A short guide to alternative Greek islands

Greece is definitely one of the hottest summer destinations. Every year, million of visitors from all over the world choose this country for their vacations. The picturesque islands, the crystal clear waters and the Greek hospitality are just three of the reasons to visit it. Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and Zakynthos are some islands that a lot of people have in their travel bucket list. But on this post you are not going to read about them. You are going to read about five “alternative” islands.


Alonnisos is an island that lies on the northwestern part of the Aegean Sea, and together with three more islands (Skiathos, Skopelos and Skiros) form the Sporades complex. You can access it either from Thessaloniki or Volos. Even though today there are no more than 3000 inhabitants, archaeologists have found here tools dating from 30,000 BC! It is the perfect destination for eco – tourism and families who seek calmness and adventure at the same time, as you can enjoy any of its gorgeous beaches or go hiking. Alonnisos is also famous for its National Marine Park, where you can see the Mediterranean Seal (Monachus Monachus). Don't miss this chance, as these cute animals can't be found anywhere else.




If you are aware of Greek mythology, most probably you know a few things about Ithaca. If not, then you should know that is the island of the legendary king Odysseus. It is the second smallest island of Eptanisa complex, but is a place where you can spend a lot of days without even noticing it. Vathi, the biggest city here, offers dozens of opportunities for entertainment. You can either try the delicious greek cuisine right next to the sea and the sailboats that decide to make a stop here or drink some cocktails with people from many different countries. Of course, if you want to explore this island you can visit any of the small traditional villages (like Kioni and Stavros) and the Archaeological Museum.



Why take a 7-hour trip by ferry to visit Ikaria? Because it is probably one of the most alternative and vivid Greek islands. Here you won't find fancy discos, expensive restaurants and luxurious hotels. But you will find people of different age groups who are looking for entertainment that only in Ikaria can be found. Young students, artists and campers are only some of the travellers that choose Ikaria for their holiday. In the morning you will swim at Seychelles (yes, there is a beach here called like this), later on you will taste some of the local dishes e.g. fish, pies and cheese and finally you will party like a Greek at one of the many local feasts. Did you know also that the life expectancy here is one of the longest worldwide?


If you are one of those travellers that try to visit a lot of different places and you don't have more than 2 or 3 days to visit a Greek island, then you should head to Kithnos. Less than three hours by ferry from Athens, this place has everything that someone expects to see : great beaches (more than 100), impressive villages, great food and intense nightlife. Famous also for its cuisine, where you can taste fresh fish and meat, like the Sfouggato (lamp with potatoes in the oven). It is popular amongst young Greeks who decide to spend a weekend here, as it is quite close to Athens and cheap. I suggest to visit Kolona, a place where a thin path of sand forms actually two different beaches, making it one of Kithnos' highlights.



Astipalaia lies between Kiklades and Dodekanisa complexes, and is an island with less than 1500 inhabitants. However, during the summer is a very good choice for families or couples. The white houses, the cobblestone streets and the windmills attract thousands of visitors each year. Moreover, it is a common belief that Hora (the capital of the island) is the most beautiful amongst all the other Greek islands. On the top of it you can find the Venetian Castle of Astipalaia, where one can enjoy a spectacular view and is a must-visit place. Apart from that, the island has many things to discover (monasteries, caves, the ancient infant cemetery etc.). So, if you want a peaceful and breathtaking place then you should definitely consider Astipalaia.


These were just 5 proposals. Of course there dozens of islands to visit and Greece awaits for you. What are your thoughts? Have you visited any of them? Do you have any that you would like to add?


20 thoughts on “A short guide to alternative Greek islands

  1. Hi Konstantinos,

    30,000 BC? Wow! The hallowed antiquity nature of this place floors me. Inspired stuff. We tasted ancient Greek history during a Cyprus trip 1 year ago. Especially when we visited The Tomb of the Kings. I was transported back thousands of years. What a delightful treat.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂



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