Fancy visiting somewhere new this year? Why not look into some of the lesser-known Greek islands, maybe even somewhere you haven’t heard of before, and visit it on a day trip from the more popular destinations Mykonos and Santorini.
We’ve combined a list of five different Greek islands that may have slipped under your radar, but could provide you with plenty of great memories.
The island of Tinos is located above Mykonos and is home to many fantastic beaches, architectural buildings and plenty of restaurants serving traditional delicacies. If you walk from the port up the main street, you’ll be faced with the steps of the Sacred Church of the Evangelists. Lots of tourists visit Tinos to kiss the Virgin Mary icon, as it’s said to be a miracle worker. However, if you’re on the hunt for the perfect beach, look no further than Agios Ioannis.
At this beach, you’ll find plenty of Greek restaurants using fresh local produce in their meals, such as freshly caught fish and homegrown vegetables – all served with views of mountains in one direction and Mykonos harbour in the other. If you’re looking for more adventure during your holiday, you can explore the island’s hiking trails through the villages that showcase traditional Cycladic architecture.
The volcanic island of Milos is in the Cyclades group and is known for being the place where the Venus de Milo was discovered, which you can now find in the Louvre. When you arrive in the port of Adamas, a natural bay, you’ll see a charming village of brightly coloured boat houses, exemplifying typical Greek island life.
In the main port, Adamas, is the Mining Museum which displays the mining history of the island. It commemorates its previous workers who worked on the mineral-rich rock formations. Due to Milos’s rich volcanic history, it’s surrounded by magnificent volcanic rock formations that paint the sandy beaches red, pink and orange, which complements the emerald sea beautifully. Alternatively, you can go for a hike around the island to find Ta Loutra tou Lakkou, a natural mineral bath, which is perfect after a long day of walking.
Also part of the Cyclades island group is Naxos, a fertile land filled with lush greenery including fig and olive trees. On arrival, you’ll be wowed by Mt. Zeus, the highest point within the whole of the Cyclades. You may choose to visit Naxos because it’s home to the unfinished Temple of Apollo, two marble columns with a lintel on top. We recommend arriving during the evening, as you’ll see a glorious sunset through the archaeological site.
Another historical monument that’s worth a visit is the castle of Naxos in the town of Kastro. This 13th-century residence is located on a hilltop, behind the waterfront, up several narrow cobbled alleyways, but it’s definitely worth the trek. Up here, you can see Venetian mansions and, of course, the castle itself. If you’d rather see a beautiful church, why not travel to Moni and visit Panagia Drosiani, one of the oldest churches in Greece and which features detailed frescoes on its walls.
To the west of Mykonos is the island of Syros. Here you’ll discover one of the most architecturally fascinating ports in the Mediterranean in the form of Ermoupoli, the capital of the island. When wandering the narrow, cobbled streets, you’ll see many pastel-coloured houses, neoclassical buildings and spectacular monuments, such as the Apollo Theatre. This historic theatre puts on amazing operas, cultural events and theatrical shows that are definitely worth seeing.
Not sure what to do for lunch? Why not visit the marketplace selling a wide range of goods such as fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, cookies and cakes. Plateia Miaouli, the main square in the town, with palm trees around its edges, holds the 18th-century town hall that has an archaeological museum displaying marble vases, inscriptions and Cycladic figurines. If, after sightseeing, you wish to relax on an unspoiled beach, visit Galissas Beach and take a dip in the crystal clear waters of the sheltered cove.
Paros is located next to Naxos and has the perfect blend of modern and traditional features, such as architectural buildings and vibrant nightlife. You’ll find a bit of everything here, whether you wish to have a relaxing beach holiday or a thrilling sports trip. If you’re more of a foodie then don’t worry as there’s plenty of luxurious restaurants where you can indulge in traditional Greek cuisine.
Paros is the perfect place for water sports fans due to its ideal wind conditions. So, if you’re an avid windsurfer or kitesurfer, you may wish to get booking now as the Professional Windsurfing World Cup kicks off in August. However, if you wish to have a more relaxed holiday, you can choose to visit the capital Parikia and stroll past the many whitewashed cubic houses and along cobbled streets to the 4th-century baptistery that holds the breathtaking Byzantine Museum on its ground floor.