Hidden Gems of Greece, Part 1
When dreaming of a Greek island getaway, visions of Santorini’s blue-domed churches and Mykonos’s whitewashed alleys likely come to mind. But veer off the beaten path and you’ll discover Greece’s trove of under-the-radar islands. With over 1,400 islands and islets scattered across sapphire seas, Greece offers endless options for magical island hopping.
Join me as I uncover Greece’s hidden island gems in this multi-part blog series. We’ll journey off the tourist trail to discover captivating islands most visitors overlook. From the terraced hills of the Cyclades to the olive grove-dotted shores of the Ionian Sea, these island gems beg to be explored. Free of crowded beaches and commercialized resorts, these unsung islands offer a glimpse of authentic Greek life. So prepare to be charmed by their raw natural beauty, quaint villages, delicious cuisine, and serene vibes. This series shines a light on the Greek islands you need to add to your bucket list!
First up, the Hidden Gems of the Cyclades.
The Cyclades islands are synonymous with dazzling whitewashed architecture and stunning Aegean views. But venture beyond the superstar islands of Santorini and Mykonos and you’ll discover the Cyclades’ unsung island gems – where traditional charm and raw natural beauty await.
First up is Sifnos, located in the Western Cyclades. With its arid hills dotted with whitewashed churches, olive groves, and quaint coastal villages, Sifnos exudes quintessential Greek island allure. Base yourself in Kamares to easily access the island’s pristine beaches like Chrysopigi and its golden sands or the quiet coves of Vathi. Take a hike up to the medieval hilltop village of Kastro to soak in the panoramic views.
Foodies will delight in Sifnos’ culinary offerings. Make sure to sample the island’s famous pottery dishes like revithada (chickpea stew) and mastello (sheep cheese drizzled with aromatic honey). Cap off your feast by sipping kitron, a renowned lemon liqueur made only on Sifnos.
Another lesser-known Cycladic jewel is Folegandros with its unspoiled landscape and cascading cliffs overlooking the Aegean. Pastel-colored villages cling to its terraced hillsides, exuding an almost romantic vibe. Rent a car to explore Folegandros’ rugged inland roads leading to its remote beaches. Swim in the emerald waters of Katergo Beach or sunbathe beside the large pebbles at Angali Beach. As the youngest of the Cyclades islands, Folegandros’ raw natural splendor astounds. Hike along its cliff-lined paths for showstopping views before settling in for a Mediterranean feast at the port’s family-run tavernas. Savor fresh seafood caught that very same day!
Off the east coast of Attica lies Kea – the closest Cycladic island to Athens yet often overlooked. With no airports or large hotels, Kea retains an unspoiled charm. Rent a motorbike to traverse its mountainous interior dotted with vineyards, olive groves, and oak forests. Explore the impressive Stone Lion and the Temple of Athena ruins. Then cool off at the beach, choosing between popular Korissia or the quiet coves of Otzias, Pisses, and Sykamia. Stay in the hilltop village of Ioulida to experience Kea’s traditional way of life and soak in the island bliss.
If you’d like more information about any of these Cycladic islands, or others, please reach out! Greece is a magical place that I’m always happy to discuss!
The Cyclades’ hidden treasures beckon to be explored. Let these authentic islands charm you with their unspoiled landscapes, delicious food, and glimpse into traditional Greek life. Opaaa!
Next up . . . the Ionian Treasures!