Not only Santorini, Mykonos and Paros: if you also count the uninhabited rocks, the Greek islands reach almost 6 thousand units. Of the inhabited areas, some are beloved by visitors who storm them in summer and winter; others remain totally ignored, despite being beautiful and suggestive like the most famous ones. And in these little touristy Greek islands and in the most remote archipelagos we recommend you to dive this summer: not to crowd them and reverse the route, but to give the possibility to less glamorous beaches (and perfect for solo, couple and family trips) to become your favorites.
Uncrowded Greek islands
This trip is an up and down through the Cyclades and the Peloponnese , from Crete to Corfu, from Paros to Santorini, but it is a reverse tour: instead of stopping in the most loved Greek islands , it goes further and lands on the quieter beaches, there where time has stopped and often the only inhabitants are the shepherds and their animals. The most solitary Greek islands are tempting for adventurous tourists but also for peace lovers, especially in the crowded summer months: some are a secret even for the Greeks, so much so that often they too give up venturing to the most remote islands leaving empty kilometers of beaches and a crystal clear sea ahead.
Have you ever thought of going to the archipelago of Koufonisia or to Donousa, Ios, Kimolos or Ikaria? Probably not but not bad: there is always time to discover a new thing and with the Greek islands, the risk of getting bored is never there.
Kato Koufonissi, the island of wonders
We write Kaufonisia, we read: wonder of the Small Cyclades. To color this archipelago are the islands of Ano Koufonissi, Kato Koufonissi and Keros. The first is the most tourist: 300 people live there and Chora is its largest inhabited center. And if it is true that until the 90s nobody knew this island, today it is more beaten and therefore more crowded. For this you will have to turn all your attention to Kato Koufunissi: with its beaches (the most beautiful: Detos and Lachi) and its silence, if you seek peace here you will find it.
The only one to live in Kato is a shepherd: tourists come and go with a caique that arrives there until late at night, to eat there is a fish tavern: stop. Is that enough for you? In Keros you will find the rest, plus a dip in the past because it is an important archaeological center. Since 1968 no one lives there, there are no tourist facilities and you cannot stay for the night: those who venture around here have their own boat and a great desire to discover a little gem of the sea.
Without leaving the archipelago of the Small Cyclades, take a trip to Donoussa east of Naxos. Here the mythology has set a piece of the myth of Theseus: among its rocks, Dionysus hid Ariadne from the hero. Today the myth still lives in Stavros, the largest center of the island, which lights up every August for its patronal feast and during the annual Treasure Hunt, that transforms the island into a pirate lair.
Between ruins and caves (the most beautiful: that of Tichou and the Grotta delle Foche on the bay of Moschonas), on this island you can breathe the sea life in the best possible way: without distractions. There are 160 people who mainly live by fishing and who invented a party to welcome (the anchor) few visitors who come to the village: it is called the Hotelier’s Festival and is celebrated on July 27, among typical dances and songs.
The arrival in Khytira by ship is complicated, because we only start with an eternal ferry from Athens; by sky it is simpler, so do not be put off and follow the Greeks, who love the authenticity and roughness of this island south of the Peloponnese, inhabited by fishermen and farmers during the year.
In Kythira there is a mix of ancient and modern, design, luxury and rustic. The main village is Aroniadika and the most popular beaches such as Melidoni , Chalkos, the splendid Firi Ammos and Kaladi, which makes visitors struggle with its 120 steps carved into the rock, make it one of the less touristy Greek islands more worthy of a visit.
The isolation can disturb and perhaps, on this tour of the least touristy and quietest Greek islands of all, the time has come to do some nightlife. But always sparingly: to satisfy those looking for a bit of life but not giving up on a relaxing holiday there is Ios , which between wonderful beaches (such as Manganari, to avoid the noise of its most famous or Mylopotas ) and nightlife balances both well needs.
Ios is halfway between Naxos and Santorini and takes some of the shimmer of its older sisters. But it remains unspoiled in some less traveled areas, in some secret beaches, in the village of Chora with its white and blue houses. A good mix, for those who want both, but without exaggerating.
Under the waters of Ellinika beach, in Kimolos in the Cyclades, there is an ancient submerged city, the ancient version of the first village on the island devoured by the sea. With the right glasses and a good dose of breath you can visit the ruins that are noticeable on the water: it is one of the most beautiful attractions of the island along with its other pristine beaches such as Rema, Karas and Prassa.
Between Milo and Kimonos there is Polyaigos, the largest uninhabited island of the Aegean Sea and, of all, the wildest. Sheep graze placidly on the island (and hence its name, which means “many sheep”) and little more: nobody has lived there for several decades and has become an ideal place for seals, which have found a perfect nest and uncontaminated by man. Getting there is easy from Kimolos, with taxis and private boats (or your own boat) and the tour from the sea is ideal for enjoying one of the most beautiful things in this place: its waters.
In the central eastern Aegean there is Ikaria, the island that serves as a mythological tomb to Icarus after his mission to the sun. Its ancient history makes it one of the most true and authentic places among all the Greek islands; the modern one, between proposals for secession and the desire to do it alone (in 1912 it proclaimed itself an Independent State, a status that lasted 5 months), a curious place where the politics and ideas of its inhabitants can be seen in the signs of the premises.
Ikaria is said to be the island of eternal youth, because in this place immersed in the sea the average of centenarians is very high. It is worth a visit (by plane from Athens) to personally check the conditions in which the locals live and which have guaranteed their primacy. Or even just to go to Therma or toAgios Kirikos, one of the best known spas in the Aegean.
In the Gulf of Euboea, 7 islets await the traveler who only wants peace. The Lichadonisia archipelago has nothing to envy to the pearls of the Caribbean and they are a perfect alternative for those looking for incredible sea and silence, not necessarily in this order. Of the seven islands that make up the archipelago, Manolia is the most “equipped”: not in the most touristic sense of the term, but it has just a beach that welcomes tourists who venture here.
There is nothing, except a lighthouse, in Megali Strongyli, which is the second largest island in the group. And getting there is an adventure: it starts from the island of Euboea (from the port of Agios Georgios) or from Kamena Vourla, 150 kilometers from Athens.
There are no cars in Hydra and if you want to move around do it on foot or by bike. The slow life of this Greek island in the Argo-Saronic gulf in past years has attracted the celebrities who elected it to nest for their extra luxury villas. It goes without saying that the rustic and simple atmosphere of the most genuine islands of Greece here also gives way to a certain chic and elegant air that in the summer months raises housing prices. And then go there in the spring: on the other hand, the beach of Vilchos retains its ecstatic beauty even out of season
Among the Orthodox churches and monasteries, even the hinterland of Hydra offers magic: while traveling along the mule tracks that lead to their destination, they skirt the sea from above and dive into its blue without worries. The real gem are the coves of Bisti and Agios Nikolaos , which can only be reached by water (via Hydra port): wild and calm as only life on the less touristy Greek islands can be, they are natural bays in which there are never waves. An ideal promise for those who expect extreme relaxation from a holiday and go to the most hidden Greece to conquer it.
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