The 7 Best and Underrated
 greek islands

Greece is blessed with nearly 10,000 miles of coastline, thanks to its many islands.  While most travelers end up visiting the popular Mykonos or Santorini, there are over 227 inhabited islands to be discovered, dotted throughout the Aegean and Ionic Seas. Having 227 different options can be overwhelming so check out our list of the 7 best and underrated Greek Islands.

Whether you’re planning to explore ruins, sunbathe at the beach, or experience some of the best food in Europe, there is an island for you.

If you’re looking to skip the crowds and hit the road less travelled, here are 7 underrated Greek Islands that you should research before you plan your next Greek adventure.

The 7 Best and Underrated Greek Islands

Naxos

Naxos is the largest of the group of islands called the Cyclades, and is one of our 7 underrated Greek islands that you may have heard of, but don’t end up on most Greek itineraries.  You can access the island of Naxos by ferry or catamaran from either Santorini or Mykonos.

Besides having some of the most pristine white sand beaches, Naxos will also satisfy the thrill seekers.  It’s one of the most popular destinations for kite and windsurfing, thanks to strong and consistent summer winds.

The island has a storied past, and you’ll come across ancient monuments and fortified castles in your travels.  Be sure to view the Portara at the unfinished Temple of Apollo, built in the 6th century BC.

Milos

The second island in our list of the 7 best and underrated Greek islands is Milos.  This island’s beaches can only be described as otherworldly, thanks to the coastlines that have been carved by lava.  Sarakiniko is the most popular beach on the island, and resembles a moonscape with soft sand devoid of all vegetation and towering white volcanic rocks.

When you’re done swimming in the turquoise waters, you won’t have far to go for some of the best seafood in the Mediterranean.  Enjoy fresh fish, some of which is cooked in the hot sand!  

For the history buffs, check out the three interconnected underground catacombs, used as Christian cemeteries 2000 years ago.  Next, walk through an ancient theatre, built by the Romans in the 3rd century BC.  Plan your visit from late May through early October to ensure you have warm, sunny weather.

 

Karpathos

If you want an authentic Greek island experience, look no further than one of the 7 underrated Greek Islands, Karpathos.  This is an island of small villages which are not frequented by tourists.

Most of the inhabitants of the island remain true to their customs, and you’ll find many women wearing traditional clothing, and a local dialect is spoken.  In the taverns, enjoy true Greek cuisine, including some of the best Moussaka in Greece.

The village of Olymbos is uniquely laid out, built into the mountain.

 

Kythira

Kythira, also called Kythera, is one of the main Ionian Islands, and is one of the 7 underrated Greek islands.  It is centrally located between Crete and the mainland, and due to being on a main trade route, has been influenced by many cultures over its history.

You could spend your whole vacation on one of Kythira’s beaches, but this is also a hiker’s paradise.  Explore deep gorges and hidden hiking trails that will take you past olive groves and ancient ruins.  

You also can’t miss the Castle of Chora, nicknamed The Eye of Crete thanks to its strategic view of the Ionian, Aegean, and Cretan Seas.

Crete

Crete is Greece’s largest island, but remains one of the 7 underrated Greek islands (and is my personal favorite). It has everything that Santorini has and more, and at a far more affordable price tag.  It is easily accessible with two international airports, plus a number of smaller airports that cater to domestic charters.

Because of its size, give yourself at least a week to sightsee in Crete, and rent a car if possible. With that said, there are a few things that you just can’t miss.

Visit the city of Chania, which grew up around the old harbor built by the Venetians in the 1500s.  The harbor itself is an attraction, featuring charming shops and incredible restaurants.  Don’t miss the Heraklion Archaeological Museum, which houses some of the most impressive Minoan artefacts.

For those interested in Greek mythology, visit one of Europe’s oldest cities, Knossos.  You’ll find King Minos’ palace, where the legendary Minotaur patrolled the palace’s labyrinth.

 

Zakynthos

Zakynthos is paradise for nature and music lovers alike, which is why it makes our list of the 7 best and underrated Greek islands.

One of the most popular destinations is the Bay of Laganas, which is a nesting area for the oceanic loggerhead sea turtle.  If you’re lucky you’ll be able to spot one!  Many of the resorts offer scuba diving lessons, but you can also hire a boat to Turtle Island with a local guide to increase your chances.  At the island taverns you’ll be treated to the traditional music of Zakynthos

 

Corfu

Another spectacular island for diving is Corfu.  With the right instructor, you’ll be able to explore shipwrecks, caves, and reefs, all from some of Greece’s most stunning beaches.  That’s what makes Corfu one of the top 7 underrated Greek islands.

Corfu’s Old Town dates to the 8th century BC, and was a heavily fortified port.  You can explore the fortresses, or visit one of the island’s many monasteries.   Take a boat out to Mouse Island, which legend says is Ulysses’ ship that Poseidon turned to stone.


Which of these 7 underrated greek islands sounds the best to you?

Whether you’re backpacking Europe, or just wanting to relax on a beach for your vacation, don’t miss all that Greece has to offer. 

Choose one of our 7 underrated Greek islands for your next trip – you won’t be disappointed.  

Stay gold.

 

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