Here is your guide to the cheapest islands in Greece. We have budget islands in Greece for adventurers, sun seekers, and foodies.
Looking for a cheap holiday in the Greek islands? With thousands of islands, Greece is full of options for all budgets. We’ve got you sorted if you’re looking for an inexpensive but beautiful escape. In this post, we’ve listed the cheap Greek islands and why you should visit each one.
The second largest island in Greece, Evia is a great destination for a budget trip. Although Evia is an island, it is separated from the Greek mainland by the narrow Euripus Strait, which is only 40 meters wide at its narrowest point. As such, two bridges connect Evia to the mainland, making it a perfect destination for a day trip.
Given its proximity to the mainland, Evia remains fairly unknown to international tourists and is mostly frequented by Greeks. There are so many places to stay on the island so many different types of accommodation if you do choose to stay for a few days.
As Evia is 80 km away from Athens, it is easily accessible by buses, trains, and ferries. Going by land takes between 1 and 2 hours from the Greek capital to Chalcis, the town that connects the island to the mainland with the two iconic bridges.
Traveling by ferry takes about 40 minutes from Rafina Port in Athens to Marmari in Evia.
The Saronic Islands
Located only 30km from Piraeus port in Athens, Aegina is a perfect city escape. The short distance from the Greek capital keeps travel costs low, and the island can even be included as part of a longer Athens trip, making it a genuinely cheap Greek island holiday.
With beautiful coves and plenty of historical sites, Aegina is a great budget destination. The main attraction on the island is the Temple of Aphaia, one of the three temples that make up the famous Sacred Triangle of Greece. The other two temples are the Parthenon in Athens and the Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion. So if you love history, this is a place to tick off your list.
Ferries depart Piraeus port almost every hour, year-round, and tickets are very reasonable, especially if you buy a return ticket.
As Agistri is such a small island, it is perfect to navigate on foot or by cycling. This means that transport costs during your trip to Agistri are very low. Apart from saving money, hiking is the best way to see the most beautiful side of an island that offers paths through stunning natural landscapes with breathtaking views. Largely appealing for the adventurous traveler, Agistri is a great destination for mountain bikers, climbers, and bold sailors. Agistri is the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation with beaches to boot.
The Cyclades Islands
Did you know that you can camp throughout Greece? Amorgos is the perfect camping destination – as is the reason it makes out cheap Greek islands list. With many sites to choose from, this is a great place for the adventurous budget traveler.
Amorgos boasts natural beauty, with incredible hiking opportunities across the island’s many ancient footpaths. Its craggy caves, beautiful diving spots made famous in the movie “The Big Blue”, and stunning turquoise bays mean there is so much to explore in the great outdoors. With only 2000 residents, the small island is an ideal destination to escape the crowds and get back to nature.
As there is no airport on the island, the only way to get there is by ferry to one of the island’s two ports: the port of Aegiali or the port of Katapola. Luckily the island is situated close to the islands of Naxos and Santorini, both of which have airports with many flights in the high season. Once in Naxos or Santorini, you can easily catch a short ferry to the island. Of course, you can also travel to Amorgos by ferry from Piraeus Port in Athens, which runs three times a week during the high season.
The Dodecanese Islands
One of the most beautiful islands in the Dodecanese, Astypalea, has managed to escape mass tourism and remains a budget haven – and is will be one of those cheap Greek island holidays your friends will be envious of.
The perfect island escape, Astypalea boasts beautiful whitewashed villages, stunning turquoise waters, and brilliant history with all the charm and none of the crowds. The main town of Chora combines Cyclades and Dodecanese architectural styles, with winding paths and many beautiful churches. Above the town sits the Venetian Castle, a great place for exploring and learning some of the island’s history. Nearby the castle you’ll find the island’s iconic windmills which are the perfect place to take in the view and even enjoy a sunset drink or coffee.
Astypalea’s Airport is open throughout the high season and is accessible by domestic flight from Athens. Otherwise, the island is accessible by a nine-hour ferry from Piraeus Port or closer islands, such as Paros, Naxos, or Rhodes.
The second most popular island in the Dodecanese, Kos can become busy and more expensive during the high season. However, throughout the shoulder seasons (May to June and September to October) Kos remains a perfect island retreat and the prices drop significantly.
The Dodecanese islands are generally famous for their rich history and popular for their medieval architecture, with many castles and fortresses to explore. Kos is no exception. One of the best things to do in Kos is sightseeing, as you could fill many days exploring the many medieval churches, Neratzia medieval castle and Antimachia Castle. Interestingly, as the birthplace of Hippocrates (the father of medicine), the island is also known as a healing center.
Of course, if you prefer the great outdoors, Kos is also known as Cycling Island. With long cycling paths, you can easily hop between the stunning beaches on two wheels.
Due to its popularity, it is easy to find cheap flights to Kos, with multiple international and domestic flights arriving daily. However, Kos is also accessible from Piraeus Port in the capital, with ferries departing daily during high season and taking 12 – 14 hours.
One of the lesser-known islands in the Dodecanese, Nisyros offers visitors an unspoiled, rustic escape and plenty of budget accommodation options across the island.
With a similar volcanic landscape to that of Santorini, Nisyros is the perfect budget alternative. Although it is a small island, there is plenty to see and do. The capital of the island, Mandraki, is full of classic whitewashed buildings and alleys filled with tavernas, boutiques, and cafes to explore. There are also many small traditional fishing villages, like Nikia or Pali, which is home to an ancient thermal spa. Undoubtedly, one of the best things to do on the island is to visit the island’s active volcano and stand on the hot sulfur grounds.
With no airport, the only way to reach the island is by ferry from Piraeus or neighboring islands. However, given its proximity to Kos, an effortless way of getting to Nisyros is a flight to Kos Airport and a ferry to the island’s Mandraki port.
The largest island in the Dodecanese, Rhodes, is a popular tourist hub. Rhodes offers many accommodation options for all budgets, given its size and popularity. With large resorts and smaller homestays, you will find the perfect budget place to rest.
Known as “the Knights island,” Rhodes has plenty to see and do for the history buff among us. With great medieval architecture, cosmopolitan towns, and beautiful beaches, you will never be short of activities. One of the best spots on the island is the Old Town. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Old Town offers visitors the chance to visit the Venetian Castle, the Street of the Knights, and the Palace of the Grand Master. These sites will transport you back to the rich and dramatic past of the island.
If you prefer beaches to history, then Rhodes offers a huge 42 beautiful beaches to explore. The beaches of Tsambika, Anthony Quinn bay, Faliraki, Ladiko, Kallithea, and Saint Paul’s bay are some of the best on the island.
As a popular tourist destination, it is easy to get to Rhodes on a budget. There are both international and domestic flights arriving at Rhodes Airport daily. The island is also reachable by ferry from Piraeus port.
The North Aegean Islands
Close to the Turkish coast, Chios is a laidback island perfect for a budget holiday. Although Chios is the fifth largest Greek island, there are no big resorts on the island, so it has remained relatively clear from mass tourism.
Chios is famous for its exports of mastic gum and sometimes is called ‘the Mastic Island”. Mastic is an unusual flavor, used in many sweets and most famously in Mastiha, a digestive drink from Chios. Hiking around the south side of Chios, you will see the iconic mastic trees from which the mastic gum is said to ‘weep.’ If you would rather spend your time sipping Mastiha than hiking, the island is also famous for its beautiful villages, such as Pyrgi and Olympi, which are the perfect places to stop for a drink.
You can fly direct to Chios from Athens or take a ferry from Piraeus Port, with routes running three times a week all year round. However, you can also get to Chios from Turkey. As the island lies so close to the Turkish port of Cesme, you can fly to Izmir and catch a very short 30-minute ferry across to the island.
10. Lesvos (Lesbos)
Close to the Turkish coast, the island of Lesvos is famous for its Petrified Forest, incredible cheap food, and amazing olive oil.
Greece’s third-largest island does not rely solely on tourism but instead thrives on its olive oil industry and is the cheapest Greek island to visit for that liquid gold.
With so much “liquid gold,” the island is known for its delicious local food. One of the best things to do in Lesvos is to journey to all the traditional villages, sampling the tavernas and the local liqueur, Ouzo.
Lesvos is full of beautiful natural landscapes, including hot springs and stunning beaches. Given its rich history, there are plenty of ancient Byzantine monuments to discover, including the castles of Molyvos, Sigri, and Mytilene, the Acropolis of Ancient Pyrra, and the monasteries of Taxiarchis and Agios Raphael.
It’s easy to get to Lesvos, with daily international and domestic flights arriving at Mytilene (Lesvos) Airport. However, there is also a long 12-hour ferry from Piraeus Port in Athens and many ferries from closer islands Syros, Mykonos, Ikaria, and Chios.
As one of the most beautiful islands in the Aegean, Samos is surprisingly less visited than many of its neighbors, which makes it the perfect budget escape.
There is much to do on this stunning island, from natural sites to archeological wonders and picturesque villages. As the birthplace of Pythagoras, the town of Pythagorion boasts many historical sites. These include the ruins of the Heraion Sanctuary, the place where Zeus and Hera were said to have had their honeymoon; the Tunnel of Eupalinos, the first of its kind in Europe; the Cave of Pythagoras, the mathematician’s famous hiding spot; and Thermae, the beautifully preserved Roman baths dating back to 1st century BC.
Accessible by domestic flight from Athens or Thessaloniki, it’s straightforward to reach Samos, and as one of the cheapest Greek islands to visit, you can splurge on a flight rather than a longer ferry. Of course, if you want to, there are also long ferries from Piraeus port – the duration of which is 12+ hours.
The Ionian Islands
The birthplace of Aphrodite, Kythira remains one of Greece’s best-kept secrets for a tranquil vacation and is one of the cheap islands to visit in Greece!
Located in the south Peloponnese, Kythira is relatively isolated from Greece’s tourist hotspots. There are no signs of mass tourism on this island, and for those who enjoy nature and seclusion, it is the perfect Greek escape. The most popular thing to do in Kythira is hiking across the island and visiting the various abandoned villages, beautiful chapels, and small secluded beaches.
Of course, being off the beaten track means that Kythira is not that easy to get to. The easiest way to get to Kythira is by ferry from the port of Neapolis. The port can be reached by car or bus from the capital—during the high season, one ferry service weekly leaves Athens’ Piraeus port. Although less of a budget option, Kythira can also be reached by domestic flight from Athens throughout the year.
If you are looking for the cheapest island to stay in Greece, we have written a few accommodation guides to help you choose; find them here.
Now that you have seen our list of the cheapest Greek island holidays, it really is a matter of picking which cheap Greek islands to visit this year!