Which Greek islands should I visit?

In this collection, Lonely Planet’s team of writers and editors responses your travel problems and offers ideas and hacks to support you strategy a stress-free of charge trip. This week, Lonely Earth contributor Helen Iatrou who considers herself a whole-blooded Greek islander shares some ideas for preparing an island hopping journey.

Question: I’m scheduling a getaway to the Greek islands this summertime but really do not know where to get started. Which islands should really I check out, and how many can I in good shape into a week-prolonged journey? 

Uncover the world’s most intriguing activities with our weekly e-newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.

Helen Iatrou: Sailing is my great passion, which helps make the islands my literal playground. I want to get my time to get to know a single island at a time, typically around a person week. You’d be amazed how considerably there is to see, even on the tiniest specks. 

With dozens of islands in Greece to pick from, it’s a challenging selection – belief me, I know. Just about every 12 months I wrack my mind and invest hrs looking into my upcoming island adventure. I’ve shed count of the range of periods my partner has questioned “Why did you e book that island?!” But just about every single time we return, we often bask in that glow of possessing explored somewhere new and intriguing. 

Plane landing over the Vlacherna Monastery in Corfu (Kerkyra), Greece
Think about reserving a flight instantly to a Greek island, then catching a ferry onward from there © Marcin Krzyzak / Shutterstock

How to journey all around the Greek islands 

Even though ferries are nevertheless the key method of transportation in between the islands, these times it is substantially faster and simpler to attain them by using air. Even though not all of them have airports, you can ordinarily fly into 1 of the larger sized islands with domestic carriers this kind of as Aegean Airlines (examine their handy very low-fare calendar), Olympic Air or Sky Convey and get a short ferry to smaller isles close by. If you do travel by using ferry from port hubs Piraeus or Rafina, decide on the speedy ferry choices, which price a very little more but get you there speedier. Ferryhopper is just one of the very best booking platforms, as you can map out your whole inter-island journey. 

My favorite mode of journey is (you guessed it) by sailboat. If you constitution a yacht with a skipper, you can hop concerning islands at your pace – unless you or your companions possess a skipper’s license and have sufficient knowledge to captain your craft yourselves.

Man diving into clear water at Paros, Greece
What ever you’re into, there is a Greek island to match your vibe ©Adrienne Pitts / Lonely Earth

Preparing your island-hopping getaway 

May possibly to October is prime time for the Greek islands, significantly if you want to soak up all the sunshine and swim in the glorious Aegean. Continue to keep in intellect that June by way of August can be busy, especially on the most common islands, and flights and lodging are at their most expensive, as well. And who wants to hold out hours for that restaurant desk?

Commence by contemplating about what interests you and what you’re searching for. Shorelines with all the features or hidden rocky coves? High-stop dining establishments or toes-in-the-sand tavernas? Historic web sites or late-night bars? Do you want to chill on a single or two islands and see as substantially of them as you can? Or would you choose to see a number of islands? 

I advise taming your formidable, and focusing on a person island group, viewing no much more than two to 3 islands in complete. If you’re sailing, you can unquestionably drop anchor at a unique island each individual day.

A woman in sunglasses sips a drink at a cafe table in Santorini, Cyclades, Greece
Whether or not you decide Santorini or any other of Greece’s stunning islands, you’re confident to have a carefree time © Vladimir Vladimirov / Getty Photos

Choose your decide on of Greek-island jewels

Most to start with-timers pick out the Cyclades, homing in on Santorini for its cliffs dripping with whitewashed cubic properties, and Mykonos for its charismatic attractiveness. As soon as you have had your fill of Mykonos, get the ferry to nearby Tinos. This minimal-crucial island has quietly acquired alone a name for outstanding farm-to-fork fare, mountaineering trails and boutique wineries.

If you’ve bought young ones in tow, you may well favor to fly or ferry their way to Naxos, where youngsters can securely swim in shallow waters amid golden sands or discover to windsurf. From there, couples desperately trying to get serenity and umbrella-cost-free beach locations can board the hardy Categorical Skopelitis for the Small Cyclades isles of Schinoussa or Koufonisia. 

If verdant hillsides, turquoise seas and stark white pebble seashores seem dreamy, the Ionian Islands beckon. Fly into Corfu, where you can interesting off at sandy beach locations and stroll the emerald isle’s romantic, cobblestoned capital. From there, choose a hydrofoil to the twin isles of Paxi (or Paxos), whose unpruned olive trees produce delicately flavored olive oil. From Paxos, employ the service of a motorboat and scoot around to Antipaxos to dive into translucent aquamarine waters.

Tourists at night in the historic town center of Rhodes, Dodecanese, Greece
Medieval Rhodes usually enchants – and much more delights lie in retail outlet in lesser, further-afield islands in the Dodecanese © Franz-Marc Frei / Getty Images

Down south in the Dodecanese, much less vacationers undertaking further than Rhodes and its medieval aged city, the place you can envision knights thundering by way of flagstoned alleyways and wander by means of the seaside village of Lindos. Yet a quick flight absent is distant Karpathos. In hillside Olympos, women however don lavish traditional costumes for specific occasions and celebrate with all-night time panegyria (feast times). 

Mapping out a Greek-island getaway may possibly feel complicated, very poor tourists – but relaxation assured that whichever places you make a decision on, you are guaranteed to return house with reminiscences that will remain in your thoughts for a long time to appear.