What are the cheapest Greek islands? The costs of accommodation, food and nightlife can be a huge influence on where you decide to spend your vacation.
If you want to enjoy some Mediterranean sunshine and sumptuous Greek cuisine and spend your days lazing on beaches where the water is crystal clear, then rest assured, doing so doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of excellent Greek islands that are perfect for travelling on a budget.
Cheapest Greek Islands
First of all, there are Greek islands that are best ruled out if you are on a budget. These are essentially some of the most upscale and touristic.
Namely, they are Mykonos, Santorini, Ios, and Zakynthos. There are ways of seeing these islands “on a budget”, particularly if you are willing to travel out of season. But they are certainly not the cheapest Greek islands or anywhere near.
Secondly, what you really need to take into consideration is the ease of getting to your chosen island. For instance, Skopelos island in the Sporades island group accommodates all budgets. However, it can be awkward to get to and the travel costs to get there can accumulate.
Finally, one further thing to consider before choosing a Greek island is the question of when to travel to Greece. July and August are the peak times to travel and prices skyrocket during this period.
Hotel prices in August can be more than double those in September. Ouch.
Head to Greece in early October and prices are lower still. Of course, you want to enjoy some sunshine, hot weather, and beach life during your Greece trip.
But Greece enjoys warmer temperatures for longer, especially if you are considering islands in the southernmost part of the country like the Cyclades, the Dodecanese, or Crete. July and August are not the only warm months to travel in.
In fact, swimming, snorkelling and relaxing outside is just as pleasant in the shoulder seasons. Better yet, you won’t be burned to a cinder.
Where are the Cheapest Greek Islands?
So what are the cheapest Greek islands? The islands here have been selected based on the affordable accommodation choices they offer, the average costs of eating out, and their accessibility.
If more rugged adventures are your thing, there are also a few suggestions for islands known for their rugged nature and outdoor activities. For instance, Kea and Folegandros are perfect if you are interested in free camping and hiking in Greece.
The little island of Folegandros (Φολέγανδρος) sits on the southern edge of the Cyclades. It has just 760 permanent residents and while Folegandros has reached the radar of Grecophiles in recent years, few international tourists are aware of what it has to offer.
It is easy to reach Folegandros from Athens. High-speed catamarans depart regularly from Piraeus and transport you to the island in less than four hours. Alternatively, you can take the car ferry which takes approximately 9.5 hours.
Folegandros is best visited in the shoulder season – either April/May/June or late September/early October. The small size of the island means that there are few accommodation options here. But Folegandros is best suited for the nature lover and so, consider staying at Camping Livadi during your stay.
Dining out on Folegandros is not always cheap. The way to see the island on a budget is to enjoy its nature – camp, relax on the plethora of secluded white sand beaches, conquer the scenic hiking trails, and cook your own food here and there.
Chora is the island’s main town but there are various other towns and villages that are well worth visiting. Notably, don’t miss Ano Meria.
There is an excellent restaurant here known locally as simply “kafenion”. The owner and her yiayia serve up a diverse selection of sumptuous Greek dishes and Folegandros specialties. Be sure to try the matsata – homemade Folegandros pasta.
Crete is the largest Greek island and one of the most popular destinations in the country. Countless people fall in love with Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion every year.
It is easy to see Crete on a budget. You can find hostels in all of the major towns, cities, and tourist areas for as little as €12-15 a night for a dorm bed.
Self-catered apartments are not that more expensive, with small studios and single room hotel rooms starting from around €20 a night. It is advisable to book in advance to secure the best deals, particularly if you are planning to visit in July/August.
Crete offers something for every type of traveller. Samaria Gorge is one of the best hiking trails in the country and arguably, in all of Europe.
This is a UNESCO biosphere reserve that leads you through the white mountains of Crete past spectacular natural scenery. The hike is of medium difficulty level.
However, it is possible to do just a partial hike if you prefer. Walking amidst nature is, of course, completely free!
Samaria Gorge aside, Crete has enough to keep you occupied for months. There are a plethora of beautiful beaches here – both serviced and unserviced.
For the latter, and desert island getaway vibes, check out the beaches of Stomio. Triopetra, and Xerokampos. Don’t miss the fortress at Knossos.
According to Greek mythology, this is where the minotaur was kept in the labyrinth. Equally fascinating is the little islet of Spinalonga – a former leper colony.
Poros is one of the most beautiful islands in the Saronic Gulf. It is also one of the closest islands to Athens so, despite the fact that Poros itself does not boast an airport, it is very easy and convenient to get to.
Poros is beautiful. But it is often overshadowed by its popular neighbours Spetses and Hydra.
Arguably, every island in the Saronic archipelago is worthy of your time and attention. However, Spetses and Hydra are more upscale and expensive. They are popular Greek islands for couples and often get crowded.
Poros is laden with great walks and hiking trails. A great route to follow is the trail to the ancient monastery of Zoodochos Pigi.
You can also take a small fishing boat across the water to Galata for just a few euros. A plethora of excellent restaurants selling national delicacies prepared with fresh local ingredients can be found on both sides of the water.
Lefkada is well known for being one of the cheapest Greek islands in Greece. This is the largest island in the Ionian archipelago and it is connected to the mainland by a bridge.
As such, it is easy to access Lefkada from Athens and the island is a perfect stop as part of a wider Greece travel itinerary. You can also consider basing yourself in Lefkada and using it as a jumping-off point for getting to the neighbouring islands of Ithaca or beautiful Kefalonia.
There are countless beautiful beaches here. Porto Katsiki, Kathisma, Milos, Agiofili, and Egremni beaches are particularly special. When night falls, catch the sunset behind Doukato Cape.
Agistri is a popular weekend getaway destination for Athenians. Many affluent Greeks living in the capital have vacation properties here that they head to during the summer.
The ferry journey from Athens to Agistri takes just 40 minutes. This is extremely convenient if you just want a bit of R&R to break up a trip to the capital.
This also works out very well if you are on a tight budget and looking for the cheapest Greek islands. If you shop around and book in advance or slightly out of season, you can get excellent value flights to Athens from other parts of Europe for around only €20.
Agistri is a tiny island. It is so small in fact, that you can walk its entire length in less than 20 minutes.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that that means that there isn’t much to do here though. Agistri packs a plethora of fishing villages, hiking trails, and gorgeous natural scenery into its small surface area.
Alonissos is one of the farthest inhabited islands in the Sporades group. A lot of travellers haven’t even heard of it.
In fact, Alonissos has only really been put on the map in recent years due to the development of the Alonissos Marine Park. The area around Alonissos is a protected marine area home to rare and endangered marine life and fauna – including the endangered monk seal.
As a result, Alonissos has started to emerge as a major scuba diving destination in Greece. However, even if you are not a diver, you will not be short of things to keep you occupied here.
The “off the beaten track” nature of Alonissos means that there are no inauthentic tourist trap restaurants here. You can find affordable meals at the Greek tavernas in Patitiri and the old Chora.
Similarly, Greek street food eats such as gyros, skepasti, and souvlaki can be enjoyed for just a few euros. Accommodation in Alonissos starts from around €20 a night for a private room at a pension.
The only issue with the island is the challenge of getting to Alonissos. The island does not have an airport and the closest one is in nearby Skiathos.
Alonissos is best visited as part of a wider budget Greek island hopping trip. If you only want to visit one island and Alonissos interests you, you can either take the ferry from Volos or get to Skiathos and then take a boat from there.
Aegina is one of the larger islands in the Saronic archipelago. It is also one of the cheapest Greek islands in this area.
The size of Aegina can be intimidating and overwhelming. If you don’t know much about the island, it can be hard to establish where to stay and explore.
Consider basing yourself in the island’s namesake Aegina town. This makes a good base for a wider exploration of the various beaches, archaeological sites and villages scattered around the island.
Accommodation prices in Aegina are very good. Expect a comfortable room in a basic/mid-range hotel here for around €30. That is excellent value even if you are a solo traveller in Greece.
Be sure to carve the time out of your schedule to visit the Temple of Aphaia. This Doric temple dates back to the Archaic period – around 500 BC. You will note that its construction style shares similarities with the Temple of Hephaestus at the Ancient Agora in Athens.
For a beautiful place to watch the sunset and treat yourself to exquisite local food, head to the fishing village of Perdika. It takes between 40 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes to get to Aegina from Athens.
Do you have any additional questions about the cheapest Greek islands on this list? Do you want to provide some more suggestions?
Feel free to reach out via the comments below. I’ll get back to you ASAP!
Safe travels! Geia sou! Melissa xo