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18 of the Best Greek Islands to Visit in Your Lifetime

Not all islands are created equal, and the ones in Greece are all especially charming. Here are the best Greek islands you need to visit.

Mykonos Town, Cyclades, GreeceImage Source/REX/Shutterstock

Mykonos

What to know: The Greek island Mykonos is known for having a trendy nightlife compared to other, more quaint spots. But don’t let that wild nightlife fool you! Mykonos is also one of the best Greek islands for people who want a stylish boutique-like hotel experience and lovely beaches, too. The island has some of the amazing beaches you should add to your bucket list.

Perfect for: People who want a good mix of nightlife and beach time.

Where to stay: Put your feet up at the Nissaki Boutique Hotel, which has an excellent rating because of the gorgeous marina views, close proximity to some 18 restaurants, and a solid walkability score.

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Holiday makers on the beach of Zakynthos, Greece - 25 Jul 2015Kostis Ntantamis/NurPhoto/REX/Shutterstock

Zakynthos

What to know: This beautiful island is only accessible by boat. Although it’s known for getting a little crowded, it’s worth visiting to see the loggerhead turtles that breed on Gerakas beach. Make a note that Smuggler’s Cove, located in Zakynthos, is also one of the most photographed beaches in all of Greece.

Perfect for: People on vacation with teens or toddlers.

Where to stay: The Balcony Hotel offers lovely views for a great value. There are 65 restaurants nearby along with 18 different attractions, too. TripAdvisor gave this hotel a certificate of excellence because it consistently has excellent reviews from travelers.

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Corfu capital citytelesniuk/Shutterstock

Corfu

What to know: This Greek island has excellent beaches, museums, and a monastery. Besides that, there are a few unique activities, including the Museum of Asian Art, a waterpark, and a donkey rescue center.

Perfect for: Corfu is one of the best Greek islands for people who want a little bit of everything.

Where to stay: Stay at the Rodostamo Hotel & Spa which stretches over 33 acres. The 5-star hotel has a beautiful pool and scenic views.

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Greece Hydra Island - Aug 2014Orestis Panagiotou/Epa/REX/Shutterstock

Hydra

What to know: This Greek island makes for a perfect day trip—although the quaint streets and culture might convince you to stay longer than a day. The island is less than two hours from Athens and offers tons of different art installations throughout the year. This beautiful island might inspire your next trip to one of the sunny Caribbean islands you need to visit.

Perfect for: Artsy people looking for a long weekend trip will enjoy Hydra.

Where to stay: The Cotommatae Hydra 1810 is a quiet, boutique hotel, with easy access to the port, bars, and 37 restaurants, too. This is an awesome option for people who want to do lots of exploring on foot.

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Town, windmills, dusk, Oia, Santorini, Cyclades, GreeceRobert Haasmann/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

Santorini

What to know: Picture-perfect Santorini won’t disappoint, visually. From gorgeous sunsets to the town of Thiria, this Greek island is a sight to behold. That might be why it’s popular with honeymooners. There are also vineyards and art galleries to explore for when you need a break from the beach.

Perfect for: Romantics and honeymooners are the ideal Santorini tourists.

Where to stay: Stay at The Apanemo for the best value hotel in Santorini. More than 800 reviewers love the views and staff at this family-run hotel.

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The lake Voulismeni in Agios Nikolaos, a picturesque coastal town with colorful buildings around the port in the eastern part of the island Crete, GreeceGeorgios Tsichlis/Shutterstock

Crete

What to know: Farm-to-table lovers will appreciate this Greek island that offers tons of mostly-healthy food options. Plus, because the island produces most of its own food, dining is more affordable. The traditional cuisine features must-tries such as Cretan cheeses, fried snails, smoked pork, and Sfakia pies. That puts the island at the top of the best Greek islands for foodies list. People who prefer visiting less-popular destinations should check out these secret island escapes all across the world.

Perfect for: People on a budget and healthy foodies will love Crete.

Where to stay: The GDM Megaron Historical Monument Hotel not only has a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor, but it’s also a 2019 Travelers Choice winner—the highest recognition the travel website offers. The historic building overlooks the harbor, has a perfect score for walkability, and is close to 134 restaurants.

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Anthony Quinn Bay on the island of Rhodes, Greecegkordus/Shutterstock

Rhodes

What to know: Rhodes might not seem like a party destination, but the island can hold a candle to other spots like Mykonos. Plus, this iconic vacation spot is known for the sunshine—it actually shines in Rhodes about 300 days out of the entire year.

Perfect for: People who don’t mind a “touristy” vibe, and people who prefer newer developments.

Where to stay: Stay at the In Camera Art Boutique Hotel if you want to walk to attractions and some 156 restaurants. If the beach is more of a priority, you’ll want to stay at the Atrium Platinum Luxury Resort Hotel & Spa which offers views of the bay of Ixia.

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View of Giardini-Naxos, Sicily, ItalyBAO/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

Naxos

What to know: This rural island is ideal for people searching for a laid-back, leisurely pace. Isolated beaches and ancient cities are located throughout the island for you to explore.

Perfect for: People who want to explore ancient villages and beaches with less tourism development.

Where to stay: Scala Apartments and Studios offer charming accommodations with wonderful views.

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Church of Panagia Evangelistria at Tinos island in GreecePanos Karas/Shutterstock

Tinos

What to know: If beaches aren’t high on your priority list, head to this Greek island. Yes, they do have some beaches, but the main attractions on this island include various museums such as the Museum of Marble Crafts and Panayia Evanyelistria Cathedral and Museums. Once you knock this off your bucket list, add these European islands you never thought to visit, but should.

Perfect for: People who want to explore traditional villages and tavernas.

Where to stay: Diles & Rinies Estate has a gorgeous swimming pool, gardens, and a fantastic view.

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Beautiful view at Batsi village, Andros island, Cyclades, GreeceKite_rin/Shutterstock

Andros

What to know: This island offers tons of different walks and hikes with gorgeous views of the ocean. You could also stumble through some orange groves, valleys, and streams while exploring, too.

Perfect for: Beach lovers and outdoorsy explorers will find endless entertainment on this Greek island.

Where to stay: The Armonia Resort is a quaint hotel close to the old town of Andros, Chora, the famous Menites springs, and the old mansions and gardens of Lamyra.

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PatmosNejdet Duzen/Shutterstock

Patmos

What to know: This island offers a mix of activities. In addition to the fabulous beaches and boutiques are gorgeous views and a well-known monastery. Note, however, that it isn’t easy to get there. Travel options include a nine-hour ferry, a helicopter ride, or various transfers from the Greek island, Kos.

Perfect for: People who want to keep away from tourist spots and don’t mind trekking for some nice views will like Patmos.

Where to stay: Skala Hotel is a family-owned hotel with mountain views, a pool, and a good walkability score, too.

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Motorboat mooring off beach, Lalaria Beach, Skiathos, GreeceOJO s/REX/Shutterstock

Skiathos

What to know: This tiny island is actually home to about 60 different beaches. Get out on the water with a kayak or boat to soak up the sun. It’s one of the most beautiful Mediterranean islands in the world.

Perfect for: People who don’t mind trekking to the island for its variety of beaches will get the most out of Skiathos.

Where to stay: Book a room at Skiathos Premier Hotel which has a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor, a great pool, and a decent walkability score.

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Holy white blue greek church shining over Ikaria island at the mediterranean sea sourrounded by beautiful landscape and magical bays, Ikaria, GreeceTom Jastram/Shutterstock

Ikaria

What to know: Ikaria might sound familiar because it’s inhabitants are known for living long lives. In fact, people living in Ikaria live on average ten years longer than those in the rest of Europe and America. Come for “the secret to aging gracefully” and stay for the museums, beaches, and thermal hot springs.

Perfect for: Travelers who want a little bit of everything, along with some opportunities for self-care, should book a stay on Ikaria.

Where to stay: The Toxotis Villas are close to Nas beach and the Theoktistis Monastery.

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KEFALONIA, GREECE - September 30, 2017: Panoramic view of beautiful beach at Myrtos Bay on the Ionian island of Kefalonia. Greecevivooo/Shutterstock

Kefalonia

What to know: Wine-lovers rejoice! This Greek island is a paradise for oenophiles. Plus, the heavenly beaches provide a beautiful backdrop for sipping when paired with the low-key atmosphere. You can also enjoy Myrtos beach, four-wheel-drive safaris, and snorkeling near the rocky coastline, too.

Perfect for: This island is a perfect option for a family trip since there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Where to stay: The Melmar View Hotel is close to many different beaches. Plus, the hotel is a Travelers’ Choice 2019 winner and also has a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor.

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Small fishing huts, boats in front, Milos Island, Cyclades, Greece, EuropeGerhard Zwerger-Schoner/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

Milos

What to know: This volcanic island was once more of a hidden gem. And although it has become more popular recently, it’s still worth visiting the volcanic sand beaches. If you’re not ready for international travel, you can soak up the sun if you take the best island vacations in the United States.

Perfect for: People who want really spectacular views.

Where to stay: Hang your hat at Tania Milos—a hotel known for the stellar views, a Travelers’ Choice 2019 award, and a certificate of excellence from Trip Advisor.

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Ruins of Venetian fortress in Skopelos, GreeceTomasz Czajkowski/Shutterstock

Skopelos

What to know: If you’re looking for a sunny island with classic villas and monasteries, Skopelos is a great destination. Not only was it the setting for Mama Mia!, but it also has lots of options for lodging and delicious fresh plums from island orchards.

Perfect for: People who want something off the beaten path should venture to Skopelos.

Where to stay: Opt for the Aegean Wave Hotel that offers both seaside and countryside views, fabulous restaurant service, and is close to Glossa port.

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House of Hermes, Delos, GreeceChristian Handl/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

Delos

What to know: This is one of the best Greek islands to visit for history-lovers. According to mythology, Delos is the birthplace of Apollo. The island features tons of temples, mosaics, and statues.

Perfect for: History lovers who want to stay on a tiny island should book a trip to Delos.

Where to stay: Stay at De.Light Boutique Hotel for a charming and romantic room. The pool, spa, and restaurant are sure to keep you busy in between your excursions.

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greece kalymnos islandLUC KOHNEN/Shutterstock

Kalymnos

What to know: Hikers will enjoy this popular rock climbing destination. Picture wildflowers, limestone cliffs, and blue waters. Don’t worry—there are climbs for every activity level.

Perfect for: People who love rock climbing will enjoy Kalymnos.

Where to stay: H Hotel Ambiance isn’t far from Masouri beach or tasty restaurants. Now that you have the details on the best Greek islands, check out these islands that will disappear in the next 80 years.

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[Sources: The Telegraph; CNN Travel]

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Emily DiNuzzo
Emily DiNuzzo is an associate editor at The Healthy and a former assistant staff writer at Reader's Digest. Her work has appeared online at the Food Network and Well + Good and in print at Westchester Magazine, and more. When she's not writing about food and health with a cuppa by her side, you can find her lifting heavy things at the gym, listening to murder mystery podcasts, and liking one too many astrology memes.