Greece has one of the most extensive and beautiful archipelagos in the world, with literally hundreds of islands to choose from. A few, such as Zakynthos and Kos, have fallen victim to excessive tourism infrastructure, but there are still 150 uninhabited islets and dozens of islands that bridge the gap between deserted and overpopulated. From classical ruins to stunning sandy beaches and from picture-perfect towns to gastronomic havens, we pick four of the best.
Mykonos: It might not have the pastel villages and ancient architecture of other less-visited islands, but Mykonos is unbeatable in one area: its inhabitants really do know how to party. Blessedly free from the underage revelers who head to nearby Zakynthos, this is where the European jet-set head to when they want to let their hair down. Package providers such as On The Beach offer cheap deals to the island – so if you’re looking for a wild Greece holiday then it’s a perfect choice.
Santorini: Home to perhaps the most famous view in Greece, Santorini lies on the site of the ancient island of Thira, which was all but destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 1500BC. Head to the town of Fira, which looks west over the deep blue ocean. The prices here are stiff, but the cost is worth it simply for the views.
Farmakonisi: There are no hotels on this uninhabited island and no ferries stop here, but if you can arrange a boat journey from neighboring Gaidaros or Arki then it’s a stunning spot to visit. This is where Julius Caesar was held for a year in his youth after he was kidnapped by Farmakonisian pirates. Caesar is almost singlehandedly responsible for the island’s uninhabited status – he crucified the entire population of Farmakonisi as soon as he became a general, and it has been virtually deserted from that day forth.
Icaria: There are more ancient classical sites in Greece than you can shake a stick at, but most are overcrowded during the summer months. Nas on the island of Icaria is the site of an ancient temple, and the church in nearby Christos Raches is a haven for history lovers as well. Both have passed beneath the tourist radar and can be explored uninterrupted.