Greek Islands You Can Fly to Directly

An outdoor cafe in the Little Venice neighbourhood of Mykonos Town
An outdoor cafe in the Little Venice neighbourhood of Mykonos Town | © Michele Falzone / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Ethel Dilouambaka
8 September 2020

Island hopping in Greece is an idyllic way to spend a holiday, but when you’re short on time, flying is the fastest option. Here is a list of Greek islands you can jet to from abroad during the summer months.

Santorini

Natural Feature
Map View
The tower of Anastasi church in Imerovigli
© jozef sedmak / Alamy Stock Photo

Being as famous as it is, the idyllic, picture-perfect island of Santorini is well connected, whether from Athens (Ryanair, Aegean Airlines) or abroad. Unlike many other Greek islands, Santorini is ideal for a warm winter break, so why not combine it with a few days in Athens before flying off to the Cyclades. This way, you save time without missing an opportunity to see Athens in winter. This cliff-side cave-house would have been a sailor’s home in 1875. Now it has been converted into a super-romantic two-person getaway. Enjoy unobstructed views of the ocean and relax in a unique indoor/outdoor cave Jacuzzi.

Mykonos

Natural Feature
Map View
Mykonos, Greece
© Joana Kruse / Alamy Stock Photo

Located in the heart of the Cyclades, Mykonos welcomes year-round flights from Athens with Aegean Air, while it is also served by foreign airlines. The party island – with its spectacular beaches and incredible restaurants, bars and cultural offerings (including the magnificent and glorious island of Delos) – is literally a flight away. You have no excuse not to visit. Embrace the ocean spirit of the Greek islands and live the yacht life with this four-person boat B&B. Sat in New Mykonos Port, with easy access to downtown, you can easily arrange private day trips for a truly exclusive Mykonos experience.

Corfu

Natural Feature
Map View
Paleokastritsa bay, Corfu Island, Greece
© Iosif Lucian Bolca / Alamy Stock Photo

The little queen of the Ionian Islands, Corfu is a delightful verdant isle ideal for year-round visits. The island’s airport is connected to Athens and connected with the rest of Europe during the warm months of summer. Once you’re there, explore Corfu Town with its meandering streets and small inland villages. Enjoy the beaches and green landscapes, which will surely seduce you as well. For those looking for more of a private retreat, try this intimate two-person treehouse. As part of a complex that has horse stables and a vegetable garden, from which guests are welcome to pick fresh produce, you can immerse yourself in this fantastic countryside location, while its location in the middle of Corfu keeps you within travelling distance from every corner of the island.

Kefalonia

Natural Feature
Map View
Assos village, Kefalonia Island, Greece
© Jan Wlodarczyk / Alamy Stock Photo
Kefalonia (or Cephalonia) boasts service from Athens all year round, while seasonal connections with several European cities are available as well – perfect, as this magnificent island doesn’t get enough credit. Home to wonders such as the Melissani Lake, Myrtos Beach, the picturesque village of Fiskardo and blessed with natural beauty, Kefalonia is another easily accessible paradise in the Ionian Sea. The infinity pool is all yours in this incredible five-person villa. With sublime unobstructed views overlooking the island, you can enjoy spectacular sunsets with your supper at the dining table, before getting in the water and staring out at the beautiful night sky.

Lefkada

Natural Feature
Map View
Porto Katsiki beach, Lefkada Island, Greece
© Bart Pro / Alamy Stock Photo

Welcome to Lefkada, the land of rugged coastline and fantastic landscapes. Surprisingly, Lefkada’s airport, named the Aktion National Airport (PVK), gets year-round flights from Athens and is well served to the rest of Europe during the high season. And since you’ve saved time by flying there directly, why not take advantage and do some island hopping or take part in a swimming holiday? If you’re looking to get as close to the beach as possible, then this four-bed private villa sits on the cliff side with direct access to the magnificent Mylos Beach. Once you climb back up the pathway to the house, set up shop on the balcony for the evening – the outdoor table even has a wine cooler fitted, so your refreshments will never get too hot under the Greek sun.

Zakynthos

Natural Feature
Map View
max-van-den-oetelaar-F3rDBnQQbQU-unsplash
© Max van den Oetelaa / Unsplash
Zakynthos, also known as Zante, is another little gem located in the Ionian Sea. Probably most famous around the world for its Blue Caves and the Navagio Beach, where a rusty shipwreck rests, perched among the white pebbles. The island boasts stunning green valleys and the glorious, kilometre-long beach of Gerakas, where caretta caretta turtles come to lay eggs. A common theme across the Greek islands are the picturesque old windmills scattered across the country. Now you can stay in one thanks to this unique two-bed conversion. With 360 degree views of its jaw-dropping surroundings, you’ll feel like the entire landscape is yours to explore at this secluded getaway.

Rhodes

Natural Feature
Map View
View over Prasonisi Beach, Prasonisi, Rhodes, Greece
© Image Professionals GmbH / Alamy Stock Photo

The largest island of the Dodecanese group is home to long, sandy beaches; green, mountainous inland; century-old churches and one of the finest medieval towns in the Mediterranean. Add to this eight months of sunshine a year and you get why Rhodes is the perfect holiday destination for the whole family. With such ancient history, Rhodes is a great place to take a trip back in time, for example, with this eccentric medieval house. Situated in Central Rhodes, its fabulous ancient brick architecture is combined with modern amenities, including a flat-screen TV and air conditioning.

Kos

Natural Feature
Map View
ORKOS BEACH, NAXOS
© NAXOS BEACHES / Alamy Stock Photo

Located close to the Turkish coast, Kos, the third-largest island in the Dodecanese group, boasts an interesting blend of Venetian and Ottoman architecture with sights such as the famous Asclepeion (an ancient healing centre, close to Kos Town) and a fantastic medieval castle, as well as an ancient agora and a Roman odeon. Homeland of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, the island counts sparkling waters, idyllic beaches and a dynamic water-sports scene among its selling points. For a spiritual retreat, why not try this traditional Cycladic villa overlooking the Aegean Sea? It won’t be hard to find peace with its tranquil location next to the ocean waves, while there’s even an in-built yoga platform, as well as a private pool, hammock and sunbeds to help you find your Zen.

Karpathos

Natural Feature
Map View
© ufoncz/Wikicommons

Midway between Rhodes and Crete, low-key Karpathos is the perfect option for holidaymakers seeking a peaceful holiday. With picturesque villages, isolated beaches and dramatic landscapes, it is perfect for a relaxing break. Kitesurf enthusiasts, note that Karpathos hosts an international kitesurfing competition every summer. There’s a peaceful nostalgia to this six-person antique house in Karpathos. Built in 1935, it’s one of the island’s oldest houses and was even used as a hospital for Italian troops during World War II. It was renovated last year but hasn’t lost any of its charm, or the deep sense of history that can be felt the moment you step through the door.

Crete

Natural Feature
Map View
Morning view of Agios Nikolaos and its harbor, Crete, Greece.
© Milan Gonda / Alamy Stock Photo

With two main airports, one in Heraklion and one in Chania, Crete is connected with Athens year-round but also boasts an array of options for international flights. The Great Island, once the cradle of Minoan civilization, is a small country in itself. Thanks to its southerly location, it offers sunshine well into the winter and is therefore a great destination during the colder months. With its many beaches, diverse gastronomy and spectacular scenery, you are bound to have the time of your life. Crete’s answer to glamping is this Pirgos bell-tent in Rethymno. Surrounded by mountains and olive fields, this traditional Greek tent has electric and wifi installed, as well as a communal WC and shower, so you don’t have to sacrifice much to fully embrace the Greek countryside.

Lesbos

Natural Feature
Map View
mountains on Lesbos, Greece, Lesbos
© blickwinkel / Alamy Stock Photo
Lesbos, located in the North Aegean Sea, is a beautiful island blessed with unspoiled landscapes, vast wildlife and a diverse gastronomic culture. It also boasts castles, churches and ancient sites, as well as delightful little villages worth visiting to get a taste of authentic Greece. Families should consider this peaceful five-person maisonette placed on a 16-ha (40-acre) organic farm with private beach. Rich in wildlife as well as organic produce free for your picking, you can let the kids run wild among nature while you take in the relaxing vistas of Kalloni Bay.

Lemnos

Natural Feature
Map View
Greece, beach and black rocks on Lemnos island
© Fotofritz / Alamy Stock Photo

Located in the Northern Aegean, Lemnos is totally underrated. Completely off the radar compared to the more popular, in-your-face islands, it has an easy-going vibe that charms any visitor looking for a glimpse of authentic Greece. Unspoiled by mass tourism, the island features a mountainous landscape that contrasts sharply with its large, sandy beaches along the coastline. Ever fancied yourself as a shepherd? Well you can get a taste of what it’d be like – without having to herd sheep – in this old shepherd’s house experience. Housing up to four guests, this is simple living, and it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s just about as authentic as you could get.

Samos

Natural Feature
Map View
Beautiful Tsabou beach on samos, Greece
© Milos Vucicevic / Alamy Stock Photo

As the mythical birthplace of Hera, Samos is located in the East Aegean, off the coast of Turkey. The island presents an unspoiled interior landscape, with pristine beaches and verdant forests perfect for hiking, walking or sunbathing. Marvel at the rich ecosystems of Mount Kerkis, visit the church of Panagia Sarandaskaliotissa – located by the entrance of Pythagoras’s Cave – or refresh yourself at the Karlovasi Waterfalls. Your holidays in Samos won’t be complete without a tasting session of all the varieties of the Samos muscat – you won’t regret it! Outdoorsy couples will love this quiet maisonette at the top of a hill in Kokkari. Ideally located for hiking, cycling, windsurfing and other water sports, you can come home to romantic terrace views over the small Greek town – perfect for kicking back with a glass of wine as you watch the sun go down.

These recommendations were updated on September 8, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.