There’s no doubt about it, Black jetsetters in the know love exploring Greece. Just one look at travel IG feeds like Soul Society and you’ll be inspired by all the melanin magic doing it up in Athens and on the Greek isles. Something else you may notice is that everyone seems to be visiting the same exact islands – Mykonos and Santorini.
Now don’t get it twisted, there’s nothing wrong with having Mykonos and Santorini on your itinerary (especially if it’s your first visit to Greece), but social media will have you think those are the only two islands that exist, and that’s just not true.
With over 200 islands in Greece, we’re here to tell you that when it comes to island hopping there is so much more to discover beyond the typical tourist hotspots. Truth be told, you don’t even need to catch a flight from Athens to find beautiful islands to get lost in. Local faves like the Peloponesse are located just a short distance from Athens city center.
However, since it’s not a true visit to Greece unless you’re sailing across those iconic blue waters, we’ve rounded up a list of islands that go beyond basic so that on your next Greek adventure you’ll stand out from the crowd. Opa!
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If you’re really looking to avoid the crowds after a few days in Athens, a one hour flight to Astypalea is just what the doctor ordered. This charming island town has a much slower pace than many of the other islands, and is perfect for experiencing old-school fishing villages, tourist-free beaches like Livadi, and quaint farm-to-table tavernas that really get to the essence of daily life on the island. Grab a room at Anatoli Suites for your home away from home.
You may think that Greek cuisine begins and ends at Souvlaki and feta cheese, but if you want to get into real Greek food, you need to head to Sifnos. Home to the first Greek cookbook, which was written in 1910, foodies visiting the island can indulge in slow-roasted traditional dishes like mastello (lamb with red wine and dill) and revitháda (baked chickpeas) or almond sweets like those made at local sweet shop Theodorou. Once your belly is full, head back to your room at the Verina Suites to take in the beautiful sunset views.
Whitewashed buildings are cute, but you won’t find them on the island of Syros. The colorful island has a distinctly Italian vibe with grand villas, marble piazzas and art, dance, music and film festivals held in the island’s replica of Milan’s La Scala opera house. Make your home base Arion Boutique Hotel, a 19th-century restored mansion, then explore the island’s streets discovering seaside tavernas abound like Ambela and local beaches like Delfini.
Folegandros is an island that’s constantly buzzing with things to do. In the capital of Chora alone you’ll find three main squares, each filled with cafés, tavernas and raki bars just waiting to be supporting cast members in your “Best Night Ever” post-vacation tale. Beaches aren’t the star here, but there are great coves to explore, and a day of sailing the waters around the island will still leave you satisfied. For spectacular views, check-in to the Anemomilos Boutique Hotel and make all your friends on IG jealous.
Yachts, cypress forests, colorful buildings, and picture-perfect beaches are just some of the reasons you need to make Symi a stop on your Greek island hopping adventure. A national monument, exploring Symi by foot will be your best option, especially if you want to explore treasures like the island’s ancient acropolis (it takes 500 steps to reach it!). Once you’ve checked into The Old Markets hotel, head out on the town and grab delicious seafood at Tholos taverna or spend time tanning on sandy beaches like Ayios Yorgos Disalonas