First-timers frequently talk about their trip to “the Greek islands” as one cohesive unit that could be easily entered, excited, and moved around like shops in a mall. The size and diversity of the archipelagos are only apparent once a visitor obtains a sense of the nation. Greece is a great country for hiking; it harbors many islands with magnificent scenery, beautiful beaches, and breathtaking mountains. Greek vacations are more than just lazing in the sun and indulging in the country’s delectable cuisine! Greece offers fantastic walking options due to its diverse landscapes, which range from seaside walks to views of forested mountains and ancient sites to rural towns, all connected by old mule trails. The best Greek Islands to go car-free are listed below.
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Greece’s largest island, Crete, is known for its breathtaking landscape. The E4 European Path traverses Crete is one of the best hiking routes. The 500-kilometer-long E4 European Walking Path crosses the island; it offers views of some of Crete’s most breathtaking scenery. Some challenging sections call for expertise, including an alpine stretch and a seaside area. However, the trail will be ideal for you if you have a spirit of adventure. Samaria Gorge, one of the island’s most well-known tourist attractions, is another breathtaking walk in Crete. It is 18 kilometers long and takes four to seven hours to complete. Timios Stavros is the highest mountain in Greece, rising to 2546 meters. It is an incredible climb with breathtaking scenery.
Koufonisia, which is overlooked in favor of nearby destinations Santorini and Mykonos, has all the appeal of its well-known neighbors without the crowds of tourists and cruise ships. Even though Koufonisia consists of three islands—including the desolate Kato Koufonisi and Keros—all ferries dock in the serene Ano Koufonisi; for its pristine beaches, sea caves, hiking trails, and premium restaurants, base yourself there. If you genuinely want some privacy, take a day excursion to the other two locations.
In Greek mythology, Dionysus, the god of wine and pleasure, is credited with hiding Ariadne from Theseus on this secluded island in the Small Eastern Cyclades. With barely over 100 inhabitants spread among four tiny towns, it is still the ideal location to get away from it all. It is east of Naxos and north of Amorgos. Visit deserted beaches, sparkling emerald waters, and picture-perfect traditional white buildings similar to Santorini, but without the crowds of Instagrammers posing outside. If you can, explore by boat to see sea caves like Fokospilia, which got its name from the seals that find shelter inside.
Anyone looking for calm will find Kimolos, a tiny island, to be a blessing. This volcanic island, which lies very close to Milos, is largely unexplored by tourists despite having sandy and pebbly beaches, several museums and churches, and the medieval village of Chorio. Their tavernas overflow onto sunlight squares where only residents congregate. Even if you aren’t staying, take a day excursion from Milos to see unspoiled Greece.
One of the great Greek islands to visit without a car is Antiparos. In the Cyclades, Antiparos is a tiny island next to Paros. It’s a quaint place with lovely lanes and a fantastic beach best explored on foot. You can wander the island on foot or by hiring a bicycle. Your days on the island will be less stressful and less dependent on the local bus schedule.
Do you genuinely believe that “a life without an automobile is a carefree mind”? If so, Chalki, the first ecologically conscious Greek island, is where you’ll go next. It is the tiniest inhabited island in the Dodecanese, with a surface area of about 28km2. There is no need to drive because of how quickly you can get around on foot! Therefore, there won’t be any horn honking, traffic congestion, or worry about parking. Fortunately, this also holds for other visitors to the island.
One of the less well-known Greek islands, Sifnos, has various unexplored hiking trails. The island, one of the Cyclades’ undiscovered beauties, is located in the center of the Aegean Sea. The Eternal Capitals climb is among the best on Sifnos. The hike will start at the Agios Andreas Archaeological Site, and you’ll enjoy the breathtaking vistas. During the promotion, you’ll pass the Holy Monastery of Vrysi, the island’s only monk monastery. After that, you’ll pass by the intriguing locations of Sedalia Bay, Erkies Creek, and Kastro Village. You can view some of the island’s best beach views on the 11-kilometer Sifnos Trail, a great climb.
Cyclades island Andros is a peaceful place. However, this island stands out for its lush foliage in contrast to the other deserted Cyclades islands. Despite being close to Athens, very few tourists visit this island. So it’s a terrific plus that you’ll have many fantastic walks! The island needs appreciation for its excellent hiking. The Andros and Paleopolis walk, however, is the most well-liked excursion. People of various fitness levels can accomplish the 3.7 km loop hike. You’ll get breathtaking seaside views from the walk. The Andros Route, a more than 100-kilometer route, is famous for individuals who enjoy long hikes.
Between Rhodes and Crete in the South Aegean, the island of Karpathos is remote and far from other islands. Only the southern portion of the island has seen some tourism-related development, leaving the island’s middle and northern regions undeveloped and home to genuine traditional communities. And this is a terrific area to experience pristine nature and culture, as well as the island’s outstanding hiking trails.
Iraklia, another tiny island in the Small Eastern Cyclades wedged between Naxos and Ios, is like falling into a bygone era. The only two communities on the island have a connection on winding, narrow alleys, with fuchsia bougainvillea blooming everywhere and hiking-friendly olive groves dotting the slopes. Explore Venetian defences and bubbling hot springs, or go snorkeling to spot eerie shipwrecks in beautiful waters.
The largest Dodecanese island, Rhodes, may be more renowned for its beaches, but it also has some fantastic hiking trails. You can find gorgeous roads through forests, vineyards, and abandoned ruins all to yourself if you travel to the island’s wilder south and west. Popular tourist routes include the trek to Kleobolus’ tomb at Lindos, Seven Springs, and the Valley of the Butterflies.
The tranquil island of Schinoussa is part of the Small Cyclades. Only 8.5km2 in size, it offers 15 magnificent beaches and two major communities. Since most of the island’s roads are dirt and unsuitable for regular automobiles, the best method to move around in Schinoussa is by motorcycle or scooter. There are also many hiking trails for those who desire to find the island’s hidden gems. Schinoussa won’t let you down if you’re looking for a small Greek island to visit while on vacation without a car.