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View of whitewashed buildings with blue roofs on Ios in the Greek Islands

17 of the Best Non-Touristy Greek Islands to Visit

The Greek islands are world-famous for their stunning natural beauty, making for quite the desirable holiday destination. But our islands are as diverse as our visitors who come from all around the world. Whether you’re seeking a tranquil escape from the norm or a nonstop party, you’ll find a Greek island to suit your travel style.

At Nissia Holidays, we love to help visitors uncover the true, authentic Greece beyond the typical tourist spots. Our Greek Island Getaways help you find the best non-touristy destinations to bask in natural beauty, traditional culture, fascinating history, and so much more. 

Whether you visit our favourite quiet Greek islands of Halki, Nisyros, and Tilos or you opt for any of these other non-touristy Greek islands, we hope you thoroughly enjoy your escape to our lovely paradise. 

Without further ado…

Our Favourite Non-Touristy Greek Islands to Visit

1. Chios

Ancient Chios claims to be the birthplace of Homer and boasts Neolithic remains that will enchant any lover of history. The beaches here reflect the geological history of the island, with some soft white whilst others are a beguiling black. 

Landscape view of beautiful Chios, a non-touristy Greek Island

2. Donousa

Whilst everyone has heard of Santorini and its iconic white houses with blue roofs, Donousa boasts much of the same — but without the Instagram-focused crowds.

3. Halki

Called “the island of Peace and Friendship” by UNESCO, tranquil Halki in the Dodecanese is a delightful world apart. In Halki, life slows down on secluded beaches and to the pace of a silent clocktower. Within charming fishing villages, the sound of conversation with neighbours reigns supreme with a near-total lack of vehicles offering a quiet reprieve.

We are particularly fond of painting holidays on Halki. With such stunning vistas and a truly slow pace, creativity abounds. 

4. Ikaria (Nikaria)

If you want to live a long, healthy life, then take notes from the people of Ikaria! Known as one of the world’s Blue Zones where residents live the longest, Ikaria is where you slow down, bask in the beauty of nature, and enjoy an afternoon nap as all the locals do. 

The only contrast to this tranquillity? The panagiri summer season of festivals when everyone dances the night away!

5. Ios 

Dreaming of Santorini but hoping to avoid the crowds? Beautiful Ios offers those same whitewashed buildings and quaint cobblestone streets, with far fewer tourists to contend with. The summer months have been gaining popularity in Ios, but visiting outside of those should offer you empty hiking trails, pristine beaches, and true serenity.

View of whitewashed buildings with blue roofs on Ios in the Greek Islands

6. Ithaca

Iconic Ithaca is surprisingly a non-touristy Greek island! The story of Odysseus trying to return home to Ithaca for nearly 20 years has lasted the test of literary time, forever reminding the world of the beauty of this island. 

Today, Ithaca retains its charm and beauty. It enjoys far fewer visitors than neighbouring Kefalonia and is an excellent choice for a quiet holiday, especially in the shoulder seasons of Spring and Autumn.

7. Karpathos

Another Dodecanese island, Karpathos boasts all the beauty of dramatic scenery alongside the charm of colourful villages. While this isn’t the smallest Greek island, it offers a lovely blend of ample amenities without the heaving crowds of partiers. 

Karpathos is an excellent non-touristy choice for divers and snorkellers especially, with wrecks and reefs to enjoy at the 18 dive sites around the island.

8. Kasos

Near Karpathos, a stay on Kasos offers a true escape from it all. Visit for picturesque villages, rugged landscapes, and deserted beaches. It’s the southernmost Greek island in the Aegean and is certainly considered to be off the beaten path.

You may want to go island hopping in the Dodecanese whilst you’re here!

9. Kimolos

Kimolos is a tiny escape with just enough to keep you entertained whilst being mostly a draw for an utterly unwinding holiday. You’ll enjoy plenty of time to explore the island’s many natural caves and endlessly stunning beaches.

A narrow cobbled lane on the Greek island of Kimolos is lined with whitewashed buildings

10. Koufonisia

Koufonisia is a small group of three islands, but only Ano Koufonisi is inhabited. A nature lover’s dream come true, you can completely avoid the crowds of popular islands nearby, like Mykonos or Santorini, to explore the hiking, beaches, and delicious local cuisine here on these totally non-touristy islands.

11. Kythira

Quiet Kythira offers an intrepid visitor stunning waterfalls, wild beauty, and mesmerising azure water. For those seeking an island in Greece to escape from the tourist track, Kythira checks all the boxes!

12. Lemnos

Lemnos is a more difficult island to reach by ferry, which immediately makes it less touristy than many other Greek islands. The island is popular for sports enthusiasts, with windsurfing and kitesurfing both being excellent here. Otherwise, it’s a quiet spot for visitors seeking a much more local experience.

13. Nisyros

Nisyros is another gem of the Dodecanese, with incredible mythological connections, an active volcano, and dramatic clifftop villages. Due to its active volcano, Nisyros is home to black-sand beaches that mesmerise beside the cerulean Aegean Sea. 

You can actually explore the volcanic crater; Stefanos is one of the world’s largest and best-preserved hydrothermal craters and one of the only active craters in the world you can walk within. It’s a truly exceptional experience! 

Explore our Nisyros accommodation options to start planning your holiday!

14. Samothraki (Samothrace)

Samothraki, also known as Samothrace, is one of the least touristy Greek islands for foreigners. It’s quite popular for Greeks going on holiday, especially for those who live in the north of the country.

Samothraki can only be reached by ferry from the mainland, meaning it’s less likely to be on the radar for island-hopping holidaymakers from overseas. 

15. Serifos

Serifos attracts artists and creatives — and for good reason! The main town of Hora offers those iconic whitewashed homes built into the steep terrain leading to the sea and the quiet pace of life allows for time to paint, write, and more.

A view of Serifos island in Greece with its whitewashed homes built into the hilly landscape

16. Syros

Part of the Cyclades, Syros is a former industrial centre that has since escaped the tourism trappings of its neighbour, Mykonos. Beautiful Venetian architecture and cobblestone streets await visitors to Syros, whilst quiet beaches and very few other tourists award the intrepid traveller seeking a local experience.

17. Tilos

Another gem of the Dodecanese, Tilos boasts breath-taking beauty in abundance. Wildflowers and migrating birds attract nature lovers, and walking in Tilos is one of the most popular activities. 

Located midway between the popular tourist spots of Rhodes and Kos, Tilos has retained its quiet serenity and awe-inspiring beauty. It’s not just for nature-lovers, however. Tilos also offers incredible historical sites, including seven castles, a variety of churches, and even the abandoned village of Mikro Horio.

With thousands of islands to choose from, we wholeheartedly recommend visiting the non-touristy Greek islands. At Nissia Holidays, we especially encourage you to explore the quiet Greek islands of Halki, Nisyros, and Tilos for their unspoilt beauty and a true glimpse into local life. Come experience authentic Greece…we guarantee a welcome as warm as the Mediterranean sun!

Triantafyllos Daffy Psaras

Triantafyllos, or Daffy as most guests like to call him, comes from a strong hospitality background. Working alongside Meni from a young age and helping with operations for Laskarina Holidays, he is service minded and always happy to help the guests have an amazing and relaxing holiday in our unspoilt islands.

  1. GLNNYS EVANS says:

    Just come back from 14days at sea with Fred Olsen on MV Bollette Dover to southen Spain and back Great time sun and calm seas BUT I would rather be on TILOS , ROLL ON JUNE

  2. Tania Conley says:

    I’m even more confused as to where to go now!! I think I’ll start with Athens though…lol really like the idea of Ionian islands but seems like less touristy ones are in east? Ithaque? Kimolos? SAMOTHRAKI? (so intriguing) So close to Bulgaria..Turkey…I always to seem to like places that are far apart…Is it easy to hire boat? or get info. once I’m there to travel around islands?

  3. Rose Houseman says:

    Are there live on boats, catered, for 7 guests to enjoy the sailing between the islands. Snorkeling and diving from the boat.

  4. Elise Krentzel says:

    I’ve been to many islands in the Cyclades I’ve been to Crete and also to roadhouse which I loved the island that I returned to them for more than 10 times was Hydra For its lack of transportation and charm. I’d like to go somewhere else next time where do you recommend I like dancing but I’m not in my 20s so I want something semi-quiet not total party people

  5. Marcia Pacaud says:

    Are there still islands where one can see dancing and hear bazouki music live in the tavernas and where the dancing is not for tourists, but just for love of life? Preferably smaller less touristic islands?

  6. Douglas Ritchie says:

    I’m not sure I would describe Ios as non touristy. Tourism is just about the only industry on the island and it attracts large numbers of lively young people looking to party. Sikinos, a 45 minute ferry ride to the west, is a much better option for peace and quiet away from the crowds.

  7. Jim says:

    Looking to stay on charming, non touristy island in air B&B with great views of the water, opportunity for walking and exploring local villages. Prefer not to spend a lot of time transferring from island to island or from Athens to islands. Is there a chance to fly direct to an island from Europe and then ferry to a 2nd island? Looking for 10 day adventure in April/May. What do you suggest. Local flavor, calm, and sunny is what we are looking for. Beaches and nightlife not so important.

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