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September 14, 2023

Exploring architectural gems on 5 Greek islands

When you think of Greek islands, pristine beaches and ancient ruins likely come to mind. However, beyond the well-trodden paths lie hidden treasures that tell stories of centuries past. In this journey through time, we’ll embark on a tour of lesser-known architectural wonders on various Greek islands. From ancient ruins to Venetian forts and charming villages with unique local styles, these hidden gems offer a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Greek island history.

Chios: mastic villages and medieval mystique

Tucked away on the island of Chios, you’ll find quaint mastic villages that seem frozen in time. Pyrgi, with its intricate geometric patterns etched onto buildings, is a testament to the island’s Byzantine heritage. Explore the narrow streets of Mesta, a medieval village designed as a labyrinth to deter pirates. The stone houses and defensive towers evoke a sense of stepping back into the Middle Ages.

Naxos: towering over the Aegean

Venture to Naxos, where Venetian influence is etched into the landscape. The Kastro of Naxos, a fortified castle town, stands proudly as a testament to the island’s strategic significance. Its narrow alleys and Venetian mansions provide a glimpse into the island’s past as a trading hub.

Sifnos: Cycladic charms in Kastro

Hidden on the island of Sifnos is the charming village of Kastro. Perched atop a rocky hill, this Cycladic gem boasts narrow alleys, white-washed houses, and stunning views of the sea. Its medieval castle, dating back to the 13th century, is a testament to the island’s tumultuous history.

Symi: neoclassical elegance in the Dodecanese

Symi’s Gialos harbor is adorned with neoclassical mansions, a nod to the island’s prosperous sponge diving industry in the 19th century. The vibrant colors and ornate facades are a feast for the eyes, and a stroll through the streets offers a glimpse into a bygone era.

Kastellorizo: Lycian legacy

Venture to the easternmost edge of Greece and discover Kastellorizo, where pastel-colored houses cling to the hillsides. The island’s architecture is influenced by its Lycian past, and you’ll find charming buildings adorned with ornate details that showcase a unique blend of cultures.


As you traverse these hidden architectural wonders on Greek islands, you’ll discover a side of Greece that often goes unnoticed. These forgotten gems offer a chance to step off the beaten path and immerse yourself in the intricate tapestry of history, where ancient ruins, Venetian forts, and charming villages come together to tell stories of resilience, trade, and cultural exchange. So, when planning your next Greek island adventure, be sure to include these hidden architectural treasures in your itinerary for an experience that goes beyond the postcard-perfect views.