Quiet Greek islands are not an oxymoron. There may be Greek islands that tourists flock to every year and which perpetually attract crowds. But at the same time, there are dozens more that are frequently overlooked.
It is estimated that there are more than 6,000 islands that surround Greece. Of those, only 220 are inhabited.
It is easy to escape the crowds if you know where to look. Better yet, you don’t have to travel out of season in order to do so.
15 of the Best Quiet Greek Islands
If you are seeking natural beauty, peace and quiet, and authentic cultural experiences in paradisiacal environments, you will fall in love with the lesser-known islands showcased here. They can be found in the various archipelagos and island groups scattered around Greece: the Ionian, the Sporades, the Cyclades, and the Saronic.
Beautiful Skopelos is the largest inhabited island in the Sporades group. It can be found amidst the Northern Aegean, just 22km away from its popular neighbour Skiathos.
Skopelos featured as the fictional island of Kalokairi in the Hollywood movie Mamma Mia. However despite the huge popularity of the movie, it has still escaped the attention of most tourists – perhaps because it is so awkward to get to.
The island capital is Skopelos town. It is a gorgeous settlement filled with whitewashed buildings, Venetian castles, quaint coffee shops, and cobbled plateias. The town was declared a “place of outstanding beauty” by the former Greek Prime Minister in 1978.
The main draw of visiting Skopelos is its undisturbed natural beauty. This is the greenest island in the Mediterranean and boasts ample hidden coves, rolling green hills, and coastlines surrounded by pine forests.
- Enjoy roast lamb with plums and other Skopeliti delicacies at the island restaurants
- Follow Skopelos hiking trails to hidden churches and hilltop monasteries
- Get lost in the narrow streets of Glossa – the island’s second settlement
- Climb the 200 narrow steps to the cliff top church of Agios Ioannis Kastri
- Swim in the crystal clear waters surrounding Cape Amarandos
- Relax on Skopelos’ rugged beaches of Armenopetra and Hovolo
- Enjoy morning coffee and pancakes in the quaint hamlet of Agnontas
Where to Stay in Skopelos
Paxos is one of the least commercial Greek islands. It can be found in the Ionian, less than an hour’s journey away from Kerkyra (Corfu).
Paxos is known in Greek by its plural name: Paxi. There are two islands here: Paxos and nearby Antipaxos. The latter of which consists of two gorgeous white-sand beaches that wouldn’t look out of place in the Caribbean.
There are four main villages on Paxos: Gaios, Mongonissi, Lakka, and Loggos. Each has their charm and their dedicated fans.
Gaios is the island capital and a charming port town. Its narrow streets twist and turn to reveal many excellent bars and restaurants.
Each village is encompassed by centuries-old olive groves, fragrant citrus orchards, and rolling green hills. The entirety of Paxos is only eight miles in length so wherever you opt to stay you are perfectly located for exploring the island.
- Drive from Gaios to Mongonissi, searching for secluded beaches and coves as you go
- Make dinner reservations at Vasilis restaurant in Longos – a best-loved local eatery
- Sip Greek coffee by the sea as yachts sail into the harbour of Mongonissi
- Marvel at the dramatic white-sand cliffs of Ermitis Bay beach
- Hike Tripitos Arch and catch a marvelous Mediterranean sunset
- Enjoy the pebbled beaches of Harami and Kanoni closed to Lakka
Where to Stay in Paxos
Ikaria is an island in the heart of the Aegean known for its dramatic, other-worldly scenery. Like many Greek destinations, the island has roots in Greek mythology. It takes its name from Icarus – the son of Daedalus, who supposedly flew too close to the sun and fell into the sea nearby.
Ikaria is one of only a handful of places around the world that is a recognised ¨blue zone¨. Island residents have a longer than average life expectancy and one in three residents live into their nineties.
But it is Ikaria´s beauty that makes it a worthy travel destination. The island boasts wild, rugged terrain and natural scenery that remains untamed by farms and agriculture.
It is home to forested gorges, rocky moonscapes and hidden beaches with cerulean waters. There is nowhere quite like Ikaria.
- Sample Ikarian cuisine – try soufiko, the local answer to ratatouille
- Try your hand at surfing at Messakti Beach on the island´s northern tip
- Swim and relax at the paradisiacal Seychelles Beach
- Follow Ikaria´s hiking trails to the sanctuary of Artemis, and hidden, secluded coves
- Immerse yourself in traditional island life in the villages of Christos Raches, Evdilos, Therma, Agios Kirkos, and Armenistis
- Attend a religious panagiri festival during August in Ikaria
Where to Stay in Ikaria
Alonissos is one of the more remote islands of the Sporades group. It is home to just over 2,000 people, the majority of whom live in the island capital of Patitiri.
Alonissos is the farthest Sporades island from the mainland. However it is well worth the effort to get to.
Neolithic ruins have been found around the island, suggesting that it was the earliest to be inhabited in the area. The entire region is protected by the National Marine Park of Alonissos.
The northern part of Alonissos is characterised by steep, rocky cliffs. Meanwhile the east is lined with turquoise bays, and pebbled and sandy beaches.
- Follow the old donkey trail from Patitiri to the abandoned old town ¨Chora¨
- Enjoy a Greek coffee by the port in Patitiri
- Hike through the pine trees to the scenic Agioi Anargyroi church on the island’s west coast
- Rent a boat and sail out to nearby uninhabited islands
- Snorkel or Scuba dive off Alonissos’ coast
Where to Stay in Alonissos
- Angelos Design Suites, Patitiri
- Ikion Eco Boutique hoel
- Pension Anna
Lemnos is an off the beaten path Greek island in the North Aegean sea. It can be found east of the Sporades group, not too far from Limnos and the Turkish coastline.
Lemnos flies under the radar – perhaps owing to its distance from Athens and the mainland. But the few tourists that venture here find an abundance of history, culture, and jaw-dropping natural scenery.
- Visit Ancient Kavirio – a 6th-century temple linked with mysterious worship rituals
- Enjoy panoramic views from the hilltop castle above Myrina, the island capital
- Relax at the organised beaches of Plati, Romaikos Gialos, and Riha Nera
- Unwind on the secluded eastern beaches of Keros and Zematas
- Organise a tasting at one of the island´s wineries
Where to Stay in Lemnos
Stunning Spetses is an upscale island in the Argolic Gulf. It is just a stone’s throw away from the Saronic, and can be reached within a couple of hours journey from Athens.
Many of the Athenian jet set have holiday homes in Spetses and will venture here during the summer months, or for long weekends throughout the year. Despite its increasing popularity, Spetses remains a peaceful retreat and an opportunity to get back to nature.
The majority of the island’s residents live close to the port at Spetses town. Outside the town limits, Spetses is essentially one big national park.
Spetses’ picturesque harbour is lined with bougainvillea-clad 18th-century mansions and chic cocktail bars. The remainder of the island is rugged and wild, boasting hidden woodland churches, secluded beaches, and pine-clad hiking trails.
Cars are not permitted on Spetses. The best way to get around is by renting a bicycle or an ATV.
- Hike to hidden beaches and secluded monasteries nestled deep in the woodland
- Visit Bekiris cave
- Sink your toes into the sand of Agia Paraskevi, Agioi Anargyroi, and Zogeria beaches
- Participate in the ¨Bouboulina¨ festival on the 8th September
- Walk from Spetses town to the old harbour ¨Baltiza¨
Where to Stay in Spetses
Folegandros is often overshadowed by its popular neighbours: Santorini and Paros. It is far from the main tourist trail in Greece but is one of the best quiet Greek islands to visit if you hope to immerse yourself in nature.
The island was named after King Midas´ son Folegandros and is home to just 700 people. Countless trails weave through the rugged island scenery and take you to the beaches of Agali and Katergo. Folegandros is one of the best places for hiking in Greece.
- Take an evening stroll around the Chora
- Explore the winding passageways of Kastro
- Take a boat to Katergo beach
- Climb up to Panagia church and revel in the views from the top
- Swim and snorkel at Agali beach
- Trek to the hidden beach of Galifos Beach
- Sample Folegandros specialty dishes at Ano Meria village
Where to Stay in Folegandros
The tiny island of Tinos sits in the northern part of the Cyclades archipelago and is massively underrated. What Tinos lacks in size, it more than makes up for in personality and charm.
There are more than 50 quaint, traditional villages on Tinos, each one seemingly more magical than the last. Pyrgos is the largest and prettiest of the villages.
It has a long tradition in sculpture making and all of the houses and stores here are painted in quintessentially Greek shades of blue and white. Kardiani is a picturesque mountain village that offers spectacular views over the sea and is a great place to venture to for sunset dinner and drinks.
Meanwhile, tiny Kambos is a photographer’s dream. The little village is surrounded by dovecotes that are scattered throughout the landscape.
- Relax on the beaches of Agios Sostis, Agios Romanos, and Agios Ioannis Porto
- Rent a car and explore all of the offbeat rural villages
- Visit the Panagia Evangelistria church – home to hundreds of gorgeous art pieces crafted by Tinos and international artists
- Try a portokalopita (orange pie) in the square of Pyrgos
- Learn more about the island’s artsy history at the Panormos Artists Museum
- Sample local agro products like artichokes, wine, honey, raki, and oregano, and pick up edible Greek souvenirs from your trip
- Go swimming at Kolymbithra
Best Hotels in Tinos
- Aelios Tinos suites
- Infinity View hotel
- Tinotissia studios
- Venus Minimal hotel
Kimolos is one of the best quiet Greek islands in the Cyclades to consider. It sits beside the increasingly popular island of Milos and yet, for the time being, it remains relatively under the radar.
Like many Greek islands, the main town of Kimolos is known as the “Chora” or “Horio”. This centuries-old settlement was once surrounded by defensive castle walls and occupied by nobles.
Today, it contains little cobbled streets, narrow alleyways, and beautiful Cycladic houses. Few experiences are greater than wandering through the narrow streets first thing in the morning, just as the town is waking up and coming to life.
The Chora here is one of the few towns in the Cyclades that has largely retained its authentic character. There are no stores selling tourist tat here just locals going about their daily business and old timers playing backgammon in dimly lit kafenions.
Things to do in Kimolos
- Visit the Kimolos Folk & Maritime Museum set inside a magnificent old Venetian castle
- Experience charming old-fashioned tavernas and kafenions in the Chora
- Browse the exhibits in the small Archaeological Museum of Kimolos
- Watch the sunset from abandoned hilltop windmills around Kimolos
- Relax on Psathi, Ennias, Aliki and Bonatsa beaches
- Take the ferry to Milos for the day and see the ethereal landscapes of Sarakiniko
- Rent an ATV and explore the dirt trails that lead you to hidden beaches and coves
Where to stay in Kimolos
Little Kea (Tzia in Greek) is one of the closest islands to the Greek mainland. It is very easy to get from Athens to Kea and the journey takes just over an hour.
As your ferry pulls into Korissia port, you will note that the architecture here is markedly different from the other islands in the Cyclades. The houses and buildings boast white facades with burnt orange and salmon pink roofs and are quite unlike anywhere else.
Most tourists that venture to Kea only stop by briefly to wander around the port area and grab a coffee. If you stay longer and head just a short distance away from where the ferries arrive, you will find a beautiful island with idyllic beaches and coves, virtually all to yourself.
Despite its proximity to the Greek capital, Kea feels a million miles away from modern civilisation. This is not only one of the best quiet Greek islands, but it is also one of the best Greek islands for hiking.
- Hike to the ancient cities of Ioulida, Karthaia, Koressia, and Poiessa.
- Dine at Stroufi tou Mimi – one of Kea’s best seafood restaurants
- Rent a boat and seek out hidden beaches and coves
- Go scuba diving with a local dive school
- Visit the little fishing village of Vourkari and the prehistoric settlement of Agia Eirini nearby
Best Hotels in Kea
- Porto Kea Suites
- Ydor Hotel & Spa, Vourkarion
- Anamar Kea Boutique, Koundouros
- Sea & Stone Villas, Koundouros
Amorgos may be starting to grace more and more people’s Greece travel radars but it still remains largely off the beaten track. This horseshoe-shaped island sits at the easternmost part of the Cyclades, close to the Dodecanese.
Amorgos is known for its natural beauty. There are countless hiking trails that you can embark on here, most notably the walk to the Hozoviotissa Monastery
This dramatic Orthodox Monastery is well worth the effort to get to. It is perched on top of a cliff and boasts phenomenal views across the island.
The island capital (the Chora) is filled with narrow cobbled passageways, beautiful old churches, and Venetian monuments. Meanwhile, the villages of Tholaria, Potamos, and Lagada provide a journey back in time.
- Explore the Chora and climb up to its ancient castle
- Watch a majestic sunset from the Choras windmills
- Visit Tholaria – one of the most beautiful villages in the Cyclades
- See the famous Kalotaritissa shipwreck that is featured in the movie “The Big Blue”
- Hire a boat and a skipper for the day and head out to secluded, lesser-known beaches
- Take a boat tour to Nikouria island
- Dine at traditional Greek tavernas in Aegiali and Katapola
Best Hotels in Amorgos
- Hotel Agnadi, Aegiali
- Yperia Hotel, Aegiali
- Hotel Minoa, Katapola
- Vigla Hotel, Aegiali
Sikinos is a little island in the heart of the Cyclades with less than 300 inhabitants. Despite its proximity to Ios, it sees very few tourists.
Sikinos is hilly and unspoiled. There are only two settlements here: Chora and Alopronia, and between them both, there are only a handful of restaurants and places to stay.
This is a good place to get away from it all and treat yourself to a really relaxing holiday spent whiling away afternoons in Greek coffee shops and tavernas, or swimming and reading a good book on the beach.
- Indulge in the best local cuisine at Klimataria Restaurant
- Hike to the 1690 Zoodochos Pigi monastery for incredible views over the Chora
- Take the time to get lost in the Chora and enjoy taking photos
- Visit Episkopi, an old Byzantine Monastery that boasts some interesting frescoes
- Swim and relax on the beaches of Agios Georgios, Dialiskari, and Malta
- Enjoy Greek alcohol and meze plates overlooking the sea at Alopronia port
- Admire the quaint little church of Panagia tis Sykias
- Organise a wine-tasting at Manalis winery: the only winery on the island
Best Hotels in Sikinos
- Ostria Studios
- Porto Sikinos
- Maistrali Studios
- Sikinos Sunset
Sifnos is a little island in the western part of the Cyclades. This is a mountainous island, flanked by dramatic cliffs. It is best known for its gorgeous sandy beaches and its traditional pottery, though it has not yet become a victim of mass tourism.
Just 2,500 people call Sifnos home. The island can easily be reached via ferry from Athens or nearby Santorini.
Sifnos is a great place for hiking. In 2015, the municipality of Sifnos decided to improve all of the old donkey trails and walking paths on the island.
Today, there are more than 100km of paths that make up the Sifnos trails. Each one is clearly marked, and many lead you along gorgeous coastal paths, to hidden shrines and secluded beaches that you simply could not find if you were not exploring on foot.
- Visit a traditional pottery workshop in the villages of Vathi and Kamares
- Relax on the beaches of Paralia, Fikada, Platos Gialos, Vathi and Kamares
- Pick up a free map from the tourist office and conquer one of the countless hiking trails around the island
- Visiting Castle Sifnos and the Church of Seven Martyrs
- Visit the rural community of Mavro Chorio (“The Black Village”)
- Watch a beautiful sunset over Vathi beach
- Take a day trip to nearby Serifos
- Take a Greek cooking class
Best Hotels in Sifnos
Andros has been growing in popularity as a Greek-island hopping destination in recent years but it still remains largely under the radar. Chora is the island’s capital and its architecture is an interesting mishmash of Ottoman, Neoclassical, and Byzantine buildings.
Meanwhile, it is the fishing village of Batsi that captures the hearts of all those that visit the island. The old, pastel-coloured Fisherman’s houses here have been converted into boutique stores, charming cafes, and chic cocktail bars. At the same time, they retain their original charm.
Many beaches and hiking trails sit between the Chora and Batsi. Achala beach is a local favourite. This is a hidden paradise that is only accessible via a dirt road track.
It takes approximately two hours to get to Andros by ferry from Athens. Services depart from Athens Rafina port.
- Spend a day getting lost and taking photos in the winding passageways of the Chora
- Follow the dirt trail from Batsi to the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi 9
- Eat at Endochora bistro in the Chora – a charming restaurant that places a modern twist on traditional recipes
- Lounge on the beaches of Apothikes, Zorkos, Vitali, Kipri, and Paralia Piso
- Enjoy swimming in the hidden cove of Agia Marina
- Visit the Archaeological Site of Ipsili Andros, one of the most important fortified settlements from the Iron Age.
- Learn about the island’s maritime history at the Andros Maritime Museum
- Hike the number 11 trail from Batsi to Katakoilos, Ano Katakilos and Arni
- See the modern art collection of Basil Goulandris at Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation’s Museum of Contemporary Art
Best Hotels in Andros
- Ktima Lemonies
- Krinos Suites Hotel, Batsi beach
- Anemomiloi Andros, Andros Chora
Schinoussa is one of four tiny picturesque islands that belong to the “Mini Cyclades” archipelago along with Donoussa, Irakia, and Koufonisia. There are few permanent inhabitants on the island, and very few tourists take the time to visit.
It consists of three settlements which are beautifully preserved with whitewashed houses and cobbled alleys. Namely, the Hora (Chora), Mesaria, and Mersini.
Chora is Schinoussa’s largest settlement. It sits on the island’s highest point, in a hilltop location that cannot be seen from the sea. Schinoussa was often a target for pirate attacks and so, the residents built their main village in a place where they had a perfect vantage point of the sea, yet people approaching from the sea could not see them.
All three villages are beautifully preserved and unapologetically Greek. They boast cobblestone pathways, fragrant gardens filled with geranium and bougainvillea, and quaint domed churches.
There is not a huge amount to do here besides exploring the villages, swimming and enjoying the beaches. But sometimes that’s all you need.
- Hike to the secluded Psili Ammos beach
- Relax on Gerolimnionas, Tsigouri, Almyros, and Aligaria beaches
Best Hotels in Schinoussa
- Theasis Luxury Suites
- Schinoza Luxury Suites
- Filoxenia by Grispos Villas
- Ailouros summer hotel
- Agnadema Luxury Residences
Do you have any additional questions and queries about finding quiet Greek islands? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
I have lived in Greece since 2017. I am happy to assist with any questions you may have.
Safe travels! Geia sou! Melissa xo