Travel Notes blog
Which Greek Island is right for your next holiday?
by Clare Evans
13 min read

Which Greek Island is right for your next holiday?

Which Greek Island is right for your next holiday?
With so many Greek Islands to choose from, it can be hard to know which one is right for you. Delve into our guide on which Greek Island is right for your next holiday.
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Greece has over 6,000 islands, from tiny hidden islets to internationally known holiday destinations like Corfu and Zakynthos. Some isles are wreathed in ancient mythology while others are encircled by unparalleled golden beaches. There are many quiet Greek islands, which make peaceful havens that are home to rugged natural beauty. Others still are bustling hotspots teeming with beach bars, excellent tavernas and lively Greek culture.

The only difficulty with being spoiled for choice is knowing where to begin. Should you search for a villa on the peaceful Sporades Islands near Greece’s lesser-known east coast, or seek your retreat on the Ionian Island of Meganissi? To help you find your ideal destination, we have handpicked Greek Islands that are perfect for every taste. Explore our luxury villas in Greece, or read about some of our very favourites below, as well as our top five reasons to visit the Greek Islands, as voted by our clients. For even more advice and personalised recommendations, contact one of our team members.

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5 reasons to visit the Greek Islands

The Greek Islands have come first in the Best Islands in Europe category in multiple Condé Nast Traveller Readers' Choice Awards, beating rivals such as the Seychelles, Mauritius and the Maldives - and we can’t say that we (or our clients) disagree.

We’ve taken a detailed look at feedback from hundreds of our clients to identify the top five reasons they return to the Ionian and Sporades Islands time and time again, which we’ve shared with you below. 

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1. Beautiful Greek beaches

If your perfect holiday includes spending time on the beach, our clients agree that you’ll be hard-pressed to find better destinations than the Greek Islands. The Ionian and Sporades archipelagos are blessed with beautiful stretches of pebbly and sandy beaches. Some feature tavernas, lidos and bars, while others are hidden away and perfectly peaceful, allowing you to pair your beach day with your mood. 

Their charming coves and luscious green backdrops make these island beaches some of the best places to visit in Greece - and that’s all before mentioning the gently lapping, translucent waters, with their aquamarine, emerald, cobalt, turquoise and electric blue hues.  

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2. Delicious Greek cuisine

Whether arriving for lunch by boat after a morning spent sailing or ambling down to the local village for dinner after a day by your villa’s pool, the warm, welcoming environment and mouth-watering fragrances of your local seafront taverna will immediately put you in the mood for a long, enjoyable feast. The taverna traditions of the Greek Islands are something our clients love. The cuisine is genuine, varied, healthy and fresh. Menus offer both seafood and meat, allowing ample dining options, and the wine is excellent.

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3. Boat trips

The ease of renting a boat on the Greek Islands is a highlight for many of our clients. If you’re an experienced sailor, you’ll agree there are few places in the world that are better for a recreational boat trip. Alternatively, if you’ve never taken a boat out on your own before, you’ll be hooked immediately. Learning the fundamentals is simple and you’ll soon be enjoying the freedom of cruising along the coast and swimming offshore in the limpid waters of the Ionian Sea.

We offer a variety of water-based Think Experiences in many of our destinations, from the Greek Islands to Italy - browse them here.

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4. The hinterland experience

The Sporades and Ionian Islands share several characteristics, one of which is their green, mountainous interiors. Ancient mule paths wend their way through aromatic pine forests and whispering olive groves, past age-old monasteries and around sleepy villages where time seems to have stood still.  

Jaw-droppingly beautiful vistas pan out in all directions and, as you roam, you’ll feel as if you have the island to yourself. A day or two exploring the spectacular Greek Islands on foot or by bike is indeed an uplifting and unparalleled experience.

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5. Our exceptional villas

Our exclusive collection of villas in the Ionian and the Sporades Islands is unrivalled, both for quality and for diversity. We can accommodate your needs, no matter if you desire a large luxury base with a pool and garden gate beach access, a villa perfect for the whole family and equipped with a private jetty, kayaks and sailing boats or a romantic seafront hideaway perfect for two.

No matter your requirements, you’ll find the Greek villa of your dreams in our collection - or, should you need guidance, our team is happy to direct you towards a villa that will suit your next holiday.

Browse our complete collection of villas on the Greek Islands.

The best Greek Islands for beaches

Searching for a beach straight out of a postcard, covered in soft golden sands that are lapped at by turquoise waters? Greece’s islands are home to coastal landscapes for beach lovers of all kinds, whether you dream of sandy stretches or characterful pebbly beaches surrounded by spectacular rocky outcrops.

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Hydra

Hydra features an eclectic selection of beaches. It is ripe with pebbly beaches - although it does have one gorgeous sandy option - and is ideal for travellers who wish to veer from the ‘usual’ seaside experience. With plenty of secluded and unique options, this island is perfect for those who are always on the lookout for hidden gems.

  • Mandraki Resort Beach

    - Mandraki Beach is the only sandy beach on Hydra, shelving gently into the warm and inviting sea. With a cafe, restaurant and beachside freshwater showers, you will want for nothing while relaxing in the sun.

  • Agios Nikalaos

    - We love Agios Nikalaos as it’s one of the most unique beaches on Hydra. This deserted pebbly cove can only be accessed by boat - either a water taxi or a rental you have captained yourself - which means you should be sure to pack your own provisions or request we arrange food and drink for you. There’s no better place for a lunchtime picnic!

  • Molos

    - Molos is a lovely and secluded private beach with transparent waters. Perhaps best of all, it can be accessed from a private path from our villa Mirkella - ideal for beachgoers who enjoy avoiding the crowds.

Browse our full Hydra villas collection.

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Corfu

One of the most diverse and colourful Ionian Islands is Corfu, with its stunning scenery both inland and on the coast. It is home to beaches for every taste, from the lively to the rugged and peaceful. Some of the best beaches in Corfu include:

  • Agios Georgios

    - A quiet, expansive sand and shingle beach, much-loved by windsurfers and served by a handful of tavernas.

  • Kalami 

    - One of the locals’ favourite places to swim in Corfu, with a pebble beach and two popular tavernas. It is a five-minute walk from our lovely villa,

    Josephine House

    .

  • Kerasia

    - A peaceful pebbly beach in a lovely natural setting surrounded by trees. Enjoy refreshments at the nearby taverna or café, and make the most of the facilities, including showers, sun loungers, umbrellas and the like.

  • Glyfada

    - A well-served sandy beach with gorgeous surroundings and with lots of facilities including bars, lidos, volleyball and watersports.

Browse our full Corfu villas collection

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Lefkada

The island of Lefkada is a wonderful choice for the more adventurous beach lover. While it is home to many lovely sheltered beaches and coves, it is also a mecca for windsurfers and those in search of swell. Our favourite Lefkada beaches and bays include:

  • Vassiliki 

    - Part of a charming fishing village. Rental equipment is available from this sweeping, pebbled beach should you wish to try your hand at windsurfing.

  • Mikros Gialos

    - A long stretch of shingle-pebbly beach with a selection of bars, lidos and tavernas. It is well-situated near our timeless villas

    Althea

    and

    Geoeli House

    .

  • Agios Ioannis Bay

    - A long, golden beach close to Lefkada Town and a favourite among kitesurfers.

  • Agios Nikitas

    -  A pretty, bustling beach and fishing village, with golden sand and rocky features. It is a 10-minute drive from our serene villa,

    Epipleon

    .

  • Nidri

    - A part of a bustling coastal village of the same name, perfect for island hopping to nearby Kalamo, Meganissi and Kastos. It is located a 10-minute drive from our panoramic villa,

    Agapanthus

    .

Browse our full Lefkada villas collection.

The best Greek Islands for families

These family-friendly Greek Islands are fantastic for parents and grandparents travelling with babies, toddlers or teens. We have hand-picked vibrant but laid-back islands, with plenty to do and explore for all ages.

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Zakynthos

Also known as Zante, Zakynthos is a bustling Greek Island with plenty of adventures to be had. Many holidaymakers flock to the south, which is home to a number of resorts with plenty for children to do. Elsewhere, however, unspoilt Zakynthos is waiting to be explored. Some of our favourite family-friendly activities on the island include the following:

  • Boat tours 

    of the Blue Caves and Shipwreck Beach. If you like, we can organise a boat tour for you as part of a

    Think Experience

  • Turtle spotting

    on a boat tour of the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. Should you wish to try turtle spotting with your family, we will arrange a

    chartered eco-friendly boat

    for your trip.

  • Porto Roxa Beach

    is a brilliant beach full of rocky crags to clamber on, diving platforms and laid-back tavernas. It is just 3km from the beautiful stone-built

    Villa Roxa

    .

Browse our full Zakynthos villas collection

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Skopelos

Perhaps most famous as the gorgeous backdrop for the film Mamma Mia!, this picturesque Greek Island has a relaxed pace of life, plenty of space and lots to keep families occupied. What Skopelos lacks in structured activities, it more than makes up for in natural beauty, with endless amazing landscapes for youngsters to explore. We recommend adding these activities to your itinerary:

  • Snorkelling safaris from Skopelos will show you the vibrant marine life of this region. This is part of a

    Think Experience

    , so please let us know if you would like us to assist you in chartering a private boat for a day of snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing.

  • Follow historic pirate routes around Skopelos and its neighbouring islands, including Skiathos and Alonissos, as part of a

    sailing expedition

    put together by our team of Experience Specialists.

  • Climb the steps of the church from Mamma Mia! Follow in the footsteps of Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried as you walk the scenic stairs to the

    church of Agios Ioannis Kastri

    . The view of the island is fantastic, and the journey to the top is fun for all ages. Our incredible, architect-designed villa

    Maistros

    is just a 15-minute drive away and houses up to 15 guests.

Browse our full Skopelos villas collection

Quiet Greek Islands for relaxation

Get off the beaten track and leave the tourist traps behind with these two Greek Islands, both of which offer tranquillity, natural beauty, peace and blissful quiet.

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Kea

Despite being quite close to Athens, the island of Kea offers visitors a tranquil respite from the bustle of city life. It is a verdant island filled with sweeping landscapes, unparalleled nature and unspoiled beaches. Even the towns and villages emit this feeling of relaxation, with the capital Ioulis featuring traditional architecture, castles and museums. This is an ideal island for travellers wishing to embrace a slower way of life.

To take the relaxation and respite of Kea to the next level, may we recommend booking a stay in one of two idyllic villas on the island, serene Selene and pleasant Piedra? Selene has a prime seafront location, making for awe-inspiring views, and pampering amenities perfect for those looking for true tranquillity, such as a Jacuzzi, two pools and a sauna. Piedra also occupies a prized seafront position, and offers a light, airy atmosphere in which to relax, unwind and recentre yourself. Not only that, the shady terraces outside invite guests to while away well-deserved lazy days as they listen to the spellbinding soundtrack of the sea.

Browse our collection of Kea villas.

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Paxos

This tiny island is one of the smallest Ionian Islands. As you might expect, its diminutive size - just seven miles long and three miles wide - makes Paxos a particularly quiet Greek Island. While it may be small, it does not lack gorgeous scenery and locations for relaxing and unwinding.

Three impossibly pretty harbour towns are dotted around the island, each with its own character:

  • In relaxed

    Loggos

    , you can watch the sun go down from the Taxidi Bar’s seafront terrace while listening to local live music.

  • Monodendri Beach

    , on the other hand, is where visitors go to relax. We recommend finding a shady spot beneath the olive trees to enjoy a cocktail and

    freshly prepared mezze

    from the little taverna nearby.

  • In

    Gaios

    , Paxos’ main port, you can drink in the Venetian architecture and enjoy the town’s laid-back tavernas and bars. The wooded hills and limestone cliffs above Gaois hide our serene, cool stone villas - including

    Panayia View

    ,

    Adriana

    and

    Lithia

    , all perfect bases for a tranquil Greek Island retreat

Browse our full Paxos villas collection

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Antipaxos

If the peace and quiet of Paxos appeals, its even smaller neighbour Antipaxos will almost certainly tempt you to its virtually uninhabited shores. If you’d like to try a spot of gentle Greek Island hopping, its twin island of Paxos is a short boat ride across the crystalline waters. Alternatively, visitors can spend their entire holiday on Antipaxos, which has a tiny residential population of just 20 people.

Our romantic villa Oneiro is a 15-minute walk from Voutoumi Beach and the tavernas, and a 15-minute boat ride from Paxos. Panoramic Iremia, meanwhile, is a five-minute boat trip from lovely beaches and tavernas. As this quiet Greek Island has no shops, we will ensure your villa is fully stocked with wine and local delicacies, leaving you with nothing to worry about as you unwind.

Browse our full Antipaxos villas collection

Find your island

Have you decided on your Greek Island? If not, allow us to guide you towards the perfect destination. We help our guests design spectacular stays at some of the most desirable villas on the Greek Islands, taking care of every little detail for you. When you arrive, our Local Specialists are always on hand to share intimate local knowledge, arrange excursions and organise special in-villa services, such as massages and fine dining. Nothing is too much trouble - we are here to make your holiday as special and seamless as possible. Please contact our team if you would like more information or are ready to book your next holiday.