It’s difficult to conceive just how long you could spend sailing around to explore the Greek Islands.
Not only are there hundreds of islands to explore, but the islands cover a vast distance from the north eastern coast of Greece and the Ionian Islands, round the southern coast of Greece to Crete and the Cretan Islands; up the western coast of Greece through the Cyclades, up to the Sporades.
Then down the eastern coast of Turkey where many of the islands are within Greek territory too. Here you’ll find the Aegean Islands and the Dodecanese Islands.
There is no definitive number of islands because how many there are depends on who you ask! It’s usually quoted as somewhere between 1,200 and 1,600 so if we take the mid-ground we’re talking about 1,400 islands.
Some of these are very tiny and in fact the majority of Greek Islands are not inhabited either because they’re too small or because they’re not appropriate for living.
Actually, the number of inhabited islands varies too – different sources quote different numbers, ranging anywhere from just 166 up to 227, and obviously if you are travelling around independently by yacht you’ll need to know which ones are inhabited so you can stop for supplies.
Chartering a luxury yacht with a full crew onboard will take away the need for worrying about where you’re next going to stop, though you should still make the decisions as to which islands you’d most like to see.
Which Greek Islands to See?
So the big question is, which Greek Islands should you see? Well usually this answer would depend on what you like seeing while on holiday, but to be honest many of the Greek Islands offer very similar attractions – great beaches, beautiful villages, excellent food, and a list of ancient sites.
If you prefer to travel away from the bigger crowds then stay close to the smaller islands or some of the less visited ones. And for the quiet life do head for some of the uninhabited islands as you could moor just offshore and have a deserted island all to yourself!
Many Europeans like to visit the most popular islands including Crete, Corfu, Rhodes, and Kos, but then you could argue that these islands have the most to offer. The ancient sites are most impressive and there are many beach resorts for those who like nightlife, shopping and more, so it does come down to personal preference in the end.
More on Crete, Corfu, and Rhodes to come, and here’s a short summary of some of the other popular islands:
Santorini is for sure one of the most famous and romantic of the Greek Islands. Often a resort for a honeymoon or other romantic celebrations and anniversary’s.
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– the largest of the Ionian Islands, Kefalonia is increasingly popular and it’s famous for its scenery – inviting blue waters and pine clad hillsides. The movie ‘Captai Corelli’s Mandolin’ was filmed here.
– located in the north eastern Aegean, closer to Turkey’s coast than Greece’s Lebos is known for its Petrified Forest and as the centre for production of the country’s most famous drink, Ouzo.
– Mykonos is within the Cyclades group and is well known for its nightlife and gay friendly atmosphere. It also features beautiful villages, beaches, and scenery.
– this island has a little bit of everything including an ancient site that’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Samos is an East Aegean Island.