Iraklia. Credit: Porouclas – Personal work, CC BY-SA 4.0

By Cliff Blaylock

Holidays in the Greek Islands can be so different. It could be an adventure, a beach vacation, time travel to an ancient world, or a week-long party, but it’s usually not very quiet.

The most populous Greek islands are popular with tourists and locals alike.

Their beautiful surroundings and unique culture make them an attractive place to settle down or just get away from it all.

However, this creates a problem for some people. Holidays for many are a time to escape the hustle and bustle of their normal city life, to escape to a quiet and picturesque part of the world.

The Greek islands have all the assets of this serenity, but too many people crowding the city or the beaches can really put off those looking for a little peace.

Fortunately, while there are many very populated islands, there are some lesser-known areas where you can enjoy all that the Greek Islands have to offer, without the hordes of people stealing all the lounge chairs.


The greek islands
Chora, Anafi. Credit: Zde / Wikimedia Commons /CC-BY-SA 4.0

The Cyclades are a group of absolutely stunning Greek islands set in stunning Mediterranean waters.

They have everything you want from a stay in the Greek Islands; sun, sea, sand, but unlike many other places, they also have serenity.

Not all of the Cycladic islands have small populations, but if you travel to the ones that do, you are sure to enjoy the magic of Greece with your family without an armada of people on your heels.

The quieter islands to visit in the Cyclades are:

  • Iraklia: Population – 150
  • Donoussa: Population – 160
  • Schinoussa: Population – 250
  • Anafi: Population – 270
  • Sikinos: Population – 270
  • Koufonissia: Population – 370

All of these islands are worth a visit, but if you want to combine culture, relaxation, exploration and serenity, then Koufonissia or Schinoussa are your best choice.

They might have a small population, but they still have enough exciting stuff to keep you busy.

Psara, a relatively unknown Greek island

Greek Island of Psara
Credit: Thanasis Christodoulou / Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA-4.0

Psara is an island you probably haven’t heard of. Located very close to the Turkish coast, it is a rustic mountain island surrounded by great beaches and hilly country.

It is a fantastic little island with a great heritage and a strong local community. With a population of around 450, larger than any of the Cyclades, you might think it is a bit overcrowded, but fear not.

Thanks to its anonymity, you will only ever have a handful of tourists, even in high season.

This means that the only people who will join you on the beach or the mountain trails will be locals, which makes the experience much more peaceful.


Agathonissi. Credit: Turhan Akman, CC BY 3.0

Tucked away in the northernmost corner of the Dodecanese Islands you will find Agathonisi.

Another island you probably haven’t heard of, this little gem is also near the Turkish coast, but it’s a much more flamboyant and vibrant island, as opposed to the rural charm of Psara.

Another mountainous beauty, Agathonisi, known locally as Gaidaro, includes two classic Greek villages, teeming with music and culture, as well as secluded beaches, a picturesque harbor and a population of just 180 people.

Marathi, the least populated Greek island

Greek islands
marathi. Credit: Tanya Dedyukhina, CC BY 3.0

Although the least populated, it is an island that you may have heard of before, only because of its reputation as the least populated inhabited island in Greece; excluding private islands of course.

Uniquely inhabited by the Emilianos family, bringing the total population of this island to 3, the place is as serene as it gets.

During the summer months, the family accepts up to 9 people at a time in their hotel-restaurant on the sandy coast of the island.

With no roads, shops or tourist hot spots, Marathi Island is truly the quieter island to stay.

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