Did you spend lockdown dreaming about soft sand between your toes and crystal clear waves lapping against the shore? Same. Now that lockdown is easing and more flight routes are starting up, the best beaches in Greece are finally back within reach.
There aren’t many better places for a beach break. Greece has the second-highest number of Blue Flag beaches in the world, with a whopping 497 awards. It comes second only to Spain, which has held the top position since 1987. Add some sunny weather, cute whitewashed villages and seriously delicious food and we can’t think of anywhere better to celebrate the end of lockdown.
The only question is, which of the best beaches in Greece will you visit first? We’ve got some ideas…
1. Aspri Limni Beach, Crete
Skip the crowded Elafonissi Lagoon and head to the nearby Aspri Limni beach instead. A local favourite, it’s got ultra fine silver sand and shallow turquoise waters. A circle of bright white boulders create a natural dam which gives the beach its name – white lake, in English. Bring your own brolly. The beach is completely wild, as it’s in a Natura 2000 protected area, and its only trees are the endangered native palm trees.
How to get there: take a right turn into Chrysoskalitissa Village and follow the signs to the Cretan palm date habitat.
2. Voidokilia Beach, Messinia
Fans of classic literature might be excited to learn that this crescent beach is rumoured to be ‘sandy Pylos’, a kingdom mentioned by Homer in his books The Iliad and Odyssey. Everyone else will love it for the soft dunes and warm, calm waters that slope gently down. It has the Mediterranean Sea on one side and the Gialova Lagoon on the other, where migrating birds stop over during spring and autumn. It’s another wild beach so bring a picnic and a parasol if you’re planning to spend the day.
How to get there: follow signs to Paleokastro, park up and walk 20 minutes along the Nestor’s Cave path next to the lagoon.
3. Navagio, Zakynthos
As well as being one of the best beaches in Greece, Navagio – or Smuggler’s Cove – is also one of its most photographed. The shipwreck of the MV Panagiotis, which ran aground here in 1980, sits in the middle of the gravel. That, combined with the sheer height of the limestone cliffs and the pure blue colour of the water, make this beach a great spot for a photo opportunity. The sandy beach is small, and it can get quite busy in the height of summer. Our top tip is to book onto an early morning tour – you’re likely to get the beach to yourself before the crowds start to arrive. And, for the best photos, hire a car and drive to the clifftop viewing platform. Walk along the trail and you’ll soon find the best views of this famous Greek beach.
How to get there: Navagio Beach is only accessible by sea. Lots of tourist boats go here. You can easily take a 20 minute voyage from Porto Vromi Bay or Volimes village.
4. Perivoli Beach, Skopelos
If you’re looking for a relaxing, secluded beach, seek out Perivoli. It’s tucked away at the end of a long, narrow road just three miles away from Glossa village. Once you park your car, you then have to navigate a steep path to reach the beach itself. It’s a bit of a faff to get to, but well worth it. There’s a peaceful stretch of soft sand lapped by clear, deep blue water, and a taverna at the clifftop where you can grab a bite to eat or rent one of the few sunloungers studded on the sand.
How to get there: fly to Skiathos and take a ferry to Glossa on Skopelos. Drive north along the paved road and park at Perivoliou Beach Bar. Walk down the trail to reach the beach.
5. Kathisma Beach, Lefkada
Kathisma is undoubtedly one of the best beaches in Greece to watch the sunset from. It’s on the west coast of Lefkada and gets the sun all day. There’s nothing between it and Italy, so the water can be a little bit choppy. While it’s not ideal for swimming, lots of people head here for watersports like windsurfing. It’s a popular tourist beach so there are lots of tavernas and bars right on the edge of the beach. For a peaceful experience, head to the south end of the beach – as well as having fewer crowds, it’s far nicer.
How to get there: Kathisma Beach is well signposted, and is just 10 miles (about 25 minutes drive) from downtown Lefkada.
6. Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia
Never mind best beaches in Greece – Myrtos often pops up on lists of the best beaches in the world. It’s super famous, and nabbed some screen time in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001). The waters are incredibly clean and crystal clear, with secret caves that are a joy to explore with a snorkel. The large, gleaming white pebbles contrast beautifully with the aqua shade of the sea, although they can be a bit tough on feet so bring a pair of sandals.
How to get there: a public bus runs to the beach from the main bus station in Argostoli. There’s also a car park nearby.
7. Agios Prokopios Beach, Naxos
This long, sandy beach stretches for a mile and is lapped by clear turquoise water. Because it’s protected from the winds, it feels like a giant swimming pool. This is a beach of two halves. The southern part is organised with sun loungers, water sports and other tourist facilities. As you head north it gets more quiet and unspoiled. The developed part of the beach is near a small town where you can grab lunch or pick up some souvenirs.
How to get there: take the bus from Naxos town. It also stops at Agia Anna and Plaka Beach, which are also beautiful and worth a visit. It’s only 3.5 miles from the town so an easy drive, cycle or hike.
8. Platis Gialos Beach, Mykonos
This wide sandy beach is backed by a lively strip of restaurants and bars with a handy mini market in case you run out of sunscreen. It’s super popular with tourists, partially because it’s so easy to get to and partially because there are lots of hotels nearby. It’s an ideal choice for families as the water is calm and shallow – perfect for paddling. Those who want a change of scene can easily hop on a boat from here to Paradise or Super Paradise beach, both located on the island’s southern coast.
How to get there: take a bus from the Fabrika terminal in Mykonos Town, walk or cycle.
9. Akti Beach, Vougliagmeni
If you’re wondering whether there any good beaches near Athens, you’re in luck. After getting your fill of history and culture in the capital, head to the seaside suburb of Vougliagmeni to unwind. There are a few beaches to choose from, but the main one is Akti Beach. This sweeping strip of sand is where wealthy Athenians head during summer weekends. Take a swim in the clear waters, loaf around on the well-groomed sand or try your hand at some water sports. If you get peckish, there are lots of excellent tavernas serving up freshly grilled seafood.
How to get there: take line 2 of the metro from Athens to Elliniko and then hop on the 122 bus from there.
Are you ready to experience the best beaches in Greece?
With the longest coastline in the Med, and thousands of beautiful islands, Greece will really spoil you for choice when it comes to beaches. Whether you’re looking for a lively beach with plenty of amenities or a hidden cove with nothing but the sea for company, there truly is something for everyone.
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