Treasure islands: Five of the most underrated Greek destinations you need to visit
Greece is home to some of the most beautiful islands in the Med and a helluva lot of them – around 6,000 in fact!
We’ve whittled them down to five of the best lesser-known isles:
Admittedly Elafonisi isn’t really much of a secret, given its location to the south-west of Crete. The islands are separated by just 200 metres of water – and you can even make the journey across by foot in low tides.
Why you should visit: Though less well known than its bigger brother Crete, Elafonisi’s pink sand beaches and crystal clear water promises a welcome relief from the sweltering heat – and lots of opportunities for sunbathing.
Though its name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, don’t let that put you off – Astypalaia may be small but it is an island full of charm that boasts centuries-old history, whitewashed villages and sun-drenched beaches.
Why you should visit: If you’re looking for something more for your holiday than a couple of lazy days on the sand then look no further than Astypalea. With miles upon miles of mountainous meadows and rugged beaches, the island is richly rewarding for hiking and camping.
Want to delve deep into the history of the world? Then make Patmos your next holiday destination. Little seems to have changed in the 2,000 years since St John experienced his Revelation here, with small towns and quaint villages a dominant feature of this island.
Why you should visit: Though Patmos is open to holidaymakers, it remains under the radar of mass tourism, so it retains a sense of serenity. A visit to St John’s hillside cave – now a monastery – is a step back in time, giving an insight into Patmos’ past. It also offers a stunning view of the island.
Equally steeped in history is Skyros, which sounds like something out of The Terminator, but it’s actually considered the final resting place of the Greek god Theseus. Skyros is characterised by its beautiful beaches and mysterious caves that are ripe for exploring.
Why you should visit: Where to start? There’s so much to do in Skyros aside from catching the sun’s rays or relaxing in the hotel pool. Activities as varied as windsurfing, salsa dancing, creative writing and yoga sessions should keep mind and body active during your stay.
Despite having the same name as the multiple-headed monster from Greek mythology, the similarities end there when it comes to this picturesque Greek island. Wheeled vehicles are banned, which means the main forms of transport are mules and donkeys.
Why you should visit: If you’re looking for a holiday that’ll help you wind down then Hydra is just the place for you. After a day venturing through the island’s meandering streets, spend the evening soaking up the atmosphere with some fine Greek wine on a roof terrace.