Welcome to Best Greek Islands 2022 list
Traveling to the Greek Islands during the past few summers was undoubtedly a new experience for us all.
Travel restrictions, late openings of hotels, restaurants, and cafes with limited seating, ferries running at a capped seating capacity, heck even sunbed limitations…
It drives you all crazy, right? Maybe a little worried as well.
And the bottom line question is:
To start, know that you are not alone in this, because I first did the homework for myself and my family.
You see, in the summers of 2020 and 2021 I traveled the islands with my family extensively.
So, I’m about to answer this question to all of you out there, plus I will be providing general instructions and travel tips.
I want to make it easy for you to find the Best Greek Island Destinations for 2022 by organizing this post into sections.
Feel free to jump straight to the juice.
Or, just continue reading for What to do and what not to do.
Let’s dive in.
Show me the Way to the Greek Islands in 2022, please!
So, you are one of those people, who just like me, would love to visit the Greek islands this summer.
After all, the Greek summer is exquisite.
You must be bummed due to the coronavirus travel restrictions, aren’t you?
You have been planing those vacations for an entire year and now that the time has come, that the temperature is climbing every day, the deep blue waters are calling you… but NADA, absolutamente nada -that was Portuguese 🙂
Don’t worry, there is hope, and I’m here to help you make these Greece vacations a reality.
You see, I’m a passionate Greek island fan, actually, so intensely that I have created this blog just for the purpose of sharing my passion with the world.
So, my friends, do not get overwhelmed, I will show you how to plan those holidays to Greece.
First off: Distance matters
I understand, visiting the Greek Islands in 2022 is not equally easy for all of us.
Some of you who live outside the European Community will have a harder time getting here.
Heck, you will have to enter the EU in the first place.
For me, it’s is easier since I already live on an island, and this is precisely why I’m writing this to give you guidance.
Second: the facts
Our planning should start with the facts. What do we know about the current travel restrictions?
Here is a brief summary, but for more up-to-date info, check out my ongoing COVID-19 travel updates.
- Greece is leading the European chart of best performing COVID-19 country related to #cases/capita. #deaths/capita is also reasonably low;
- Ferries did open up on May 25th, masks mandatory. Maximum number of passengers is capped to 50%;
- Year-round Hotels opened on June 1st;
- Seasonal hotels opened around the 15th of June;
- Hotel buffets are not to open until further notice. This is no-go news for large hotels, all-inclusive etc.;
- Rooms & apartments: no restrictions given;
- Intra-European air connections opened on June 15th;
- UK tourists are welcome as of July 15th;
- Rest of the world tourists: No news yet; Stay informed through my blog on COVID-19 Travel Updates;
- Organized beaches opened and welcoming;
There are many more facts that I could list here, but I will stick to these essential facts for the sake of keeping this short and to the point.
All right, so now let’s examine at the situation.
Good to know: What part of Greek tourism is remaining intact
To plan the best possible vacations, we have to know what we have to deal with.
Here is a list of our assets:
- Apartments and rooms to let are open. Thankfully this style of accommodation is extremely popular in Greece, meaning that you will have a ton of options;
- Ferries are going, and they have a ton of open air space to keep us all ventilated. Click here to purchase Ferry Tickets;
- The government has committed to subsidizing the ferries to avoid price increases due to their operating in a mandatory capped capacity. This means that prices will not go up;
- Did I mention that the sun is still shining, the sea is still blue, the beaches are inviting, and the food is and will always be amazing;
- Something important to note is the health factor. Just how good is the summer for us? The sun’s energy, the sea minerals, the fresh air, the relaxation! All vital ingredients of a healthy life. Precisely why I moved to Aegina island 2 years ago;
- The restaurants are open and may have capped capacity. This means that we will likely have to choose the time better, maybe even start booking in advance expecialy on busy islands like Mykonos and Paros. However, from my personal experience, there is rarely no free table at my favorite restaurants. Just go for dinner before 9-10pm when all Greeks like to go;
- Additionally, don’t forget that Greece has more than 100 Island destinations. We can all find ours, and I can guarantee you that the smaller islands, the treasures of Greece, will not be packed;
- Lastly, consider this as an excellent opportunity to finally get to know new destinations. Why go again to the magnets, like Mykonos, Paros Santorini, Rhodes, Zakynthos, Skiathos and Krete? Do your own research or follow my recommendations and discover the true essence of the Greek islands, the smaller gems;
One more thing to note
Before I start, just a reminder.
Greece has, off course, all these mega attractions of islands that you all know and are promoted by travel agencies.
However, in my opinion, the magic lies in the small ones.
Those of you who have been can understand what I’m saying.
And are probably thinking: “Andonis, man, please don’t give out our secrets %$#*&@”
But, my friends, rest assured. Not only do I believe there are sooo many small treasures in Greece, but I also suspect that this summer will be a crippled one for Greek tourism.
So, you really should not worry about those gems getting crowded.
Now, without further ado I present to you my Best Greek islands for 2022.
MY PERSONAL BUCKET LIST FOR BEST GREEK ISLANDS 2022
Map - Best Greek Islands
And now, to the main body of this post.
I present you with my personal selection for 2022.
List - Best Greek Islands
In 2015 I spent an entire month there with my wife, Santuzza, and our at that time 9-month-old baby girl, Marilia.
And let me tell you. It was one of the most memorable experiences we had.
It was in June, and we spent it at the farthest south village of the island, Agios Georgios.
Our cute apartment had a porch that overlooked the bay of Agios Georgios with stunning views.
Antiparos is an incredible island, very laid back, small, with crystal clear waters, “private” beaches for yourself, and excellent food.
Definitely one of the best Greek islands for 2022.
Check out Ferry schedules here.
Wow, what can I say about Koufonisia?
Lay down on world-class beaches by yourself, dine with the feet on the sand.
This is one of THE smallest islands I’ve stayed at, and since visiting for the first time in 2001, I fell in love.
Minuscule, romantic, walking distance to everywhere, and astonishing watercolors.
The main one is called Pano (upper) Koufonisi, and the other on the south is called Kato (lower) Koufonisi.
Everything is located on the Pano Koufonisi, and that is where you will arrive by boat as well as stay, dine and walk around.
The Kato Koufonisi has it’s own exceptional beauty. It is wild, there are no roads except a donkey road and there is also just one taverna.
Here are some pictures from Koufonisia from our visit in June 2020:
To get here is a little more complicated than other islands as there is just one large ferry departing from Piraeus.
However, there is one other small ferry, the legendary Skopelitis, which does a daily trip Naxos-Amorgos passing from Irakleia, Sxinousa, Pano Koufonisi, and Donousa on its way.
Check out Ferry schedules here.
Ah Alonissos, eternally in my heart ever since I visited in 2013.
An island that few know but truly deserves its place in the list of the best Greek islands 2022.
Alonissos shines for its untouched beauty, the pure-hearted habitats, the utter absence of crowds, the stunning food, the crystal clear waters…(should I go on?)
Famous for seafood, the locally caught tuna, the tips of the pistachio trees that are made into a fantastic salad, and so much more.
This island is a must-visit. If not this year for many of you, definitely put it into your bucket lists.
Check out Ferry schedules here.
If you are planning a short trip to Greece, I would recommend Agistri island, close to Athens, right in the Saronic Gulf.
It is a relatively small island with few roads and a good bus service. That said, you do not need a car.
The island is covered by a beautiful pine forest and offers beautiful and easy hikes all around.
If you are accustomed to hiking, you can walk the entire island easily.
Imagine that to walk from the port of arrival, Skala, to the most remote beach, it takes about 1h 40min for the 8km (5miles).
Check out the route here.
You will be stunned by the clean waters and beautiful beaches of Agistri.
A considerable advantage is the laid back feeling, the relatively low cost of living, and the low price of the ferry ticket (about €10/person from Athens, nothing compared to the usual €35 plus for most of the other islands).
Drawbacks are the average cuisine and mediocre accommodation. To make that clear, expect decent food and lodging but not exceptional.
Agistri island lies right after Aegina, the island where I live.
Make sure to read my extended review on Aegina island:
The island with the deepest blue on the entire Aegean and I dare to say WORLD.
This hidden treasure is one more island of the Cyclades, and is located to the East of Koufonisia and Naxos.
You will find excellent food, authentic, and very good priced.
The nature is beautiful, totally unspoiled.
Accommodation is also well priced and arranged in small, super charming hotels and rooms-to-let.
Also, prepare to see sooo many goats, as you would probably see cats on other Greek islands.
Classic beauty, elegance, and beautiful crowds.
Patmos easily deserves to be listed along with the other best greek islands 2022.
This is the recipe of Patmos that turns first-time tourists to life long fans.
Probably the highlight of Patmos is the castle-like monastery of St. John the Theologian dated back in 1088.
The monastery was built with a donation from Byzantine emperor Alexios Komninos.
Patmos first became famous after St. John, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus, moved to the island in the first century A.D and wrote the “Apocalipse” inside a cave.
The cave is open to the public nowadays, and I could not recommend visiting it more.
In fact, I believe that an entire visit to Patmos is justified just to visit the cave and feel it.
It is a particularly holy place that attracts pilgrims from all over the world.
Patmos has two main villages.
Skala is the village that contains the port and is an excellent choice to stay for families as it has all that you need within walking distance.
The other option to stay is the Chora, the town built on the top of the mountain surrounding the monastery, which I recommend for the romantic couples.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are no cars allowed in the Chora, so you will have to walk to your rental.
No worries, though, as the Chora’s alleys are incredibly poetic and unique.
I have stayed at both, and I recommend them equally.
If you manage to get here, you will love it.
I’m saying that because the access if difficult as there is no daily ferry scheduled, instead only every 2 or 3 days.
The difficult access could be one of the main reasons that this stunning island has kept its quality.
Check out Ferry schedules here.
7. Paxos - Antipaxos
Paxos & Antipaxos are two islands in the Ionian Sea that are commonly known as Paxoi.
Paxoi could be posing on the first position of this list, but so could most of the islands in this list.
You see, trying to rank the Greek islands is a difficult task.
But Paxos has something special about it.
Maybe it is the Italian influence (the Italians love Paxos and have been visiting since the 1960’s), or it could also be the manageable cozy size of the island.
It could also be that it boasts 3 beautiful seaside villages to choose from, or the incredible crystal clear waters it is surrounded by.
Lastly, one could argue that it is the landscape with the small hills, the narrow roads, and the humongous olive tree forest that dominates the entire island.
Choose whatever suits you, in my opinion Paxos is the perfect island for couples and families as it offers this peaceful vibe that we are all looking for.
Don’t expect to find crazy nightlife here; however, some romantic bars play light music and often live sets.
The island of Paxos is BIG for the sailing crowd too.
Both sailing boats and motorboats pass by during their Ionian island tour, and they dock on its picturesque harbors for the night before heading out to new destinations.
Finally, I could not end this without mentioning the incredible experience one can have by renting a small motorboat for the day.
They cost anywhere from 80-130€ (excl. gas) for a family, and they probably are the best way to explore the abundance of beaches the island offers.
Here are some pictures from Paxoi from our trip in August 2020.
There should not be a lot to mention about Milos since it has posed on the top of worldwide Best Greek Islands lists for quite a while.
I visited Milos in June 2020 for the first time, and I was stunned by its untouched beauty and its incredible landscapes.
If you ever manage to visit Milos, you will be stunned by the amount of unique beaches it has to offer.
Sarakiniko, Kleftiko, Fyriplaka and Provatas just to mention some.
The island offers a calm vibe, very different from Greece’s stars Mykonos and Santorini.
If I had to match it with another island, that would be Paros.
And that would be due to the size, the colors, and the overall mood it transmits.
The three main towns are:
- Adamantas, the port
- Plaka, which is nested on the mountain above the port and
- Pollonia, which is far from both to the East.
If you are wondering where is best to stay, just know that you will find hotels and vacation rentals all around the island, so just pick what you like.
The beaches are spread around the island, so any place you choose to stay will be close to some incredible beaches!
Make sure to book your tickets in advance as Milos is a popular destination with surprisingly few ferries.
Family-friendly, quality and serenity are the main characteristics of Sifnos that guarantee a prominent position in the list of best Greek islands 2022.
This is a stylish island with hardcore returning fans.
French people, in particular, love Sifnos, and they own quite a few second homes.
If you are looking for quality family-friendly vacations with calm waters, exceptional restaurants, tree-Jolie cafes, and beautiful crowd, then head to Sifnos.
The island possesses a natural, untouched beauty like few others and, at the same time, has a lot of dining and beach options to satisfy you.
Regarding accommodation, Sifnos has quite a few locations to choose from:
- Apollonia, one of the two main villages of Sifnos hanging high on the hills,
- Artemonas, one more high hanging village with excellent dining and accommodation,
- Kamares, the port of arrival has one of the best beaches and great dining options
- Kastro, which is nested on the Eastern tip of the island offering the uttermost tranquility, and
- Platis Gialos, maybe the best beach, perfect for families
- Vathi, similar to Platis Gialos, this beach offers it all, accommodation, dining, and gentle waters.
You should book your tickets to Sifnos well in advance to guarantee your spot.
What a dream destination for us all. This island has been in my bucket list for 3 decades, and I still owe it a visit.
The reason I’ve not been there yet is that it is really remote as it lies at the northeastern part of the Aegean sea, close to Turkey. I mean for Greek standards.
Check out the Ferry schedules on how to get there and be prepared for a long voyage.
On the counterpart get ready to enjoy untouched nature, historical landmarks, stunning beaches by yourself, laid-back hippie style tourists, world-class camping sites, and inexpensive vacations.
I don’t have any pictures that I’ve taken, but I know I really had to include this in my list of the best Greek Islands 2022.
All my friends who have visited talk very highly of Samothraki.
Final thoughts to Best Greek Islands 2022 list
As you may have noticed, all of my suggestions are small islands.
This was done intentionally and not just because I am a massive fan of small islands.
The real reason is this: I believe large islands will suffer from large crowds and uncomfortable restrictions compared to small places.
I feel that the small Greek Islands, with their relaxed vibe, spread out crowds, and their remoteness will be the winners.
They will win because they don’t have large hotels (and no all-inclusive).
Their accommodation is organized in rooms and apartments and small family-style hotels of 5-10 rooms.
It’s as simple as that.
I hope that you liked my list, and please feel free to share it on social media for others to get inspired.
Please feel free to use the comment section below to share your thoughts on the subject and whether you have more islands to suggest.
Thank you for reading
What about yourself, what are YOUR favorite Greek Islands that you can recommend?
Share below; the other readers and I are looking forward to read all about them.