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Best things to do in the Greek Islands

Greece is well known for its islands, and there are plenty to choose from, depending on your hobbies, interests, and lifestyle, so here is our guide to the absolute best things to do in the Greek islands, so you will not miss a thing.
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Greek Island

When people think of Greece, they picture idyllic bays, crystal clear water, dreamlike landscapes, and the food – oh the food! One of the best things about Greece is that it caters to everyone, especially those seeking adventure, those looking for a fun party atmosphere, those wanting a relaxing getaway, and those who want to discover the Greek past.

If you didn’t know already, Greece is made up of 6,000 islands and each of these is part of its very own group, which we will delve into a little further on. Many of these islands are well known for their unique traits, and suit specific types of travelers, so if you are wondering which island or islands suit you, then stay tuned for an in-depth look at the Greek islands and what not to miss out on, while you are there.

It is no wonder that island hopping is such a fantastic activity when in Greece, given that each island has its characteristics, this is an ideal way to see a variety of traditions, subcultures, landscapes, and atmospheres in just one holiday – plus who wouldn’t want to sit back, relax and travel by boat! So, if you fancy a mix of experiences, an island-hopping experience could be the ideal trip for you. 

Here are some of the best things to do on the Greek islands.

The Ionian Islands

For lush Mediterranean landscape and pristine beaches

THE IONIAN ISLANDS

The Ionian Islands, which are located west of mainland Greece, are made up of seven main islands, some of which you might have heard of. Besides the familiar islands such as Corfu, Lefkada, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, and Ithaca, there are a host of other islands which can be visited, as well as some smaller lesser-known islands, dotted around the Ionian Sea. The Ionian Islands, traditionally known as the Heptanese Islands, are known for their diversity, delicious local cuisine, jaw-dropping forested landscapes as well as cooler climate, setting them apart from other parts of Greece. 

There are a host of exciting things to do here, including visiting Navagio Beach (Shipwreck Beach) on the island of Zakynthos, exploring the mountainous landscape of Lefkada and its tranquil beach of Porto Katsiki, taking in the traditional atmosphere of Corfu Old town, get to know more about famous Greek mythology on the island of Ithaca as well as hiking around the limestone cliffs of Kefalonia. 

One of the best ways to enjoy what the Ionian Islands has to offer is by taking a sailing/yachting adventure through the region, where you will get to experience the isolated beaches of Paxos, eat to your heart’s content just about everywhere as well as step back in time in multi-cultural Corfu. On the flip side, if you want to get off the beaten track and experience some of the lesser-known Ionian islands, this Zante Cruise could be right up your street.

The Cyclades

For charming villages and wild landscapes

THE CYCLADES

Located in the Aegean Sea, in the Southeast of Greece, the Cyclade islands are known for their charm – the iconic image of Greece, with white-washed houses nestled on the hills. Santorini is one of the most well-known of the islands, and this depicts exactly what the Cyclades are known for, which makes it a popular destination for couples and honeymooners, which is not to say that all types of travelers are drawn to this idyllic island. Discovering Santorini, is one of the best things to do in the Greek islands, with the chance to experience the volcanic landscape, and charming narrow streets, go wine tasting, and enjoy the finest of the island’s beaches – this island truly sums up the Cyclades. 

For those who want to experience the Cyclades from a different perspective, we recommend taking a hiking adventure through the lesser-known areas, which will allow you to enjoy the stunning, wild landscapes and local hospitality, which the island group is known for. Some of the best things to do in the Greek islands include a visit to the sacred island of Delos, which is home to one of the most significant archeological sites in the world – a must for history buffs, as well as the unique caves and rock formations on the island of Milos. This awesome Cyclades tour takes in the beauty and adventure of the islands, with stops in Milos, Mykonos, Santorini, and the capital of Athens.

The Sporades

Where Athenians love to vacation

THE SPORADES

The Sporades consist of 24 islands, although just four of them are inhabited, making this group of Islands a dream to experience. These islands are frequented by Athenians, who take advantage of their proximity, located just east of the city, which makes for a quick, easy, and most of all – idyllic getaway, without too much planning. For those looking to mingle with the locals, find some hidden gems and get a full island experience without having to venture too far from the mainland, this is an ideal choice. The island of Evia is one of the easiest islands to access considering it is accessed by car and is known for being the second largest Greek island, with a diverse range of things to see and do. Don’t miss the mountainous island of the island, ideal for hiking, especially the Dimosari Gorge, as well as the idyllic coastal town of Karystos. 

One of the best things to do in the Greek islands is to explore the secluded coves, and dense green forests as well as the film locations of the movie Mamma Mia, which was largely filmed on the island of Skopelos. Skiathos, features some of the Aegean’s best beaches, so allowing time to discover a few of the best ones is a must, as well as the distinct red and white houses of the Skiathos town. To get off the beaten track., make your way inland to find hidden monasteries, ancient fortresses, and forest trails, and for a lively atmosphere, stick around the south coast, which attracts tourists and yachters.

The Saronic Islands

For a local experience

THE SPORADES

Located in the Saronic Gulf, in the eastern region of Greece, the Saronic islands are a fantastic option for a more local experience, considering these are the islands of choice for Greek vacation homes. There are many things to see and do here including experiencing the unique island of Hydra which is car-free, enjoying a cycling adventure through the island of Spetses, as well as sea kayaking around Agistri Island. Given that this group of islands lies so close to the Peloponnese region of the mainland, many tours will include stop-offs along the east coast including the ancient ruin of Epidaurus and its incredible amphitheater.

Of course, you can choose to spend your whole vacation enjoying one island to the fullest, but a sailing adventure is one of the best ways to take it all in, and this is an ideal choice for families with young children or even groups of friends, who can look forward to seeing a different side of Greece from a wonderful sailboat.

Crete

For a diverse, traditional, and cultural experience

Greek Island

Located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea, Crete is the largest island in Greece and perhaps the most well-known and most visited. Due to its size, there are so many exciting adventures awaiting throughout the island, and a visit to Crete is one of the best things to do in the Greek Islands. Crete is known for its charm, traditions, local cuisine, and local hospitality, which is paired with some fantastic resorts, ancient ruins, and wineries, all of which make perfect Cretan experiences. One of the best things to do in the Greek islands is of course to try the local food, and a food tour in Crete cannot be missed. 

This 8-Day Cretan Wonders tour is ideal for those looking for an all-around experience of the island, with a perfect balance, of history, scenery, culture, and food of course. Crete is an ideal place for families, solo travelers, couples, and groups, given the fact that this island caters to every traveler, and there will be opportunities to visit the coast, and the rural regions, meet locals, and explore nearby islands, which are steeped in tradition. It is no wonder that Crete is one of the top Greek and European destinations for travelers, time and time again. For a Greek tour that focuses on food, as well as visiting the islands of Crete and Santorini, take a look at this Gastronomy Exploration in Greece adventure.

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