If you plan to go island hopping in 2020, you won’t want to miss this collection of beautiful Greek getaways.
There are more than 200 Greek islands, split between the Aegean, Ionian, Cretan, Libyan and Mediterranean seas. In short, it’s a wondrous paradise worthy of a visit, but how on earth are you supposed to choose which islands to toss on your Greek itinerary?
With these top 8 Greek islands to explore in 2020, you won’t feel so pressed by your choice. The sooner you read, the sooner you can start planning the trip of a lifetime.
Why Go: It’s easy to get to, and the watersports are epic. Those seeking a local vibe and wanting some peace and quiet.
We’re throwing this Ionian island in because it’s so darn easy to travel to. Lefkada, the capital region of the island of Levkas, is actually connected to the Greek mainland via a causeway. As a result, international travelers have no excuse not to add it to the list.
The beaches at Egremni and Porto Katsiki are breathtaking. Windsurfing in major swells, swimming in sea caves, boating to tiny islands—you name it, Lefkada has it. Eat fresh-as-can-be tuna at Errikos Tavern and experience luxury at Lefkada JD. Pair this venture with a journey to other Greek favorites, and trust us there are plenty of islands to choose from.
Why Go: Photogenic vistas and upwards of 70 beaches.
You may have heard of (or seen) the Venus de Milo, which lives in the Louvre. Well, welcome to Milos!
When in Milos, you’ll definitely want to snag some shots of the cliffs at Sarakiniko. That’s not to mention the various swimming holes and boat houses that will captivate you from first glance. The ground is teeming with volcanic rocks and crystals, and people have been mining there for 11,000 years. As a tourist, you’ll find no shortage of premium accommodation, including the utterly refined suites at Salt.
Why Go: Artistic history and a strong Italian influence.
Venetian heritage in this Cyclades destination calls to travelers across the globe. Syros is home to artistic events, not the least of which are classic rembetiko tunes. Stumble upon remnants of a ship-building center, as well as the upscale manors to accompany it.
Wherever you eat, we recommend visiting Mazi Syros. The restaurant’s landscape is utterly gorgeous, and the food is just as phenomenal. Stock up on artisanal souvenirs, like a pair of handmade sunnies from Zylo.
Why Go: Travel among the elite without secluding yourself.
Jetsetters of a higher echelon know Patmos good and well. A fair balance of authenticity and luxury, it’s got standing relics (in the form of St. John monastery) and contemporary escapes (like Chora, a World Heritage Site and esteemed neighborhood in one).
Architecture from the 1500s abound in Patmos, with shades of white reflecting the clear blue waters brightly. Take your pick of nightlife in the Agia Lesvias square, but keep in mind that the island’s church is paramount to any owl-hooting culture (that’s not to say you won’t have the fun you deserve).
Why Go: Enthusiastic sailing and inland forests.
Odysseus has long since left, but Ithaca remains a brave respite for anyone aching for Grecian vibes. International sailors often dock their boats in one of the many crystal-colored coves. As a tourist, you can easily find a boat to spend a day on.
Hiking to the church of Anogi, indulging in eats at Yafuri and exploring BC ruins in Odysseus’ name are all great ways to spend your time on Ithaca. If you stay anywhere, we recommend Lavendis Estate for its family-friendly appeal and wildlife essence.
Why Go: Travel among the locals for a chic but laid-back feel.
While small and fairly beachless, Paxos is a wonderful destination for upscale adults hoping for genuine connections to land and people alike. A trio of harbor towns offer food and drink destinations you can easily spend the day or evening at.
Catch some local music at Taxidi Bar, and don’t be afraid to spark a convo with the locals while you’re there. Brunch under the olive trees at Ben’s Bar, roam off into the sea by boat, and take your pick of private villas for a unique, memorable stay.
Why Go: Plenty of space to roam and activities to keep you enticed.
As the largest island in Greek’s massive repertoire, Crete is no secret on the traveling scene. It has everything from glorious beaches to high peaks, and you can explore everything from sea to summit.
You can party in the north, visit yoga retreats in the south and step back in time wherever you find some mountains. As far as accommodation goes, Kapsaliana Village Hotel is to die for. To us, sand dunes, wild goats and sunshine sure sound like the recipe to a wild-at-heart holiday.
Why Go: A tick off your bucket list, of course.
Everyone’s heard of Mykonos, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth your time. In fact, this island is fabulously ahead of trend, even with all its wild shenanigans. Tropicana Day Club and Skandinavian Bar are wild party options. As for the reserved side of things, you can find that too. If you can make it to the neighboring island of Delos, you’ll find an ancient sun temple, an archaeological temple that academics long to witness firsthand.
Five-star hotels abound here, but if you want to try something a little different, you can always stay at Bill & Coo Coast, Boheme or another unassuming paradise.
Greek Islands to Escape Reality & the Status Quo
Need a breather from your day to day? That’s what the best vacays are all about. As it turns out, you don’t have to stick to the typical resort towns and tourist destinations just to get some “me” time. If you want a full-fledged escape that will leave you refreshed and ready to take on life once more, these 8 Greek islands are a beautiful places to land.