If you are a night owl: Mykonos
Without a doubt, if you are a party animal, the best island for you is Mykonos. A favourite among socialites and jetsetters, the island that never sleeps boasts wild (and we do mean wild) all-day beach parties, a wealth of nightclubs and bars plus a vibrant LGBTQ scene. Spend the day relaxing on the beach, cocktail in hand, and the night dancing to the best DJ sets until sunrise. The only downfall is your wallet may return home empty and the first day back at work will be horrible.
Alternative: Ios. The nearby party island boasts a great nightlife although with a more relaxed attitude. Perfect for the party animal who also appreciates a laid-back vibe.
If you are a wedding crasher expert: Santorini
Given the romantic factor of Santorini, it is not surprising that it is a favourite for destination weddings for couples from all over the world. As such, if you master the art of wedding crashing, then Santorini is your go-to place. Dress up to the nines and blend in with the guests!
Alternative: Spetses. The cosmopolitan island of Spetses, with its neoclassical mansions, horse-drawn carriages and chic vibe, is a popular location for weddings. And if you get caught, remember rule #24 of the wedding crasher book, leave calmly. Do not run.
If you are an epicurean: Crete
If you enjoying great food and drink, beautiful beaches, fantastic landscapes and rich history and culture, head straight to Greece’s largest island. With a vast collection of ancient ruins and monuments, exotic-looking beaches bordered by crystal-clear waters and delicious gastronomy, Crete will seduce all of your senses.
Alternative: Kefalonia. The largest island in the Ionian Sea may be unknown to many because of its lack of all-inclusive resorts, but this is primarily why Kefalonia is a must-see. With spectacular beaches, turquoise waters, scenic inland and local specialties, it will certainly give you a run for your money.
If you’re on a spiritual journey: Patmos
The island of the Book of Revelation bears a strong religious importance. Dominated by the Monastery of Saint John, Patmos’ main town is also located near the Grotto of the Apocalypse, where the apostle allegedly received the revelation of the end of the world. While the island may resemble its neighbours with its white-washed houses and turquoise seas, it boasts a peaceful, almost mystical atmosphere and is perfect for those looking for a quiet, relaxing vacation.
Alternative: Tinos. Known as a major pilgrimage destination in the Greek Orthodox faith, Tinos is said to have more than 700 hundred churches, both Orthodox and Catholic. Besides, the low-key attitude of the locals and the beauty of the landscapes are excellent reasons to give the island a try.
If you prefer nude sunbathing: Gavdos
Gavdos is not a famous island for foreigners, but it has acquired a reputation among locals as the naturists’ destination. The southernmost Greek island, located to the south of Crete, boasts a small population of roughly 50 permanent residents. While amenities are basic, its population rises to over 3,500 during the summer, with mainly Greek visitors settling there for the summer months to camp on the many beautiful beaches. A paradise for naturists, Gavdos will make you feel like Robinson Crusoe for the time of your stay, but we can’t guarantee you will find your Wednesday!
Alternative: Anafi. Though less wild than Gavdos, Anafi is equally beautiful and there are several isolated beaches where you can relax in the nude.
If you are a beach enthusiast: Zakynthos
If all you want from a holiday is beaches, beaches and more beaches, then Zakynthos is for you. From long sandy beaches to hidden bays and coves, the island, featuring a verdant interior with rugged shores and tranquil villages, offers a wide variety of beaches, with organised shores perfect for sun-worshippers and those looking to upgrade their Instagram with beautiful sunset pictures.
Alternative: Milos. With its rich ecosystem and geological formations, Milos has spectacular beaches, including the lunar-like Sarakinikos. But do yourself a favour, take advantage of its many boat excursions and enjoy relaxing days off the coast to see the fantastic formations of Gerakos and Kleftikos, only accessible by boat.
If you are a traditional at heart: Paros
If all you want are sun-bleached houses and churches with bright blue domes, look no further than Paros. This little gem of the Cyclades has it all. Pristine beaches, picturesque villages with narrow streets and houses covered with bright bougainvillea. You name it, you’ll find it here.
Alternative: Sifnos. Presenting the perfect balance of Instagram-worthy beaches, Cycladic architecture and low-key tourism, Sifnos is Paros’ lesser known sister. As such, it has a certain allure, as it seems there is so much to discover. With cleaner and less-crowded beaches, Sifnos is definitely affordable and offers a rich gastronomy you are sure to enjoy.
If you enjoy history: Rhodes
Rife with a fascinating past, Rhodes is perfect for all history buffs out there. Home to the famous Colossus, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, Rhodes has a beautiful UNESCO-listed medieval city, where you will get to admire the mixed cultural heritage. For those into more ancient stuff, the Acropolis of Lindos, where you will find the remains of a temple dedicated to goddess Athena, is equally awe-inspiring.
Alternative: Crete. Home to the Minoan civilisation, Crete is also an excellent destination for history buffs. Explore the Minoan palace of Knossos and the ruins of the ancient Minoan town of Gournia. You can even wander in the Sacred Cave of Zeus, where Rhea gave birth to the god and hid him during his childhood years.
If you are an adventurer: Samothraki
The off-the-beaten-track island of Samothraki (or Samothrace) enjoys low tourism, but it is certainly not an issue for those on the lookout for adrenaline-packed activities. Filled with steep waterfalls, granite cliffs and rugged geological formations, climbing, hiking and canyoning are easily doable here. And don’t think that waterfalls are only there to look pretty. Go all the way to the top and rappel through them to get back down. Scuba-diving in the blue waters is equally interesting, especially in the southern part of the island, where underwater caves abound.
Alternative: Kalymnos. Spared from mass tourism, Kalymnos is the favourite destination for the traveller in the know, windsurfers and rock-climbing aficionados. Limestone cliffs are very common on the island and you will surely have a great time ascending to the top. Additionally, the convenient location of the island makes it ideal for windsurfing and other watersports.
If you love architecture: Corfu
With a rich Venetian heritage, Corfu Old Town is a paradise for architecture enthusiasts. The multiple invading powers left their mark on the island, which boasts a rich cultural blend of Byzantine, Venetian, Turkish and French influences. The rest of the island, with its beaches and lush olive groves and plains, is an inviting interior where you will find authentic villages and a rich and delicious local cuisine.
Alternative: Syros. Funnily enough, Syros is the capital of the Cyclades but, unlike its sister islands, the main city features a strong Venetian influence. Be sure to visit the Miaouli square, with its neoclassical buildings, especially the Apollo Theatre. The island is also known for its high-quality culinary specialties.
If you want to go off-grid: Fourni
Fourni is an island cluster off the coast of Samos and Ikaria. Totally unspoiled, the main island, Fourni, is ideal for those looking to disconnect from the world. Including beautiful, isolated beaches, a welcoming environment and a network of hiking trails, it is an island of fishermen and beekeepers, where you can rediscover the simple joys of life.
Alternative: Tilos. Also located in the Dodecanese, the green island of Tilos instantly mesmerises its visitors with its raw, natural beauty and serenity. It will soon be the first island to run entirely on wind and solar power; this little haven will have you return home relaxed and refreshed.
If you are a nature lover: Kythira
It is not surprising that many consider Kythira one of Greece’s best-kept secrets. This little island off the coast of Peloponnese is a verdant paradise blessed with wild beauty. With rugged hills and sharp peaks perfect for hiking, cascading waterfalls, turquoise lagoons and pristine beaches, this inviting island awaits to seduce you. No one that has ever set foot on Kythira returns unimpressed.
Alternative: Alonissos. Often mentioned in lists of underrated destinations, Alonissos is definitely an excellent alternative to Kythira. Home to one of the country’s marine parks, it is a major habitat for a plethora of bird species. Lush and unspoiled, Alonissos is undeniably a nature lover’s dream.