We’ve all heard about the delights of Crete, Kos and Corfu – but if you’re seeking a Greek holiday that strays from the beaten track, try looking elsewhere. There are around 200 inhabited islands to choose from, but here are five of the SPRESSO team's absolute favourites.
Ios was once known solely for its rowdy nightlife, but in recent years it's managed to turn its reputation around. Today, this quaint little island in the Cyclades still attracts youthful crowds of clubbers, but also boasts a quiet side.
Said to be the final resting place of Homer, Ios is notable for its ancient sites. The traditional village of Hora is also a highlight; here, whitewashed, blue-domed buildings nestle snugly on a hillside, overlooked by traditional windmills and the Panagia Gremiotissa church.
The island also boasts some fantastic beaches, which range from large, family-friendly stretches (Mylopotas, Gialos) to small, secluded coves perfect for a quiet swim and sunbathe (Papa, Diamoudia).
Lefkada is attached to mainland Greece by a narrow causeway, and, despite its close proximity to Preveza Airport, enjoys a far quieter tourist scene than other Ionian islands.
Known for its stunning turquoise waters and white, windswept beaches, Lefkada is particularly popular with water sports enthusiasts, but can be enjoyed by all kinds of travelers
If you’re into your swimming and sunbathing, head to the western coast; for history check out the Castle of Agia Mavra and the Archaeological Museum. The Dimossari waterfall outside Nydri is also the perfect place for a day trip adventure. Climb up on a particularly hot day and you can cool off in the crystal clear pools.
While many history buffs visiting the Greek islands will head straight for Rhodes or Naxos, there’s a lot to be said for spending some time on Ithaki. Lying just off the coast of Kefalonia, and easily accessed by a short ferry, this beautiful island is most famous as the home of the legendary Odysseus. Take some time out here, and you can tour some of the real places described in the Odyssey.
With its sweeping olive groves, rugged cliffs and secluded beaches, Ithaki is also a haven for nature lovers.
The Cycladic island of Syros is a ruggedly beautiful holiday destination with a fascinating – and immensely picturesque – capital at its heart. Considered not just the main town of Syros, but also the center of the Cyclades, Ermoupoli is a bustling, multi-colored port built on two steep hillsides, both of which are crowned with churches.
For a quieter getaway, book accommodation in the seaside village of Kini, which boasts a long sandy bay, and a scattering of friendly tavernas and guesthouses.
If you really want to get off the beaten track, book a trip to Kea. Largely popular with vacationing Greeks, this tiny island is best suited to tourists looking for a truly authentic experience.
Known for its charming seaside villages, sailing, and excellent hiking trails, Kea also boasts a Neolithic settlement and a stunning 18th-century monastery.
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