With over 9,000 miles of beautiful shoreline, the beaches of Greece are to Europeans what Florida is to those in the United States. However, choosing the best beaches in Greece is a monumental task. For foreigners like us, Greek beaches are incredible sandy playgrounds that live up to promises of sand, sun and deep blue seas.
However, for Greek natives, beaches are the center of social life in the summer time (May to October), when the sea is warm and sunshine is prevalent. Below we have broken down 23 of our choices for the best beaches in Greece, split into the following categories:
- Best for family outings
- Best beaches for party enthusiasts
- Off the beaten path beaches
- Beaches meant for history buffs
- Best beaches for water sports
- Beaches known for natural beauty
Best Beaches in Greece for Family Outings
Ayia Marina, Aegina, Saronic Gulf Islands
This beach provides shallow waters, rental of paddle boats, and many other amenities for the family to enjoy. Sprawling outside Aegina Town, Ayia Marina is extremely popular for families living in Athens, but draws extensive tourism in the summer months as well.
The Elafonisi beach in Crete provides beachgoers with blue waters, stark white sandbars, and sea that is shallow enough to create perfect wading pools for people young and old. Children love exploring the bathtub-like areas that lead to the Elafonisi islet.
Santa Maria, Paros, Cyclades
Windsurfers are drawn to the windy shorelines here. Additionally, parents will love the shallow, warm waters and stunning dunes. These all combine to an irresistible quality, perfect for sand castle building.
Best Beaches in Greece for Partiers
Aegina Town, Saronic Gulf Islands
The party scenes prevail here, with a parade of bars dotting the coast on the outskirts of town. Here, incredible sunsets kick off the night. Cocktails flow and the music cranks up a few notches as the sun goes down.
Pounta Beach, Paros, Cyclades
Dancing on tabletops and in the sand are just a few of the things that are common at Pounta Beach in Paros. This beach is also a global windsurfing mecca.
Skiathos Town, Skiathos, Sporades
If you prefer dancing and drinking with the ocean waves crashing in the background, this is the place for you. When the sun goes down, the party atmosphere heats up here. The whole town turns into a big party, with long rows of clubs and bars ripe for the hopping.
Paradise Beach and Super Paradise Beach, Mykonos, Cyclades
Mykonos is the “party island” of Greece, and for good reason. These beaches live up to the reputation, with a long string of bars lining the soft white sand. Here, crowds from all over the world party until dawn breaks.
Best Beaches in Greece Off the Beaten Path
Ayios Georgios, Rhodes, Dodecanese
Shaded with beautiful and heavily-scented cedar trees, this beach is known as one of the most beautiful in all of Rhodes. The beach is well worth the stressful and potentially terrifying four wheel drive off-roading adventure down a cypress-studded track.
Moni Beach, Moni, Saronic Gulf Islands
Three miles from the coast of Aegina, this tiny island now represents a nature preserve. Here, you can easily take a swim off a stunning sandy beach into marvelous deep green waters.
Psili Amos, Patmos, Dodecanese
The only ways to get to this beach are to take a caique ride or a half-hour, two mile hike in. The work provides you with the most beautiful stretch of sandy beach in all of the Dodecanese.
Red Beach, Matala, Crete
An amazing hike from Matala gives you the opportunity to plunge directly into the crashing waves at this incredibly isolated strand of beach in Crete. Caves nearby have sheltered many, and provide a unique and picturesque atmosphere.
Best Beaches in Greece for History Buffs
Kommos Beach, Matala, Crete
This beach, stretching out over a mile across Crete, is a beautiful strand of golden sand. Kommos Beach is incredibly popular with sunbathers. However, it also has ample history, as ancient Minoans once inhabited this spot. Excavations are currently in progress.
Olous, Elounda Peninsula, Crete
Strap a snorkel on and dive into these crystal clear waters. You will be amazed at the ancient Roman settlement resting on the sea floor. Discoveries from this settlement can be found at the Ayios Nikolaos archaeological museum nearby.
Note: The archaeological museum is currently closed for an extensive restoration and renovation. No opening date has been set as of November 2019.
Best Beaches in Greece for Water Sports
Chrissi Akti (Golden Beach), Paros, Cyclades
This long stretch of stunning golden sand is truly the windsurfing capital of Greece. In fact, Golden Beach hosts the International Windsurfing World Cup, or IWWC, every August.
Coves and seaside grottos rimmed in sand reward snorkelers and divers with some of the clearest waters in the world. Outfitters such as Korfu Diving provide all of the necessities as well to ensure ample underwater fun.
Paradise Beack, Mykonos, Cyclades
While a party island, Mykonos is also widely considered to be the diving center of the Aegean Sea. The Mykonos Diving Center is the perfect place to learn some serious skills when it comes to diving. Then, reward yourself with some stunning dives.
Best Beaches in Greece for Natural Beauty
Kolimbithres, Paros, Cyclades
Some of the smoothest boulders on earth are found here. Shaped by the wind, this has also led to a long string of coves that are backed by golden sand. The warm, calm waters here are perfect for leisurely swims.
Lemonakia, Kokkari, Samos
This is one of the hidden gems of Greek beaches. With a perfect half-moon shaped crescent beach, Lemonakia is framed by rocky boulders and promontories, lush and green with pines.
Mavra Volia, Chios, Northern Aegean Islands
The sea here has been described as “wine dark”, and for good reason. Waves crash upon black volcanic shorelines of this cove, neatly nestled between cliffsides. This place, appealing yet hauntingly so, is known as “Black Pebble” beach, and is reminiscent of some of the beaches in Iceland.
Milia Beach, Skopelos, Sporades
With white, brilliant sands and clear waters of stunning turquoise, this incredible beach has been ensconced by beautiful and vibrant green pines. It makes for an amazing sight to behold for travelers and locals alike.
Soft sands are sheltered by sheer cliffs here, backed by groves of olives. In Prospero’s Cell, Lawrence Durrell described Corfu’s Myrtidiotissa as “perhaps the most lovely beach in all the world.” And for good reason.
Plaka, Naxos, Cycladesx
Naxos has extensive beautiful beaches, but Plaka takes the cake. Backed by sand dunes and groves of bamboo, Plaka is a truly exotic setting, enhanced further by spectacular sunsets that occur almost every evening in Naxos.
A grove of palm trees in Vai beach on the island of Crete provides visitors with an other-worldly and cinematic backdrop for a beach that has been well-regarded for thousands of years.