Guide to the North Aegean island in Greece

north agean islandsAn ideal destination the islands of the Eastern Aegean have maintained a relatively low growth profile. Recently, breaking away from the fashion of the islands of the barren line, they are attracting more and more travelers for value for money holidays with authentic color.

The traditional villages, the green paths and the lunar landscapes inland, the vast beaches, the sightseeing in the fossil forests, the picturesque fishing villages and the variety of local flavors are some of the highlights of the holidays on this side of the Aegean.

The North Eastern Aegean Islands are far less visited than the popular Cyclades and Dodecanese archipelagos.
The North Eastern Aegean Islands have much to offer the foreign holidaymaker including forested mountains, uncluttered beaches and fabulous walking trails through lush scenery which is hard to find on the barren, rocky islands further south.

The seven major islands in the groups are Chios, Ikaria, Lesvos, Limnos, Samos, Samothraki and Thassos. All of the islands, with the exception of Samothraki and Thassos, are nearer the west coast of Turkey than they are to the Greek mainland.

The islands are scattered at long distances from each other which makes island-hopping less practical here than in the other more compact Aegean groups.

Where exactly are the North East Aegean islands located.

If we look at a map of Greece we can identify them, as the name implies, in the Northern Aegean Sea and precisely to the north of the two archipelagos of the Cyclades and the Dodecanese and to the east of the Sporades and Euboea. They are located opposite Turkey, in some cases very close.

Mostly large islands with many different faces require you to spend several days enjoying them without getting tired, while the means of transport is usually necessary. Uncomplicated and without a secular profile, they are offered for nature-loving but also for family vacations, for lovers of tradition and local color, for low budget and gourmet travelers.

Mytilene and Chios are the largest and most special islands, with intense architectural interest and gastronomic surprises. Samos wakes up the nature lovers and the fans of the sea and the flavors without falling behind in its youthful life.

Ikaria is famous for the beaches, the festivals and the inimitable relaxed philosophy of its inhabitants, while Lemnos, with its strong papers the beaches, the nice routes and good food, gathers more low profile travelers and lovers of the original.

Eastern Aegean less known to hilday packege tourism, makes it very attractive for those who love beauty, tranquility and culture.The archipelago and the islands that compose it, very different from each other, offer unspoiled nature, very beautiful sea and beaches and a past rich in history that can still be breathed in traditional villages.

Being very close to the coast of Asia Minor, these islands have passed through in the past many innovations from the East which have led to a great development. Furthermore, having been allied or dominated by various comquerers, they have acquired different traditions and cultures from the various civilizations that have enriched them and made them very varied also from an architectural point of view.


Samos is the top holiday spot in the archipelago – Anthony and Cleopatra are said to have holidayed here and since the 1980s hordes of tour groups have followed in their footsteps, flying directly to the island on cheap charter flights from several European destinations.
The island boasts some superb sandy beaches and is awash with tourist facilities. But if you take the time to explore beyond the busy beach resorts you’ll find a beautiful mountainous interior dotted with unspoilt villages, rushing streams and dramatic ravines carpeted with wild flowers. The island’s three ports and international airport make it the transport hub of the North Eastern Aegean.


Idiosyncratic Ikaria, on the other hand, attracts relatively few foreign visitors and the islanders steadfastly refuse to pander to the demands of the modern day tourist. Ikaria is not a package holiday destination but if you want a green and tranquil island with good beaches, wonderful hiking trails and traditional tavernas mercifully free of foreign influence then this is the place for you.


Chios offers a compromise between the mid-summer mayhem of Samos and Ikaria’s somewhat endearing “take it or leave it” approach to tourism. The island has some of the best beaches in the group and some of the most fascinating medieval villages in the whole of Greece – the so-called “mastic villages”, built as centres of production for the highly prized resin drawn from the local mastic bushes. The Turkish sultans and their harems couldn’t get enough of the addictive mastic chewing gum and the resin was used for centuries in paints, cosmetics and drugs before the advent of petroleum based products.


Lesboshas a rather marked extension and coastal development, so those who decide to organize a beach holiday on this island are spoiled for choice, as they can choose between sandy, pebble, pristine or fully serviced beaches, always, however, lapped by a stupendous sea, clear and clean.


The volcanic island of Limnos remains largely untouched by mass tourism as does stunning Samothraki which boasts the highest mountain in the Aegean and has some of the most dramatic scenery of all the Greek islands.


The Romans used to holiday on Samothraki and bathe in the curative waters of the island’s hot springs which still attract visitors from all over Europe and beyond. Lush valleys, forested mountain slopes and cascading waterfalls make the island a favourite holiday spot for hikers.


Thassos is the most northerly of all the Greek islands and has been a popular package holiday destination since the 1990s. Summer visitors pour in from the Greek mainland, Britain and Germany and many eastern European countries.