Greece is a beautiful country, with plenty of different islands to visit. Although visiting ‘a Greek island’ is a simple enough holiday destination, the islands have subtle differences. I’ve been lucky enough to visit several of the islands over the years. Which island you should visit really depends on what you want most out of your holiday. Places like Lefkada are great for beaches and a break and places like Crete can ensure you have a activity-filled week in Greece. Below are the highlights of my favourite islands to help you best choose which one to visit.

Crete

Let’s start with the biggest island. I’ve been to Crete a couple of times, and it does not get old. It’s a perfect island to be able to fill your holiday with activities and trips or a mix of adventure and beach. You can visit Zeus’ Cave if you want to explore the mythology of the island. Or if you like more adventurous days, take a day trip to walk the Samarian Gorge. If you like a historical and cultural side of travel, you can visit the abandoned Leper island of Spinalonga. Knossos, an old Greek palace is also on Crete which is an absolute must-see when you visit the island. If you’re thinking about Crete, check out Why Crete should be a top choice for a Greek Destination.

Skiathos

Skiathos is a Mamma-Mia lovers paradise. It’s a very small island filled with beaches and lively small towns. You can visit the ‘runway’ to the ferry port where the iconic scene of the ferry leaving to Skopelos was filmed in Mamma Mia. Skiathos Town is also a quintessential Greek town with the blue and white houses. An open air cinema showing Mamma-Mia is also situated in Skiathos Town (a great experience for fans).

View from Skiathos Town, Skiathos

Lefkada

If you want a relaxed beachy holiday, Lefkada is the perfect Greek Island for you. The beaches are stunning, Mylos beach being a walk over a hill but well worth it for the view. From Lefkada, there are plenty of boat trips out you can take to go swimming in deeper sea around some of the open-top caves/rocks. I remember having a barbecue on the beach during our stop on the boat tour.

Mylos beach – Seafront in Lefkada – Boat Trip from Lefkada

Samos

Samos is a lovely little island with a fairly traditional Greek culture. When I visited, there was a small parade and ceremony through the town with the ladies in white dresses and carrying flaming torches. It is also the island that Pythagoras was born on. From Samos, if you get bored on the island you can take a day ferry over to Turkey. Here, you should visit the ancient (previously Greek) city of Ephesus and do some shopping in Kusadasi. However this is unlikely as there are plenty of walks to do in Samos, as well as visiting the old monasteries, an old Roman aqueduct or the castle in Pythagoreio.

Pythagoreio, Samos

Of course, there are plenty of other islands – Kos and Kefalonia I can say are both stunning too and well worth adding into your list. Maybe you’ll even try Greek Island hopping using the local ferries. Hopefully, I’ve been able to point you in the right direction of where you need to look in Greece – whether you want culture, activities or beaches. Check out my post on a Food Checklist for Greece before you go, and best of luck with your Greek Island adventures!