Greece Vacation Spots: Top 5 Greek Islands

Greece Vacation Spots: Top 5 Greek Islands

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Without a doubt, there's a plethora of places to see in mainland Greece, yet the country's vast expanses are spread on over 6000 islands, making up its archipelago. Large and small, volcanic, and hilly, washed by different seas, including the Ionian and the Aegean, the list of Greek islands to visit is surely extensive.

For those who plan a Greek island vacation, we've put together a countdown of the ultimate best ones worth the time, and trust us, these jaw-dropping beauties have much to offer travelers.

Best islands to visit in Greece

Stunning Santorini

Triumphantly opening the countdown of this European country's "best" is the Greek island of Santorini. This volcanic moon-shaped island is among the most photographed locations in entire Greece, alluring globetrotters with stunning panoramas of traditional white buildings, windmills, and blue-roofed churches set high up on dark cliffs all against the deep blues of the sea.

Santorini, Greece

Although being rather small and having relatively limited availability when compared to the neighboring islands, Santorini's popularity continues to grow every year. There are legends about its sunsets, interesting stories about its unusual volcanic background, and simply charming "resident" donkeys.

Travelers usually spend from a single day there (as a day trip) to several nights, staying at one of the petite hotels converted from the historic half-cave houses of the locals.

As a rule, such marvelous accommodation options offer rooms with tiny private swimming pools or jacuzzis placed on balconies overlooking the surroundings. And mentioning transport, the island can be reached by ferry both from the Athens port and from the nearby Crete or Mykonos.

Interesting Fact:
The name Santorini is actually a combination of two words. The Latin Empire named the island in the thirteenth century, refering to Saint Irene, from the name of the old cathedral in the village of Perissa – the name Santorini is a combination of the name Santa Irini.

Charming Crete

The second most-visited one is the Greek island of Crete. It is the largest island of the archipelago and an unrivaled destination of those who decide to set off on Greek island tours which combine relaxed-pace laid-back leisure time with active sightseeing.

Crete, Greece

The city of Heraklion is the major town of Crete, home to both its port and airport. Other adorable picture-perfect Crete towns with colorful buildings include Chania, Rethymno, and Agios Nicolaos. What's for the shores of the island, they are actually washed by several seas, including the Mediterranean on the south and the less known Sea of Crete on the north. Regardless of the part of the island, you'll get to visit, the emerald crystal clear waters will surely pleasantly surprise you! Speaking of things to see on Crete, this island is home to several well-preserved examples of the heritage of Ancient Greece. As such, the beautiful Knossos Palace is among the top Crete attractions.

Mesmerizing Mykonos

If you're craving to have some fun during your journey, then the Greek island Mykonos should make it into your travel agenda. This fabulous destination in Greece is in the top charts in the country, magnetizing travelers with its lovely atmosphere, cozy seafront overwater cafes, picturesque traditional architecture, and white cobblestone streets, altogether practically “screaming” the image of typical Greece.


Among the easiest ways to reach Mykonos is either via ferry from the neighboring islands and the capital or by taking a fast 30-minute flight from Athens. Without a doubt, just as in the case with Santorini, prepare for things being a bit pricier while on Mykonos as the island is becoming more and more trendy and is catered towards travelers who aren't on a super low budget.

To give you an idea of the places to see in Mykonos, the area of Little Venice and the adorable 5 flour windmills are the "musts". And if you'd like to have a day trip, the adjacent small island of Delos, home to Doric temples and many archaeological sites, will be a great choice.

Interesting Fact:
According to Greek mythology, Mykonos was named after its first ruler, Mykonos (Μύκονος). It was a local hero and son of the god Apollo.

Ravishing Rhodes

The Greek island of Rhodes is another highlight which cannot be left without attention. Everything on the island seems to be transmitting a quaint and romantic feeling. It is the fourth-largest island in the country and is fairly considered among the most enchanting places to select for your vacation.

Rhodes, Greece

Undoubtedly, apart from endless opportunities for beach leisure, the medieval look of its cities is what makes it such a crowd-pleaser. Famed for being one of the oldest inhabited towns on the continent, the Old Town of Rhodes (up in the north of Rhodes Island) is a place to surely pin on your map. Here you can find the historic castle, the Palace of the Grand Masters, and the Great Hospital of the Knights. The southern part has gorgeous nature with endless serene valleys and rich vegetation, so a ride across the island can be a memorable add-on. Touching upon the regions offering the greatest accommodation and resorts in Rhodes, the eastern coast is more advanced, towns like Faliraki, Kolympia, and Lindos are the often selected spots.

Captivating Corfu

Placed really close to the shores of Albania, Corfu is frequently noted as the Greek island with the best beaches (or at least one of such islands). Surrounded by the Ionian Sea, Corfu offers endless opportunities for snorkeling in its sky-blue waters, breathtaking coves, and inlets. And it's needless to say that boat rides along the coastlines are among the most favored pastimes of those relaxing on the island.

Corfu, Greece

The architecture of the island was in much influenced by the trends of Italy's Venice, as well as England and France, all giving the towns a very distinctive European look that mixes different styles from Baroque to Renaissance. The island is home to numerous palaces with marble exteriors and ornate promenades, including the fabulous Liston Promenade.

If the town of Corfu caught your eye (it is the main point of arrival, by the way), there's much to see.

Also called Kerkyra, its cozy old town, Spianada Square, the Old and New Fortresses, and several charming churches, such as Panagia Vlacherna, and monasteries, are the Corfu sights to definitely be seen. For great views of the natural and city landscapes, consider saving some time for rising to the top of the historic Angelokastro Castle.

When's the Best Time to Visit Greece?

If you look on the Greek islands map, the vast choice of the spots to visit might be overwhelming at first. Below, we have listed the top locations to consider putting on your bucket list, yet before switching to the top-picks, let's figure out when's the best time to go to Greece and its fabulous isles.

Santorini, Greece

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the summer months of June, July, and August are the tourists' most favored ones, and, therefore, these three are definitely not the greatest choice for you. For starters, weather conditions of Greek summers promise a lot of hot burning sun with daytime thermometer marks jumping above 30°C (86°F and more). Not to mention the endless crowds of tourists, trafficking all the petite streets, buzzing around every highlight attraction, and jamming the nicest places to eat. Plus, during this peak season, the prices skyrocket for basically everything, meaning many things, including souvenirs, will be overpriced.

Based on the years of experience in organizing tours to Europe, we can surely state that the greatest months to consider for your Greece trip (especially if the isles are on your travel radar) are late April and May, as well as September and early October. These are the months during which you can avoid the tourist rush and still enjoy pleasant weather (as there are about 300 days of sunshine in Greece per year). To find out more about wonderful destinations of Greece you can by following 10 Best Things To Do In Greece.Now let's dive into the list of the most iconic islands in Greece!

All in all, you can't go wrong by choosing this European destination for your getaway, as when it comes to Greece travel, the experience will be filled with delicious olive-oil scented cuisine, the sounds of traditional Greek music, and beautiful panoramas to remember a lifetime. And the good part is that you never have to stop on only one location per trip, you may easily opt for a mixed itinerary, including the exploration of Athens and any other city of the mainland with the isles, or even set off on memorable Greek island cruises! If you'd like some assistance in planning your Greece itinerary, feel free to contact our experienced travel specialists, who'd love to give you a hand!