Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu…there are certain Greek Islands that are perennially popular with overseas visitors. With their crystal clear waters, stunning white sands, picture-perfect landscapes, and fascinating history, it’s no wonder that Greece’s numerous island chains attract so many people year in, year out. But if you’re looking to discover the Greek islands, it’s well worth looking into some of the lesser-known options.
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Last-minute plans for Greece?
Get there: Use Ferryhopper to book your tickets.
Stay: Find great accommodation deals on Booking.com.
Move around: Compare car rental prices with Discover Cars.
Tours: Check the most popular places with GetYourGuide.
Read more: Pack the Lonely Planet Guide to Greece or get a copy of my digital guide to Santorini.
Lesser-Known Greek Islands That You Should Visit… and Why!
The following are some of the most beautiful islands in Greece that have managed to remain quite free from mass tourism. In no particular order, these are three of my favorite ones.
For Foodies… Sifnos
He veered away from the simple recipes that were common at the time, opting for more exotic ingredients and ways of cooking instead.
Now, people flock to Sifnos for its food. The islanders produce their own terracotta cookware dishes which are used for all sorts of recipes, especially hearty stews like revithada, and soups packed with chickpeas, one of the most commonly used ingredients on the island.
While you’re there, be sure to try their sweet treats too. The almond-based amygdalota and their honey cheesecake known as melopita are delicious.
Aside from the food, you’ll also find some incredible, unspoiled sandy beaches and a calming atmosphere.
Where to Stay in Sifnos
Budget: In the area of Platis Gialos, Smaragda Rooms and Studios is a traditional Cycladic venue with amazing gardens. Read more and book your stay here.
Mid-range: Lighthouse Hotel is located in Faros, only meters from the beach. It features comfortable rooms and a pool with a section for kids. Check reviews and book your stay here.
Luxury: In the heart of Apollonia, Nival Boutique Hotel offers accommodation with a restaurant, a fantastic seasonal pool, and a bar. Check reviews and photos here.
>> Read more: Best rental homes in Sifnos <<
For a Different Way of Life…Ikaria
Ikaria is known as the island of long life, as on average, inhabitants live ten years longer than those elsewhere in Europe.
They also have lower levels of illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and dementia. And it has been suggested that their diet, their habit of taking afternoon naps, and their general lifestyle are the reasons for their extended lifespans.
Visitors to Ikaria talk of how different the way of life is. Long, slow conversations, the communal habit of leaving doors unlocked, and not placing importance on sticking to set appointment times.
You can even book yourself onto a longevity retreat to learn the secrets of a longer, healthier life.
Aside from that, check out the local wineries, the healing waters of the town of Therma, and the island’s popular church festivals, the so-called panagiri, which happen throughout the year.
Where to Stay in Ikaria
Budget: You can find beautiful accommodation in Ikaria without spending a fortune! Stoneworld is one of those places… The property is located 2.9 km from Evdilos Beach. Check the property and the availability for your stay here.
Mid-range: Located in Gialiskari village, Ikaros Star Hotel is a comfortable and relaxing place for families. The hotel is located overlooking Messakti Beach, Ikaros Star Hotel offers comfortable accommodations in a relaxing atmosphere. Check more info and book a room here.
Luxury: Ideal place if you’re looking for a holiday home, Toxotis Villas are beautifully appointed seafront accommodation. It’s located close to the beach in Armenistis, offering a good solution for an independent holiday. Check villa availability and book your stay here.
For True Beauty…Milos
Milos, in the Cyclades cluster, is known as the island of colors and it’s easy to see why. The island features crystal clear emerald waters and bright white rock formations. The reds, oranges, and pinks of the volcanic rocks that line the beaches — not to mention its incredible sunsets — make Milos a beautiful place.
There’s plenty to do while you soak up its beauty, too. Visit Byzantine castle remains, explore the island’s pirate caves and swim in the Fonissa or Neraida waterfalls.
The village of Klima is known for the fact that every house has a different colored door. While the island’s mining museum and the dormant volcano are well worth a visit for geology fans.
Like many of the Greek islands, Milos also has its own food traditions. These include ladenia (a tomato, onion, and oregano-topped flatbread, almost pizza-like) and pitarakia (small cheese and herb-filled pies).
While you’re there, be sure to visit at least one of the island’s 70 beaches. It won’t take long for you to be amazed by its incredible sunsets.
Where to Stay in Milos
Budget: I suggest you check the pretty Efi Studios in Pollonia if you’re visiting Milos with a limited budget. The property has traditional Cycladic traits, in a blossomed garden, only 200 m from Apolonia Beach. Check availability and book a stay here.
Mid-range: Stylish Home in Adamas is a great house that can host up to 6 people. It features a beautiful terrace, a garden, and it’s very close to some of the island’s landmarks, including the Milos Mining Museum. Check photos, reviews, and book here.
Luxury: This amazing place, Volcano Luxury Suites Milos, is in Paliochori, about 8 km from the Sulphur Mine. The suites offer a restaurant, free private parking, a fitness center, and a garden, as well as a hammam, sauna, and continental breakfast. Check photos of the property, reviews, and book here.
Have you ever been to any of these lesser-known Greek islands?
Let me know in the comments below!
Travel Plans for Greece?
More Resources to Organize Your Trip!
Get in touch if you need extra help to plan your trip. If you want to tour West Crete, check my guide. Want more? Join my Private Facebook Group to connect with like-minded travelers who love Crete as much as you do!
Make Sure You’ve Got Everything For a Hassle-Free Vacation!
Without my Osprey backpack, I never move around the islands…it’s a sturdy but light travel partner I just love. For short trips, I carry this crossbody bag. If I drive, I pack my Nikon D7200 and a good travel guide! Lonely Planet’s Best of Greece & the Greek Islands.
For accommodation, I use Booking.com.
Traveling to remote places is easier with Discover Cars. Other times, I join organized tours with GetYourGuide, which features anything from cooking lessons to airport transfer!
COMING TO CRETE SOON?
Get in touch and let me know!
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Pin this Guide to these Lesser-Known Greek Islands for Your Adventures!
About the author of this blog:
Gabi has been living in Crete for the last five years. Here, she juggles being a solo mom, hosting culinary tours in the summer, translating, and writing for The Tiny Book and her other blogs.
She’s written for Greek Reporter, published three travel guides about Greece, and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person would be able to handle.
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