There are over 6,000 islands and inlets in Greece, but only 227 of those islands are inhabited. That’s still a whole lot of islands to cover! Luckily, I had Anastasios (a Greek!) who more than knows his way around the Greek Isles! I was so excited to explore some other islands in the Aegean with him – sides of the Greek Islands I had never seen before! We got to experience the classic quaintness of Spetses, the magic of Hydra, the charm of Paros (and Antiparos!), and the beauty of Sifnos!
Believe it or not, Mykonos and Santorini are not the only two Greek island destinations in the Aegean! The two clusters of islands we visited were the Cyclades and the Saronic Islands. Spetses & Hydra are located in the Saronic Islands, then Paros, Antiparos, and Sifnos are situated in the Cyclades. I found a pretty helpful map that lays out all the Greek Islands and their grouping – I inserted it below!
The food was so incredible throughout this trip was top-notch. While Greek food can have its decadent offerings (fried feta with honey – my Achilles heel) after two weeks in Greece I didn’t get tired of the fresh Greek Salads and amazing mezze dips! For all of these islands, you can book a ferry to get from island to Island. Depending on your route, you might have to travel back to Athens before heading out.! We took a total of 6 ferries on our trip and it was definitely the easiest way to travel for sure. They are all quite punctual and had snacks or drinks on board! Transportation, once you get to each of the islands, differs: I’d recommend getting an ATV/quad in Spetsus, Hydra is just foot traffic or mules so no need (!), in Paros I’d rent a small car – you can take it on the ferry to Antiparos as well to drive!
About a 2-hour ferry ride away from Athens. About a 30-minute ferry ride from the Island of Hydra.
Spetses is famous for its distinctive neoclassical captain’s mansions, narrow streets, and traditional, charming character. Only a two-hour ferry ride away from Athens, it’s a common & convenient Athenian getaway for a weekend destination. As well as the excellent restaurants, Spetses has quite a buzzing nightlife for its size. There are also gorgeous beaches. Private cars are banned on the island – one reason it has a reputation for being so peaceful!
If you only have a few days in Spetses, I’d recommend eating at Orloff, Liotrivi , NTA “Water of Love” or the farm at Bostani. Grab breakfast at Bikini and spend an afternoon at Kaiki or Vrelos beach clubs! Grab drinks at Hono & Lulu, and Palms Bar at Poseidonion Hotel! I’d recommend renting an ATV or Vespa to get around the island with ease! Some beaches you might want to venture to are an easy 8 or 10-minute ride away. We rented through Moto Kentros – Mimoza Travel – and be sure to ask for Mr. Kostas! Also, fun fact, the recent movie “The Lost Daughter” with Olivia Coleman was filmed here!
- *Liotrivi – The “Olive Press” is located right on the water’s edge and has great seafood! Be sure to dine on the dock! You can’t go wrong getting their calamari and baked feta!
- On the Verandah – Located on the patio of the Poseidonion Hotel, they are serving up contemporary Greek dishes infused with local traditions at this chic establishment.
- Patralis – Great seafood option! Their lobster linguini and
- Mourayo – This seafood restaurant has a great location by the sea, situated on the deck. Excellent service and warm hospitality. Food is very tasty and the portions are quite big, so it’s better to share!
- *NTA “Water of Love” – This was an elevated and fun spot! We got to pick out our own fish
- *Orloff – One of my favorite dinners we had on the island and they have such a cute set-up! Classic Greek cuisine I loved the Pink Basil Smash and Orlof Spritz! They also have a resort on the island.
- Clock Eatery – A more casual Italian restaurant if you’re looking for a change in Greek cuisine!
- Zogeria Tavern – Located on one of the most beautiful beaches in Spetses, it’s a great spot for casual Greek lunch!
- *Bikini – Located just above the Bikini “bottom,” the “top” is a really solid spot for breakfast – get the avocado toast and the burger! They have an incredible view as well!
- Tokyo Joe’s Sushi – A solid sushi spot if you’re craving something different! Their boa buns are fantastic and I loved nearly every roll we got!
- Cockatoo – Cheap and easy souvlaki spot located right at the port! This might of been one of my favorite Souvlakis we had all trip!
- Tarsanas – For over 25 years, Tarsanas has been an established household name amongst visitors and locals who enjoy the finest seafood-based cuisine! Owned by the same group bringing you NTA!
- La Scala – Located on the patio of a luxury hotel this is a solid spot for Italian! Their pizza is exceptional and be sure to get the figs & gorgonzola! The chocolate semifreddo is a must for dessert!
- Kazoku Sushi Bar – A newer sushi spot with fantastic cocktails!
- Bostani by Poseidon (one seating) – Visit the organic farm where you’ll be ablt to pick your own vegetables and herbs before sitting down to enjoy with friends & family! We didn’t get to eat here because it was fully booked! Gotta have a reason to come back!
- Bouboulina– This seafood tavern is a good option for a casual lunch by the port!
- Agios – A great Mediterranean/ Greek spot that is perfect for lunch or dinner. It’s definitely meat-centric but has some delicious pasta options as well!
- Karagiánnēs Bakery – Great on-the-go Greek pastries for breakfast or sweet treat for later in the afternoon!
- Alfi’s – A local favorite, serving up delicious ice cream!
- *Kapelogiannist – Cute and casual lunch spot next to the water. They had great sardines, taramasalata and fava dip!
- *Hono & Lulu – Elevated club/bar with a Hawaiian/Tiki theme!
- Guzel– Club from Athens
- Le Luz
- Throubi Bar
- *Bikini – Open late night – tends to have a young crowd but always a really fun time!
- *Booze – so fun!
- *Palms Bar – Located at the Poseidonion Hotel, it’s the perfect place for a sunset cocktail or drink right before dinner!
- Cielo Mar
- Spend the afternoon at Kaiki Beach Club on the daybeds- and go paddleboarding!
- Rent ATV or Vespa at Moto Kentros – Mimoza Travel (and ask for Mr. Kostas!)
- Shop at Orio Design a cute jewelry shop – where I got my classic “evil eye” bracelet!
- Cook & experience an elevated greek meal at Bostani Farm!
- Visit the Bouboulina Muesum
- Agia Paraskevi
- Agia Marina
- Agioi Anargiri
- Kaiki – Chic beach club worth spending an afternoon at!
- Town Beach
- Vrelos Beach – a more locals beach club
- Paralia Garifalos
- Guesthouse Niriides – A cute & quaint boutique bed & breakfast located close to the central harbor. We loved our stay here as the owners were so sweet and the breakfast every morning was fantastic.
- Orloff Resort – Wonderfully contemporary chic hotel with rooms, suites, and two private villas sleeping 10 each. Wonderful pool, spa, and all-white rooms with all the mod cons. A great choice for couples, families, or groups of friends.
- Poseidonion Grand Hotel Spetses – Super luxurious hotel on the coastline of Spetses overlooking the harbor. All-white bedrooms and suites are enormous with private balconies! Reminded me of J.K. Place in Capri!
About a 1.5-hour ferry ride from Athens. About a 30-minute ferry from the island of Spetses.
The island of Hydra was so special and one of my favorites we visited! The architecture looks the same as it did in the 1800s: there are no cars, bicycles, or mopeds – just lots of mules, and plenty of walking. While there are no sand beaches near the main port, many people gather on the large rocks around Spilia Beach Bar and Hydronetta to lay out/dive off of them! The sunsets in Hydra were something magical. They seemed to last an hour and were some of the most beautiful ones I’ve experienced!
If you only have a few days in Hydra, I’d for sure dine at Téchnē, Sunset Restaurant, and Spilia Beach Bar. Be sure to spend a half-day at the Mandraki Beach Club – we loved the sushi there – and grab cocktails at Hydronetta (for sunset!), Castello (for sunset!) and Plakostroto!
- *Téchnē – A must for dinner!
- Little England (“Mikra Agglia”) – Great for breakfast, also!
- *Sunset Restaurant – A must! The food was some of the best we had all trip. It’s so great for lunch and ideal for sunset and dinner. Their taramosalata and calamari were incredible – as well as the seafood pasta!
- Bratsera Restaurant (at Bratsera Hotel)
- *Castello * – one of the best places for sunset!
- Omilos – Located on the port of Hydra, above the sea rocks, Omilos serves delectable dishes of Contemporary Mediterranean Cuisine.
- Il Casta – delicious Italian
- Kodylenia’s Taverna
- Manna – next to Amalour is also good for an alternative to feta tomato and cucumber
- Pirofani Taverna – in Kamini, it’s hard to find but with the detour. Theo who owns it is a character and great
- *The Cool Mule – A great spot for ice cream & gelato!
- Karamela Zaxaroplasteion (Pastry)
- *Kai Kremmidi (“… and Onion”) – Such a great spot for a casual (but elevated!) souvlaki! This was one of my favorites all trip. Be sure to order their hummus!
- Mandraki 1800 – If you venture to Mandraki Beach Club and don’t feel like having lunch there, this local taverna is a cute option!
- Hydronetta – Ideal for a sunset drink and swim! Be sure to swim in the water right below and come back up for a spritz and to watch the sunset. Some of the best sunsets from the rocks here!
- Spilia Beach Bar – Swimming & sunbathing spot with a rocky waterfront platform, plus a bar serving coffee & cocktails. They’re serving everything from burgers to bao buns here. A fun spot to have lunch and take a dip!
- Amalour – Funky-Ethnic Cocktail Bar. As one of the island’s few bars, Amalour is the hottest spot for early cocktails or to dance the night away.
- Pirate Bar – Has evolved from a classic dive bar into what is now a cafe with a wide selection of food, home-cooked sweets, and coffee. Into the night there is a DJ playing eclectic music to compliment the creative cocktails.
- Plakostroto – Very cute ivy-covered terrace serving up delicious drinks!
- Take a swim on the rocks! Just below Hydronetta & Sunset restaurant was my favorite spot!
- *Mandraki Beach Club – Great sand beach that is perfect to rent daybeds & hang out all day at! They have delicious sushi & bao buns here, trust me! There are boat transfers from the port every 30 minutes (a 10-minute ride)!
- see Jeff Koons’ APOLLO Exhibit (until October 2022)
- Catch an open-air movie! There’s an outdoor cinema playing modern and old films with cats that wander across the top of the screen. The schedule is on the port near the donkeys in a green frame and you find it by going up the alley where Elena Votsi is on the right corner. Keep going up it’s on the right-hand side.
- Go scuba diving!
- Hotel Leto Hydra – This is where I stayed and would highly recommend it! They had a small workout room and a great breakfast buffet in the mornings!
- Hydra Hotel
- Bratsera Traditional Hotel (has its own pool)
- Douskos Guest House – in the square is nice and simple
- Cactus Hydra – ‘Cactus Hydra’ are five apartments located on Hydra Island. Each apartment represents a cactus plant and is decorated accordingly with trompe l’oeil murals.
About a 4-hour ferry ride from Athens. About an hour ferry ride from Mykonos.
To me, Paros felt like a more family-friendly Mykonos: with it’s abundance of dining and bar options, great shopping, and white-washed streets! Staying in or near the village of Naousa would be my recommendation! Naousa is a picturesque fishing village with plenty of traditional charm. Only 10kms from Parikia, the narrow streets between whitewashed architecture make it feel 50 years away. There was definitely a fun nightlife atmosphere here!
If you’re only in Paros for a few days, I’d grab dinner at Kapari, Barbarossa, and lunch at Monastiri Beach Restaurant! Catch a sunset from the bar at Deck Bar Restaurant and grab drinks at Stilvi, and Santé Cocktail Bar (my favorite)! For getting around I would recommend getting a rental car. You can also take it to Antiparos on the ferry! We booked our car rental here!
- *Kapari – Loved this spot! It was casual but elevated Aegean cuisine done right! We got some of the best taramosalata and saganaki here!
- Soso – Refined and homey Greek food at this tiny romantic spot!
- Barbarossa – Even though they have a large space, it books up fast, so be sure to make a reservation! A very fun, Greek experience with elevated Mediterranean cuisine!
- Barbarossa Sushi – A great sushi spot by the same team that does Barbarossa!
- LUAZ – This romantic restaurant is serving elevated Greek fare with
- Yemeni Wine Restaurant – This cute & quaint wine bar is serving rustic Mediterranean fare!
- Tsachpinis Ouzeri Ton Naftikon
- Sigi Ikthios
- Stilvi – Located in an atmospheric courtyard, the menu is based on Mediterranean cuisine but with a modern twist!
- Meat Bar – A very casual but solid souvlaki spot! Perfect for needing to eat in a pinch!
- Siparos Seaside Restaurant
- Monastiri Beach Restaurant – One of our favorite lunches! Be sure to get the Calamari, pork!
- Orbis Seaside Cafe-Restaurant – Gorgeous spot to enjoy for sunset!
- Xaundodupns Bakery & Gelato – They have an insane dessert. it’s a cinnamon-sugar cone that is soft, filled with Nutella then topped off with ice cream!
- Cannelait – High-end pastries and baked goods. They also have cold-pressed juices and great coffee. Great for on-the-go!
- Chamēlothōrēs – This bakery has coffee, ice cream, and delicious Greek pastries. They have a location in town as well that has a delicious pastry cone with Nutella and topped with ice cream!
- “The Traditional” Dumplings – these little fried dough balls are a Paros staple. Delicious and perfect for a late night snack!
- Blue Restaurant – Excellent beach restaurant located at Golden Beach!
- Santé Cocktail Bar – This was one of my favorite cocktail bars on the whole trip! It was located In a very cute area under a tree and open until 3 am! We found ourselves ending up there two nights in a row!
- Come Back – Vibey bar with a patio that looks over the water. Fun for late-night!
- Deck Bar Restaurant – One of the best spots to enjoy the sunset in Naoussa!
- Stilvi – Recommended for dinner above! But is a fun place to end up for a lively drink after dinner!
- Trickster Bar (tiki!)
- Linardo – A fun late-night spot!
- I Tria
- Fotis All Day Bar
- Hike the Byzantine Road
- Tour the artist town of Lefkes
- Explore Aliki Fishing Village
- Take a day trip to Antiparios
- Miss Candlestick – handmade candles on the island!
- Alénia – Jewelry shop
- Two’s Architecture & Design – Cute interior shop!
- Antique shop – right next to TWO’s!
- Yria Studio
- Bottles Premium Hangover – This high-end convenience shop has such a great selection of drinks & snacks!
- Spend the day at Monastiri Beach Club
- Visit the Monastery of St. John’s of Deti, right next to Monastiri Beach Club
- Go scuba diving!
- Santa Maria
- Golden Beach
- Lageri Beach – nude gay beach
- Ammos – In Naoussa, Ammos was the perfect location in town but removed to feel not as hectic. The property has a communal terrace and breakfast was included!
- High Mill Paros – Situated on a hill side, the Hotel is just under a mile away from the town of Parikia, and offers exquisite sea views with stunning sunsets overlooking the Aegean Sea. It has a pool as well!
- Sandaya Luxury Suites – Close to the sea, Sandaya has been Designed to appeal to the modern-day Nomad looking for the ideal place to relax and unwind after a day of exploration around Paros!
- Quartano – Boasting a garden, a bar and a shared lounge, Quartano Luxury Cycladic Residence is situated in Naousa and close to the buzzing action of the town!
- The Cove – The Cove is a seafront resort of tranquility and Aegean beauty. Consisting of 5 elegant suites with private pools, and an all-day stylish beach bar and restaurant.
About a 4-hour ferry ride from Athens to Paros, then a 10-minute ferry ride from Paros to Antiparos. You can catch a ferry every 20 minutes from Parikia and Pounda port on the western part of the island! You can bring your car on the ferry as well!
At only a nautical mile southwest of Paros stands the islet of Antiparos. Though people usually visit on a day trip from Paros, if you are looking for a quiet beach holiday – it’s a good choice. It creates the perfect summer getaway, both for single-day boat trips and a few overnight stays. This tiny island has been made somewhat famous by the celebrities who summer here: Tom Hanks, Pierce Brosnan, and Whoopie Goldberg to name a few! This Cycladic islet is rather tranquil compared to its sister island Paros, with emphasis on the Cycladic elements and traditional lifestyle.
- Anargyros – Greek cuisine with modern techniques, top-quality ingredients, and a selected wine list, for an unforgettable Cycladic gastronomic experience.
- Lollo’s – Wood-fired pizzas bring some authentic Italian to the island!
- Yam – the first fun & funky cocktail bar on the island!
- Kalokeri– Refined Aegean cuisine brunch & dinner with selected local ingredients cooked in a creative way.
- Elia Kafenes – A small cafe in the main street, a great spot for breakfast or lunch with fresh salads and greek tapas, coffees, and traditional drinks from the island and other regions of Greece.
- Blender – This healthy coffee shop is offering vegan pastries and baked goods!
- Nautica – Coffee shop and great bites!
- Vicky’s Ice Cream – With over 40 flavors, this is the premiere spot on the island to hit your sweet tooth!
- *Beach House – A great beach club with a fun bar! Would definitely recommend spending part of the afternoon here!
- *The Rooster – Enjoy a sunset drink at their stunning hotel bar. Be sure to make a reservation! A must!
- Veranda Antiparos – They have an assortment of Greek-crafted beers, wines, and dali from all over Greece.
- Loco Coffee & Cocktails
- Margarita Cafe – Cute coffee shop
- Time Marine – One of the most famous beach bars on the island! Located on the beautiful beach of Psaralyki.
- Spend the day lounging at Beach House
- Visit the Church of Agios Ioannis Spiliotis
- Boat to the remote sandy beach of Despotiko Island
- Visit the underground Cave of Antiparos
- Paralia Sostis
- Faneromeni beach
- The Rooster Wellness & Lifestyle Resort – Built overlooking the unspoiled beach of Livadia, The Rooster was built within a 30-acre land of hills, rocks, and sand dunes. The Rooster is a luxurious and rustic stay equipped with a restaurant, bar, and secret garden. I loved the vibe here and would highly recommend it!
- Beach House Antiparos – It’s a boutique but relaxed stay at the Beach House with only 8 rooms!
About a 2.5-hour ferry ride from Athens.
Sifnos is one of the quieter, and yet somehow most enchanting islands in the Cyclades. Whitewashed villages sit atop the island’s spine, connected by rustic foot trails between them. Below the string of villages are olive terraces, almond trees, and ridges rich with herbs and wildflowers. And lying below that bays, harbors, and sparkly blue water!
- Cafe Mosaic – Located next to the Panagia Kochi church! Cute place with a variety of delicious tapas/mezzes. This is the place to go to share a meal with friends in a great atmosphere.
- To Chrysso
- Manoli – The food hasn’t changed much since the place opened decades ago. Herbs and vegetables still come directly from the owner’s garden and the day’s catch is pulled up by a fisherman a few feet from the tavern door.
- Omega 3 – Omega 3 is the best fish restaurant on Sifnos. They excel at small plates you can’t find everywhere else: like a citrusy sea bream ceviche, and the most decadent seafood risotto. Great for lunch – just make sure to make a reservation!
- Cheronissos Fish Tavern
- Rabagas – The place is lovely, with a large garden right in the center of Apollonia. Nice bar and the food choice is large + original and what we had was excellent!
- Theodorou’s Sweet Shop – This is the spot to pick up the most delectable Greek sweets like amygdalota, ground-almond treats in cookie form, supposedly shaped to mimic a Roman nose.
- See Artemonas, the pretty village known as the ‘Jewel of Sifnos’
- Explore Exambela village
- Visit Kostas Depastas – Traditional potters carry on the ancient traditions of Grecian pottery!
- Verina Astra/Suites/Villa – An exclusive complex of luxurious and stylish apartments and suites a few steps from the beach! They offer a few different villas and stay situations!
- Kamaroti – Kamarotí Suites Hotel is nestled on a natural olive grove overlooking the antique village of Kastro with the blue backdrop of the magnificent Aegean Sea.
- NOS hotel & Villa – Bright and spacious interiors open up to secluded courtyards, terraces & balconies for seamless indoor/outdoor living. Natural materials, earthy textures and hand-crafted details comprise a pared-toned aesthetic of refined simplicity!
Have you ventured to any Greek Islands yet? If you’re wanting to see more than Mykonos & Santorini, I’d highly recommend these beautiful smaller islands in the Cyclades and Saronic Islands! They each offer something totally different yet you’ll get the full Greet experience at each island in their own little way. I definitely can’t wait to get back to Greece and explore a few more islands – if you have any favorites, let me know!