Greece, known for its gorgeous beaches and rich architectural landscape, appears frequently on lists of top travel destinations. However, popular locales like Mykonos and Santorini are so popular that they can often make for a suffocating experience. In this list, we take you through our top three favourites of Greece’s obscure islands and luxury villas. Even if you can’t afford a luxury stay, or its your first time visiting Greece, the islands are worth the visit. Barely frequented by tourists and equal in beauty to its cluttered counterparts, these islands give visitors a taste of Greece with the sense of freedom all vacationers should enjoy.
Just a seven-minute boat ride away from its bigger cousin, Paros, Antiparos is a beautiful island in the the Aegean Sea. Belonging to the Cyclades islands group, this small island offers a greater sense of privacy and relaxation to visitors. With whitewashed houses, traditional restaurants and uncluttered streets, the island is a huge draw for an international crowd of artists and celebrities.The eastern side of Antiparos contains the town centre, the port and popular beaches. If you can find your own transport, preferably a Jeep, the rest of the island is filled with lush, must-see hotspots. On the southern side, is the Cave of Antiparos, glittering with stalactites and stalagmites. Meanwhile, the northern pole of the island contains the unspoiled and idyllic Faneromeni beach. Antiparos is the island to be for those looking for a peaceful, secluded getaway.
Known as the Holy Island, Tinos is a ferry stop between Athens and Mykonos. Visited by pilgrims and tourists alike, the island contains some of the holiest shrines in Greece and unique white cubist architecture. With a history that reaches all the way to the Mycenaean period, Tinos is a must-visit spot for those charmed by aged buildings, cobblestoned villages and archaeological sites featuring more than 700 churches.Despite this rich historical texture, Tinos is also great for outdoorsy types: it offers pristine beaches with crystal-clear water, great expanses of countryside and ideal hiking locales. It’s relative obscurity compared to its much more popular neighbour, Mykonos, means that its the perfect island for exploration, diving, swimming and surfing in cosy seclusion.
Beloved by Athenians, Spetses aristocratic background has led to it being considered the Hamptons of Greece. Its refined neoclassical manors, little ports, flourishing courtyards and charming, pine-fringed beaches showcase a deeply romantic atmosphere. The island bans the use of cars. Visitors and residents travel via water taxis, horse, carriages, mopeds or one of the four taxi cabs.The island is an ideal location for those looking for a peaceful daytime experience and a lively nightlife. The island contains a plethora of cultural activities. You can go see a play at an ancient theatre, sail, or visit the close-by Hydra. Bike trails make it easy for tourists to take in the panoramic sea views. If you travel in the second weekend of September, you can witness the island’s annual Festival of Armata. Celebrating the victory of Spetses’ navy against the Ottoman fleet, the festival reenacting the naval battle through fireworks, music, and yacht horns. The athletic and cultural events held during the festival are great fun for visitors new and old.