Either way, romance flourishes in these glorious destinations. But how to choose from so many stunning islands? Whether it’s your first holiday or your hundredth, your honeymoon, babymoon or retirement-moon, we’ve gathered the most idyllic Greek islands for couples seeking an escape.
Santorini conjures up images of whitewashed houses, blue domed roofs, winding cobbled streets and a pina-colada-coloured sky as the sun slips below the horizon. This infamous lovers’ destination features top of almost any article of the best Greek islands for couples, but it would be remiss not to mention a place that seems designed for romance. The whole isle is very sunset-focused, with numerous signs indicating the best views and strewn with panoramic restaurant terraces. You’ll have no trouble filling your time before sundown, though, with plenty of walking, fabulous vineyards for wine tasting and tours, and a whole host of gorgeous beaches. With its beautiful domes, windmill and tantalising streets, Oia is the quintessential Santorini town. It’s packed with trendy wine bars and intimate courtyard restaurants featuring walls drowning in bougainvillea, making for the perfect date night. Nearby Ammoudi is a pint-sized harbour with glorious seafood tavernas perched on the water’s edge – ideal for a quiet evening with a sea breeze. Fira, with a quaint village centre and its much-photographed Three Bells church, is a must-see. While you’re here, take the trail down to Santorini Old Harbour to witness its rustic charm and stunning cliff backdrop.
Surely Kythira, as the birthplace of the goddess of love, has to be one of the most romantic Greek islands for couples. It’s a perfect spot for those seeking a slower-paced holiday, an authentic experience, and some great walking too. The isle remains rather under the radar, partly as it takes a bit more effort to reach: there are short-hop flights from Athens or Thessaloniki, or ferries from the mainland (Athens and Neapoli) or Crete. Once here, you’re rewarded with a cornucopia of laid-back beaches, from the perennially popular Chalkos to the almost-abandoned cove of Feloti and beautiful Kaladi. The island is dotted with hiking trails, waterfalls and gorges, as well as numerous churches, castles and lighthouses with picturesque views. The capital of sorts, Chora, is a charming collection of inviting streets and colourful doorways nestled in the hillside, boasting a castle, dozens of tavernas and walking trails leading to the two unspoilt beaches. Avlemonas is one of the most beautiful villages here, with a sleepy atmosphere, blue and white hues, and paved platforms leading right down into the clear sea for a refreshing dip.
Mykonos is perhaps best known as the island of windmills. This is one of the most romantic Greek islands for couples looking to relax, but still with a healthy dose of nightlife. Mykonos Town starts its mornings peacefully enough, as the harbour starts to fill with local sellers offering swathes of fresh produce. By the evening, it’s alive with revelry (albeit more low-key and sophisticated than some of the famous party destinations). The town has all the azure and white Cycladic charm you could wish for, with pristine streets and tiny shopfronts overflowing with artwork and souvenirs. The windmills are a sight to behold, especially at sunset, framed against a pastel canvas. Little Venice is the place to be of an evening, with bars and restaurants stacked higgledy-piggledy by the water’s edge and customers spilling across the pavements enjoying seafood and swanky cocktails. Cultural attractions include Panagia Paraportiani church or the nearby tiny island of Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site accessible by boat, home to a bounty of antiquities. The most famous and glamorous of the beaches, with a party atmosphere, is Paradise Beach. Fokos and Agios Sostis Beach promise quieter shores, with turquoise waters and peaceful surrounds.
You wouldn’t think that the filming location of Mamma Mia would be under the radar but, apart from a dedicated following of Greek tourists, Skopelos remains largely undiscovered. This makes it one of the best Greek islands for couples looking to escape the bustle and sample local delights, from olives, plums and almonds to honey and the island’s take on feta cheese. It’s fairly easy to reach, with direct flights from London, Manchester, East Midlands and numerous others to Skiathos, followed by a short ferry. The capital is Skopelos Town, with a small harbour and terracotta-roofed houses and seafood joints climbing the hillside. Nearby, you’ll find Paralia Glifoneri, an unfussy, pebbly cove where trees run right down to the water. The southeast tip of the island is a wooded oasis of trails, criss-crossing between churches and monasteries, and a few sleepy towns untouched by modern life. The northeast coast, meanwhile, is strewn with beautiful beaches, including Agios Ioannis – the tiny cove famous for the Mamma Mia wedding scene. Drive the coastal road, pausing to marvel at the rugged green coastline, perhaps stopping at Chondrogiorgi and Pethamenis beaches, much quieter and less visited than their movie star counterpart.