Greek Aegean Islands List – Aegean Sea Islands Guide

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Post author Gabi

Written by our local expert Gabi

Gabi is an award-winning writer who lives on the Island of Crete in Greece. She is an expert in Greek travel and writes guides for the everyday traveler.

Here is everything you need to know about island hopping the Aegean Islands. We have the best routes to take for the Aegean Islands and, of course, discover the best beaches in the Aegean region.

Greece Travel Blog_Aegean Island Guide

If you’re dreaming of visiting the Greek Islands this tourist season, you are probably already planning the different stages of your trip.

When considering island hopping in Greece, it is a good idea to remember that not all the islands are as close to each other as you may wish. So, instead of thinking about what routes and itineraries are better for seeing more islands quickly, it is necessary to understand the location of the Greek Islands first.

To do so, nothing better than first learning which islands belong to which group? In fact, when hopping the Greek Islands, it is often easier to remain within a specific group of Greek Islands to find more frequent ferries, have easier connections, and, of course, reduce travel costs.

For this reason, this article comes in handy for understanding the best island-hopping routes in the Aegean Sea. It also provides a few quick ideas of routes and gives you the best beaches in each of the islands’ clusters.

Let’s begin by checking which island groups are located in the Aegean.

Which Are The Aegean Greek Islands – Aegean Island Guide

Although we tend to confuse the Aegean Islands with the very popular Cyclades islands, it is good to remember that there are subgroups of islands that belong to this category.

List Of Aegean Islands

Here is a list of the Aegean region islands:

  1. Crete
  2. Euboea
  3. Lesbos
  4. Rhodes
  5. Chios
  6. Samos
  7. Naxos
  8. Andros
  9. Paros
  10. Tinos
  11. Milos
  12. Santorini
  13. Mykonos
  14. Ikaria
  15. Lemnos
  16. Patmos
  17. Kos
  18. Kea
  19. Amorgos

In this article, we will be covering some of these groups, while others have already been discussed in other articles.

The Islands of the Aegean can be divided into the following smaller groups of islands:

 North Aegean Islands – Aegean Sea Islands 

Ikaria island, Seychelles beach , Aegean sea Greece
Seychelles, Ikaria Island

They are located in the northeastern Aegean Sea and along the Turkish coast, and these are the most important ones:

  • Samos
  • Ikaria
  • Chios
  • Lesbos
  • Thassos
  • Samothrace

Islands Of The Dodecanese

Lesser-Known Greek Islands - Karpathos
Karpathos Island

Also known as Southern Sporades, Dodecanese literally means twelve islands; however, the group counts 15 relatively large islands and over 150 smaller islands, 26 of which are uninhabited.

This group of islands marks the eastern limit of the Sea of Crete. The most important (and popular) islands in this group are the following:

  • Rhodes, which can often be included both in this group and the previous one
  • Kos
  • Patmos
  • Astypalaia
  • Chalki
  • Kalymnos
  • Karpathos
  • Kasos
  • Lipsi
  • Leros
  • Symi
  • Tilos
  • Kastellorizo

Saronic Islands

Hydra Island - Donkey on Greek island
Hydra Island

This is an archipelago formed mainly by not very big islands, popular for being reasonably close to the coast and within easy reach from Athens, from where regular ferries depart daily. These are some of the most remarkable Saronic Islands:

Cycladic Islands

These are probably the most popular islands in Greece, and in fact, the ones we tend to describe as the Aegean Islands without even noticing that there are many more islands.

The Cyclades are located southeast of mainland Greece, and they are just one of the island groups that form the Aegean archipelago.

One curious thing to remember is that the name the Cyclades refers to the islands standing around the sacred island of Delos.

So, whenever you talk about Santorini or Mykonos (to name just a few), remember it’s more accurate to call them the Cyclades to avoid any confusion. These are some of the most important Cycladic Islands, but remember, there are many more!

This will help to understand that there are more islands in Greece and that not all of them belong to this group.

  • Amorgos
  • Andros
  • Anafi
  • Antiparos
  • Folegandros
  • Ios
  • Kea
  • Kimolos
  • Kythnos
  • Milos
  • Mykonos
  • Naxos
  • Paros
  • Santorini
  • Serifos
  • Sifnos
  • Syros (the capital of the South Aegean unit)
  • Tinos

Sporades Islands

Aerial view over southern skiathos island, Greece
Skiathos Island

Another important group of islands, home to beautiful beaches and landscapes, are the Sporades, also known as the Northern Sporades.

These 24 unique islands are probably not as popular and visited as the islands in the Aegean Sea from the previous group. In fact, their name, which means “scattered,” indicates precisely that they are outside the central group of the Cyclades.

The Sporades can be the ultimate Aegean Greek islands – an island-hopping alternative if you’re looking for one, offering untouched shores and quite affordable accommodation, so keep in mind that choosing the Sporades can be a smart alternative for tranquil holidays in Greece.

And this is precisely the reason why we have devoted a whole article to the routes and island-hopping ideas for the Sporades. In any case, these are the most important Sporades Islands:

  • Alonnisos
  • Skiathos
  • Skopelos
  • Skyros

Bigger Aegean Islands

Seitan Limania Beach - Chania Beaches
Seitan Limania Beach, Crete

Often considered independent and separated from the rest of these groups, these are the two biggest islands in Greece and belong to the Aegean Islands group. They are Crete and Euboea (also known as Evia).

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Popular Routes, Itineraries, And Beaches Within The Islands Of The Aegean Sea 

Itineraries, routes, and island hopping in the Islands of the Northeastern Aegean

Typically less popular than the Cyclades and the islands in the Dodecanese, this group of islands are not so easy to reach, but with a bit of planning, you can go a long way. The best way to reach them is via ferry, which generally leaves in the afternoon so that you can get there quite early in the morning.

These islands are not really close to each other, and they are also quite big. They offer a lot to explore and do, so we highly suggest these islands for those wanting to explore just one or two destinations.

These are not really the destinations you would have in mind for island hopping; for that reason, we include the best of each of them for you to discover one Northeastern Aegean Island at a time. Here we have the three most popular islands: Chios, Ikaria, and Lesbos.

Learn more by checking these guides:


Quiet Islands In Greece - Windmills in Chios

One of the loveliest destinations in this island group is Chios, an island big enough for you to need at least a whole week to discover.

The island offers unique hiking trails, several towns and villages worth visiting, and fantastic gastronomy, unique for including a product growing only in Chios, mastic.

Mastic is a chewy resin produced only on one side of the island by an endemic tree.

This resin is used in the cosmetic industry and the local cuisine. One of the things you can do in Chios is to explore the small villages where this product has been manufactured for ages. The best way to discover such a big island is with your own car, so renting a car is probably the way to explore better.

Best Beach In Chios

Karfas Beach is among the most popular shores on the island. Featuring fine white sand and clean, shallow waters, this is probably the best beach on the island for families. It is about 5 km south of Chios Town in a fairly touristic area.



Rugged and wild, Ikaria has long been known as the island where traditions have, for the most part, remained unchanged.

With a solid culinary culture and a passion for singing, dancing, and entertainment, locals have made their lifestyle popular among those looking for a highly relaxing place where time seems to stop and where rushing around has never been in fashion.

Best Beach In Ikaria

Although beaches are not the main trait in Ikaria, some are indeed gems and shouldn’t be missed. Probably the most famous of them is Seychelles Beach, a paradisiac white sand (and white pebbled) beach with crystal turquoise waters and imposing clear cliffs on both sides.


Lesbos Island Greece

Another big and important island that would need a lifetime to discover is Lesbos. The third-largest Greek Island, right after Evia and Crete, is better known for its interesting cuisine, ouzo, and sardines.

It offers unique villages to discover, a rich history to marvel at, and amazing beaches, some of which are perfect for families with children since they are shallow, clean, and quite wide.

Best Beach In Lesbos

There are dozens of beaches to consider when visiting Lesbos; Plomari Beach is probably one of the most beautiful shores to visit. The beach is about 40 km from the island’s capital and features a picturesque port, olive groves, and dozens of pine forests, crystal, and relatively shallow waters.

Routes, Itineraries, And Island Hopping Within The Dodecanese Groups

Things to do on Kos Island - Beautiful street with flowers in the old town of Kos
Kos Island

Island hopping and family-friendly itineraries become easier when you move to the Dodecanese cluster of islands. Distances are pretty short, and ferry routes are more frequent; therefore, it is relatively easy to see more islands during your trip.

It is easy to reach other islands, starting from Rhodes, probably the most popular spot in the Dodecanese, including Kos or Kalymnos.

There is also more info about these islands in the Aegean Sea in the following articles:

The Best Routes And Island Hopping Itineraries In The Dodecanese

Olympos - Karpathos Island, Greece
Karpathos Island
  • Rhodes – Karpathos – Kastellorizo
  • Rhodes – Halki – Symi
  • Karpathos – Kasos
  • Patmos – Lipsi – Leros
  • Kos – Kalymnos

Best Beaches In The Dodecanese

Agios Pavlos Bay is a fantastic beach in Lindos, on the island of Rhodes, often considered among the most beautiful in Greece. Also, on this island, another beach not to miss is Anthony Queen’s Beach. Its original name was Vagies, but the beach became famous when the author filmed The Guns of Navarone in the area.

Moving on to other islands in the cluster, Karpathos is home to some fantastic shores as well, some of them with incredibly pristine and clean waters that are safe for families too. One of the best beaches to check on Karpathos is Kyra Panagia.

Patmos’ best beach is Psili Amos, while Kos is home to some fantastic beaches too, including the most famous of all, Kefalos Beach.

Routes, Itineraries And Island Hopping Within The Saronic Islands

Beaches in Aegina Greece

Island hopping around the Saronic Islands is, together with hopping the Cyclades, one of the most popular areas for you to include as many islands as you can, even when time is limited. Since the Saronic Islands are pretty small and easy to explore, it is even possible to see up to three of them in just a day! That, of course, does not mean that there is nothing to do in the area but quite the opposite!

Learn more by checking these guides:

The Best Routes And Island Hopping Itineraries In The Saronic Gulf

Things to do in Hydra Greece - Fishing boats in Hydra Island

Best Beaches In The Saronic Islands

There are quite a few beaches not to miss in the Saronic Gulf; in general, the islands with the best beaches are Poros and Agistri. However, also Aegina has one of the best beaches in the archipelago, Marathona Beach, which is on the western side of the island, and it is a fantastic, family-friendly shore.

When in Poros, do not miss the picturesque Love Bay, while in Agistri, pay a visit to Halikiada Beach, a heavenly coast not organized, perfect to disconnect from the rest of the world completely.

Routes, Itineraries And Island Hopping Within The Cycladic Islands

Active Honeymoon In Greece - Santorini Honeymoon

The most developed area in Greece, when it comes to touristic routes, itineraries, island hopping, accommodation, organized beaches, and entertainment, visiting several of the Cyclades during just one trip is easy and sometimes even affordable.

There are tons of routes to consider, and if traveling during summer, all you need is a good ferry search engine to purchase the tickets and design your own itinerary.

For better use of your time, we highly recommend not to include more than three islands if you have one week available and never more than four if you have two weeks.

Although visiting more islands in less time can be tempting, you also need to consider the time you will spend on the ferry, which often ends up reducing the effective time you spend enjoying all that each of these islands has to offer.

When planning a trip to the Cyclades, check these guides:

The Best Routes And Island Hopping Itineraries In The Cyclades

How To Get From Mykonos to Santorini - Beautiful Mykonos

Best Beaches In The Cycladic Islands

Santorini With Kids - Perissa beach
Perissa Beach

All of the Cyclades has some incredible beaches to visit; even Santorini, the island that you would probably never choose for beach life, has some impressive volcanic beaches to see, such as Perissa, Santorini’s black sand (and pebble) beach.

However, when thinking of Greek beaches, you also think of heavenly fine sand shores with azure waters, then check Naxos and its long Plaka, or Paros, with the unique landscape of Kolymbithres. Mykonos is also home to some stunning beaches, such as the gay-friendly (but also family-friendly) Elia Beach.

If you prefer to move to less popular islands, consider discovering Mylopotas Beach in Ios, the picturesque Vathi Beach in Sifnos, or Psili Ammos in Serifos.

Routes, Itineraries, and Island hopping within the Sporades Islands

We have written a whole article regarding the routes around the Sporades, as the islands are unique in beauty and quite unexplored. These two characteristics make island hopping in the Sporades an unusual holiday idea.

The best routes and island hopping itineraries in the Sporades:

  • Skiathos – Skopelos
  • Skiathos – Skopelos – Alonnisos
  • Alonissos – The island is huge, and it is better if visited alone instead of making it part of an island-hopping itinerary.

Best Beaches In The Sporades Islands

The Sporades have some really stunning beaches where blue waters, white sand, and lush green forests are the predominant landscapes and colors to find.

The most famous of these islands is Skiathos, home to large sandy beaches, especially on the island’s southern coast. The most exotic beach in Skiathos is Lalaria, which can only be reached by boat.

Moving on to other islands in this group, when in Skopelos, do check Stafilos Beach and Agios Dimitrios Beach in Alonnisos.

Routes And Itineraries For Crete

Falassarna - Chania Beaches, Crete - Best Beaches On Chania

The biggest island in Greece is a destination on its own. And although it is sometimes combined in other Greek Islands itineraries as a port of call during the island hopping holiday, you would need more than a month to discover the most important landmarks of Crete. Therefore, if Crete is the island you pick to visit, it would be a better idea to check two or three of its four regions at a time and forget about the rest of the Greek Islands.

And if you really want to add another island to this itinerary, it might be a better idea to make a day trip to Santorini than splitting your time between Crete and two or three other islands.

When planning a visit to Crete, check the following articles:

Best Beaches In Crete

The island has some of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean, and it would be challenging to choose only a few of them.

However, three of the most popular beaches on the Island of Crete are Elafonisi, known for its pink sand, and the shallow turquoise waters that form the Lagoon. With an exotic, almost Caribbean vibe, Balos is another top beach on Crete, perfect to combine a hiking experience and some relaxing moments by the sea. This article has more tips on visiting the best beaches in Crete.

Finally, in the southern area of the Heraklion region, Matala Beach is a famous spot in Crete with its hippy history and stunning caves to explore.

Routes, Itineraries For Evia

Gregolimano Beach, Evia Island, Greece
Gregolimano Beach

Less touristic than Crete, Evia is a huge Greek Island in the Aegean Sea group not far from the mainland. Evia is a tranquil destination that — just like Crete — needs a lot of days to be explored and appreciated.

A good advantage when picking Evia as a vacation destination is that this is a huge island quite close to Athens. So it can even be reached by car driving along a long bridge without any ferry travel.

The southern area of Evia is quite close to the Cycladic Islands of Andros and Kea, but since there are no ferry connections among the three of them, we cannot really include this island in a Cycladic-hopping itinerary.

Best Beaches In Evia

Right in the central part of the island, Chiliadou Beach is about an hour from Halkida, the capital of Evia. It is well-known for its fantastic crystal clear waters, offering a sandy area that’s perfect for kids and a rocky area, too.

Featuring extraordinary deep blue waters and golden sand, Agia Anna Beach is another famous beach on the island. A third good option on Evia is Mourteri Beach; for many travelers, it is the best beach on the entire island, with bottomless azure waters and a stunning landscape all around the shore.

So, tell us, which of these Greek Aegean Islands will you sail to first?

FAQs Aegean Sea Islands

FAQs Aegean Sea Islands

What are the Aegean Islands?

The Aegean Islands are a group of islands located in the Aegean Sea, part of the Mediterranean Sea. They belong to Greece and are divided into two regions: the North Aegean and the Eastern Aegean.

How many islands are in the Aegean Sea?

The Aegean Sea is home to numerous islands, including famous ones like Rhodes, Chios, Samos, and Karpathos. These islands, along with many others, make up the Aegean Islands.

Which islands are part of the North Aegean region?

The North Aegean region includes islands such as Rhodes, Karpathos, and Chios.

Which islands are part of the Eastern Aegean region?

The Eastern Aegean region comprises islands like Samos, Chios, and Karpathos.

What is the Aegean Sea?

The Aegean Sea is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea between Europe and Asia. It is part of the Aegean area and is connected to the Marmara Sea, the Black Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea.

What are some famous islands in the Aegean Sea?

The Aegean Sea is known for its numerous islands and islets. Some of the famous island groups include the Dodecanese (including Rhodes) and the Cyclades. Other notable islands in the Aegean Sea include Chios, Samos, Karpathos, and Crete.

What is the historical significance of the Aegean Sea?

The Aegean Sea has great historical importance as it was the center of Ancient Greek civilization. It is considered the birthplace of two ancient civilizations: the Minoans and the Mycenaeans. The Aegean Sea and its surrounding islands were a hub of cultural and economic exchange in ancient times.

How big is the Aegean Sea?

The Aegean Sea covers an area of approximately 215,000 km2. It reaches a maximum depth of 2,639 meters. The sea’s surface water circulates and sinks below the Black Sea, while its intermediate water extends to the Sea of Marmara to the south.

What are some economic activities in the Aegean Sea region?

The Aegean Sea region is economically active in several areas. Fishing is an important industry, with many coastal communities relying on it for their livelihoods. Tourism is also significant, as the area’s beautiful beaches and picturesque islands attract numerous visitors each year. Additionally, transportation, both maritime and related to trade, is vital to the region’s economy.

What is the Aegean dispute?

The Aegean dispute refers to the ongoing conflicts and tensions between Greece and Turkey over sovereignty, territorial waters, and airspace in the Aegean Sea. These disputes have strained the bilateral relations between the two countries for many years.

Has the migrant crisis had any impact on the Aegean Islands?

Yes, the Aegean Islands, particularly those closer to Turkey, have faced ongoing challenges due to the influx of thousands of refugees seeking shelter. Efforts are being made to provide support and assistance to these individuals.

How is the Aegean Sea connected to other bodies of water?

The Aegean Sea is connected to the Mediterranean Sea, the Sea of Marmara, and the Black Sea. Crete delimits the sea to the south, while the Sea of Marmara connects it to the west. The sea’s eastern edge reaches towards the Turkish mainland.

What are the North Aegean and Eastern Aegean?

The North Aegean and Eastern Aegean are two geographic regions surrounding the Aegean Sea. The North Aegean refers to the northern part of the Aegean Sea, including islands such as Thasos, Samothrace, and Lesbos. The Eastern Aegean refers to the eastern part of the Aegean Sea, including islands like Chios, Samos, and Karpathos.

Are the Aegean Islands fertile?

While the Aegean islands have some fertile areas, the larger islands generally have more fertile valleys. These fertile regions have played a significant role in agriculture and the development of civilizations throughout Aegean prehistory and history.


  1. I had no idea there were that many islands to choose from, things just got harder for my trip planneing…

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