Four Up-and-Coming Sustainable Destinations in Greece
Planning a trip to Greece but want to err on the side of green? Look no further, we’ve
compiled a list of un-missable island destinations that just happen to be good for the
planet. Check it out whether you have a finger on the “book now” button or are just
looking for vacation inspiration.
Astypalea, named after the wife of sea god Poseidon, is located on the island of
Dodecanese in the south Aegean. Typically known for its Roman baths, architectural
museums, and 365 churches, Astypalea has been selected to become the first smart
and green island in the Mediterranean.
A plan by the Greek Government and the Volkswagen Group seeks energy autonomy
through ride-sharing and e-bike rentals. The transition will hopefully stimulate the local
economy and encourage entrepreneurship while lowering carbon emissions.
Compared to its neighbors, Astypalea is fairly untouched. Crystal clear waters, stunning
beaches and caves, traditional festivals, and authentic experiences around every
Tilos, also located in the Dodecanese islands, is a treasure for those seeking unspoiled
nature and crowd-free streets. Nicknamed the “Green Island of Greece”, the entire
island is a nature reserve.
Tilos was the first destination chosen to receive funding under the Horizon 2020
program and built a combined wind and solar power station. The island now boasts
complete energy self-sufficiency and a significantly reduced carbon footprint.
Fittingly named after the son of the sun god Helios, Tilos is the perfect place to spend a
day. Lounge on the beach, go for a hike, or visit either of the two main villages: Megalo
Chorio and Livida. Be sure not to miss Tilos if you’re looking for a peaceful and green
To the west of the Dodecanese island group, you’ll find Sikinos. This secluded island
has plenty to offer including fine wines, traditional Greek music, and rich cultural
To get around, tourists can take advantage of the most local means of transport:
walking! The number of vehicles on this island is limited, directly contributing to its
relaxed and quiet atmosphere.
Almost 70% of Sikinos is part of a Natura 2000 protected area and in 2018 it joined the
new ecological “Sea Change” program. If that wasn’t enough, the destination became
the first Aegean island to ban plastic straws!
This tiny island may be more quaint than some of Greece’s most well-known party
islands, but the charm and eccentric activities are worth the trip.
Don’t expect any large-scale accommodations or resort chains. Instead, many
small-scale accommodations become available in the summer months. To make the
experience even more sustainable, opt for a night or two of wild camping, just make
sure to check the most current COVID-19 camping regulations.
Like Sikinos, Donoussa has also taken part in the “Sea Change” initiative and has
banned all single-use plastics including bags, straws, cups, plates, and cutlery in
2019—the first Greek island to do so!
A special thanks to Konstantinos Pardalis from Regenerative Greece for his
contributions to this article.