Best Greek Islands for couples
Did you know that Greece has 6,000 islands of which just over 200 inhabited?
It comes as no surprise you have still some questions on which one would work best for you and your partner.
In this post, you will find all the information for the best Greek islands for couples based on your age and the type of experience you are looking for, from a romantic stay to a breakaway full of activities.
We all have different needs and dreams. There would be not much point to suggest the party island of Mykonos to older couples but it may surely work great for the youngsters.
And now let’s dig into it.
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Best Greek Island for couples – in a nutshell
- Best Greek Island for older couples: most of these beautiful islands have the main old town (Chora) usually built on a steep hill where houses are located between the never-ending stairs and a maze of small lanes, sometimes unreachable by car. It can be tiring to walk around. Rhodes is the exception. The old medieval town is absolutely amazing and easily walkable, with large flat streets. The island has plenty of nice hotels, resorts, beaches and accommodations with all you need for your stay. July and August can be packed but any other month is just perfect. Another great destination is Crete, either in Chania or Rethimno, two beautiful easily walkable old towns with some of the best food variety in Greece. Beaches are in both cases walking distance.
- Best Greek Island for middle-aged couples: I visited Naxos for the first time in 2000. I thought it was an amazing island, however, it was lacking a bit in nightlife. Being now middle-aged I actually appreciate that lack and I consider Naxos one of the most underrated islands in the Cyclades. Why? Because Naxos is a small micro cosmo with all you want, still on a small island, from amazing beaches to historical sites, from water sports to relaxing and romantic coves, from yummy restaurants to nice after-dinner drinks, without loud music around. Skopelos is another great alternative if you are looking for a destination more off the radar. I was there last August and there was almost no sign of any mass tourism. It was busy but far from the usual popular islands. The main old town is absolutely gorgeous and so romantic. You can visit all of the beaches with a very reliable bus network, so easy. Rent a car or a scooter for the hidden coves.
- Best Greek Island for young couples holiday: if you are after a glamour stay with an amazing nightlife then Mykonos is the place to be. In this island, you can also find the best beaches in Greece, easily reachable by bus or with a rented scooter for even more freedom. For trekking and hiking, besides sunbathing, you should check out Crete, famous for its spectacular gorges, easily reachable from the main road, usually ending in hidden beaches and coves.
- Best quiet Greek Island for couples: Sifnos in the north of the Cyclades is an island unknown to the most. There is no airport, however, you can fly to Athens, Mykonos, Paros or Milos and from there by ferry. Full of character still without any sign of mass tourism. Alonnisos is one of my last findings, immersed in a green and lush National Park with great pebble beaches, mostly reachable by car. You will find only local genuine restaurants and small shops. In the last few years, the old village of Alonnisos has become the centre of artists.
- Best Greek Island for romantic couples: Santorini is unbeatable, thanks to its amazing views and characteristic villages. In saying that, it’s also the most expensive island in Greece. Astypalaia is my runner-up if you are looking for a more secluded place, with almost no sign of mass tourism. The old town is absolutely magnificent with its characteristic windmills. The sunsets from the castle are so lovely.
- Best small Greek Islands for couples: Antiparos is a lovely cute island just off the more famous Paros. You have a small old village with a few restaurants options, some great beaches nearby, including a naturist one, and some shopping and bar options to have a walk at night. Sifnos is another of my favourites, easily reachable by ferry from Athens, with plenty of romantic coves and villages to explore either by scooter or car.
- Best Greek Island for couples and beaches: the island with the best beaches is Mykonos. It’s not only about the quality, but it’s also about the quantity and proximity too. You can easily experience a different beach every single day. There are also a few romantic coves where you can spend some private time with your partner. Party is on at night in Mykonos but you can still find relaxed and secluded corners to stay. Corfu, is also an incredible place for beaches, with plenty of options and stunning views. Both islands tend to be very busy in July and August. A great alternative to them, in high season, is Astypalaia, an off-the-radar island connected by ferry or with just a couple of daily flights from Athens.
- Best Greek Islands for couples and food: you will find great traditional food everywhere you go. Hard to get disappointed. Always with fresh ingredients. Are you looking for something different? In my opinion, Crete tends to have more fusion and experimental cuisine, with a nice Middle East inspiration. I personally love it! Santorini is the island to be for dinner with a view, just unique in the world, however, be aware that restaurants tend to be more expensive than usual (as anything in Santorini).
- Best Greek Island for active couples: if you are after activities then Crete may be all you are looking for. It’s the best Greek Island for trekking and walking (with some of the best hikes in Europe), there are beaches with plenty of water activities, and so much more. Impossible to get bored. Paros is instead the place to be for windsurfing and kitesurfing
- Best Greek Island for couples and nightlife: Mykonos is world-famous for its brilliant nightlife. It starts in the afternoon at the beach clubs and it keeps going till the early hours of the morning. Alternatively, the nearby Paros is also an option, surely not with the same glamour but certainly more affordable. Another popular island for partying is Skiathos, especially with Brits, although on a much smaller scale if compared to Mykonos.
- Greek Island hopping for couples: if it’s the trip of a lifetime and you will be very unlikely to experience these islands soon then I would suggest to invest a bit more money and visit the most iconic destinations: Santorini (for the amazing views), Mykonos (for beaches and/or nightlife) and Naxos (for more of a local experience). They are very well connected with a ferry. For a more secluded stay then I may suggest Ios (party island in the 80-90s, now more relaxed and easy-going), Sifnos (chill-out stay) and Antiparos (local experience, as it used to be)
- Best Time To Visit The Greek Islands: I still meet people that think that these islands have nice warm weather year-round. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The best months are actually between May and October. A few islands work best during the hot July/August, others should be avoided at this time. Read below the suggested islands based on the month of your trip.
Best Greek Island for couples to holiday
The Greek islands are organised in 6 main groups:
- the Cyclades is the most famous archipelago, with whitewashed houses usually on steep hills and a unique view to the sea. Santorini and Mykonos are the most popular names here
- the Sporades have only 4 islands just off Volos. Besides the popular Skiathos, the others are still keeping the original local character. My favourite of the block is Alonnisos
- the Dodecanese, with an Italian/Venetian influence and medieval old towns as Rhodes. Astypalaia is the only island with more of a Cyclades architecture.
- the Ionian, with much greener vegetation and some spectacular beaches, popular with Italians thanks to the proximity to the Puglia coast. Corfu is the most popular destination in this group
- the North Aegean, popular more with Greek people than foreigners. I love Thassos in this group, apart from everyone else, still unknown to the most
- the Saronic, these are all islands close to the Greek capital, very popular with Athenians, especially in the weekend.
I have listed below the islands that in my opinion work better for couples based on a multitude of factors that I added in each description.
The sorting is based on the order I mentioned them in the previous chapter (just to make it simple)
Leave a comment in case you need more information. I usually reply in no time.
Rhodes is an island in the Dodecanese, very close to the Turkish coast with a long summer that extends in the spring and autumn season.
The medieval old town of Rhodes is UNESCO World Heritage-listed, with one of the best examples of fortification walls in the world. Absolutely stunning
The Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes is a must-see place, together with the whole old centre.
The new town, outside the walls, has some great beaches for those hot days, with plenty of sunbeds and bars for a drink.
The best part is that most of the town is essentially flat and easily walkable (far from the usual steep old towns of the Cyclades)
In this respect, Rhodes is one of the best Greek islands for older couples.
You have plenty of restaurants options, with lovely local food, influenced by the Middle East proximity.
You will find plenty of nice bars for a relaxed after-dinner drink (avoid the young crowded Orfanidou Street, it can be too loud)
Besides the main town, you can also decide to stay in one of the many resorts along the east coast for an all-inclusive holiday.
The town of Lindos, more in the south, is probably the most charming village on the island, a must-visit, a maze of small lanes and stairs perched on the hilly coast.
You should check out this Full Guide on Rhodes that I wrote with all the info about the best areas to stay based on your type of holiday and when to visit the island
Read Reference Guide to Rhodes
Crete is the largest island in Greece with probably the widest variety of things to do and experiences to have.
In my opinion, this is also the island with the most progressive Greek food that goes beyond the traditional cuisine, with many dishes influenced by the Middle East.
For example, it is quite common the use of honey with meat. It may sound weird but the result is absolutely outstanding.
Heraklion is a busy city with a few universities and a nice pedestrian shopping area.
I would not personally suggest it for a long stay, however, it is perfect for 2-3 days.
From here you can visit the Minoan Palace of Knossos, one of the most outstanding historical landmarks in Greece, a must-visit.
There are no beaches in Heraklion and you would have to drive out for at least 5-10km for the first swimming spot.
Chania and Rethymno have instead more of a big village feeling.
In both cases, the old centre is absolutely gorgeous, with small lanes full of restaurants and bars. Beaches are walking distance.
Both towns are flat, easily walkable even if mobility is an issue. There are almost no steps around.
In my opinion, this is also the best Greek island for active couples that like trekking and hiking.
There are many gorges to explore (Samaria Gorge is probably the most famous one) and usually, at the end of it, you will find yourself in a small empty cave or beach for a nice swim, so beautiful!
There are beach resorts everywhere on the island, especially on the south coast, very popular with tourists.
The north coast is rougher, with part of it only reachable by ferry, which makes it such a romantic destination.
You should check out this Full Guide on Crete that I wrote with all the info about the best areas to stay based on your type of holiday
Naxos is the biggest of the Cyclades and has it all, but not in excess.
Naxos has beautiful beaches but not as amazing as in Mykonos.
It has incredible views from the castle and many other points, but not as unique as the caldera view in Santorini.
It is famous for kitesurfing and windsurfing, although it does not have that nice consistent wind you can find in Paros.
You get the picture.
You can find all you want in Naxos, and that is why I love it so much.
It lacks two things: young nightlife and popularity (at least not as much as Santorini and Mykonos).
And that is why I think Naxos is one of the best Greek islands for middle-aged couples that are not looking to party the whole night.
You can lay down on the longest beach on the Cyclades, practice water sports, go trekking in the mountains and even have a refreshing dip under the waterfalls, like at the Routsouna’s Waterfall.
The old town can be busy between mid-July and mid/end of August, especially on the weekend with the Athenians.
Outside of these 4-6 weeks, Naxos is absolutely a hidden gem.
You should check out this Full Guide on Naxos that I wrote with all the info about the best areas to stay on this big island based on your type of holiday
This is an island that to the most is unknown, however, ironically enough, you have it already seen it on TV or at the cinema.
Why? It was the island where they filmed the popular “Mamma Mia!” movie.
The old town of Skopelos is picture-perfect, located in a small natural amphitheatre with a small port full of nice restaurants, bars and cafes, however, nothing too loud, ideal for middle-aged/mature travellers.
On the back, whitewashed houses perched on the hills with lovely characteristic lanes and stairs everywhere.
Wondering around is an experience by itself.
The whole island is very well served with public transportation.
Most of the beaches are on the south-west coast, an easy trip by bus from the town centre.
Kastani is the most famous beach on the island, where part of the “Mamma Mia!” movie was filmed.
It’s a lovely one, however, expect plenty of people, even day trip boats from the nearby Skiathos island.
I was in Skopelos last August and I was really surprised it was not packed, so most definitely a good choice even on peak months.
You should check out this Full Guide on Skopelos that I wrote with all the info about the best areas to stay based on your type of holiday
Read Reference Guide to Skopelos
Mykonos is synonymous with partying and glamorous life.
It is one of the busiest and most popular islands in Greece, especially in the Little Venice area near the Old Port.
Plenty of bars, clubs, restaurants with music till the early hours of the morning. One of the best nightlife in Europe.
If dancing to sunrise is not your thing then avoid staying in the old town and you will be safe.
In fact, Mykonos is highly recognised as one of the best Greek islands for couples looking for idyllic beaches.
The choice is very wide, you will find them all along the coast, with some hidden coves reachable only by boat.
For a boutique or a luxurious stay, Mykonos is one of the best destinations in Greece, a step ahead of any other island.
Of course, you can still find quiet villages and join the party until the morning in the old town. The island is small enough to get a taxi back.
You should check out this Full Guide on Mykonos that I wrote with all the info about the best areas to stay based on your type of holiday
Read Reference Guide to Mykonos
Alonnisos is one of the hidden gems of Greece, hardly known by anyone.
This is not a small island as such, however, most of it is a National Park where construction is forbidden.
There are a bunch of villages, a few small ports, some lovely beaches and that’s pretty much it.
This is most definitely the best quiet Greek island for couples, where you can relax and chill out.
There is no nightlife but a few picturesque restaurants and bars to have an after-dinner drink.
In the last few years, the old inland town of Alonnisos has become popular with artists and many bars and restaurants have started popping up.
The beauty of this town is the nice fresh sea breeze that comes at sunset time.
I was in Alonnisos last August, in full peak season, but still not as many people around. It was so quiet.
You should check out this Full Guide on Alonnisos that I wrote with all the info and tips about the best areas to stay based on your type of holiday
Read Reference Guide to Alonnisos
Can I find new adjectives that have not been already used to describe Santorini?
Here are a few words that I am sure you have already heard around: unique, incredible, romantic, idyllic, dreamy.
All true. It’s absolutely a must-visit island, at least once in a lifetime.
But now let me add also something else that you may get disappointed with:
- crowdy: it’s one of the most popular places in the world because it is so beautiful! How can you avoid mass tourism? Visit Santorini in May, September or October. Be selective in the town/village where you book your accommodation. There are still some hidden gems (read more on my guide to the top areas of the island)
- average beaches: if you are after a beach stay then you should book on another island, or split your holiday between Santorini and another place like Ios or Naxos (short trip by fast ferry). Santorini beaches are ok, but nothing to write home about
- expensive: especially during high-season, both accommodations and restaurants. Unfortunately, popularity goes hand in hand with price
In saying that, again, Santorini should be in anyone’s bucket list.
This is the best Greek Island for romantic couples, no question about.
Accommodations can be really as unique as amazing, in small whitewashed cave houses, with pools that sometimes extend from the inside to the outside and a view to die for.
Dinners with the sunset on the caldera will remain in your memory forever.
I visited Santorini for the first time as a child, over 30 years ago. I still love it so much every time I go back, usually the first week in June or mid-September.
You should check out this Full Guide on Santorini that I wrote with all the info about the best areas to stay based on your type of holiday, including some hidden gems.
Read Reference Guide to Santorini
This is a tiny island just off the more famous Paros.
I discovered this island 20 years ago and I immediately fell in love with it.
It’s a small jewel in the popular Cyclades, with a lovely local charm and nice beaches around, of which a naturist one just off the main town.
Whitewashed houses, small shops, family-run restaurants, tiny bars for a few after-dinner drinks, a romantic atmosphere overall.
There is no airport or direct ferry to Antiparos.
You will need to fly or take a ferry to the island of Paros, then either drive or take a bus to the port of Pounta and from there the small ferry to Antiparos.
Once I was able to get a small boat from the old town of Paros directly to Antiparos, but that is not a scheduled service, you would have instead to check availability with the local travel agencies.
I am sure that as you read you understand that Antiparos is not the average Joe destination
As a result, you will find a lovely cute little island with plenty of local charm
In this respect, I consider Antiparos as one of the best small Greek islands for couples, a real romantic getaway
You should check out this Full Guide on Antiparos that I wrote with all the info about the best areas to stay, with nearby beaches and restaurants.
Read Reference Guide to Antiparos
I visited Sifnos for the first time over 20 years ago. Back then I was living in Athens and a colleague suggested it to me.
He told me that it was a quiet enchanting island, beloved by the unpretentious people of Athens to chill out at the weekend.
I got very curious about his description, but, once there I fully understood what he meant.
And the beauty is that Sifnos is not changed that much in the last 20 years.
It’s a destination off the beaten path, still unknown to the most, with mostly regular visitors that love the cool, relaxed and chilled out way of living. No rush.
It’s one of the best small Greek Islands for couples that want to unwind in a romantic atmosphere made of family-run restaurants and accommodations.
One of the best beaches is right next to the ferry pier, in the lovely Kamares Bay, with plenty of available sunbeds and restaurants for lunch and dinner.
For the best accommodation, walk to the north side of the bay (opposite the pier) for the amazing view at sunset.
You should check out this Full Guide on Sifnos that I wrote with all the info about the best areas to stay based on your type of holiday and when to visit the island
Read Reference Guide to Sifnos
We usually tend to stigmatise the towns in the Greek islands with whitewashed houses and blue roof, doors and windows.
The reality is that this is the typical Cyclades architecture, which is not present in all of the other groups of islands.
In Corfu, in fact, you may think that you are on an Italian island, with the typical medieval Italian architecture.
This is because of the huge influence of the Republic of Venice that ruled in Corfu for 400 years, from the 15th to the 18th century.
Interesting enough, the name of the island in the Greek language is Kerkyra, completely different from the well known “Corfu”, the name given by the Italians and still used by most of the world.
Corfu is a very green island with plenty of lush vegetation, and lots of beaches scattered all around the coast.
It is a well-known destination, however, it does not get that busy, except in the 4 weeks between mid-July and mid-August.
It has to be said that Corfu is a big island and that accommodation are scattered everywhere, besides the main town.
This is one of the best Greek Island for couples and beaches. There are over 57 of them, some of which so beautiful and well secluded as Agios Spiridon in the north.
You should check out this Full Guide on Corfu that I wrote with all the info about the best areas to stay based on your type of holiday.
This is one of the best kept secret islands in the Dodecanese.
It is indeed a bit isolated, far from the famous Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes etc., however, well worth the extra effort to get there, in my opinion
There are only a small number of flights to Astypalaia, all from within Greece, which means still no low-cost or international aeroplanes landing on the island.
As a result, Astypalaia has maintained that characteristic and charming local feeling.
The old town has still its traditional windmills in the main square, with whitewashed houses perched on the hill up to the old castle, on the peak.
Walking through the small lanes is like getting lost in a maze.
In this respect, Astypalaia is one of the best Greek islands for romantic couples, a real get-lost destination.
For a swim, go down to the local beach of Livadi or rent a scooter/car and discover the many beaches around.
This is an island that does not get as busy even in July and August, the best spot for a chill-out holiday.
Do not expect any nightlife. Just lovely characteristic restaurants, a few bars for sunset drinks and that are pretty much it.
You should check out this Full Guide on Astypalaia that I wrote with all the info about the best areas to stay based on your type of holiday.
Read Reference Guide to Astypalaia
Paros is one of the most famous places in the world for windsurfing and kitesurfing, thanks to the consistent Meltemi wind on the east coast, from June to August.
For both sports, the world pro tour has events in the summer, with a really nice vibe along the beach and in the bars at night.
This is one of the best Greek islands for active couples that can enjoy besides the wind sports also SUP and other water activities.
If you are tired of the sea, then you can go trekking along almost 30km of signed trails around the island.
In Paros, there are lots of nice quiet villages where you can stay for a romantic and secluded holiday.
The island has plenty of beaches, however, I would personally avoid the south-east coast in summer unless you are into wind sports
If you are into partying then you will be glad to know that Paros is also one of the best Greek islands for couples and nightlife.
For parties, book your breakaway either in the town of Naoussa or Parikia.
Is the nightlife better in Mykonos or Paros?
It is a different experience.
Mykonos has more glamour. It is very international and cosmopolitan. The beach and music clubs are worldwide famous. It’s not unusual to see renowned DJs performing. It’s expensive
Paros is more local, still very Greek, with plenty of family-run businesses. The clubs are great but on a much smaller scale. It’s all more economical.
You should check out this Full Guide on Paros that I wrote with all the info about the best areas to stay based on your type of holiday, from an active breakaway to a romantic holiday full of charm
Best time to visit the Greek Islands for couples
There are only a bunch of islands that are year-round destinations.
Santorini is surely the most popular of all. In winter you can still find visitors around, although it can be quite cold and windy.
Most of the resorts in Crete are closed but the two main towns, Heraklion and Chania, have still a nice vibe.
The town of Rhodes is also a lively destination year-round thanks to the many Greeks living there.
All of the other islands are mostly empty from November to April. In this time of the year, the temperature can go down to single-digit (C)
- Best Greek Island for couples in May: we are in full spring and it is getting warmer, this is the month with the most intense colours in nature, with a great contrast between the green vegetation and the blue sea. Try to book in the southern islands for more consistent warm weather. Crete and Rhodes have already temperatures in the 20-25C range during the day and cooler at night. This is also a great month to visit Santorini. It may be not enough warm for a swim but you will not share the destination with too many people either.
- Best Greek Island for couples in June: weather starts being consistently warm almost everywhere with a few exceptions in the northern islands. Stay in the Cyclades or the Dodecanese for nice sunny days. Besides Santorini, already in peak season, all of the other islands are still in moderate demand. It will be easy to find accommodation and you will not share the destinations with many travellers. The weekend, though, it can be popular with Athenians. In these months I suggest Mykonos, Naxos, Crete and Rhodes.
- Best Greek Island for couples in July: this is a peak season month. You will be very likely to experience only sunny warm days. It will be busy almost everywhere with popular destinations as Mykonos and Santorini packed (book well in advance for peak season). Corfu is one of the best destinations in this time of the year, busy but manageable. In the Cyclades, you should check out Sifnos and Antiparos, in the Dodecanese Astypalaia. These islands are still not that crowded, even though in peak season. July and August are the best months for windsurfing and kitesurfing. The Meltemi wind from the north is very strong and consistent. Paros and Rhodes are the best islands for these sports, both hosting world pro tours.
- Best Greek Island for couples in August: this is the peak-peak season (I repeated peak twice for a good reason 😉 ). It’s packed everywhere. Book well in advance. There are still off the radar islands though. The Sporades islands of Alonnisos and Skopelos are both amazing and still relatively untouched, even in August, especially Alonnisos. Thassos in the north is also a well-kept secret, with only local tourism. Astypalaia is busy but not crowded.
- Best Greek Island for couples in September: I just love September, one of the best months to visit Greece. The weather, especially in the first half of the month, is still great everywhere. Only Santorini and Mykonos are busy, everywhere else is more relaxed. Crete is one of my favourite islands in this period of the year, with more consistent sunny warm days throughout the whole month. I suggest Rethymno or Chania for the best food.
- Best Greek Island for couples in October: The weather becomes more unpredictable and unstable. If you are looking for a busy place but not any more crowded then Crete, Rhodes, Mykonos and Santorini are great choices. Plenty of availability, except for Santorini where I would suggest always to book well in advance, especially if you are looking for a special place with an amazing view.
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