When most people think of Greek islands, places like Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and Rhodes pop into their minds. These islands are iconic and beautiful, and that’s probably why they get overrun with tourists, especially during the peak summer season when Greek island hopping is the busiest.
But Greece has around 200 inhabited islands to explore, and many of them are just as beautiful and interesting as the most famous, if less known, hotspots. If you want to find the best of undiscovered Greek islands that only the locals really visit, read on.
You can avoid the crowds, drive to Greece like a local and most importantly, discover places that most tourists have not yet seen.
The best undiscovered Greek islands
Discover Greece like a local by visiting these amazing undiscovered Greek islands!
1. Paxoi (or Paxi)
A series of islands in the Ionian Sea, Paxoi is usually calm and free from foreign crowds, but it has some of the most beautiful beaches and clear waters in the Mediterranean. Most of the beaches here are small and quiet without the beach bar culture of other Greek hotspots.
Some of the beaches, including those considered particularly beautiful on the west coast, are inaccessible by landSo if you want to tour the Ionian on a boat or catch boats heading for the beaches from the main port, Paxoi is probably a good choice for you, especially if you prefer calm, clear waters over beach parties. In some places you can even see the seabed at a depth of 30 meters.
The largest islands are Paxos and Antipaxos. Recommended beaches in Paxos include Marmari, Kaki Langada and Achai Bay. If you want to explore the beaches on the west side and the stunning caves in the cliffs of Paxos, take a day trip by boat from the capital Gaios or from Lakka. Monodendri and Levrecho are probably some of the busiest beaches on the islandand the former also offers water sports. The best beaches in Antipaxos are considered to be Vrika and Voutoumi.
Folegandros is a relatively small island in the Aegean Sea and is usually not noticed by tourists despite its location between the tourist power plants of Santorini, Paros and Mykonos. Many Greek tourists looking for a quiet and relaxing getaway have preferred Folegandros over the years for its quaint town and beautiful beaches.
Angali Beach is the jewel of Folegandros, but there are plenty of other coastlines to visit too, although they may not be easily accessible by car. Most people go to Karavostasi and go to other beaches from there. The walks around the island are some of the most fascinating in Greece, and visitors always notice the peaceful silence they experience on this island.
Syros used to be a fairly important island in the Aegean Sea as the main town of Ermoupolis was once the largest port in Greece and is still the capital of the Cyclades. For those interested in culture, history and architecture, Syros is definitely the undiscovered Greek island that you want to visit.
The port in Syros is Still a busy place day and night. A few streets away from the water, the beautifully built town hall towers over a huge town square. In the evenings the square is full of children on the huge staircase of the town hall, and people enjoy coffee (learning how to order coffee in Greece), drinks or Syros’ famous sweet (loukoumi) in the cafes around the square.
You can enjoy a stylish night at the Apollon Theater, which was built in the 19th centuryth See one of Michelangelo’s original paintings or get lost in the charming, winding cobblestone streets of Vaporia, a little further from the city center, and marvel at the 19th centuryth 19th century neoclassical buildings around you.
During the day, try to go to the beaches at Vari, Kini, Foinikas, and Agkathopes. If you’d like to explore the island further, head to Ano Syros, a historic town towards the island’s peak, which has been around since the Middle Ages.
Right next to the more famous islands of Paros is a smaller island called Antiparos which is now becoming one popular choice for Greeks on vacation. In addition to beautiful beaches and some nightlife options, it offers an extensive cave system for adventurous tourists and a Venetian castle built in the Middle Ages.
There are a couple of good beaches and you can choose your destination based on your preference. If you want a lounge chair and easy access to the beach bar, Livadia is the best option, while families prefer Psaraliki. If you’re looking for a secluded place, try Panagia. If you want to dare to try a nudist beach, Camping Beach is always an option.
Lefkada is located south of Kerkyra in the Ionian Sea and is a large, lush island with striking blue water, many small charming farming towns, a beautiful marina and a bustling capital. During the summer season, especially August, there is a large influx of Greek and Italian tourists on the island. Favorite beaches include Kathisma and Porto Katsiki.
If you want to drive outside of the capital (also known as Lefkada) visit Vasiliki or Agios Nikolaos. Vasiliki has great waterfront tavernas and is being considered one of the best windsurfing spots in Europe. At night, drive down to Agios Nikolaos, where a pedestrian street leads to the beach lined with shops, cafes, restaurants and bars by the water.
One of my personal favorite spots on the island is the Rachi Taverna in the mountains of the small town of Exanthia. Rachi is the perfect place to have dinner after a long day at the beach and enjoy some of the best views of the sunset.
In the capital Lefkada you will find many small squares with creperies and cafes as well as many shopping opportunities. If you walk out on the pedestrian walkway along the waterfront, you will come across many bars and clubs that are open late into the night.