A perfect blend of quaint, slow paced-villages, postcard perfect beaches, sleepy fishing towns, astounding moonscape formations, splendid diversities bustling with colour against sparkling blue waters, make up for breathtakingly beautiful and relaxing backdrop one can relish in the Greek islands. Usa Τoday, a well trusted American media company, published a wanderlust-igniting article with five hidden-gem Greek Islands, where one can soak up their natural beauty beyond the massive tourism. Perfect destinations, with a vast wealth of natural bays and coves, ideal to explore on sailing holidays. Let's explore them one by one!
It’s an adventurous eight-hour overnight ferry to arrive at the Amorgos ports of Aegiali or Katapola, but well worth it. This peaceful island is located in the southeast corner of the Cyclades, and has managed to elude most island hoppers.
Located at a viewing distance from Naxos, Santorini and Ios, Amorgos captivates visitors with its natural beauty, slow-paced life, quaint villages and traditional architecture. It is filled with fabulous beaches, inspiring filmmaker Luc Besson to shoot scenes from the movie The Big Blue on the beach of Agia Anna, below the 1000-year-old Byzantine monastery of Hozoviotissa.
A walk in Chora and holdover villages of Amorgos is a step back in time. The main port of Katapola is filled with churches dating back to the time of early Christianity. The island’s trail network is well maintained for hiking enthusiasts, who can try short distances or spend long days exploring its diverse paths, abandoned villages and mines and hidden beaches.
The stairway to heaven ascent to the summit is 2,624 feet, with picture-perfect panoramic views. On a clear day, you’ll get vivid views of neighboring Naxos.
The Ionian Island of Kefalonia was put on the map by the 1994 bestselling novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, by Louis De Bernieres, which was later made into a film starring Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz. The movie showcased the island’s sheer mountain landscapes and sparkling waters. Kefalonia is the largest of the Ionian islands, and the fifth largest in Greece. Despite the bustle of summer vacationers on Lassi, Karteleos and on the long, golden beach of Skala, Kefalonia is filled with secluded beaches, steep terrain ideal perfect for exploring on foot, and miles of shoreline you might have all to yourself. A third of the island’s 45,000 inhabitants live in or near Argostoli town. Most visitors to the island arrive by daily ferries from the Peloponnese to the port of Poros.
Myrtos Beach on Kefalonia is world-class. Backed by steep limestone rock walls, it’s a mesmerizing, shimmering portrait of white pebbly rocks leading to shades of sapphire, cobalt, teal, turquoise and just about every other blue that exists.
On sleepy Kimolos, visitors will find Greek island life at its unrushed finest. Almost connected to big brother Milos Island by a 15-minute ferry ride, Kimolos remains under the radar. This is an island where locals are on a first-name basis, and if you stay long enough, the locals will begin to know your name as well. Kimolos is filled with hidden fishing villages, and beaches and swimming areas you might have entirely to yourself. The beaches Rema and Karas create the illusion of being in natural swimming pools. Klima and Prasa are filled with white sand and azure waters. Monastiria, Soufi and Agioklima are in spectacular bays where one can enjoy a leisurely swim, and dive from 30 feet into the Aegean Sea. Prasa and Aliki are popular among locals. Another highlight is the Gerakias cave. Dive into the sparkling waters, or walk along its shallow path inside the cave.
Eighty miles southwest of Athens, and halfway to Crete, lies one of Greece’s most awe-inspiring portraits in rock. Born from explosions in the sea three million years ago, the uneven, serrated geological formations of rock walls that surround Milos are amazing. Less fashionable than its glitzy Cyclade brethren Santorini and Mykonos, Milos offers visitors a romantic escape. The horseshoe-shaped island has over 75 beaches, each with its own unique characteristics. Milos is filled with lacy shores, multi-hued blue waters, golden white sand, pebbly coves and rocky heights of granite ascending from the sea in shades of white, red, yellow and black.
The island’s most astounding swimming hole is the famous moonscape rocks of Sarakiniko. If the sea is calm, it’s an ideal stop for kayaking and cave exploration. Beachgoers should seek Paliochori, with its crystal-clear waters, multi-colored sand and shiny pebbles, and Papafragas, submerged in a cave enclosed by soft white rocks in deep blue waters. The towering rock slabs of ex-pirate den Kleftiko offer one of the most impressive landscapes on the island.
Due to its convenient airport, complete with easyJet, Ryanair and other low-cost carriers, the summer months can be quite crowded. But if you abide by the savvy traveler’s adage and avoid Greece in August, you will find a marvelous relaxed island. Even in the summertime, the island is large enough to get away from the tourist crowd and to discover an unrushed island lifestyle.
The southernmost island of the Ionian chain boasts Greece’s most recognizable beach. Most travelers visit the island for a glimpse of Navagio Beach, or as it is also known, “Shipwreck Beach.” In the early ’80s, smugglers involved in a high-speed pursuit with the Greek coast guard washed ashore right onto the beach. As years passed the boat was never removed. The sand has completely engulfed the now iconic fixture, and it remains smack dab in the middle of the white sand. The beaches of Agios Nikolaos, Alikes, Argassi, Dafni, Gerakas, Kalamaki and Port Zoro also offer superb swimming areas.
Parts of the island are actually closer to Albania than to Greece. Most settlements and beaches are in the southern half of the island. The northern half of the island gets increased precipitation in the winter months and mostly sunshine during the summer, creating verdant vegetation and fertile green hills. While occupying Zakynthos, the Italians called the island “The Flower of the East,” with over 7,000 varieties on the island. Splendid Zakynthos town offers an ideal boardwalk setting to mingle with locals, and comes complete with an impressive Venetian castle high above the citadel.