The Greek Islands: Top Weekend Getaways

Like little pearls in the Aegean Sea, the Greek islands dot the blue waters with gorgeous landscapes and white-washed buildings. Visitors flock to the tiny winding streets of Mykonos. They soak up the sun at its pristine beaches, and party the night way with fellow revelers. Or they sip white wine and take in the view as the sun dips to the horizon in Santorini, its rays bathing Oia and Fira in a warm glow over the caldera.

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But what about the lesser known islands? Where the throngs of tourists give way to rolling landscapes and quieter villages?

The entirety of the Greek Islands will always remain a popular destination, but try these top attractions to avoid the bulk of the crowds.


The largest island of the Cyclades island group, Naxos offers guests the chance to sample a variety of Greek island life. The Port of Naxos is the main city, with plenty of restaurants, bars and shops to choose from along the water. Outside the city the island boasts an array of ruins, hikes with stunning views, beaches and even wineries. And don’t forget to try a sip of Kitro, a local liqueur made by distilling the leaves of the Kiron tree. The technique has been passed down for generations. It is currently made by only two families at the distillery of Vallindras and the Promponas distillery. Locations can be found both in the main city and in the village of Chalki.

The Greek Islands Weekend Getaways Naxos

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Ios is an island of hills. You must take a short walk up an old path to reach the main village, or take advantage of a bus system if you find the incline too steep. There you will be greeted with some of the islands’ best restaurants, bars and clubs. For although Mykonos is the most widely recognized, Ios has gained its own reputation as a party destination. It maintains its smaller feel, however, as the hills and narrow streets make travel by car virtually impossible within the main town. The rest of the island consists of windy roads and, as with all the islands, gorgeous beaches. For the adventuresome spirit, rent a scooter to explore farther afield. Otherwise vehicle rentals are available.

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This island is one that would be too easy to overlook. Its villages are small, and it has a quiet, sleepy feel as if time has forgotten to tick here. The main attraction is a historic monastery, the Panagia Hozoviotissa, built into the cliffside overlooking the sea. It is a working monastery still, housing several monks and open to visitors. Climb the many stairs and be rewarded with spectacular views, a tour of the structure and a taste of traditional raki, made by the monks themselves.

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Whether you are looking for brilliant landscapes, delicious Mediterranean food or a general escape from the bustle of the modern world, these three islands are sure to hit the mark. Perfect for those special weekend getaways.

Amy Lynne Hayes

Amy Lynne Hayes is a freelance writer and designer best known for her absolute refusal to stay in one place for very long. After studying art and design in Orlando, London and Paris, and working for a boutique design firm in Melbourne, Australia, Amy focused her attention on her first passion: travel. Her blog, Créatrice Mondial, means “global creator” - the perfect description. She recently set up home base is Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she can usually be foundsipping wine on her balcony, dreaming up her next great adventure.