Alternative holidays in 9 peaceful small islands

John KarkalatosMarch 31, 2022Updated November 1, 2022

1. Nisyros


Polybotis was a giant who fought against the Gods in the Battle of the Giants, Poseidon pursued him to Kos island where he threw a part of the island to him and thus Nisyros was formed.

This is how ancient greeks explained the volcano of Nisyros which is the most active in Greece, more active than the one in Santorini. You will have the opportunity to visit the huge hydrothermal crater Stefanos to see close up the fumaroles and the landscape around with the color of sulfur. Do not miss to visit the volcanic museum in Nikia.

Beyond the volcano Nisyros is famous for its picturesque villages: Mandraki, Paloi, Emporio and Nikia. In Mandraki you may walk on the coastal promenade where the waves breaks on its wall, visit Ilikiomeni square, the archaeological museum and the monastery of Panagia Spiliani. Nikia hangs from an altitude at the edge of the caldera, from there you will admire the best view of the volcano.

Take wonderful photos in Nikia square as it is the most beautiful in the Aegean.

A must also is to vist the beach Pachia Ammos (thick sand), whether you swim or not, the best black beach in Greece. At Apyria in Emporio you can try traditional delicacies while right next door, at the Balcony of Emporios, local meats overlooking the caldera of the volcano.

2. Tilos


Island of contrasts with rocky landscape dominated by high mountains, bays and capes as well as the large beach Eristos. In fact the mountains are so high that the island has its own water a rare thing for such a small island. Things are simple in Tilos, just relax, apart from swimming, eating and walking there is nothing else to do. Take a tour at Mikro and Megalo Chorio, the Monastery of Agios Panteleimon and the exhibition of dwarf elephants whose finds have been found in the cave Harkadio.

Tilos is well-known as the island of free camping that is allowed in Eristos but also for the hiking trails in the wild and bare mountains. Do not be surprised when goats get in your way because the herds are too many and move freely. The goats as well as the crops (we said Tilos has its own water) supply the taverns with local ingredients, in the central village of Livadia you will have the opportunity to eat delicacies in front of the sea.

3. Halki


It is surprising that in such a barren landscape there is such a large and colourful settlement. Even more surprising are the wonderful beaches with the best being Pontamos and Ftenagia. Take a tour of the alleys in Nimborio to discover the the 19th century mansions and the churches with the very beautiful pebble mosaics and end up at the port to continue your walk there.

The waters on the beaches are magical, literally sparkling in the sunlight, it is another pleasant surprise that awaits you.

In fact the port is so clean that you can swim there as well. In Pontamos and Kania enjoy food near the sea while in Nimborio on the port.

4. Lipsi


An island north of Leros with an irregular shape surrounded by numerous islets creating a setting for lovers of swimming and carefreeness. The boats Rena and Margarita go on excursions around the island and stop at Makronisi with the natural pool, Aspronissia with the white pebbles and turquoise waters, Arkioi and Marathi.

Its main feature are the wonderful sandy beaches and the picturesque settlement of Lipsi with the church of Agios Ioannis Theologos with the blue domes dominating.

A visit at this church is a must to enjoy the fantastic view of the closed bay of Lipsi.

Also take advantage of the wonderful seascape to eat fish near the sea.

5. Patmos


On the one side the picturesque Skala and on the other the monastery of Agios Ioannis Theologos which stands like a crown at the top of Chora are the most characteristic images of Patmos because Patmos is not only the famous monastery. It is the picturesque settlements with the special architecture and the beautiful lacy beaches that hide wonderful and peaceful sandy beaches. In fact Skala and Chora are attractions on their own with a wonderful view of each other.

Discover the taverns on the secluded beaches and spend carefree moments while with the boats that depart daily from the port visit for swimming the neighbouring islands Makronisi, Aspronisia, Tiganakia, Marathi and Arkioi.

6. Kimolos


It is also called Silver or Arzantiera for the silver rocks that were formed by the volcanoes and beautify the coast of the island.

The places with the most beautiful volcanic formations are Goupa and Prassa beach, must places for photos and swimming.

Chorio is rather picturesque with white houses and whitewashed alleys. The most central point is Agora which ends at the church of Panagia Odigitria, right there is also the gate of the Castle, of the medieval settlement that is worth walking among the ruins to get to know the history of Kimolos.

The magical moment is the rising of the full moon from Polyaigos, the best view is from Chorio.

From the port of Psathi it is worth visiting Polyaigos the uninhabited volcanic island with waters like a pool and the magical volcanic landscape.

7. Gavdos


Holidays in their simplest form: beaches, nature, food and hiking. Discover the unspoilt landscapes at the beaches Sarakiniko, Ai-Giannis and Korfos walk to Potamos and reach Tripiti at the southernmost part of Europe. In the taverns of the island try seafood dishes and various local flavors.

Before visiting Gavdos you can combine it with Crete and especially with the prefecture of Chania as the local ferry routes start from Chora Sfakion and Paleochora. If you have the courage you can combine it with hiking in Samaria gorge. Right after the hike you may swim in Agia Roumeli and then depart directly for Gavdos!

8. Donoussa


As soon as you see the picturesque village Stavros with the wonderful sandy beach you enter the rhythm of Donoussa on the spot, as if telling you that you came here to rest. With the sandy beach in Stavros it is a very child-friendly destination.

The location is magical on the cove with a wonderful view, ideal for food and drink in the evening.

The island has wonderful beaches and you will not find it difficult to go because the transportation is done by boat. Apart from the beaches you will also enjoy the blue waters of Fokospilia cave.

Donoussa can be combined easily with the other islands of the Small Cyclades, Koufonisia, Schinoussa, Iraklia as well Naxos and Amorgos thanks to the the ship Express Skopelitis.



Or else the hermit's holidays. Another island in the Small Cyclades, lacy with many coves and wonderful sandy beaches to discover. With a beautiful view of the Aegean, a very small human presence and a calm landscape with gentle human interventions. Messaria, the main village, is very small, with a main road and the characteristic church of Panagia Akathi. The hangout of Messaria is the I Chara cafe.

The coves hide beaches which you can discover by the boat Aeolia and go for swimming at Keros, Koufonisia and Heraklia.