Best Greek Island to Visit: Recommended by Travel Bloggers
Which is the best Greek island to visit? I asked fellow Greece-based and Greek travel bloggers their advice to help you plan your trip to Greece.
Best Greek Island to Visit
Living in Greece and working as a travel writer, I give all kinds advice to family, friends and acquaintances about where to holiday in this country. The most common question is someone wanting to know my opinion on the best Greek island to visit.
Since most people don’t have all the time in the world, their choices are limited to just one island. I know, just one! But there are dozens and dozens of beautiful Greek islands to explore!
Well, if this is your awesome dilemma this post may help you decide. Take the recommendations of my fellow travel bloggers who have explored this country in depth, especially around the amazing islands.
Ten travel bloggers based in Greece or specializing in Greek travel answer this question:
If someone is visiting Greece for the first time and only has time to see one Greek island which island would you recommend? Tell me why.
“Santorini. Sure, it’s very commercial, but the amazing scenery, views and atmosphere will simply take their breath away and stand out in their memories forever.”
— Donny B is inspiring his readers to explore Greece through his blog My Greece Travel Blog. He is also the Trip Advisor destination expert for the island of Mykonos.
“If someone is coming to Greece and has time to visit only one island, I recommend that he/she visits Santorini. It is a unique island, very picturesque with incredible views and good wines.”
— Born and raised in Athens, Chrysoula Manika has passion for travel. She is behind the travel blog Travelpassionate.
Santorini or Hydra
“Difficult question as every island is so different. Perhaps I would say Santorini because it is so picture perfect and unlike any other island in the world it will take your breath away, and especially if you are feeling in love and travelling with your honey, Santorini is the perfect romantic destination!
If, however, you have limited time in Greece and find yourself in Athens, then I would recommend a quick trip to Hydra, it is small, very characteristic, the donkeys, the cats and the fact there are no cars on the island is what makes it a very special Greek island.”
— Athens Riviera based Elena Sergeeva publishes the travel blog Passion for Greece. She is also my co-founder of Travel Bloggers Greece.
Mykonos, Santorini or Rhodes
“I guess everybody knows and has heard of Mykonos and Santorini. It depends what the person is looking for: nightlife (Mykonos), ethereal beauty (Santorini), castles (Rhodes with its Old Town and ability to stay in many boutique hotels within the castle walls – suitable for couples and honeymooners).”
— Rebecca lives in Athens. She is an author of Girl Gone Greek and publishes the award-winning expat and travel blog Life Beyond Borders.
Santorini or Crete
“Difficult to answer! Every island or island group in Greece is unique. Greece is so diverse. It depends of what kind of travelers we are talking about. If I have to pick just one, it would be the most famous Santorini. There is no other place like that in the world.
For family travel, I would recommend Crete. Crete is ideal for family holidays because it is a large island with many choices in landscapes, over 100 child friendly beaches (many of them are awarded with a Blue Flag), many cultural and historical places to explore and lots of choice in outdoor activities for all ages. Due to its climate, Crete is a destination for all year. Finally, Crete is a well-organized and highly developed part of Greece. It has three airports, many ports and offers quality tourist services.”
–– Celeste Tat is a family blogger who writes in English and Dutch for the super helpful travel site Family Goes Out Greece.
Santorini or Zakynthos
“For most of the Chinese tourists, I would definitely recommend Santorini.
We would also recommend Zakynthos because it is an island full of nature scenery, beautiful beaches, nice food, local culture and of course, nice and hospitable people. People in Zakynthos like dancing and singing, and they have dancing groups in almost every village.”
— Kevin Miao is a Chinese travel blogger. He is the other half of the talented team publishing Meet Culture, a travel and culture blog focusing on the cultures of Greece and China.
“Kefalonia is such an amazing island. It is full of diversity in its landscape. There are mountains, lakes, beautiful beaches and little ports. I think it is definitely my first choice for the best Greek island to visit in Greece.”
— Marianna Najm blogs in French and Greek for the family travel website Family Goes Out Greece of which she is the founder and CEO.
“There are so many Greek islands to choose from, it is hard to narrow it down. For the most stunning beaches though, I would have to say Lefkada. Little known to non-Greeks, it is best visited outside of the high season, as you will appreciate the beauty of the beaches and waters more.”
— Dave Briggs blogs at Dave’s Travel Pages, one of the top travel blogs in the world! He’s based in Athens.
Paxos and Antipaxos
“Paxos and Antipaxos for sure. They are beautiful, off-the-beaten-path islands. They are lush green with amazing blue waters and the beaches of Antipaxos are to die for. Also, there are three restaurants, two in Lakka and one in Gaios that are among the best I’ve ever been to.”
— Anna Paparizou is the stylish talent behind the lifestyle travel blog Dreamista.
“There’s so many to choose from, I think if you can only go to one then Rhodes is a good choice.
There’s a variety of archeology and ancient sites. A huge number of beaches from long sandy ones to pebble. Small harbors like Haraki with places to eat by the sea, Lindos with its white houses and temples, then there are the mountain villages.
There are castles to discover. Wonderful places to walk. Kitesurfing at Prasonisi and along the west coast. Rhodes new town with its Italian architecture and shopping. Rhodes old town with its medieval walls and buildings. Plus, there’s the Ottoman architecture too. We even have a nudist beach.
There’s a real choice of places to stay family friendly like Pekos, cheap resorts like Falaraki, expensive Lindos, all-inclusive hotel chains, self-catering, villa rental, adults only, boutique or basic.
Plus, of course, you can also take a day to trip to the smaller islands nearby like Symi or Chalki.”
— Amanda Settle lives on the Greek island of Rhodes. Check out her blog and join in on her “mad expat life” at Olive, Feta and Ouzo.
Best Greek Island to Visit is Santorini
Okay, so six out of the 10 answers included beautiful Santorini. If I add my two cents, I would definitely say Santorini as well. If you only had one choice, limited time and it’s your first time in Greece? Santorini wins for me. It is magical.
Well, if you are coming to Greece for a second time and have been to Santorini or even Mykonos and have more time to spare… where would our Greek travel bloggers advise you to go? Stay tuned for the next local experts post.
Also, check out my Santorini pages to learn more about what to do in Santorini.
Join in on the survey. In your opinion, which is the best Greek island to visit?
Hard to disagree with all your peers’ Santorini choice – it does demand to be seen on a first Greek visit – and is certainly most evocative of most people’s picture-postcard ideal of the Greek islands.
I’ll put my two-cents in for my adopted home, Paros – as I always tell my visiting friends when coming over, Paros, not as well-known, may not be No. 1 in most particular category, I believe it’s at very least a solid No. 2 in most every category – beaches, history, scenery, nightlife, affordability, culture. It’s well-roundedness and not clamoring for attention is one of the things I love about it. And after making the requisite Santorini and Mykonos visits, friends generally feel that they’re happy to have ‘checked’ Santorini off the bucket list, but go home saying Paros has been their favorite, a sentiment I share.
Each island has such unique character – let’s hope everyone gets a chance to visit more than one and fall in love with their own.
Hi Scott! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I am glad you wrote about Paros here. It is definitely a great island for all of those things you state. Well said! So so so true, each island has its own character and feel. We are lucky to have the opportunity to visit more of them and understand that. I hope many people keep coming back to Greece to spend their holidays in other areas of the country they haven’t discovered yet…
I also have the same question, because there are many islands to choose from. It is not easy to find which island to visit. I have been to Santorini & Naxos. Maybe Rhodes next time…
Is shipwreck beach in Zakynthos not overcrowded? I just saw a video on facebook, people doing a base jumping in the shipwreck beach.
I would recommend Kos, providing that they deal with the immigrants’ problem
Hi Joanna, Thanks for your “vote”! I haven’t been to Kos. I hear it is lovely.
Hi Angela, Yes, the Shipwreck beach gets crowded indeed especially during July-August. It is so nice to see though. There are many natural sights on Zakynthos that are impressive, too. For the Shipwreck beach, I would suggest going on a smaller boat there (have blog post about it) rather than a large one so you have a less “crowded” feeling — at least getting there — during peak summer season. It is only accessible via boat. Yes, I have seen pics of people base jumping and stuff like that off the high cliffs that surround the beach! If you can travel to Zakynthos in Sept or before July… better if you want to avoid big big crowds in touristic areas. 😀 Yes, Rhodes is a nice choice, too. There is so much to see on that island…
Zakynthos and ship wreck are the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited the scenery is breathtaking and all locals are very welcoming. Have yet to find a down side to Zakynthos..would recommend visiting this beautiful island and seeing everything it has to offer for yourself. I’ll forever have special place for Zakynthos
Hi Sam, Thanks for stopping by and your lovely comments inspiring folks to travel to Zakynthos. I think it would take me many trips to Zakynthos to truly discover what it has to offer. I was totally impressed with its natural beauty when I visited. I hope you go back soon!
Pinay Flying High
Absolutely! Santorini wins by a landslide vote! :p
Although The Greek Mister would definitely disagree as he thinks it’s too touristic and does not really show the true Greece, it’s my favorite island and one that has been at the very top of my bucket list for many many years! I love it!
Yes, Santorini is very unique. No place like it in the world! So glad you went. I think this is why it “won.” The Greek Mister is right on the fact that it is touristic. If folks are bothered by crowds, they can always opt to experience Santorini off-season. I last went in early June and it was perfect 😀
Hello Marissa again. Nice work! And nice choice to explore Greece and Europe!
Hi Athena, Thanks for the comment and the compliment 🙂 I appreciate it. Love travel in Greece. Love travel in Europe!
Great post 🙂 Indeed it is so hard to choose between the Greek Islands. The Aegean is renowned for its boisterous Meltemi… <3 For me the best islands in the Cyclades are Paros, Milos, Amorgos, Sifnos and Koufonisia. In the Dodecanese I prefer Astypalaia, Kos and Kalymnos <3
Hi Annie, I know it sure is.