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The best old towns on the Greek islands

Aegina ● Chalki ● Chania ● Corfu ● Folegandros ● hydra ● Ithaca ● Kastellorizo ● Kefalonia ● Lesvos ● Mykonos ● Paros ● Patmos ● poros ● Rethymnon ● Rhodes ● Samos ● Santorini ● Sifnos ● Spetses ● Symi ● Syros ● 14 August 2018
The Greek islands are full of beautiful, well-preserved old towns that have kept their authentic medieval or neoclassical character. Paved streets, wonderful harbors, stone-built mansions and elegant boutiques, restaurants and bars create a picturesque scenery that will steal your heart. The good news is that you can visit not only one of these towns but more destinations with Greek Island Hopping. The islands in Greece are located very close to each other, and thus it is easy to go from one island to another in less than one hour. Ferry tickets are cheap, and you just need to be ready to explore the Aegean and Ionian Sea and live unforgettable experiences.


Oia, Santorini

The most beautiful and romantic village of Santorini is Oia, the white settlement literally hanging from the caldera. Oia is the ideal place to feel the mystery of the volcanic island, listen to classic music in one of the wonderful cafés and bars, eat in a luxury restaurant and of course enjoy the sunset with your other half in the most romantic moments of your life.


Chora, Mykonos

Mykonos is the ultimate queen of the Cyclades, the centre of the nightlife and the elegant cosmopolitanism. The Chora of Mykonos is a true gem. Traditional architecture, Cycladic white houses with blue windows and numerous cobblestone streets with boutiques, cafes, bars, restaurants and local shops. Little Venice is considered one of the most romantic spots on the island and Chora, while bars, luxury restaurants, beach bars and clubs make the nightlife of Mykonos famous worldwide. The windmills on the top of the hill create the perfect frame to take hundreds of photos.

Chora, Serifos

Serifos has a typical Cycladic Chora on the top of a cliff, from where you can have a magnificent view of the Aegean Sea and the nearby islands. The central square is the best spot of Chora, where you can relax, eat, drink and buy local products from the shop in the wonderful streets around the square. Looking at the Chora from down the port is an amazing picture, which remains unforgettable to every visitor.

Chora, Folegandros

Folegandros Chorathe capital town of the island, consists of whitewashed houses with colorful windows and bougainvilleas hanging on them that strongly remind of the traditional Cycladic architecture. The paved streets lead to the village’s squares, where the traveller can eat in romantic atmosphere local delicacies. On the top of the hill, from where you can have a magnificent view of Folegandros, is located the impressive church of Panagia with a stone path leading to it.

Ermoupolis, Syros

Syros is not typically Cycladic, but it distinguishes for its Venetian architecture. Ermoupolis Syros, the main town and harbour of the island, is one of the most beautiful and imposing towns in Greece. There, you feel that everything, every house and every mansion has the purpose to make the port even more stunning. The most impressive building and at the same time the trademark of the island is the Town hall, which was built in the 19th century by the famous neoclassical architect, Ernst Ziller.

Naousa, Paros

Naousa Paros is the second town of Paros and one of the best-preserved towns in Cyclades. Despite its cosmopolitan atmosphere and the vivid nightlife, it  has managed to keep its traditional and romantic character. Whitewashed houses, small churches, labyrinth-like pebbled paths and the tiny port with the fishing boats make the scenery amazing.

Apollonia, Sifnos

The capital of Sifnos is Apollonia Sifnos, which is built amphitheatrically around three hills. The village is picturesque, consisting of narrow, paved streets, elegant local shops, white arches and Cycladic houses with bougainvillea hanging on their walls. It is beautiful like a carte postal and interesting like a small town full of happy people. Early at night, there are many cocktail bars to enjoy romantic moments after having a walk in the lovely streets of Chora, but after midnight, the scenery reminds of the liveliest islands, and the atmosphere is full of wild nightlife moments, alcohol and dance.


Medieval Town, Rhodes

The Medieval Town of Rhodes is one of the best-preserved medieval cities in Europe, and thereat, Unesco inscribed it on its World Heritage List. Walking around the Old Town of Rhodes is a unique experience of medieval beauty and multicultural character between the East and West. The best experience is to spend your nights in one of the luxury boutique hotels inside the Medieval Town in order to feel the unique atmosphere of the city.


Built amphitheatrically on the hill, the harbour of Symi will take your breath away as soon as the boat approaches it. Colourful neoclassical houses create a picture that looks like coming from a carte postal. It is a picture like a painting that you will admire again and again during your stay on this charming rocky island with the port that reminds of Italy.


Chalki is the smallest inhabited island of the Dodecanese with a permanent population of 330 residents, which is increased during the summer months. Because its tourism is not as developed as on the other islands, Chalki is ideal for peace and privacy. The island is characterised by the impeccable architecture of its port with numerous neoclassical houses creating a colorful setting.


The architecture of the port in Kastellorizo has Italian and Ottoman influences, offering its visitors a surprising mixture of these civilisations. The port is a lovely tiny village on the waterfront with colourful neoclassical houses, mosques and churches. Walking around the beach promenade, eating fresh fish in one of the traditional taverns on the beachfront or drinking your cocktail in the cozy bars of Kastellorizo are must things to do in this island with the positive vibes, from where all travellers leave smiling.

Chora, Patmos

The well-preserved main town of Patmos, the island of the Apocalypse, is an architectural jewel of traditional white-washed houses and medieval churches, and it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The narrow pebbled streets and the Monastery of Saint Jown on the top of the hill, which looks like a fortress, make you believe like having travelled back in time.

Ionian Islands

Old Town, Corfu

Corfu Town is among the most beautiful and elegant cities in Greece, if not in Europe, a piece of Italy in the Ionian Sea. Its traditional, Italian architecture, the neoclassical buildings and the well-preserved palaces give the old town a unique charm that explains why it has been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. The best spots are the Spianada Square (Corfu), the Ionian Academy, the Town Hall and the Ionian Parliament.

Fiskardo, Kefalonia

Fiskardo, on the northern side of Kefalonia, is a picturesque settlement with traditional neoclassical houses, paved streets and an atmosphere you can't forget. Seaside bars, Greek taverns, luxury hotels and elegant shops create the perfect scenery to relax and enjoy the beauty. It is the best-preserved towns on the island and of the most aristocratic settlements in Greece.

Vathy, Ithaca

Vathy is the capital and main port of Ithaca. It is a picturesque little town with 2,000 residents built amphitheatrically around a peaceful bay. Venetian houses, paved streets and elegant shops make Vathy the place to enjoy the traditional atmosphere of the island. Vathy is a preserved settlement since 1978. All the buildings, which have been destroyed in the earthquake of 1953, were rebuilt, and today constitute a wonderful scenery.



Chania is a town with long history, and its archaeological and historical identity is visible in every corner of the city. The mosque, which dominates the scenery of Chania (Old Town), the picturesque port, the Archaeological Museum and the local shops constitute the multicultural character of the city that is the jewel of Crete.


Rethymnon is a traditional Old Town, which will impress you with its Venetian Fortress, called Fortezza, the old churches, the elegant mansions and the stunning port. It combines the aristocratic atmosphere with the modern aspect that captivates every visitor. Plus, you will enjoy there a great part of the famous Cretan hospitality.

Saronic islands


Located only 45 minutes by ferry from AthensAegina is an authentic place with a traditional Chora and port with beautiful places to walk, shop and eat by the sea. The first picture of Aegina is its town, a lovely harbour with neoclassical buildings, cafés and taverns at the beachfront, which is the best spot to spend your evenings. It is amazing also for a day trip from Athens. Don't miss eating the local product of Aegina, the pistachio!


Poros impresses its visitors with its town, which is built amphitheatrically on a cliff, like on a cart-postal. Colourful neoclassical buildings, verdant nature with pine trees and hospitable locals are the characteristics that make the visit to Poros, the island of lemons, a must. It combines lovely beaches with delicious cuisine in a cosmopolitan scenery.


The popularity of Hydra is a result of the extreme beauty of Hydra Chora, with stone-built houses on a cliff. The picturesque architecture of this town, with the huge stone-built mansions and the elegant houses of the traditional and protected settlement, which looks like being hidden in its natural harbour, make you feel like seeing a wonderful painting. The houses are standing amphitheatrically on the cliff, and the harbour is full of lovely sailing boats, local shops, restaurants by the sea and bars with cosmopolitan character.


Spetses is considered to be the counterweight to Mykonos, concerning the nightlife, the luxury shops and restaurants and the cosmopolitan character. The old port and Dapia are the perfect places to have a walk on foot or by a carriage with a horse. The scenery is lovely, the neoclassical houses are impressive, well-preserved and beautiful. As the boat approaches, the impressive buildings will steal your heart.

Northern Aegean Islands

Mytilene, Lesvos

Mytilene is the capital of Lesvos and a town with strong medieval and neoclassical character. The medieval castle of Mytilene is considered as one of the best-preserved castles in Eastern Mediterranean. The Old Town of Mytilene under the castle has vivid nightlife and many interesting museums.

Pythagoreion, Samos

Pythagoreion in Samos has a very nice beachfront, traditional architecture and amazing atmosphere with various touristic facilities, hotels and traditional restaurants.  It is the homeland of philosopher and scientist Pythagoras, from whom it took its name. It is a very friendly settlement on a very beautiful island.

Where to Stay

Pansion in Arachova, Greece Celena Maisonettes
Celena Maisonettes
Lakka Square, 32004 Arachova, Greece

Celena Maisonettes is located in Arachova, just a 10-minute drive from the archaeological site of Delphi. Amfissa is 31 km away while Athens is 172 km away.

Appartment in Chalkidiki, Greece Milos Apartments
Milos Apartments
Main Street, Afitos, 63077 Chalkidiki, Greece

Milos Apartments is built in a quiet location in the village of Afitos, approximately a 10-minute walk from the beach. Thessaloniki International Airport is 74 km away.

Hotel in Karpathos, Greece Balaskas Hotel
Balaskas Hotel
Diafani, 85700 Karpathos, Greece

The family-run Balaskas Hotel is located just 6 minutes walk from sandy Diafani Beach. The distance from Diafani port is 800 metres. Karpathos town and the port Pigadia are at 50 km, while Karpathos Island National Airport is at 65 km. The hotel offers free transfer from/to Diafani Port and airport transfer on request at an additional cost.