19 of the most beautiful beaches in Greece to visit during your free time
When it comes to gorgeous beaches, Greece is just plain tough to beat. The Mediterranean country is graced with months of warm, sunny weather, countless miles of pristine coastline, and some of the clearest, bluest water on the planet. Depending on which part of the country you visit, you can experience everything from technicolor volcanic beaches to miles-long stretches of soft, pink sand. (And did we mention the waterfront tavernas, whatever-you-want beach clubs, and empty coves that make the rest of the world fade away?)
How many beaches are in Greece? Too many to count. But here are some of the best beaches in Greece—from Corfu to Crete—to enjoy during your free time on tour, no matter what kind of sandy escape you crave.
Beaches on Mykonos
The best beaches on Mykonos are along its south coast, where they’re protected from brisk winds that blow from the north (and turn the island's iconic windmills). July and August are the beaches’ busiest months, so if you plan to visit then, arrive ASAP to snag a beach chair and umbrella.
This famous beach in Greece is often credited with bringing tourism to Mykonos in the 1970s. It’s still a popular place among international visitors—especially those with a penchant for partying—thanks to its soft sand, clear water, and abundant beach bars, restaurants, and clubs featuring live DJs and dancing. On the beach, which is located just 20 minutes from the center of Mykonos Town, visitors can spread out on lounge chairs, take refuge from the sun under thatched umbrellas, cool off in the clear water, and wade out to nearby sandbars.
Platos Gialos Beach
For travelers who want to enjoy Mykonos’s coastline but aren’t looking to party, Platos Gialos Beach is likely more their speed. Accessible by bus directly from Mykonos Town, this wide, golden beach is considered by many to be the island’s best. And with its variety of water sports activities, lounge chairs, and umbrellas to rent, surrounding restaurants serving Mediterranean specialties, and a convenient market that’s stocked with everything from snacks to Champagne, it’s no wonder why.
Beaches on Santorini
As a volcanic island, Santorini isn’t exactly known for its beaches—but the ones that are here are without a doubt some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. What the island lacks in soft, golden sand, its eastern and southeastern beaches—which you can visit while on our The Greek Islands: Mykonos, Santorini & Crete tour—more than make up for with their unique natural features and clear waters.
Check out our Santorini Travel Guide >
Visiting Kokkini Beach, on the southern coast of Santorini, is like stepping inside a kaleidoscope. There, blue-green waters lap at a crescent-shaped beach that’s backed by gray-green hills, fiery-red cliffs, and rust-colored boulders. Kokkini’s narrow, pebbly shore can pose a challenge for visitors hoping to stretch out and snooze, but snorkeling here is a can’t-miss thanks to the plentiful fish and other creatures who live among the submerged stones. Kokkini is accessible by boat or foot; however you arrive, wear shoes that’ll keep you steady on rocky surfaces.
Perissa and Perivolos Beaches
Among the most amazing beaches in Greece thanks to their black sand, Perissa and Perivolos Beaches are pretty much the same beach, with Perissa at the northern end and Perivolos at the southern end. Here, a long stretch of volcanic black sand combines with endless blue sky, turquoise water, and towering rock cliffs to create a setting visitors won’t soon forget. Water sports like jet skiing, flyboarding, and parasailing are available for active beachgoers, and a number of beachfront bars and restaurants serve up fresh seafood, cocktails, and eye-popping sea views.
Wondering what to eat while on Santorini? Check out 5 can’t-miss dishes to try in the Greek Islands >
Beaches on Paros
The island of Paros is instantly recognizable for the idyllic, whitewashed villages that cluster among its hills and cliffs. Bonus: Whatever kind of beach setting you crave—from manicured clubs to quiet, natural coastlines—you’ll find it here, too.
Thanks to its location in the bay of Naoussa on northern Paros, Kolymbithres Beach—the island’s most famous—is sheltered from gusty winds. For visitors, who can reach the beach easily via bus or water taxi from Maoussa, that means a blissfully calm atmosphere. The beach’s clear, blue-green water makes for glorious swimming, but the unusual granite rock formations that line its shore are the major draw. The beach is naturally divided into two main areas, and each is served by its own beach club. Pass the day by posting up on a sun bed, cooling off under an umbrella with a refreshing drink, or renting equipment from one of two water sports centers.
Chrissi Akti Beach
Located on the eastern coast of Paros, this spot lives up to its more commonly known name: Golden Beach. Here, visitors will find a long stretch of postcard-perfect sand that sparkles in the sun, plus shallow, glass-clear surf and plenty of excellent beach clubs and restaurants. Winds pick up in July and August, bringing windsurfers from all around the world with them. To the north, sister beach Nea Chrissi Akti, or New Golden Beach, has hosted the Professional Windsurfers Association World Cup since 1993. Give it a go yourself with lessons at one of the beaches’ reputable windsurfing schools.
Beaches on Crete
The largest and most populous of the Greek islands, Crete is one of the best places to go in Greece for beaches—period. High season runs from July through September, so travel during shoulder season—April, May, and October—if you can to enjoy it with fewer crowds.
Beaches in Greece—or anywhere, for that matter—don’t get much prettier than Balos. Set on western Crete’s Gramvousa Peninsula, near Kissamos, this stunning spot is known as not only one of the best beaches in Greece, but in the entire Mediterranean. Getting here isn’t exactly easy (it’s accessible by boat or driving along a rocky, dirt road), but travelers who make the effort are handsomely rewarded with white- and pink-sand beaches, sapphire waters, and shallow lagoons bursting with every imaginable shade of blue and green. A Venetian castle set on the islet of Gramvousa ups the allure even more. Balos is remote, so plan to BYO snacks, water, and SPF.
With its wide swath of sand, totally transparent water, and perfect-for-windsurfing waves, this beach, situated along Falassarna Bay on Crete’s west coast, is the stuff of dreams. (It’s also known as one of the best on the island.) Spend the day floating in the crystal-clear surf, strolling along the sand, and sipping ouzo at a nearby taverna. But don’t pack up too early: Falassarna Beach is among the best places on the island to catch (and photograph) one of Greece’s famously fiery sunsets. Mid-July to mid-August bring lots of day trippers from Hania and Kissamos, so visit outside those months if you can.
Set on Crete’s southern coast, where the Megalopotamos River meets the Libyan Sea, Preveli Beach is, put simply, one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece.
Visitors have to descend a steep path to get there, but the bone-white sand, teal water, rocky cliffs, and lush riverbanks lined with tall palms that await more than make up for it. Spend the day snorkeling around the beach’s pristine waters, strolling along the riverbed and rocky outcroppings, and resting up on the soft, white sand before climbing back up the path. You won’t find many restaurants or shops here—and that’s part of the reason to love it—but nearby Preveli Monastery, which overlooks the Libyan Sea from atop a hill, is certainly worth a visit.
Countless numbers of crushed seashells give this jaw-droppingly gorgeous beach on Crete’s southwestern tip its pinkish tint. And that’s not all that makes this spot special. Shallow water and sandbars throughout the area come together to create warm lagoons that are perfect for wading, and a habitat that loggerhead sea turtles and other animals call home. Elafonissi Beach is accessible by car and bus, and creature comforts include changing rooms, snack bars, beach chairs, and umbrellas.
Beaches on Corfu
Like Crete, the island of Corfu—just off the northwestern coast of mainland Greece, near the Albania border—is celebrated for its plethora of pretty beaches. Even better: Its diverse topography means visitors will have a variety of kinds to choose from. Corfu—nicknamed the Grand Lady of the Ionian—stays busy all summer, so go in April, May, September, October, or November to enjoy warm weather and fewer crowds.
Read our guide to island-hopping in Greece>
Canal d’Amour Beach
Between the villages of Sidari and Peroulades, travelers will find the island’s famous Canal d’Amour, or Channel of Love, a uniquely beautiful beach and swimming spot sandwiched between two layered rock outcrops. (According to legend, couples who swim through the narrow canal will soon marry. Unattached? Dog paddle your way through and it’s said you'll find your forever love on the other side.) Because of the rocks’ proximity, it's best to swim here on calm, wind-free days.
Agios Gordios Beach
Located on Corfu’s western side, Agios Gordios is a holiday resort village and community, and home to a popular beach framed by lush, emerald cliffs. Its shore is plenty long and wide for beach walks, and its surf is a popular playground for water sports enthusiasts. Thanks to its setting near town, visitors will have restaurants, tavernas, shops, and plenty more at their fingertips, which makes this sun-drenched spot a perfect—and convenient—place to post up all day.
This picturesque village on Corfu’s northwestern coast is home to a serene bay and a handful of beautiful beaches that are surrounded by olive trees. Though on the smaller side, locals and visitors alike adore its main beach for its cool, clear water and lively atmosphere. During the day, visitors can enjoy quiet and calm. In the evening, dozens of nearby bars and taverns swing their doors open for food, drink, music, and dancing set to stunning sea views.
Beaches on Naxos
Situated in the South Aegean, Naxos is the largest (and greenest) of the Cycladic islands. Lesser known than the likes of Santorini and Mykonos, it’s also laid-back and low-key and one of the best beach locations in Greece for a taste of local life. (Something else you’ll want a taste of? Olive oil that’s made on the island.) Many of the island’s best beaches are situated along its west coast, and reachable by bus direct from Naxos Town. Plan to visit them while on our Greek Islands Adventure: Athens, Naxos & Paros tour.
Stretching for nearly two-and-a-half miles along the west coast, Plaka is the longest uninterrupted beach on Naxos. (Those in the know say it’s not only the best beach on the island, but one of the best in Greece to boot, thanks to its wide, walkable shoreline, gentle surf, and ample amenities.) Its north end, called Maragas Beach, is home to a number of restaurants and beach clubs, while its southern end remains lesser developed.
For off-the-beaten-path R&R—and some delightfully different oceanfront scenery—head to Aliko Beach. Located on Corfu’s southwestern coast, the area is actually home to four separate beaches—including the nude-friendly Aliko Naturist—that are frequently referred to collectively as Aliko Beach. Here, the serene landscape includes a rocky coastline, white-sand beaches, turquoise coves, and a protected cedar forest. Don’t leave before checking out the nearby abandoned, unfinished hotel that’s now home to larger-than-life murals and graffiti art.
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