Greek island locations.
MAPS [Maps show OVERALL layout of Greek islands AND BY GROUPS]
Greece is made up of Mainland Greece and several Greek islands located in the Mediterranean. They are divided into groups. There are approximately 6000 Greek islands but only around 227 are inhabited including those occupied by shepherds and fishermen. Most flights from the UK take 3-4 hours to reach various parts of Greece. Cyprus is not included in the list of Greek islands as it is a country in its own right, despite the main language being Greek.
The Ionian Islands: ie Kefalonia, Zante, Corfu,Lefkada, Paxos, Anti Paxos
Greek island locations-The Ionian islands are found to the left of mainland Greece on the West side, in the Ionian sea.
The main popular Ionian islands are Corfu, Lefkada, Kefalonia, Ithaca, Zakynthos [ Zante]. There are smaller islands too, such as Paxos and Anti Paxos [which lie approximately 20kms off Corfu and can be reached by day ferry]. We used the ferry Kamelia lines to go for the day. Beaches renowned for white picture perfect sands and stunning turquoise seas await you in the Ionian isles.
Zakynthos is famous for Navagio or ‘ Shipwreck/ Smugglers Cove beach’ as seen on all the postcards. Zakynthos has the party resort of Laganas and we usually stay in Kalamaki which is more a family orientated resort. There are other beach resorts of Tsilivi and Argassi. Local ferries depart from Agios Nicholas on the North East of the island to Kefalonia, [ we did this for the day].
Zakynthos /Zante is famous for the Loggerhead Carretta Carretta turtles and there are restrictions around Zante for motorized boats. Turtle island [ so named as it looks like a turtle] has a lovely white sandy beach surrounded by turquoise sea.
Kefalonia is known for the filming of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. Flight carriers including TUI fly to Kefalonia. Flight time around 3.5 hours. Myrtos beach is a stunning large white beach with azure waters and is especially appreciated, when looking from the top of the road down to it. Melissani Cave is a unique attraction in an open and closed cave which you can see from the little rowing boats. Agia Effimia is a quaint resort.
Lefkada is accessed via driving to Igoumenista from Corfu. Then a drive along the Greek Mainland coastline to Lefkada [ approx 2.5 hours]. Alternatively, you can fly in to Preveza airport [ EasyJet fly to Preveza] and then continue with the drive. There are stunning beaches along the West Coast of Lefkada, especially Kathisma beach. You can read the journey we did from Corfu to Igoumenitsa and onto Lefkada here. We also incorporated a refreshment stop at Parga half way, which is a beautiful spot. Nidri is a stunning waterfront harbour, renown for sailing clubs and small islands dotted off the shore. Nidri waterfalls are nice to visit.
Corfu is famous for the Durrells and for its Mouse Island landmark. Corfu has a lovely old and new fortress, spectacular causeway watching planes land over your head, Vlacherna monastery and taking a small boat across to Mouse Island. A daily ferry service takes you to Gaios in Paxos. You can explore this affluent island and take a sea taxi to Anti Paxos with its ‘beyond belief ‘turquoise sea and white sandy beaches.
Kythira and AntiKythira are part of the Ionian islands but lie off the Peloponnese Peninsula. There are international flights from the UK to Zante, Corfu, Kefalonia. Some flight carriers include EasyJet, TUI, Thomas Cook, Ryan Air, Jet2, British Airways. The Ionian islands are the closest to the UK.
I have written about our experiences for each island visited so far, so please feel free to take a look from the main home page.
The Cyclades islands: ie Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Milos, Folegandros
The Cyclades group can be found South and South East of Athens. Delos [ a UNESCO world heritage site for mythological and archaeological monuments] is surrounded by several Cyclades islands in the Aegean sea. Delos lies off the coast of Mykonos.
Most of these islands are renown for blue and white [and red] domed churches and white cuboid shaped houses that look like sugar cubes. Many churches and windmills can be found amongst these islands.
The well known islands are Santorini also referred to as Thira [ my most favourite island], Mykonos, Naxos, Paros and Ios. Santorini includes the 2 volcanic islands called Palea and Nea Kameni, Thirassia and Aspronissi.
Santorini is famed for its white cube shaped houses hanging on the cliff edges, blue domed churches, marriage ceremonies, the Caldera [volcano]. For its narrow winding alleyways in Oia where everyone applauds the sunset each evening, From the cable cars at Fira, and the donkeys. It is a photographers dream.
Mykonos for its windmills, narrow maze of streets around the old town, Little Venice [ cafes by the waters edge] and party beaches. For Petros the Pelican [ whom we never saw by the way].
Milos has some beautiful natural attraction spots to visit and is a volcanic island-Sarakiniko a landscaped lunar type rock formations from the wind and sea. Mandrakia a lovely fishing hamlet. Firopotamos a stunning place to visit. Klima with its bright colourful waterfront fishing houses. Plaka for its views of the sunset. Kimolos, Milos’s neighbouring island is unspoilt and you can find my favourite place there-Goupa.
Naxos has landmark Portaria- a ‘window frame’ monument on a peninsula and a lovely castle and town. Largest island in the Cyclades.
Paros has a delightful Venetian Kastro and church with welcoming restaurants all around the harbour at Naousa.
Other well known islands in this group are Folegandros, Andros, Kea and Kythnos. Anti Paros, Serifos, Tinos, Anafi and Amorgos.
As well as Sifnos, Syros and Sikinos. Some are touristy-the well known ones, some less so. Most retain their Greek traditional charm and are still unspoiled by tourism.
Santorini and Mykonos have international airports and flights from the UK and it is not unusual to see several cruise ships around Santorini, Mykonos and Milos. Flight carriers are Thomas Cook, EasyJet, British Airways, Small Planet airlines, TUI to name but a few. Ferries include SeaJets, Hellenic Seaways, Golden Star ferries, Zante ferries and Blue Star ferries.
I have island hopped from flying in to Santorini and 2hr ferry to Milos and 30 min ferry to Kimolos from Pollonia.
I have also used a local boat to go to Thirassia, from Ammoudi on Santorini, for the day.
I have also flown to Mykonos + ferry to Naxos+ ferry to Paros.
Is the largest of the Greek isles and found far south of Athens underneath Santorini. It is divided in to 4 areas- Chania, Herakleiou, Rethymno and Lasithi. Flights from the UK go to Crete.
North East Aegean Islands: ie Thasos, Lesvos, Samos
Greek island locations- 12 most popular islands off the Turkish coast line from North to South and North east of Athens. These include Thasos, Lesvos, Samos, Lemnos and Ikaria. Samos and Lesvos are the most known tourist islands.
Saronic islands: ie Poros, Hydra, Spetses
Greek island locations-These islands are located near to Athens on the Southern side. They include Aegina, Methana, Salamis and Poros. Hydra and Spetses are also included in this group. Ferries depart from Peloponnese and Piraeus.
The Sporades:ie Skiathos, Skopelos, Alinissos, Skyros
Greek Island locations- These 11 islands are most popular for Skiathos, Skopelos, Alinissos and Skyros. Skyros can only be reached from Evia and Mainland Greece and is a more upmarket island.
Skopelos has some film locations that were used in the making of Mamma Mia movie 1, as has Skiathos.
South East of Sporades islands is Euboea which is the 2nd largest Greek island after Crete. Euboea can be reached by car/ferry from the mainland. Some flight carriers from UK include Thomas Cook, TUI to Skiathos.
Dodecanese Islands:ie Kos, Nisyros, Leros, Kalymnos, Rhodes
Greek island locations- Flights to Kos from the UK and ferry hop to islands such as Nisyros [ volcanic] Leros, Kalymnos [ sponge diving] Telendos, Leipsi, Pserimos, Patmos, Tilos, Karpathos, Rhodes and Symi are just a few of the 1000 islands here [ not all inhabited]. My pages on island hopping from Kos-Nisyros-Leros-Kalymnos-Kos will be coming soon.Dodecanese islands are located off Turkish mainland.
Ferries that travel between the Dodecanese islands are Blue Star ferries for which you can check their timetable and Dodecanese ferries. Some flight operators from UK to Kos are TUI, Thomas Cook and EasyJet.
So far, I have not yet been to one Greek island that I wouldn’t return back to. We actually have visited many 2-3 times over the years. All of them have something unique about them, each are different in their scenery and I have loved all the ones I have visited. What they do all share is the warm hospitality from the locals and the tasty food and wine. Most of the islands I have been to generally get going from mid May to Sept/Oct before closing the resorts until the next year. ‘Meltemi’ winds are known for being breezy during August and the summers can be hot.
I often use Direct Ferries for checking Greece Ferries to give me some idea of which ferries go when and where.
I hope you find a Greek island Location that you wish to explore and visit.