The best way to discover Greece’s lesser-known islands like a neighborhood

A perennial favourite amongst holidaymakers, Greece persistently ranks among the many high 10 trip locations in Europe.

However now it needs vacationers to get to know lesser-known areas throughout its hundreds of sprawling islands.

“We’re shifting past sea and solar. We wish to extend the tourism season in each time and house,” Olympia Anastasopoulou, secretary-general for tourism coverage and improvement at Greece’s Ministry of Tourism, informed CNBC Journey.

For that, the nation is investing in its extra distant areas, together with Syros, Amorgos and Milos, as a part of its “All you need is Greece” marketing campaign.

To ease overtourism, in style sizzling spots akin to Mykonos and Santorini are being repositioned as shoulder season locations.

It’s our purpose for these islands to broaden extra in seasonality, too. We wish it for the tourism flows to be expanded in different months,” stated Eleni Mitraki, director of tourism promotion on the Greek Nationwide Tourism Group, noting the season might run March by way of November.

The plans coincide with the enlargement of direct flights from the US to Greece in March 2023.

Presently, Germany and the U.Okay. characterize Greece’s largest inbound tourism markets by income, adopted by the US, France and Italy. Nevertheless, Anastasopoulou stated additional development from different markets, most notably Canada and India, is predicted.

Listed below are CNBC Journey’s high picks to get you off the overwhelmed observe in Greece.

Kalymnos, Dodecanese

Rock climbers’ paradise

Situated inside Greece’s Dodecanese island chain within the southeastern Aegean Sea, Kalymnos is known for its sponge-diving — underwater diving to gather pure sponges from the seabed — which introduced appreciable wealth and recognition to the island within the earlier century.

Kalymnos, a part of Greece’s Dodecanese island chain, has grow to be a well-known vacation spot for rock climbers.

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Extra just lately, the island has grow to be a world-renowned location for rock climbers, with greater than 3,000 climbing routes spanning the quite a few crags, caves and overhangs of its rugged panorama.

Kalymnos’ tourism season peaks within the fall with the Kalymnos Climbing Competition. However journey junkies can get their kicks year-round, with a number of different actions together with scuba diving, climbing and boating.

The best way to get there: Kalymnos could be simply reached by boat from close by Kos, with crossings taking 45 minutes by ferry and 25 minutes by speedboat. In excessive season, it’s additionally accessible by aircraft from Athens. 

Ios, Cyclades

Haven for historical past buffs

Ios, also called Io or Nio, is situated between Santorini and Naxos, and was as soon as seen completely as a celebration vacation spot. However the Cyclades island has revamped its picture over latest years to embrace its historic and pure attributes.

House to certainly one of Greece’s most historic archaeological settlements, the Skarkos monument, Ios additionally boasts a powerful connection to the Greek epic poet, Homer, who is claimed to have favored the island and, probably, ended his days there.

As soon as identified purely as a celebration island, Ios within the Cyclades is embracing its different attributes, together with lovely seashores and historic Greek archaeological settlements.

Municipality of Ios

Alongside historical past, guests to Ios may discover its plentiful seashores, and climbing and diving spots, earlier than tucking into among the native cheeses for which the island is famed.

The best way to get there: There is no such thing as a airport in Ios. The island could be accessed by ferry or speedboat from each Athens and the opposite Cyclades islands. It will also be reached by helicopter from Santorini.

Skopelos, Sporades

Film lovers’ delight

Skopelos turned well-known because the filming location for the hit musical rom-com “Mamma Mia,” and has since emerged as a preferred vacation spot for weddings, honeymoons and film excursions.

A part of the Skopelos archipelago within the northwest Aegean Sea, the island combines gorgeous seashores and picturesque villages with a number of diving, yachting and biking routes.

The Greek island of Skopelos is known for being the filming location of hit musical rom-com “Mamma Mia,” with the clifftop Church of Agios Ioannis Kastri taking part in a starring function.

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Legend has it the island was based by the son of the Greek god of wine. And although lots of its vineyards have been destroyed by pests within the Nineteen Forties, small-scale, home manufacturing continues to today. In the meantime, natively grown plums, almonds, chestnuts, figs, citrus fruits, olives adorn the native delicacies.

The best way to get there: Skopelos is reachable by ferry or speedboat from the port metropolis of Volos on Greece’s mainland. Companies run year-round, with extra routes from different islands added in excessive season.

Andros, Cyclades

Mountaineering retreat

Considered one of greatest islands of the Cyclades and simply two hours from the Greek mainland, mountainous Andros has a different panorama of forests, waterfalls, seashores and native vegetation, making it best for an out of doors escape.

Andros, one of many greatest islands of the Cyclades, boasts a various panorama of waterfalls, forests and seashores, making it a haven for hikers.

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Guests can discover the island by way of its massive community of climbing trails, or attempt their hand at windsurfing or scuba diving, earlier than sampling the native delicacies.

Arts and tradition followers can try Andros’ assortment of monasteries, galleries and museums, together with the Archaeological Museum of Andros and the Museum of Modern Artwork.

The best way to get there: There is no such thing as a airport in Andros. The island could be reached by ferry from Rafina port on the outskirts of Athens.

Astypalea, Dodecanese

Isle of innovation

One of many Dodecanese islands, Astypalea has a wealthy historic historical past. However it’s positioning itself firmly within the twenty first century with the purpose of changing into the primary sustainable and good island of the Mediterranean sea.

The Dodecanese island of Astypalea has ambitions to grow to be the primary sustainable and good island of the Mediterranean sea.

Municipality of Astypalea

As a part of a cope with the Greek authorities and Volkswagen, Astypalea plans to implement islandwide, zero-emission mobility by 2030, with conventional car leases to get replaced with electrical automobiles, e-scooters and e-bikes. Elsewhere, charging factors and renewable vitality sources will even be added.

Vacationers arriving on the so-called Butterfly Island may get pleasure from its pure panorama, dwelling to lovely seashores, rocky hillsides and numerous natural world, in addition to its picturesque villages of bougainvillea-clad white homes.

The best way to get there: Astypalea is accessible from Athens by each ferry and aircraft.

Lipsi, Dodecanese


Surrounded by a necklace of 24 islets with dozens of blue-green seashores, Lipsi within the Dodecanese is taken into account the Polynesia of the Aegean Sea and an eco-paradise.

An eco-paradise surrounded by 24 islets, Lipsi types a part of the Dodecanese island assortment within the southeastern Aegean Sea.

Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary

With a wealthy expanse of natural world protected by the European Union, the island is dwelling to numerous wildlife, together with Mediterranean monk seals and sea turtles. Dolphins are additionally widespread within the space, and a brand new Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary for dolphins is ready to open quickly on the island.

Holidaymakers can get pleasure from days spent boating, diving, beach-dwelling and climbing, earlier than tucking into seafood dishes and experiencing native festivals, akin to August’s wine celebration.

The best way to get there: Lipsi is just accessible by ferry or velocity boat, with common companies operating from Athens and Leros.

Alonissos, Sporades

Divers’ delight

Alonissos, a part of the Sporades group of islands, is a diver’s paradise and the location of Greece’s first underwater museum. That includes “Parthenon of the Wrecks,” one of many greatest Classical-era shipwrecks relationship again to 425 B.C., the location provides leisure divers a singular perception into the area’s historical past.

Alonissos, a part of the Sporades archipelago within the northwest Aegean Sea, is understood for its diving spots, together with Greece’s first underwater museum, the “Parthenon of the Wrecks.”

Municipality of Alonissos

The island can be dwelling to the Nationwide Marine park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades, presently Europe’s largest marine protected space, giving guests the chance to see an enormous array of crops and animals.

Kayaking, climbing and biking are among the many different actions accessible on the island, whereas museums and a neighborhood theater group showcase the island’s arts and tradition scene.

The best way to get there: Alonissos could be accessed both by aircraft or by ferry from the ports of Volos, Agios Konstantinos and Kimi.