Greece is home to one of the oldest cultures in the world. Every city, mountain and island is steeped in centuries of European history. During the summer, thousands of visitors from across the world flock to the country for sun, sea and history. With scenery this beautiful, it’s no wonder humans have called the area home for millenia.
One of the most popular attractions in Greece are its endless number of beaches; you’ll find everything from golden vistas to pebble covered coves. Every beach in Greece is unique, and you’ll feel spoiled for choice.
Whether you’re looking for stunning views, idyllic swimming spots or lively nightlife we’ve got the beach for you. We’ve combined our own experience with hints and tips from locals and tourism experts.
So come with us on an odyssey around the seven best beaches in Greece.
- When to Go to Beaches in Greece
- Most Popular Beach in Greece | Navagio (Zakynthos)
- Most Beautiful Beach in Greece | Voidokilia (Mainland – Peloponnese)
- Best Beach in Greece for Swimming | Faragas (Paros)
- Best Beach to Visit During the Off-Season | Elafonisi (Crete)
- Quietest Beach in Greece | Plaka (Naxos)
- Best Beach in Greece for Watersports | Koukounaries (Skiathos)
- Best Beach for Nightlife in Greece | Platys Gialos (Mykonos)
- Greece Packing List
- Final Thoughts on the Best Beaches in Greece
When to Go to Beaches in Greece
As a beach tourist you’ll want good weather, so your best bet is to visit in summer. Greece is at the Eastern end of the Mediterranean, which gets notably colder in the winter. By mid-January, even Crete starts to see temperatures around five degrees celsius. It’s even been known to snow in Athens!
That being said, it isn’t all bad during the winter. It’s much quieter, so if you’re visiting mostly for scenery and culture, then this is a great time to visit Greece. But it’s too cold for swimming unless you’re a hardy type. We would recommend sticking to Crete and the most southern islands during this time as it can get quite grey in the north.
All that said, we think the best months to visit for the beaches are May and September. This is where you get that sweet spot of decent weather, warmer water and small crowds. Any tourists that you do encounter will likely be visiting from elsewhere in Greece, giving the place a much more local vibe during this month. Late September and October are also worth considering, especially if it’s been a good summer.
At the end of the day, it really depends on your priorities. For each of the beaches on this guide, we’ve included a small summary of who they are best for. Busier spots like Navagio and Elafonisi might be better for you during the off-season.
- Who’s it for: Looking to follow the hype? There’s a reason this is one of the busiest beaches in Greece during the summer.
- Don’t Miss: The huge shipwreck in the middle of the beach (not that you can miss it).
Navagio Beach (also known as Shipwreck Beach) is one of the most popular beaches in Greece. Why? Well, with stunning cliffside views and pure blue waters, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out why. The shipwreck on the beach gives it a castaway vibe which is only enhanced by the fact that you need a ferry to get there. Want to avoid the crowds? This is also a good spot in the off-season.
Best Airbnb: Shipwreck Apartment
Only a five minute walk from Navagio Beach, this is the closest accommodation for those that want to stick to the area. Designed in a traditional style, you’ll get to discover a unique side to Zakynthos.
Best Backpacker Accommodation: Montes Studios
There aren’t any hostels on Zakynthos, but this aparthotel offers some great budget-friendly alternatives. Right in the heart of Alkys, you’ll also have plenty of opportunities to mingle with locals.
Best Hotel: Mabely Grand Hotel
Is it a bit pricey? Absolutely. But we think it’s totally worth it. This five-star hotel will cater to your every need throughout your stay. It’s also only a ten-minute drive from Navagio Beach, and the on-site restaurant has gorgeous views of the sea.
Best Unique Stay: Anemomilos Windmill
It doesn’t get any more traditional than this! This historic windmill was once used to grind wheat into flour. These days it houses one of the most unique accommodations in the country. This is great for a romantic escape.
Right in the middle of the beach, the shipwreck which it is named after has a unique history. You can also shade under it during the hottest months.
The best view of the beach is from above! It’s a bit of a hike, so we recommend setting off in the morning when the weather is a bit cooler.
It’s at the opposite end of the island, but Laganas is a must visit for nightlife. It has a bit of a reputation, so prepare for a wild time.
The best way to take in Navagio Beach is with a cruise. This fantastic experience includes a swim in the crystal clear waters of the Blue Caves.
From frappe to gyros, you’ll learn the ins and outs of Greek cooking. Everything is made from scratch with fresh ingredients.
Most Beautiful Beach in Greece | Voidokilia (Mainland – Peloponnese)
- Who’s it for: anyone looking to get up close and personal with some of the most beautiful nature in the country.
- Don’t Miss: the awe-inspiring limestone ridge that surrounds the beach in a perfect hook shape
If we’re being honest, basically every beach in this guide is beautiful. What sets Voidokilia apart is the gorgeous nature nearby. The beach itself has incredible views, but no visit to the area is complete without hikes along the cliffs and deep into the forest. It is said to be the inspiration for a beach in Homer’s Odyssey, and we can certainly see why!
Best Airbnb: Agnanti
This apartment is newly built but still follows the traditional Peloponnese style. Our favourite feature is the mesmerising balcony offering gorgeous views of the surrounding hills.
Best Bed and Breakfast: Irida Resort Suites
This charming little three-star bed and breakfast is perfect for budget travellers looking for somewhere to stay in the Peloponnese. Rooms are pretty basic, but the central location is simply unbeatable.
Best Hotel: Karalis Beach
This is another stunning three-star hotel, although it’s a little bit closer to Voidokilia Beach. It sits right on Karalis Beach, a stunning stretch of coast that comes with smaller crowds.
Best Villa: Miana Villa
Looking for a private pool? Then look no further than this luxurious apartment near Tragana. The whitewashed walls add a sense of serenity – perfect for those that just want to get away from it all.
This secluded cave is only a short drive from the beach, and it is a fantastic spot for snorkelling in the crystal clear water.
Castle of Pylos
This Old Venetian Castle harks back to the region’s diverse history. Make sure you set aside plenty of time to explore.
Hike along the imposing cliffs on the walk from Methoni to Gargaliani. This is the best way to take in those views.
The beach itself isn’t the only beautiful sight in the area. Let a local guide take you along the hillsides and forests of the surrounding neighbourhood.
This is another great hike, but a little further inland. Transport is included, and make sure to take your camera for those epic photos.
Best Beach in Greece for Swimming | Faragas (Paros)
- Who’s it for: enjoying the stunning water of the Cyclades without the big crowds.
- Don’t Miss: the unique sea life – make sure you bring a snorkel!
Paros is a beautiful island in the heart of the Cyclades, but this reputation means it is also one of the busiest during the peak season. Thankfully, Faragas is still a little bit of a hidden gem. You will get to enjoy the same golden sands and azure seas as everywhere else on the island but without the crowds. You’ll need a car to get there, but it’s totally worth taking the trip.
Best Airbnb: Golden Beach Villa
Airbnb Luxe properties stand out for their above and beyond guest service. If you’re ready to splurge, you will be treated like royalty at this stunning villa with views along the coast.
Best Hostel: Jimmy’s
Paros can be quite a pricey place to stay, but thankfully this hostel offers excellent dorm rates. They have sea views and unbeatable social areas where you can meet other travellers.
Best Hotel: Calme Boutique Hotel
This five-star hotel is another one for those looking to splurge. It comes with multiple swimming pools, one of which offers sweeping views across the Cyclades.
Best Earth House: Cycladic Cottage
What’s an Earth House? It is built into the ground in a manner that accommodates local ecology. This is an excellent choice for environmentally conscious visitors to Paros.
This fascinating church was rebuilt after the 1773 earthquake. It’s now an important monument to the Cyclades lifestyle.
The largest town in the Cyclades, make sure you spend some time exploring the historic winding streets of Parikia.
This is a must-visit attraction for any families with young kids in the area. The boat departs every hour and takes about 15 minutes.
Best Beach to Visit During the Off-Season | Elafonisi (Crete)
- Who’s it for: anyone that can’t make it to Greece during the summer but still wants to enjoy the beach.
- Don’t Miss: its beautiful colours and warm water!
Crete is one of the most popular destinations in Greece, so it makes sense that Elafonisi is crowded during the summer. So crowded, in fact, that many visitors don’t get to enjoy the true beauty of the area. If you’re visiting during the winter, this is actually the best time to visit Elafonisi. It’s still relatively warm, and you’ll have the shimmering sand all to yourself.
Best Airbnb: Mamma Vasso
This townhouse oozes rustic charm. We can’t get enough of the mesmerising hillside views from the sunny terrace. It is located in Vathi, an historic village in the heart of Crete.
Best Hostel: Stylianos Kissamos
Nestled in Kissamos, this is the perfect choice for backpackers that prefer somewhere with lots of life but still want to stay close to Elafonisi. The rooftop bar and laid-back spa make this hostel really stand out from others on the island.
Best Hotel: Libyan Princess
This four-star hostel isn’t exactly cheap, but given how luxurious it feels, the rooms are very reasonably priced. It’s the details that make it special, including spa baths in every room.
Best Tiny House: Minimalist Sanctuary
Airbnb Plus properties are selected for their stylish interiors and epic locations. This gorgeous house is the perfect escape for a couple in Crete. We love the Le Corbusier-style design.
Elafonisi is technically a separate island, but you can usually walk across the sand to reach it. Check the tide times when planning your itinerary.
This gorgeous little town is only a one hour ferry away – perfect as a place to stay, or simply for a day trip.
Coffee culture is thriving in Crete, and the Kafeneion is an important social hub in every village and neighbourhood. Stop for a cup or two whilst exploring a new area.
Crete has a beautiful west coast just waiting to be discovered. This kayak tour takes you to some truly secluded locations.
Snorkelling in the crystal clear waters surrounding Crete is an experience you will never forget. Check out a shipwreck with a local in this experience.
Quietest Beach in Greece | Plaka (Naxos)
- Who’s it for: nudists! But also families! Keep reading and we’ll explain.
- Don’t Miss: St. George Beach is within walking distance and where you will find most restaurants.
No really – Plaka is popular with both nudists and families! During the height of the summer, people keep their clothes on as tourist families descend on the beach. This is still a very peaceful part of the island, but you definitely won’t be alone. If you visit during the off-season, you’ll notice some more bits and bobs, shall we say, dotted along the sand. Each to their own!
Best Airbnb: Zoe Junior
This rustic dream is located right on the coast giving you unbeatable views of the Mediterranean. It is within walking distance of the beach.
Best Guest House: Agia Anna Studios
For backpackers on a budget, this collection of studios gives you some extra privacy without breaking the bank. There are also some communal facilities where you can socialise with other guests.
Best Hotel: Aegean Land
It might only charge three-star prices, but this hotel oozes style and elegance. It’s located right on the beach, with a gorgeous pool terrace and an attached bar area.
Best Cycladic House: Orkuoise
The Cyclades are best known for their whitewashed houses with a rustic, stone-finished charm. Stay in your own little slice of local culture in this gorgeous getaway.
The great thing about Naxos is all the beaches are accessible by bus. Spend a day or two hopping between them.
Marvel at the whitewashed architecture and marble monuments of Naxos Town. This is likely where your accommodation will be.
Kouros of Mellanes
There are some gorgeous archaeological sites across the island, including the Kouros of Mellanes.
Best Beach in Greece for Watersports | Koukounaries (Skiathos)
- Who’s it for: water sports enthusiasts, nature lovers and photographers
- Don’t Miss: the wonderful boat tours that take you around the bay
Do you know where the best place for water sports is in the summer? Basically everywhere in the Mediterranean! That being said, Koukounaries Beach has its own unique charm. The secluded bay and calm waters make it the perfect spot to try new sports out for the first time. If you’re more experienced, you can also hire a boat for a reasonable price and enjoy your own excursion around the island.
Best Airbnb: Vague Summer House
If you’re looking for a more typical villa, this is the place for you. Sleeping up to four guests, this is one of our favourite options for families in the area.
Best Bed and Breakfast: Four Seasons Villas
You don’t need to have a big budget to stay in your own private villa! Four Seasons Villas (no relation) give you a traditional slice of island living without breaking the bank.
Best Hotel: Aelia Studios
Aparthotels offer the best of both worlds – the convenience of a hotel with the privacy of your own apartment. These studios are stylish, calm and full of charm.
Best Farm Stay: Davie’s Lodge
Farm stays are a fantastic way to get acquainted with rural culture. This cute little lodge is for one guest only, making it a great option for solo travellers ready for adventure. You’ll need a car.
The beach is surrounded by verdant green pines. Take some time to hike around the area and admire the view.
Alexandros Papadiamantis House
Learn about the writings and lifetime achievements of this unique novelist. Many of his works specialised in island life.
The medieval heart of the island, this town has since been abandoned. You can still check out the ruins.
Admire the Gorgeous Scenery
Koukounaries isn’t just an awesome water sports destination – it’s also among the most beautiful beaches in the country. Take some time to hike around the area.
Hire a Boat
It doesn’t get any more exciting than this! You’ll need to go into the main town on Skiathos, but you can easily circle around the island in one day.
Best Beach for Nightlife in Greece | Platys Gialos (Mykonos)
- Who’s it for: party animals looking for the best night out in the Mediterranean over the summer.
- Don’t Miss: the jaw-dropping sunsets across the sea every evening – perfect for golden-hour photography of the Cyclades houses
Mykonos is an island that needs little introduction. This island is home to some of the biggest parties in Europe over the peak tourist season. Platys Gialos isn’t the most popular beach, but it’s one of the most beautiful. It has excellent public transport connections with the main nightlife areas, and it also offers some of the more affordable accommodation options.
Best Airbnb: Nammos View
This is another stunning Airbnb Plus property. Escape from the bustling hotspots of Mykonos in your own, dreamy villa with panoramic views of the sea. You can still reach Platys Gialos by public transport.
Best Hostel: Paraga Beach Hostel
Mykonos attracts party animals from across Europe every summer, and if you’re a solo traveller on a budget it’s well worth staying in a hostel. Paraga Beach Hostel hosts regular events and a busy little pool area where you can meet other travellers.
Best Hotel: Nissaki Boutique
It’s not all party party party on Mykonos. You can also find some little slices of luxury on the island. This five-star hotel will cater to your every whim, giving you a peaceful oasis to escape the busy tourist strips.
Best Loft: MOOI Mykonos
This loft is actually up in the town of Mykonos, but it’s still well served by public transport to Platys Gialos. The vibrant location also means you get to see another side of life on the island.
This uninhabited island next to Mykonos is home to a major archaeological site. There are regular boat trips throughout the day.
Just north of Platys Gialos, this is the most popular town on the island with visitors from elsewhere in Greece.
If you aren’t able to stay in the windmill we’ve recommended above, you should still visit them. They are a key monument to Mykonos culture.
You’ll be whisked away to a private beach for this unique tasting experience. It includes wines produced using ancient techniques and Greek cheese pairings.
It only happens once a month so check the availability, but this full moon yoga experience is totally worth it if you’re there on time. A post-session drink is included.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Greece
Shoutout from Will – The OG Broke Backpacker: Have fun on your backpacking adventure, but please do think about getting insurance – take it from someone who has racked up tens of thousands of bucks on an insurance claim before: you may well need it.
I have been using World Nomads for some time now and made a few claims over the years. They’re easy to use, professional and relatively affordable.
If there’s one insurance company I trust, it’s World Nomads. To find out why I use World Nomads, check out my World Nomads Insurance review.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple—just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Greece Packing List
1. Travel Water Bottle: Always travel with a water bottle – it’ll save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. AR bottle are tough, lightweight and maintain the temperature of your beverage – so you can enjoy a cold red bull, or a hot coffee, no matter where you are. For every AR bottle sold, we donate 10% to PlasticOceans.org – an initiative to reduce plastic in our oceans!
2. Microfibre Towel: It’s always worth packing a proper towel. Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.
3. Security Belt with Hidden Pocket: I never hit the road without my security belt. This is a regular looking belt with a concealed pocket on the inside – you can hide up to twenty notes inside and wear it through airport scanners without it setting them off. This is hands down the best way to hide your cash.
4. Camera or Cell Phone Camera Accessories: One thing’s for sure – Greece is a picturesque destination! Get perfect shots from your phone using clip-on-lenses with wide-angle, close-up and optical zoom. With the ability to turn travel pictures from basic to professional, this universal lens sits neatly over any phone camera and comes with a durable, travel-friendly case!
5. International Adapter: Greece’s power outlets accommodate typical US two-pronged plugs, but for electronics that have three prongs or if your plugs are of a different variety, you’ll need an adapter. Save yourself the hassle of trying to track down an adapter at your destination and paying twice as much than planning ahead by buying one online.
Final Thoughts on the Best Beaches in Greece
Greece is a mesmerising country home to some of the best beaches in the world. What’s truly inspiring about the nation is the sheer size of its offering when it comes to coastal getaways. The cradle of European civilisation has had centuries to work out what makes people happy, and you can certainly sense this experience when you hop around the beautiful coves.
Ultimately, the best beach for you really depends on what kind of traveller you are. Beaches like Elafonisi, Navagio and Platys Gialos are perfect for those ready to join the crowds. If you prefer something a little quieter, the beaches of Naxos and Paros (such as Plaka and Faragas) are idyllic getaways in the heart of the Mediterranean. Koukounaries is a bit of an outlier, offering stunning views, calm water and epic water sports all in one location. If you’re really spoiled for choice, that is our number one pick.
We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options for your upcoming trip to Greece.
What’s your favourite beach in Greece? Did we leave anything out? Let us know in the comments!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!