Tray Tables away

travel tips and tales for mature travellers

Couples getaway, Greece, Luxury travel, overseas getaways, Travelling with kids

So you’ve been to Mykonos and Santorini. Whats next?

The first time anyone visits Greece it is highly likely that Santorini and probably Mykonos will be on their agenda. And with good reason. They are gorgeous islands, unlike anything else one earth – or are they ? There are over 2000 islands in Greece with 170 inhabited. Whilst they are all similar in a way there are many local and cultural differences that make each one special. It’s hard to know which Greek islands to go to !

Here are 5 of our favourite islands that you should see next time you are in Greece ( and the time after – its highly addictive!)

PAROS

Like Santorini and Mykonos, Paros is located in the Cyclades islands, home to the white sugar cube houses and blue roofs and doors that cover every guidebook and postcard on Greece. 

They say Paros is like Mykonos 10 years ago and in our view it ticks all the boxes. With a new airport and close proximity to Athens it is a favourite with many others too. We will be returning again this year!

To read more about why we chose Paros for our 50th birthday celebrations;

 READ HERE

greek islands

greek islands

 

Ferry’s arrive into the port of Parikia. There are lots of lovely towns and villages but our favourite is Naousa.

 

 

 

greek islands

NAXOS

Right next door to Paros ( a 30 minute ferry ride), Naxos is much larger and has more remote areas with large swathes of forest and greenery. It’s a lovely option for families and groups with the main port town packed with things to do from beautiful beaches to a Castle and important archeological sites.

greek islands

greek islands

greek islands

CORFU

On the far Western side of Greece are the Ionian islands of which Corfu is the most popular and is home to an international airport. Whilst some will argue that large volumes of charter flights have ruined much of it there are still plenty of gorgeous seaside villages such as Paleokastritsa, where we spent a magical week a few years ago. 

greek islands greek islands

greek islands

HYDRA

Favoured by the wealthy Athenians and home to many artistic types over the years including Leonard Cohen who called Hydra home for almost 30 years. Hydra is in the Saronic group of islands which are the closest to Athens and most can be visited as an easy day trip. There are no cars nor scooters on Hydra and this adds to much of its appeal with transport options restricted to donkeys and water taxis.

greek islands

greek islands

greek islands greek islands

hydra

CHIOS

Chios is where my father-in-law was born and raised. It is the 5th largest island in Greece and is very close to Turkey – only a 30 minute ferry ride. It was once famous for its shipping economy and is home to the original Mastic trees which produce the resin once used in chewing gum among other things. It is often called ‘the fragrant island’ for the sweet aroma of Mastica and Oregano grown throughout the island and has many unique beaches, monasteries and villages such as the incredible town of Pyrgi with its hand etched houses.

It is a quiet island visited by few tourists and for that reason we found it incredibly authentic and the people extremely friendly. Like its neighbours Lesvos and Samos it has suffered terribly with first the economic crisis and then the refugee situation so do consider these islands as genuine options when planning your trip. 

chios greece

greek islands mastica greek islands food chios greece

These are just a few of the magical islands of Greece. They are a fraction of the price of their more famous cousins and have far less tourists. After Santorini and Mykonos it is hard to know which greek islands to visit next.  These are 5 of the 12 islands we have visited so far and this year we will also be visiting Sifnos and Milos.

There are so many amazing spots it can be overwhelming for visitors to work out where to go and how to get around. I found a great source of information over the years was via American/Greece Matt Barrett’s travel guides and he has a very helpful community on his Facebook page too;

Matt Barrett’s Greece Guides

 

Have you been to the Greek Islands ? What is your favourite ? Please leave a comment below. Yassou!

 

31 Comments

  1. Donna

    What beautiful photos. Take me there right now !!

  2. Michelle

    These are all great suggestions to visit Greece again! Loved Mykonos and Santorini – I know I would absolutely love these too!

    • sandra

      I think you would especially love Paros. Like Mykonos without the price tag!

      • Ig

        Agree, love Paros. Wonderful harbourside, watch the inter island ferries coming in and out or take small ferry over to two wonderful sandy beaches and swim. Bliss.

        • sandra

          We visited Kolombithres beach on our last day last year and cant believe we hadnt discovered it sooner ! A lovely taverna there too

  3. Anonymous

    Enjoyed reading your blog
    I’ve been to Chios & would love to revisit
    George M

  4. Rob

    We really loved our stay on Paros last year. Would love to visit again and go to some of these others. How far is Chios from Athens ?

    • sandra

      Rob, it is a 6-7 hour ferry ride but we flew and it was only about a 40 minute flight from memory

  5. Great post. We loved Naxos when we visited, and after reading this Chios has really caught my eye. We are heading back to Europe soon, and this looks like a great place to relax for a few days.

    • sandra

      Chios is quite unique with the Mastica and the etched houses – it really is very special. We stayed at Karfas beach which is fairly central and a good mix of tavernas and beach with only a small number of tourists(mostly scandanavians). Let me know if I can help in any way – happy planning !

  6. Great inspiration for my trip in June. Have a week off trying to figure out where to go. Greece is on my list of options 🙂

    • sandra

      Do it Marrtje ! June is a great time to go – warm but not yet too busy

  7. i’ve never been to greece but its on top of my bucketlist. i just love your photos! it makes me want to pack my bags and explore the islands as well. thank you for sharing.

  8. Such lovely islands ! I dream of visiting one you didn’t mention, Zakynthos 🙂 but all are beautiful!

    • sandra

      One of the most photographed beaches in the world on Zakynthos – Navagio ( Shipwreck) so very popular. Would love to see it too !

  9. Jess

    This is perfect timing! I’m planning (fingers crossed) to visit the Greek Islands this summer and was thinking Santorini as it is our first time. But accommodation is looking quite pricey. These look like great, less touristy options!

    • sandra

      If you can afford even just one night on Santorini it will not disappoint you. But then jump on a ferry and head to one of the other Cyclades islands like Paros or Naxos. Or several !

  10. Adored Santorini and enjoyed Corfu – definitely adding Paros to my bucket list after reading this. Greece is just so incredibly beautiful!

  11. I love finding more off the beaten path places to get a more authentic experience! This is a great list! 🙂

  12. I’ve only made it to Mykonos so far, but would love to visit all the beautiful places you have photographed and written about. Such lovely islands calling my name!

  13. Hey. We’ll be on Ios for our wedding anniversary this year! Also one of the Cyclades and close to Santorini. Cannot wait!

  14. Simon

    Some great inspiration here ! I had heard Mykonos is full of party people which isn’t really our scene so Paros sounds more like it. Or Naxos ? They look pretty close together

    • sandra

      Only a 30 minute ferry ride Simon. Try and do both if you can ?

  15. How beautiful. I actually have only been to Mykonos & Santorini (and Paros) but definitley going to add these on my to-do list 🙂

  16. I’ve never heard of some of these Greek destinations so thank you for sharing! I loved Mykonos so as Paros looks quite similar I’m sure I’d love that too. Chios also looks wonderful.

  17. Anonymous

    Love your article Sandy, my daughter and I keen to do a Greek Islands trip together, this is a great read lots of good ideas x

  18. sandra

    thank- you, I hope you find it useful!

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