The Top 5 Greek Islands You Cannot Miss

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In the glistening Ionian and Aegean seas, Greece boasts well over 200 inhabited islands of different sizes and forms. You thus have a ton of options when making travel plans. Nick Edwards, a former resident and author of the Rough Guide to Greece, selects his top five Greek islands for travel.

Crete is the best Greek island for archaeology.

Crete, the biggest island in Greece, offers a variety of experiences. Crete is home to the impressive White Mountains, miles of beautiful beaches, the charming Samaria Gorge, and a number of intriguing towns, including the island's capital, Iraklion. However, for anybody who is interested in archaeology, it is the ideal location to combine the benefits of an island with a wide selection of historic artifacts that equal those on the mainland. Already feeltempted? Discover Crete's top beaches.


The most important ancient monument on the island, Knossos, is just five kilometers outside of Iraklion. It is home to the magnificent, second-millennium BC Minoan palace, where King Minos once housed the mythical Minotaur. The palace's interconnecting hallways and apartments have a really complex arrangement, and much of it has been kept quite well.


Here, you may awe at magnificent historical artwork like the well-known dolphin fresco. The best archaeological museum in the nation is located in Iraklion and has a variety of remarkable Minoan artifacts. Malia Palace is a fantastic remnant from the same period and is located east along the shore.


The Palace of Phaestos, which offers a magnificent hillside setting and view of Mount Psiloritis, and the lesser ruins at Ayia Triada are additional prominent Minoan sights close to the south shore.


The destroyed capital of a Roman province that included Crete and a portion of north Africa may be found in the same area at Gortys. The Dhiktean Cave and Palace of Zakros are two further historic monuments nearby.


Attracted to the thought of Crete? You may go from Heraklion to Platanias along the Crete coast with Rough Guides Tailor-Made Trips. What's best? The itinerary may be completely altered to meet your requirements.
Start exploring Crete and discover the finest locations to stay.

Milos is the ideal Greek island for beaches.

Milos is regarded by the majority of beach enthusiasts as the greatest beach in the most well-known Cyclades, despite being one of the less well-known Cyclades. The fact that it is a horseshoe-shaped volcanic island with an astonishing 75 beaches and is just 20 kilometers wide may not be all that unexpected.

Except during the busiest times of the year, Milos is seldom congested and provides a wide range of lodging and dining options.

Sandy Paleohóri, one of the nicest beaches on the south coast, is warmed subtly by thermal currents and connected by a tunnel through the rock to a second strand that is enclosed by colorful cliffs. A number of coves adorn the headland that includes the northern towns of Adhámas and Plaka.

Tamarisks provide shelter along the expansive sandy beach at Pollonia in the northeast. The most unspoiled beaches, such as Triadhes, Ammoudharaki, and Kleftiko, which can only be reached by boat, are found on the mountainous west coast.

Pátmos is the best Greek island for spirituality.

The little island of Pátmos is said to be one of the most significant islands in Greece because of the importance of religion there. It is believed to be the location where St. John camped out and saw the visions that he later described to his student Prohoros in the Revelation, the last book of the New Testament.

Early in the morning, hike to the cave where this occurred. Currently, a church from the eleventh century houses it. The greatest possibility of having the space to yourself is here, where you may even be able to lay your head in the saint's niche. Even the most jaded cynics might feel enlightened by looking out to sea and the nearby islands.

Another monastery from the eleventh century, Ayiou Ioannou Theologou, is located higher up the hill and offers even more stunning views. It is also home to a community of monks. Visitors cannot access much of the sturdy building, but the church is lovely.

The museum also showcases some glitzy Orthodox relics, gloomy medieval icons, and ancient parchment manuscripts. It goes without saying that there are some lovely sandy beaches and a variety of secular attractions to keep a tourist busy back at sea level.

Lefkada is the best Greek island for ocean activities.

Near its southern point, the medium-sized island of Lefkada is home to one of Europe's biggest windsurfing facilities, and the island's city is bordered by a glistening new harbor. Because of this, it attracts those who like being on the sea. Because a causeway connects it to the mainland, it also benefits from convenient accessibility.

On its western shore, keep an eye out for magnificent mountain scenery and some of the Ionian Sea's most beautiful beaches. Lefkada Town is also a lovely, cultural location with several lovely historic churches.

Yachties come here in droves for the excellent marina amenities, the large dry dock at Vlyho, and the simplicity of anchoring at the several bays around the east coast, including Dessimi, Rouda, and Syvota. While Nydri itself has the normal selection of activities, the outlying islands in front of the main resort provide for suitable sailing area as well.

Young people gather on the bay that spans from Vassiliki to Pondi at the southernmost point of Lefkada. They benefit from the favorable wind patterns and shallow water that make windsurfing possible. You could easily count hundreds of colorful sails flying in the wind at any one moment.

Lésvos is the best Greek island for experiencing a variety of things.

Unexpectedly, not many people go to Lésvos, which is the third-largest island in the Aegean Sea after Crete and Evvia. Mytilini is a sizable town with a pretty opulent seashore, a sizable fortification, a number of fascinating museums, and a wide variety of dining and drinking establishments.

Molyvos (also known as Mithymna) and Ayiassos are two notable examples of minor towns with impressive architecture. The former is perched atop an impressive castle on a point along the north shore. The latter features a maze of alleys centered on a gorgeous central church and spans a valley in a mountain. Around the island, there are many more stunning monasteries.

There are several top-notch beaches along the coast. None compare to Vatera's 9 kilometers of pebble and sand beaches on the south coast. However, geological characteristics extend beyond only rock and sand. A birdwatcher's paradise, the vast, shallow Gulf of Kalloni has salt marshes. A petrified forest may be found in the west, while thermal springs can be found across the eastern portion.

There are quite a few notable distilleries, like Varvayianni and Samara, which produce Greece's best-rated ouzo. However, the island also produces top-notch olive products and wines like Methymneos.

As the birthplace of the poets Sappho, Aesop, and more lately Elytis, Lésvos has a significant cultural component that dates back to ancient times. Theriade and Theophilos, two 20th-century painters, were also born there, and the island now honors them with museums.

Sappho wrote a lot of sensual poetry that was directed towards other women (quite a thing for the sixth century). At the bustling Skala Eresou, which welcomes tourists from all over the globe, her legacy is still upheld.
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