Idyllic Greek Islands You Can Easily Fly to This Summer

The sunsets from Oia village in Santorini are legendary
The sunsets from Oia village in Santorini are legendary | © Prochasson Frederic / Alamy Stock Photo
Konstantina Pyrnokoki

Travel Writer

Planning a trip to Greece but short on time? While island-hopping on a ferry is a good way to see many of these little jewels, flying is always the fastest option. Browse through our selection of islands you can easily fly to this summer and start packing for your holidays in Greece.

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Santorini is quite crowded, so swap getting crammed in a ferry from Athens for flying. The island is also directly connected by air to big cities such as London or Paris. Once here, you’ll be spending your days sunbathing on black-sand beaches like Vlychada, strolling amid white houses and blue-domed churches in Oia village and climbing to the top of an active volcano or swimming close to its crater on the islet of Nea Kameni. For panoramic views from the infinity pool and unreal sunsets across the caldera, book your stay at Apanemo.


If you’re travelling to Greece in search of clear waters and dense pine forests, opt for Corfu. You can fly here from practically anywhere, including Vienna or Berlin. Apart from the all-consuming nature and amazing food (the fish-based bourdeto dish is a must-try), expect to find grand Venetian fortresses, majestic palaces like the Achilleion, and Byzantine churches such as the cute chapel on Pontikonisi. If full-on luxury is what you’re after, stay at An`gsana Corfu – think dreamy pools and fusion massages.


One more excellent choice for divine beaches and delicious food is Kefalonia – easily accessible by plane from cities such as Milan and Zurich. Brave the crowds on Myrtos Beach, one of the island’s most beautiful beaches, and you’ll be met with 700m (0.4mi) of creamy, soft sands and neon turquoise waters. Wind down with a walk around pastel-hued houses in Assos village or a boat ride in Melissani Cave’s lagoon, before tucking into fresh fish at Tassia in the upscale Fiskardo village. Then sleep among olive groves and cypress trees at the elegant Avithos Resort, where every room comes with a private veranda.


Very close to Kefalonia, Zakynthos also caters to those flying from cities like Amsterdam or Manchester. The island is mostly famous for Navagio Beach – with its legendary shipwreck – and the wild nightlife in Laganas village. But there’s so much more to do here. Float in fluorescent waters at the Blue Caves, swim with sea turtles at the National Marine Park and try the lemon and cinnamon-infused frygania dessert at Latas. The minimalist, stone-baked Tambouros Boutique Villas could be your sanctuary for the night, with their hydromassage pools and welcome champagne hampers.


Many airlines fly to Rhodes from countries such as Germany and Sweden. The island is among the Greek destinations with the richest history. Stay at Trinity Boutique Hotel, housed in a 15th-century merchant house, and marvel at the medieval architecture in the Old Town. Walk down the Street of the Knights, climb to the Acropolis of Lindos and take in the sunset views from Monolithos Castle. Don’t miss the Valley of the Butterflies, where thousands of caterpillars transform into butterflies in summer.


This remote island is just as close to Africa as it is to Athens, so flying here is the best option. Among other cities, Karpathos is connected by air to Glasgow and Barcelona. Next to crystalline waters and lush forests, it takes pride in its quaint villages – visit Olympos for a traditional headpiece sold by women in traditional attire – and the strong winds that make the Afiartis region a windsurfer’s paradise. Make the most of the bars, cafes and restaurants in the capital, Pigadia, with a stay at the five-star Alimounda Mare. Or stay in and enjoy the cooking shows while you eat.


Accessible from cities such as Brussels and Zurich, Crete’s Heraklion airport is the second largest in the country. This diverse island has it all, from Minoan palaces and Roman sites to beautiful beaches such as Elafonissi and intricate hiking trails on natural wonders like the Samariá Gorge. You could spend an eternity here and not run out of things to do. Dance to the Cretan lyra and feast on dakos salads, meat bites and raki until the early hours. Stay at Blue Palace Elounda and experience Crete in style, through waterfront verandas overlooking the atmospheric island of Spinalonga and private pastel pools.


Easily accessed by plane from cities such as Thessaloniki and Bristol, Lesbos is known as the home of ouzo, hosting more than 20 distilleries where the anise-y aperitif is produced. Trek up to the Byzantine Castle of Molyvos amid pretty churches and stone houses, and see the fossilised remains of trees formed by volcanic activity more than 20 million years ago in the Petrified Forest of Lesbos. Loriet Hotel is where to stay for your Greek holidays if you feel like sleeping in a rustic 19th-century mansion, close to Mytilene town, and filling up on a Mytilenean breakfast of tomato and eggs in the morning.


Those seeking a tranquil oasis to call summer home will find it in Samos. This small island can be reached by air from several cities, including nearby Istanbul and Prague. Marked by craggy mountains, but also trickling waterfalls and forests, Samos is every nature lover’s dream. Hike to Pythagoras Cave to see where the great mathematician once lived and stroll past multi-coloured houses in Kokkari village. Enjoy a cocktail at one of the bars in Vathy town, before calling it a night at the classy Doryssa Seaside Resort, where you can opt to stay in village-inspired lodgings (complete with a traditional kafeneio).


This Cycladic gem is among the most talked about Greek tourist spots in the world; that doesn’t mean it’s lost its allure, though. Fly here from cities like Stockholm, Munich and Rome, and you’ll soon be taking selfies with friendly pelicans or Insta-ready windmills. Explore the colourful Ano Mera village, or gaze at glorious sunsets in the Little Venice neighbourhood and splurge on designer clothes on Matogianni Street. If you’re looking for a laid-back retreat after all the clubbing, Ftelia Bay is your answer – laze the day away under the rattan-covered pergola at the pool bar.

This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Ethel Dilouambaka.

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