From its many islands to the mainland, Greece boasts some of the most gorgeous beaches in all of Europe. The Greek beach experience is unlike any other in the world, with fresh, grilled seafood and refreshing wine enjoyed right on the sand. Many of the best beach destinations also have a rich history that visitors can explore in between hours of relaxation in the sun.
In addition, several of the most beautiful beaches in Greece sit off the beaten path for tourists, so they provide some seclusion and the chance to meet local people. Some of the top beach destinations in Greece include:
Navagio on Zakynthos
The coast of Zakynthos Island has one of the most photographed beaches in the entire country. Located on the northwest part of island, Navagio gets its name from a ship that ran aground and still remains on the beach. Here, the waters are so turquoise that they can sometimes look artificial in photographs. Beyond the beautiful hue of the water, visitors will find a sunny, white-sand beach and towering limestone cliffs, which together set Navagio apart from other beaches around the country. To get to the beach, you must take a boat. Tourists should be prepared for a large crowd at this beach as it remains a top destination.
Kapari on Mykonos
The island of Mykonos is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in Greece. While there, be sure to check out Kapari, which is not far from Mykonos Town. The great thing about Kapari is that it is the primary beach for locals, even in the height of the tourist season. People will not find any bars or restaurants—only a lovely, quiet cove with few visitors. The tricky part about visiting Kapari is getting there. Because the beach is near a cliff, parking can be difficult. Once parked, you must climb over some rocks to reach the cove.
Palioxori on Milos
Relatively few tourists go to the island Milos, which is home to charming fishing villages. However, people who make the effort are rewarded with natural hot springs, ancient ruins, and several dozen different beaches. The beach that really stands out is Palioxori, a pebbled beach known for its rock formations in several different colors. Palioxori also boasts crystal-clear waters and an on-site bar for grabbing a quick drink while relaxing in the sun or exploring the various rock formations.
Voidokoilia in Messinia
Tourists on the mainland who make it to Messinia in the Peloponnese region of Greece should be sure to check out Voidokoilia. The beach runs along a curving bay with a rich history. This is the spot where, according to mythology, King Nestor met with Telemachus, the son of Odysseus, as he searched for his father. One of the best ways to start exploring the area is to hike up the hills on the southwest section of the beach to reach Nestor’s Cave. Legend has it that Hermes once hid 50 oxen stolen from Apollo in this cave. The beach also features the ruins of a castle built in the 13th century and Gialova Lagoon, a nature reserve known for its various bird species.
Elafonisi on Crete
The primary draw of Elafonisi, a tiny islet off the coast of Crete, is its pink coral sand beaches. Often, the tides draw low enough that visitors can wade through a lagoon to reach the islet, which functions as a protected nature reserve. Nearby on the mainland is a fantastic beach restaurant and the 17th century Chrysoskalitissa monastery to explore.
Porto Katsiki on Lefkada
The most renowned beach on the island of Lefkada, Porto Katsiki literally means “port of the goats;” it was so named because only goats could reach the beach, which sits at the bottom of a cliff. Porto Katsiki lies on the southwestern part of the island and features an impressive bay with blue waters that stretch out into impressive views of the Ionian Sea. The beach boasts a couple of different bars, and it’s not difficult to drive to the site. However, visitors still must follow a series of steep steps down a cliff to the sand.
Mylopotas on Ios
Part of the Cyclades Islands, Ios has a very classically Greek landscape, with blue-roofed buildings and beaches of golden sand. This island is known for its lavish parties in the summer, but quiets down during other parts of the year. Mylopotas has clear waters and a number of different opportunities for engaging in water sports. The beach has become one of the most popular choices among younger travelers but it still retains a low-key vibe, even in the busier summer months.
Canal D’Amour on Corfu
One of the most otherworldly places on the popular island of Corfu, Canal D’Amour features delightful grottoes, small stretches of beach, and large white sculpted rock structures. Canal D’Amour actually refers to one of these rock structures that has an opening wide enough to swim through. According to legend, people who brave the narrow opening will find love on the other side. The beach is located between Peroulades and Sidari.