It isn’t easy 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 northeastern coast of Greece and the Ionian Islands, around 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 islands are also within Greek territory.
Here you’ll find the Aegean Islands and the Dodecanese Islands.
No definitive number of islands exists 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 tiny, and most Greek Islands are not inhabited either because they’re too small or inappropriate for living.
The number of inhabited islands varies too – different sources quote different numbers, ranging anywhere from just 166 up to 227.
If you travel independently by yacht, you must know which ones are inhabited to stop for supplies.
Chartering a luxury yacht with an entire crew onboard will remove the need for worrying about where you’ll next stop, though you should still decide 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, stay close to the smaller islands or some less visited ones.
And for the quiet life, head for some uninhabited islands, as you could moor just offshore and have a deserted island all to yourself!
Many Europeans like visiting the most popular islands, Crete, Corfu, Rhodes, and Kos, and you can 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; after all, it comes down to personal preference.
More on Crete, Corfu, and Rhodes to come, and here is a summary of some of the other famous islands.
Santorini is one of the most famous and romantic of the Greek Islands.
Often a resort for a honeymoon or other romantic celebrations and anniversaries.
– 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 ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ was filmed here.
– located in the northeastern Aegean, closer to Turkey’s coast than Greece’s Lebos is known for its Petrified Forest and as the centre for producing 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.