Greece is one of our favourite places in the world and no wonder. This country is packed with culture, history, stunning scenery, incredible cuisine and some of Europe’s best beaches. So if you’re thinking about choosing Greece as your next vacation destination, all we can say is good choice!
We know this country well, and can help you choose which is the best island in Greece for you.Whether you’re wanting to know what is the best Greek island for beaches, couple-time, nightlife and more, we’ve got the best choices below. All chosen from first-hand experience.
So read on to begin your Greek island adventure!
The best islands in Greece for your dream vacation
After enjoying the islands in Greece for years, we’ve decided to share our thoughts on the best Greek islands with you!
First we look at the best islands in Greece for beaches, followed by the best islands for couples, then nightlife, and finally for scuba diving and snorkeling.
The best Greek islands for beaches
Greece is frequently ranked inside the world’s top five most beautiful destinations and one of the reasons are the wonderful beaches here.
It’s the islands in Greece that have the most mesmerizing beaches, and it’s the beaches that are one of the main reasons tourists keep returning to here again and again.
So, what are the best Greek islands for beaches? Here’s our top three choices!
Mykonos is a Greek masterpiece of nature, and there’s no doubt in our mind that it’s up there as one of the best Greek island for beaches.
The beaches here are pristine and the water is warm, clear and perfect for swimming. But Mykonos is also a fun island where there’s plenty of beach bars and restaurants to enjoy too.
In fact that’s what we like most about this island. You can still find beaches in Mykonos that are hidden away and private, but if you want to have some beach fun at night or sunbathe with a few cocktails, then you can also find beaches here that cater to that too.
Paradise Beach and Super Paradise Beach are lovely stretches of sand that are energetic thanks to the many beach bars and nightclubs here. In fact Paradise Beach Club is regularly voted as one of the best nightclubs in the world!
Away from the bright lights and beer you can find much calmer beaches – like Elia Beach. This is the longest beach in Mykonos and the stunning stretch of sand is pristine, the water a striking crystal turquoise colour, and the backdrop of cliffs picture perfect. It’s romantic and perfect for sunset strolls. (Related: Hiking in Mykonos).
Some must-visit beaches on Mykonos:
- Agio Stefanos
- Elia Beach
- Paradise Beach
- Super Paradise Beach
Zante has been a summer holiday destination for decades, and while its popularity has waned in recent years as tourists head elsewhere, the beaches here are some of the best in Greece.
One of the most famous and prettiest beaches in Greece is on this island. That’s Shipwreck Bay (Navagio Bay) which is an astounding inlet with pristine white sand and gorgeous turquoise water, all of which is hemmed in by huge dramatic white cliffs. The beach has its name due to a shipwreck on the shore, and is now one of the most photographed beaches in the world.
Off the coast of Zante and you’ll find the tiny island of Marathon. This islet has a beach that juts out into the sea and is surrounded on all sides by spectacular hues of blue. It’s a fantastic swimming and diving spot.
For nature lovers spend a day at Paralia Laganas – a popular beach for spotting loggerhead turtles.
Because Zante has many resorts you’ll also find several beaches with all the facilities you’d need. From classy beachside bars to cheap takeaway joints, as well as sun loungers and umbrellas to rent. Head to Planos for resort-like beaches and nearby activities like a waterpark. For us, Zante is easily one of the best islands in Greece.
Some must-visit beaches on Zante:
- Shipwreck Bay
- Paralia Laganas
- Agios Sostis
- Agios Nikolaos
Pretty Naxos and Paros sit right beside each other in the Aegean Sea and are considered twin islands. Both are well worth visiting, but we believe the beaches in Naxos are some of the best throughout Greece.
This small island has 15 beaches and so many long stretches of sand, and as one of the lesser known Greek islands, many of those beaches are much quieter than other islands in the Aegean.
If visiting Naxos expect crystal clear water, white sand beaches, warm shallow water perfect for swimming, and some stunning backdrops. Head to Mikri Vigla for one of the best swimming beaches and a laid-back vibe.
Agios Prokopios is the most famous and popular beach on Naxos, but for a reason. This award-winning stretch of sand is regarded by many as the beach beach in Greece. It has plenty of restaurants and bars nearby, as well as sunbeds and umbrellas to rent.
Some must-visit beaches on Naxos:
- Mikri Vigla
- Agios Prokopios
If you’re happy with the idea of 15 beaches on Naxos, you’ll be over the moon with the 57 that exist on Corfu!
That number is enormous, and as a result the beaches here are varied and diverse. Which is exactly why Corfu is one of the best Greek islands for beaches.
Expect busy beaches packed with restaurants and bars, as well beaches set against gorgeous mountain backdrops.
In the west coast you will find sandy beaches that stretch for miles, whilst the east coast has pebble beaches that are exceptionally pretty. The village of Paleokastritsa on the northwest coast is a must visit for the quaint feel, family-owned tavernas, and six sandy beaches set against ancient olive groves.
Head to Rovina Beach with its pretty white pebbles for seclusion surrounded by olive groves and sea cliffs, as well as some of the best water for swimming in Corfu.
Corfu’s Limni Beach Glyko may be one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece – this double beach is flanked on either side by a bay with a sea colour palette of different blues.
Some must-visit beaches on Corfu:
- Limni Beach Glyko
- Agios Gordis
- La Grotta
- Agios Stephanos
The best Greek islands for couples
Simply put Greece is a romantic place. The islands are romantic, beautiful, and each has its own unique quirks. If you’re looking for a perfect honeymoon, or just a romantic escape with the love of your life, then you won’t be disappointed. (Related: The Best Greek Islands for Couples).
Here’s our top three Greek islands for couples.
You might not have heard of Milos, but this little Cycladic paradise is definitely one of the best Greek islands for couples and romantic escapes.
As it’s a small island, Milos feels intimate and remote, but it’s also easy to explore in just a few days. It’s definitely one of the most underrated and unknown Greek islands but the beauty of Milos will make you want to come back again and again.
One of the most famous remnants of Ancient Greece, the Venus de Milo (now in the Louvre) was found here in Milos too. The statue depicts Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty.
The island remains fit for a goddess of love, with the villages and towns feeling cozy, intimate and picture postcard perfect.
As for the beaches, they feel secluded and many have several small coves and bays. That means there’s plenty of places where you can relax in the turquoise water but in your own private seaside pool or bay. Sarakiniko Beach is a perfect example.
If you’re traveling to Milos, here’s some of the best activities for couples:
- Sarakiniko Beach: The incredible white volcanic rock here has made natural private swimming pools where you can bathe in crystal clear turquoise water.
- Take a boat tour to Kleftiko and swim in the pretty caves.
- Tour the quaint fishing village of Mantarkia.
- Grab an ouzo and watch the world go by.
- Take in the sunset from Kastro – the highest spot in Milos’ capital of Plaka. It’s the most romantic view you could ask for.
- Enjoy a night of live music and cocktails at Akri Bar.
Crete is one of Greece’s best honeymoon destinations thanks to a fantastic array of luxury hotels, long stretches of soft sand, and the opportunity to stroll hand-in-hand down cobblestone streets in ancient towns.
There are three main towns in Crete. The first one is Heraklion, which has more of a city feel. The other two are Chania and Rethymnon. All have their own unique charm, but Chania with its 14th-century Venetian harbor, waterside bars and cafes, and views out towards the Mediterranean, always catches our attention.
The Chania region also has some of the best beaches in Crete so it’s a good place to be based.
However what we really love about Crete is not only does it have that romantic feel, but it also has so much of offer for couples that are looking for more than just sunbathing and swimming.
This island has some breathtaking hiking routes, some of the oldest and best preserved ancient buildings throughout Greece, and plenty of vineyards to explore and wine tasting tours. (Related: Hiking in Crete).
Simply put, this island has become one of the best honeymoon spots in the world because of its breathtaking landscapes, clear water, stunning architecture, hiking trails and beautiful beaches with secret coves and caves.
If you decide to stay in Crete, here are a few of our favourite romantic things to do:
- Watch a movie under the sky at Asteria Open Air Cinema.
- Discover the magical Balos Beach and Balos Lagoon. In our opinion the water colours here are the best in Greece.
- Spend a romantic evening at Elafonisi Beach which is one of the world’s best pink sand beaches.
- Join a wine tasting tour and get tipsy with the one you love!
We just had to include Santorini? There’s a reason why this Greek island is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations in Europe.
This famous volcanic island with its stunning caldera is picture perfect. The white-washed buildings that are perched on the steep volcanic cliffs of Santorini are one-of-a-kind. And they seem to glow softly when bathed in the tangerine sunsets that light up the sky and ocean here.
It’s a one-of-a-kind place, and one that you want to share with someone special.
Couple that incredible scenery with the wine tours you can do at Santorini vineyards, the luxurious resorts you can stay at with their romantic rooms and private swimming pools that look out towards the sea, and the exceptional food and restaurants where memorable dinners are the norm, and you have a recipe for romance. Santorini easily makes our list of best Greek islands.
If you do decide to stay in Santorini, here’s a few of our favourite things for couples to do on the island:
- Book a catamaran cruise or a private yacht.
- Enjoy a cocktail at PK Bar while admiring the landscape of Fira.
- Enjoy the sunset from Oia village while having dinner in the intimate Ambrosia Restaurant which has some of the best views on Santorini.
- Go for an early morning walk on Red Beach.
- Rent an ATV and have a fun island adventure with your partner.
- Stay in one of the romantic cliffside cave houses.
The best Greek islands for nightlife
Greece has also become something of a nightlife destination in recent years, and it’s the islands that are leading the way!
If you’re looking for fun when the sun goes down then here are the best Greek islands for nightlife!
Greece’s most famous party destination is also breathtakingly beautiful, giving you the opportunity to dance the night away and then nurse a hangover by wallowing in turquoise waters the next day.
Paradise Beach and Super Paradise Beach in Mykonos is the place to be, and home to nightclubs with huge dancefloors that host some of the world’s best DJs. The atmosphere here in summer is electric and the party inside the clubs and on the beach continues well into the night and past sunrise.
This is Greece’s answer to Ibiza and you’ll find a similar crowd. Twenty-somethings looking to have some fun, party with friends and find a holiday romance. Expect bronzed bodies, the rich and famous, and one hell of a party vibe.
Some of the best nightlife spots in Mykonos
- Scandinavian Bar
- Queen of Mykonos
- 180 Sunset Bar
- Paradise Beach Club
With Mykonos taking all the plaudits, Rhodes is often forgotten about when it comes to the Greek island party scene. However Rhodes starts rockin’ the later in the evening it gets, and the popular bars and nightclubs don’t close until the sun begins to rise.
Rhodes Town is the main nightlife draw and its epicenter is Orfanidou Street in the Old Town, which is colloquially known by locals as ‘Bar Street’.
This narrow street is packed with over 40 pubs, bars and nightclubs and is the best place to party late, meet other revelers and make decisions you’ll later regret!
The pretty Rhodes seaside resort of Faliraki also has a lively evening scene with its own ‘Bar Street’ and ‘Club Street.’ These two streets tend to attract the 18-30 crowd who are looking to let loose! There’s many bars, live music joints, nightclubs and more.
However while Faliraki used to have a reputation as being quite wild, there’s a tamer side these days and you can find some classy cocktail bars and beachside restaurants here too.
Some of the best nightlife spots in Rhodes
- Bondi Bar
- Legends Rock Bar
- Soho Rhodes
- Big Brother Bar
The best Greek islands for scuba diving and snorkeling
Are you a scuba diving or snorkeling enthusiast? Then a trip to Greece can also involve your favourite hobby too!
There’s some great spots to see marine life around the Greek islands. But here’s our top two Greek islands for diving and snorkeling!
Santorini isn’t known as being a scuba diving spot, but this popular Greek island has an array of volcanic underwater sites and caves that have created a unique ecosystem that play host to rich and varied sealife.
The waters of Santorini are home to a variety of beautiful marine animals, including sea turtles, dolphins, whales and many monk seals.
There are over 30 dive sites around Santorini, but Nea Kameni, the small uninhabited volcanic island that sits off the coast of Santorini, is one of the best.
Expect to see Mediterranean red sea star, European perch, sea urchin, seahorse, scorpionfish, octopus, nudibranch and more while diving and snorkeling around Santorini and Nea Kameni.
Some other great scuba and snorkeling spots include House Reef, Kamari, Perissa Rock and White Islands.
Best for first-timers to scuba diving, the island of Lesvos has several spots to try diving. One of the best is Mirmigi Reef as the waters here are crystal clear so visibility is very good.
The depths at the reef range from 5 ft. to 118 ft. and diving here will give you the chance to spot fish such as octopus, moray eels, kalloni sardines, murmurer, and common pandora.
What time of the year is best for scuba diving in Greece islands?
The temperature in the Greek islands tends to be warm, with summers around 21-27°C, while winter in the islands can range from around 7-15°C depending on where you are.
However the fact remains that throughout the year temperatures are mild, making scuba diving and snorkeling possible in any month. The summer months – due to the slightly warmer sea temperatures – may be preferable though.
The Final Word!
Pack your bags and get yourself prepared for a vacation of a lifetime!
Greece is one of the most beautiful nations in the world, and a country we find ourselves returning to again and again. The islands here are unique, beautiful and have so much on offer.
So whether you want to enjoy a moment of seclusion with your better half or you want to party the night away, there’s a Greek island that’s perfect for you.
And as we know for ourselves, once you find it, you’ll keep coming back for more.