With thousands of islands to choose from, Greece can be an intimidating place to start looking for your next beach break. Don’t be put off though, as the nation has more than a lot to offer, whether you’re island-hopping or just looking for the perfect setting to unwind. From the busy, iconic bays to the hidden, scenic coves, here’s our run-down of the 20 best beaches in Greece.
At peak times Elafonísi can be unbearably crowded, with lines of loungers, but little else in the way of infrastructure. There are stalls selling cold drinks and basic food, along with portable toilets and an incongruous phone box. If you’re here on a day-trip, you'll want to bring your own picnic.
To find out more about all the beaches Crete has to offer - read our guide to the best beaches in Crete.
As Greece's largest island, Crete's culture and atmosphere are distinctly different from mainland Greece. Thousands of years of unique culture and rich history complement the island's untamed natural beauty. Explore Crete at your own pace with this unique self-drive tailor-made trip Along the Coast of Crete: from Heraklion to Platanias.
Limniónas is a small but superior-for-swimming cove 2km further west; yachts and kaïkia occasionally call at the protected bay, which offers decent swimming at the east end, away from a rock shelf in the middle.
As you begin planning your holiday in Greece, take a look at our list of tips for travelling in Greece.
Determined explorers can follow the coastal path for twenty minutes more to the northerly cove, road-accessible and rockier. There are also two hour-long kalderímia up to Zagorá, which can be combined to make an enjoyable loop.
8 km south of Zefyría, down a winding, surfaced road, is Paleohóri, one of the island’s best beaches (and one of the best beaches in Greece), warmed by underground volcanism. A little rock tunnel leads west to a second beach, which is backed by extraordinarily coloured cliffs and where steam vents heat the shallow water.
Hop between the islands of Milos, Naxos, and Amorgos on this romantic tailor-made Greek Island-Hopping Honeymoon trip. Drive around stunning coastlines, explore mountain villages, visit ancient sites, and luxuriate on golden beaches as you are transfixed by the allure of the Aegean’s turquoise waters.
This beach is boasting clear azure waters, fine sands and stunning cliffs that surround it. Holidaymakers here can enjoy a variety of water activities such as swimming, sunbathing and snorkelling. There are also several restaurants, cafes and shops in the area.
Get to know the most exotic island in the Aegean by staying in a private luxury villa by the sea on this exclusive tailor-made trip to Milos. Volcanic rocks paint the beaches red, pink and orange, white rock formations, emerald green waters and caves eroded by the sea, are steeped in stories of pirates. Milos is truly unique.
A paved road leads on from Volímes to the cliffs overlooking the bay (real name Tó Naváyio), with hair-raising views down to the shipwreck – a cargo ship, which was mistaken for a drug-running vessel and run aground by the coastguard in the 1960s.
Some of the Ionian Island’s best swimming and snorkelling is on offer on this islet, the smaller sister island of Paxí. Vríka, reached by boat from Corfu, is a sandy beach offering two tavernas – one at each end – of which Spiros serves great grilled and oven food. Quieter bays are accessible if you head south of Vríka.
Shaded till early afternoon and backed by sheer vertical red cliffs, the stunning Longás Beach is an excellent hangout and one of the best beaches in Greece. The beach is accessible from Avliótes, a handsome hill town with the odd kafenio and tavernas but few concessions to tourism.
At the end of the beach, concrete steps lead round to the Bekiris Cave, a low-ceilinged, shallow cavern. You can clamber in through a narrow entrance at the back and then swim out, though best to have something on your feet for the sharp rocks.
Of all the beaches in Alykí the sand-and-pebble west bay gets oversubscribed in peak season. To avoid this head 1km further southwest and hit the secluded Kékes beach set in a lovely pine grove.
On Ayía Eléni, you can enjoy the many water activities, as well as enjoying the sunset on the island, which is surrounded by the picturesque mountains of the Pélion.
There are a group of elegant modern studios, apartments and villas in a great location, in a garden behind the beach. All options have cooking facilities, generous outdoor space and good modern bathrooms, plus there’s a garden bar.
Glistening white pebbles and turquoise waters, backed by steep cliffs and a natural rock arch, form a photogenic contrast to the island’s other, mostly sandy, bays, highlighting this Lalária as one of the best beaches in Greece.
Three of the Ionian’s choicest beaches are accessible from Atháni: the nearest, reached by a 4km paved road, is Yialós, followed by Egremní, down a steep incline unpaved for the last 2km. Further south, an asphalted road leads to the dramatic and popular twin beach of Pórto Katsíki.
The most popular beach on the coast and one of the best beaches in Greece, Káthisma, is a shadeless kilometre of fine sand, which becomes nudist and a lot less crowded beyond the large jutting rocks halfway along. Free camping still goes on at this end too.
To find more beach destinations in Greece we highly recommend that you explore our guide to the best beaches in Santorini.
Quinn bought much of this area and constructed the first road to the beach, but during the 1980s the Greek government swindled him out of his claim; legal battles continue to this day.
The beach of Áyios Nikólas is located in the village of Arkasa and is one of the most picturesque beaches in Karpathos. The golden sandy coastline and the blowing breeze make it one of the best beaches in Greece for a relaxing holiday.
One of the island’s two surfaced roads leads 5km southeast to Símos, one of the best beaches in Greece, a large double bay with fine pale sand heaped into dunes and views to Kýthira. A kaïki leaves from the town for Símos every morning in summer.
From the saddle on the paved road overlooking the descent to Thólos, a cairned route leads northwest to the citadel in twenty minutes. Head east a couple of curves along the paved road to the trailhead for Áyios Séryis Bay, Tílos’s most pristine beach but also the hardest to reach.
Inspired by the best beaches in Greece and can't wait to travel to this destination? Read our guide to the best things to do in Greece and start planning your trip.
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Ready for a trip to Greece? Check out the snapshot The Rough Guide to the Greek Islands or The Rough Guide to Greece. If you travel further in Greece, read more about the best time to go, the best places to visit and best things to do in Greece. For inspiration use the itineraries from The Rough Guide to Greece and our local travel experts. A bit more hands-on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.
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