10 best beaches in Greece
July 11, 2020
Last Update: 2020-07-11 02:33:37
It doesn’t get more picturesque than pink sands and crystal clear waters. With thousands of miles of coastline, Greece has an absurd number of beautiful beaches, with each one as stunning as the next. Here are the 10 best beaches in Greece to plan your next summer trip – even if it’s only in your mind.
Elafonisi – Crete
Tucked into Crete’s southwestern corner, this symphony of fine pink-white sand, turquoise water and gentle rose dunes looks like a magical dreamscape. As the water swirls across the sands, rainbows shimmer across its surface. Off Elafonisi's long, wide strand lies Elafonisi Islet, occasionally connected by a thin, sandy isthmus, which creates a lovely double beach; otherwise, it's easily reached by wading through 50 yards (50m) of knee-deep water.
Elafonisi Islet is marked by low dunes and a string of semi-secluded coves that attract a sprinkling of naturists. Walk the length of the beach and up to its high point for mind-blowing views of the beaches, sea and raw mountainscape. The area is part of EU environmental-protection program Natura 2000.
Alas, this natural gem is less than idyllic in high summer, when hundreds of umbrellas and sunbeds clog the sand (dash out to the island, where you can find peace). The invasion puts enormous pressure on this delicate ecosystem and on the minimal infrastructure, especially the toilets. Come early or late in the day; better yet, stay overnight to truly sample Elafonisi’s magic.
Voidokilia Beach is considered to be Homer's "sandy Pylos" © Nick Pavlakis / Shutterstock
Voidokilia Beach – Messinia
Messina's Voidokilia Beach with its perfect sandy crescent and clear waters is presumed to be Homer’s “sandy Pylos,” where Telemachus was warmly welcomed when he came to ask wise old King Nestor the whereabouts of his long-lost father, Odysseus, King of Ithaca.
Follow the signs to Paleokastro and walk the lagoon-side track labeled “Nestor's Cave” from the Paleokastro car park (20 minutes) or approach by road from the village of Petrohori, 4 miles (6km) north of Gialova off the road to Chora.
Navagio Beach – Zakynthos
It’s 87 kinds of beautiful coming at you all at once at this Zakynthos beach. Secluded, protected by vertical cliffs that tower above, sparkling azure as imagined by Greek gods, pure, perfect sand and, just to give it an extra bit of character, like a beauty spot on a face, a shipwreck.
The beach itself is only accessible on boat trips – in summer the waters immediately offshore are chock-a-block with sightseeing cruises – but you can admire it from above, and get that all-important selfie, from a precarious lookout platform signposted between Anafonitria and Volimes.
Red (Kokkini) Beach – Santorini
This surreal red beach is backed by rust-and-fire colored cliffs in southwestern Santorini. Just up from the beach are several good restaurants.
Koukounaries Beach is a popular tourist destination for people visiting the Greek island of Skiathos © David Abrams / Getty Images
Koukounaries Beach – Skiathos
Framed by electric-green pine trees, two forested headlands and a small salt-water wetland, Koukounaries' silky 3937ft-long (1200m) sweep of bleach-blonde sand is the island's (and one of the country's) most sparklingly beautiful, with beach bars, sunbeds and water sports creating a buzzy vibe. The Skiathos beach gets completely packed in summer. The whole area is a protected nature reserve.
Potami Beach – Northern Samos
The long, tranquil beach of marble gravel and crystal-clear water in the mouth of a mountain river is one of the Northern Samos’ most attractive; Potami’s beach bar is one of the best, too. Trekking up the river, you'll reach a chain of waterfalls and pools, as well as a taverna hidden in the woods.
Myrtos Beach is a stunning sight © Panos Karas / Shutterstock
Myrtos Beach – Kefallonia
From the road that zigzags down to it, you'll understand why Myrtos Beach in Kefallonia is touted as one of the most breathtaking beaches in all of Greece. From afar it's certainly a stunning sight, with electric-blue waters offset by what appears to be searing-white “sand” (in reality it's white pebbles). Unfortunately, a scrappy car park rather spoils the idyll. Even so, it's a beautiful spot and once you're in the sea it’s heavenly.
The closest village is Divarata, which has a couple of tavernas, including Alexandros.
The lighthouse in Possidi Cape was built in 1864 © Nedomacki Getty Images / iStockphoto
Possidi Cape – Kassandra Peninsula
An absolute beauty of a beach lies hidden at Possidi Cape in the Kassandra Peninsula. Miles of sand is lapped by crystal-clear waters, and it's a rare place to find peace and quiet (though little shade) in the summer months. It's a joy year-round and is backed by a lighthouse and a pine forest.
Seychelles Beach – Ikaria
The small, stunning Seychelles Beach is 1.9 miles (3km) east of Manganitis. Its marble pebbles, emerald water and giant rocks polished by the waves make you feel you've been teleported into the middle of the Indian Ocean – hence the name. To reach it, trek from the parking lot by the tunnel on the road to Manganitis, down an unmarked path leaning to the left side of the ravine. Don't wear flip-flops.
Sandy beach of Falasarna from inside a cave © Gatsi / Getty Images
Falasarna – Crete
This broad sweep of beach has magical-looking pink-cream sands and teal waters and is known for its stunning sunsets. Along with superb water clarity, Falasarna has wonderfully big waves: long rollers coming from the open Mediterranean. It gets busy from mid-July to mid-August, primarily with day trippers from Hania and Kissamos.
Mylopotas Beach – Ios
Long, golden sand beach to the west, Mylopotas Beach is very popular for water sports. There are also a ton of bars and restaurants dotted along the beach. The summer months see an influx of foreign tourists.