How to Explore Greece’s Lesser-Known Islands Like a Local


A perennial favorite among holidaymakers, Greece consistently ranks among the top 10 holiday destinations in Europe.

But Now It Wants Tourists To Know The Lesser-Known Places Around It thousand great islands,

“We are moving beyond the sea and the sun. We want to prolong the tourist season in both time and space,” Olympia Anastasopoulou, secretary general for tourism policy and development at Greece’s Ministry of Tourism, told CNBC Travel.

For that, the country is investing in its more remote locations, including Syros, Amorgos and Milos, as part of its “All You Want is Greece” campaign.

To reduce overtourism, popular hot spots like Mykonos and Santorini are being replaced as shoulder season destinations.

,It’s our goal for those islands to expand even more seasonally. “We want to expand tourism flows to other months,” said Eleni Mitraki, director of tourism promotion at the Greek National Tourism Organization.

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

Currently, Germany and the UK represent Greece’s largest inbound tourism markets by revenue, followed by the United States, France and Italy. However, Anastasopoulou said further growth is expected from other markets, notably Canada and India.

Here are CNBC Travel’s top picks to get you off the beaten track in Greece.

Kalymnos, Dodecanese

climbers’ paradise

Located within Greece’s Dodecanese island chain in the south-eastern Aegean Sea, Kallynos is famous for its sponge-diving – diving under water to collect natural sponges from the seabed – which has brought considerable wealth and prosperity to the island over the last century. brought recognition

Kalymnos, part of Greece’s Dodecanese island chain, has become a famous destination for rock climbers.

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More recently, the island has become a world-renowned destination for rock climberwith more than 3,000 climbing routes spanning the many crags, caves and overhangs of its rugged landscape.

Kalymnos’ tourist season peaks in the fall with the Kalymnos Climbing Festival, which takes place most years. But adventure junkies can get their kicks year-round, with a host of other activities including scuba diving, hiking and boating.

how to get there: Kalymnos is easily accessible by boat from nearby Kos, the crossing taking 45 minutes by ferry and 25 minutes by speedboat. It can also be reached by plane from Athens.

Ios, Cyclades

Haven for history lovers

Ios, also known as Io or Nio, is located between Santorini and Naxos, and was once seen exclusively as a party destination. But the Cyclades islands have revamped their image in recent years to adopt Historic and Natural Properties,

One of the oldest archaeological settlements in Greece, the Skarkos monument, Ios also boasts a strong connection with the Greek epic poet, Homer, who is said to have favored the island and, possibly, ended his days there. done.

Once known purely as a party island, Ios in the Cyclades is embracing its other characteristics including beautiful beaches and ancient Greek archaeological settlements.

Municipality of Ios

As well as history, visitors to Ios can also explore its bountiful beaches and hiking and diving spots, before tucking into some of the local things that the island is famous for.

how to get there: There is no Airport in iOS. The island is accessible by ferry or speedboat from both Athens and the other Cyclades islands. It can also be reached by helicopter from Santorini.

Skopelos, Sporades

The Greek island of Skopelos is famous for being the filming location of the hit musical rom-com “Mamma Mia,” with the clifftop church of Agios Ioannis Kastri playing a starring role.

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Legend has it that the island was founded by the son of the Greek god of wine. And although many of its vineyards were destroyed by pests in the 1940s, small-scale, domestic production continues today. Meanwhile, locally grown plums, almonds, chestnuts, figs, citrus fruits, olives grace the local cuisine.

how to get there: Skopelos can be reached by ferry or speedboat from the port city of Volos on the Greek mainland. Services run year-round, with additional routes from other islands in high season.

Andros, Cyclades

Andros, one of the largest islands in the Cyclades, boasts a diverse landscape of waterfalls, forests and beaches, making it a paradise for hikers.

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Visitors can explore the island through its large network of hiking trailsOr try your hand at windsurfing or scuba diving before sampling the local cuisine.

Art and culture fans can check out Andros’ collection of monasteries, galleries, and museums, including the Archaeological Museum of Andros and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

how to get there: Andros does not have an airport. The island is accessible by ferry from the port of Rafina on the outskirts of Athens.

astypelia, dodecanese

The Dodecanese island of Astypalea has the ambition of becoming the first sustainable and smart island in the Mediterranean.

Municipality of Astypalea

as part of an agreement with the Greek government and VolkswagenAstypalea plans to implement zero-emission mobility across the island by 2030, replacing traditional vehicle rentals with electric cars, e-scooters and e-bikes. Charging points and renewable energy sources will also be added elsewhere.

tourists visiting the so-called butterfly island One can enjoy its natural landscape, beautiful beaches, rocky hills and diverse flora and fauna as well as its picturesque villages of bougainvillea-clad white houses.

how to get there: Astypalea is accessible from Athens by both ferry and plane.

Lipsy, Dodecanese

Island hopping

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

An eco-paradise surrounded by 24 islets, Lipsi is part of the Dodecanese island collection in the southeastern Aegean Sea.

Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary

with the rich expanse of Flora and fauna Protected by the European Union, the island is home to diverse wildlife, including Mediterranean monk seals and sea turtles. Dolphins are also common in the area, and a new Aegean Marine Life Sanctuary The island for dolphins is set to open soon.

Holidaymakers can enjoy boating, diving, beachcombing and hiking before dining on seafood dishes and experiencing local festivals such as August’s wine festival.

how to get there: Lipsi is accessible only by ferry or speed boat, with regular services running from Athens and Leros.

Alonissos, Sporades

divers joy

Alonissos, part of the Sporades group of islands, is a diver’s paradise and the site of the discovery of Greece. first underwater museum, Featuring the “Wreck of the Parthenon,” one of the largest classical-era shipwrecks dating to 425 BC, the site offers recreational divers a unique insight into the history of the area.

Alonissos, part of the Sporades archipelago in the northwest Aegean Sea, is known for its diving sites including Greece’s first underwater museum, the “Parthenon of the Wrecks”.

Municipality of Alonissos

the island is also home to National Marine Park of Alonissos and the Northern SporadesCurrently Europe’s largest marine protected area, it gives visitors the opportunity to see a vast array of plants and animals.

Kayaking, hiking and bicycling are others activities available on the island, while museums and a local theater group showcase the island’s arts and culture.

how to get there: Alonissos can be reached either by plane or by ferry from the ports of Volos, Agios Konstantinos and Kimi.

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