Greece has a number of picturesque islands, each with their own personality, cuisine, and local charm. As Europe continues to put a higher priority on alternative energy sources and eco-friendly building, Greece has introduced initiatives to create a more sustainable Greece. However, which of the Greek islands are the most environmentally friendly?
Tinos is in the Cyclades island group, which is known for its beautiful churches and marble sculptures. Of note to visit is the Panagia Evangelistria Church in the port town of Chora. You can also visit the village of Pyrgos with its incredible marble sculptures, and the ruins of the Sanctuary of Poseidon.
For an environmentally friendly visit, you should stay at The Marble House, a renovated home in the village of Kardiani. A special rainwater system collects a total of 400 liters of rainwater, and the hot water pump saves 70% of the energy spent when showering. All the electronics have an A+ energy rating, and the lighting fixtures are LED.
You can also stay on the Tinos Ecolodge on the island of Tinos, which is a combination of stone homes with a view of Mykonos and Ikaria. A vegetable garden outside is a nice spot to stay in the afternoon, and you can walk through the oak forest to the beach. The Ecolodge respects the environment by reusing water and separating garbage.
Tilos island is not usually found on your Instagram, but some say it is just as beautiful as the most famous Greek islands. Tilos is in the Dodecanese group and is part of an ecological park and nature reserve. The island is known for its 400 species of flora and fauna, and 150 species of birds. To compare the human population with this number, there are only 500 residents. Tilos island is only 63 square kilometers in size, and most visitors travel here through Rhodes. It is an ideal location for beach days, hiking, or village hopping in Megalo Chorio and Livida.
Some call the location the “Green Island of Greece” because it was part of the Horizon 2020 program, an 80 billion-euro funding program for research and innovation that fights climate change and helps to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. For this reason, Tilos creates all of its own energy from renewable sources. Greece’s first hybrid power station was built on Tilos. You can read more about renewable energy in Tilos on the Tilos Project website.
Hydra is just 90 minutes from Athens by boat and is known for being car-free. Donkeys are the main form of travel on the cobblestone streets. Hydra is part of the Saronic Islands and is known for being very steep. Life moves at a slow pace and no exhaust fumes from cars touch the island apart from 2 garbage trucks.
Visiting is like returning to an older Greece, where you hear the donkeys’ hooves hitting the pavement, and natural beauty is accessible at every turn. You can read more about Greece’s other car-free islands here.
Amorgos island is known for its unpolluted beauty and natural environment. Amorgos is famous for its crystal clear diving, which is made possible because its waters are so clean. Healthy, locally sourced food is a highlight of staying on the island, and agricultural practices are sustainable.
Eco-friendly hotels and guesthouses on Amorgos promote the reduction of waste, environmentally friendly practices, and energy efficiency. There is also a yearly documentary film festival about environmental awareness and sustainability on Amorgos. One popular hotel in Amorgos for agrotourism experiences is Pagali Hotel, which organizes activities around farming, grape harvesting, winemaking, and other farming activities, as well as organic growing of seasonal fruit and vegetables.
Astypalaia is one of the most beautiful islands in the Dodecanese in the southern Aegean Sea. It is named after the wife of Poseidon, the ancient sea god, and is known for its Roman baths, architecture museums, and Orthodox churches. The Greek government and the Volkswagen Group started an initiative on Astypalaia for the island to produce all of its own energy. They opened ride-sharing and e-bike rentals with the hope of promoting entrepreneurship locally and reducing carbon emissions.
Moreover, the initiative creates incentives to replace gas vehicles with electric vehicles. Public and utility vehicles on the island will be the first to change, like police cars, ambulances, and buses. An island-wide charging network will be added, as well as digital apps that make it easy to use e-bikes and e-mopeds.
Summing it Up
Want to know about other sustainable destinations in Greece other than these? You can read about Greece’s latest solar project on Halki Island and Saronic Ferries’ plans to introduce electric ferries. As tourism expands on many of the Greek islands, so is the demand for eco-friendly tourism destinations. And with hundreds of islands to choose from, there will likely be more Greek isles experimenting with green technology in the years to come.