Beaches in Greece are not like any other with the culmination of crystal clear waters, dramatic rock formations, and lush Mediterranean vegetation ensuring an unforgettable experience. Greek beaches range from trendy hotspots laden with beach bars and taverns to secluded outcrops only accessible by boat.
Islands like Mykonos and Crete have no shortage of world-renowned beaches while Cycladic havens like Milos are flying under the radar but boast petite beaches, ideal for an escape. Book a hotel on the beach to dip your toes in the water first thing in the morning and admire the glistening horizon all hours of the day.
Here is a look at the 10 best beaches in Greece and where to stay for the best boutique hotel experiences.
1. Porto Katsiki, Lefkada
Of all the beaches in Greece, few come close to the grandeur and sheer spectacle of Porto Katsiki. Mammoth white cliffs with a sheer drop onto the beach below for the backdrop for this world-renowned beach.
The narrow strip of white sand merges with the Ionian Sea in spectacular fashion. Bright blue water sits in sharp contrast with the chalky cliffs, filled with yachts anchoring close to the beach thanks to the deep water.
Umbrellas and sun chairs are available but the cliffs cast a shadow on some parts of the beach for ample protection. Top off your day in this idyllic setting with a drink at a clifftop café with never-ending views over the Ionian.
2. Kourouta Beach, Peloponnese
More than 16 kilos of golden sand on the west of Peloponnese shape one of the most celebrated Blue Flag beaches in Greece. Kourouta is kissed by the Ionian Sea and boasts milder weather than most other Greek destinations. From May to October, the water is calm and the weather is sublime.
The wide expanse of the beach means there is always a quiet spot to be found. There are parasols and sunbeds in many areas along with several taverns and bars providing ample refreshments. Dexamenes Kourouta is a magnificent boutique hotel on the beach with rooms leading out to a private stretch of sand.
3. Ornos Beach, Mykonos
The narrow isthmus that Ornos sits on, means the difference between sweeping winds on the northern Korfus beach and tranquillity on Ornos beach. It is one of the most popular beaches in Greece thanks to its sheltered setting and the abundance of activities in the area.
It is only 10 minutes away from Mykonos Town and is perfect for families as the shallow water has a gradual slope and barely any waves. Boats and yachts anchoring offshore aren’t uncommon as this is an ultra-trendy place to spend the day.
Tap into the luxurious nature of Ornos with a stay at a hotel on the beach. Kensho Ornos is one of the most popular with its sea views, tranquil pool and high-end restaurant on site.
4. Agios Prokopios Beach, Naxos
Only 5km from Naxos Town is a 1.5km stretch of pristine beach with numerous Blue Flag awards under its belt. Agios Prokopios has clear, calm water and lots of space for watersports, sunbathing, and enjoying the lively atmosphere of the beach bars. It is one of the larger beaches in Greece, offering ample space for sun-hungry beachgoers.
Search for a luxury hotel on the beach like 18 Grapes Boutique Hotel to compliment the tranquil nature of a holiday on Naxos. The hotel is only 200m from the sand and spoils guests with unmatched sea views.
5. Elafonissi beach, Crete
When it comes to beaches in Greece, few have reached iconic status quite like Elafonissi. The pink sand is reached by crossing a narrow sandy reef, leading to the Elafonissi islet. It is more than 80km from Chania town so many choose to visit the beach as part of a full day trip.
You won’t find a hotel on the beach spoiling the scenery of Elafonissi and camping is only allowed in a small section near the beach as the islet is a protected natural environment. The lagoon-like water is calm and clear like glass, creating one of the most magical settings in the whole Mediterranean.
The Boutique Vibe Top picks: Scala de Faro Boutique Hotel, Ambassadors Residence Boutique Hotel, Thalassa Boutique Hotel
Other Recommendations: Kapsaliana Village Hotel, Avli Lounge Apartments, SK Place
6. Mylopotas Beach, Ios
Listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, Mylopotas sits in one of the most memorable bays in the Greek Isles. With a rocky hill forming an idyllic outcrop, the beach sits surrounded by traditional white houses and Mediterranean vegetation.
It is by far the most popular beach on Ios, especially among thrill seekers and party lovers. The multitude of bars and cafes ensures there is always a beat in the air and there are several water sports opportunities in the turquoise ocean.
For a brisk morning walk, enjoy the 20 min walk to the beach from Ios Chora or drive around 3km along the scenic route. Early mornings are blissfully quiet on the beach but sunbeds quickly fill up around noon as the beach’s beauty is infamous.
7. Plaka Beach, Naxos
The island of Naxos has many beach gems, including Plaka, a former nudist beach. Today the beach is open to all, clothed or not, with nudists enjoying the sun on the southern part of the beach. It is easy to reach with many main asphalt roads leading to this idyllic stretch and it is roughly 9km south of Naxos Town.
This is one of the longest beaches in Greece, with around 4km of dreamy white sand and clear water. There is plenty of space to isolate oneself from the crowd or enjoy the bustling atmosphere of the organized sections. There are a few taverns around with excellent views, serving scrumptious local cuisine.
8. Faragas Beach, Paros
The Aegean island of Paros is known for having some of the best beaches in Greece, surrounded by charming villages. Unlike other beach destinations that are overrun by scores of bronze bodies, Paros offers more intimate settings.
Faragas is one of these exclusive areas where you can expect only a few rows of sun chairs edging the impossibly blue water. It sits on the southern side of the island, perfectly sheltered from the pesky Meltemi winds. The beach is 3 separate sections of sand in a bay around 15 km from the Capital, Paros Parikia.
The main beach is separated from the two smaller sections with rocky formations that run off into the ocean. Underwater lovers can snorkel around the rocks to see what lives under the transparent waves.
9. Red Beach, Santorini
Santorini isn’t well known for having the best beaches in Greece, but Red Beach is more of a natural phenomenon than the glitzy beaches one might come to expect from the Mediterranean. Red and black volcanic striations decorate the landscape, juxtaposed with electric blue water.
The beach is also next to the fascinating archaeological site of Akrotiri, so a visit to Red beach allows you to tick 2 major items off of a Santorini itinerary. A rocky 2-minute walk from the car park allows for fairly easy access to the beach.
Take a dive and explore the fascinating underwater rock formations close to the beach or simply marvel at the striking scenery from atop the cliffs. Only a 10-minute drive from the beach is Kaldera-Akrotiri with secluded boutique hotels like Astarte Suites, overlooking the vast ocean.