Cheapest Greek Island to Visit: 13 Cheap Destinations in 2022

Greece is one of the most popular countries to visit in Europe due to its rich history, vibrant culture and countless beautiful natural sites. One of the other reasons for its popularity is that Greece is quite cheap. Compared to other European countries, you can save quite a bit of money if you travel here, even during the high season.

However, that is if you know where to travel. Popular destinations such as Santorini, Athens and Hydra are not the easiest places to save money. However, it is not difficult to find cheaper Greek islands.

In this article, we will look at 13 of the cheapest Greek islands to visit. If you are on a budget, staying on a cheaper island will help make your Greek vacation more bearable.

The best Greek islands to visit on a budget

1. Andros

Andros is the northernmost of the Cyclades islands, a group to which Mykonos and Santorini belong. However, although it is a popular place with Europeans who own vacation homes, Andros has not yet experienced the mass tourism that its neighbors have. And that’s just as well.

Thanks to its relative tranquility, food and lodging prices in Andros are not excessive.

It is also convenient. Andros is only two hours from Rafina, a port with direct connections to Athens International Airport. A true hidden gem, the island offers beautiful mountain walks, white sandy beaches and picturesque rural villages. Batsí is the island’s main tourist center, while Kyprí and Âghios Petros are also popular beaches.

2. Aegina

Aegina is one among the Saronic Islands in the Saronic Gulf (Gulf of Corinth). It is even closer to the capital than Andros, and can be reached in less than an hour from the port of Piraeus. This means that it is a wonderful day trip from Athens.

There’s no shortage of activities either: the Doric temple of Athena Aphaia is a popular landmark, as are pretty villages such as Suvala, Vagia and Perdika.

Want to relax on the beach? Head to the sandy part of Marathon.

3. Naxos

Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades, is home to some of the best beaches in the island chain and offers a wide variety of things to see and do. It is also much cheaper than Mykonos or Santorini.

For beach lovers, head to the west coast, where you will find miles of sandy beaches, as well as great swimming and snorkeling.

Adventurous travelers should head inland. The highest peak in the Cyclades, Mount Zeus, rises 1,004 meters above sea level and is a challenge for hikers.

Stops in mountain villages during the hike will introduce you to homemade wine, cheese and kitron liqueur.

4. Crete

Crete is the biggest Greek Island and one of the most visited ones. It may seem strange to see it on a budget travel list, but with a little knowledge, you can make your money go further here.

The main towns on the island have hostels, so you can save a lot of money on accommodation. Street food is available everywhere, so you can always find something delicious nearby.

Getting around Crete is also easy and cheap, with buses connecting the main cities costing less than €2 per trip.

Finally, Crete has a multitude of attractions where you can spend the entire day. Balos Beach, Samaria Gorge and Knossos Palace all cost less than €10 and are impressive!

5. Thassos

A true hidden gem in the Aegean Sea, Thassos is just over an hour (13.9 km) from the Greek mainland and is easily accessible from the port of Keramoti.

Thassos, the northernmost Greek island, receives much more rainfall than the other Aegean islands, which means that it is very green. Despite the higher rainfall, you can enjoy the island’s sunny beaches, especially in summer.

There are also some interesting historical sites to visit, such as the ancient agora of Limenas and the archaeological site of Alyki.

6. Lemnos

Located between Lesbos and Thasos, Lemnos is another beautiful island in the northeastern Aegean Sea.

The island’s capital, Myrina, is dominated by an impressive Byzantine castle, which offers magnificent views of the town stretched between two bays. The rock church of Panagia Kakaviotissa and the ancient site of Hephaestus are other highlights.

One of the reasons why Lemnos is a well kept secret is its distance from Athens. Even in high season, you can find a place on its beaches just for you. This also translates into low prices, so your money goes further!

7. Lefkada

Did you know that you can reach Lefkada by car? This island in the Ionian Sea is connected to the Greek mainland because of its proximity. You can even take a bus from Athens.

Lefkada is one of the most popular economic destinations in the country and attracts many Greek visitors as well as discerning international travelers.

This relaxed island has several beautiful beaches and the Ionian cuisine will put a smile on your face. Adventurous travelers should head to the Dimosari waterfalls or watch the sunset behind the lighthouse at Cape Lefkatas.

8. Rhodes

The largest and most historically significant of the Dodecanese islands, Rhodes is a popular destination for package holidaymakers.

Like Crete, you might be surprised to see it on a list of cheap Greek islands to visit, but it’s cheap to get around, cheap to eat and cheap to stay here – three main things that can strain your vacation budget.

Be sure to visit the old town of Rhodes (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), the acropolis of Lindos and hike to Seven Springs to enjoy the natural shade of the midday Aegean sun.

9. Ios

Although it’s a party island, Ios can offer you some peace and quiet. As long as you stay away from its nightclubs in Chora and the beach in Mylopotas.

Another island of the Cyclades, Ios sways pleasantly in the blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Chora is quite pleasant to visit during the day, but the island is not only about its capital.

Excursions cost nothing, and there are impressive walks in the interior of the island. Among them are the shepherd’s paths leading to the highest peak of the island, Pyrgos.

As for accommodation, places like Far Out Camping will save you money compared to a hotel or Airbnb.

10. Zakynthos

Our last cheap island in Greece is Zakynthos, also known as Zakynthos. Another popular island for its parties and nightlife, it is possible to escape the crowds of tourists and the higher prices around the most popular clubs and bars.

There is no shortage of things to do in Zakynthos. While you may want to check Navagio beach and its shipwreck off your list of things to do, visit less touristy beaches like Alykes and Tsilivi.

There are also museums that not only make for a cheap morning or afternoon, but also a great escape from the sun.

11. Kimolos

The idyllic island of Kimolos is not only one of the cheapest Greek islands, but also one of the quietest. The small island is located close to the increasingly popular island of Milos in the heart of the Cyclades, but at least for the time being it is relatively unnoticed. The capital of the island is “Chora”.

This small blue and white settlement cascades down from the hilltops and has existed here for hundreds of years.

The accommodation possibilities on Kimolos are limited. If you settle in Chora, you will have many supermarkets, restaurants and nightlife places at your fingertips.

You can enjoy a beautiful sunset from the abandoned windmills on the outskirts of town, and swim in the crystal clear cerulean waters of the island’s beaches; the beaches of Psathi, Ennias, Aliki and Bonatsa are some of the best places to sunbathe.

If you want to learn more about the island’s history and heritage, stop by the Kimolos Folk and Maritime Museum and the Kimolos Archaeological Museum. The former is housed in a former Venetian castle.

12. Samos

Samos, and the North Aegean islands in general, are often massively overlooked by most people planning their trips to Greece. That is arguably the reason why these are some of the Cheapest Greek islands to visit.

Samos is actually located closer to the Turkish mainland than to mainland Greece. The North Aegean islands have a culture and gastronomical scene of their own that differs from other parts of the country.

There is plenty to do in Samos – whether you are looking for a relaxing break, or you are seeking a more exhilarating adventure. The villages of Pythagorio, Kokkari & Kampos Marathokampou are the main areas to stay on the island.

If you are looking to escape the crowds, you can also consider booking a hotel or self-catered accommodation in the towns of Vathy and Karlovasi. Most of the beaches on Samos island are pebbled and only a handful are sandy.

Still, that doesn’t make them any less of a pleasant place to visit or go swimming. They all boast warm, translucent turquoise waters that would rival what you would expect to find in the Caribbean.

Tsamadou, Tsabou & Lemonakia are among the most popular serviced beaches on the island’s north coast. Meanwhile, Chrysi are Psili Ammos are two beloved white-sand beaches on the island’s south coast.

13. Folegandros

The small island of Folegandros (Φολέγανδρος) lies at the southern end of the Cyclades. It has only 760 permanent residents, and although Folegandros has become the focus of Hellenophiles in recent years, few international tourists know what it has to offer.

Folegandros is easy to reach from Athens. High-speed catamarans leave regularly from Piraeus and take you to the island in less than four hours. You can also take the car ferry, which takes about 9.5 hours.

The best time to visit Folegandros is the low season: April/May/June or late September/early October. The small size of this island means that there are not many accommodation options available. However, Folegandros is the most suitable place for nature lovers, so you can stay at Livadi Camping during your stay.

Eating in Folegandros is not always cheap. The way to discover the island on a budget is to enjoy its nature: camping, relaxing on the plethora of secluded white sandy beaches, conquering the scenic hiking trails and cooking yourself here and there.

Chora is the main town on the island, but other towns and villages are worth visiting. In particular, Ano Meria is not to be missed.

There is an excellent restaurant here known locally as “kafenion”. The owner and her yiayia serve a varied selection of sumptuous Greek dishes and specialties from Folegandros. Be sure to try the matsata – homemade Folegandros pasta.

Tips for visiting the Greek islands

Traveling in high season “Peak Season”

One of the most important considerations when visiting the Greek islands on a budget is the month in which you travel. If you travel in May/June or September/October, you will not only avoid the crowds, but also the higher temperatures. July and August can be so hot that you’ll spend most of your time avoiding the sun.

Island hopping

Greece has over 6,000 islands. Be sure to check the map before you go and choose a few that belong to the same group of islands – the most popular are the Sporades, the Cyclades and the Dodecanese.

Transportation

Fast ferries are the most expensive option. If you’re not in a hurry, sit back, take a slower (and cheaper) ferry and enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the Aegean, Ionian and Mediterranean seas.

Traveling by land? Opt for public transportation, such as buses and trains, rather than car rentals and cabs. Scooter rentals are a fun and inexpensive way to explore the smaller Greek islands.

Food

Eating in restaurants is a great way to experience Greek cuisine. However, if you do it for every meal, you will leave a big hole in your budget. You can enjoy traditional Greek dishes, such as souvlaki, at street food stalls, as well as cakes and sandwiches at bakeries.

Package vacations

Some islands are popular destinations for package tours, such as Zakynthos, Crete and Rhodes. They’re not always the best way to immerse yourself in Greek culture, but they’re good value for money.

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