The Times lists 16 of the best quiet Greek islands

The UK newspaper explores 16 serene Greek islands offering tranquility, stunning scenery, and authentic experiences away from the crowds.


Greece’s iconic islands are renowned for their beauty and culture, but popular spots like Santorini and Mykonos can be overwhelming. Fortunately, for those yearning for peace and quiet, there are lesser-known gems offering serene beauty and authentic experiences without the crowds.

According to a recent travel article by The Times, these 16 relaxing Greek islands promise a peaceful and unforgettable summer:

Under-the-radar Aegina is a stone’s throw from Athens. [Shutterstock]

Aegina: Proximity and tranquility

Just a 30-minute hydrofoil ride from Athens, Aegina is often overlooked by overseas tourists, making it an ideal escape. Despite its proximity to the bustling capital, Aegina retains a serene atmosphere with charming tavernas and the best pistachio ice cream. Stay at the Nicolaou Residence, a cozy set of studios near the town center.

Astypalea: Unexpected discoveries

Butterfly-shaped Astypalea, located between Santorini and Kos, is a hidden treasure boasting crystal-clear waters. For history buffs, this island offers Roman baths, a Venetian castle, and a museum “chock-full of antiquities.” The Times notes, “stepping off the ferry here is immensely rewarding.” Chrysalis Boutique Hotel, an adults-only retreat, is the perfect place to unwind.

Speaking to Kathimerini, Kostas Kampis, Deputy Mayor of Astypalea, adds, “Astypalea means sustainability, tradition, and nature. We create and promote a new destination model where visitors enjoy turquoise waters, fairytale settlements, historical monuments, and homely hospitality on modern sustainable terms.”

Lipsi: Myths and legends

Legend has it that Odysseus was enchanted by Calypso on the Dodecanese isle of Lipsi. Today, visitors are more likely to be captivated by its pristine beaches, “from the sands of Platys Gialos and Kampos to pebbly Monodendri.” A two-hour ferry ride from Kos brings you to Aphroditi Hotel, just steps from the beach.

Talking to Kathimerini, Fotis Maggos, Mayor of Lipsi, highlights the island’s commitment to sustainable tourism: “Lipsi is in 6th place among the top trends for holidays of Greeks. Our effort to develop and promote a sustainable destination that keeps its natural environment intact is fully in line with the characteristics of our time.”

The white sands and turquoise waters of Achla Beach, Andros. [Shutterstock]

Andros: Authentic charm

Andros, the second-largest Cycladic island, offers lush greenery and scenic hiking trails. Its stunning beaches, like Achla and Batsi, are perfect for relaxation. The Krinos Suites provide a blend of modern style and traditional Greek hospitality.

Speaking to Kathimerini, Nikos Moustakas, Executive Municipal Councilor of Tourism of Andros, adds, “Andros has quality constants that make it an oasis of authenticity next to Athens without a high price. The constant alternation of mountainous landscape with pristine beaches, gastronomy, and the range of villages, monasteries, and paths give a different perspective of the Cyclades.”

Folegandros: Sunset views

Located between Santorini and Milos, Folegandros is known for its breathtaking sunsets. “The views from the clifftop Chora are unforgettable,” says The Times. Blue Sand Hotel & Suites offers the best vantage point for enjoying the sunset.

Nisyros: Volcanic wonders

Just a short ferry ride from Kos, Nisyros boasts a volcanic landscape with dark sands and hot springs. When day-trippers leave, the Dodecanese island becomes a peaceful haven. Stay at Melanopetra in Emporios for stylish accommodations with local materials.

Evening view of the church in Vathy harbor on Meganisi island. [Shutterstock]

Syros: Cultural richness

Once a major commercial hub, Syros now charms visitors with elegant architecture and cultural institutions in Ermoupoli. For luxurious accommodation near the sea, The Times singles out The Hotel Aristide, “an art-and-marble-filled Cycladic townhouse that’s steps away from refreshing sea swims.”

Meganisi: Peaceful escapes

Overlooked in favor of Kefalonia and Lefkada, Meganisi remains a tranquil spot. The Azur Retreat provides a stunning base to explore this unspoilt Ionian island’s beaches and villages.

Alonissos: Wild nature

Alonissos is part of Greece’s first national marine park, home to rare monk seals and diverse marine life, a haven for nature lovers. “Nature enthusiasts will love the underwater museum,” mentions The Times, highlighting the famous 5th century BC Peristera shipwreck. Infinity 180 Luxury Suites offer serene, adult-only accommodations.

“Alonissos is becoming a magnet for friends of activities, relaxation, and rejuvenation,” says Diogenis Theodorou, President of the Tourism Committee. “Quality services without unreasonable costs, local cuisine, wonderful exotic beaches, diving, nature loving, and excursions to the water park are our ‘passport’ to a place on the ‘map’ of international non-mass destinations. This year’s distinctions we have achieved in popular foreign media prove the extroversion of Alonissos to new and established markets that show their preference for 2024.”

Agistri [Shutterstock]

Agistri: City and sea combo

Just an hour from Athens, Agistri offers pine-covered beaches and a relaxed vibe. The Oasis Beach Hotel & Spa provides spectacular sea and mountain views from its private verandas.

Milos: Otherworldly landscapes

Milos, famous for the Venus de Milo sculpture, features dramatic volcanic landscapes like Sarakiniko’s moon-like shores. Skinopi Lodge offers luxurious villas blending into the rocky surroundings.

Patmos: Beautiful beaches

Less crowded due to limited ferry connections, Patmos boasts stunning beaches like Psili Ammos. Porto Scoutari Hotel is the perfect base for exploring this historic island.

Kythira: Gorgeous scenery

Kythira, the birthplace of Aphrodite, offers golden beaches and ancient ruins. Hidden Retreats provide eco-luxury accommodations with stunning sea views.

Kastellorizo, Greece’s easternmost island. [Shutterstock]

Kastellorizo: Edge-of-Greece getaway

Near Turkey’s coast, Kastellorizo is a hidden treasure with colorful houses and a rich history. Casa Mediterraneo offers boutique accommodations with views of the harbor and sunset.

Serifos: Perfect for couples

Serifos, close to Milos and Mykonos, offers quiet beaches (Livadakia is a highlight) and charming towns. Nostos is a sustainable stay option using green technologies.

Sifnos: Foodie heaven

Sifnos is renowned for its culinary heritage and hosts a food festival every September. Sigma Residences, located near Apollonia, offers villas that nod to local traditions.

Yiannis Rafeletos, Deputy Mayor of Tourism of Sifnos, adds, “The messages for the tourist season in Sifnos are positive. Gastronomy along with pottery, nature, trails, sea excursions, and traditions are the ‘DNA’ of the destination. We give importance to cultural, sports, and gastronomic initiatives that contribute to the extension of the tourist season, such as the Nikolaos Tselementes Festival of Cycladic Gastronomy.”

This article appeared in Greece Is (, a Kathimerini publishing initiative.

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