Best Greek Islands

With more than 200 inhabited Greek islands to explore, each with their own attractions, brilliant sunsets and aquamarine waters, it can be a tall order to decide which one is best suited for your vacation. That's why U.S. News took into account sights, seasonality and traveler sentiment to come up with this list of the Best Greek Isles. Vote below to help determine next year's ranking. 


Best Greek Islands

  • Santorini
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    #1 in Best Greek Islands

    This archipelago boasts two inhabited islands – Thira and Thirassia. After you've experienced the beaches and archaeological sites of Thira, take a daytrip to the quieter Thirassia to experience its quaint fishing villages and untouched wilderness. You'll also want to carve out some time to visit Santorini's acclaimed wineries. Most are concentrated in central Santorini and best viewed on a winery tour.

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  • Crete
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    #2 in Best Greek Islands

    The largest Greek isle offers something for every traveler. Sun-seekers can lounge on beaches, such as Vai and Elafonisi, while nature lovers hike through Samaria Gorge National Park and history buffs explore archeological sites like the ancient Venetian Fortezza. Everyone will enjoy dining like a local at Crete's tavernas, which are known to serve authentic Greek fare at half the price of fine dining establishments.

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  • Mykonos
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    #3 in Best Greek Islands

    If you're looking for a more raucous Greek vacation, opt for Mykonos. When you're not dancing the night away at one of the island's many clubs, you can relax with a cocktail as you admire the Mediterranean Sea. You'll also find delicious seafood and whitewashed architecture throughout. Keep in mind that this popular island does not come cheap – especially during the high summer season.

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  • Hydra
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    #4 in Best Greek Islands

    Part of the Saronic Gulf southwest of Athens, Hydra immediately stands out from its neighbors for its lack of motor vehicles. That's right – you'll have to meander your way around the cobbled streets on foot (or on a donkey). But that's a large part of Hydra's appeal to travelers. While here, explore the island’s adorable seaside towns, including Hydra Town, and meander along its pebbly shorelines. 

  • Naxos
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    #5 in Best Greek Islands

    Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades Islands, which means there’s a lot more shore to go around. Here you’ll find plenty of beaches to write home about, from the popular Plaka to the low key Aliko Beach, and lots of water sports activities. Due to the wind the west side of the island gets, Naxos is an excellent place for windsurfing and kitesurfing, so be sure to sign yourself up for a lesson. 

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