The Greek Islands offer more than you might expect. First off, there are more than 6,000 islands and islets off the mainland that belong to Greece, and more than 200 of them are inhabited. They contain a stunning array of enticing beaches, picture-perfect white hill towns, diverse cities and some of the oldest cultures and settlements in Europe.
This list is a peek into a handful of those islands, each a universe to itself, worthy of its own focus and exploration. Don't expect one size to fit all — each island has its own character and history, with varied local customs, recreational options and distinct landscapes.
Tourism in Greece is booming, increasing nearly fivefold over the last decade, according to numbers from the United Nation's World Tourism Organization. While this is good news for the struggling national economy, it has also given rise to fears of over-tourism eroding the charm of some of these ancient islands, disturbing the myth of the hidden tranquility these places invoke. Even so, unspoiled beaches and peaceful getaways still dot the busy Greek Archipelago.
Despite their sublime, ageless beauty, these islands are indeed part of the modern world, but still they offer a breathtaking view into the past that is too captivating not to linger over.