There is nowhere quite like Greece for sea, sun, and sand… but the problem is everyone knows that. Nothing ruins a relaxing day on the beach faster than overcrowding and tourist traps. You'll need somewhere a bit more off the beaten track for a relaxing getaway. If you’re seeking some tranquility in Greece, there are 6,000 islands to choose from. Why not pick something a little different for your next trip?
With less of the crowds, but just as much natural beauty as nearby Paros and Santorini, Folegandros really is somewhere special. There is so much traditional architecture on the island; you’ll feel as if you’re living in a postcard filled with tiny, whitewashed villages, colorful windows, and domed churches. For the best view of the island and the Aegean Sea, head to Panagia church and marvel at the romantic sunsets.
The Venus de Milo, now in the Louvre in Paris, was first discovered amid Milo’s volcanic landscape. It’s easy to see why she might want to return to Milo’s idyllic shores. Sitting at the southernmost point in the Cyclades, there are so many beaches on this tiny island you’re unlikely to be disturbed on your holiday. The most standout beach is the moon-shaped Sarakiniko, but even better than the beach are the hot springs on the island—perfect for melting your stresses away.
Just off the coast of Halkidiki, you’ll find the small island of Ammouliani. Don't miss the main town, which is built like an amphitheater above the bay. You can also enjoy the traditional Mount Athos-inspired architecture, which is reminiscent of when the island was a dependency of the Vatopedi Monastery. If you’re coming for a visit, don’t forget your binoculars and walking boots, as this island is a bird sanctuary as well.
Just a 30-minute ferry ride from Paros lies the smaller and more tranquil Antiparos. Famous for its beaches, you’ll want to pack your trunks if you’re visiting. Most of the beaches are within walking distance of Chora, the island's capital. Make sure you don’t miss out on the island’s impressive Antiparos cave, which is filled with stalactites and stalagmites.
It’s a long trip to Kastellorizo, which is just 2kms from the Turkish coast, but it really is worth the trip. Colorful mansions adorn the shore, making Kastellorizo a sight to behold. If you want to admire the views, you can visit St. George of the Mountain and take in the view all the way to Turkey. Don’t skip out on the Cave Parasta or Fokiali, the Blue Cave, which lights up blue when the sun hits the water just right.
Thirassia was once a part of Santorini, but a volcanic eruption in 1500 BCE caused it to break away. Today, Thirassia is still a virgin island that is largely untouched by tourism and modern life. The island is the home of the Monastery of the Assumption of the Virgin and several villages. When you’re there, be sure to treat yourself to a visit to their hot springs.
Odysseus’s voyage home to Ithaka made this island legendary, and Ithaka truly lives up to its mythical heritage. The beautiful bay of Kioni is perfect for yachters and sailors, and you can arrive by sailboat to take in the listed fishing village on the island. Museums, cafes, shops, and restaurants are plentiful in the town. If you want to explore more, the Katharon Monastery has a feast day every September 7th. For more history, head down to Loizon Cave which is covered in statues of Greek Gods and Goddesses.
UNESCO recognizes Halki as the Island of Peace and Friendship, and what more could you want on your holiday? Far away from the normal tourist trappings, Halki is perfect for getting away from it all. Whether you want to take in the Italianate houses, monasteries, or the view in the high-mountain spine on the island, there really is something for everyone. One sight not to miss is the medieval Castle of the Knights of St. John, where you can spot approaching ships just as the knights would have done in the 14th century.
Covered in springs and streams, Andros is the greenest island in the Cyclades, making it a veritable paradise for hikers. In fact, there are 18 trails on the island, and as a wild haven, you can find everything from waterfalls, forests, and stone-paved trails, all peppered with whitewashed villages and beaches too.
Paxoi is known as Poseidon’s romantic hideaway, and it is easy to see why even a Greek God would fall for this slice of paradise. Just south of Corfu, Paxoi is the smallest and most secluded of the Ionians. If you’re lucky enough to visit, be sure to enjoy a coffee while watching the fishermen haul in their catches. Take in the beachfront promenades in Gaios and revive your body and mind in the sulfur thermal springs. More adventurous travelers can check out the underwater caves via snorkeling or scuba diving.