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7 Amazing Alternatives To Santorini

From the lesser-known islands of Tinos, Paros and Andros, to the ever-popular Mykonos and Rhodes, these Greek islands are perfect alternatives to Santorini.

So, you’ve been thinking of visiting Santorini in Greece, but something is putting you off? Maybe it’s the hugely inflated prices for hotels or restaurants? Or, perhaps you’ve seen photos of the summer crowds and thought it all looks a bit too hectic?

Livada Beach, Tinos
I’m going to share some of the best alternatives to Santorini

While Santorini is an extremely beautiful and photogenic destination for a holiday, there are other Greek islands that offer just as much. Santorini is famed for its beautiful beaches, charming and characterful villages, and lively nightlife. But do you know what? So are some of the nearby islands! And being a lot less popular, they don’t suffer from over-tourism or sky high prices.

Driving on Tinos island
There are some amazing Greek islands that are worthy alternatives to Santorini

If you’ve had Santorini on your must-visit list, it’s probably for a few of these reasons:

  • Epic volcanic landscapes
  • Charming villages and pretty whitewashed towns
  • Stunning sunsets
  • Unique beaches with red and black sand
  • Tasty Mediterranean cuisine and local Assyrtiko wine
  • Ancient ruins and historical sites

However, if you switch Santorini for one of these options, you’re guaranteed to get a lovely dose of authentic Greek hospitality. On some of the less popular islands such as Tinos and Paros, you’ll see that the big brands haven’t taken over! You can still enjoy delicious local dishes in a quintessentially Greek taverna or laze by the pool in a boutique hotel.

tourlitis lighthouse andros greece
The famous lighthouse off the coast of Andros in Greece

So, if you’re looking for a beautiful island in Greece that’s a genuine stand-in for Santorini, here are my top recommendations.

Before you leave, don’t forget to have a thorough read of my Greece packing list. There are lots of tips on what to wear in Greece, whether your trip is taking you to the islands or the mainland.

7 Best Alternatives To Santorini: Greek Islands


Did you know that the island of Tinos also belongs to the Cyclades Islands? But, unlike Santorini or its next door neighbour Mykonos, in Tinos you won’t battle with bustling crowds. Tinos has retained much of its original charm and natural beauty. It’s just 20-minutes by boat from Mykonos, so it’s an easy one to reach if you’re looking for islands with airports close by.

Exploring Kardiani village in Tinos
Exploring Kardiani village in Tinos

I really enjoyed exploring this island. It felt wild and natural, with a lovely ambience. The locals were super friendly and helpful too, and prices were definitely lower than some of the other Greek islands I’ve visited.

Some of my favourite spots in Tinos included the mountain villages of Kardiani and Pyrgos, the delicious fresh seafood restaurants in Panormos and the vineyards in wild and rocky Volax.

The relaxed ambiance in Tinos makes it ideal for couples planning a Greek island getaway. I’d recommend hiring a car to really make the most of your time on the island.

Kardiani village in Tinos
Kardiani village in Tinos

If you want some help planning your trip, I’d recommend reading my Tinos travel guide.


If you’re looking for pretty whitewashed buildings and skinny cobbled streets just like Santorini, you’ll be happy to hear that Andros has those in abundance. But, it also has an utterly surprising side too!

This island is known for being the lushest among the Cyclades Islands. It boasts natural springs and rivers, which really sets it apart from the typical scenery you see on the Greek islands. I bet Santorini is jealous now!

Chora, Andros
Chora is the main town on the island of Andros

After my trip to Andros, I nicknamed it the ‘adventure island’. There were lots of cool activities on offer, my favourite being the river trek. As we adventured through lush forests, we reached a few amazing waterfalls. I’d worked up quite a sweat so I couldn’t resist having a refreshing waterfall swim.

River trekking is one of the most popular activities in Andros
River trekking is one of the most popular activities in Andros

The capital Chora is located on a pretty peninsula, surrounded by the vivid turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea. There’s also a famous lighthouse perched on a rock out in the sea. You’ll be able to spot it from the water’s edge, but we also loved the little boat trip we did to see it close up.

While Santorini offers easy access via its airport, you can hop on a ferry from Rafina Port in Athens to Andros, and reach the island in a couple of hours.


Rhodes is one of the most popular of the Greek islands. While I wouldn’t offer it as an alternative to Santorini if you’re looking to escape the crowds, it does tend to be more budget-friendly and better for families.

Many visit Santorini for its amazing and varied history, but Rhodes offers more! Once home to the awe-inspiring Colossus of Rhodes, a marvel of the Ancient World, I’d recommend going on an island tour to soak up the historical details.

The history on Rhodes beats Santorini any day!

I’d also suggest a trip to the Acropolis in Lindos, which was founded by Dorians in the 10th century B.C. The history will blow your mind! The spectacular temple dedicated to Athena Lindia, dates all the way back to 4 B.C. How incredible is that?

While it’s very different to the likes of Oia or Fira, Rhodes Old Town is a stunning example of a Medieval city, so much so that it’s earned UNESCO World Heritage Site certification.

If you’re searching for alternatives to Santorini for a luxury break, I’d recommend looking at hotels such as the Ixian Grand. This 5-star all-inclusive hotel offers privacy, chic suites and fine-dining options. I loved our private plunge pool and relaxation area – it was so luxurious!

Relaxing on our private deck at Ixian Grand Rhodes
Places like The Ixian Grand are ideal if you’re looking for a luxury hotel in the Greek Islands

For more reasons why Rhodes is a great alternative to Santorini, I’d recommend reading my guide to the top things to do in Rhodes.


Paros is one of the most enchanting of the Cyclades Islands. It’s growing in popularity, but not to the levels of Santorini! It’s known for its verdant mountains, cliff-top villages, and sandy beaches.

And wow are the beaches in Paros special! With shimmering, clear waters and warm golden sand, they might have you fooled that you’ve reached the Caribbean! If you’re into water sports, it’s a great island to visit too, as it has some of the best conditions for windsurfing and kite surfing in the Greek islands.

Paros, Greece
Stunning beaches in Paros, Greece

It’s a popular island for young couples, but it’s not got the crazy nightlife of Mykonos or Santorini. If you like to be in the action, I’d recommend staying in Parikia or Naoussa. They’re home to plenty of pretty restaurants serving authentic Greek cuisine.

You might think this is Santorini, but no, Paros has beautiful white buildings too

Or, for a break from the busier areas, I’d recommend visiting the island’s traditional villages such as Lefkes and Marpissa. Santorini’s cobbled streets and whitewashed buildings bring a lot of charm, but you’ll find all of that on Paros too!


Milos is a bit of a hidden gem in the Aegean and makes a great alternative to Santorini. Holidays in Milos offer a more intimate and authentic Greek experience, without sacrificing the charm you’re longing for.

Moon Beach in Milos
Sarakiniko aka Moon Beach in Milos

As with Santorini, you’ll find lots of unique views. In fact, Milos is known for its diverse landscapes, with beaches like Sarakiniko which is almost like a moonscape of white rocks contrasting azure waters! It’s stunning.

There’s plenty for history lovers too, including the island’s catacombs and ancient Greek theatres. If you’re looking for a day out, I’d recommend a boat trip to see the Kleftiko Caves. This former pirate hideout is an incredible network of sea caves and tunnels, carved by the immense power of the sea.

Kleftiko Caves Milos
Kleftiko Caves are a must-see in Milos

For a dose of traditional life in Milos, don’t miss Firopotamos Village. This charming fishing village is home to colourful boathouses and a picturesque waterfront. It’s somewhere you’ll get to really get under the skin of the island, and see how the locals spend their days.


Along with Santorini, Mykonos is known as one of the best Greek islands for honeymoons. With its chic restaurants and numerous luxury hotels, you won’t find you save money by switching a trip to Santorini for Mykonos, but your experience will be a little different.

Compared to Santorini, Mykonos has a greater reputation for partying and nightlife. It tends to attract a slightly younger crowd and is one of the best Greek islands for young couples.

Both islands are famed for their windmills, but you’ll see sights like this one in Mykonos – an iconic image of the island!

The famous windmills in Mykonos
Mykonos has windmills just like Santorini

If you’re trying to steer clear of the crowds, I’d recommend looking at areas such as Agios Ioannis, Agios Stefanos, Ornos, Ano Mera and Agia Anna. You’ll still find an authentic Greek charm in a lot of areas, but there are a lot more tourist traps in and around the built up areas of Oia and Fira.

The perfect island for a honeymoon - Mykonos, Greece
If you loved Santorini, Mykonos makes a great alternative

If you’ve already visited Santorini and loved it, I’d say Mykonos is a great place to visit next. However, if you’re looking for alternatives to Santorini because you found it too hectic, I’d pick one of the other suggestions on my list!


Tucked away in the Dodecanese Islands, Karpathos is a cheeky alternative to the overhyped Santorini. It’s a bit of a chill haven for lovebirds to escape the daily hustle and bustle of the busier islands.

Apella Beach, Karpathos
The beaches in Karpathos are even better than in Santorini

It’s nestled gracefully between Rhodes and Crete, in the Aegean Sea. It’s definitely managed to dodge the concrete jungle fate of some of the larger islands too. On this island, beaches hide like secrets, and villages cling to hillsides like your grandma to her ancient recipes!

Olympos, Karpathos
This is Olympos in Karpathos, where the houses are stacked up on the cliff just like in Santorini

It’s famed for its stunning beaches. I mean, just look at these photos! It’s also got some of the best shipwrecks nearby, making it popular with SCUBA divers too. If you want to get off the beaten track, you’ll find some of the best deserted beaches and wild natural landscapes in the south of the island.

I hope this has given you plenty of ideas of where to visit instead of Santorini. If you’re looking for more inspiration for your time in Greece don’t miss my Greece travel blogs, which include these posts:

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alternatives to santorini

With a passion for food, fun and adventure, Chloe is the content creator behind one of the UK's top travel blogs Wanderlust Chloe. From volcano boarding in Nicaragua, to sailing around Sicily and eating her way around Japan, her travels have taken her to some of the coolest spots on the planet. Named Travel Influencer of the Year in 2022, Chloe regularly works with a number of tourism boards, producing inspirational travel content across multiple platforms. Find out more about Chloe here.

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