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The Best Greek Islands for a Quiet Vacation

Iraklia Greek Island
Iraklia. Credit: Porouclas – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

By Cliff Blaylock

A holiday to the Greek Islands can be so many different things. It can be an adventure, a beach break, a trip back in time to an ancient world or a week-long party, but it’s usually not very quiet.

Most populated Greek Islands are very popular with tourists and locals alike.

Their beautiful setting and unique culture make them an attractive area to settle down or just get away from it all.

However, that creates a problem for some people. Holidays for many are a time to escape from the hustle and bustle of their normal city-going life, escaping to a quiet, picturesque part of the world.

The Greek islands have all the makings of this serenity, but too many people clogging up the town or beaches can really put off those looking for a bit of peace.

Fortunately though, while there are a lot of highly populated islands, there are some lesser known areas where you can take in everything the Greek islands have to offer, without the hordes of people stealing all the sunloungers.

The Cyclades

Greek islands
Chora, Anafi. Credit: Zde/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA 4.0

The Cyclades are a group of absolutely stunning Greek islands located in stunning Mediterranean waters.

They have everything you want from a holiday in the Greek Islands; sun, sea, sand, but unlike many other locations, they also have serenity.

Not all the islands in the Cyclades have a low population, but if you travel to the ones that do, you are guaranteed to enjoy the magic of Greece with your family without an armada of people off your heel.

The quietest islands to visit in the Cyclades are:

  • Iraklia: Population – 150
  • Donoussa: Population – 160
  • Schinoussa: Population – 250
  • Anafi: Population – 270
  • Sikinos: Population – 270
  • Koufonissia: Population – 370

All of these islands are worth a visit, but if you want to combine culture, relaxation, exploration and serenity, then either Koufonissia or Schinoussa are your best bet.

They might have a low population, but they still have enough exciting things to keep you busy.

Psara, a relatively unknown Greek island

Psara Greek Island
Credit: Thanasis Christodoulou/Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA-4.0

Psara is an island you probably haven’t heard of. Located very close to the coast of Turkey, it’s a rustic mountain island surrounded by great beaches and rolling country.

It is a fantastic little island with a great heritage and strong local community. With a population of around 450, larger than any of the Cyclades, you might think it gets a bit overcrowded, but fear not.

Thanks to its anonymity, you will only ever get a handful of tourists, even during the high season.

This means the only people joining you on the beach or mountain trails will be locals, which makes for a much more peaceful experience.


Agathonisi. Crédit: Turhan Akman, CC BY 3.0

Tucked away in the northernmost corner of the Dodecanese islands, you will find Agathonisi.

Another island you probably haven’t heard of, this little gem sits near the coast of Turkey as well, but it is a much more flamboyant and vibrant island, as opposed to the rural charm of Psara.

Another mountainous beauty, Agathonisi, locally known as Gaidaro, features two classic Greek villages, brimming with music and culture, as well as secluded beaches, a picturesque harbor and a population of just 180 people.

Marathi, the least populated Greek island

Greece Islands
Marathi. Credit: Tanya Dedyukhina, CC BY 3.0

Although the least populated, this is one island you might have already heard of, purely because of its reputation for being the least populated inhabited island of Greece; excluding private islands of course.

Solely inhabited by the Emilianos family, bringing the grand total of this island’s population up to 3, the entire place is as serene as it gets.

In the summer months, the family accepts up to 9 guests at a time to their hotel and restaurant settled on the island’s sandy coast.

With no roads, shops or tourist hotspots, the island of Marathi truly is the most tranquil island to stay on.

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