Last Updated: May 19, 2022

Hidden Gems In Greece (Lesser Known Islands & More)

Greece is a fascinating country, full of world-famous attractions but also some hidden gems that not everyone knows about. While pretty much everyone on the planet knows about Athens, Mykonos, Zakynthos, and Crete, not that many people are acquainted with the historic ruins of Delos, the stunning beaches of Skiathos, and the exciting hikes of Epirus.

Those are just a few of the 15 hidden gems in Greece that you need to know about! Keep reading to see what the other hidden gems in Greece are, and plan your next trip to this fascinating country with them in mind!

Spinalonga Island

Spinalonga Island

Spinalonga Island is situated in the Gulf of Elounda, near the Kalydon peninsula. It belongs to the group of Cretan islands, and it is easily accessible by boat from Plaka, Elounda, Regions, and Nikolaos. If you’re looking to do a day trip from eastern Crete, the beautiful island of Spinalonga is certainly one of the best options.

This Greek island is known for its beautiful beaches and historic ruins. The Spinalonga fortress is the best-known attraction on this tiny island and the number one attraction that people will explore here.

There are other ancient ruins throughout the island, but they’re not quite as interesting as the spectacular fortress. The former leper hospital is a pretty popular attraction, and it tells the story of the time when Spinalonga Island functioned as a leper colony back in the day.

The small Greek island is also popular for its stunning coastline, with lots of beaches and crystal-clear azure sea. But other than exploring historic ruins and lounging on the beach, there’s really not much else to do on Spinalonga Island.

Ikaria

Ikaria

Ikaria is a small island in the Aegean Sea. It is near the Turkish coast, and it’s actually closer to Turkey than the Greek mainland. It’s easily accessible by boat from Samos, and there are flights to Ikaria from other, more remote Greek islands.

This serene island is known for ancient monasteries, amazing wineries, and beautiful white-sand beaches. Exploring the historic landmarks on the island is the top thing to do in Ikaria, especially because Ikaria has such a rich history. It’s been inhabited since 7000BC, and there are many landmarks that are a testament to its rich history.

The temple of Artemis at Nas is one of the best-known attractions on the island, and it’s definitely worth visiting. It’s close to the Nas beach, which is situated in a rocky cove. This is one of the prettiest beaches on this hilly island, but it’s certainly not the only one worth your time.

Armenistis village also boasts pristine beaches, but so do most towns on the island. It really is worth exploring as much of Ikaria as possible and discovering all the different museums and ruins that are testaments to the many civilizations that have changed on this remote Greek island.

Monemvasia

Monemvasia

One of the best hidden gems in Greece is the tiny town of Monemvasia. It’s situated in the municipality of Laconia, on a very small island that’s linked to the Greek mainland by a narrow causeway.

This hidden gem in Greece is a popular honeymoon destination, and it is considered one of the most romantic towns in the entire country. The medieval town was carved into a sea rock, which isn’t visible from the mainland. This helped protect locals from enemy attacks, and it was very successful.

The medieval town could only be reached by boat for a long time, but eventually, a paved path was constructed to connect the mainland to the stunning castle that the town is best known for today. This is actually how the charming town got its name – Monemvasia translates to single passage.

A new town was eventually constructed on the mainland, just opposite the magnificent sea rock. A trip to Monemvasia truly feels like you’ve somehow traveled back in time, and the views from the grounds of the ancient castle are just out of this world.

Naxos

Naxos

Naxos is one of the largest Greek islands. It is situated in the South Aegean, and it belongs to the Cyclades islands. The island is famous for quite a few things, including sandy beaches, natural beauty, and historic landmarks.

There are a lot of ancient ruins on this island, making it perfect for all travelers who are interested in Greek history. Quite a few temple remains can be found throughout Naxos, and the most famous of them are the ruins of the Temple of Apollo.

It’s worth noting that visitors will need to hike to most of the famous landmarks on Naxos, but also that they get to enjoy spectacular panoramic views from these sites.

In addition to many ancient ruins, Naxos is also famous for its secluded beaches, crystal clear sea, and rich vegetation. In fact, this charming island is full of ancient olive trees, one of which is the oldest of its kind in the world. The ancient tree is one of the most popular hiking destinations on the island, and easily one of the best hidden gems in Greece.

Delos

Delos

Delos is a small Greek island southwest of Mykonos, and it’s the perfect hidden gem to explore if you’re staying in Mykonos for a while and want to explore something other than clubs and resorts. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is prominently featured in Greek mythology, and it’s home to some of the top hidden gems in the country.

The island of Delos is known for its many archaeological sites, most of which have been turned into museums. Anyone who is interested in Greek history and mythology will absolutely enjoy their time on this island, and the best part is that most of the famous ruins are only a few kilometers apart from one another.

Additionally, when you get tired of exploring the temples, agoras, and historic landmarks, you can always take a break at some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. Delos boasts quite a few gorgeous beaches, some of which can only be accessed by boat due to the rugged terrain of the island.

That’s another thing worth mentioning – Delos is a rugged island with barely any trees. Whether you plan on hiking for hours or just exploring its many beaches, you’ll want to bring plenty of sunscreen and the largest hat you can get your hands on, considering that shade is extremely scarce on this Greek island.

Also, Delos is pretty much an uninhabited island. In 2011, it had a population of only 24, so don’t expect to find any modern-day amenities while you’re traversing this historic hidden gem.

Tinos

Tinos

Tinos is an island in the Aegean Sea. It is northwest of Mykonos, and it’s actually about twice the size of the popular party island. There are about 50 different villages on Tinos, making it perfect for a proper exploration of Greek culture and food.

Kolimvithra is the most popular beach on the island, mostly due to its fascinating natural beauty. However, it’s not really a great beach for swimming, due to strong winds and waves. But it’s a great beach for surfing, and possibly even the best beach on Tinos for everyone who is looking to catch some waves while they’re on this fascinating Greek island.

Tourist attractions on Tinos are abundant, so no matter which part of the island you end up in, you’ll have loads of fun things to do and see. There are museums, archeological sites, nature preserves, and plenty of lighthouses to visit in different parts of the island.

In addition to so many relics from the ancient world, it’s worth noting that this gorgeous Greek island is also home to Panagia Evangelistria – one of the most famous pilgrimage sites in entire Greece.

Skiathos

Skiathos

Skiathos is a small island in the Sporades. It is best known for white, sandy beaches, which are abundant on this tiny island. Skiathos is the easternmost of all the Sporades islands, and it’s very close to the Greek mainland.

The largest town on the island is also Skiathos, with a total population of a little over 4,800 people. Less than 2,000 people live in other villages throughout the island, so if you want to be as far away from people as possible, just skip the biggest town on the island.

Unlike most other hidden gems in Greece, this beautiful island isn’t known for its rich history and countless ruins. Instead, it’s known for being the perfect place for a dream holiday in Greece, thanks to some 60 mesmerizing sandy beaches and crystal-clear turquoise sea.

If you’re looking to spend most of your time in Greece swimming and soaking in the sun, this is by far the best-hidden gem for you, since it offers the most options in terms of beautiful beaches.

Sifnos

Sifnos

Sifnos is an island in the Cyclades, featuring lots of historic sites, medieval ruins, and archaeological museums. The island has been inhabited since at least 4000 BCE, so it’s a great place for all history buffs who want to learn more about ancient civilizations in Greece.

Of course, the many archaeological sites aren’t the only interesting thing about the island of Sifnos. It also boasts stunning beaches, exciting hiking trails, and even lots of mountain biking trails. Most trails lead you to the island’s many landmarks and historic sites, so in addition to exploring Sfinos’ gorgeous nature, you’ll also get a glimpse of its top attractions.

Some of the must-visit sites on the island are the Sifnos Castle, Chrisopigi Monastery, Chapel of the Seven Martyrs, Papafragas Caves, and Church of Saint Sostis. It’s worth noting that it’s possible to explore the hidden gems in Sifnos via boat as well since there are quite a few cruise companies on the island that offer day excursions to its many top sights.

Cameo Island

Cameo Island

When you look up the term hidden gem, there really should be a photo of Cameo Island in the dictionary. This spectacular little island is situated off the southeastern coast of Zakynthos, in the Ionian Sea. It is accessible from Zante by a narrow footbridge, and it’s one of the most beautiful tiny islands in Greece.

This island was once part of Zakynthos, but it got cut off from the mainland during an earthquake in 1633. Everything about Cameo Island is reminiscent of the Caribbean, from the charming wooden footbridge to the tall trees.

This is a very tiny island with a church, a bar, a beach, and nothing else. Its stunning beach is an extension of the famous Laganas beach on the Zakynthos island, and the hills above it offer some spectacular scenic views of the pristine sea and beach.

Cameo Island is the perfect place for spectacular drone photography. It is incredibly picturesque due to the beautiful trees and the tall rugged rocks that surround the one small beach on the island.

Athos

Athos

Athos is a mountain in the northeast and one of mainland Greece’s hidden gems you should definitely try and visit if you get the opportunity. It’s an important center for Eastern Orthodox monasticism, and the entire area surrounding the mountain is actually governed as an autonomous polity.

It’s worth noting that women are not allowed to visit the top of the mountain, which is very unfortunate if you have the desire to explore this sacred area. Ladies can enjoy views of this towering mountain from any of the nearby beaches – the vista of Mount Athos is absolutely mesmerizing.

Gentlemen can actually go and climb to the top of the mountain to experience even better views, but also to visit some of the monasteries. Just keep in mind that you must be very respectful and mindful of the rules, considering that this is a sacred place for many Eastern Orthodox Greeks.

Kalymnos

Kalymnos

Kalymnos is a remote island that’s much closer to Turkey than Greece. It belongs to the group of Deocadenese Islands, and it is the third most populous island in the group, right after Kos and Rhodes.

Kalymnos also boasts quite an affluent population, and it’s actually the wealthiest island in the group, despite being barren and unsuitable for agriculture. Tourism has exploded on the island in the past few years, and most people who visit Kalymnos come there for excellent rock climbing opportunities.

In fact, this Greek island is extremely popular among avid climbers, precisely because of its rocky terrain and mountainous relief. There are a few interesting beaches on the island, but most of the best attractions on Kalymnos can only be reached by vertically traversing its steepest hills and mountains.

Loutro

Loutro

Loutro is a small village on the southern coast of Crete. It is in the Chania regional unit, and it is named after the Greek word for a bath. That’s because the village is home to many ancient baths, which is exactly what makes it one of the best-hidden gems in Greece!

This beautiful village is also the site of Phoenix, the ancient city that used to be the port town of the ancient Anopolis. This was a very important harbor in both the Hellenistic and Roman times, but unfortunately, nothing remains of the ancient town today.

The charming village can only be accessed by boats or on foot. There are ferries that connect the village to nearby towns, but there aren’t any roads, railways, or airports in the area. The inaccessibility is the key reason why this beautiful place remains a hidden gem, as opposed to one of the best-known attractions in southern Greece.

Rethymno

Rethymno

Rethymno is a city on the island of Crete, with a population of about 30,000. The city was originally built during the Minoan civilization, and at the time it was prominent enough to easily maintain the urban growth and even mint its own coins.

One of the coins that were minted in Rethymno featured an image of two dolphins in a circle, and this image is nowadays the crest of this beautiful city. Rethymno’s rich history is documented in the city’s many museums, but it’s certainly not the only reason why one should make an effort to explore this Greek hidden gem.

The beautiful city on Crete’s north coast is also known for excellent beaches, great resorts, and amazing sightseeing. The ruins of a 16th-century Venetian citadel are the best-known attraction in town, and definitely one of the first things you should check out if you end up visiting this amazing city.

Other popular attractions in the city include the Rethymnon Lighthouse, Porta Guora, the Municipal Garden, Neratze Mosque, all the different museums that chronicle the city’s history, various archaeological findings, and so much more!

Kefalonia

Kefalonia

Kefalonia is a fairly large island in the Ionian Sea. It’s known for rugged landscapes, gorgeous sandy coves, and Argostoli, the beautiful capital city that was built on a hillside. Argostoli overlooks a narrow harbor, offering some of the best picturesque views you can experience on this gorgeous island.

If you’re looking for the best beaches in the Ionian Sea, Kefalonia will certainly deliver. It’s the perfect destination for nature lovers because most of its best beaches can only be accessed by hiking trails or via narrow, winding roads.

This discourages mass tourism, so most people don’t even know these amazing places exist! That also means a pristine sea and untouched nature, plus the possibility of having a secluded beach all to yourself!

Epirus

Vikos Gorge Epirus

Epirus is the northwestern area of ancient Greece, and it’s one of the least-explored parts of the country. This is Greece’s mountainous region, making it the ideal destination for all hikers and climbers who make their way to this fascinating Mediterranean country.

But it’s a region in mainland Greece that features very few beaches and resorts, which explains why it gets very few visitors. It’s without a doubt one of the best-hidden gems in Greece, and a place every nature lover will thoroughly enjoy.

Some of the best things to do in the region include hiking, rafting, mountain climbing, and boating. Epirus is home to the Vikos National Park, which is best known for the mesmerizing Vikos Gorge. With a drop of 490 meters, the gorge is easily one of the most stunning sights in mainland Greece.

Other popular sights in the region include the Lichnos Beach, Acheron, Drakolimni Lake, Castle of Ioannina, Blue Lagoon Βeach, Venetian Castle of Parga, Perama Cave, and many others. If you’re looking to spend several weeks exploring the hidden gems of Greece, traveling through the Epirus region is certainly one of the best ways to spend your time!

About the Author Anna Timbrook

Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.

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