Best Greek Island Besides Santorini or Mykonos

*Updated April 2017

Besides Santorini or Mykonos, which island is considered the best Greek island to visit? Here are some great answers by travel bloggers who have traveled the country in depth.

Besides Santorini or Mykonos: Go Here

Last week’s local experts post delved into the one Greek island travelers should make time for during their first trip to Greece.  Santorini “won” the survey among Greece-based travel bloggers.

It’s no secret that Santorini and Mykonos are the hottest islands to visit. Santorini, for its unique breathtaking beauty, and Mykonos, for its cosmopolitan party vibe and fantastic beaches.

If you’ve been Santorini or Mykonos and you’re seeking to plan more Greek island adventures, you’re my kind of traveler.

Another Best Greek Island to Consider

Ten expert travel bloggers based in Greece or specializing in Greek travel tell you their opinion on the best Greek island, not including Santorini or Mykonos in the equation.

The Question:

If someone is visiting Greece for the second time –and has been to Santorini or Mykonos  – and can go to one Greek island. Which island would you recommend? Tell me why.



Rethymno at night.
Rethymno, Crete at night


“The best Greek island for this question would be Crete. It is an island that offers diversity and can cover every taste. In Crete, there is a wide choice of beaches, interesting archaeological sites, tasty food and hospitable people.”

— Born and raised in Athens, Chrysoula Manika has passion for travel. She is behind the travel blog Travelpassionate.


The Portara of Naxos.
The Portara of Naxos


“If they are limited in time, I suggest Naxos because it’s a great all-around destination offering many of the same attractions as Santorini or Mykonos, without the cruise ship crowds, high prices, and intensely commercial atmosphere. The beaches that extend for miles, plus the scenic mountains and villages, are things you just can’t find on the other two islands. And the local Naxos potatoes are to die for — the best fried potatoes I’ve had anywhere.”

— 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.


Octopus drying in Antiparos


“As I have mentioned in last week’s question I would say Hydra, but personally I would also vote for Antiparos. Growing up I used to spend many summers and Easters on the island which was not that popular among tourists back then.  I loved the main street and how everything was walking distance, there was a family feeling on the island and everyone knew each other. The beaches are so beautiful and there are some remote ones which are difficult to access. If you get the chance to rent a boat and go around the island you must definitely do so, and go to Captain Pipinos tavern located at the other end of the island. ”



Santorini or Mykonos the best greek island
Symi island


Symi in the Dodecanese chain.  It’s not very well known and is smaller, more traditional and has many grand Venetian houses and a different kind of beauty and more traditional Greek way of life than the ‘Disney’ of Mykonos or Santorini.”

— 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 Mykonos the best greek island
Alonissos island in Greece


“Another personal favorite that I would recommend for nature loving families and families that like boating is Alonissos. This island is the third one in the Northern Sporades. It is very green, peaceful and serene. Its magnificent old town is car-free and its sea is one of the cleanest in Greece. There is also the famous National Marine Park of Alsonissos, the first in Greece, and the largest marine protected area in Europe. There, one can find the Mediterranean monk seal and other rare (protected) species in flora and fauna.  Alonissos has a few organized family hotels, many family guest houses and can be reached by ferry boat.”

— Celeste Tat is a family blogger who writes in English and Dutch for the super helpful travel site Family Goes Out Greece. She also launched her own family lifestyle and travel blog Family Experiences


Knossos in Crete.
Knossos in Crete


Crete wins because it is very different from Santorini or Mykonos. In fact, it is very unique even compare to other islands in Greece. It is born with several thousands of history and lively cultural traditions. More interestingly, the local people people there are super hospitality and warm-hearted. Also the food there is unique and scrumptious.”

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.


Chania, Crete.
Crete is fabulous, every location is different from the other. Crete is authentic with a fantastic mix of history, tradition and beautiful landscapes. It is the best Greek island in terms of a place to bond with nature. As destination, I love Elafonisi, Samaria Gorge, Preveli, Chrisi and PreveliAs for cities, I love Rethymno and Chania.”

— Marianne Najm blogs in French and Greek for the family travel website Family Goes Out Greece of which she is also the founder and CEO.


Spinalonga island off the coast of Crete.
Spinalonga island off the coast of Crete


Crete gets my vote here, but you really have to spend as much time there as you can to make the most of it. It has a perfect combination of good beaches, ancient history, and a culture unique to the island. Crete is a very unique place!”

— Dave Briggs blogs at Dave’s Travel Pages, one of the top travel blogs in the world! He’s based in Athens.

Paxos and Crete

“I’d go with Paxos again. But if that person has time on their hands, Crete would be a better option. Ancient monuments, beautiful towns (Rethymno and Chania), amazing beaches (Preveli, Balos, Elafonisi), great hiking opportunities in Chania and some of the greatest dishes of Greece? What else can you ask for?”

— Anna Paparizou is the stylish talent behind the lifestyle travel blog Dreamista


Symi island_Photo by Charlie196 Creative Commons
Symi island in Greece.

“I would recommend Symi. Like Santorini or Mykonos, it’s small and friendly. There’s a real party feel to the place in summer with the yachting community. There are wonderful beaches and walks. Plus, it’s a little different with the Venetian architecture and would give them a slightly different view of Greece.”

Amanda Settle is an expat loving life on the island of Rhodes. Check out her blog and join in on her “mad expat life” at Olive, Feta and Ouzo.

My Best Greek Island Besides Santorini or Mykonos

It seems like beautiful Crete wins out among the bloggers this week with a few more great islands thrown in the mix. I have to agree that it is a special Greek island destination. I have been twice as of April 2017 and it is really impressive.  However, you need to have enough time — at least a week or two.

For a smaller island and if you have less time, I would have to agree with fellow blogger, Donny B.  I highly recommend Naxos.  It is a magical destination in so many ways! And yes, the potatoes are delicious. You can read more about my travels in Naxos on this blog.

Also be sure to check out the first post in this series: Best Greek Island to Visit: Recommended by Travel Bloggers. In my opinion, Santorini is a must-see island if it is your first time to Greece.

Pin for Later

Do you agree with any of the best Greek island recommendations for this week’s local experts blog post? Type in your opinion below to help some Greece vacation lovers figure out their next visit to the beautiful Greek islands.

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  1. Just realised Marissa, you’re a member of my Facebook group A Good Greek Read. You would have been welcome to post the link to this there yourself! Best wishes, John (AGGR Admin)

  2. Let me add to this list Mylos and Koufonisi. Mylos with its wild beauty and those crystal waters and the tiny picturesque Koufonisi where vacation seems ideal.

  3. Very nice list indeed, may I add also Paros island which is only one hour from Naxos, you can even see it from there. I think is one of the most popular islands of the Cyclades that still maintains its traditional character, with its unique architecture, and natural beauties. It has beautifull beaches like Pounda Beach, Golden Beach and New Golden beach that also offer a variety of water sports, including windsurf and kitesurf, for those who want to do more than just swimming.

    1. Thanks so much for your suggestion! I do like Paros. I haven’t explored it as much as I’d like to. I hope to do so in the future to have a real opinion. I heard those particular beaches are just great.

  4. My wife and I went to Greece for a trip awhile back and hit Santorini for a few days and then to Crete. I’m so happy you included Crete on this. The places is huge and we ended up staying for about 10 days renting a car and discovering one side of the island. The beaches, the people, the food, the food and the food! Loved our time there. We’ve wanted to visit again for sometime but always are looking at seeing other islands. This is a great start for our search!

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