Secret Greece: 15 Islands You've Never Heard Of

  • by XpatAthens
  • Wednesday, 08 July 2015
Secret Greece: 15 Islands You've Never Heard Of
Off the beaten track alternatives to Rhodes, Corfu and Santorini.
Looking for untouched beauty, seclusion and quiet for your next holiday? There are a whole host of Greek islands overlooked by tourists that make for an off-the-beaten-track island escape in Europe.

Forget the hordes of holidaymakers in Kos and Corfu. These undiscovered hideways offer picturesque harbours, authentic villages and traditional Greek cuisine. Love beaches? The pebbly and sandy stretches on these remote islands are just how you like them: tranquil, unspoilt and totally sun-drenched . There's no shortage of ways to stay active on your Greek island getaway, either, as the nature and wildlife on these islands are just waiting to be explored: think waterfalls, hiking trails with sunset views and thermal springs.

If you're in need of a true island escape in Greece, these are the secret places for you. Folegandros (pictured) boasts sugar-cube whitewashed houses, pristine beaches and one of the most appealing clifftop villages in the Cyclades. In unique Chios, you can observe the beautiful village of Pyrgi, with its buildings finely decorated in grey and white geometric shapes. For those who appreciate a pretty harbour, don't miss Symi. This island has one of the most picturesque harbours in Greece, showing off impeccable architecture, cafes and a slow pace of life, unlike its neighbour Rhodes.

Want to experience the Greek islands without the crowds? Here's where you should go...

The pretty island of Kastellorizo, which lies 110km east of Rhodes, has a main town that unfolds around the natural harbour with unique architecture and colourful houses. The island's is home to a cluster of islets and offers a wealth of marine life to discover in its clear blue seas. Around the island you'll find cafes, tavernas and shops. The medieval castle and archaeological and folklore museums are several top attractions to visit when you're not at the beach. As tourism is yet to develop you'll only find a selection of hotels - a good place to experience true Greek island life.

The lesser-known isle of Chios is a unique gem in the north-eastern area of the Aegean Sea. It is best known for its cultivation and production of mastic, an aromatic resin that comes from trees that grow in the Mastihohoria region and forms in teardrop shapes. Pyrgi is one of the island's most beautiful villages, characterised by the fine decoration of its houses featuring grey and white geometric shapes.

One of the most romantic places in Greece, Hydra overlooks the Argosaronic gulf and is home to traditional stone mansions, narrow cobbled streets and secluded squares. Cars are banned so people get around by donkey and its heart is the waterfront, featuring picturesque streets, museums, churches and cafés. Hydra is a popular day trip destination from Athens and its best beaches include Limnioniza, Spiliá and Ayios Nikolaos.

Karpathos is part of the Dodecanese complex and lies east of Crete. It is one of Greece's best-kept secrets, a mountainous island full of fresh water springs, vineyards and pine-tree forests. Karpathos' rock caves are home to Mediterranean monk seals and around the island there are marvellous hiking paths, secluded beaches and pretty villages, such as Othos and Olympos.

Schinoussa is a small island that lies to the south of Naxos and boasts stony landscape that is both beautiful and unspoilt. It is part of the Minor Cyclades group of islands and has just three villages: Chora, Messaria and Mersini. As the island's port, Mersini, once a hideout for pirates, is a haven for small boats and a popular mooring spot for sailing enthusiasts. While on the island, enjoy hiking to observe the unspoilt natural beauty of the island, discover the 15 idyllic beaches and don't miss a walk through the picturesque village of Chora.

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