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Discover the Most Tranquil and Non-Touristy Islands in Greece

The Greek islands are one of the most popular tourist destinations – although that popularity can come at a price. If you adore Greece, but don’t wish to spend your holidays jostling for a sunbed on the beach or queuing for the optimum sunset shot, it’s time to get off the beaten track and turn your attention to more sustainable destinations.

Luckily, with almost 6,000 islands, there are plenty of opportunities to find a quiet, unspoiled spot, untouched by mass tourism. If you’re keen to find out more about the best non-touristy islands in Greece, we’ve put together this guide to the most tranquil islands in our little corner of Greece, the Dodecanese.

If you want to enjoy near-deserted beaches, friendly neighbourhood tavernas, incredible nature, picturesque towns, stunning hiking trails, and abundant charm and character, head to one of these lesser-known lovelies – and hit the reset button!


Characterised by UNESCO as the ‘Island of Peace and Friendship’, Halki oozes tranquillity and charm. With one main settlement, a single road, a handful of pretty beaches and a notoriously warm welcome, this is an island that captivates people as soon as they step off the ferry. There’s plenty to explore too – at a suitably sleepy pace, of course. 


Blessed with verdant hills, carpeted by wildflowers and adored by nature lovers and hikers for its astonishing birdlife and wonderful trails, Tilos is a Dodecanese treasure. Powered by green energy, this seahorse-shaped island was home to the last elephants in Europe, and its wild yet tranquil beauty entices people back year after year.


With its smoking volcanic crater, fascinating mythology, and dramatic clifftop villages, Nisyros is a captivating island. While the volcano attracts day-trippers from the larger islands, when the boats have left you can really appreciate its charm. Explore wild beaches, hike gorgeous trails, and discover quaint villages and magnificent archaeological ruins on this magical island.  



Despite being one of the largest islands in the Dodecanese, Karpathos retains its authentic Greek soul. This ruggedly beautiful island is one of the least commercialised in Greece, with the mountainside town of Olymbos clinging to traditional customs and crafts. Discover remote beaches, hike its rugged interior, and get active with rock-climbing, kitesurfing and diving.


One of the most remote and least touristy of the Dodecanese islands, far-flung Kastellorizo is more than 100km from Rhodes, within touching distance of the Turkish coast. Colourful neoclassical houses line the picturesque harbour under the gaze of the tumbledown red castle, while its dramatic blue cave is among the best in the Mediterranean.


Once the sponge-diving capital of the Mediterranean, Kalymnos has reinvented itself as a destination for adventure-seekers. Its rocky landscape is a mecca for rock-climbers, while its craggy coastline and decaying shipwrecks entice divers and snorkelers. But for all this, the island retains its charm and authenticity, offering beautiful hiking and a host of interesting cultural attractions.


Butterfly-shaped Astypalea is the westernmost of the Dodecanese archipelago, and its main village, Hora, resembles the neighbouring Cycladic islands with sugar-cube, whitewashed houses tumbling down the hill beneath the imposing castle. With its crystalline waters, magical light and simple way of life, this seductive island is well worth the journey.

Get off the Beaten Track in the Dodecanese with Nissia Holidays

Nissia Holidays specialises in the tiny, unspoilt Dodecanese islands of Halki, Tilos and Nisyros. If you fancy chilling out on one of these islands we’re here to help you. However, with a wide range of contacts across the Dodecanese, if you wish to go further afield, just let us know and we’ll see what we can arrange with our partner organisations.

For more information on the non-touristy islands in Greece or to book your holiday in Halki, Tilos or Nisyros, contact Nissia Holidays on 01455 289421 or email us: info@nissiaholidays.com.


Jo worked on Tilos in 2006, as the last Island Manager for Laskarina. She now runs a travel writing business and travel blog, The Wandering Wordsmith, and spends much of her year travelling. But Greece, especially Tilos, will always hold a special place in her heart.

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