Sifnos is probably best known for its pottery. The island has been producing potters since early centuries BC and there are still families today who have been practising the art for generations.
East of the capital Apollonia you’ll find Kastro, a village on a steep hill which has been inhabited since prehistoric times and was once the capital of Sifnos. Ruins of an ancient citadel are found at the top of the hill, with narrow alleys and white houses forming a defensive circle down the hill to create a classic medieval-castle city.
3 Elafonisi Island near Crete
Tucked into Crete’s southwest corner, this symphony of fine pinkish-white sand, turquoise water and gentle dunes looks as though lifted from the Caribbean. Elafonisi is an island located close to the southwestern corner of Crete. Elafonissi is almost a mile long and there is surprisingly much to explore, including a fair number of small coves, sandy beaches and interesting rock formations towards the tip as the island stretches out into the sea and into the sunset.. Elafonisi is a magical place that consists of a small islet full of white and pink sandy beaches. When the weather is favorable, without high stormwaters, it is possible to walk to the island from Crete and a once-in-a-lifetime experience for those who are lucky enough to walk to an island!
4 Kleftico, The Pirate Cove on Milos Island
The famous cove of Kleftiko in Milos is an old pirates’ hideout on the southwestern corner of the island of Milos in the Cyclades. The pure white rocks, ancient caves and arches, and the turquoise sea waters surrounding them, make a stunning and unforgettable visual experience. Kleftico is also known as the “Meteora of the Sea”. Kleftiko is a complex of impressive volcanic white rocks, created by the waves of the sea and the air, in the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea. Its photographs adorn the most tourist guides that advertise Greece and have become the trademark of Milos. Kleftico in Milos is understandably one of Greece’s most photographed places. In all Milos has over 60 beaches to choose from and Sarakiniko, the moonscape beach, is also worth visiting.
5 Simos Beach, Elafonisos Island
Elafonisos, not to be confused with Crete’s Elafonisi, is a small island between the Peloponnese Peninsula and the island of Kythira. Simos Beach is one of the most beautiful on Elafonisos island, featuring tranquil waters and sun-washed crescent beaches with pinkish sand and hotels at the beach.
Simos consists of two beaches, Megalos (Large) Simos and Mikros (Small) Simos. Megalos Simos is the longest beach in Elafonissos and Mikros Simos can be accessed within a short walking distance from there. A narrow stretch of white sand divides these two magnificent beaches which are gifted with turquoise exotic waters. The area is made up of white sand dunes and crystal clear waters that offer a unique swimming experience.
6 Hydra Island
Hydra island, with its whaleback-shape ridge looming from the sea, shot to fame in 1956 as the location for A Girl in Black, directed by Michael Cacoyannis, and got an other boost in 1957 for hosting Boy on a Dolphin, starring Sophia Loren. Soon various foreign personalities, including Leonard Cohen, bought and restored property here, joining prominent Greeks who had long appreciated the island’s charms. Sumptuous mansions and humbler vernacular homes arrayed amphitheatrically around the marble-quayed harbour date from the 18th and 19th centuries, when Hydriot seafaring prowess brought great wealth. Despite its high-profile reputation Hydra island remains endearingly time-warped: as a listed architectural reserve, all new construction is theoretically banned, and the town and most of the Hydra island remains blissfully free of cars, except for two small fire trucks.
Perhaps the filmindustry contributed most to Hydra’s fame and the development of tourism on the island. Famous movies filmed on Hydra include Phaedra by director Jules Dassin and starring Melina Mercouri, Anthony Perkins, and Ralf Valone. Other movies filmed all or in part on the island include
- Incense for the Damned (1970)
- Out of the Shadows (1988)
- The Blue Villa (Un Bruit Qui Rend Fou) (1995)
- Boat Trip (2002)
- Fugitive Pieces (2007)
7 Skiáthos Island
Skiáthos was one of the first islands to be developed, back in the mid-1960s. It’s not hard to see why, with more than 50 beaches on Skiáthos lapped by an almost Caribbean-coloured sea, plus a lushly green backdrop inland. Its original forest, alas, has burnt frequently (last time in 2007), but such is the humid climate and ample ground water that replacement growth springs up quickly. Sun-drenched and lush, Skiáthos is surrounded by a ring of lovely beaches and a clear-as-crystal turquoise sea. The majority of the best hotels in Skiáthos are close to these idyllic spots. For the ABBA fans, the film Mamma Mia was filmed on Skiáthos.
8 Koufonissia Island
The sandy beaches that rim Ano Koufonissi's south coast give onto cerulean blue sea of a hue that seems confined to artists' palettes, seemingly impossible in reality. Hidden away between the larger Cycladic islands of Naxos and Amorgos, Koufonissia is made up of three tiny islets, Ano Koufonissi (Upper Koufonissi) and Kato Koufonissi (Lower Koufonissi), which are separated by a 200-metre sea channel and Keros, only Ano Koufonissi has a 'town', a sparkling white community of neat houses and hotels.. While Kato Koufonissi remains uninhabited, Ano Koufonissi, with its whitewashed Cycladic cottages, has a buzzing little community of 366.
Locals live mainly from fishing – it is claimed that there are more boats than residents – there are no real roads and hardly any cars, so everyone either walks or cycles.the Koufonissia islands are pristine and small enough to create impromptu bonds among vacationers of all genres (campers swim, eat and drink side by side with chichier yachting types). People flock to Koufonissia from all four corners of the world, and more locally by sailboat, attracted by this stark and austere paradise, its sandy beaches, outrageously blue waters and a certain island retreat feel that has remained intact over the years.
9 Delos Island, near Mykonos
Delos, uninhabited and only accessable by boat from Mykonos, is one of the undisputed hot spots for exploring the remnants of the rich Greek past. Not only are great swaths of its lands designated under a UNESCO Heritage title, but it’s also home to more archaeological digs and ancient ruins than any other island in the region. Among them lie the Naxian Terrace of the Lions, dedicated in 600 BC, and the mighty Delos Theatre. There is also a fantastic archaeological museum, which chronicles the mythical history of the island as the supposed birthplace of Apollo. Delos is a supreme archaeological treasure and was once one of the most sacred places in Ancient Greece. Delos island was first settled in the third millennium BC. The Apollonian sanctuary, established at least since the 9th century BC, reached the peak of its glory during the Archaic and Classical period, when it acquired its Pan-Hellenic character. After 167 BC, as a result of the declaration of Delos as a free port, all the commercial activity of the eastern Mediterranean was concentrated on Delos.
There are no hotels or any other forms of accommodation on Delos. Instead , stay in one of the many hotels in Mykonos
10 Symi Island
Tiny little Symi is just a pinprick on the map of the Greek Aegean Sea, yet it’s hailed as one of the most beautiful islands around. Its celebrated pièce de résistance is the kaleidoscopically colourful harbour of Symi and Ano Symi town, which glows in ice-cream hues of yellow, pink, blue and ochre below the Aegean sun and between walls of dusty, untouched coastal mountains. Of course, there are also plenty of hidden beaches on offer in Symi, where the aromas of fresh shrimp dishes from nearby tavernas twist through cypress groves. One of the island’s most iconic landmarks is undeniably the monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis, located on the southwest coast. Built in the 18th century, the imposing monastery with its impressive bell tower, is dedicated to the island’s patron saint, none other than the archangel Michael.
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