Identifying which Greek islands are “best” is not easy because everyone has different criteria. Some people might prefer nightlife while others are looking for a bargain, beautiful beaches or interesting history. However, there are certainly some islands that can be identified as particularly popular for particular reasons.
Known for its nightlife, Mykonos will also appeal to beach lovers. Mykonos Town, its capital, also has a lot to offer in terms of clubs and restaurants. Mykonos is the place to go for those seeking lively beach parties. On the other hand, for people who are in search of history, Crete may be the best choice. It is also a large island, and it would be easy to spend an entire week or two there just taking in the hiking, cities, history and, of course, the beaches. Santorini is another big and busy island that, like Crete, is good in the off-season as well, with plenty to do and a lot of hotels and restaurants for tourists. It is also a great spot for honeymooners or any couple in search of a romantic island experience. Smaller but still replete with history is Rhodes.
People traveling to the Greek islands with their families might want to consider Naxos, which caters to this demographic. It is also known for its excellent Greek food and interesting historical sites. Paros is another good choice for families and includes plenty of things for teenagers to do as well. People who are looking for a quieter atmosphere than Mykonos or Santorini but who would still like to enjoy a little nightlife might appreciate Paros. The towns of Naoussa and Parikia, where the ferry port is located, both make nice bases. Avid hikers will love Folegandros or Sifnos. They are quiet islands along with Karpathos and Ikaria.
Another thing to look at when choosing where to go is the time of year. Greek islands that are lively in the summer months can feel shut down in the winter. Summer is usually the best time for those seeking nightclubs while people traveling for history and hiking may enjoy the shoulder seasons of spring and fall more. As is the case with all kinds of traveling, it is best to do plenty of research in advance.