Sure, we all know Santorini and Mykonos, but there are many more Greek Islands waiting to steal your heart. If you’re seeking a low-key, less touristy vibe, these under-the-radar gems have all the postcard-perfect beauty, gorgeous beaches, idyllic villas, and Mediterranean charm of their famed sister islands.
Paros strikes the perfect balance of chilled towns, traditional restaurants, and just enough nightlife buzz. Located off the coast of Athens, you can travel to Paros by boat (around 3 hours) or by plane (40 minutes). The unique island is broken up into the villages of Lefkes, Marpissa, Parikia, and the more popular Naoussa, where you will find sun and warm weather almost every day of the year.
Beyond the sunshine and sunsets, Paros has great shopping. In Lefkes, be sure to drop into Oneipa, a French-meets-Greek concept shop brimming with fashion, jewelry, homewares, and cute souvenirs. I still dream about some of the pieces I picked up here like a French-style woven tote, traditional Greek beach towel, colorfully printed scarves, and more. For more cute jewelry and beachwear head to Blue Dot in Naoussa and if tableware is your thing go to Yria Studio in the neighborhood of Kostos.
Where to Stay
Located in the town of Parasporos, Yria Boutique Hotel and Spa has a boutique vibe. Guests stay in a villa setting that evokes a Greek Island village, there’s a gorgeous restaurant for dining alfresco in the pool deck and its steps from the beach.
Located just off the coast of Paros, it takes about 10 minutes by boat from the main port of Paros to get to this small, secluded island paradise. Home to just 1,200 residents, Antiparos is lined with just a few tiny houses and hotels, quiet beaches, and a quaint main village with local restaurants and quaint shops. The quiet anonymity and lack of a scene makes the island so special, along with its reefs, uninhabited inlets, underwater caves — there’s even a shipwreck — which make it perfect for divers.
Antiparos also has a cute fashion concept store Mariliza where you can pick up clothing, bags, and accessories crafted by owner Mariliza Dimakou and local Greek designers.
Where to Stay
A luxury hotel that feels more like a home, Artemis, is a family-run, white-washed space close to the beach with an outdoor Jacuzzi, and a very cute and friendly Labrador (which is worth the stay all on its own).
If you’re the active type, Amorgos is the island for you. The most eastern island in the Cyclades, it attracts hikers and mountain climbers thanks to its coastline that is made up almost exclusively of giant rocks, bluffs, and cliffs overlooking the sea. Amorgos has hiking paths across the entire island, known as the Blue Paths because no matter which trail you choose, you’ll be treated to epic panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. The hikes run the gamut, from leisurely strolls to more energetic explorations to historic sites.
Take the guesswork out of planning your hike by doing your research on which path to take ahead of time. Just make sure to add the Monastery of Hozoviotissa to your visit. Built in 1017 it’s the second oldest in all of Greece, and the Shipwreck of Amorgos — rumored to be crewed by pirates, came unstuck on the coastline in 1980.
Where to Stay
The Amorgion Hotel, elevated along a mountainside is a short walk to the beach, has a dreamy pool, and guest suites with private balconies overlooking the Aegean Sea.
A popular vacation destination with locals, the only way to access Serifos is by boat from Athens, which takes anywhere from 2.5 to 5 hours, depending on the route and number of stops. The island is known for its wild landscape, with rolling hills as far as the eye can see. The heartbeat of the island is the main town center separated by the villages of Kato Chora and Pano Chora — chock full of local shops (I love Kerameio Ceramic Studio and Bakalliston), bakeries, and churches.
Hike the Serifos Mining Trail, abandoned mining tracks now overrun with nature that lead to the Bridge to Nowhere (that’s literally the name) which hangs out over edge, into the Aegean Sea.
Where to stay
Situated high above the city, Rizes Hotel is a little boutique oasis with a gorgeous outdoor deck, pool, and sweeping views over the town’s port.
Milos, a 45-minute flight or four hour boat ride from Athens, is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the Greek Islands. Among our favorites: Sarakiniko Beach with its moonscapes — crafted of white volcanic rock formations to explore (and jump off) its cliffs — and abandoned tunnels and caves; Firopotamos, a small coved-in beach set in a tiny fishing village; and Papafragas, a natural swimming pool, located between two cliffs — that you must descend to get to the beach and can swim between. It’s worth hiring a car or ATV to get around the island (it’s big) to explore its beaches, and the north side, which has a cool dining scene in the villages of Plaka and Pollonia — try Medusa, located right at the water’s edge, the seafood is so fresh it’s practically still swimming (be sure to order the octopus).
History buffs will love exploring the Christian Catacombs of Milos, well-preserved caves that date back to the first and fifth centuries. Or rent a boat or book a private charter to see the Kleftiko Caves, accessible only by water, and will stun you with its brilliant, crystal-clear water.
Where to Stay
Milos PLV is a modern eco villa-style hotel built of white limestone that blends into the cliffs behind it, and also offering spectacular views of the Aegean Sea. The property offers several different exclusive options including villas, suites, and cottages.