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The Greek Islands

Greek Island Map

What are the Greek islands like

The Greek islands are the ideal summer holiday destination and cater to all tastes, there's popular tourist focused islands and quiet secluded islands too. Great weather is all but guaranteed and they have stunning beaches, historical sites, incredible views and a range of activities to keep everyone entertained.

The Greek islands are mostly on the east of mainland Greece in the Aegean sea with Turkey to the west. Although some of the more popular islands are in the Ionian sea, just west of mainland Greece and east of Italy.
They range from massively popular, the likes of Santorini, Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Kos and Rhodes to much quieter and less popular like Poros, Halki, Naxos, Serifos and many, many more.

Greek island holidays are so in demand because in the summer months the weather is great, long sunny days and minimal rain, they have fantastic beaches, impressive historical sites and the Greek people are so welcoming.

There’s a range of hotels to suit all budgets and the various towns and villages cater to a wide range of travellers from 18-30 drinkers to those who just want to relax by the sea all day. Whatever you are looking for in your next holiday, there’s almost certainly a Greek island that’s perfect for you.

What are the Greek island groups

The Greek islands are split into 6 main groups. The groups are:

Cyclades
Dodecanese
Ionian
North Aegean
Saronic
Sporades

On top of the 6 main groups there’s also Crete and the small islands around it as a separate region. 
Below we’ll discuss each of the individual groups and give you an idea of what to expect from each group, what the main tourist islands are and which are less tourist heavy but still worth visiting.
Cyclades Islands Map

What are the Cyclades islands like

There are over 200 islands in the Cyclades group making it the largest island group in Greece, the most well known islands are Santorini and Mykonos.

Other popular Cyclades islands are Naxos, Paros, Milos and Ios as well as dozens of others too.

The Cyclades islands are famous for the white washed buildings with blue roofs, shutters and doors that are popular on many of the islands in the group.

There are three islands with international airports and a they are Santorini, Mykonos and Paros. There are other smaller airports that you can connect to via Athens, these are on Naxos, Milos and Syros. If these aren’t your final destinations then you’ll have to find the ferry schedules for the island your going to and head for the nearest airport from there.
Dodecanese Islands Map

What are the Dodecanese islands like

The Dodecanese islands are the second largest group with over 150 islands.

The main islands are Kos and Rhodes with other well known islands being Nisyros, Patmos, Symi and Tilos but there are many more.

With the Dodecanese islands being further south than the other groups they are also some of the hottest islands making them great options if you’re travelling later in the year like September or even October.

There are 3 international airports in the Dodecanese islands, one each on Kos Rhodes and Samos. As with other island groups there are internal airports that are connections from Athens and these are Astypalea, Kalymnos, Leros and Karpathos.
Ionian Islands Map

What are the Ionian islands like

There are close to 50 islands in the Ionian group but most are either uninhabited or simply too small to be tourist destinations. There are 3 main Ionian islands which are Corfu, Kefalonia and Zakynthos, also known as Zante.

The next most popular are Ithaca, Lefkada, Paxi and Kythira. These are relatively popular tourist destinations, either in their own right or as day trips from the other Ionian islands or the main land.

The rest of the Ionian islands are either inaccessible or just not often visited by tourists. You can still visit them but you may need to find your own way.

The Ionian islands are particularly popular with UK travellers, mainly because they are the closest. With flight times of just over 3 hours rather than the 4 plus hours it takes to get to somewhere like Kos or Rhodes.

There are 3 international airports on the Ionian islands, one each in Corfu, Kefalonia and Zakynthos.
North Aegean Islands Map

What are the North Aegean islands like

The north Aegean islands, as you could probably guess are in the northern part of the Aegean sea, mainly on the east side close to Turkey. They range from Thassos in the north down to Fourni in the south.

The most popular of the north Aegean islands are Lesbos and Thassos, there’s also Chios, Samos Icaria, Lemnos and many more.

There are 3 islands in the north Aegean group that have international airports, these are on Lemnos, Lesbos and Chios. There’s also Kavala airport which is actually on the mainland but is the closest if you want to get to Thassos.
Saronic Islands Map

What are the Saronic islands like

The Saronic islands are in the Saronic gulf close to Athens on the mainland. There are 7 main islands and over 25 that are pretty much uninhabited.

The main islands are Aegina, Agistri, Dokos, Hydra, Poros, Salamina and Spetses.

The Saronic islands and popular with Greeks who visit for day trips or weekends away, probably as they are quick and easy to get to from the mainland.

There’s no international airport on any of the Saronic islands, it’s probably because you can simply head to Athens internaltional and then travel to the islands from there via Pireas port with most islands having a direct route.
Sporades Islands Map

What are the Sporades islands like

The sporades islands are a small group in the north west Aegean sea. They’re made up of 4 main islands which are Alonissos, Skiathos, Skopelos and Skyros.

There are around 25 additional islands but most are small and uninhabited like Tsougrias which is close to Skiathos and visited from Skiathos by people who want a quick look round and to spend some time on the beach there.

Skiathos is home to the only international airport in the Sporades group, Skyros also has a small airport so you can connect to there from Athens.

Travelling between the main Sporades islands is simple as there’s a regular ferry between Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and even Skyros. Getting to some of the smaller islands can be a little trickier but it’s usually possible from the nearest main island.
Crete Island Map

What are Crete and the neighbouring islands like

Crete is the largest of all the Greek islands and although not really an island group as such it does have some satellite islands that are included in the municipality.

As one of the most popular destinations from the UK, Crete has a diverse choice of towns and villages to stay in with hot weather throughout the summer, historical sites and much more.

Crete has 2 international airports, Chania and Heraklion, Chania is close to the west coast of the island with Heraklion in the middle of the island, both are on the north coast.

Filterable list of Greek islands

Below is the current list of islands that we have information on, you can use our Greek island guides to help you plan your next holiday to Greece or simply share the islands page with your friends to show off about your next trip.

If you’re still looking for a holiday then why not use the filters to find an island suitable for your preferences? So if you like sandy beaches and a variety of night life then simply click those filters and we’ll show the islands that are perfect for your needs. Alternatively, if you know the island you are interested in visiting, then simply click on the image or name of the island to go to the full guide for that island and find out about the different towns and villages to stay in, the beaches and the sight seeing places to visit.

If you click a few filters and get zero results make sure you don’t have too many filters selected or conflicting filters selected. If you get stuck then just click the All Styles button and this will reset the grid so you can start over.

Filter by island group

Island Group

Island Group
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  • Aegean
  • Cyclades
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  • Ionian
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Island Features

Island Features
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Ionian

Corfu

Corfu is the second largest of the Ionian islands behind Kefalonia It is often known as Kérkyra in Greek and that is also the name of the main town.
Ionian

Kefalonia

Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands and lies west of mainland Greece, it has some stunning beaches and delightful towns.
Dodecanese

Kos

Kos is a Greek island in the south-eastern Aegean sea, it's part of the Dodecanese group and measures approximately 40km long by just 8km wide.
Cyclades

Santorini

Santorini is in the Southern Aegean sea and has a unique, picturesque character given to it by the volcanic rock that forms the island.
Sporades

Skiathos

Skiathos is an island in the Sporades group with some stunning sandy beaches, gorgeous little villages and a wonderful main town.
Aegean

Thassos

Thassos is the most northerly Greek island and the 12th largest by area. It’s a quiet island that’s relatively unspoiled by tourism and has some great beaches.
Ionian

Zakynthos

Zakynthos is an Ionian island that’s home to the incredible Navagio beach as well as loads of other great beaches, towns, villages and tourist attractions.

Interactive Map of the Greek Islands

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