Getaway Compass

The Best Islands to Visit in Greece

Kefalonia Boat Rental

With so many amazing islands in Greece, how do you choose which islands to visit? The Greek Islands are split into six main island groups: the Ionian Islands, Cyclades, North Aegean, North Sporades, Saronic, and Dodecanese. If you would like to explore multiple islands it is usually easier to travel between islands in the same group. Below are five of the best Greek islands to visit. Continue reading to learn about what each island is best for, how long you should spend on each island, and where to stay on the island.

Things to Know Before Visiting the Greek Islands

  • From the USA, you can save a lot of money by buying a flight deal to Athens and then a separate flight from Athens to the island you want to go. Athens is one of the cities in Europe that sees many flight deals from the US, so make sure to sign up for Going, which will notify you when there is a flight deal. We found a flight to Greece for $670 round trip from LAX and $580 round trip from PHX. 
  • One of the best ways to travel around the Greek Islands is by ferry. You can find the ferry schedules and book a ferry on Ferryhopper. There are options for faster ferries which are more expensive but can save a lot of time.
  • It is common for the ferries to be behind schedule, so keep that in mind when making your plans for the day you arrive.
  • Some Greek islands can be more easily reached by a flight from Athens than a ferry such as the ionian islands.


Corfu Best Things to Do Boat
Snorkel and Swim in Corfu
Porto Timoni Beach Corfu

Corfu is an island located west of mainland Greece, in the Ionian Sea. It has mountainous regions and beautiful landscapes with rugged cliffs in the northwest and lush forest in the northeast. In Corfu you can find a mix of breathtaking hikes, historical sites, picturesque beaches, and delicious food. With a large range of activities, a visit to Corfu is perfect for someone looking for a mix of adventure and relaxation.

Corfu is Best For...

Scenic beaches, snorkeling, hiking, venetian architecture, historical sites

How Many Days Do You Need?

I recommend spending at least four days in Corfu in order to see the highlights on the island including Cape Drastis and Porto Timoni Beach. This will also allow you to have one day to rent a boat on the west coast of Corfu which is a must-do. We spent a week on Corfu which allowed us to have time to relax on the beach and rent a boat on both the east and west side of the island. If you are able to spend more time on Corfu then one week is an ideal amount of time to explore and relax on this breathtaking island.

Where to Stay

You can find a mix of traditional Greek villages in Corfu as well as popular resort towns. The north part of Corfu is the green, picturesque part of the island where you will want to spend most of your time. One of the top places to stay in Corfu is in Palaiokastritsa on the northwest side of the island which has some of the most beautiful beaches on the island.

We stayed in this cottage in Agios Markos, a Greek village in the northeast of Corfu. It was quiet and had great views and still only about a 30 minute drive from many beautiful beaches and within 10 minutes to restaurants and cafes. Agios Markos is a great spot to base yourself to explore the northern part of Corfu. The view from the cottage was incredible and the host was very quick to answer any questions. It was nice to have our own private cottage to come back to and relax in the evenings and for a nap during the day.


Kefalonia Guide
Kefalonia Best Beaches to See
Assos Best Things to Do Kefalonia

Kefalonia is a hidden gem in Greece that is often overlooked. It is part of the Ionian Islands, and is only about a 3-hour ferry ride from the well-known Zakynthos. Kefalonia is the most mountainous Ionian island with lush forests, picturesque beaches, delicious wine, scenic fishing villages, and so much more to make for a perfect getaway. One unique destinations you can’t miss is Melissani Cave Lake which you can explore with a row boat tour. Nearby you can find Drogarti Cave, which was discovered 300 years ago when an earthquake caused a collapse that made an entrance visible. 

Kefalonia is Best For...

Best For: Secluded beaches, snorkeling, wine, caves, finishing villages, off-the-beaten-path destinations

How Many Days Do You Need?

Kefalonia is a bigger island so to see the highlights of the island I recommend staying for at least four days. We visited Kefalonia for one week and had an amazing trip. We had the time to explore most of the island as well as rent a boat for a day and relax on beautiful secluded beaches.

Where to Stay

A popular spot to stay when visiting Kefalonia is in the capital, Argostoli. Argostoli has a range of accommodation options and is close to top destinations in the south and central parts of Kefalonia. You can search for accommodations including hotels, guest houses, and apartments in Argostoli on

We decided stay in the village of Chaliotata near Sami as we found a unique Airbnb with beautiful views. It was a great spot to base ourselves to explore the island but we didn’t like the nearby port town of Sami so we usually drove further for food to Valsmata, Agia Effimia, or Argostoli.


Balos Beach Greece
Crete Top Greek Island
Beach in Crete Greece

Crete is the largest Greek island, known for its historical sites and beautiful landscape. It is the perfect island to visit if you are looking for a varied itinerary with a mix of cities, great food, adventure, and relaxing on the many breathtaking beaches. There is so much to see and do in Crete that it can be a week long trip in itself. From pink sand beaches to the Minoan Palace of Knossos there is something here for everyone to see. One beach that you cannot miss in Crete is Balos Beach, which has amazing views along the hike down.

Crete is Best for...

History, cultural sites, archaeological museum, picturesque cities, hiking trails, beaches, wine

How Many Days Do You Need?

You need at least 5 days in Crete to see to historical sites on the island, explore the cities of Heraklion and Chania, and spend time on some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. Ideally you should try to spend at least a week in Crete to fully explore the island.

Where to Stay?

I recommend staying near Chania which is a city on the northwest part of Crete known for its narrow streets, great food, and cultural sites. 


Santorini Greece
Santorini Greece Best Islands

Santorini is one of the most popular Greek islands to visit, known for the white washed houses and volcanic cliffs. Santorini doesn’t have the best beaches, so it’s better to save beach days for other islands. Instead, spend time dining in Oia, walking around the towns, and enjoying the breathtaking views.

Santorini is Best for...

Great food, luxury accommodations, caldera views, white houses, sunsets

How Many Days Do You Need?

Two days is a good amount of time to stay in Santorini and explore the main towns. If you want to spend more time relaxing in Santorini, make sure to book a hotel with a pool because it can get hot in the summer!

Where to Stay?

The three main towns people stay when visiting Santorini are Oia, Fira, and Imervogili. Oia is the most picturesque, with many luxury accommodations and fancy restaurants. Fira is the capital of Santorini so it has more nightlife going on and is where the main transfer bus station is on the island. Imervogili is a town north of Fira that is quieter while still having the dreamy white buildings. 


Sarakiniko Cave
Tsigardo Beach Milos Best Things to Do
Firopotamos Fishing Village

Milos is a Greek island in the cyclades known for the beach with the lunar landscape, Sarakiniko. Spend a couple of days in Milos finding unique beaches and exploring fishing villages. There is much more to see and do on the east half of Milos, so focus your time in Milos on this area. Milos offers a great destination on your Greek island adventure to explore an island with dramatic rock features.

Milos is Best For...

Moon beach, caves, dramatic desert landscapes, small fishing villages

How Many Days Do You Need?

Milos is a small island so you can quickly reach top destinations on the island. The west half of the island is only accessible by a 4-wheeler. If you were to stick with the east half of the island where there is more to do and see, you only need two days in Milos. If you want to spend more time relaxing on Milos you can, but don’t expect white sand beaches here as the landscape is more rugged.

Where to Stay?

The best place to stay in Milos is in the northeast village of Pollonia. This seaside village has a range of accommodation options, a variety of restaurants, and a nice beach. Although it may seem out of the way it is only 15 minutes from Sarakiniko Beach. We had a wonderful stay at this Airbnb in Pollonia which has a large balcony with great sea views.

Another popular place to stay in Milos is the port city of Adamas. You may be able to find cheaper accommodations in Adamas but it is not as nice to stay there. It only makes sense to stay in Adamas if you don’t plan on renting a car since it will be easier to take busses from there.

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Reut and Zack Elopement-5

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