While popular destinations like Santorini and Mykonos are undoubtedly stunning, they tend to be crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons. Avoid the crowds this summer and consider visiting some of the lesser-known islands in Greece. From Kefalonia and Syros, to Folegandros and Ithaca, each of these islands offer unique charm, pristine beaches, and authentic Greek experiences without the overwhelming crowds.
Known for its natural beauty, picturesque villages, and crystal-clear waters, Kefalonia is one of our favourite non-touristy islands in Greece. It’s a great choice for those seeking a mix of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and a quieter island atmosphere. One of the most famous beaches in Greece, Myrtos Beach is a must-visit on the island. Surrounded by dramatic cliffs and boasting turquoise waters, it offers a breathtaking setting for relaxation and swimming. Alternatively, make your way to Xi Beach, known for its reddish-orange sand, and enjoy a more peaceful soak in the sun. Take a boat tour inside the Melissani Cave, a unique geological formation featuring an underground lake and stunning turquoise waters, and witness the magical interplay of light and water. Wander through the picturesque village of Assos, and be amazed by its abundance of colourful houses, traditional tavernas and a venetian castle. For nature lovers, Mount Ainos is a must; it’s the highest mountain in the Ionian Islands and home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Kefalonia also boasts excellent local cuisine, including fresh seafood, traditional Greek dishes, and locally produced wine!
Life on this island is slow, sweet and utterly blissful. Nestled within the western Cyclades, Sifnos is home to some of the most romantic hotels in Greece and has an incredible food scene. As you step foot on this captivating island, you'll be greeted by its enchanting towns. Apollonia, the capital, welcomes you with its charming whitewashed houses, narrow streets adorned with bougainvillaea, and a lively ambiance. Venturing beyond Apollonia, you'll discover the island's traditional villages, each with its unique character. Wander through the labyrinthine streets of Artemonas, known for its well-preserved mansions and vibrant gardens, and experience the serenity of Kastro, a captivating mediaeval village perched on a cliff. Sifnos is also a haven for beach lovers, with its stunning coastline dotted with picturesque coves and sandy shores. Platis Gialos beckons with its long sandy beach and crystal-clear waters, ideal for swimming and sunbathing. Vathi, a hidden gem nestled in a sheltered bay, offers a tranquil retreat surrounded by majestic cliffs. Sifnos' gastronomy is a culinary journey not to be missed. Renowned for its traditional flavours, the island boasts a vibrant food culture. Sample the renowned chickpea stew called revithada, savour slow-cooked lamb dishes like mastelo, and delight in the sweet almond cookies known as amygdalota. Explore the island's tavernas and local eateries, where passionate cooks showcase the island's gastronomic treasures.
Nestled within the Western part of the Cyclades lies the enchanting island of Kimolos; a volcanic mountainous island brimming with natural caves, secluded beaches and stunning flowers. Home to under 1000 inhabitants, this is a place where peace and tranquillity prevail. Start your exploration in the main village of Chorio, where traditional Cycladic architecture, mediaeval influences and narrow alleys create a postcard-perfect setting, and stroll through its charming streets, adorned with whitewashed houses and colourful doors. Whether you’re exploring the remains of the Kastro Castle, marvelling at the hundreds of Byzantine churches, or sunbathing at the Psathi Beach, like many of the other islands, Kimolos is a place where you can kick back, relax and enjoy the glistening sounds of the sea whilst immersing yourself in the local hospitality.
The capital yet one of the smaller islands of the Cyclades, Syros is the perfect place for those who are looking to seek out a slice of Greek bliss without the overwhelming crowds. Be welcomed by its radiant pastel-hued neoclassical homes, illuminated by the Aegean sun, and venture into the island’s picturesque villages. Easily accessible by ferry from Athens and other nearby islands, Syros is ideal for enjoying pristine, low-crowd beaches, excellent gastronomy and local music. Known for its indulgent restaurants, be sure to sample specialties like loukoumia (a local sweet) and halvadopita (a nougat dessert). Despite its size, there are plenty of things to do here. Explore the unique architecture and grand squares in Ermoupolis, get lost walking through the magical alleys of Ano Syros, sunbathe amongst white beach lilies blossoming on the sand at Agathopes Beach, and gain insight into the islands ancient past at the local museums. Here, wine lovers can also sample the rare Cyclaidic vineyards blessed by Syros’ microclimate.
This small, charming island in the Cyclades is a hidden gem. With its dramatic cliffs, traditional architecture, and beautiful beaches, Folegandros is perfect for those seeking a tranquil and authentic Greek experience. The main town, Chora, is a picturesque village perched on a cliff. Its narrow stone-paved streets, whitewashed houses, and blue-domed churches create a charming and traditional atmosphere. Explore the mediaeval district of Kastro, the oldest part of the island, and discover its plethora of stone houses, winding alleys, and the remnants of the Venetian fortress – offering a glimpse into the island’s rich history. Sunbathe at Agali Beach and take a dip in its crystal clear waters, before indulging in fresh seafood in one of the tavernas lining the beach. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the stunning sunset from the Panagia Church in Chora. As the sun sets over the Aegean Sea, the view from this spot is truly magical.
Koufonisia, a hidden paradise in the Cyclades, Greece, offers a tranquil and idyllic getaway for those seeking untouched natural beauty and a serene island atmosphere. Comprised of two small islands, Pano Koufonisi and Kato Koufonisi, this lesser-known destination promises a blissful escape from the crowds and a chance to immerse yourself in unspoiled Greek island life. Pano Koufonisi, the main island, charms visitors with its pristine beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and traditional Cycladic architecture. Explore the island on foot or by bicycle, as cars are not allowed, and discover hidden gems at every turn. At Kato Koufonisi, you'll find pristine and secluded beaches, inviting you to unwind in peace and solitude. Swim in the crystal-clear waters of Nero Beach or venture to the western side of the island to discover stunning coves and hidden treasures.Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, Embark on coastal walks and hiking trails that offer panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the neighbouring islands. Explore sea caves, go snorkelling in underwater caves, or take a boat tour around the islands to witness their beauty from a different perspective.
An enchanting island in the Ionian Sea, Ithaca is steeped in mythology and natural beauty. As the legendary home of Odysseus in Homer's "Odyssey," Ithaca carries an aura of mystery and a sense of timelessness, offering visitors a serene and authentic Greek island experience. Explore the island's verdant landscapes by hiking its scenic trails, such as the Afales Gorge and Mount Niritos, which offer breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea and neighbouring islands. Discover hidden coves and pristine beaches, such as Filiatro and Gidaki, and bask in the tranquillity of the turquoise waters. The Archaeological Site of Stavros is believed to be the remains of Odysseus' palace, where you can imagine the mythical hero's journey. Another significant site is the Cave of Nymphs, where according to Greek mythology, Odysseus was hidden by the nymphs when he returned home. If you’re looking to experience some local culture, visit the villages of Anogi (located in the mountains) and Kioni (which charms travellers with its waterfront tavernas and traditional houses). Sample local cuisine and savour delicious Greek dishes at these family-run tavernas, where fresh seafood and traditional specialties are plentiful. The island's relaxed ambiance and warm hospitality provide a perfect setting for relaxation and rejuvenation. Enjoy the peacefulness of its beaches, soak in the sun, and let the gentle sea breeze whisk away your worries.
One of the most photogenic islands in the Cyclades archipelago, this remote paradise is small and unspoiled, making it the perfect place for a peaceful getaway. With its secluded beaches, charming villages, and a laid-back atmosphere, embrace Iraklia’s slow pace of life as you wander through its narrow streets, lined with whitewashed houses and colourful flowers. Unwind and relax on the long stretches of golden sands of Livadi Beach, and take advantage of its shallow waters – making it ideal for swimming. For all you adventure seekers, one of their most popular hiking trails will take you to the Cave of Agios Ioannis, a natural marvel with impressive stalactite formations. Whereas another hike will lead you to the secluded beach of Alimia, where you can swim in the crystalline waters and discover the remnants of an ancient sunken city. Iraklia’s peacefulness and lack of nightlife make it a haven for relaxation and rejuvenation. Enjoy the simple pleasures of watching the sunset, gazing at the starry night sky, and immersing yourself in the unspoiled beauty of nature.
As you step onto this unspoiled island, you'll be captivated by its raw beauty, untouched landscapes, and authentic Greek charm. Home to some of the most stunning and secluded beaches in the Cyclades, Anadi is where you can enjoy a sense of tranquillity and privacy amidst nature's beauty. Start your adventure in Chora, the main village of Anafi, wander through its narrow streets, lined with white-washed houses adorned with colourful bougainvillaea, and visit the Panagia Kalamiotissa Church – which offers breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and neighbouring islands. Hiking enthusiasts will also find this place an utter paradise. Embark on the trail leading to the summit of Mount Kalamos, the highest point on the island. As you ascend, you'll be rewarded with panoramic views that stretch far beyond the horizon, making the effort well worth it. As the sun sets over the Aegean Sea, Anafi reveals its magical allure. Gaze at the starlit night sky, undisturbed by city lights, and allow yourself to be enchanted by the peacefulness of this hidden gem.
Whether you seek relaxation or excitement, Ios promises a memorable and diverse experience. Offering a rich cultural experience, visit the Odysseas Elytis Theatre, an open-air amphitheatre, where various performances and events take place during the summer months. The Paleokastro Archaeological Site provides a glimpse into the island's ancient past, while the Archaeological Museum showcases historical artefacts. Whilst the beaches here boast golden sands, azure waters and various water sports activities to enjoy, there are also some incredible hiking routes that will take you through the ancient ruins of Skarkos, as well as the hill of homer; believed to be the poet’s final resting place. In the evenings, Ios transforms into a vibrant nightlife destination. Before heading into the centre’s winding streets, busting with energy as bars and clubs come to life, be sure to indulge in a leisurely dinner at one of the local restaurants beforehand!
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