Greece is a very popular destination for tourists all year round but especially during the hot summer months. It’s also a country known for its vast history, warm people, delicious food, pristine water beaches, and gorgeous islands. But which one of them all is the most picturesque Greek island on the Aegean Sea? The answer is tricky, so we’ll let you decide after introducing you to our favorites.
Five Greek islands you need to visit this summer
I bet you’ve heard about the magical sunsets and the great wine you can find in Santorini. It’s all true! Santorini is one of the best places to spend your summer especially if you are a couple, or a geologist, lol. I could be kidding, but I am married to one and we had the time of our lives there on our honeymoon.
The amazing landscape will take your breath away and there really aren’t enough words to describe how beautiful and romantic this place is. The white cave houses, the winding roads, and the breathtaking (see, not enough words) views will make you fall in love with the island and its people.
There is an abundance of great beaches to visit whether you prefer being among people or spend some time in your own little part of paradise without loud music and buzz. You need to see the red beach and you need to swim in Kamari. I would definitely suggest the Kambia beach for a more secluded swim.
You will have no problem finding quality food in Santorini. There are many awarded restaurants in Oia, Thira, and Thirostefani and the street food is great too! If you are a vegetarian you will enjoy the cherry tomatoes local to Santorini and the fava beans. I have one more word for you: Wine! It’s divine, there is no other word for it (again with the word restrictions!)
- The chance to visit Nea Kameni, aka the volcano island. Wear closed comfy shoes (no flip-flops won’t do!) and a large-brimmed hat. There are boats that take you there and do a small tour around the hot springs in Old Kameni and in the island of Thirasia. Even if you are not a geologist you will enjoy a relaxing bath in the hot springs.
- A visit to Akrotiri archaeological site to get a taste of how Santorinians lived during the 5th millennium BC. It is probably the oldest civilization you will get to see in your lifetime. The admission fee is 14€ and it includes visits to most of the island’s museums.
- A wine tour. Do I really need to sell you on that? Imagine cool cellars and tingling tastes, that should do the trick!
Mykonos is one of the most evolved places in Greece, one of the most fun countries to learn about. If an island could be named smart this would be it. There is nothing static and nothing stays the same for long in Mykonos. You need to visit this trendsetter island and have a taste of what it offers.
Is it a wild nightlife you are after? Look no more! With the myriads of nightclubs and bars, this is the place to be! It’s safe to say that Mykonos never sleeps (at night!).
The accommodation facilities are some of the best in Europe with high-end villas and luxury hotels.
The food is to die for and the beaches vibrate from famous DJ’s music 24/7. What more could you ask for?
- Getting to pick the fresh fish of your choice for dinner. They do taste very different than those brought up in a vivarium.
- Going windsurfing on Ftelia beach. Even if you are a beginner this is a great place to take lessons and advance in this sport. Feeling the air in your face while your surf cuts the sea is a freeing experience!
- Want more? Here are 7 reasons why you should visit Mykonos this summer.
Yet another island from the Cyclades complex but so very different from Santorini and Mykonos, Amorgos is a great place for a calm vacation.
The island became very well known after the 1988 movie The Big Blue which was filmed there. The famous by now Saint Anna beach is a must-visit. However, don’t go there thinking you will find sunbeds or a wide sandy beach to leave your beach towel. This is a very small beach with rocks and everyone more or less pretends to be a goat.
You need to swim in the sea and even if you haven’t done any kind of snorkeling in your life, this is the place to start! You will never see so many colorful fish, rocks, and sea life as you will there! Take it from a snorkeling fanatic, you need to try it!
It’s easy to have a nice time in Amorgos. There are places to eat (don’t forget to try the goat dishes if you are not vegetarian/vegan) and you must try their Raki. It’s sweet and so favorable you might be tempted to go a little crazy. Well, if you are not driving, this is allowed!
If you want a larger beach your best bet is to take the small boat and go to Saint Paul’s beach. Again, don’t miss the chance to go for some snorkeling!
There are wonderful and cute little shops and bars in the island’s Hora, filled with independent artisan’s creations. Every free spirit will have a wonderful time there!
- The handmade cheese pies the only bakery at Chora bakes each morning. You are welcome!
- The chance to witness one of the most beautiful fairs on August 15th. Lots of food and wine and lots of dancing make for one spectacular evening!
If you want to experience the Greek hospitality and feeling of inclusion, then Crete is the place to go. Take it from a local, we love people! There is no way you will not be stopped to get a treat – usually, raki so go easy if you are driving – to be asked where you are from or to be given instructions for the best restaurant/hotel/whatever it is you are looking for.
Crete is the largest island in Greece so you can stay there for a month and still not see all of it. Here are some things you don’t want to miss in each town:
- The old town. Walk around, shop, and eat. Don’t forget your camera and your sunscreen!
- Natural History Museum of Crete. Take a tour of the new museum and dive into the natural environment of Eastern Europe.
- Cretaquarium. You will get to witness the magic of the Mediterranean seafloor strolling through 60 tanks with thousands of marine life!
- The old town. You need to cherish the experience of walking through the cobblestone streets of Chania. You need to stop and smell the flowers, look past the lighthouse and imagine living into one of the restored old houses.
- Eat loukoumades and malaka (not at the same time).
- Visit Koukouvagia at the top of the hill where the Venizelos graves are located. All their desserts are famous but the best of all is the juicy chocolate cake. You are welcome!
- Visit the nearby beaches of Agioi Apostoloi and Agia Marina for a nice cool swim and drinks by the sand!
- The old town. Filled with marvelous little shops and local brands, you will try hard not to spend your whole budget there. Don’t miss the chance to buy olive oil soap and Cretan herbs.
- Eat at the taverna Zisis, the most delicious food you’ve ever tasted. Everything is grown in their fields and it’s an ethically responsible place too. A family tavern that goes back several decades with good reason. Try their lamb and their sweet cheese pies with honey.
- Go to the southern beaches. Either it is the exotic Preveli with the palm trees or the gorgeous Triopetra, you need to have at least one swim in the cold waters overlooking Africa.
Totally different from the Cyclades, this is a somewhat large island with a little bit of everything. Great beaches, mouth-watering food, and some nice nightlife choices too.
You can have a very stay in Skyros since there are many hotels, villas, and apartments to let. It’s perfect for families with kids since the beaches are sandy and the sea is not very deep.
Visit the beach at Magazia for fun family time. The all-day beach bars serve nice snacks and drinks. For a dive in deeper waters don’t miss a chance to go to Peukos, where the pine trees reach the shore. The nearby tavern offers a fulfilling meal at any time of the day.
The island’s main village, Chora, is situated on a hill and the views are amazing! If you want a nice cocktail, pay a visit to my name double, Akamatra.
And for a fun and thrilling experience, make sure you are at the lounge café Kavos at Linaria when the night ship comes from Kimi. The music and the fireworks the stuff gives to the clients to welcome the ship home will give you goosebumps.
- The great food at the tavern Mouries in Kalamitsa (I mean, we all know that Greece is one of the best countries for food in the world but just saying). If you have kids they will be thrilled to see and play with the small horses local to Skyros.
- Getting traditional products as souvenirs to get back home. The fruit sweets are the best and they keep for a long time (if they don’t disappear as you open the lid!).