Recommended by locals: 4 Greek islands near Athens

Our local experts share the best restaurants, beaches, bars, hikes, and museums on their four favorite islands close to Athens.

Kevin Crain

By Kevin Crain

a gorgeous natural harbor in greece

Blueground currently has over 8,500 fully furnished apartments in 26 cities around the world. But it all began in Athens, Greece, where many BeeGees (Blueground employees) still live and work!

Planning on staying with us in Athens for the summer or longer? A day trip or weekend getaway to the nearby islands is an absolute must.

a beautiful village in greece

Here are the top four islands our local team members suggest you check out.

With the best restaurants, beaches, bars, hikes, and museums—that they’ve actually been to—plus tips on how to make the most of your experience.

1. Andros

Andros is the northernmost island of the Cyclades and just 2 hours away from Athens by ferry from the port of Rafina.

Despite the typical Cyclades landscape (rocky and bushy), Andros has a lot of greenery due to its multiple springs.

Andros has a long maritime tradition. The capital of the island, Chοra (which means “main village”), is home to many famous Greek captains and ship owners.

And while the most touristy area, Batsi, is closer to the port, it’s really worth driving about 45 minutes to visit traditional Chora, located on the other side of the island.

Andros is definitely worth a visit and can be seen solely as a cultural tourism destination thanks to its museums.

The globally acknowledged Museum of Modern Art, managed by the Vassilis and Eliza Goulandris Foundation, houses unique collections of paintings and sculptures, whereas the Archaeological Museums in Chοra and Paleοpolis showcase the island’s long, turbulent history.

In addition to culture, Andros offers a big variety of sandy beaches, rocky coastlines, hiking trails, water springs (even small waterfalls!), and beautiful architecture.

However, if you are looking for a small island with not much driving required, keep looking!

2. Kythnos

Kythnos is one of the least explored islands in the Cyclades and just 1.5 hours away from Athens by ferry (from Lavrio Port) or 3 hours (from Piraeus port).

It’s a great option for friends and couples (with or without kids) as well as solo travelers.

kythnos, greece

I love the crystal-clear waters. Do not miss Kolona Beach!

Bring your own umbrella if possible though since the existing ones are limited (or expensive) and there is no other awning or anything for shade.

You should definitely visit Dryopida village, especially the Chartino Karavi restaurant. If you are a food-lover, I recommend it!

In Hora, you will find the nightlife center. For drinks and cocktails, The Kraken is the coolest option.

My favorite area to stay is in Loutra, by the beach. While four days are enough to explore the entire island, if you plan to stay for longer, you won’t get bored at all.

The best time to visit is between May and October as it’s super busy in July and August.

3. Kea (or Tzia)

Two hours (total time) from Athens, the island of Kea is a small paradise. This island is perfect for groups of friends, couples, business travelers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

Kea has plenty of extremely beautiful beaches—the number one reason to visit it.

Gialiskari is the first one, near the small port of the island. It’s easily accessible by car or even by foot. Featuring splendid green shallow waters with fine golden sand, it’s the ideal place to start your exploration.

Next to Gialiskari is a place called Vourkari. It’s the perfect little sea village to eat. The food there is remarkable (eat at Vourkarion or Nine Daughters), and the whole place is like a big, quiet lake.

At night, Vourkari is transformed into a place full of life as the bars located there will definitely make you want to sit for a drink!

Another excellent option for swimming is the beach of Otzias. This area is almost naturally enclosed by the mountains, a perfect place for windy days!

The main town of Chora rests in the middle of the island with a beautiful ancient acropolis and well-preserved windmills. Traditional Cycladic architecture at its best!

There are also a lot of taverns (Kylix is a nice minimal restaurant that you should visit there) and bars.

It’s also worth mentioning an almost unknown place that hides a valuable secret in it. In the mountain village of Kato Meria, in Poularakia tavern, you’ll eat the finest black pork burgers you have ever tasted. Βelieve me! Mr. Dinos, who owns the place, also has a farm with his own animals.

For the adventurous, there are four unbelievable beaches that you can reach only with an SUV or 4X4: Xila, Spathi, Orkos, and Sikamia. All highly recommended!

There is also a monastery of mother Mary called Panagia Kastriani that is definitely worth visiting. This quiet place offers a breathtaking view and it gives you the opportunity to relax and look into your inner self.

My favorite place to stay is Studio Lefkes, which is located a few kilometers outside of Vourkari.

The best time to visit is May to October, but the key to every activity is to book it in advance! Many people visit the island and occupancy (especially on weekends) often reaches 100%.

4. Kimolos

As Kimolos is not very touristy, you can mainly relax, swim, walk, and eat! You can also rent a private boat (or go with a small group) to see the beautiful Polyaigos.

Another must-visit spot is Kastro, the most picturesque quarter of Chorio and the capital village of Kimolos.

Moreover, you can hike to Skiadi, a unique geological formation on the northwest side of the island that looks like a large stone mushroom. It’s about a 90-minute walk from Chorio.

The best beaches are Kalamitsi Beach, Bonatsa Beach, Goupa, and Prassa—where you can find a nice beach bar (Kimolia). Finally, Mavrospilia Beach is the perfect spot to watch sunsets.

For foodies (my favorite part), I recommend To Kyma and Prasonisi—both have great food and romantic atmospheres.

There are other nice restaurants that also have great food and views, including I Kali Kardia (Bohoris), Meltemi, and Sardis.

For a traditional bakery, you should try the Paradosiakos Bakery and their traditional pizza (Ladenia).

And don’t forget to enjoy some gelato from Stavento Ice Cream Parlour in the Chorio.

For nightlife, Agora Cocktail Bar and To Laikon are the most popular ones. There are a few options in Chora where you can have your tsipouro or ouzo. However, Kimolos is not an island for crazy nights out.

Need more time to explore each island?

Blueground offers furnished apartments with the flexibility to stay for a month, a year, or longer.

Each space features a fully equipped kitchen, premium linens, smart entertainment essentials, and more.

So you’ll feel at home and free to roam from your first weekend in Athens on!

Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain is a writer from Dallas, Texas. He’s dedicated to helping every Blueground guest live like a local and make their apartment feel like home. His favorite topics include active experiences, bucket list essentials, and hidden gems in cities around the world.