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Your Ultimate Summer Guide to Greek Island Hopping

The Greek island of Zakynthos. Shipwreck beach, Navagio will be closed this summer, but you can get a boat to admire it from the sea. Credit: avramdeluxe/CC BY 2.0

Whether you are looking to see the ancient Greek ruins or relax on the best beaches in the world, there is a perfect Greek island for everyone.

Here is your ultimate guide to island hopping in Greece for the summer of 2022.

Crete, Greece’s largest island

Heraklion, Crete island in Greece
Heraklion, Crete. Credit: Andy Montgomery/CC BY-SA 2.0

Crete has many traditional hotels, resorts, and even family-orientated hotels with water parks.

It is also an island steeped in ancient culture for those wishing to visit pristine ancient ruins, such as Knossos, which is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site and Europe’s oldest city.

The beaches on Crete are amazing and you will even find ones with pink sand.

Really, you don’t have to look far to find something for the whole family to be entertained on this island—not to mention well-fed—since Cretan dishes are as amazing as the island and the people who reside there.


The Corfu Landscape. Credit: A Guy Taking Pictures/CC BY 2.0

There are both sand and pebble beaches on Corfu island, so there are options for just about anyone, depending on what one is looking for.

Interestingly, the water at Sidari Beach on the north coast is shallower and warmer, making it great for family vacations.

Checking out Kerkyra’s old town is the perfect way to get to know the island and its many charms. Why not spend the afternoon strolling the streets of this UNESCO landmark site with its pastel-colored buildings, complete with Venetian-style shutters?

Another holiday attraction for active travelers are the many hiking trails that line the island.

The Corfu Trail, which crosses from one side of the island to the other, is the best place to hike.

You can find many reasonably-priced hotels accommodations on the island, as well, making it a perfect destination for your island-hopping adventure.


Folegandros island, Greece
The Port of Folegandros. Credit: ¡Carlitos/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Folegandros is a small, quiet Greek island that remains virtually unknown to tourists.

Only an hour by high-speed boat from the popular island of Santorini, Folegandros is for those who are looking to experience a simpler and more memorable Greek vacation.

You can get to Folegandros via the ferry line Piraeus – Milos – Santorini or by ferries or hydrofoils from Paros, Mykonos, Ios, and Sikinos.

Known for its unspoiled landscapes, Folegandros was named after the son of King Minos.

There are only three small villages on the island. The main village, Hora, is filled with houses painted in white with multi-colored doors and windows high on the cliffs above the blue sea.

There are quaint squares and tavernas, so visitors will not run out of things to do when they are not enjoying the beautiful beaches—which are practically empty and, therefore, quiet.

The other two villages, Karavostasi (the port) and Ano Meria, are all connected by paved roads to Hora.

You can also explore walking the narrow cobblestone streets throughout the village or take the fifteen-minute walk up a zigzag pathway to the Church of the Panagia.

The church is thought to have been built on the site of an ancient temple, and although the original date of the construction of the church is unknown, it was renovated back in 1687 and again in 1821.


Porto Katsiki, Lefkada island, Greece
Porto Katsiki, Lefkada. Credit: massonth/CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

One of the most popular Ionian islands, Lefakda is known for its beautiful beaches and outdoor sports. This island is one of Greece’s top ranking places for water sports.

If you are island hopping with your siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, or maybe even your sporty and active parents, check out the large marina at Lefkada Town, which is perfect for yachting.

You should also visit Vasiliki Bay in the south which is exposed to local thermal winds and boasts many water sports activities.

From surfing to kayaking, there is certainly something for everyone on Lefkada.


Shipwreck beach, Navagio.
Shipwreck Beach, also known as Navagio Beach. Credit: avramdeluxe/CC BY 2.0

This is an island that you don’t want to miss, so be sure to include it in your Ionian island hopping itinerary.

Take a day trip to the amazing Shipwreck Beach, Navagio, where the dramatic cliffs, abandoned ship and white sand will transport you and your family to a paradise unlike any other. Although the beach will be closed this summer for fear of landslides, you can get a boat to admire it from the sea.

You can also get the best selfie ever on Zakynthos!


Mykonos Greece Vacation
The port of Mykonos. Crédit: Bernard Gagnon – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

When you think of Mykonos, you surely think of one of the most popular Greek party islands.

The truth of the matter is that it is also full of traditional churches and charming little chapels, which is a nice way to pass the time on a family vacation to the island.

Of course, you can always opt to choose the party route, as well, and Mykonos will not disappoint. There are tons of beach-side bars and clubs to keep you occupied all day and night.


Greece Vacation Islands
Sarakiniko Beach on Milos Island. Crédit: dronepicr – CC BY 2.0

When you want amazing selfies and unforgettable memories, travel to the Greek island of Milos.

The volcanic island has an incredible moonscape in various colors of red, brown, and white rock formations that spill into the deep turquoise sea. Its otherworldly rock formations transport you far back into geological time.

There are also traditional fishing villages and mountain villages to explore around the island. Must-see sites include the ancient theater, catacombs, and windmills in Tripiti.

You will also want to explore the island’s endless coves, which are accessible by a fishing boat tour.

Alonissos, Sporades

Alonissos island, Greece
Alonissos. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Alonissos is a charming Greek island and is the quietest of all the Sporades islands, which includes the more well-known islands of Skopelos and Skiathos.

The island has quaint villages filled with stone-roofed cottages, lush, green slopes with fragrant pine forests, and beautiful beaches.

Another great plus to going to this island, besides avoiding overcrowded tourists destinations, is that you can take a boat trip from Patitiri harbor to Greece’s first National Marine Park where you can see dolphins and seals in their natural habitat.

Within the same National Marine Park of Alonnisos, Northern Sporades, you can scuba dive and explore the “Parthenon of marine archaeology,” the shipwreck of Peristera. There is also a land-based archaeological museum devoted to the spectacular finds located at the shipwreck site.

Of course, you can always take a ferry to visit Skopelos, as well, which is a thirty minute trip from Alonissos. That island is home to the chapel where part of the film Mamma Mia! was filmed.


Delos, Wikimedia Commons, Attribution: Bernard Gagnon

You can see Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage site, from the shores of Mykonos, and the beauty of the island and its surroundings inspire all who visit. But do you know the legendary history of the sacred island?

It is one of the most important mythological, historical, and archaeological sites in all of Greece.

There are extensive excavations on the island, revealing ruins that tell tales of Delos as a holy sanctuary, dating back over a millennium before Greek mythology designated it as the birthplace of the Greek gods, Apollo (the god of Light) and his twin sister Artemis (the goddess of Hunting).


Marathi Greek Island
Marathi Shoreline. Crédit: Tanya Dedyukhina, CC BY 3.0

This is the island to visit when you want total seclusion from the rest of the world and to return to the natural beauty of unspoiled Greece.

This enchanting island is only 355 square kilometers (137 square miles) in area, and it is located east of Patmos. It has an untouched coastline of four kilometers in length.

Marathi was inhabited by the Emilianos family, who created a small hotel and restaurant for summer tourists, back in 1977.


Greek Island Irakleia
Irakleia. Crédit: XristinaMnp07 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Truly stunning beaches and quaint villages are what you will find on the Greek island of Irakleia.

Irakleia is an island with a population of only 141 inhabitants and is perfect for tourists wishing to explore nature and history.

The island, with an area of 17,795 square kilometers (6,871 square miles), is located between the islands of Naxos and Ios and can be reached by ferries from Athens, Naxos, and Paros.

This small island may have only just over 100 inhabitants, but it has something pretty significant —the largest caves in the Cyclades.

Besides this, the island has a rich history and has been inhabited since early antiquity.  Evidence of many mysterious rock paintings on the island date back to approximately 5,000 years ago.


Agathonisi. Crédit: Turhan Akman, CC BY 3.0

Relax on a secluded beach and escape all the tourists this summer by visiting the Greek island of Agathonisi.

This small island is located in the northernmost point of the Dodecanese archipelago in Greece.

A 1920s census showed that the island had only eighty inhabitants at that time, most of whom were farmers and shepherds.

Nowadays, there are 185 inhabitants on the 13.5 square kilometer (5.21 square miles) island.

Many people come here for the secluded beaches, and to visit the two quaint villages on the island called Megalo Chorio, or “Big Village,” and Mikro Chorio, meaning “Small Village.”

The Municipality of Agathonisi includes an archipelago of uninhabited offshore islets including Glaros, Kouneli, Nera, and Psathonisio.


Donousa. Credit: Μanu/CC BY 2.0

Want to visit a small island? Check out the island of Donousa, which has only 167 inhabitants and an area of 13.75 square kilometers (5.30 square miles).

Donousa is located between Naxos and Amorgos and is one of the smallest islands in the Cyclades.

It can be reached by ferry from Piraeus or with a local boat from Naxos or Amorgos.

Donousa is a less visited island than many of the more popular destinations in the Cyclades, but with white sandy beaches like Kedros, it easily made the top eight list.

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