The best quiet Greek islands for your Vacation

Greece lays claim to 6,000 widely scattered islands and islets, of which 227 are inhabited. {Booking now here}

So let’s start from the fact that there are various island complexes, which differ a lot from each other. Cyclades, the Dodecanese, the Northeast Aegean Islands, the Argo-Saronic Islands, the Sporades and the Ionian Islands. To these island complexes we should add also the islands of Crete & Evia.

Some (step forward Santorini and Mykonos) have such pulling power that they’re often swamped in peak season. But if holidaying in a tourist magnet isn’t quite your thing, the good news is that there are scores of isles where things remain much sleepier.

Avoid those that are known for giant resorts or where cruise ships frequently call and you can still find spots as magical as they appear in Greek mythology. From quiet Cycladic outposts to untrodden Ionian or Sporades beaches, these are the less-crowded islands we love most. {thetimes.cο.uk}

1. Andros {booking now here} Best for authentic character. It’s easy to get overlooked in an archipelago shared with Santorini and Mykonos. But Andros, the second largest Cycladic island, has a different appeal to its glitzier neighbours. For a start, it’s greener and has lots of scenic hiking trails, but on a hot day it’s the beaches that take centre stage. Wild and lovely Achla — overlooked in its sheltered cove by a lighthouse and an Orthodox church — is the standout, but sandy Batsi is more accessible, with ample facilities. Stay at Krinos Suites, a boutique hotel that blends understated style with authentic and heartfelt Greek hospitality.

2. Folegandros {booking now here} Best for sunsets Folegandros is a less-crowded Greek island, Another isle in the shadow of its Cycladic sisters is Folegandros, which sits halfway between Santorini and Milos. Many of its best beaches are accessible only by boat or on foot, which makes it feel laid-back and bohemian. Take a memorable stroll along zigzag stairs to whitewashed Panagia church, then soak up sunset views from traffic-free, cliff-top Chora (the island’s main town) or get closer still on a sunset cruise. Better yet, catch evening’s fiery glow from the comfort of Blue Sand Hotel & Suites, hidden away on the west coast with Aegean horizons from every room.

3. Nisyros {booking now here} Best for volcanic views Nisyros is a less-crowded Greek island. Being only a short ferry ride from Kos, Nisyros receives crowds of day-trippers from its Dodecanese neighbour. Happily, when they leave, it becomes a tranquil haven for the smart few who stay here. Volcanic roots have bequeathed it dark sand, hot springs and pumice cliffs, plus a crater around which it’s possible to walk. Dotted here and there are villages: Mandraki is liveliest, Nikia has volcanic vistas and Emporios sits beside the volcano itself, where Melanoptera (the name means “black stone”) is a good bet for self-catering stays in stylish units built with local materials.

4. Syros {booking now here} Best for culture vultures. You’d never guess from its laid-back vibe that Syros was once this seafaring nation’s main commercial hub. Centred on the capital, Ermoupoli (named for the Greek god, Hermes), the legacy of that influx of wealth can be seen in elegant architecture and cultural institutions such as the theatre and great archaeological museums. Beach-wise, there are pebble or sand options scattered around the coast, with the best being in the south (don’t miss pretty Megas Gialos). But with Ermopouli being so charming, opt for a city stay at Hotel Aristide, an art-and-marble-filled Cycladic townhouse within steps of refreshing sea swims.

5. Meganisi {booking now here} Best for peaceful escapes Meganisi is a less-crowded Greek island. Being overlooked in the rush to reach better-known Kefalonia and Lefkada has been a blessing for offbeat Meganisi. Despite lying only 25 minutes by ferry from Lefkada, this unspoilt Ionian island has foregone large-scale resort development to retain its welcoming, step-back-in-time appeal. With just three pretty villages, acres of olive groves and about 1,000 residents, it’s a beautifully languid spot, especially once you’re stretched out on one of its marvellous beaches (Fanari and Spilia are highlights). Vathy & Spartochori villages also have plenty of charm; you’ll be within striking distance of both when staying at bayfront Azur Retreat.

6. Alonissos {booking now here} Best for going wild Alonissos is a less-crowded Greek island. It’s all about nature on Alonissos, which lies within the Northern Sporades National Marine Park (Greece’s first). The 2,000 sq km reserve is home to rare Mediterranean monk seals, as well as dolphins, turtles and colonies of seabirds. Snorkellers and divers are in for a treat at the underwater museum’s sunken, 5th-century BC cargo ship. Back onshore, discover monasteries, hiking trails and picturesque Patitiri village, then decamp to Chrisi Milia for turquoise water and one of the best sandy beaches. Relax in peace at adult-only Infinity 180 Luxury Suites; then liven things up with a day trip to Skiathos, an hour’s hydrofoil skim away.

7. Agistri {booking now here} Best for mixing city and sea Agistri is a less-crowded Greek island. The Saronic Islands are some of the easiest to access from Athens and are a cinch to combine with urban explorations. Agistri is only an hour by ferry from the capital, but despite this proximity it remains idyllic and peaceful: all chilled-out vibes, crystal coves and pine trees cascading down to the sea. Dragonera is one of the island’s best-known pebble beaches, or for sandier shores try Skala. This is also where you’ll find Oasis Beach Hotel & Spa, whose 52 rooms and suites each have private verandas blessed with sea and mountain views.

8. Milos {booking now here} Best for otherworldly landscapes. Milos is a less-crowded Greek island. The exquisite Venus de Milo (the ancient statue discovered here, now on display in the Louvre) is not the only thing of legendary beauty in this outpost of the Cyclades. Volcanic origins created a landscape of elemental colours that mix sulphur-yellow cliffs with ash-white and obsidian-black rock formations. Such rawness comes into its own at Sarakiniko, where smoothly sculpted, moonlike shores contrast magnificently with the dazzling Aegean Sea. The water looks just as inviting when gazed upon from Skinopi Lodge, whose seven extraordinary villas blend into their rocky backdrop for the most luxurious of self-catering stays.

9. Patmos {booking now here} Best for beautiful beaches Patmos is a less-crowded Greek island. The Dodecanese island of Patmos has a fascinating past. Said to be where St John wrote the Book of Revelation (which consequently saw it become a place of Christian pilgrimage), it’s nowadays known for its buzzing nightlife and cosmopolitan edge. Being less well connected than some other Greek islands (the best ferry links are via Kos), Patmos rarely feels crowded and its beaches are sublime. Kampos has the busiest beach scene; or hire a boat and escape to Psili Ammos (which merits its name meaning “Fine Sand”). Porto Scoutari, the top Patmos hotel, is an ideal base from which to explore.

10. Kythira {booking now here} Best for gorgeous scenery Kythira is a less-crowded Greek island. Lying between Crete and the Peloponnese is Kythira: the southernmost of the Ionian chain and a place where age-old traditions still reign. Given that the goddess Aphrodite was said to have hailed from here, it’s only fitting that the island’s landscapes match her fabled beauty. Canyons, cliffs and countryside sit beside golden beaches and ancient ruins to captivate those who venture here, as if falling under the sirens’ spell. Stay at eco-luxury Hidden Retreats on a hilltop overlooking the sea, venturing out to discover pretty villages connected by cobblestone pathways, or the lovely white sand beach at Diakofti.