True Gems

Greece’s 6,000 islands and islets are an integral part of the country’s civilisation and tradition. Of these jewels scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas only 227 are inhabited. Popular with beach loving island hoppers, the islands also boast archaeological sites, a rich architectural and mythological heritage and centuries-old local traditions that offer a glimpse into a multifaceted cultural past.

The Greek archipelago is the cradle of some of the most ancient and prosperous European civilisations, including the Cycladic and Minoan civilisations. This heritage, in combination with the climate, clean waters and the short distances between ports and coasts, helps maintain the enduring popularity of the islands amongst both Greek and foreign visitors.

Most islands lie in the Aegean Sea and are divided in to seven groups (from north to south):

The Northeastern Aegean Islands

  • Ikaria
  • Lesvos
  • Limnos
  • Samos
  • Chios
  • Agios
  • Efstratios
  • Inousses
  • Psara
  • Samothrace
  • Thasos

The Sporades

Evia

  • Evia

The Argo-Saronic Islands

The Cyclades

A group of 56 islands, its most important ones being

as well as the “Minor Cyclades” comprising Donousa, Irakleia, Koufonisia and Schinoussa.

The Dodecanese

Crete

The Ionian Islands

The Ionian Sea is home to one sole island group.

Antipaxi, Ereikoussa, Mathraki, Meganissi, Othoni, Strofades. These islands, together with Kythira and neighbouring Antikythira constitute the Eptanissa.

The islands of Gavdos (situated south of Crete), Elafonissos (in the Gulf of Laconia) and Trizonis (in the Gulf of Corinth), although not forming part of any group, are of unparalleled natural beauty.

See our map of administrative regions.

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Did you know?

Greece enjoys more than 250 days of sunshine or 3,000 sunny hours a year.

Greece has more than 2,000 islands, of which approximately 170 are populated.

Greece’s largest island is Crete (3,189 sq.miles) (8,260 sq. km.)

Greece has more archaeological museums than any other country in the world.

Greece is the leading producer of sea sponges