The thought of Greek islands takes you straight to the glamorous nightlife of Mykonos, the gleaming sapphire waters of Corfu and the gorgeous blue-domed churches of Santorini, but there’s more to these islands than that.
If you’re looking to explore the unadulterated beauty of Greece, traverse it’s secreted lands, with their rugged exquisiteness and pretty harbors, their cobbled streets and ancient monasteries, and their olive groves and undiscovered marine life then look no further!
Here's a list of the most striking beautiful hidden islands of Greece:
On the eastern side of the Aegean group of Islands is hidden the beautiful island of Ikaria. This picturesque land is abounding with lakes and waterfalls, forest and wildlife, primal monasteries and small villages having some of the oldest people living in the world. Ikaria is one of the only five blue zones, meaning here the people live longer than on most parts of the globe.
While you are there, visit the Koskina Castle and the Church of Agia Irini, dated back to the 11th and 12th century AD, respectively.
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This unexplored island belongs to the Aegean group of islands and houses some of the most pristine beaches of Greece. Named after King Minos’s son, Folegandros, the island houses outstanding architecture with cobblestoned lanes and bougainvillea sloping over balconies of immaculately whitewashed houses.
Though there in not much to do in Folegandros other than hiking and swimming, the clear waters are perfect for activities like snorkeling and scuba. Indulge!
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Pastel-hued houses, elegant boutiques, secluded beaches, tavernas dishing out the best shrimps ever and a slow paced life is all what Symi is all about. Stay at one of the old market hotels and enjoy the streets teeming with cafés and restaurants serving some of the most delicious food in the country. While you’re there, pay a visit to the stunning village of Pedi and be amazed by the monastery of Archangel Michael Panormitis.
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With a mere distance of two kilometers from the coast of Turkey, this gorgeous island profuses of colourful Anatolian-style houses and a fortune of undiscovered marine life in its clear blue seas. Enjoy the true Greek life while devouring the delectable seafood at various tavernas and cafes.
When you’re not sunbathing at the beach or snorkeling at St. George, the archaeological and folklore museum and the medieval castle are must-visits at this island. A day’s excursion to the Blue Grotto, an alluring sea cave also makes it to our must-visit list.
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The only way of reaching this island is to take a two-hour ferry ride from the east of Santorini, and that’s what makes it special. Inhabited by less than 300 people, Anafi is home to golden sandy beaches, isolated caves, and some of the most gorgeous views of the coast. Take a walk along the footpaths and experience an early morning breeze in your hair or be adventurous and hike to the ruins of Kastelli from 8th century BC, the landscapes will not disappoint you.
When you’re not swimming in the turquoise waters of Kleisidi, make sure to visit the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi.
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Under an hour’s ferry ride away from Kefalonia is the dreamy miniature island called Ithaca. Homeland to Homer’s Odysseus, the island has many tales to share. Visit the Cave of Nymph (where Odysseus had hidden the gifts he brought from Phaeacians) or trek through the harbor villages of Frikes and Kioni. Try the tserepáto (red meat of chicken charcoal-grilled in a clay pot) in any restaurant and you won’t regret it. Spend some alone time at the Skinos beach or participate in sea kayaking and scuba diving at the island.
Renowned for its mountain ranges and strikingly beautiful harbors, this rugged island has recently been on the visit list of many adventure junkie for hosting the International Kitesurfing competition each summer. This mountainous island packed with pine forests, the fresh water springs, vineyards, beautiful villages and rock caves is one of the best-kept secrets of Greece. The Church of Assumption, Sokastro Islet, and the Ancient Potideon are some of the must-visit places on this island.
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Massed pine forests, fertile slopes with olive groves and rugged landscapes that include stone-roofed cottages with close to no tourists to disturb its tranquility, is what has made Alonnisos a popular vacation destination among celebrities.
When visiting, enjoy sunbathing on the golden sand beach Chrisi Milia and rent out a moped to explore the island during the evenings. Save a day for spotting seals and dolphins when on a boat ride to the first National Marine Park of Greece.
One among the many Saronic Islands, Hydra is the most romantic island in all of Greece
. Slender streets lead you to the mostly uninhabited interiors where you come across churches, gallerias, monasteries and many 18th century mansions that are now art galleries and museums. The best part about Hydra is that motorbikes, cars and tall buildings are banned, thus preserving the natural charm of the island.
Indulge in activities like sailing and donkey-back riding and visit the Vilchos and Kaminia villages. While you’re there treat yourself to some delectable Dolmades grape leaf-wrapped rice parcels.
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A visit to this volcanic island is nothing short of a burst of colours; with its vibrant beaches in gold, white, grey and even red; strangely shaped rocks, craggy mountain settlements and serene fishing villages, Milos makes for a gorgeous yet tranquil vacation spot.
The Catacombs, dated back to the Roman era; Venetian Castel, Ancient theatre constructed during the Hellenistic times and the Church of Panagia Portiani are some of the must-visit places for history buffs. We also recommend travellers, to get lost in the beautiful villages of Hivadolimni and Palka and devour the scrumptious cream cheese pies.
Many travellers say, ‘You haven’t experienced a place till you experience its local,’ and you won’t have visited Greece if you haven’t seen its guised beauty. So, forget the places where tourists flock to and forget the celebrity hotspots. Find stretches of tranquility while you get lost in these hidden islands.