Greece is a country with an amazing amount of beautiful islands. Find out about the 10 largest Greek islands, including Crete, Evia, Lesbos, Rhodes and Chios.
Largest Islands in Greece
If you're looking for a great beach vacation, Greece is a perfect place to go!
Greece is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, and the islands are a major draw to people from all over the world.
Where do you start though? There are over 200 populated islands in Greece, so the choice can be a little overwhelming.
If you’re planning on visiting Greece, you might find this guide to the 10 largest Greek islands a useful starting place. Here's a list of the 10 biggest islands in Greece:
- Evia (Euboea)
Biggest Greek islands
You might have heard of some of these big Greek islands before, others may be new to you. Here's a look at the biggest islands of Greece in more detail.
(Capital city: Heraklion | Size: 8,336 km2 / 3,219 sq mi | Population: 634,930)
Crete is by far the largest island in Greece, and is almost a country in itself. The people have a unique, independent demeanor, and the landscape is as varied as the area is big.
Crete really is an island suitable for everyone. Families, couples, history buffs, outdoor enthusiasts and beach lovers will all find Crete has more than enough to offer them during their vacation.
When it comes to highlights, first time visitors should see the Palace of Knossos, perhaps hike the Samaria Gorge, enjoy time in Chania, visit the Flintstone beach of Matala, and much, much more!
Find out more here: Crete travel blogs
2. Evia (Euboea)
(Capital city: Chalkis | Size: 3,684 km2 / 1,422 sq mi | Population: 191,206)
Considering that Evia is the second largest island of Greece, it is surprising that it doesn't have a higher profile. Perhaps it's a marketing problem, as if people haven't heard of Evia, of course they aren't going to visit!
It's also an island where you really need your own transport to get around, so that could be another reason.
While Evia does have some archaeological sites, it's really the beaches that are the main drawcard here.
If you find yourself in Greece with time on your hands and your own vehicle, spend some time in Evia. You might never leave!
3. Lesbos (Lesvos)
(Capital city: Mytilini | Size: 1,632.8 km2 / 630.4 sq mi | Population: 114,880)
Lesbos is the third largest Greek island. If you are looking for a unique vacation that will give you a taste of Greek culture, explore the rich history of Ancient Greece and visit an island that is filled with natural beauty then Lesbos in Greece should be on your travel itinerary.
Here are many reasons why you should consider visiting this beautiful island.
- Visit the Petrified Forest and the Museum of Natural History in Sigri village.
- Explore Molyvos, and the castle.
- Spend time at The Castle of Mytilini and surrounding area
- Drive out to the monasteries
- Savour the island ouzo, sardines, and cheese!
Visitors to Lesbos love the following beaches: Eresos, Vatera, Saint Hermogenes, Saint Isidore, Melinda, Anaxos, Molyvos, Xampelia, Τarti, and Sigri.
(Capital city: Rhodes City | Size: 1,400.68 km2 / 540.81 sq mi | Population: 115,490)
Rhodes is the fourth biggest Greek island, and is located in the Aegean Sea. It’s known for its numerous beaches, medieval architecture, and enchanting atmosphere.
The most symbolic feature of the island is the Medieval City of Rhodes which is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Greece.
There are many reasons why you should visit Rhodes in Greece this summer; here are several of the places you should visit:
- Tsambika Beach
- Monolithos Castle
- Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes
- Anthony Quinn Bay
- Medieval City of Rhodes
- Ancient site of Kamiros
- The Valley of the Butterflies
- Kallithea Springs
(Capital city: Chios Town (Chora) | Size: 842.3 km2 / 325.2 sq mi| Population: 54,030)
It seems strange that the fifth largest Greek island is one that very few people have heard of, but don't overlook Chios on your travel planning!
Known as the ‘fragrant' island due to the mastic production, it has that blend of history and natural beauty that travelers planning trips to the Greek islands come to love.
Chios is a beautiful Greek island that offers cool beaches, high mountains for trekking and deep valleys for exploring. Located in the Aegean Sea, close to the coast of Turkey, it has been inhabited since prehistoric time.
Some of the best things to do in Chios include:
- Explore the beaches in Chios town and beyond, including Mavra Volia, Vroulidia, Agia Fotia Beach, Komi Beach, and Karfas Beach.
- Enjoy a magnificent sunset
- Take a boat tour to see the island's many bays and beaches
- Eat traditional Greek food in one of the local restaurants or taverns
- Explore the historic town center on foot or by bike
- Hire an ATV and drive to Pyrgi for the decorated buildings
6. Kefalonia (Cephalonia)
(Capital city: Argostoli | Size: 773 km2 / 298 sq mi| Population: 35,801)
The island of Kefalonia is located in the Ionian Sea off western Greece. Perhaps most well known for being the setting to Captain Corelli's Mandolin, the island has plenty to offer.
It is home to a variety of beaches, with the most famous one being Myrtos Beach. Other beaches you should check out include Antisamos, Lourdas, Skala, Xi and Makris Gialos.
As with many Greek islands, Kefalonia has a few unique additions to add to Greek food and wine, one of them being the Robola wine produced on the island.
Fun fact – I worked picking grapes on Kefalonia for a few months!
Find out more here: Things to do in Kefalonia
(Capital city: Corfu Town | Size: 610.9 km2 / 235.9 sq mi | Population: 102,071)
Corfu, another of the Ionian islands, has been inhabited for over five thousand years and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece.
Visitors come here from all over the world seeking a unique experience; they want to relax on sandy beaches, swim in crystal clear waters or explore historic landmarks.
With stunning beaches and a rich history that goes back to Homer’s Odyssey, the many archaeological sites tell stories of life throughout different eras on this beautiful island.
In addition to its rich history, Corfu offers exciting activities such as scuba diving and paragliding among others.
Suggestions for things to do in Corfu include:
1. Visit the Achilleion Palace
2. Go to a restaurant and try some Greek food
3. Walk around the old town of Corfu Town
4. Take a boat tour of the island's coastline
5. Swim in one of Corfu's many beaches
8. Lemnos (Limnos)
(Capital city: Myrina | Size: 477.6 km2 / 184.4 sq mi| Population: 16,992)
Lemnos is a relatively little visited island for foreign visitors, as it is not as straightforward to get to as other islands. Located in the northern part of the Aegean Sea, it's a long ferry ride from Lavrion Port in Athens, but you can also get direct flights to Lemnos from Thessaloniki.
Foodies will love spending time on Lemnos island. Go to a traditional Greek restaurant for some delicious food, shop at local markets for fresh produce, and honey, and if you're there at the right time of year, check out the Wine Festival and Olive Festival.
You'll need to catch up on some beach time too of course. Go swimming on one of Lemnos' many beaches. Some of the best beaches in Lemnos include: Thanos Beach, Mikro Fanaraki Beach, Keros beach, Gomati beach, and Megalo Fanaraki Beach.
(Capital city: Samos | Size: 477.4 km2 / 184.3 sq mi | Population: 32,977)
Samos is a Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea. The island's history spans more than four thousand years, and it has been ruled by many different countries over the centuries before finally being unified with Greece on 11th November 1912.
Samos, Greece is a beautiful island that offers something for everyone. Whether you are into history or nature, this Greek Island has plenty of activities to make your stay a memorable one.
Some of the highlights of Samos you should consider experiencing include visiting the beaches such as Psili Ammos Beach, Tsabou Beach, Limnionas Beach, Kerveli Beach, and Tsamadou Beach.
Spend some time hiking around the villages, take time out at Sanctuary of Heraion and the Tunnel of Eupalinus, and enjoy the views from the Monastery of Panagia Spiliani.
(Capital city: Naxos (Chora) | Size: 429.785 km2 / 165.941 sq mi) | Population: 18,904)
Naxos is the only island in the Cyclades to feature on this list of the biggest islands in Greece. It comes as a surprise to many people, who assume that because Santorini and Mykonos are more well known, they are bigger.
It's not the case though, as Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades. (Andros is the second largest Cyclades island in case you were wondering!).
Naxos is a wonderful island to visit if you're looking for an authentic experience with lots of historical sites, architecture, and culture. As one of the most popular destinations in Greece, Naxos offers visitors amazing beaches that are perfect for relaxing. I consider Naxos to be one of the best Greek islands for families.
The beaches in Naxos are so serene that it's hard to pick just one! Agiassos, Plaka, Kastraki, Agios Georgios, Psili Ammos, and Aliko all offer a unique experience.
My personal favorite is the stretch of beach in the Plaka area. If you're looking for more information on best beaches in Naxos – check out my full travel guide here: Naxos Beaches
Greek Isles and Island Groups
While these ten can be considered the main islands in terms of their size, there are literally thousands of other islands and islets in the waters of Greece!
These are categorized into Greek island groups:
- Cyclades islands, in the Aegean Sea
- Ionian islands, in the Ionian Sea
- Saronic islands, in the Saronic Gulf
- Dodecanese islands, in the Aegean Sea
- Sporades islands, in the Aegean Sea
- North Aegean islands, in the Aegean Sea
Crete in the Libyan Sea, and Evia in the Aegean are not normally included in island groups as they are so big they stand by themselves!
FAQ About Big Greek Islands
What is the largest Greek island?
The Greek island of Crete is the largest and most populous in Greece. Its capital is Heraklion, which is not only the largest city in Crete, but also the 7th largest in all of Greece.
What are the 5 largest Greek islands?
The five largest islands of Greece are Crete, Evia (Euboea), Lesbos, Rhodes, and Chios.
Is Crete bigger than Cyprus?
Cyprus is 939 square km larger than the Greek island of Crete. Crete is 8,312 square kilometres in size, whereas Cyprus is 9,251 square kilometres.
What are the 5 largest islands in the Mediterranean?
The 5 biggest Mediterranean islands are Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, Corsica, and Crete.
What was the 25 island of Greece?
Amorgos is the 25th biggest island in Greece. It is the most eastern in the Cyclades group of islands.
Which Greek island has biggest population?
Crete is the largest and most populous of Greece's islands. According to the 2011 census, the population of Crete was 621,340 people, or 5.48% of Greece's total population.
How many islands are there in Greece?
There are literally thousands of Greek islands and islets scattered throughout the Mediterranean Sea. Of these, 119 islands are considered to be officially inhabited.
In this article, you have learned that Greece has a vast number of beautiful islands to explore. The 10 largest Greek islands listed here are not only the largest in size but also offer a wide range of experiences for visitors looking for something new and exciting.
Whether you want an authentic experience or prefer to relax on one of many beaches, there is sure to be an island here that meets your needs! Have any questions? Leave a comment below and I'll answer as soon as I can!
Dave is a travel writer currently based in Greece In addition to creating this largest island Greece travel guide to, he's written hundreds more guides to other destinations in Greece. Follow Dave on social media for travel inspiration from Greece and beyond: