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Which is the best Greek Island holiday destination (Greece)?

edited January 2009 in - Greece and Cyprus
Hi... we're planning to go on holiday to one of the Greek islands in the summer ... has anyone got suggestions. There seems to be dozens of them and they seem pretty similar. I have tried asking travel agents but they all seem clueless! I will be going with my girlfriend and want somewhere unspoilt but also easy to get to with good restaurants and bars but not too many english lager louts! Someone suggested Corfu, but then I see thats where Kavos is and it sounds dreadful according to, but I also know that Russian billionaires and English aristocrats choose Corfu for their holiday or are they offshore on some vast yacht? Can anyone help me choose a greek island holiday!!??
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  • Look into the Dodecanese islands, a group of 14 different islands. Most of these islands have ferry service running a few times a week making the trip not exactly easy but not too difficult not to overcome with a bit of pre-planning. Astypalia is little visited by foreign tourists but should be. Karpathos is another slightly quieter island that should be worth the time to visit. Corfu may be a bad choice if you are wishing to avoid the English or much of the international crowd which congregate around its coast, although inland is rural and pleasent. I would recommend island hopping among the Dodecanese to find a mixture of real greek living and seclusion.
  • edited September 2009
    I spent a week on Samos, which is close to Turkey, and hence has a bit of that country's character to compliment the laid-back island style of the Greeks. I considered other choices too, but it comes down to what you are looking for: If you are young and like to party, try Mykonos. For history, diversity and loads to see and do try Crete. For classic white-washed houses, perfect beaches and azure blue sea, go for Santorini. Corfu is huge, and a little overtouristed, but still plenty to offer. Lesbos is really nice, and the local Lesbians are very welcoming. Two "secret islands" that get rave reviews for their authentic Greek character and beauty are Syros and Amorgos - I think one or other of these tiny islands is where you should be heading. Enjoy!
  • edited September 2009
    I like the Sporades islands which inlcudes Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonnisos. Skiathos is the best known - it has great beaches and plenty of resorts which get busy in summer. Skopelos is quiet and scenic, and the manin town is very pretty. Alonissos is where to go when you want to get away from it all. Very beautiful, quiet, laid back. No nightclubs!!
  • edited September 2009
    Crete avoids the need to change accommodation and organise ferries every few days. With a wide variety of landscapes from mountains to fertile plains to coves and beaches, a two centre holiday or a central location enables visitors to choose from all of these options.

    Steve Moorman
  • edited 3:57PM
    Spetses is beautiful. There are beautiful beaches. Plenty of restaurants, and last time we were there there was one nightclub. Simple, and very relaxing.
  • edited 3:57PM
    I went to Samos and rented a scooter and then near the end of the day, I lost control of the bike and rode it off the peer in to the harbour! It was an accident, i have no license. The scooter people were pissed! The island is ok, but there are better greek islands to see.
  • edited 3:57PM
    For choosing your Greek island holiday a really, really useful link is Matt Barrett's webpage at It's non-commercial, and based on plenty of first-hand experience.
  • edited 3:57PM
    Hios (Chios) in the north east of the Aegean is my pick: the beaches are great, but not crowded; the towns are very scenic and medieval, AND the people are friendly still! No nightclubs so if thats yout thing look somewhere more commercial. The beaches can be a bit pebbly, but if you want seclusion this is an ok trade-off. For example, the island is popular with nudists! Best beach on Chios is in my opinion Lithi, on the west coast. Get there by moped as the bus service is rare.
  • edited 3:57PM
    Please help!!
    We are two adults looking for a very quiet beach based holiday in mid July!!! Need a nice clean hotel peaceful with a pool, little or no entertainment and NO CHILDREN as we work in education all year. We are also vegetarians.
    Overwhelmed by brochures can anyone please help!!
  • edited 3:57PM
    I also want to plug Crete - it's not a romantic small island, but in terms of history and variety it has more to offer than any of the others. You can see ancient Minoan culture, the palace of Knossos, the awesome Monastery of Ark
  • edited 3:57PM
    Marg - take a look around where there are lots of first-hand accounts of resorts from people that have just been there. Pretty handing for making a decision.
  • edited September 2009
    My boyfriend and I spent 2 weeks island hopping around the Cyclades in May last year (2008). We had the most amazing time, we flew into Mykonos (Delos is a must see- do a day trip from Mykonos) and caught ferrys or the speed catamarans (I recommend these as the ferry is slow and smells of diesel!) to Paros, Milos and Santorini. We hired a quad bike on paros and Milos and found some really beautiful beaches which were great for snorkelling!. On Milos we went on a yaught day trip which we highly recommend if you love clear blue waters for swimming and snorkelling and caves to explore. On Santorini we hired a car (the island is a bit bigger than the others) I recommend going to the red beach and doing a day trip to the volcano and hot springs. We only booked the first and last nights (pick a hotel which does free transferres to/from the airport) and found it very easy to find rooms - people wait for you off the ferrys (don't be afraid to say no if you don't like the room, we looked at a couple of dodgey ones!) All in all it was the best holiday either of us had ever had!
  • I've been to corfu, crete, zante - really depends what you want. Crete good beaches - lots of english & not so greek anymore, Zante pretty & a little more greek also good beaches, Corfu many years ago but wouldn't go back....
  • edited February 2009
  • edited 3:57PM
    I am planning a trip to Greece in April 16th to the 27th..flying to Athens, wanting to spend a couple days on each end of the trip in Athens, then Santorini, mykonos, and naxos 3 days in each..any suggestions,,,safety concerns and was looking at fantasy tours out of greece..I will be traveling with my daughter so two women...16 and 38..a little nervous on communication, and safety...I
  • edited 3:57PM
    Take a look at

    It doesnt say its in beta but it looks like it is. But good way of comparing islands.
  • edited 3:57PM
    Has anyone heard of Phraxos? I am reading a novel called The Magus which is set on this island and it seems like an interesting place to visit. It is also close enough to Athens to reach in half a day. Are there any other worthwhile Greek islands that close the Athens but still remove enough to feel like you have got away from it all?
  • edited September 2009
    Why would you go to the Greek Islands in the Summer? Way to busy. September is the best time to go. The temperature is still in the 80's, and most of the islands are fairly quiet in September, and a lot cheaper. If you want real quiet I like Lipsi. It's a very small island, when we were there a few years ago a local fisherman offered to take us out on his boat for the day. Instead of buses they had an old pick up truck with seats in the back that would take you to different beaches. But watch the ferry schedule. In September they cut back a lot. You don't want to get stuck there.
    My FAVOURITE island is Los. But not in July or August. And I'm not a teenaged partyer. I have been to several Greek Islands and I like the beaches of Los best. The main beach is Mylopotus (spelled something like that). And that's where I would recommend staying. I don't understand why people go to a Greek Island then stay in the town or the harbour and not the beach. The bus goes from the beach to town every 15 minutes, then toward the end of September every half hour. The bus costs 1.10 Euros whether you go from the beach to the town or all the way to the harbour. You can easily get a nice double room for 20 Euros a night on the beach in September. DON'T stay at Far Out Club though. It's full of Brit and German partyers. I like to stay at Manthos Place. Owned by a very nice women and her two teenage sons. It has a spectacular view. The rooms are immaculate and have a small fridge. There is a bus that goes every day at 11:00 to another great beach, Manganarie Beach, and returns at 5:00. Not very expensive but I forget the price. And from Ios you can take a ferry for the day to Santorini. If it's your first trip to the Greek Islands you must go to Santorini. I wouldn't stay there though, its very expensive. Also you can take a ferry for the day to Folegandros. I love the view from the outdoor bar of the Anemomilos Hotel on Folegandros where you can go to have a drink even if you don't stay at the hotel. There's not a lot to see on Ios but just spend two days in Athens on your way home to make up for that. And you will want to book your hotel in Athens beforehand. They really seem to fill up. But whatever island you choose to stay at, don't make reservations ahead of time (except for July and August). You get a much better price from the hotel owners who meet every ferry that comes in to try to rent their rooms. They usually have a folder with pictures of their hotel and will give you a ride there. If you don't like the place you don't have to stay. Or you could stay one night and go back down to the ferry dock the next day to find someone with a room that you like.
  • edited 3:57PM
    Serifos is a good way to start exploring greek island.
    It's not a big or popular island, hence you can find cheaper accomodation than in other islands.
    (*note that around July and August all greek islands are wayyyyy popular and therefore wayyy expensive!)
    The beaches are great, like in every island in Greece, there are plenty of nice restaurants, bars and cafes.
    It's not very far from Athens (I think it's around 5 hours with the slowest ship), so it won't cost you that much to buy the ship tickets (although ship tickets are quite expensive in general).
    As most of the typical greek islands of Aegean, Serifos is not greek and doesn't have any trees.
    If you are looking for trees, then Skiathos or Skopelos is your answer. But be prebared, they are very popular among tourists and locals and usually overcrowded. "Mamma Mia" movie-hit make these two islands a "must-go" to people from all over the world. If you have to choose between the two of them, choos Skopelos (since Skiathos is really-really full of people)
  • edited 3:57PM
    Folegandros is a pure greek island that wasn't touched by tourists until lately.
    The beaches are amazing and everything is so picturesque.
    Buses won't be the best way to travel from one place to another, because, as I said, the island is untouched from massive tourism so it's not tourist-friendly in some ways... But, it is just beautiful and you would love to see the pure greek life in the islands!
    Try to book your accomodation the soonest possible, the island is quite small and there are not like millions of rooms available.
    Although, camping is always a solution in Greece. The weather is just perfect and the rains are not a usual phenomenon!
    Please mind that since it is not that popular yet. Ship routines won't be very flexible and the cost of the ship ticket is not what you'll wish for. But, it's worth going there - for sure.
  • edited 3:57PM
    Hey all!!! Glad to be reading all these comments..and thnx much for your help!! Im taking my girlfriend on a two week island hopping holiday to Greece...problem is there are SO MANY agencies...specials..and everybody telling you here, there, and everywhere....I've came across a website know about them..are they good and promising? packages looks really great though!!! and there are so many islands!! would love to visit all of them but time is always the case I guess... We planning on going mid-august while the hype is still on in Greece...where woud the greatest places be, accommodation be and sights to see....we're a young and vibrant couple...lookn forward hearing from you guys..
  • edited 3:57PM
    We have had a week in Corfu and last decenber we had other week in Grete.I can say both were fantastic though yes i saw Grete nicer and more interesting
  • edited 3:57PM
    Interesting to hear the various comments yet no one has mentione the beautifuk island od Lefkas (Lefkada). Beautiful beaches, gorgeuos country side lots to do. Whether you are a teenager or a more mature individual, you won't find better than Lefkada. The beach at Aghios Nikitas is regarded as one of the best in the true. lefkada is part of th ionian Islands, south of Corfu.
  • edited 3:57PM
    My wife and 12 year old son want to go to grece or islands for a week at the end of may . he likes activity and beaches with options to explore with a car what do you suggest ?
  • edited 3:57PM
    Are people from Lesbos called Lesbians and people from Crete called Cretans?
  • edited September 2009
    No-one on here has mentioned Kos. Kardemena is a great resort with a good balance of laid back and hyper nightlife. The Watersports are great and there is a good choice of excursions. You can even spend a day in Turkey it is that close. It gets hot in the summer but there is a constant wind that effectively cools everything down. Have been here, Rhodes, and Corfu, but Kos is by far the best!
  • edited May 2012
    I think the best island for holiday in Greece is Skiathos, not only because it is not too expensive, for it is, but because you've got there everything you need. I spent 7 days with my wife, and at the departure, I needed to drink something :). Sun, silence, great people(they do know how to make you feel great, especially at the tavernas, where we used to eat). We saw Lalaria, the beach one cannot go but by boat, and its gate of love, and Castro, the old town of Skiathos. Some say Santorini is also a place to go. I haven't got there yet but I will and I'll tell you. Until then, see great photos and videos from Skiathos.
  • edited 3:57PM

    Phraxos is a fictional island but based on the tiny island of Spetsopoula, next to Spetses, where Fowles spent some time teaching.
  • edited September 2009
    See as many as you can over the years, do not try to fit them all in at once. I have thoroughly enjoyed vists to Hydra, Aegina, Kos, Simi, Rhodes (x3) Corfu (x3) and Crete (x2) and Crete again this year. It has taken me 40 years so far and in all that time I have never had a bad experience. The Greeks are the nicest people to be found anywhere.
  • edited September 2009
    All the islands are unique and you will enjoy each one for a different reason.
    Just a few pointers

    May- End of June --low season chapest and quiet
    August busiest and most expensive
    September....cant remember has been so long

    My two favorite Greek islands so far are Lesbos and Corfu...Going back to Molivos end of June..
    cant wait to do nothing on the beach, coffee at the beach bar ,,and beer at Congas
  • edited 3:57PM
    Hi, I am from Tucson, Arizona. I have always wanted to visit Greece, I am an artist and teacher. I would love to know if there is an ECONOMICAL way to visit some of the islands and Crete within 8 days. I want to see ancient ruins, beautiful beaches, tast great Meiditeranean seafood, walk in quaint medieval towns ans meet local people. I have no idea where to go since my time is limited. Any suggestions..I plan to travel in late September 2009 or in October when prices may be lower...Randy Sue
  • edited 3:57PM
    randy sue - i am no expert, but your biggest expenses are transport and accommodation. I would use the local ferry system to navigate your way around, and then stay in bed 'n breakfast type homestays on the islands.
  • edited September 2009
    Randy and Sue, obviously your flights will be your biggest expense, but as for accomodation, I have just booked 11nts for 2 in a four star hotel in Rhodes for £304 at the end of September. Which is almost half the price it was 2 weeks before. But there was several cheaper options and you could stay in various locations around the island for a variety. The island is relatively small so it doesnt take long to travel around. Rhodes is amazing, it will be my second time there. If you are looking for medieval towns and ruins with beautiful beaches then Rhodes has it. At the south of the island is Lindos, which is an old town of narrow winding cobbled streets with donkeys and traditional style market shops and the acropolis on the top of the hill. From there, you will find the views of the bluest Aegean sea are spectacular. Also St Pauls bay is so picturesque with its beautiful chapel. To the north is Rhodes town which is cosmopolitan but nestled in the centre is the old walled town with lots of shops and restaurants and plenty of medieval ruins and castles for you. You can even get a day boat trip to Turkey to explore the bazaars. Rhodes has so much to offer and i love that it has kept it Greekness. You can fly direct from Rhodes to Crete with Sky Express or there are ferries. Aegean Airlines also fly for reasonable prices from Athens to most of the islands.
  • edited September 2009
    Hi, I am Simon, half Greek half English. Based on your question and the fact that you are going with your girlfriend I have to suggest Santorini as the number 1 spot. Santorini is my particular favorite island of Greece and perfect for romantic couples. The wines are local and wonderful tasting because of the climate and conditions their. Its about 4 hours away from Piraeus on the mainland depending on the type of boat you take, some are faster. You can also stop off at Paros on the way there or back too. Other nice islands from a scenic point of view are Mykinos and Eos. You must do these islands if you haven't already, they are must see's. Enjoy your trip and enjoy Greece. Immerse yourself in the culture and meet the locals. They are a proud people and would love nothing more than talking to you and answering any questions you might have about their country. Stay away from where all the English go, Corfu and Zakynthos are typical examples. I never understand the mentality of people who want this type of holiday. Its nothing to do with seeing or experiencing what Greece is all about.

    Best wishes,
  • edited September 2009
    Hi Im John all Greek and I suggest Astypalea. I have a home their and travel every year with my mother and wife. This year we are going on the 24th of this month cant wait. Awesome restaurants bars and clubs. Lot to due and a very friendly island. I also rent rooms out, studio size very clean and very close to the beach.The water is as blue as the sky. Just a walk to everything supermarket, bars, stores, and many coffee shops. Also Rhodes and Crete are beautiful islands as well. Mathieu if you go look me up, youll know who i am. Im leaving from the states.
  • edited September 2009
    I have been to 7 or 8 of the islands over the past 13 years and also to the mainland.
    For people in their 60's I would recommend Skiathos, Santorini, Stoupa in the Peloponnese and Kefalonia. Stoupa is a wonderful place which is now being spoilt by an increase in construction and tourism. Crete is a huge island with plenty to do and see and it's easy to avoid the drunken English here. Just pick a smaller resort. Skiathos has probably got the best public bus service of any Greek island. Try and visit these places in mid Sept. when the crowds have gone and the weather is still beautiful. I have only visited Zante once and found Kalamaki a very quiet resort with a gorgeous beach. For a taste of real Greece try Parga on the mainland.
  • edited 3:57PM
    Hey there... my family (hubby and I and our two children 4 & 7) are planning a trip to the Greek Islands the first weeks in September... any family friendly areas with great sandy beaches... I keep "googling" and have an abundance of information - and after reading most of the comments here - I feel that most islands are beautiful. But, since we cannot go to all of the Islands... what would be good for our family? I've been looking into Santorini... any island or hotel suggestions??
  • edited 3:57PM
    Hi everyone,

    My partner and I hope to travel to one of the Greek islands in approx 3 weeks. We have heard/read many stories and would welcome any advice. Ideally, we want to stay somewhere where peace and quiet is the norm! A nice stroll in to a town with reataurants, bars, shops would be nice. We ish to avoid the hustle and bustle of larger towns - especially noisy nightlife and clubs! Many tell us that Rhodes, Santorini and Zante are the places to go. I note Simon's comment above and we want to be somewhere that feels local and Greek (not English) - if we are away then we like to feel away!!! Finally, any specific villages recommended to stay in Rhodes/Santorini/Zante?

    Any help and advise much appreciated.
  • edited 3:57PM
    Robbie, apart from the above, I'd browse around for some first-hand experiences of Greek resorts. If anything, you'll get an idea of where to avoid if you are averse to English lads culture!
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