Saying you’re going to the “Greek islands” is kind of like saying you’re going to “the Caribbean.” While the generalization certainly paints a vague picture in people’s minds, it doesn’t really do much else. There are over 100 inhabited islands in Greece, each of which has a distinct character, aesthetic, and culture.
The best Greek island to visit no matter what kind of traveler you are
From the whitewashed walls of Santorini to the glitzy club scene of Mykonos and the relaxing beaches of Corfu, there’s something for every kind of traveler in the Greek islands. The best part? You don’t have to choose just one. When you cruise the Greek islands, you get a taste of everything the Aegean has to offer on one voyage. These are the best islands to visit in Greece.
Corfu - Best island for beaches
Corfu’s unique geography lends itself to having some of the best beaches in the Greek islands. The cove-lined coastline is defined by a tranquil sheltered bay and narrow strips of land full of trees and plants. This means you can bask in the sun while also enjoying the shade. Beaches vary in character, too, from pebbled strands like Paleokastritsa Beach to sandy stretches of coastline like Canal d’Amour, famous for its hidden coves and caves.
Santorini - Best island for photo-ops
Santorini is an island that needs no introduction, because it’s probably already all over your Instagram feed. Famous for its whitewashed Cycladian architecture, this island was built to be in front of a camera. From the blue-domed churches and white rooftops of Oia, to cliffside views of the caldera islands from Imerovigli Village, it’s tough to find a place in Santorini that doesn’t make for an epic photo-op.
Crete - Best island for food
While you can find great traditional Greek food all over the country, Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, has one of the richest and most distinct culinary scenes. It all starts with raki, the traditional welcome drink that accompanies most meals on Crete. After a shot (or three) to tickle your palate, try a plate of dakos, Crete’s popular appetizer made with a twice-baked barley rusk and topped with olive oil and local cheese. Then indulge in kleftiko (baked lamb) or ahinosalata (sea urchin), a Cretan specialty.
Rhodes - Best island for culture
The Colossus of Rhodes might not have stood on the island for many centuries, but Rhodes is still one of the best Greek islands to visit for culture. The center of it all is the medieval citadel in Rhodes Old Town, where you can walk along the battlements with a view of Byzantine churches, synagogues, minarets, and Roman ruins. Check out the Archaeological Museum for a crash course in the island’s ancient history, or visit the Modern Greek Art Museum to get a sense of how the Greek artistic tradition is still going strong today.
Mykonos - Best island for nightlife
Mykonos could be semi-accurately called the Ibiza of the Greek islands. Sure, it has beautiful beaches and plenty of photo-worthy architecture, but where the island really shines is its nightlife and party scene. The heart of the action is in Mykonos Town, home to the island’s most popping bars and nightclubs, and beaches like Elia Beach, Psarou Beach, and Super Paradise Beach, are home to lively outdoor parties both day and night.
Walk in Odysseus’ footsteps…but with Virgin Voyages
The best part about visiting the Greek islands via cruise is that you don’t need to pick and choose which ones to visit, which to skip, and figure out how to get between them. Our 7-night Greek Island Glow voyage is the best Greek islands tour on the Aegean, starting in Piraeus (Athens) and visiting picturesque Santorini, the historic hub of Rhodes, Bodrum in Turkey, and overnighting on lively Mykonos before heading back to Athens. From the Byzantine ruins of Rhodes to the bucolic hills of Santorini and the epic nightlife of Mykonos, you’ll see more of Greece in a week than you ever thought possible. To visit Crete, Greece’s largest island, check out our Modern Med to Ancient Aegean trip. This 11-night odyssey sails from Barcelona to Cannes, Ajaccio, Cagliari, Sardinia, Sicily, Valletta, Mykonos, Santorini, Crete, and ends in Athens. If you think it sounds like a whirlwind journey, you’re right. If you think it sounds like the island-hopping trip of a lifetime, you’re also right.
Go island-hopping in Greece on our Greek island voyage.