When people say they’re going on holiday to Greece, the likes of Crete, Corfu and Mykonos are usually the first islands that come to mind and for good reason – they’re large islands with plenty to do and are easy to get to from the UK. However, Greece has over 6,000 islands (227 inhabited) both big and small. Try somewhere new this year and explore one of the remote Greek islands off the beaten track. Hidden coves, local villages and quiet relaxation awaits!
Hydra isn’t completely off the beaten track having featured in movies such as ‘A girl in black’. However, it’s still relatively unknown to UK travellers and is definitely one of the lesser-frequented islands. Hydra is a step back in time; this small island has no cars, mopeds or vehicles of any kinds. It consists of small pebbled streets, bicycles and traditional horse and carts. It’s a place where you can enjoy the easy life of long ago and take in the archaic culture the towns and villages have to offer.
Top things to do in Hydra:
- Visit a museum to get the lo-down on the island. Museum of Hydra and the National Historical Museum are both excellent
- Take a horse riding tour along the cobbled streets and up into the mountains. Find top rated horse tours here
- Spend a full day wondering the narrow streets of Hydra Town and take a step back in time
How to get there: Fly into Athens and catch a high speed catamaran from PIraeus port. Boats depart 2 – 3 times per day and it’s a quick and scenic journey from the capitol. We’d recommend staying a night or two in Athens at the end of your trip to explore the ancient city and it’s surroundings.
Patmos is another blast from the past. This super small and quiet island is the place to go to escape the modern world and explore natural cliffs and caves in all their beauty. The island has an ancient religious history and it’s said that St John of the Divine created the New Testament’s Book of Revelations in a cave on the island, which is now a monastery. Patmos is unlike the commercial centres of the other remote Greek islands and offers both history and beautiful landscapes.
Top things to do in Patmos:
- The most famous sight to see on the island is the Monastery of St John where the Book of Revelations was said to be written
- The windmills of Patmos are another top attraction recommendation. These working windmills are beautifully traditional in their design and are located in a great hiking area
- Visit Chora Patmos. This small town lines the cliffside with traditional Mediterranean white buildings and a castle. It provides a lovely walking tour around the narrow streets
How to get there: Fly into Samos or Kos airport and catch the ferry to Patmos. We’d recommend visiting as part of an island-hopping holiday!
Marathi is one of the smallest remote Greek islands and is part of the Dodecanese Archipelago. This island is the perfect place for those who long for a quiet retreat, reading books in the shade and swimming in the cool seawater. It truly is a step away from the touristy hustle and bustle of Greece and offers remote, quiet relaxation. If you’re not looking for lots to do but simply go for long walks and relax in the hot sun, Marathi is the perfect retreat.
Top things to do in Marathi:
- The island’s main beach is called Loutraki beach, a peaceful sandy bay great for couples and families. Beach amenities and run by a local family
- Grab your favourite book, put on your trainers and go for a hike along the coastal region, stopping for a break and reading behind a rock for true peace and quiet
- Although the island is very small and we estimate less than 10 restaurants, restaurants are family run and cook authentic Greek Mediterranean cuisine
How to get there: Depending on the airport you’re flying into, you can hire a private boat to charter you to Marathi from Samos, Leros or Kos islands or fly into Athens, catch a ferry to Patmos and then catch another ferry to Marathi. This one is truly off the beaten path but is great for an island hopping agenda.
Samos is a fairly well known Aegean island, however it’s not a common destination for UK holiday seekers. This remote Greek island has a lively capital (Vathi) but also has a number of secluded coastal spots and a rich Greek history to explore. Samos is also ideal for those who like visiting secluded beaches, with a coastline full of hidden bays to explore, both busy tourist locations and quieter and spots.
Top things to do in Samos:
- The island is said to be the birthplace of mythological icon Hera. Visit the ancient Temple of Hera for a scenic tour and the chance to see a collection of intricate Greek artefact’s
- Samos is all about the beaches and there’s enough to keep to entertained and relaxed for weeks! Our favourites are Lemonakia, Megalo Seitani and Lavadaki beaches
- Samos beaches aren’t the only impressive natural landscapes on the island. The Potami Waterfalls are a hidden collection of natural falls and lakes surrounded by trees and hills. Explore the falls and pack your swimming costume to go for a swim
How to get there: Due to the size and popularity of the island, regular ferries are available from other islands but you can also fly direct to Samos from London or catch a domestic flight from another Greek city.
For UK nightlife seekers, Zante, Mykonos and Faliraki are the well known choices for a Greek party holiday. Ios may be less known but is definitely just as lively as the other party resorts. Expect boat parties, beach bars and a summer of fun on this vibrant but remote Greek island. However, it isn’t all about the nightlife, it offers some areas of quiet relaxation away from the busy centres, fine Greek architecture and hidden coves. Explore Ios as an alternative summer holiday destination and experience and new Greek party scene.
Top things to do in Ios:
- The island has many beautiful beaches. Take a break from relaxing and head out to sea for some water sports. Ios has everything from paddle-boarding, jet-skis and water-skiing to windsurfing and kayaking
- Ios town is the heart of nightlife on the island with plenty of bars to choose from. Head out early to take advantage of happy hour cocktails in the sunset
- Add a cultural excursion into your party holiday and visit Chora Museum, a small but interesting heritage site for Greek history on the island
How to get there: Although you can get to Ios from various Greek islands and the main Athens port, we’d recommend catching a direct flight from the UK to Santorini and then taking the ferry to Ios. It’s a shorter journey than other options and you get to see both of these very different remote Greek islands.