How to take a look at Greece’s lesser-recognized islands like a community

A perennial beloved amongst holidaymakers, Greece constantly ranks among the top 10 holiday destinations in Europe.

But now it wants travellers to get to know lesser-known places throughout its hundreds of sprawling islands.

“We are transferring further than sea and sunlight. We want to prolong the tourism time in equally time and area,” Olympia Anastasopoulou, secretary-general for tourism policy and enhancement at Greece’s Ministry of Tourism, informed CNBC Travel.

For that, the nation is investing in its a lot more distant locations, together with Syros, Amorgos and Milos, as section of its “All you want is Greece” marketing campaign.

To relieve overtourism, popular warm places these types of as Mykonos and Santorini are remaining repositioned as shoulder period locations.

It’s our goal for all those islands to grow more in seasonality, as well. We would like it for the tourism flows to be expanded in other months,” claimed Eleni Mitraki, director of tourism marketing at the Greek Nationwide Tourism Business, noting the year could run March via November.

The options coincide with the growth of direct flights from the United States to Greece in March 2023.

At this time, Germany and the U.K. depict Greece’s major inbound tourism marketplaces by revenue, followed by the United States, France and Italy. However, Anastasopoulou mentioned further expansion from other marketplaces, most notably Canada and India, is envisioned.

Here are CNBC Travel’s leading picks to get you off the overwhelmed observe in Greece.

Kalymnos, Dodecanese

Rock climbers’ paradise

Situated in just Greece’s Dodecanese island chain in the southeastern Aegean Sea, Kalymnos is renowned for its sponge-diving — underwater diving to obtain all-natural sponges from the seabed — which introduced appreciable prosperity and recognition to the island in the preceding century.

Kalymnos, aspect of Greece’s Dodecanese island chain, has come to be a well known location for rock climbers.

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More recently, the island has turn out to be a environment-renowned locale for rock climbers, with extra than 3,000 climbing routes spanning the quite a few crags, caves and overhangs of its rugged landscape.

Kalymnos’ tourism year peaks in the slide with the Kalymnos Climbing Pageant, which requires location most yrs. But adventure junkies can get their kicks year-round, with a host of other pursuits which include scuba diving, hiking and boating.

How to get there: Kalymnos can be easily achieved by boat from close by Kos, with crossings getting 45 minutes by ferry and 25 minutes by speedboat. It’s also accessible by plane from Athens. 

Ios, Cyclades

Haven for history buffs

Ios, also recognised as Io or Nio, is located among Santorini and Naxos, and was the moment observed exclusively as a occasion spot. But the Cyclades island has revamped its graphic more than current many years to embrace its historical and purely natural attributes.

Residence to a person of Greece’s most historic archaeological settlements, the Skarkos monument, Ios also offers a sturdy link to the Greek epic poet, Homer, who is reported to have favored the island and, possibly, finished his days there.

As soon as regarded purely as a get together island, Ios in the Cyclades is embracing its other attributes, which include beautiful seashores and historical Greek archaeological settlements.

Municipality of Ios

Together with background, website visitors to Ios can also examine its plentiful seashores, and mountaineering and diving spots, ahead of tucking into some of the regional cheeses for which the island is famed.

How to get there: There is no airport in Ios. The island can be accessed by ferry or speedboat from the two Athens and the other Cyclades islands. It can also be arrived at by helicopter from Santorini.

Skopelos, Sporades

The Greek island of Skopelos is well-known for becoming the filming place of hit musical rom-com “Mamma Mia,” with the clifftop Church of Agios Ioannis Kastri enjoying a starring job.

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Legend has it the island was launched by the son of the Greek god of wine. And nevertheless quite a few of its vineyards were being wrecked by pests in the 1940s, compact-scale, domestic manufacturing carries on to this working day. Meanwhile, natively developed plums, almonds, chestnuts, figs, citrus fruits, olives adorn the neighborhood delicacies.

How to get there: Skopelos is reachable by ferry or speedboat from the port town of Volos on Greece’s mainland. Products and services operate calendar year-round, with further routes from other islands added in significant period.

Andros, Cyclades

Hiking retreat

Just one of greatest islands of the Cyclades and just two hrs from the Greek mainland, mountainous Andros has a diversified landscape of forests, waterfalls, seashores and area vegetation, producing it great for an out of doors escape.

Andros, 1 of the most significant islands of the Cyclades, features a numerous landscape of waterfalls, forests and beach locations, generating it a haven for hikers.

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Readers can check out the island by means of its significant network of mountaineering trails, or attempt their hand at windsurfing or scuba diving, ahead of sampling the regional delicacies.

Arts and lifestyle followers can check out out Andros’ selection of monasteries, galleries and museums, which include the Archaeological Museum of Andros and the Museum of Modern day Art.

How to get there: There is no airport in Andros. The island can be reached by ferry from Rafina port on the outskirts of Athens.

Astypalea, Dodecanese

The Dodecanese island of Astypalea has ambitions to come to be the initially sustainable and smart island of the Mediterranean sea.

Municipality of Astypalea

As section of a deal with the Greek federal government and Volkswagen, Astypalea ideas to carry out islandwide, zero-emission mobility by 2030, with conventional motor vehicle rentals to be replaced with electric powered cars and trucks, e-scooters and e-bikes. In other places, charging factors and renewable electricity resources will also be included.

Travellers arriving on the so-termed Butterfly Island can also take pleasure in its all-natural landscape, house to gorgeous beaches, rocky hillsides and various flora and fauna, as effectively as its picturesque villages of bougainvillea-clad white homes.

How to get there: Astypalea is accessible from Athens by both equally ferry and airplane.

Lipsi, Dodecanese


Surrounded by a necklace of 24 islets with dozens of blue-eco-friendly beach locations, Lipsi in the Dodecanese is considered the Polynesia of the Aegean Sea and an eco-paradise.

An eco-paradise surrounded by 24 islets, Lipsi forms element of the Dodecanese island selection in the southeastern Aegean Sea.

Aegean Marine Existence Sanctuary

With a abundant expanse of flora and fauna safeguarded by the European Union, the island is residence to various wildlife, like Mediterranean monk seals and sea turtles. Dolphins are also popular in the place, and a new Aegean Marine Lifetime Sanctuary for dolphins is set to open before long on the island.

Holidaymakers can love days spent boating, diving, seaside-dwelling and mountaineering, ahead of tucking into seafood dishes and experiencing neighborhood festivals, this sort of as August’s wine celebration.

How to get there: Lipsi is only accessible by ferry or pace boat, with normal companies managing from Athens and Leros.

Alonissos, Sporades

Divers’ delight

Alonissos, section of the Sporades group of islands, is a diver’s paradise and the internet site of Greece’s to start with underwater museum. Showcasing “Parthenon of the Wrecks,” one particular of the largest Classical-era shipwrecks dating back again to 425 B.C., the website offers recreational divers a special perception into the region’s history.

Alonissos, portion of the Sporades archipelago in the northwest Aegean Sea, is identified for its diving places, like Greece’s to start with underwater museum, the “Parthenon of the Wrecks.”

Municipality of Alonissos

The island is also residence to the Nationwide Maritime park of Alonissos and Northern Sporades, at present Europe’s major maritime shielded spot, giving visitors the chance to see a broad array of plants and animals.

Kayaking, hiking and biking are among the the other functions accessible on the island, even though museums and a nearby theater team showcase the island’s arts and culture scene.

How to get there: Alonissos can be accessed either by aircraft or by ferry from the ports of Volos, Agios Konstantinos and Kimi.