Greece is a nation full of wonderment, historical sites, and tasty food that will leave you begging for one more bite. But Greece’s best feature — at least when it comes to nature — is most certainly its beaches.
The Mediterranean destination has hundreds of beaches to explore, from sunny mainland spots along the Athens Riviera to hidden getaways sprinkled across its many islands. You can’t go wrong setting foot on any stretch of shoreline here, but there are a few that shine a bit brighter than the rest.
Here are 20 of the best beaches in Greece that are worth exploring next
Navagio Beach, Zakynthos
The Greek island of Zakynthos is known for having a quieter atmosphere, and that’s perfect for appreciating stunning places like Navagio Beach. Navagio Beach (also known as Shipwreck Beach) is a breathtaking little cove filled with white sand and surrounded by limestone cliffs. And, as its nickname implies, it comes with the skeletal remains of an old shipwreck still splayed across the shore.
Sarakiniko Beach, Milos
Milos is another Greek island that’s far from the party atmosphere found in other well-known destinations nearby, making it the perfect place to lay out on a beautiful beach for a blissful nap. Sarakiniko Beach is ideal for doing just that — though “beach” may be a misnomer, as you won’t find soft sand here. Instead, you’ll see a martian-like landscape made of white volcanic rock that falls into the azure sea.
Elafonissi Beach, Crete
Looking for a splash of colour? Head to Elafonissi Beach on the island of Crete. Here, you’ll find soft, pastel-pink sand lapping gin-clear waters, creating a picture-perfect scene. The area is part of a protected nature reserve, meaning there are very few amenities to be had, but you’re really here for the stunning scenery. Just make sure to leave it as beautiful as you found it.
Voidokilia Beach, Messinia
Those staying on the mainland have plenty of beach options, too, but none may be as special as Voidokilia. One of the most stunning beaches in Greece, it is located about 2.5 hours outside of Athens. This beach is famed for its shape, which resembles a massive Greek omega symbol. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy a dip and take a hike around the surrounding landscape for a higher view of the beautiful region.
Golden Beach, Paros
It’s easy to find your own little patch of paradise at Golden Beach on the island of Paros. The glittering gold sand stretches for about half a mile, so all you need to do is walk until you find your perfect spot. This beach also happens to be famous among windsurfers, thanks to its breezes. You can even catch the Professional Windsurfing World Cup here every August.
Voutoumi Beach, Antipaxos
Visitors to Voutoumi Beach on the island of Antipaxos will find emerald-green vegetation butting up against the electric blue waters — a scene so vibrant, it almost looks surreal. There are also two small taverns on the beach, making it a great spot to go from day to night.
Seychelles Beach, Ikaria
Those looking for a little more privacy can make their way to Seychelles Beach on the small island of Ikaria. This stretch, made up of smooth pebbles that are easy to walk over, is surrounded by stunning cliffs, and the water is just as blue and warm as you’d expect, especially in the summer months. This is, however, not a major tourist destination, so make sure to pack out anything you’ve brought in and have the utmost respect for the locals along the way.
Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia
Find yourself tucked between two mountains at Myrtos Beach on the island of Kefalonia, located west of mainland Greece. This half-mile, semicircle stretch sits at the base of towering limestone cliffs. Come for a swim, explore the caves, and stay to watch the spectacular sunset.
Red Beach, Santorini
Discover another splash of colour at Red Beach on the island of Santorini. The red volcanic rock mixed with the blue Aegean Sea is certainly a sight to behold from both near and far. However, once you get down to the sand, you’ll see it’s actually made up of a multitude of colours (mostly rich burgundy and dark blacks), making it even more extraordinary up close.
Apantima Beach, Antiparos
What Apantima Beach lacks in size, it more than makes up for in charm. This quaint beach on the island of Antiparos is a tiny stretch of pebble-filled shoreline that disappears into the gentle waters. It’s an excellent place for families with small children and those who are a little hungry, as the beach is also home to Beach House, a delightful dining venue serving locally sourced bites.
Plaka Beach, Naxos
Find another perfect stretch of Grecian shoreline at Plaka Beach on the island of Naxos. This beach is rather famous, so expect a crowd, but that’s half the fun. Oh, and don’t be surprised to see a few fellow travellers in the buff, as this is a well-known nudist beach, too.
Platys Gialos Beach, Mykonos
Mykonos is chock-full of lovely beaches, but Platys Gialos Beach may be the most convenient. This stretch of shore sits outside many of the island’s most popular hotels, making it a breeze to hop out of bed and jump straight into the water.
Those on the hunt for sandy beaches in Milos should head to Paliorema, a quiet stretch tucked far away from the crowds. It can take a bit of work to reach (this spot isn’t accessible by car), but the solitude makes the journey well worth it.
Potami Beach, Samos
Once again, find yourself sandwiched between a lush landscape and the inviting, blue Mediterranean waters at Potami Beach, a pebbly spot on the island of Samos. There are plenty of umbrellas and loungers to rent, but the best seat in the house is under the shade of a tree with your toes tucked right in the warm sand.
Possidi Cape, Halkidiki
Those seeking a beach with a side of history should check out Possidi Cape, located in Halkidiki, a region in northern Greece. A gorgeous sandbar that stretches far out into the sea, it’s also very close to Mende, an ancient city founded in the eighth century BC, making it a prime spot for a little education meets relaxation.
Balos isn’t just a beach — it’s a lagoon. It’s also a traveller favourite, counting Prince Charles and Princess Diana as famous past visitors. Spend a day lazing on the soft white sand or floating in the calm waters.
Kolympithra Beach, Tinos
Make your way to the tiny island of Tinos, then keep going until you hit Kolimbithra Beach, a quaint spot that’s protected from the otherwise windy landscape. The beach is home to a small canteen in the summer months, so you never have to travel far for snacks, either.
Paleokastritsa Beach, Corfu
Want a few Instagram-worthy photos? Visit Paleokastritsa Beach in Corfu, one of Greece’s most picturesque destinations. Here, you’ll find beautiful blue waters, a craggy cliffside filled with caves for exploration, and a few local taverns when you need a sip of something refreshing.
Astir Beach, Athens
You don’t have to travel far to find a stellar beach in Greece. Astir Beach, a complete paradise, is just 20 minutes from the airport. The one caveat? It’s actually a private beach, making reservations a must, but it’s worth splurging on an umbrella or a daybed.
Schinias Beach, Athens
One more spot to visit near Athens — and this time for free — is Schinias Beach. Located close to Marathon, this beach is ultra-convenient to reach and just as beautiful as you’d imagine. There are plenty of facilities here, along with beach chairs and umbrellas to rent, just in case you didn’t bring yours along for your travels.
This story first appeared on www.travelandleisure.com
Main and Feature Image Credit: Stefan Cristian Cioata/Getty Images
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