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Top Holidays

The best Greek islands to visit in 2024

  • Travel 101
  • By Ashleigh Simmons
  • Published 04 May 2018
  • Revised 08 September 2023
  • Published 04 May 2018
  • Revised 08 September 2023

From ancient sun-blushed ruins to royal blue hues of the Adriatic Sea contrasted by sugar cube white buildings, the Greek islands are truly a sight for sore eyes.

Recently, Brits have caught the bug for the likes of Santorini, Mykonos and Zakynthos, changing the way we summer holiday in style for evermore. The short-haul flights to the Greek islands means that your Grecian getaway can seamlessly kick-start in a matter of hours and you’ll be surrounded by beaming sunshine and Instagram-worthy scenery in no time.

Oh, and the beauty of the Greek islands? There’s something for everyone! For a non-stop party, Mykonos is the one for you. Want to escape the stresses of daily life? You can’t go wrong with the pure relaxation in Santorini, the best Greek Island for romancing couples.

Or, if you’re in the mood for the best of both worlds, the short distances between each region make for an exceptional multi-centre adventure as you island-hop from place to place. If you don’t know where to begin, keep reading to get clued up on the best Greek islands to visit with our handy guide for all you need to know.

"From Santorini to Halkidiki, these Greek islands will send you head over heels"

Santorini

The most Instagram-worthy island of them all has to be Santorini. The uniqueness of this island is second to none and is often at the top of many traveller’s bucket lists – and we can understand why.

The romantic sunsets that shimmer across the Aegean Sea, the stunning volcanic-sand beaches and the incredible views against the multicoloured cliffs from the caldera are sights that belong on a postcard sent to your loved ones with a cheerful ‘wish you were here’ note. It's no wonder Santorini is known as the best Greek island for honeymooners. 

Although the peak travel months for Santorini are July and August, you can’t go wrong with a visit in mid-September. The sun is still as bright as ever but the caldera is noticeably quieter and at times it’ll feel as if you have the entire island to yourself. What more could you ask for?

Sights to see: We told you the sunset was something special. Head to the village of Oia known for its charm and rustic character, located on the tip of the island for the most enchanting sight when the sun sinks into the Aegean Sea. During peak travel months, Oia can get a little hectic as everyone clamours to witness one of the world’s most magnificent sunsets but don’t worry – there’s enough fiery sky for everyone.

Fill your stomach: The ultimate gastronomic experience awaits you at La Maison, a delectable eatery in the stunning village of Imerovigli. Our advice? Book in advance, ask for a window seat and tuck in to out-of-this-world cuisine while admiring the Grecian sunset.

Rest your head: A stunning caldera edge, views of the Aegean Sea and cave-like architecture result in Santorini having some of Greece’s best accommodations complete with an infinity pool that is truly the icing on the cake.

Our top recommendation has to be Ambassador Aegean Luxury Hotel & Suites Santorini. This residence is proof that great things come in small packages as the hotel-only hosts 40 rooms and suites but all boast utter privacy, paradise and perfection. Each accommodation option comes complete with a private swimming pool, a designated spa treatment room and incomparable vistas of the sparkling Aegean Sea.

If you’re travelling with a loved one book the Infinity Honeymoon Cave Suite, order room service for breakfast, watch the Santorini sunrise from your balcony and thank us later.

Santorini

Santorini

Mykonos

Known to be the life and soul of the Greek islands, Mykonos is just as beautiful as it is exciting. This Grecian stunner boasts a cosmopolitan lifestyle that’s designed for both the elite and the wannabe elite, offering a host of trendy bars, exotic restaurants and lively nightclubs - making it one of the best Greek islands for young adults.

Nothing in Mykonos is done by halves. This destination is where you’ll find a hubbub of energetic visitors all-year-round and the island is often a go-to location for a plethora of hen and stag events with grooms and brides-to-be taking to the strip and dancing the night away before married life begins.

But Mykonos isn’t all about bar-hopping, pre-drinking and cha-cha-sliding. It’s the ideal place for relaxing on the beach or even embracing your inner adrenaline junkie and engaging in some thrilling watersports. Sound like a bit of you? We thought so.

Sights to see: A little sightseeing is a must while in Mykonos – just remember to take off your beer goggles first. The Greek island is known for its white windmills that are located between the settlement of Little Venice and the neighbourhood of Niochori.

Originally, Mykonos was home to more than 20 windmills that contributed to the island’s wheat production and economic development. Currently, seven of the windmills are in good condition and make for the perfect selfie backdrop to make all of your friends at home green with envy.  

Fill your stomach: Authentic Greek cuisine awaits you at Joanna’s Nikos Place. This traditional taverna is run by Joanna herself and is just minutes away from the heart of Mykonos Town. Fresh meze and succulent mixed grills are the staple here, made even more delightful by the incomparable al fresco views of the Aegean Sea.

Rest your head: After climbing out of a taxi at 5am, kicking off your shoes and crawling into bed, you want to make sure your pillow is made of clouds before you wake up with a headache heavier than rocks. Mykonos Blu Grecotel Boutique Resort is your go-to.

With close proximity to the heart of Mykonos Town, guests can switch from strobe lights to serenity in just a matter of minutes. The classically traditional exteriors are wonderfully contrasted by the modern interiors while the plethora of top-notch facilities assure guests that boredom definitely isn’t on the agenda.

Oh, and if you’re peckish and in the mood to sample culinary excellence, Aegean Poets, one of the on-site restaurant offers Greek cuisine with Italian undertones, creating the best of Mediterranean fare.

Mykonos

Mykonos
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Halkidiki

Do you want to go under the radar and immerse yourself in utter relaxation? Halkidiki is certainly the place where the stresses of daily life are eliminated. Offering brilliant sunshine in the summer months all the way through to October, this Greek gem provides pure bliss – trust us, one visit here and you’ll be floating on air for weeks to come.

Halkidiki is often underrated and overlooked by holiday-goers due to its northern location, away from the other Greek superpowers but this also means it’s never over-populated by tourists, making it Greece’s best-kept secret.

Here you’ll find some of the most incredible beaches scattered along the Mediterranean outlined by rugged red rocks and sandy coves boasting a dramatic landscape that is exactly what holiday dreams are made of.

Sights to see: Halkidiki shouldn’t be glanced over when it comes to stunning cultural landmarks. The main event is definitely Petralona Cave, also known as the Cave of the Red Stone. The bloody-coloured stalagmites and stalactites are brilliantly contrasted by the traditional blue and white colour palette of the island so this is one excursion where your camera shouldn’t be left behind.

Fill your stomach: When you’re surrounded by all of that beautiful water, a little seafood is inevitable. Halkidiki boasts a plethora of fish-themed restaurants that are truly delectable but our favourite has to be Mavri Thalassa in Kalamaria. Here you can tuck in to an array of fresh seafood and traditional Grecian fare all washed down with a tasty full-bodied wine.

Rest your head: The one and only Ikos Olivia will be your palace for the duration of your stay. Your Halkidiki holiday truly comes full circle at this residence which is immaculately decorated, host to exceptional facilities alongside sister hotel Ikos Oceania and offers incomparable dining options. These hotels truly make Halkidiki one of the best Greek islands for families.

What’s more, the hotel is also just minutes away from gorgeous beaches that are perfect for long strolls in the sunshine or simply lounging on the sands to top up your tan.

Halkidiki

Halkidiki

Crete

A popular starting point for a Mediterranean cruise, Crete guarantees that you’ll be holidaying like a Greek god or goddess – after all, it is the birthplace of Zeus. Expect nothing less than a haven of utter natural beauty from touchdown to departure as you gaze upon rugged mountains, the cerulean Aegean Sea and multiple architectural marvels dating back to Ancient Greece.

Crete is the ultimate family destination – not as romantic as Santorini and not as energetic as Mykonos which makes it the ideal holiday for some quality time with your loved ones. And there is no need to hold out for the summer break, head in the later half term as Crete is one of the best islands to visit in October. Oh, and the island is also a foodie’s paradise so get ready to kiss that summer body goodbye as you get your fix of fresh seafood and traditional Cretan fare.

Sights to see: Knossos is a must while you’re in Crete. As the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on the island and known as Europe’s oldest city, this cultural landmark is one that you should dedicate an afternoon to. Go on a guided tour and explore the ruins while you get all clued up on the history of Crete, perfect for those in your party who take a liking to local culture.

Fill your stomach: One thing’s for certain, when in Crete, you won’t go hungry. Grecian fare is at your beck and call although if you’re looking for authentic dishes with a Western twist, you can’t go wrong with Amalia’s Kitchen.

Located in Heraklion, guests are invited to tuck in to steakhouse meat cuts and burgers along with meze and mixed grills to tide over the entire family. Or, if you’re on the hunt for a quintessential lunch spot then Chez George in Agios Nikolaos is a true delight.

Rest your head: Five words – Daios Cove Luxury Resorts & Villas. This spacious residence is suitable for every kind of traveller plus there’s truly no better place on this Grecian island for you to temporarily call home.

Here you’ll find an abundance of superb leisure facilities including a spa, a kids’ club and a watersports centre and the hotel also offers an exceptional location nearby to stunning sandy beaches.

Crete

Crete

Zakynthos

Also known as Zante – but we prefer the fancy name – Zakynthos is one of those destinations that makes you feel as if you’re living in a fairy tale. This island is brilliant for those who want to get off the beaten track and do a little adventuring but still be close to the action. Talk about the best of both worlds! And given it's glorious weather, you can escape the busy summer holiday rush as Zante is one of the best Greek islands to visit in September.

Although fantastically suited for package holidays along the southern and southeastern shorelines, the real paradise is found away from the tourist hotspots. Traditional Grecian villages and forested wildernesses are yours to explore where you’ll experience the authentic way of Zakynthos life that is so beautiful you’ll want to stay forever.

The million-dollar moment? Head to the west coast of the island and gaze at the spectacular scenery of the rugged limestone cliffs that cascade down to breath-taking blue waters.

Sights to see: You’ve heard about it, now’s the time to witness it with your own eyes. The Blue Caves of Zakynthos are a must and are commonly defined as the island’s greatest wonder due to the impressive geological arch and labyrinth-esque passageways inside the cliffs.

However the main event is the water below. If there was such thing as liquid sapphire, this would be it – the gleaming iridescent blue gives off a sparkling light that reflects and bounces off the cliff walls, giving its surroundings a hue of cerulean that no camera will do justice.

Fill your stomach: The locals in Zakynthos certainly know how to eat so make sure your belt is loosened before tucking in. If you’re after a fine dining experience, Essence in Kalimaki is the place to be. Local ingredients and cooking techniques are used on every dish all of which are washed down with a few glasses of vino from the collection of divine Zakynthiot wines.

Rest your head: Where to stay in Zakynthos largely depends on who you travel with as the island offers a selection of family-friendly hotels and also adults-only residences.

If it’s just you and fellow grown-ups then you can’t go wrong with Lasante Blu Exclusive Beach Resort. Boasting serenity, sophistication and privacy, guests can expect picturesque ocean views, an abundance of treatments at the award-winning spa and state-of-the-art guestrooms and suites.

Travelling with the little ones? The Lesante Luxury Hotel and Spa is your go-to. A multitude of activities keep both the young and the young at heart entertained while the on-site restaurants are so tasty that they have a reputation for being stellar throughout Zakynthos.

Zakynthos

Zakynthos

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