Mythical islands where seclusion meets sophistication
Among the thousands of Greek islands that have graced the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, only 250 of them are occupied. Tucked away in seaside harbors and secluded coastlines, these 7 top Greek island retreats deliver incredible food and wine, otherworldly beaches, white-washed and blue-domed architecture, and ruins of ancient civilizations. Although travelers have undoubtedly heard of—and perhaps visited—such marquee isles as Santorini and Mykonos, others are awakening to a new perspective of exploring the region. One where the nimbleness of yachting allows access to uncharted destinations, with time to dive deeper and linger longer.
Discover the top 7 Greek Island Retreats:
Tucked away in the South Aegean Islands, Patmos was named by Forbes as “Europe’s most idyllic place to live.” Its Cave of the Apocalypse is where John of Patmos (St. John) is said to have written the Book of Revelation. A fortress-like, 11th-century monastery dedicated to the saint overlooks the whitewashed houses of the hilltop capital, Chora, itself notable for its more than two dozen ancient churches and stone pathways only accessible by foot.
Nestled in the South Aegean, Naxos boasts a fertile landscape that hosts a mix of serene towns, ancient ruins, family-run tavernas featuring locally produced delicacies, and long stretches of beach. Agia Anna Beach, located on the island’s west coast, is perfect for a swim; or, for the more adventurous, explore the sea caves that line its turquoise waters. The island’s most historic site, the Portara, was constructed in 530 BC as a giant doorway to the never-completed Temple of Apollo.
This remote island is best known as one of the world’s five “Blue Zones,” regions where locals enjoy good health and live longer than the average person. Learn the secrets to longevity from the Ikarians’ culture and lifestyle, which they say is the result of consuming strong red wine, late-night domino games, and a relaxed lifestyle. Often recognized as the best Greek island for nature lovers, Ikaria features a stunning coastline with pristine beaches and abundant nature. There are over 200 villages scattered throughout Ikaria, giving the island its authentic character.
The small island of Syros offers the quintessential Greek island getaway. With sparkling blue waters, Syros’s breathtaking beaches—including Kini, Vari, Azolimnos, and Yalissás—are among its most coveted options to bask in the sun. Beyond the sand and sun, Syros is part of the Cyclades, an island group in the Aegean Sea, filled with culture and history and recognized for its Aegean cuisine spotlighting local specialties.
Perhaps providing the most diverse and dramatic coastline of all the Greek islands, sheltered, horseshoe-shaped Milos boasts more than 70 beaches and is heralded as the location where Venus de Milo was discovered. While discovering your favorite sand upon which to relax, don’t overlook Sarakiniko’s volcanic white cliffs and Papafragas’s emerald-green swimming holes and caves—shaped by the island’s unique minerals, including obsidian, barite, and sulphur, which happily bubble up in abundant hot springs.
Located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea, Crete features abundant natural beauty, intricate architecture, and archaeological sites worthy of exploration. In the old port, visit Castello a Mare, a Venetian fortress, and the Palace of Knossos, one of the largest and most significant Bronze Age finds the region has to offer. Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of its capital, Heraklion, by spending an afternoon in one of its many museums and sidewalk cafés.
The Corinth Canal
Envisioned several thousand years ago and embraced by various emperors who worked to convert the engineering dream into reality, today, the Corinth Canal connects the Gulf of Corinth in the Ionian Sea with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnese from the Greek mainland, arguably making the peninsula an island.
Are you ready to explore the mythical charm of the Greek Islands yourself? SeaDream provides you with an intimate view of these destinations unlike any other boutique travel line, with itineraries featuring a dramatic transit through the Corinth Canal. Click here to check availability and reserve your next voyage.