The Greek islands are a favorite vacation spot for many tourists from all over the world. You can find tons of useful information, suggestions, and travel tips about many islands in Greece, but mostly these are well-known tourist destinations such as Crete, Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu, Zakynthos, Ios, Kos and others, no than twenty in total. Of course, even the most popular tourist island is beautiful in its own way and will always attract crowds of tourists, but what about other islands? I am talking about small Greek “paradises” preserved through traditional Greek hospitality, these untouched green oases with emerald waters.
If you are looking for a new, “unique” destination in Greece, then keep reading, because I have compiled my TOP list of 10 small and “unique” Islands with beautiful nature, clean waters, and Greek spirit! ENJOY!
Agistri is the real emerald of the Saronic Gulf. The island is covered with pine trees and surrounded by crystal blue waters. Although the island is very small, it consists of many bays and beaches with emerald colored clean waters.
You can get there easily by ferry boat from the main port of Athens. It will take you around 1 – 1,5 hour and a single ticket costs from 12 euros till 15 euros max per person.
Agistri has the two most popular areas to stay – Megalochori and Skala. Even if you arrived at the port of Megalochori it is very easy to get to the area of Skala by taxi or bus.
For my holiday, I chose the area of Skala, as it is more alive with people, and the most popular beaches and bars are located there.
Be sure to rent an electrical bike, bicycle or motorbike to explore the island and all bays.
The island has a fairly well-developed infrastructure, with many cafes, restaurants, bars and even several clubs, ideal for family holidays. On Agistri, you will find apartments for rent, which also provide you with breakfast.
Another green oasis in the Saronic Gulf. The island is divided into 2 parts by a water channel. The smaller section of the island is called, the Sphere (where the main city is located), and the larger – Kalavria, which I chose for my holidays. Poros is considered the island of the God sea Poseidon and the birthplace of the most delicious lemons.
The island can be reached from the main port of Athens by high-speed ferry in one hour and a one-way ticket costs around 26 euros per person. Another option to get to the island is by car. If you decided to take this route, then you’ll have to drive to the port of Galatas on the Peloponnese (the trip takes around two and a half hours) and then take the ferry (with a car), which runs every half hour, it is very cheap and takes only 10 minutes to get across. It is more complicated than to go by ferry, but you have a chance to have your car with you.
Poros has several nice hotels on the beach and a lot of apartments with a breathtaking view of the bay. You will also find, several sandy beaches and lovely bays, so it is better to rent a bike, motorbike or car to explore the island.
My choice for swimming is at Love Bay. The sandy beach is surrounded by pine trees and you will find there a beach bar with sunbeds and umbrellas. In the evening you can go to the city, where are located a wide variety of fish taverns, several bars, and very tasty ice-cream.
Spetses is a charming island covered with pine trees, just 5 miles off the coast of Peloponnese. The island is proud of its rich history and you will see there many impressive Mansions of the great captains and admirals of the last century, picturesque churches built after the Byzantine era.
You can get to the island from the main port of Athens by fast-speed ferry. It will take you around two and a half hours and cost up to 40 euro per person per way. Another option is by car. You drive up to the port of Kosta at Porto Heli on the Peloponnese and then take the ferry, but since the cars on the island are forbidden, there is no point in doing such a way, unless you leave your car behind, and you rent a bike or motorbike to check the island out when you are there.
Spetses is a really charming island for high-class holidays. The island has several luxury hotels, such as the Poseidonian Grand Hotel, Porto Vecchio Luxury Suites, Orloff Resort. For my holidays I stayed at the very lovely Alexandris hotel with a view of the port and sea.
On the island, tourists mostly use rented bikes. There are even electric ones where you can drive around the whole island, it’s about 27 km (by the way, I did it with a simple bike ;p), with stops near the most famous beaches such as Ag. Paraskevi –a beautiful beach with pines, Ag. Anargyros – the longest beach with water sports, Ag. Nikolaos beach with bars and water sports, Ag. Mamas is a small sandy beach in Dapia, close to cafes, restaurants, and bars.
Don’t miss the Armata Festival in early September in memory of the battle 1822, which involved 1,490 ships against the Turks. The inhabitants of the island arrange the reconstruction of the sea battle and set fire to the Turkish flagship under the fireworks. An incredible experience!
Antiparos island is the “younger” brother of the Cycladic island of Paros, not inferior in its beauty, but more calm and peaceful. On this island, beauty and history, archeological monuments and nightlife, quiet beaches and active water sports, as well as mountain walks, merge into one whole.
In order to get to the island, you’ll have to get to Paros first. Then you take the local ferry ( every 30 – 40 minutes) from the port of Pounda. You need only 10 minutes to get to the island of Antiparos (you can buy your tickets before departure without any problems).
By the way, this is Tom Hanks’ favorite island for holidays.
On the island, you can rent some lovely apartments, so it is an excellent way to combine your holidays in Paros with several days in Antiparos or you can just visit it for one day.
Castro is the main village of the island, which is considered an architectural marvel. The two-story houses of the village are built in such a way that they form the walls of the fortress.
Be sure to visit the cave, which is located on the hill Ai-Yanis and is very impressive in size.
You can rent a bike in Chora, the capital of the island, and ride with a complete sense of freedom from the village of Chora to Livadia Beach.
The island of Kastellorizo is the foundation on the far eastern part of the Greek islands. Part of the Dodecanese archipelago and its official name is Megisti. The Turks call it simply Meis. It is located just two kilometers from the coast of Turkey, close to the island of Cyprus, and at a distance of 110 km from the island of Rhodes.
The island has its own airport, but there is no direct flight from Athens, so it is necessary to fly through Rhodes, the flight time from Rhodes to Kastellorizo is 45 minutes. Another option is to take a ferry from Rhodes to Kastellorizo, which takes approximately 3-4 hours or a ferry from the main port of Athens (depart several times a week).
On the island, they have mostly studios and apartments and one 4* hotel the Megisti.
The first thing that catches your eye when seeing the island is the classical architecture of the Dodecanese with some elements unique to the structure of this island: tall two-story buildings painted in bright colors and located in the shape of an amphitheater.
In addition to the cleanest waters and amazing beaches, this island is worth visiting for the famous blue cave of Kastellorizo. When you get here on the boat, you will understand why it is called so. In some magical way, the sunlight reflects from the bottom of the cave and “colors” the water in a unique blue color. The feelings that you experience, cannot describe any photos, no pictures, no words!
6- LIPSI (LEIPSOI)
There is a group of small islands next to the island of Patmos (northeast), which are called Lipsi, scattered around the largest and only inhabited island of the same name – Lipsi.
The main island of Lipsi is perfect for a quiet family holiday or a secluded holiday for couples. On the island, there are many puppet villages with small hotels, cozy taverns, harbor areas closed from eyes and very friendly local people.
Travel to Lipsi is possible only by ferry. You can take a ferry from the main port of Athens, but first check the schedule, as they are not run every day.
There are also ferries from the islands of Dodecanese, as Patmos, Leros, Kalymnos, Kos, Rhodes. The easiest way is to take a flight from Athens to the island of Leros and then a ferry from Leros to Lipsi (the trip lasts 20 minutes and costs 15 euro per person per way).
The biggest transport on the island are bicycles and scooters, so nothing can stop you from enjoying the quiet and peaceful island life. You will find cozy and chic apartments and studios mostly near the main port.
On the island, there are many churches and small monasteries, such as the Byzantine Church of the Holy Mother of God, where you can find the holy icon of the Virgin Mary, which is also known for it being a miraculous icon.
There are also many natural fountains, for example, the source of drinking water Pikri Nero is found near the village of Kimissi. Don’t forget to visit the famous cave of Ontas, which is often visited by curious tourists.
Do not miss the wine festival on the island, which lasts 3 days, starting from 10 August. The island’s guests are always offered a glass of wine, followed by an invitation to celebrate with them the “cycle of life” and join in the fun songs and dances.
The best part of this island is its beautiful sandy beaches, closed from the harbor with the waters completely clean and calm. The most popular beaches are Platis Yalos and Katsadia.
From the port of Lipsi, you can also visit the nearby tiny islands of Agathonisi and Fourni or take a cruise around the island searching of secluded coves and bays.
7- PAXOS AND ANTIPAXOS
The miniature islands of Paxos and Antipaxos are the smallest of the archipelago of the Ionian islands. It is known as the island of pirates since they used to stay here, but after they left it, life calmed down and locals engaged in winemaking and fishing, up until the end of the 20th century, the Tourists discovered these amazing islands.
You can get to Paxos by local ferry, the trip takes around 1 hour from the island of Corfu or you can head over with a water taxi (but it will cost you a bit, 300 euros).
Another option is to go to the island of Paxos from the mainland (Igoumenitsa, Parga, Perdika). It is a great option if you want to travel by car and the trip takes around 2 hours. Getting between Paxos and Antipaxos is possible by water taxi and takes only 15 minutes.
The island of Paxos has several luxury Villas as Kipos Villas, Villa Baronnos and Glyfada Beach Villa.
Most of the beaches in Paxos are covered with pebbles and they look very beautiful. Due to the fact that there are bright pebbles on the bottom – the waters here seem to glow from the inside and shimmer with bright shades of blue.
To experience the most beautiful beach, you’ll have to go to the island of Antipaxi, in the Gulf of Vutumi.
Paxos throughout Greece is known for its amazing Blue Caves (although their color is actually cream and champagne), located on the western side of the island. The beauty here is indescribable: huge sheer cliffs of all shades of beige, surrounded by the azure sea.
On Antipaxi you can have fun by trekking to the English reservoir of 1833, visiting the church of St. Emilian or having a glass of an excellent wine that has been produced on the island for hundreds of years.
Southeast of the Greek island of Lefkada lies a small picturesque island of Meganisi. The island of stunning beauty, gorgeous beaches, and an unusually relaxing atmosphere. This is a great place for those who want to relax away from crowds in silence and complete harmony with nature.
The only way to get to Meganisi is to take a ferry from the port of Nydra in Lefkada. There are 3 or 4 ferries per day to the two ports of the island of Meganisi and the trip lasts around 20 minutes.
There aren’t many options to live on the island, so you’ll have to book accommodation in advance.
Vathy is the main Port of the island and a popular tourist center. It is located on the north coast of the island in a well-protected natural harbor. Vathi is a picturesque town with labyrinths of cobbled streets, snow-white stone houses, churches and a picturesque embankment with numerous snow-white yachts and boats.
Spartochori is also popular among tourists. It is located on top of a pine-covered hill towering over the Spilio Bay, which is the second Port of the island. Approximately 1 km from the port of Spilio is the eponymous beach – one of the best beaches on the island.
The most famous attraction of the island of Meganisi is the huge Sea Cave Papanicolis, where a Greek submarine hit during World War II. This is the second largest cave of such type in Greece.
9- AGIOS EFSTRATIOS
The least populated island in the north of the Aegean Sea was named in honor of St. Eustratius, who lived on the island in the IX century. This small island is only 18 nautical miles from Lemnos and 50 miles from Lesbos and belongs to the municipality of Lemnos.
You can reach the island only by local ferries from the islands of Lesbos and Lemnos. The island met us with quiet harbors, neat white houses and abundant vineyards.
The locals are mainly engaged in the production of wine and cheese, the cultivation of land and fishing. The settlement on the island is only one – it is a port town Chora, where approximately 250 people live. Here all the taverns, restaurants, hotels and guesthouses are found.
I recommend booking rooms in advance, as there is a limited number of accommodations. You will find there nice Eleni apartments and one Holiday Home Galina.
First of all, make sure you visit the cave of Agios Efstratios, where a Monk once lived. Inside, the cave is more like the church – there are many icons, holy letters, and other religious attributes.
The island is abundantly covered with greenery – lush vineyards and oak groves that surround the numerous sandy beaches. Most of the beaches are located on the west side of the island – Alonitsi (from here you can swim to small islands scattered along the coast, such as Neraki, etc).
There is only one organized beach with umbrellas and deck chairs on the island – Ayios Efstratios and is located near the capital.
Anafi is an island in the Aegean Sea, the southernmost of the Cyclades archipelago. Like most of the Cycladic islands, it perfectly preserved the ancient traditions, architecture, and traditional way of life.
Anafi is located 12 nautical miles (20 km) from Santorini, from which you can reach Anafi on a variety of boats. From a distance, the island does not even look like an island – it can be mistaken for a large mountain or rock.
Although historical monuments and sources indicate that Anafi was inhabited since ancient times.
The capital of the island is the village Chora. In fact, Chora is the only settlement of the island. Here you will find the Archaeological Museum and nearby you can also visit the small park of an archaeological site on the hill Kasteli. You will find a large number of taverns and restaurants located in the capital of the island, Chora. Numerous houses are rented or have been rebuilt as hotels, so there are no particular problems with accommodation either. On the island of Anafi, you will also find the night club, located in the building of an old windmill.
The beaches deserve special attention, as they stretch along the southern side of the island. They can be reached on foot from the harbor or you can also get there by local bus. On the east side, there are also several wonderful sandy beaches – Klisidi, Rukūnas, six sandy bays of Katelimaci of all shapes and sizes.
Honestly speaking, there are so many beautiful small islands in Greece that this list can be added by many many many more “unique” islands!