Which are the most beautiful islands in Greece? Which of the 227 inhabited Greek islands would you want to spend your summer holidays on? Did you know that a fifth of Greece’s total land area is islands, including islets, and islands and outcrops of all different sizes – over 6,000 in all.

 

The Greek islands are divided into 6 main archipelagos, all with their own typical landscape, history and tourist activities. Costa cruises  will guide you in your choice of what to do and see and which are the loveliest Greek islands to see on your cruise. 

The Cyclades

 

When you hear people say that the Cyclades Islands are among the most beautiful in Greece, be sure they know what they're talking about. Perfect little white houses, cliffs plunging into sky-blue sea and the strong, bright sunshine illuminating pristine beaches, labyrinthine streets and sweeps of sweet-scented bougainvillea.

 

The Cyclades islands Archipelago in the Aegean Sea comprises around 220 islands, large and small. It gets its name from the fact that they all form a circle around the island of Delos. Each one is a rare gem that deserves to be explored in its own right. Take, for example, the legendary Mykonos, a must for nightlife lovers, and also Paros, which over the years has become more of a "hippie" destination. Romantic holidays are guaranteed for anyone coming to Santorini, or for those looking for walks and solitude, where better than the heart of Amorgos?

 

When listing the most beautiful islands of the Greek Cyclades, there are several we must mention, of course. But beware! Some of them are extremely popular and therefore attract huge numbers of tourists. But other lesser-known pearls make perfect places for a wonderful Greek holiday for anyone wanting to be far from the madding crowd. Take for example Milos, one of the most beautiful islands in Greece and not yet invaded by mass tourism. This little gem surrounded by rocks shines for its white sandy beaches and leaves visitors in no doubt as to its volcanic origins.

 

Then we go to Andros, a must for lovers of solitude and the simple life. There you will find that most roads are unpaved and one can really kiss goodbye to worldliness and taste, even if just for a moment, the lifestyle of times gone by.

 

In Naxos there's an almost Caribbean atmosphere that's hard to find in the rest of Greece. This could be for you if you love sun and beaches that are clean, well-organized and cater for holidaymakers' every comfort. Don't miss the Grotta beach in Naxos Chora (the island's main town), just below the Portara. The west coast has lots of beautiful beaches with pristine sand.

Alykes is a favorite destination with water sports enthusiasts, while Mikri Vigla is great for kite surfers. Photographers fixated on Greek beaches should head for Agios Prokopios, where from the fine sandy beach you enter charming, narrow streets crammed with colorful tavernas overlooking the sea. Agia Anna, Kastraki Beach and Agiassos Beach are among the little maritime treasures we should all see at least once in our lifetimes.

Dodecanese Islands

 

The Dodecanese Islands are slightly less well-known than the Cyclades Islands. Of huge cultural, historical and environmental interest, they are now emerging onto the tourist scene thanks to their sandy beaches, wonderful rocky coastlines and hugely important archaeological sites.

 

Off the coast of Asia Minor, this group of islands includes Crete to the south, the Cyclades to the west and Samos to the north. The name of this archipelago literally means "twelve islands", but actually it has 163 altogether of which 26 are inhabited. Among the most well-known are: Rhodes, Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Patmos, Karpathos, Symi, Kasos, Stypálea, Nisyros, Astypalaia, Kasos, Tilos, Kastellorizo, Chalki, Agathonisi, Farmakonisi, Telendos, Arkos, Saria, Gyali, Levitha, Rho, Strongili, Alinnia and Syrna.

 

Anyone booking a holiday to the Dodecanese islands knows that as well as relaxation there will be lots of castles and the ruins of ancient civilizations to explore in breaks between one dream beach and another. Rhodes and Kos are part of the Dodecanese, as are many other more magical and lesser known places.

 

The Dodecanese Archipelago is in the South Aegean, between Turkey, the island of Crete, the Cyclades and Samos island to the north. Many cultures have thrived here, each of which has left its unmistakable mark: from the Ionians to the Byzantines, the Venetians, the Ottomans and the Italians.

 

Setting off from Kastellorizo, where cars are not allowed, it’s on foot or by bicycle. This island was the setting for the film "Mediterraneo" directed by Salvadores. It is well worth visiting for its enchanting beaches and Megisti village, where you'll fall in love with its brightly-coloured houses that hug the promontory.

Symi is wonderful, too: a delightful, small island and much loved for its extraordinary charm. It’s in the south of the Dodecanese, just a few kilometres off the coast of Turkey. With its distinctive jagged coastline, its bays and inlets are breathtaking. A must visit here is the Castle of the Knights of St. John. 

Aegean Islands

 

Continuing our cruise around the Greek islands, we come to the Aegean island archipelago. Its islands all differ in terms of history and lifestyle, but all share an undeniable beauty. Among the seven major islands are Thassos, Samothrace, Lemnos, Lesbos, Chios, Icaria and Samos.

 

Chios is the ideal destination for lovers of medieval history with all its archaeological treasures including the Byzantine Nea Moni monastery, and the villages where mastic resin has been produced for hundreds of years. Visitors to Lemnos will find its capital Myrina fascinating, with all the evidence of the ancient Ottoman occupation everywhere

Thassos has dozens of beaches perfect for bathing, including a series of bays and inlets where it's easy to swim and, although they can be difficult to reach, peace and quiet is assured. We recommend Aliki beach, in the south-eastern part, where the water is so clear that the boats seem to be floating in the sky. Don't miss the local moussaka, a real delicacy that you'll have on your list of favourites ever after.

Another amazing beach is Skala Potamia, a strip of sand lined with bars and restaurants where the sea is a stretch of blue and at night you can dance until dawn. Chrissi Amoudia, also called Golden Beach, is a favourite with families, with its shallow water perfect for little ones. Also, worth visiting are Tripiti Beach, Livadi Beach and Paradise Beach, once completely unspoilt but now a target for organized tourism. Paradise Beach, half of which is often pretty crowded, is also a favourite with naturists, who come here every year to enjoy the outdoors and the sea in complete freedom.

 

Visitors to Lesbos, the third largest Greek island, also known as Mytilene, know what a sheer delight it is. Just off the coast of Asia Minor, this mountainous island is particularly green and offers complete calm and tranquility.

 

The northern part, however, is of volcanic origin and rich in hot springs, much visited by tourists. Lesbos was home to the poet Saffo and has plenty of cultural entertainment, from museums to archeological sites, to guided tours around the volcanic areas. In the capital Mytilene there is a 14th-century fortress whose foundations were built by Emperor Justinian way back in the 6th century.

 

Another place not to be missed is the Byzantine Monastery, one of the greatest and most priceless testimonies to Byzantine culture.  Also, worth seeing is the Municipal Art Gallery and the Theophilos Museum, housing paintings by the famous Greek artist Theophilos Hatzimihail.

 

In Mytilene there are two large archaeological museums: the old one and the new one. The old one focuses on the history of Lesbos, from the Neolithic to the late Roman period. The new one, in the Kioski area, celebrates the island's more recent history.

 

Do visit the small village of Sigri and its Petrified Forest Museum. It opened in 1994 in a bid to help preserve and protect what is a unique forest on the island and one of its most famous attractions.

Nor should anyone who comes here miss Agiassos either. This small town nestled on the slopes of Mount Olympus has charming traditional architecture and is brimming with folklore, mysticism and art of all kinds - truly unforgettable.

 

Among the most beautiful of the beaches on Lesbos are those in the southern part of the island with its cliffs and inlets. Those in the north are lovely too with their ​​volcanic sand, and the area is also rich in thermal springs. Visitors to Mytilene can swim at Tsamakia beach, which has sunbeds and umbrellas for rent until late in the evening.

 

Don't miss Fykiotripa beach and the one at Molyvos which is sandier. Skala Kaloni is one of the most equipped seaside resorts on the island, a few kilometers from the village of Eressos where the beach of silvery sand is perfect for beachgoers of all ages. And then there's also Agios Isidoros beach at Plomari, one of the largest and most beautiful on the island.

Ionian Islands

 

Located in the Ionian Sea off the western coast of Greece there are eleven islands making up the archipelago. Among the largest are: Zakynthos, Ithaca, Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkada and Paxi, while the smaller ones are: Antipaxi, Erikousa, Mathraki, Othonoi, Meganisi and the group of uninhabited islands the Strofades, south of Zakynthos.

Islands of the Argo-Saronic Gulf

 

A short distance from Athens is the Saronic Gulf, also called Aegina. The main islands of the archipelago are Hydra, Salamis, Aegina, Spetses and Poros, and offer tourists a series of wonderful views of unspoiled nature, history and local culture.

From this overview of the archipelagos that make up the Greek Islands, Costa cruises has put together this ranking of the best 18 Greek islands.

THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GREEK ISLANDS

  • Santorini (Cyclades)
  • Mykonos (Cyclades)
  • Corfù (Ionian)
  • Creta (Aegean)
  • Rodi (Dodecanese)
  • Cefalonia (Ionian)
  • Kos (Dodecanese)
  • Milos (Cycladi)
  • Folegandros (Cycladi)
  • Alonissos (Aegean)
  • Skiathos (Aegean)
  • Samos (Aegean)
  • Ios (Cycladi)
  • Zante (Ionian)
  • Skopelos (Aegean)
  • Amorgos (Dodecanese)
  • Patmos (Aegean)
  • Hydra (Saronic Gulf)

Santorini

Anyone planning a trip to the Cyclades cannot help but be seduced by the overwhelming beauty of Santorini, the romantic destination par excellence. Although a very popular island, its beauty endures all year round. It is always delightful to meander through the charming streets of this somewhat magical place.

 

The sight of the white houses clustered around the blue-domed churches takes your breath away. In Santorini, there's never any shortage of things to do or see. Caldera is the heart of the island, where the sea is intensely blue, and the islets are encrusted with pumice stone. The first thing to do when you get here is, find a bar for an aperitif as the sun goes down. The sunsets here are spectacular. Also, worth seeing are the island's archaeological sites, including the one in the Akrotiri area which is open every day from 10am until 5pm.

 

Also, not to be missed are the natural Spa Baths, in the center of the Caldera area. Here the little islands of Nea Kameni and Palea Kameni offer tourists their many hot volcanic springs and therapeutic warm saltwater springs. But watch out because the water will stain your swimming costume. One place that is an absolute must to visit on Santorini is Red Beach, the island's most famous beach that has a stretch of red and black sand. Being able to live and breathe the presence of a volcano makes this place simply unique.

 

Worth a visit, too, are the villages of Fira, great for shopping and nightlife, and Oia which is more traditional and quainter. If you're a lover of luxury destinations, you'll find Imerovigli to be unrivalled, with its infinity swimming pools and breathtaking resorts ready to welcome you.

Mykonos

The island of windmills and fun: Mykonos is one of the most popular destinations in Greece and it's no accident. White sun-kissed villages, heavenly beaches and tavernas where you can dance 'til dawn make Mykonos one of the most popular tourist islands of the Cyclades. Its rather barren landscape is embellished by sea of the deepest blue all around the island.

 

Any visit to Mykonos starts off in Chora, the island's main city. Lose yourself in its maze of narrow streets of dazzling white houses, the blue railings everywhere all draped with flowers. Near the port take in the old church of Paraportiani, with its complex of five other ancient buildings, and Manto Mavrogenous square, named after the Greek heroine. Choose from all kinds of cocktails as you wait for the sun to go down.

 

One of Mykonos' leading seaside resorts has to be Platys Gialos, where fish restaurants, street food outlets selling pita bread and gyros and enchanting beaches await you for an unprecedented epicurean experience between one swim and another.

 

However, getting to the point: Mykonos is mostly famous for its nightlife, with its clubs and bars open until dawn. There is music every night, with DJ sets playing against the hypnotic sound of the waves breaking along the shores. Who can resist the clubs, cocktail bars and locales offering some of the most fashionable entertainment in Greece?

 

Not all of Mykonos, however, is beset by tourists, and in some places, you can still find solitude and tranquility. Agios Sostis beach comes to mind. It's the perfect spot to watch the sunrise, and Panormos, with its sand dunes and shallow water is perfect for children and families. A few kilometres from the city there is also Houlakia beach, which is in a nature reserve and is one of the few non-sandy beaches in the area. Those who love lively places should go to the south of the island where the most famous beaches of Mykonos are, including Delos, Super Paradise Beach and Kalo Livadi.

 

Let's not forget Apollo's shrine, one of the city's main cultural attractions, while, hiking enthusiasts complete with water bottles and comfortable boots can reach some of the most beautiful places on the island, such as Monte Cinto. Amazing views of Delos and Mykonos can be had from the top.

Corfù

Corfu is the meeting point between classical culture, Venetian domination and British domination. This island is very much a crossroads of different cultures and, at the same time, it dialogues perfectly with history and modernity. This makes it one of the most interesting destinations for those tourists keen to experience the beauty of the Greek islands to the full.

 

One sets off right from the historic center of Corfu, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2007. Here the legacy of Venetian culture is much in evidence. Don't miss the Cambiello district where the maze of narrow streets is flanked by tall historic buildings. The main square, Spianada, is located in front of the Old Fortress, the island's ancient fortified citadel, together with the New Fortress.

 

Within the Old Fortress there is also San Giorgio, the church built by the English, but striking for its Doric architectural style. A short distance away is the Royal Palace, the largest and most impressive building in Corfu. Do not miss the bell tower of San Spiridione, with its unmistakable red dome; the Paleopolis of the Kanoni peninsula - an interesting perspective of the island's antiquity; or the 18th-century Vlachérna Monastery, notable for having been built at all on such a very small island. Nearby there is also Mouse Island, or Pontikonissi, which boasts an interesting Byzantine chapel.

 

Anyone coming to Corfu needs to see Lake Korission, on the south coast. This seaside lagoon is surrounded by a sandy wetland, where bird watching is one of the most popular tourist activities. Even more impressive are the sunsets, not to be missed on any account!

Crete

The largest island in Greece, Crete is a magical place that seduces with its pearl beaches and picturesque towns set amid extraordinary scenery. Crete is the island of the myth of Theseus and Arianna, but also that of Daedalus and Icarus. In this place suspended halfway between reality and myth, are some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, many archaeological sites and beautiful walks to be had in the breathtaking landscape.

 

Anyone coming to Crete must make a stop at the Knossos palace, famous as the setting for the myth of the labyrinth of the Minotaur. Knossos was the capital of the ancient Cretan civilization and this place, built in 1900 BC, has suffered repeated damage over the centuries and has been rebuilt many times, most recently by British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans. Another site to visit is Festo's palace, standing on a plateau on the Messara plain. It consists of the remains of three different buildings. A must see is the Phaistos Disc, engraved with symbols that resemble Egyptian hieroglyphics, but whose meaning remains a mystery to this day. Also, worth seeing is the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, housed in a very elegant Bauhaus style building.

 

Gli appassionati della tintarella vorranno immergersi nelle acque della Laguna di Balos, da cui si può ammirare lo splendido promontorio di Capo Tigani, raggiungibile anche a piedi nelle ore di bassa marea.

 

Sunbathing enthusiasts will want to enjoy swimming in Balos Lagoon. There are lovely views of the splendid Cape Tigani promontory that can also be reached on foot at low tide.

 

Vai is another breathtaking beach, surrounded by a palm grove of a particular date that only grows in Crete. Those looking for the adventure will find it in the Samaria Gorge National Park, with its 16-km canyon carved by a river along the western flank of the White Mountains.

Rhodes

Rhodes, although known for its sea and beaches, is predominantly a mountainous island, with inland freshwater resources which have made it one of the lushest environments in the Aegean. In addition to its crystalline sea, it has an interesting historical and artistic heritage, rich in myth and legend.

 

Although not among the cheapest destinations, Rhodes all in all suits every budget. It offers all kinds of accommodation solutions, from luxury hotels to low-cost Airbnb. It is quite a popular tourist destination, especially with families.

 

With its 1,401 km², Rhodes is the largest island in the Dodecanese. The best months to visit, escaping from both the scorching heat and the crowds, are April, May and early June or, alternatively, the latter half of September.

 

This island offers various attractions. Don't miss the fascinating Lindos acropolis, located at the top of the village of the same name. On this cliff, 116 m above sea level, is the ruined temple of Athena Lindia that dates back to the 4th century BC.

 

Among the things to see we also recommend the Old Town of Rhodes, a UNESCO Heritage site, with its huge walls, the Palace of the Grand Master (ancient fortress of the Knights of St. John) and the picturesque Knights Road. Heading towards the port of Madraki, there are two impressive stone columns that marked the entrance to the port, surmounted by statues of deer. Legend has it that it was here that the mythical Colossus of Rhodes stood.

Kefalonia

Kefalonia is the best island for anyone after peace and a quiet, unspoilt environment. The main features of this island are the extremely varied natural environments both on the coast and inland. There are many different types of beaches: from long stretches of white sand, to rocky or pebble beaches.

 

It is a fairly inexpensive island to visit, where competition between hoteliers makes for contained prices. Until a few years ago it was still a little off the main routes, but now given the wonders that this island holds, it has become a must for Costa Cruises.

 

Kefalonia measures 780 km² and is the largest in the Ionian island archipelago. The best months to visit are May and June. September and early October can be good choices too, although the climate is generally wetter.

 

In Kefalonia, the scenery, sea and beaches are the main attractions. Absolutely not to be missed is Myrtos, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean: the difficulty required to reach it by land has helped keep this crescent of fine white sand unspoilt.

 

In Argostoli, the port and the island's main center, some evidence of the past Venetian domination are visible, while interesting attractions include the Church of Agios Spyridonas, Melissani cave and the Lighthouse of St Theodore.

Kos

Kos is an island with an up-beat atmosphere, offering stunning, wild beaches and several Greek and Roman archeological ruins.

 

A holiday in Kos can be quite inexpensive, especially if planned in advance. The contained prices and all the different nightlife make this island very touristy and particularly loved by young people.

 

About 4 km from the Turkish coast of Bodrum, Kos forms part of the Dodecanese archipelago. This island has a predominantly Mediterranean climate, with plenty of sun right from the spring (in May, however, the sea is still a bit cold). The ideal time to visit is late spring and all summer (from June to mid-September).

 

Among the major attractions of Kos, aside from the many clubs in the center, are the beaches, in particular Kardamena and the famous Paradise Beach. There is plenty of evidence of the various eras that have impacted the history in Kos, such as the archaeological site at Asklepieion or the Castle of the Knights, once the seat of the Knights of the Order of St. John.

Milos

Milos is a volcanic island with a great variety of beaches (about 70 in all) and the atmosphere there is one of total relaxation. This island, very green thanks to the volcanic soils and boasts a vast protected area.

 

Compared to Santorini and Mykonos, Milos is less expensive, although (due to its reputation as "beautiful") it’s certainly not cheap. Compared to its "sisters" it is no less bombarded by tourists.

 

Milos measures ​​150.6 km² and is one of the "minor" islands of the Cyclades archipelago. The summer months are the best time to visit, although it's very windy due to the strong northern 'meltemi' winds.

 

The main attraction of Milos is undoubtedly its wild, virgin beaches, such as Sarakiniko with its somewhat lunar landscape, or Firiplaka framed between cliffs. But there are also many interesting places to visit: as well as the Venetian Castle, in the oldest part of the Plaka, among the things to see we recommend the remains of the Roman amphitheater and, not far away, the site where the Venus de Milo statue was found.

Folegandros

Folegandros is a small, barren island of only 42 km2, in the Aegean. Here, with wild beaches and where nature reigns supreme, it is possible to really pull the plug and relax.

 

Folegandros has the reputation of being a somewhat snobbish, expensive island, mostly because its small and so has limited accommodation available. The island has no airport and is only reachable by sea from Piraeus which keeps tourist numbers low.

 

Equidistant from the Turkish coast and the Peloponnese, Folegandros forms part of the Cyclades archipelago. The recommended times of the year to go to Folegandros are at the beginning and end of summer (June and September).

 

Obviously, top of the list of things to see there are the beaches. However, not all of them are easily accessible by land. One of the easiest to reach on foot is Katergo, while the beaches of Agios Georgios and Ligaria are beautiful but remote.

Alonissos

Alonissos is a very quiet island, within a protected marine park. These factors, coupled with the fact that it is not easy to reach, have helped to preserve the island's ecosystem. Alonissos is not particularly expensive, but has a limited capacity, so it is best to book early. Another reason it is ideal for those seeking peace and quiet is that it is not really a tourist destination.

 

This island is part of the Sporades archipelago and the ideal time to visit is between late June and September. Indeed, despite spring and early autumn having a warm and sunny climate, the sea is still cold.

Skiathos

Skiathos is a small island that boasts a great reputation for its lively nightlife and the 60 beaches that adorn its coastline. It is more expensive than Alonissos, but certainly cheaper than Skopelos, mainly due to the variety of the accommodation on offer. It is an island with a strong tourist predisposition and every summer brings a lot of visitors.

 

Located in the north-western Aegean, Skiathos is the smallest island in the Sporades archipelago covering just 48 km². The only months to avoid for a holiday are those of December and January, the coldest. The best time is from May to October.

 

There is a great variety of beaches, something for everyone, some rocky, others with fine white sand. Among those not to be missed are the elegant Vromolimnos with golden sand, and Megas Gialos, which is never too crowded, as it's hard to get to. Among the island's other attractions, in addition to the capital, Skiathos city, are the mysterious Monastery of Panagia Evangelistria and Kastro, with its ruined fortifications.

Samos

An island in the Aegean, Samos boasts boundless natural beauty and legends that make it an even more fascinating destination. Those who visit are struck by its vegetation and, inevitably, by the sweetness of the local wine. It is the myths that attract the tourists here. It is said that this island was the birthplace of the goddess Hera, Pythagoras and Aristarchus. There are so many reasons to visit Samos, and we are not just talking about beaches, but also about all the wonderful connections it has between culture and history.

 

The island of Samos was one of the first in Greece to attract mass tourism, but it still managed to preserve its somewhat wild beauty. A must for the curious tourist is certainly the temple of Hera, wife of Zeus. According to Herodotus, the temple was "the largest and most impressive in Greece". The temple site - Heraion - is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was once connected to Samos, via the Via Sacra, part of which can still be seen today. Don't miss the ancient baths, structures that date from 150 AD located on the west side of Pythagorion. This area also has great beaches, namely Kerveli, Posidonio and Klima, enchanting shorelines, little frequented and all definitely worth seeing. Then there is also the Eupalinos Tunnel, an extraordinary construction from the 6th century BC designed by the architect Efpalinos during the Polycrates period to carry water to the island's ancient capital.

 

The main town on Samos, often called by its ancient name of Vathy, is a place of historical, cultural importance and great beauty. Visitors love the amphitheater-shaped bay and the beautiful Venetian and neoclassical buildings in the town. Don't miss Pythagoras square and the church of Agios Spyridon. Beaches you must visit include Psili Ammos in Mykali in the south of the island which is a particular favourite with tourists.

 

Anyone visiting Karlovassi, Samos' second most important city, will be fascinated by the Folklore Museum, by Little Paris - a small neighbourhood with an evocative panorama, the little Potami beach and the larger, more "commercial" beaches of Megalo Seitani and Mikro, reachable only on foot and where you can see monachus monachus Mediterranean seals.

Ios

Among the Cyclades islands, Ios is perhaps one of the favorite destinations for young tourists especially given the quality of the night life. The great poet Homer is said to be buried here, and his tomb is one of the most visited sites. Don't miss the ancient temple of Apollo and the church of Agia Ekaterini. Among the most beautiful beaches, we recommend those of Mylopotas, Kalamos and Kolitsani.

 

Ios is an upbeat, yet unspoilt island. It has many different facets and, besides being a great place for partying, it also has lovely scenery and architecture. It is an inexpensive holiday destination, which appeals to young people, so a lot of visitors come every year.

 

Set in the Aegean Sea, Ios island forms part of the Cyclades archipelago, and is south of Naxos. The best time for a sun and sea holiday here is in the summer months (from June to September). But if you prefer to explore the island instead, spring and early autumn are ideal.

 

Of the things to see in Ios, besides the beaches, a must is Chora village, considered to be among the most beautiful in the Cyclades. Set among this group of pristine white houses is the island's largest church - the Panagia Gremniotissa - standing proud with its bright turquoise domes.

Zante

Zante, or Zakynthos, is a very popular Greek island in the Ionian Sea. Located within a marine park, it is a real natural paradise, where white cliffs, beaches and lush mountains alternate. In addition to natural beauty, here you'll find vibrant nightlife, mainly geared towards young people. It is a fairly inexpensive destination and so besieged by tourists, especially in high season.

 

When planning a visit to Zakynthos it is best to avoid the four wettest months from October to January. The best time is between early April and the end of September.

 

Among the special things to see in Zakynthos, in addition to the famous Navagio beach, and the Relitto, there are the Blue Caves and the Marine Park. Organised excursions make it possible to see Caretta turtles.

Skopelos

Skopelos is an Aegean island between Skiathos and Alonissos offering a balanced mix of fun nightlife and natural beauty. Its interior, covered with green, maritime pines interspersed with almond groves and plumb orchards, is also a great place for hiking. This island is quite affordable as destinations go and, although it's quite touristy, it is not too chaotic.

 

Skopelos, at 95.8 km², is the largest of the Sporades archipelago, and is also the most populated. In spring, even late in the morning, the sea is still too cold to swim, so the best time to plan a holiday is full summer (from June to September).

 

Among the things to see in Skopelos, in addition to the enchanting beaches, is the church of, made famous by the film "Mamma mia!", in a beautifully photogenic position, high up, overlooking the sea.

Amorgos

Amorgos is a delightfully wild island, surrounded by intense blue waters. Its beaches are nestled between rocky outcrops and it feels a truly natural place. It is not the ideal destination for those looking for unbridled worldly pleasure, but rather for the natural landscapes and pretty, traditional villages. Apart from the month of August, it is quite a cheap island to visit, far from centres of mass tourism.

 

Amorgos is part of the Cyclades archipelago and is, of them all, the easternmost and near the Dodecanese. The best time to fully enjoy the wild nature of the island is from late May to early October.

 

One of the best things to see in Amorgos is the eleventh-century monastery of Hozoviotissa, which stands majestically on a cliff overlooking the sea. The other main attractions are the beaches, especially Agia Anna, Agios Pavlos and Mouros beach.

Patmos

Patmos is predominantly a mountainous island, quite small and quiet, and an ideal destination for couples and families. It has a special atmosphere with its mix of sandy beaches, ancient villages and mystical sites. It is one of the most expensive islands that are found near the border with Turkey, but has the advantage of not being too touristy.

 

Patmos is in the Aegean and is part of the northernmost islands of the Dodecanese island group. It enjoys a Mediterranean climate with a mild winter and hot but not torrid summers. The recommended time to visit is from May until the beginning of November, because at the beginning of spring and late autumn the water temperature is too cold to swim.

 

Those who go to Patmos, not only enjoy the crystal-clear sea and the tranquility, but also views of the 365 little white chapels that are scattered throughout the island. The most picturesque destination to visit is undoubtedly the Greek Orthodox monastery of St John the Theologian, a sort of stone-coloured castle, divided internally into many different courtyards and cloisters.

Hydra

Hydra is a small Aegean island measuring just 52 square kilometers, where cars and scooters are banned. You can get around on foot or by mule. Here you get a taste of the real Greece, made of beaches, fishing villages and taverns where the sirtaki is played late into the night. The limited amount of accommodation means that it is not among the cheapest islands in Greece, although it is one of the least touristy.

 

Hydra is part of the Saronic archipelago of islands and can be reached only by hydrofoil from Piraeus or by taxi boat from Metochi. The months where the temperature and the water are warmest are July and August.

 

In Hydra there are no particularly significant architectural or historical attractions, but all the island's activity is concentrated in the town of the same name, where many old houses that once belonged to the Greek nobility have been turned into hotels.

 

From here, you can walk to the two, inland Orthodox monasteries - Profitis Ilias and Agios Nikolaos. Among the many wonderful beaches, the fine white pebble beaches of Agios Nikolaos and Bisti stand out, both reachable by boat.

Join a Costa cruise to the Greek islands

Come with Costa Cruises  and discover lots of wonderful places, rich in history and unique in all the world. We are sure that you will love the white sandy beaches of Kefalonia, the vibrant nightlife of Mykonos and transcendental views of Santorini.

 

Don’t delay, check out our forthcoming sailings for Greece.

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