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Discover 8 Hidden Greek Islands: From Antipaxos to Thirasia

Updated: Jul 5

Have you heard the Greek saying, "The smaller bottle holds the better perfume"? It's their way of asserting that good things indeed come in small packages—a sentiment that rings particularly true for Greek islands. While Greece is celebrated for its vibrant and bustling main islands, the smaller, often-overlooked islets possess equally stunning beaches, charming architecture, and mouth-watering cuisine but without overwhelming crowds. Ready to uncover some hidden gems? Here are eight must-visit, lesser-known Greek islands that should be on your travel radar.

Antipaxos, Ionian Islands

Antipaxos, just three miles in size, is a paradise tucked a mere mile away from Paxos. It's a slice of heaven with only three main beaches: Mesovrika, Vrika, and Voutoumi. Visitors flock here every summer to swim in turquoise waters or snorkel by the pebbly or sandy shores. Fancy lunch with a view? Head to one of the island's four tavernas: Spiros Taverna, Vrika Beach Taverna, Voutoumi Beach Bar and Restaurant, and Bella Vista. Consider an overnight stay in a villa (options available on The Thinking Traveller, Ionian Villas, Airbnb, and Vrbo) to enjoy Antipaxos in solitude after the day-trippers leave.

Pro Tip: Groceries are scarce on Antipaxos. Stock up in Paxos for the perfect beach picnic or a quiet dinner at your villa.

Meganissi, Ionian Islands

Despite its name meaning "Big Island," Meganissi spans a modest nine miles and sits just off Lefkada. The half-hour ferry ride reveals an idyllic haven perfect for sunbathing on white stone beaches, scuba diving, or exploring villages like Spartochori, Vathi, and Katomeri. Rent a yacht or a villa (through Five Star Greece, The Thinking Traveller, or CV Villas) to venture into secluded sea caves used by submarines in WWII.

Pro Tip: To find those secret coves and historical sea caves, rent a boat. It's the best way to explore Meganissi's hidden marvels.

Kastos, Ionian Islands

Fancy some near-total seclusion? Kastos, accessible via a 50-minute ferry from Mitikas, is home to approximately 50 residents. Spend your days snorkeling, exploring sea caverns like Fokotrypa, or dining at one of the harbor's four tavernas. The best lodging option here is The Thinking Traveller's Villa Gaia, with amenities like an infinity pool and a 4X4 for local exploration.

Pro Tip: The island's unpaved roads can be tricky. If you're staying at Villa Gaia, a 4X4 isn't just a luxury—it's a necessity!

Ereikoussa, Ionian Islands

The most northerly of Corfu's Diapondia islands, Ereikoussa, is just eight miles from Corfu. A fragrant five-mile oasis, It is surrounded by sandy beaches (Porto and Bragini) and lush with olive and cypress trees. Stay at Erikousa Hotel or Acantha Boutique Hotel, or opt for a rental home via Hip Away Villas or Vrbo. Activities here include swimming, scuba diving, cycling, and viewing Italy and Albania's panoramic views.

Pro Tip: Spring is the magic season here. Don't miss the wild lilies and purple heather in full bloom.

Marathi, Dodecanese

Marathi, a small, serene island, sees few visitors beyond private yachts and day-trippers. With just three tavernas (including Pantelis Marathi) and a dozen local residents (dropping to three in winter), this is the place for total relaxation. Activities are minimal, letting you focus on reading, unwinding, and contemplating life.

Pro Tip: Weather can be deceiving. Always give yourself buffer days before your flight home since windy conditions can delay your boat trip back.

Kimolos, Cyclades

Kimolos, less than a mile from Milos, shares the same stunning seas—emerald and cobalt—along with a beautiful Cycladic village, Chorio. Dry roses and vibrant taverna To Kyma take center stage at the port. With accommodations ranging from windmill lodgings to beach houses (available through Aria Hotels), it's a more intimate option compared to its bustling neighbor.

Pro Tip: Perfect for a secluded escape, but a day trip to Poliegos is a must for its natural harbor and occasional royal yacht sightings.

Thirasia, Cyclades

Once a part of Santorini, Thirasia separated from its sibling during a volcanic eruption in the second millennium BCE. Today, this tranquil island boasts 150 residents and offers visitors a quieter, pristine environment reminiscent of old Santorini. Hike through villages like Potamos, famous for its traditional cave houses, bask on black-sand beaches, and savor meals at classic Greek tavernas.

Pro Tip: Stay overnight to soak in the quiet evenings and picturesque sunsets—a contrast to busy Santorini.

Antiparos, Cyclades

While only a nautical mile from Paros, Antiparos stands on its own as a celebrity-favorite retreat. Popular with stars like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, this 27-mile Cycladic gem features exquisite beaches, charming pedestrianized main towns (Chora), dramatic caves, and architecturally stunning villas. Opt for a boutique stay at Beach House, The Rooster, or unique lodgings by Another-Island in Agios Georgios. Take boat tours to blue caves or nearby Despotiko, home to ancient temple ruins.

Pro Tip: Off-season is the best time to enjoy the island's charm without the celebrity buzz. Early fall offers pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

Each of these hidden islands offers a unique mix of natural beauty, understated charm, and local culture you won't find in the tourist-heavy hotspots. Ready to uncover these hidden Greek treasures? Let's plan your next adventure! Book Your Free Consultation Call to plan out your customized journey. Let's transform your travel dreams into reality!

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