The Most Beautiful Villages on the Greek Islands

Pyrgi, on the island of Chios, is known as the Painted Village, because of the geometric patterns on the façades of the houses
Pyrgi, on the island of Chios, is known as the Painted Village, because of the geometric patterns on the façades of the houses | Courtesy of freeartist / Alamy / Expedia
Photo of Konstantina Pyrnokoki
Travel Writer4 June 2021

Some of the most popular islands in Greece, such as Santorini or Milos, are known for views of the Aegean Sea, exotic beaches and fashionable little shops along cobbled alleys. Yet the true beauty lies in the villages on these islands that are off the beaten track. Here’s our pick of the best.

There are many small villages across the Greek islands, perched on hills or sitting by the water, that draw visitors with their traditional architecture, natural beauty and rich heritage. We’ve rounded up some of the best.

Apeiranthos, Naxos

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
Map View
2AA9M5H Apiranthos, Naxos / Greece - July 13, 2019: Apeiranthos, Naxos / Greece - July 13, 2019: Toutists visiting the narrow streets and shops of Apiranthos, the Marble village in central Naxos, Greece
The narrow streets of Apeiranthos, in Naxos | © Exflow / Alamy

The Cycladic island of Naxos is home to many cute little towns, but the mountainous Apeiranthos has to be the most charming. Among the winding alleys are Byzantine churches and houses made of fine marble; picturesque squares, surrounded by sycamore trees, host traditional cafes and taverns, where you can taste some of the best food on the island. Local delicacies include graviera cheese and desserts such as melachrino, made with citrus fruits.

Volax, Tinos

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
Map View
TX8AEB Taverna and craft stall in the village of Volakas. Tinos, Greece.
Take a stroll through the tavernas and craft stalls of Volax, on Tinos | © Cephas Picture Library / Alamy

With its gorgeous beaches and whitewashed houses, Tinos, for the most part, looks like a classic Cycladic island. Yet the village of Volax, near Tinos Town, is different: it has granite boulders that give the landscape a lunar appearance and attract hikers who come to explore the area. According to mythology, they are the remains of a ferocious battle between the Giants and the Titans. On the blue doors of the houses, you will also find lyrics of romantic poems, painted by creative locals.

Pyrgi, Chios

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
Map View
RA8T3N Traditional houses decorated with the famous geometric scratch patterns in the medieval village of Pyrgi on the island of Chios, Greece
Houses in Pyrgi are decorated with geometric patterns | © Constantinos Iliopoulos / Alamy

Cobblestoned paths are your guide around this delightful village on Chios. Follow them and marvel at the work of art that is Pyrgi. The largest medieval village on Chios, it’s known as the Painted Village, because the façades of the houses and other buildings are adorned with detailed geometric patterns that are chiselled onto the white plaster, echoing the Italian technique of sgraffito and giving it the look of an intricate piece of embroidery.

Firostefani, Santorini

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
Map View
2ANHE9T The quintessential view from Firostefani of the blue-domed church overlooking the Aegean.
The quintessential view from Firostefani of the blue-domed church overlooking the Aegean | © Davide DAmico / Alamy

Probably the most Instagrammable on this list, Firostefani, on Santorini, offers magnificent views of the Aegean Sea. The village, whose name means “the crown of Fira”, is perched on the edge of a caldera above the Santorini capital, Fira Town. In the early evening, people gather to experience amazing sunsets that simply beg to be captured on camera. The pretty whitewashed houses and the churches with the blue domes will complete your top-notch selfie.

Fiskardo, Kefalonia

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
Map View
2FNM4TC Sailing boats anchored at Fiskardo village in Kefalonia island, Greece
Yachts moored off the pretty harbour in Fiskardo, on Kefalonia | © Igor Tichonow / Alamy

In the north of Kefalonia, near the island of Ithaca, the postcard-perfect Fiskardo is bound to captivate you with its little harbour and colourful 18th-century houses. The village is one of only a few that weren’t torn down after intense earthquakes hit Kefalonia in 1953. Innumerable boats and luxury yachts are moored in the harbour, which is lit up at night. Mooch around the shops lining the town’s narrow alleyways, and tuck into great seafood at the quaint fish taverns – Tassia is the most popular.

Yialos, Symi

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
Map View
2E0GNTJ The colourful waterfront of Yialos Town on the island of Symi, Dodecanese, Greece
The picturesque waterfront of Yialos, on Symi | © AegeanPhoto / Alamy

As your ferry pulls into the quaint port town of Yialos, you’ll be greeted by the bright yellow neoclassical mansions that line the harbour – the Italians ruled the island a century ago and brought the architectural style with them. In the distance, opulent houses with tiled roofs and elegant wrought-iron balconies dot the hill leading towards the capital, Chorio. There’s an enchanting clock in the harbour that dates from 1881, and a stone bridge that connects the two sides of the port.

Klima, Milos

Natural Feature, Architectural Landmark
Map View
2FN81TB Greek fishing village Klima on Milos island in Greece.
Klima, on Milos, is one of the most colourful fishing villages in Greece | © Dmitry Rukhlenko - Travel Photos / Alamy

The bright palette of colours that greet you at Klima, on the island of Milos, set the place apart: a row of two-storey, white houses with rainbow-coloured doors that the local fishermen once called home. These beautiful houses, called syrmata, are built into the rock, almost as a natural continuation of the unspoilt scenery. The ground floor is where boats are stored when the wind gets up, while the upper floors are where the fishermen once slept. Some of them are now available for rent during the summer. Can we start packing?

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