Greece has so many islands it’s almost inconceivable. To help you get your head around it, here’s a list of inhabited islands – plus some of the major uninhabited ones – to start you off.
Aegina and Moni
Where is it? Aegina of the closest islands to Athens, part of the Argo-Saronic island group.
Notable for? Its short ferry journey, the Temple of Aphaia (pictured above), amiable seaside villages, walking routes.
Moni is a small islet between Aegina and Agistri with beautiful turquoise water.
Where is it? South of Samos, not far from the Turkish coast.
Notable for? Being tiny and very quiet – it’s not on a main ferry route so very few ever come here.
Where is it? In the middle of the Aegean Sea, somewhat near Lemnos and Lesvos.
Notable for? Its history as an island of exile, visited by very few tourists.
Where is it? Just off the coast in Halkidiki.
Notable for? Laid-back vibe and lovely beaches. Usually visited on a day trip.
Where is it? In the Argo-Saronic island group, past Aegina.
Notable for? Its peaceful and pine-laden atmosphere.
Where is it? On the far eastern side of the Cyclades island group.
Notable for? Its long spindly shape and steep hills, offbeat atmosphere, the famous shipwreck beach from Luc Besson’s The Big Blue.
Where is it? Due east of Santorini.
Notable for? Being one of the quietest and hardest to reach islands in the Cyclades group.
Where is it? North of Rhodes in the Dodecanese island chain.
Notable for? Peace and quiet – Alimia is only inhabited by goats and sheep. Private boats sometimes drop anchor here for a swim.
Where is it? The eastern side of the Sporades island group.
Notable for? Diving, snorkelling, and seal-spotting – its surrounded by the National Marine Park of Alonnisos. There are several (mostly) uninhabited islands offshore, the largest are Peristera and Skantzoura.
Where is it? The northernmost island of the Cyclades, between Evia and Tinos.
Notable for? Its shipbuilding families, neoclassical architecture, and hiking trails that crisscross the island.
Where is it? South of Samos in the Dodecanese island chain.
Notable for? Being the biggest island of part of tiny Lipsoi-Arkoi Archipelago which is made up of 37 small islands and islands. There are several inhabited islands near Arki, including the blissful Marathi which is popular with visiting yachts.
Where is it? Half way between the Cyclades and the rest of the Dodecanese islands.
Notable for? Its butterfly shape, awkward ferry times, pretty whitewashed buildings, and quiet bohemian atmosphere.
Chios, Inousses, and Pasas
Where are they? Close to Izmir on the Turkish Coast.
Notable for? Mastic trees and unique medieval villages on Chios, shipbuilding families on tiny satellite islands Inousses and Pasas. Chios is one of the largest but least visited islands in Greece.
Where is it? A small uninhabited island off the south coast of Crete, near Ierapetra.
Notable for? Whiter sand beaches and turquoise waters, often visited by tourist boats.
Where is it? The southern end of the Aegean. It’s the largest Greek island – you can’t miss it.
Notable for? Ancient Minoan history, fantastic beaches, old Venetian cities, varied scenery and microclimates, and excellent food.
Where is it? Part of the Ionian island group, Corfu is at the northern end of Greece’s west coast.
Notable for? Beautiful lush coastline, Italianate architecture, and sandy beaches popular with European tourists.
Delos and Rineia
Where is it? West of Mykonos, the spiritual centre of the Cyclades.
Notable for? Being one of Greece’s most famous and popular ancient attractions. The whole island is an archaeological site, as is Rineia, the larger island next door. There are less excavations on Rineia but it’s popular with tourist boats from Mykonos.
Where is it? One of the Little Cyclades, located between Naxos and Amorgos.
Notable for? Its low-key boho scene and annual trail running race.
Where are they? Off the northwest coast of Corfu.
Notable for? Being the westernmost Greek islands. Usually a daytrip destination, Mathraki, Othonia, and Erikousa are a short sail from Corfu and it’s possible to stay overnight.
Where is it? Off the eastern shore of the Sithonia peninsula in Halkidiki.
Notable for? The largest of a number of islets along, Diaporos is a short paddle from shore and surrounded by shallow turquoise waters,
Where is it? Just off the southern tip of the Peloponnese peninsula, towards Kythira.
Notable for? Stunning white sand beaches and fantastic fish restaurants.
Where is it? Cunningly disguised as the mainland, Evia is just off the north coast of Attica – not far from Athens at all.
Notable for? Untouched nature, campsites, and traditional beach villages.
Where is it? Very close to Turkey, north of Bodrum.
Notable for? Being a military post – no civilians allowed. A young Julius Caesar was once kidnapped and held for ransom here.
Where is it? In the southern Cyclades, between Ios and Milos.
Notable for? Its stark beauty, sunsets, and increasingly chic clifftop town.
Fourni and Thimena
Where is it? Between Ikaria and Samos.
Notable for? Its straggly shape and mulberry trees. Fourni Kourseon and Thimena are the two largest of a mini archipelago (known as Fourni) with a quiet and traditional atmosphere. There are 10 smaller islets and lots of offshore shipwrecks.
Where is it? South of Crete.
Notable for? Sandy beaches and hippies.
Halki and Alimia
Where is it? North of Rhodes in the Dodecanese island group.
Notable for? Its rocky barren landscape and small neoclassical harbour called Nimporio.
Hydra and Dokos
Where is it? South of Athens, in the Argo Saronic island group.
Notable for? Its particularly beautiful harbour town, donkeys (vehicles are banned) and celebrity connections – Leonard Cohen lived here in the 60s. Dokos is a rocky uninhabited island between Hydra and the mainland.
Where is it? In the middle of the Aegean, between Mykonos and Samos.
Notable for? Longevity (Ikaria is one of the Blue Zones). Being a mountainous island with an alternative spirit.
Where is it? One of the Little Cyclades group between Naxos and Ios.
Notable for? Its tranquility. Despite its picturesque looks, Iraklia has somehow escaped the crowds.
Where is it? Off the north east coast of Kefalonia.
Notable for? Its lush green landscape, pretty harbour villages, and being the alleged home of Odysseus.
Where is it? In the Cyclades group, north of Santorini.
Notable for? Its whitewashed hilltop town, untouched beaches, and the party scene at Mylopotamos.
Where is it? In the western Cyclades.
Notable for? Being one of the closest islands to Athens – Kea is a popular weekend and summer destination. The ferry only takes 1 hour from Lavrio.
Kalamos and Kastos
Where are they? Two minor islands in the Ionian island group, located between Lefkada and the mainland.
Notable for? Being small and peaceful, mainly visited by daytrippers or sailors.
Kalymnos and Telendos
Where are they? In the Dodecanese island group, north of Kos.
Notable for? Its sponge-diving heritage, laid-back tourism, and rock-climbing scene. Telendos is an inhabited satellite off the north west coast of Kalymnos with a distinctive shape. Small boats connect the two at Myrties.
Karpathos, Kasos and Saria
Where are they? In the Dodecanese island group, between Crete and Rhodes.
Notable for? Karpathos is known for its dramatic mountainous scenery and traditional way of life. Saria is a beautiful islet to its north with a tiny farming population. Kasos is to the south of Karpathos and has a wild and traditional feel.
Where is it? The easternmost Greek island, far beyond Rhodes and tucked under Turkey’s Turquoise Coast.
Notable for? Its pretty neoclassical harbour and often being the focal point for tensions between Greece and Turkey.
Where is it? In the middle of the Ionian island group, off the west coast of Greece.
Notable for? Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, great wine, rugged mountain scenery, blue caves, Venetian villages, and low-key beach tourism.
Where is it? In the Cyclades island group, between Milos and Sifnos.
Notable for? Its small size – Kimolos is one of Milos’ satellite islands. It has sandy beaches and charming whitewashed streets.
Where is it? In the middle of the Dodecanese island chain.
Notable for? Being the home of Hippocrates. Long white sand beaches. Windsurfing and kitesurfing. Lots of cycle path.
Where is it? In the Little Cyclades group, between Naxos and Amorgos.
Notable for? Being the most well-known of the Little Cyclades mini island group. Increasingly popular with island-hopper for its white sands, turquoise beaches, and carefree spirit.
Kythira and Antikythera
Where is it? Technically part of the Ionian group, it’s nowhere near the other islands – instead it’s between the Peloponnese region and Crete.
Notable for? Its awkward location, Venetian castle, lovely landscape, and low-key tourism.
Antikythera is a small and remote island on the way to Crete, famous for its shipwreck which yielded the world’s oldest known analog computer.
Where is it? Western Cyclades, just past Kea.
Notable for? Being quiet and unspoiled – its usually overlooked by most visitors heading to the more famous islands in the Cyclades.
Where is it? In the middle of the Ionian chain, north of Kefalonia.
Notable for? Its dazzling cliff beaches and fantastic watersports. Lefkada is connected to the mainland by road so no ferry required.
Where is it? In the Dodecanese chain, north of Kalymnos.
Notable for? Military history and Italian rationalist architecture. Inspiring the film The Guns of Navarone. Its acoustic mirror.
Where is it? In the middle of the north Aegean.
Notable for? Windsurfing, wine, vast unorganised beaches, and its unique sand dune desert.
Where is it? In the North Aegean group, just off the Turkish coast.
Notable for? Sardines, solidarity (islanders were nominated for the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for their response to the refugee crisis), ouzo, the lovely harbour town Molyvos, and traditional beach tourism.
Where is it? In the Dodecanese island chain,
Notable for? Being off the beaten track. Lipsi is small traditional island with an attractive harbour, surrounded by islets.
Where is it? Just off Lavrio on the Greek mainland.
Notable for? Its dark history – it has been a concentration camp, a quarantine island, and a notorious political prison.
Where is it? In the Ionian island group, just off the east coast of Lefkada.
Notable for? Its pristine scenery and relaxed atmosphere.
Where are they? A small group of uninhabited islands off the south west coast of Peloponnese. Technically part of the Ionian. Sapientza and Schiza are the largest.
Notable for? The area’s many shipwrecks. They now form part of a nature reserve.
Milos and Polyaigos
Where is it? The south west corner of the Cyclades.
Notable for? Milos is a volcanic island known for its unusual lunar landscapes. It has many sandy beaches and unusual colourful boat garages called klima.
Polyaigos is an uninhabited satellite island off the north east coast of Milos with spectacular rocky seascapes. It’s often visited by tourist boats.
Where is it? In the middle of the Cyclades island group.
Notable for? Its glamorous beach parties, windmills, and the large whitewashed old town in Mykonos Chora.
Where is it? In the Cyclades island group.
Notable for? Being the largest and greenest Cycladic island, with an attractive Venetian old town, prolific agricultural industry, mysterious portara doorway, and fabulous sandy beaches.
Nisyros and Giali
Where are they? In the Dodecanese island group, south of Kos.
Notable for? Nisyros is a volcanic island with rocky scenery and intriguing villages, often visited as a day trip from Kos but worthy of a longer stay.
Giali is a sparsely-inhabited satellite island to its north with large pumice mines.
Paros and Antiparos
Where is it? In the Cyclades island group, west of Naxos.
Notable for? Its whitewashed towns and villages, sandy beaches, windsurfing scene, and cosmopolitan nightlife at Naoussa.
Antiparos is a small satellite island to its southwest with a bohemian beach crowd. Tom Hanks stays there, if you haven’t heard.
Uninhabited satellite island Despotiko is now the site of archaeological excavations.
Where is it? Not to be confused with Paros, Poros is a lush island in the Argosaronic island group.
Notable for? The narrow and picturesque channel that passes between Poros Town and the mainland. Lots of boats and pines.
Where is it? At the very end of the Pelion Peninsula in central Greece.
Notable for? Olive trees and old mansions. Lack of cars. Trikeri also has a dark past as a concentration camp.
Where is it? Towards the northern end of the Dodecanese island group.
Notable for? Being the place where John wrote the Book of Revelations. The fortified hilltop 11th century Monastery of Saint John. Pretty good beaches.
Paxos and Antipaxos
Where is it? In the Ionian island group, south of Corfu.
Notable for? Lovely green landscapes. Paxos’ harbour villages are a favourite with the yachting crowd. Antipaxos has incredible beaches with dazzling turquoise waters.
Where is it? West of Chios.
Notable for? Its shipbuilding heritage and tragic history – most of the population were massacred by the Turks during the Greek War of Independence.
Where is it? Between Kos and Kalymnos.
Notable for? Its sandy beach lined with tamarisk trees and tavernas. Pserimos only has one settlement and is usually visited by daytrippers from Kos although there are rooms on the island.
Where is it? At the southern end of the Dodecanese chain.
Notable for? Medieval Rhodes Old Town with its blockbuster Crusader castle, ancient sites, and popular beach resorts.
Where is it? Really close to Athens.
Notable for? The Battle of Salamis – one of the most famous naval battles ever. These days it’s a part of greater Athens and has a naval base and large population.
Where is it? In the North Aegean.
Notable for? Being forgotten about, as it’s not on a ferry route to anywhere else. Green and mountainous, much of its landscape is protected. It has an ancient temple complex and plenty of waterfalls and hot springs.
Where is it? The southern end of the Cyclades. North of Crete.
Notable for? Being ‘the famous one’. A volcanic island with unique rock-hewn architecture, blue-domed churches, and an upmarket hotel scene. Oh, and the wine.
Samos and Samiopoula
Where is it? One of the large North Aegean islands, Samos is just off the Turkish Coast near Kusadasi.
Notable for? Its ancient history (Samos was the home of Pythagoras), muscat wine, rugged green landscape, and charming harbour towns.
Samiopoula is a small islet off the south coast of Samos with turquoise waters and a beach taverna.
Where is it? In the Little Cyclades island group, south of Naxos.
Notable for? Being small, serene, and little-visited.
Where is it? In the Ionian islands, just off the east coast of Lekfada.
Notable for? Being Greece’s most famous private island. Once owned by Aristotle Onassis, Skorpios has recently been sold and is set to become an ultra-exclusive luxury tourist escape.
Where is it? The Western Cyclades.
Notable for? Its photogenic old town, and windmills, and unspoiled sandy beaches. Serifos has somehow remained under the radar.
Where is it? The Western Cyclades, south of Serifos.
Notable for? Immaculate sandy beaches, charming villages, vertiginous scenery, and some of the best food in Greece.
Where is it? The southern Cyclades, between Folegandros and Ios.
Notable for? Being the least-visited and most traditional of all the major islands in the Cyclades group.
Where is it? Close to the Pelion region in the Sporades island group.
Notable for? Its many sandy beaches, pine forests, lively summer scene, cosmopolitan Skiathos town, and hair-raising airplane landings.
Where is it? In the Sporades island group, east of Skiathos.
Notable for? Being one of the main filming locations for Mamma Mia. Beautiful pebble beaches, pretty villages, and green scenery.
Where is it? Part of the Sporades island group but located further out than the rest, off the northern shore of Evia.
Notable for? One of the rarest horse breeds in the world. A diverse landscape. And a well-established alternative community.
Where is it? Part of the Argo-Saronic islands, not far from Hydra.
Notable for? Its naval and shipbuilding heritage and an upmarket summer scene.
Where is it? Off the north coast of Crete near Agios Nikolaos.
Notable for? Being the site of Venetian fortress and leper colony, as immortalised in fiction by Victoria Hislop. Often visited as a day trip.
Where is it? A small uninhabited island at the entrance to the Bay of Pylos in the Peloponnese region.
Notable for? Being the site of several epic ancient battles.
Where is it? In the Dodecanese island chain, north of Rhodes
Notable for? Its particularly beautiful neoclassical port town.
Where is it? Opposite Santorini.
Notable for? Technically part of the same volcanic crater as Santorini. Few make it over here, so it feels like Santorini before mass tourism.
Where is it? In the Dodecanese island chain, north of Rhodes.
Notable for? Remaining decidedly low-key and natural in the face of tourism. Increasingly eco-friendly.
Where is it? Between Andros and Mykonos in the Cyclades.
Notable for? Pilgrims. Quiet beaches. Doveots. Lovely inland villages. Food trails and alternative wines.
Where is it? A tiny island in the Gulf of Corinth.
Notable for? Its picturesque harbour and lack of cars.
Where is it? The northernmost island in the Aegean, Thassos is just off the coast near Kavala.
Notable for? Its dramatic mountain scenery, great beaches, top notch marble (there are lots of mines here), and laid-back beach tourism.
Where is it? The southernmost of the Ionian islands off Greece’s west coast.
Notable for? That famous shipwreck beach. Turtles. Popular beach resorts.
Found this post useful? Click to save to Pinterest:
Aegina: © siete_vidas1 / Adobe Stock
Agistri: © Aerial-motion / Shutterstock
Amorgos: © kite_rin / Adobe Stock
Anafi: © Michael / Adobe Stock
Alonnisos: © sangriana / Adobe Stock
Andros: © Freesurf / Adobe Stock
Astypaleia: © kite_rin / Adobe Stock
Chios: © Iraklis Milas / Adobe Stock
Chryssi: © gatsi / Adobe Stock
Crete: © Georgios Tsichlis / Shutterstock
Corfu: © lukaszimilena / Adobe Stock
Delos: © Kartouchken / Adobe Stock
Donousa: © John / Adobe Stock
Diapontia: © Giovanni Rinaldi / Adobe Stock
Elafonisi: © Martin / Adobe Stock
Evia: © costas1962 / Adobe Stock
Folegandros: © jcfmorata / Adobe Stock
Gavdos: © gatsi / Adobe Stock
Halki: © lubos K / Adobe Stock
Hydra: © kokixx / Adobe Stock
Ikaria: © Thomas Jastram / Adobe Stock
Iraklia: © stockbksts / Adobe Stock
Ithaca: © The Mediterranean Traveller
Ios: © milangonda / Adobe Stock
Kea: © costas1962 / Adobe Stock
Kalymnos: © Iuliia Leonova / Adobe Stock
Kastellorizo: © sonyakamoz / Adobe Stock
Kefalonia: © Calin Stan / Adobe Stock
Kimolos: © kokixx / Adobe Stock
Kos: © The Mediterranean Traveller
Koufonisia: © aetherial / Adobe Stock
Kythira: © gatsi / Adobe Stock
Kythnos: © Mike / Adobe Stock
Lefkada: © Ljupco Smokovski / Adobe Stock
Leros: © Thomas Jastram / Adobe Stock
Lemnos: © Tanja Wilbertz / Adobe Stock
Lesvos: © dgiannisdim / Adobe Stock
Meganisi: © Chester Tugwell / Shutterstock
Milos: © gatsi / Adobe Stock
Mykonos: © moofushi / Adobe Stock
Naxos: © The Mediterranean Traveller
Antiparos: © Constantinos Iliopoulos/ Shutterstock
Poros: © sborisov / Adobe Stock
Patmos: © The Mediterranean Traveller
Paxos: © kite_rin / Adobe Stock
Pserimos: © virginievanos / Adobe Stock
Rhodes: © Vladimir Zhoga / Shutterstock
Samothraki: © vkara / Adobe Stock
Santorini: © AnastasiiaUsoltceva
Samos: © r_andrei / Adobe Stock
Serifos: © Freesurf / Adobe Stock
Skiathos: © The Mediterranean Traveller
Sifnos: © The Mediterranean Traveller
Sikinos: © vivoo / Adobe Stock
Skopelos: The Mediterranean Traveller
Skyros: © Stratos Giannikos / Adobe Stock
Spetses: © MaratYakhin / Adobe Stock
Symi: © timltv / Adobe Stock
Tinos: © costas1962 / Adobe Stock
Thassos: © Stefan Sorea / Shutterstock
Zakynthos: © GKor / Adobe Stock