Looking for the best beaches in Greece? Well, with more than 13,000 kilometers of coastline, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty to choose from, offering sandy respite in the Mediterranean. From islands to islets, secluded coves to hidden caves, Greek beaches seriously have it all.
These glorious sandy stretches are best visited in the summer months between June and August when temperatures are at their peak and the water is nice and warm. However, with summer comes crowds of tourists in Greece, so if you’re looking for a little peace and quiet, consider visiting the beaches in Greece during the shoulder months of May and September to have the place more to yourself.
With so many beaches to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which ones are really worth the visit. Never fear – we’ve put together this list of 16 of the best beaches in Greece to help you plan your ideal sandy summer!
Quick Answer: Best Beaches in Greece
- Simos Beach (Elafonisos)
- Voidokilia Beach (Messinia, Peloponnese)
- Platys Gialos (Mykonos)
- Sarakiniko Beach (Milos)
- Kleftiko Beach (Milos)
- Navagio Bay (Zakynthos)
- Myrtos Beach (Kefalonia)
- Koukounaries Beach (Skiathos)
- St Paul’s Bay (Rhodes)
- Vai Beach (Sitia, Crete)
- Matala Beach (Southwest Heraklion, Crete)
- Elafonisi Beach (Chania, Crete)
- Perissa Beach (Santorini)
- Red Beach (Santorini)
- Kolymbithres Beach (Paros)
- Glyfada Beach (Corfu)
Location: The island of Elafonisos, just off the coast of Cape Malea
Best For: Scenery, camping
Kicking off our list of the best beaches in Greece is one of the most well-known places to get your tan on in the whole country: Simos Beach in Elafonisos.
Two exceptionally long, curved beaches held together by a narrow strip of sand make up this famous beach. The two sides are called Megalos Simos and Mikros Simos respectively, and from above it looks like a massive X surrounded by water and dotted by shrubs.
Sitting just below the Peloponnese, Simos offers visitors plush white sand, warm turquoise water, and spacious campsites for those who want to spend the night. It’s no wonder that this unspoiled paradise makes frequent appearances on best beaches lists.
While there’s no public transportation to get here (you’ll need to rent a car), it’s totally worth the trek to be surrounded by the sheer beauty of Simos.
Location: Messinia, on the west coast of the Peloponnese
Best For: Scenery, hiking, swimming
Another of the most famous beaches in Greece, Voidokilia in Messinia, Peloponnese attracts not only beach-goers but history buffs as well. According to Greek mythology, this is the site where Nestor was rumored to have met Telemachus, the son of Odysseus and where Hermes apparently hid the 50 oxen he stole.
But if you’re visiting for the sea rather than the stories, you’ll find Voidokoilia a delightful place to spend an afternoon basking in the Mediterranean sun. An interesting feature of this Greek beach is that it’s shaped like the Greek letter omega (Ω).
The Greece beach surrounds a stunning cerulean lagoon, perfect for bathing, or admiring from a distance. Around the beach, you can also hike through the birdlife reserve, traverse your way to Nestor’s Cave on the hillside, visit castle ruins from the 13th century, or simply tan your tush lying on the soft sand.
Location: Mykonos (southwest coast)
Best For: Facilities, restaurants, bars, nightlife
While you’ll find many remote, paradise-like beaches in Greece, Platis Gialos in Mykonos is not one of them. While still making the list of best beaches in Greece, it’s nowhere near a remote sanctuary where you can sunbathe in peace.
Instead, Platis Gialos is the type of beach that has everything. If you’re the kind of beach bum who likes having top-notch facilities surrounding you, a handful of restaurants and bars, and sunbeds for rent, this is the beach for you.
Despite being so close to town, the water at Platis Gialos is as clear as if it were in the middle of the sea, making for optimal swimming conditions. While you’re in the water, you can look back at the island, enjoying the scenery of the whitewashed houses at the foot of hills.
Looking for some excitement? Along the beach you’ll find loads of vendors offering watersports excursions. So now may be your chance to finally learn how to wakeboard!
Throughout the day, Platis Gialos is generally pretty crowded (though mellow) with people staying on Mykonos but by night, the beach turns into a trendy hangout spot among young couples.
It truly is one of the best Greek beaches as it has everything you need for a perfect day in the sun.
Location: Milos, most southwestern island of the Cyclades
Best For: Scenery, unique atmosphere
A Greek beach of a different kind, Sarakiniko in Milos is a teeny little cove surrounded by… rocks?
Yes, that’s right, instead of sand, this beach is full of people lounging on the smooth volcanic rock, taking turns jumping into the clear green-blue lagoon.
While there’s a little bit of sand here, most people enjoy catching rays spread out on the outer space-like white stones, using them as personal platforms for leaping off of into the water. It’s no wonder Sarakiniko is a well-loved beach among both locals and tourists alike.
As you walk along the coast away from the main beach drag, you’ll find loads of hidden places for cliff jumping, cave exploration and little rock pools. It’s out-of-this-world cool and an atmosphere you can’t find anywhere else in the world.
If you’re in Milos, this Greek beach simply can’t be missed as it’s unique, fun and will make you feel as if you’ve just landed on the moon!
Location: Milos, most southwestern island of the Cyclades
Best For: Scenery, caves, swimming
Another beach in Milos that surrounds unique rock formations is Kleftiko, an old hideout for pirates sitting in the southwest of the island.
While there isn’t technically a beach, Kleftiko is one of the best places to enjoy the sea in Greece. When you’re here, take the time to swim through sprawling coves and hidden caves scattered among huge rock formations rising out from the water.
Kleftiko can only be reached by sea, but it’s totally worth the journey to swim in one of the most interesting places in all of Greece. The entire area is an absolute natural phenomenon, unbelievable to those who visit.
Kick your visit to Kleftiko up a notch by taking a luxury sailing cruise that will visit this beach, along with other thrilling spots in the area. It even includes snorkeling and lunch – how amazing does that sound?
Location: Zakynthos, an island off the coast of Peloponnese in the Ionian Sea
Best For: Scenery, swimming
Often used on postcards as the classic Greek beach scene, Navagio Bay in Zakynthos also makes the list of best beaches in Greece due to its sheer natural beauty.
Also known as Shipwreck Beach (due to the rusty, washed-up boat sitting on the shore), Navagio Bay attracts travelers from far and wide. It’s certainly one of the most popular beaches in all of Greece!
This is another beach in Greece that can only be reached by boat, but that doesn’t make it nice and quiet. In fact, Navagio Bay is on most people’s itineraries when heading to Greece so prepare for crowds, especially in the peak summer months.
Even so, it’s still worth a visit as nothing quite compares to this little cove surrounded by dramatic cliffs on every side.
Location: Kefalonia Island (northwest coast), an island west of mainland Greece
Best For: Beauty, sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling
A photogenic spot with soft lapping waves, green cliffs, and a stretch of white sand, Myrtos Beach is well regarded as one of the best beaches in Greece, for very good reason.
This protected cove that lets out into the sea is nothing short of breathtaking, with plenty of space to spread out. If you’re visiting during the summer months, you’ll find sunbeds for rent and a little beach restaurant for snacks, but you’re left to your own devices if you visit any other time of the year.
Not only is Myrtos one of the best beaches in Greece, but it’s also regarded as one of the best in the entire world! So don’t walk, run to Myrtos!
Location: Skiathos (southwest coast), an island in the northwest Aegean Sea
Best For: Scenery, exploring, water sports, facilities
Sitting at the foot of a pine forest on the edge of the sea, you’ll find the idyllic Greek beach Koukounaries, tucked away in Skiathos.
While this island is well-known among Mamma Mia! lovers, it also draws in crowds seeking pristine natural beauty stretching from the high hilltops out into the open sea.
Around Koukounaries, you’ll find plenty of places to spread out in the sun, with sunbeds available for rent, shaded by leafy umbrellas. There’s also a little marina in the south where you can admire swans floating through the water.
Koukounaries Beach is an awesome place for water sports if you’re looking for some thrill on your beach day. But if you’re just looking to chill out, grab a tall and strong drink from one of the beach bars and kick back and relax!
St Paul’s Bay
Location: Northeast tip of Rhodes Island
Best For: Beauty, swimming, sunbathing
On the east coast of Rhodes, sheltered from high winds, is the ever-glorious St Paul’s Bay, an unmatched swimming spot. This Greek beach is easily accessible from Lindos, the historic area of Rhodes.
This little bay is surrounded by golden sand and craggy rock formations, creating a watering hole tucked away from the wide-open sea. It is frequented by many sailors so there are often boats floating around, but the water is clear and transparent, allowing you to see down to the very bottom!
It’s one of the best places to swim in Greece, so you can expect lots of people to be splashing around in the water on your visit. But if you prefer to take it easy, the shoreline at St Paul’s Bay is dotted with umbrellas and sunbeds for rent.
As far as best beaches in Greece go, St Paul’s Bay is right up there on the list!
Don’t forget to check out our Beach Packing List before you head out on your Greek summer escapade!
Location: Sitia, Crete
Best For: Tropical scenery, water sports, bars, coves
Vai Beach in Crete is surrounded by Europe’s largest palm forest, creating a unique setting for a beachfront paradise on the east coast of the island.
Vai is frequented by many travelers visiting Crete as it has such an interesting atmosphere. It stretches along the coast and offers fantastic perks like water sports, beach bars, and bathrooms, perfect for a fun-filled day in the sun.
But what’s so special about Vai is it is wholly tropical, unlike a lot of the other beaches in Greece. Vai really transports you to another part of the world, full of lush trees, soft sand, and clear water in front of you.
When you’ve had enough of the main beach drag, continue to walk south and you’ll find secluded coves to enjoy all by yourself.
Location: Southwest Heraklion, Crete
Best For: Laid-back atmosphere, water sports, bars, caves
Another show-stopping beach in Crete is Matala which rests on the edge of a charming island town. Matala Beach was once a sleepy hippie escape in the ‘60s, drawing in peace lovers from all over Europe to bask on the shores.
Today, there’s less of a hippie crowd but the beach has retained its laid-back vibe. There are bars and watersports available, as well as plenty of places to explore along the shore.
Matala Beach is surrounded by massive cliffs that are home to hidden caves holding mysteries and stories of the past. In fact, according to Greek mythology, Matala is where Zeus washed ashore when he was disguised as a bull carrying Europa. When you get bored of lying on the sand, explore some of the caves and see what treasures you can find!
Legend runs strongly through Matala, as do good times, lots of sunshine and peaceful relaxation. It’s no wonder Matala frequently makes lists of best beaches in Greece… What more could you ask for?
Location: Chania, Crete
Best For: Pink sand, warm water, scenery
One last beach in Crete that absolutely cannot be missed is Elafonisi, with its pink, sandy shores – whaaaat!? You read that right, a pink sand beach in Greece! The color comes from ground-up coral that washed ashore and mixed with the white sand to create a beautiful hue of light pink. How magical is that?
On top of that, the pale blue water is perfectly transparent, perfect for swimming around in and exploring underwater life. The water here is especially warm and beautiful as it’s protected from the rest of the sea by a strip of sand connecting the beach to the rest of Crete.
The setting is similar to that of a lagoon, surrounded by mountains and rock formations. Elafonisi is a protected nature reserve, and depending on the tides it can be reached either by walking along the sand or wading through the islet.
It’s worth the trek, and is without a doubt one of the most stunning Greek beaches to ever exist!
Location: Santorini (southeast coast)
Best For: Volcanic sand, sunbathing, facilities
While Santorini is better known for its sunsets than its beaches, there are still a couple of noteworthy seaside spots that are worth the visit while on the island.
One such spot is Perissa Beach which has the best sand on the entire island. While most of the beaches in Santorini are rocky and pebbly, the dark grains at Perissa are much finer and closer to sand. Besides sunbeds for rent, along the beach you’ll find plenty of great restaurants overlooking the water and fun bars to grab an afternoon drink at.
Perissa Beach is also a hub for watersports on Santorini, so live large and rent a jet ski to zoom around the bay!
Located in the southeast of the island, this black sand beach is definitely the best beach in Santorini and should definitely be at the top of your list of places to visit on the island.
Location: Santorini (southwest coast)
Best For: Unique scenery, sunbathing
A visit to Red Beach in Santorini will make you feel as if you’ve just touched down on Mars. The vibrant red rocks surrounding the beach and the pebbly, volcanic sand lining the shores are out of this world — it looks like a scene from another planet!
Red Beach is one of the most unique beaches in Greece due to its dramatic landscape and sublime colors, a place that cannot be missed on a visit to Santorini.
Located near the historic village of Akrotiri, Red Beach is easily accessible and a crowd favorite during summertime. If you’re visiting during peak season, expect insane amounts of tourists, but a visit during shoulder months could grant you the place all to yourself!
For an ultra-unique view of Red Beach, consider taking this catamaran cruise where you’ll get to admire the bright rock formations from the sea. You’ll also get to visit other beaches in the area, hot springs, enjoy snorkeling, swimming, lunch and an open bar. Where do I sign up?
Location: Paros, Cyclades island in the central Aegean Sea
Best For: Scenery, swimming, facilities
A geological wonder due to the weathered rocks surrounding the beach, Kolymbithres offers a one-of-a-kind setting with smoothed-out stones jutting out from the sand and the water.
Kolymbithres Beach is a product of time and Mother Nature. Over thousands of years, the wind, sun, and water created this little Paros escape at the foot of the Aegean Sea with curved rock formations lining the shores.
Kolymbithres is a small beach but has plenty to keep visitors occupied for the day. There are loads of coves carved out of the shore, perfect for finding a spot to yourself. There are also beach bars for a drink, taverns for a meal, and sunbeds for a nap. I mean, what else do you need?
Location: Corfu, an Ionian island off Greece’s northwest coast
Best For: Scenery, nightlife, facilities
Finally, to finish off this list of the best beaches in Greece, we have Glyfada Beach in ever-popular Corfu, one of the most bustling places along the sea.
Throughout the summer, the Glyfada shores are swarming with beach-goers, spread out on towels, crowded under colorful umbrellas or basking in the sea. The beach sits at the foot of a giant hill covered with olive and cypress trees, adding to the unmatched Greek atmosphere.
By day, this Greek beach is crowded with tourists, families, and locals alike. By night, Glyfada comes alive with loud music pumping from the beach bars and young people whooping and hollering along the sand.
For a beach that has a little bit of everything, Glyfada in Corfu is the place to be!
If you weren’t planning a trip to Greece before, I bet you are after reading this! I mean, who can blame you? With beaches that are beyond alluring, Greece practically invites visitors with open arms to its warm shores to bask in the Mediterranean sun and swim in the sea.
There are few places in the world with beaches better than Greece, so what are you waiting for, it’s time to start packing those bikinis!
Headed to Greece? Read these articles!
- Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Time to Visit Greece
- Best Places to Visit in Greece (2020) | What You Must See in Greece!
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