Which Greek Island should you visit?
Picking a Greek island for your summer break but don't know where to start? We've been, we've filmed them, we can help!
Which are the best Greek Islands for a holiday? We've rounded up a few of our favourites, with recommendations for different types of traveller.
The great news about Greek Islands is that once you've fallen for one, there are many more still to get to know. Up to 6000 in total, depending on what you count as an island - though only around 200 are inhabited. That's a whole lot of beautiful, Mediterranean islands to discover!
If you find yourself asking which Greek island is best for couples, where the best beaches are, or that you just want to travel better, read on!
Which Greek Island is best for...
Updated 7th Septemeber 2020: If you are returning to England or Northern Ireland from Lesvos, Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Crete, Santorini and Zakynthos (Zante) after 4am on 9th September you must self-isolate for 14 days. If you are returning to Scotland from anywhere in Greece, you must self-isolate for 14 days. If you are returning to Wales from Crete, Mykonos, Zante, Lesvos, Paros or Antiparos, you must also self-isolate for 14 days.
Which Greek Island is best for diving?
There are so many good choice for diving, it's hard to choose just one. But in recent years diving has really taken off in the Ionian islands, so there's many great diving centres to choose from. Whether you are a beginner or more advanced then coasts of Corfu offer amazing diving opportunites. There are underwater caves to explore, shipwrecks and beautiful reefs. The most popular diving spot is Colovri, where you can dive up to 40m with excellent visibility - here you'll see stunning rock formations and maybe even some barracudas.
If you're an advanced diver then make sure to check out these spots on other islands:
- Anna II wreck (Mykonos) - a 62-meter-long cargo ship still in great condition at only 25m depth.
- HMS Perseus (Kefalonia) - a british submarine which sank in 1941 after hitting an Italian mine
- HMHS Britannic (Kea) - this is a WW1 hospital ship which sank in 1916
Visitors returning to Scotland, England or Northern Ireland (but not to Wales) from Crete must self-isolate for 14 days.
Which Greek Island has the best beaches?
Zante is one of the largest of the popular Ionian Islands, with around 76 miles of coastline. For this reason, it's practically as popular with sea turtles as it is with tourists: you'll often see them hanging out on its shores. The main draw for beach-goers, however, is the famous Navagio or 'Shipwreck Bay', where a ruined ship sits in a deserted cove, surrounded by white cliffs. The scene is only reachable by boat, and many visitors choose to take a trip by water taxi from nearby Porto Vromi.
For a taste of the unspoilt, visitors to Zante may also want to check out Marathonissi beach; an idyllic spot on the islet also known as 'Turtle Island'. Home to the endangered loggerhead turtle, the islet with its beautiful Bay of Laganas has been granted protected status by the National Marine Park of Zakynthos. As well as being home to these magnificent creatures, the island is also shaped like a turtle when viewed in profile! Many visitors choose to rent a boat and spend a day exploring this natural oasis.
Updated 7th Septemeber 2020: Zante has been removed from the UK government's travel corridor list, and the FCO now advises against non-essential travel. If you are returning from Zante to the UK, you must self-isolate for 14-days.
Travel Insurance - Zante
Kefalonia's beautiful beaches are the stuff of legends, so if you want stunning scenery and ice blue sea, you can't go wrong with a visit to the Ionian island that inspired 'Captain Corelli's Mandolin'. Myrtos beach is the most favourite, having been repeatedly voted the most beautiful in Greece, but there are many less well-known spots where you can enjoy the very best in sea and sand. Xi beach is unlike most other beaches on the island due to its lack of cliffs and striking amber-coloured sand, while Antisamos Beach offers the classic combination of clear water, stunning vegetation and white sand.
Visitors returning to Scotland from Kefalonia must self-isolate for 14 days, but there are not currently any quarantine rules in place for visitors returning to England, Wales or Northern Ireland.
Which Greek Island is best for families?
Greek culture is very much centred around the family, and most of its islands are geared up for catering to parents with young children or teenagers. While you may want to research resorts away from known 'party zones', the following have a good offering for families.
Naxos is said to be the 'ultimate family holiday island' by many travellers: it's a popular choice with discerning tourists, but doesn't get too busy; has great beaches, plenty of family-friendly activities and just enough historical sightseeing options to keep Mum and Dad happy.
The only downside to a family holiday in Naxos is the lack of direct flights from the UK: you'll need to go via Athens, Santorini or Mykonos, then catch a ferry. Parents with very young children may want to avoid a journey with several changes - but the ferries are frequent, and remember this is one reason the island is still so unspoilt.
Being the largest of the Greek Islands, Crete presents no such accessibility obstacles, and is also an ideal family destination. Its southerly location results in a wonderfully warm climate, so this is a great destination for those who just want to spend days chilling out by the beach or pool.
Kids will love the many water parks that have sprung up to cater for younger visitors, while there are so many beaches you'll be spoilt for choice. Check out this list of the most family friendly beaches in Crete to narrow down your options.
Visitors to Crete must self-isolate for 14 days on return to Wales or Scotland; visitors to Naxos must self-isolate on return to Scotland. There are currently no quarantine rules in force for visitors returning to either England or Northern Ireland.
Updated 7th Septemeber 2020: Crete has been removed from the UK government's travel corridor list, and the FCO now advises against non-essential travel. If you are returning from Crete to the UK, you must self-isolate for 14-days.
Which Greek Island is best for partying?
While many spend a lifetime looking for 'unspoilt' Greece, others flock to the country's islands with one aim in mind: party! Which are the best Greek Islands for vibrant nightlife?
Buzzing and brazen, yet also stylish and popular with the cruise crowd, Mykonos has a great deal to offer to the good-time traveller. The island's narrow, labyrinthine streets are rarely empty, but in summer, it's full-on party season with revellers coming in from all over Europe and beyond. Being a little pricier than some of the dreaded 'hooligan hotspots', Mykonos is said to attract a more sophisticated and somewhat older crowd than the '18-30-style' resorts of Malia et al, and is also known to be more gay-friendly.
Updated 7th Septemeber 2020: Mykonos has been removed from the UK government's travel corridor list, and the FCO now advises against non-essential travel. If you are returning from Mykonos to the UK, you must self-isolate for 14-days.
Travel Insurance - Mykonos
Holiday Extras offers travel insurance policies for destinations that the FCO currently advises are suitable for non-essential travel (such as holidays). If you are travelling to a destination which has an FCO advisory warning you may need a specialist insurance provider. battleface is a provider of flexible insurance plans for travellers going to unconventional locations, including those under government "essential only" travel advisories.
Ios' reputation as a party island for younger visitors has come to rival that of Ibiza, Kos or Rhodes, and the island is bursting with beach bars, outdoor discos and full-scale nightclubs. It's also a beautiful spot in the Cyclades, complete with stunning beaches and white-painted clifftop villages, so you won't be disappointed if you want to do a little more than just dance all night. For those who do just want to go raving, however, there are countless opportunities. Check out the top nightlife attractions in Ios for a taste of what's on offer.
Visitors to Mykonos must self-isolate on return to either Scotland or Wales; visitors to Ios must self-isolate on return to Scotland. There is currently no quanrantine in effect for travellers returning to England or Northern Ireland.
Which Greek Island is best for couples?
Whether you're looking to book a honeymoon, or just get away for a romantic trip - the Greek Islands are perfect for romance, and none more so than Santorini. Think luxury hotels, sunset views and infinity pools - it really is the destination for couples. Most people stay in Thera (Fira) or Oia, as these two towns cling to the cliffside, providing the famous views over the caldera below. Bear in mind that this is a popular destination, so it may be busy - after all everyone wants the classic sunset photo. But if you stay elsewhere on the island, you will find it a little quieter and no where is too far to visit for an evening.
Visitors to Santorini must self-isolate for 14 days on return to England, Northern Ireland or Scotland. There is no quarantine in place for travellers returning to Wales.
Next article: Where are the best beaches in Greece?
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Need some help booking all your holiday extras? Want to talk to someone about other options at the airport?
We want to help you travel hassle-free!
At the moment the best way to get help with a booking is online, by visiting our help and support page.