Greece is still considered the most beautiful country in Europe, with each of its 227 islands having something unique to offer. The biggest question is always which of the 227 do you visit, and as usual, the answer is what do you want to get out of your visit. You will find everything from the most scenic views on the land and the sea, to ancient ruins mentioned in the bible and other history books. Going to Greece is like a journey back home for every traveller. The one thing you will not fail to enjoy is the beautiful beaches, although some islands have better beaches than others. While every region has its islands with their uniqueness, these 10 always stand out for having the best beach experience for visitors.
Crete is Greece’s largest island and also it’s most populous with over 20 popular beaches you can choose from. Most beaches in Crete have beach bars, umbrellas and eateries so all you have to do is show up. The advantage with Crete is that most of the beaches are also easily accessible by road or boat. The Southern part of the city is quiet and less populated compared to the North which has some of Greece most populous beach towns including Chania. Crowds can be a problem during peak seasons, but you will never miss a place to have fun. Our top pick is Elafonisi beach with its pink and white sands and crystal blue waters that give visitors a heavenly time. Balos beach also on the Northwest side of Crete is one of the most popular beaches in Greece. Some rarely mentioned beaches include Preveli beach and Radakino beach both of which have fewer crowds and great views as well as facilities.
Ios is also called the island of the youth because of its popularity with young people and it is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the world. It is a hilly island in the Cyclades and most of the pathways are narrow and only accessible on foot but there is a lot to see on the island including the alleged tomb of Homer the poet. Being that popular, you can expect to meet crowds in high season, especially in beaches closest to the main city of Chora, but the further you go away from Chora, the more secluded the beaches get and things get cooler for a perfect holiday. The main beaches are Koumbara and Mylopotas which are closest to Chora and they tend to have the most crowds because of the long stretches of sand and the deep blue appearance of the ocean. Ios is also home to the spectacular Manganari beach where the film The Big Blue was filmed. If you are looking for calm secluded areas to have some peace, Papas, Psathi, Kolistani and Kalamos beaches which are further from Chora will offer just that.
Santorini has an active volcano that erupted in the 16th century reshaping the island’s many beaches into what is now Greece’s best beach destination for travellers. Santorini has more to offer than just beaches. The view of its two main towns with their whitewashed buildings hanging above a caldera alone is enough spectacle. However, focusing on beaches, you have probably heard of the Red Beach, Paradise beach, Perissa, Perivolos and Kamari beach which are all ranked among the most beautiful beaches in the country. Most of the beaches are covered in black volcanic sand with shallow warm waters perfect for a swim. Most of Santorini’s beaches are also commercially developed so you won’t be short of shade if you need a break. Other beaches you could explore include the White beach, Mesa Pigadia, Exomitis, Gialos and Armeni beaches.
The famous Agios Prokopios and Plaka beach are found on Naxos and two also happen to be Greece’s top attractions. Islands on Naxos are different from Santorini as they are longer and have softer sand that allows you to enjoy beach walks better. Being a popular beach destination, most beaches here are also equipped with sunbeds and umbrellas for relaxing. The crystal blue waters and the peculiar shapes appearing in the ocean are another reason to holiday on Naxos. Another spectacular beach that is often overlooked is the Maragas beach which has a long stretch of soft sand and the best view of the sea as well as shallow waters for swimming. You could also visit Pygaki, Sahara and Agios Georgios which are often calm and secluded but full of fun.
Skiathos may be famous for the vibrant nightlife with pubs and hotels that run right into the streets but its beaches aren’t any less amazing. Skiathos is also hilly so most of the pathways ends sharply paving way for the sea. The hills are greener though because they are covered in pines which is why beach views here are so amazing. Koukounaires is the longest of them and especially popular for the soft sands. It is also served with beach beds and protection from the hot sun.
Banana beach is located west of Koukounaires, frequented by naturists and nudism is practised so not the best for family trips but still one of the best beaches on the island. The other option for beach sports, swimming and relaxing is Lalaria beach accessible by boat from Skiathos. For a calm beach day with fewer people, go to Kanapitsa, Vromolimnos, Kolios and Troulios beaches among other secluded beaches to the west of the island.
Most people consider the Cyclades to be the most beautiful parts of Greece but Lefkada is one Ionian island that disputes all that. The deep blue water of its western coast is deeper than any other place in Greece, and the beaches, despite being bordered by high rocky cliffs have some of the cleanest and softest sands of any Greek island. The best beach to spend the day sun lounging on is the Egremni beach full of everything you would expect from a Greek beach. Mylos and Porto Katsiki beaches are also vast and well equipped for swimming and other watersports as well as comfortable sunbeds to relax on. Most beaches here are always full of people in the peak seasons but you can still choose your spot and enjoy the day. If you are looking for something unique you can start with a trip through Nidri town and beach.
Being in the Cyclades means that the party goes on for the whole night but on Mykonos, that party happens right at the beach all night with the rising sun exposing the golden sands and clear waters you won’t see anywhere else. It is home to two Paradise beaches with one named Super Paradise with the beach bars extending to the water. All the beaches on Mykonos are just amazing, and there is over 70 of them with each having something fun going on every night in the summer.
Most people who visit Mykonos agree that it is the best party holiday island in Greece. Other major beaches on the island are the famous Paraga and Psarou beaches considered some of the most beautiful in Greece with long stretches of soft golden sand. Every popular crowded and noisy beach has its secluded calmer neighbour that offers serenity, for example, Agio Anna is a great alternative a walking distance away from Paraga where you can get some time away from the party.
Navagio or the Shipwreck beach is the most popular beach on this Ionian Island which is famous for its vast white sand beaches. Gerakas is the best beach on the island in terms of vast stretches of sand and crystal waters which are also shallow enough to accommodate swimmers. Other popular developed beaches are the Kamalaki, Agios Nikolaos and Spanzia beaches. Most of the beaches on the west of Zakynthos are small, secluded and undeveloped which is why they offer the best option for private getaways on the island. Most beaches in Zakynthos are not noisy like the Cyclades hence suitable for couples and other people that are looking for a better connection while in Greece.
Milos is a Volcanic island whose shores have been eaten away by the sea making some of the most impressive beaches in the country. The most popular is the Sarakiniko beach which is also one of Greece’s most photographed beaches. The combination of the white volcanic rock and the deep blue waters make spectacular patterns on the surface with golden views at sunrise and at sunset. Fyropotamos is another quaint beach next to a fishing village famous for its boathouses which are good for couples seeking to escape the crowds. Another popular beach is Tsigrado, which can only be accessed by climbing down a ladder but the climb is worth it. Milos is our pick for the best yet most underrated island in Greece for couples.
The Paxi municipality is not known for many things except having the smallest Ionian island which is just five square kilometres. Paxos and Antipaxos islands are some of the best beach destinations for families, especially children because of their shallow turquoise waters and serenity. Antipaxos is uninhabited and mostly covered by vines used to produce red wine. It is accessible only by boat. The main beaches are Vrika and Voutoumi both of which have all the facilities you need for a beach getaway.