NEW YORK – The Greek islands are a top tourism destination year after year because, as everyone knows, they are beautiful and each one is special in its own way. Limiting yourself to visiting only the most well-known seems a shame when there are over 6,000 islands, and 227 of those inhabited, to discover and enjoy with some of the most breathtaking and cleanest beaches in the world.
TheTravel.com noted that Santorini is one of the most visited islands of Greece and posted a top ten list of islands to visit in 2020 “that are not Santorini” with Lesbos at #1, followed by Ios, Skiathos, Rhodes, Mykonos, Aegina, Zakynthos, Crete, Corfu, and Thassos at #10.
TheTravel called Thassos, “a green paradise in the North Aegean Sea” and noted its “diverse landscapes, olive trees, and sandy beaches” and proximity “to the beautiful city of Kavala that attracts tourists with its ancient ruins and colorful houses.”
Corfu, also known as Kerkyra, was highlighted as “one of the most beautiful Ionian Islands” with its “lively vibe” as well as its “ancient fortress, [and] local cafés,” TheTravel reported.
The largest island, Crete, with its beautiful beaches and archeological sites, including Knossos, is a must visit.
Zakynthos with its natural beauty was singled out as “one of the most Instagrammable islands in the world,” TheTravel reported, noting the beaches, hiking, and nightlife as well as the sea turtles which are an endangered species.
Aegina, famous for its pistachios (fistikia), is also a great day trip from Athens, just a ferry ride away. The Aegina Fistiki Festival is an annual event held in September.
Mykonos also made TheTravel's list, though it is probably as popular and crowded in the summer as Santorini, and perhaps even more expensive. If the Cyclades and the classic white-washed houses are calling to you, add Naxos, Paros, Syros, and Sifnos to your list.
Rhodes, the capital and largest of the Dodecanese Islands, is another one of the most popular destinations in Greece, known for its beach resorts, ancient ruins, and historic significance through occupations over the centuries including by the Knights of St. John during the Crusades. The city of Rhodes' Old Town features the medieval Street of the Knights and the Palace of the Grand Masters.
Skiathos in the Sporades Archipelago in the northern Aegean is one of the less well-known islands of Greece, and offers “charming open bars, romantic cafes, and virgin beaches,” TheTravel reported, noting that the island “is a short distance from Volos, known as the City of the Argonauts.”
Ios, another island of the Cyclades situated between Santorini and Naxos, is known as a party island, “famous for its bars and parties, an ideal destination for party-goers and young travelers,” TheTravel reported.
Lesbos, famous for its ouzo and as the birthplace of the ancient Greek poet Sappho, topped TheTravel's list of islands to visit in 2020. “With its beautiful hiking trails, charming vistas, and authentic houses, Lesbos attracts visitors from all over the globe,” TheTravel reported.