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Which Island to visit if this is our second trip to Greece?

My husband and I will be going to visit a Greek island mid May for about four to five days. We have already been to Hydra, Skopelos, Santorini and Crete. We are looking for an authentic Greek island experience with good beaches, charming towns and interesting sites to visit. This will be our second visit to Greece. We will be visiting the island after our Rick Steve's Greece tour. What will the weather be like this time of the year on the island? Will we need to rent a car or is there good public transportation? We are thinking of maybe going on the ferry one way and flying back to save time. Do you have any suggestions where to stay? Would love an ocean view if possible, but not have a lot of street noise... so we can sleep. Appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thanks!

Posted by
1178 posts

May will still be off or low-season so even the Big Name Islands will be more "authentic" but still get crowds.

I have been to Tinos, Amorgos, Astypalea, Chios and found them more Greek especially off season. Islands like Sifnos, Milos, Naxos which I have been to will still be lovely and offer just about what most want for an authentic Greek Island.

Even Crete, the largest of the Greek Islands is big enough to find the real Greece any time of the year.

You could combine Naxos with the Small Cyclades which can give you a taste of a "Big" island experience and the "Small" Island experience.

There are numerous others I am planning on visiting which I feel can over you what you are looking for:


Not all islands will have airports but islands like Kythira, Ikaria, Lemnos, Skyros do which makes it very easy to get to from Athens.

Check out this website for Greek Islands:

Posted by
2147 posts

Naxos is very popular, for good reason. Lots to do and see, a good selection of reasonably priced hotels. We loved Studios Kalergis, right on the sand on St George’s Beach. You could rent a car or take a bus one day to explore the island.

Relatively unvisited by Americans is our favorite island, Lesvos. You’d want to fly both ways, since it’s a 12-hr ferry vs 1 hr flight (the airport name is Mytilene). Stay at Hotel Votsala, about 15 minutes north of Mytilene. There you will meet the most amazing host, Iannis, and his crew — plus a group of regular guests from all over Europe. It’s like an international house party. There is a private (rocky) beach and two tavernas about a 5 minute walk down the beach. Iannis offers optional excursions ... an archeological walk, a boat trip — once we went to Pergamon in Turkey. Fabulous breakfast, that you enjoy under the olive trees by the sea with classical music playing. If you want to explore the island on your own, a rental car can be delivered right to the hotel. Lots to see on the island. An unforgettable experience.

Posted by
122 posts

hi just back from 8 week solo island hopping in Greece. I agree NAXOS/ Paros/ Kos/ Syros are all worth checking out!
Mid May seemed ideal in terms of weather and crowds. I used ferry and bus no internal flights.

Posted by
13 posts

Husband and I spent 9 days in Naxos last September and absolutely loved it. Naxos still has a primarily agricultural-based economy rather than a tourist based economy so has a different feel than Mykonos/Santorini (we did do a day ferry trip from Naxos to Mykonos/Delos). We stayed in an Airbnb studio condo near Mikri Vigla, which is an easy 15 minute drive from Naxos Town and were literally less than 50 yards from the Aegean for $50 a night. Non-crowded beaches, amazing ancient ruins, great mountain villages, and Naxos Town is just touristy enough (this is NOT a party island but has some bars, very good restaurants, artisan product stores, etc.). There are still small restaurants in Naxos Town right on the water where the waitstaff do not speak English and cater to a local crowd. However, I highly recommend renting a car. Naxos Town is very walkable if you stay there but the best beaches are 15-30 minutes away and the mountain villages are a must do destination (not to mention great ancient ruins, including 2000 year old kouros statues just laying on the ground as you hike!). The public transportation seemed a bit spotty but there are buses/private drivers (and may be a good option if you are not comfortable driving narrow twisting mountain roads). By the way, Naxian potatoes are legendary in Greece (listed by name in Athenian restaurants) and we ate them EVERY DAY!!!!! Also loved the local cheeses, yogurt, capers, tomatoes, goat and of course fresh fish. I could have stayed another week!!!!