Ancient history, delicious food, and sun-kissed beaches—Greece has it all. There’s plenty to do on the mainland, of course. However, if you’re looking for additional adventure, there’s a plethora of islands to choose from. Taking a ferry is the best way to explore them. Experts estimate there are between 1,200 to 6,000 islands in the Greek archipelago, most of which aren’t inhabited.

If you’re not sure how to narrow them down, start with these top picks.


walkway in Mykonos - Greek Islands
Photo credit: Johnny Africa

It’s impossible to write about Greek islands without mentioning Mykonos. It retains its old-world look, namely, the narrow roads and Cycladic architecture. To maintain harmony, most of the private villas are constructed in the same style as the older structures.

Mykonos is popular with families, couples, and solo travelers, and you can catch a ferry there from Athens. Visitors praise the nightlife, food, and history. There’s a great selection of beaches to visit like Ornos Beach, Elia Beach, and Kalafatis Beach.


buildings in Santorini
Photo credit: Heidi Kaden

One of Santorini’s famous natural features is Kolumbo, an underwater volcano just off the coast. It hasn’t erupted since 1650, but there’s a chance it could again. However, experts are keeping an eye on it, and this shouldn’t dissuade you from visiting.

If you’re based in Fira, feast your eyes on the Aegean Sea. As the capital, there’s plenty of shopping, nightlife, and places to eat for all budgets. The villages of Oia, Imerovigli, and Firastephani deserve attention as well.


beach coastline in Crete
Photo credit: Nadiia

Crete is the largest of the Greek archipelago. Peruse the frescoes in Knossos Palace, arguably the most famous historical attraction on the island. The pebbly beach of Agiofarago takes effort to reach, but it’s worth it. The emerald rock pools of Voulolimni Beach are beautiful, while Elafonisi is probably the most photogenic beach of all. The tranquil waters are clear as glass, and the sand has a pink color.


Greek Islands - Corfu
Photo credit: Calin Stan

The layout of Corfu’s Old Town brings Venice to mind. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is best enjoyed by meandering at your own pace. The Old and New Fortresses, Dimarhiou Square, and the Solomos Museum are just some sites of cultural significance.

Further afield are the beaches of Kavos, Agios Gordios, and Issos, along with many others worth a visit.