GREEK ISLANDS

PackitUp Island Guide

Greece has a large number of islands, with estimates ranging from 1,200 to 6,000, depending on the minimum size to take into account. The number of inhabited islands is variously cited as between 166 and 227.

Divided by some archipelagos around Greece, the Greek islands form a huge mosaic of turquoise water, breathtaking cliffs and beautiful small villages with white houses, that have become one of the most desired summer destinations.

The islands located throughout the Greek seas are full of history, special charm, culture, but also gastronomy, music, party or quietness.

Chose the perfect island or islands to go during your holidays depends on what you are looking for.

Our PackitUp Travel Guide helps you to chose the right island according to your preferences.

The Aegean Sea is the sea around Greece and Turkey, where most of the known islands are located, the Cyclades. But not the only those, the Aegean Sea hosts the Sporades islands, Dodecanese islands, the Saronic islands and the North Aegean islands too. The Crete Sea is know for Crete, obviously, and the Ioanian island.

1.     CRETE

The largest island in Greece is situated in the south of the continent between Europe, Asia and Africa has everything you need on a trip. Thanks to their location, many civilizations have occupied this land, leaving their tracks in a rich and varied history. We can easily recognize monuments from Romans, Byzantines, Arabic, Turks or Italians…

Huge beaches with transparent water and pink sand in addition to mountains, waterfalls and caves, charming villages, cities with a huge list of leisure and cultural options and delicious gastronomy are some of the things will make you fall in love with this amazing island.

The most seductive beaches in Crete are Balos Beach, Elafonissi Beach, Preveli Beach or Matala Beach.

The only inconvenience is that if you are planning to do a very short vacation, maybe it is not the best option since the island is huge and most of the roads are in bad conditions. You will need time to explore everything.

Crete

2.     ZAKYNTHOS

The islands located at the west coast of Greece are called Ionian Islands. They are the steepest and greenest islands because of their climate but that doesn’t mean that the beaches are less impressive.

Zante is a verdant island blessed with fertile valleys. Its landscape diversity is one of the attractions of the islands. There are sandy beaches in lonely coves where the tranquil waters are deep blue on the island’s southeastern part. If rugged cliffs and an interesting underwater worlds are to your liking, try the western part of the island.

The iconic, while hard-to-reach, Navagio beach on the northwestern part of the island is the most beautiful beach on the island and probably in all of Greece.

Zakynthos

3.    LEFKADA

Lefkada belongs to the Eptanese group of islands along with Corfu, Zante, Kefalonia, Ithaca, Paxos and Kithyra. Lefkas island is the only island in Greece that is accessible by car. There is a bridge that connects the island with the Greek mainland.

This island is the paradise for wild camping. As we said in our tips about Greece, it is usually forbidden by law. But there are still a lot of beaches where you can camp for free and without police problems. (Check out our Greece Travel Guide here)
Pefkoulia beach is one of those examples where you will find dozens of people camping besides the sea.  This sandy beach is a favorite among visitors for its youthful camping atmosphere, its turquoise water and the shade that’s provided by the pine trees fringing the edges.

The island has two well differentiated coasts. On the east coast the beaches are calm and you can admire other islands or visit the charming city of Lefkada or the turistic Nydri.

In contrast, the west coast is the wilder one, where you can find the stunning beaches, with impressive white cliffs and blue waters, as well charming villages and the most beautiful sunsets.

Porto Katsiki is the gem of Lefkada. A breathtaking beach situated below a rock arch that looks like it is designed by an architect, not by Mother Nature. There are many other beaches which are wonderful as well: Milos Beach, Egremni or Agiofili Beach.

Lefkada

4.    SANTORINI

The most well-known island for its multicolored cliffs and whitewashed houses, romantic sunsets and volcanic-sand beaches is located in the Aegean Sea and belongs to the Cyclades archipelago.

The island is shaped like a croissant, but Santorini was once circular. It was known as Strongili (the Round One). Thousands of years ago a colossal volcanic eruption caused the centre of Strongili to sink, leaving a crater with towering cliffs along the east side, now Santorini’s trademark landscape.

The mandatory activity is to walk from Fira to Oia along the caldera edge pathway and admire the spectacular views. It’s about 9km in all, and a good three to four hours’ walk in one direction but it is totally worth it.

Santorini

5.   AGISTRI

It is one of the Saronic Islands in the Saronic Gulf and one of the closest islands to Athens (less than 1 hour from the port of Piraeus).

It is the perfect destination if you are traveling to Athens and you do not have time or money to reach further islands. For a da trip or a quite retreat, the Saronic Islands are a great option.

It is frequently visited as a relaxing weekend destination because besides nice beaches, green nature and its small village, there is not much sightseeing on the island. The main places to swim include the beaches of Dragonera, Aponissos, Skala and the beach of Megalochori.

As this is a small island a lovely idea is to rent a bicycle and cycle around the islands and its pine-shadowed roads.

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6.    RHODES

Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands and is also the island group’s historical capital. This island manages to be both cosmopolitan and traditional at the same time, timeless and modern, simple and spectacular.

The island of the knights remembers us of its ancient past through its monuments and artists, the medieval Old Town with one of the best-preserved medieval settlements, the Acropolis of Lindos, the port of Mandraki, the ancient cities of Kamiros and Lalysos, but also a landscape with an eye-catching, generous natural beauty make Rhodes one of the most popular holiday destinations in Greece.

Rhodes

7.    SKOPELOS

It belongs to the Sporades Islands that are geographically located between the Greek mainland and the Greek islands of the North Eastern Aegean Sea, right in the center of the Aegean Sea. These four small islands have a special character each and an amazing nature.

Looking for a peaceful island to enjoy your family holidays? Skopelos is your destination! Find yourself discovering its hidden beauty in a green surrounding with rich pine forests, crystal blue seas and sandy beaches. This is an idyllic place to relax, especially Stafylos, Milia ,Panormos and Agnondas Beach.

If you are a fan you can also trace the paths of the popular movie “Mamma Mia”. The awesome chapel on the rocks, where the wedding ceremony took place is “Saint Ioannis Chapel”. But not only that, all the outdoor scenarios took place on this beautiful island.

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