When holidaying in Greece and its surrounding islands, you’ll no doubt want to soak up the rays on one of the many, many beaches available. But, given there are so many, how do you choose between them? There’s something a little special about each of the beaches we’ve chosen below; whether you’re travelling as a couple, with the kids, as a group or even as a lone wolf, there’s somewhere for you.
Egremni is a beach located on the island of Lefkada to the north-west of Greece, and may just lay claim to being one of the best beaches in the world. The way down to the beach is 347 steps running down the face of the rock cliffs, revealing white pebble beaches stretching for over 2.5km, a surprising find in what is really quite a remote location. The crash of the waves will be more than enough to excite the kids, but is plenty safe enough for you to let them play without worry. There’s not much in the way of amenities here, save a single bar, so perhaps come prepared with your own lunch and make a day of it.
Kamares is technically the port of Sifnos on the island grouping known as the Cyclades, but you need have no fear of large barges and tankers here. The beach is incredibly picturesque, and is generally considered to be one of the best beaches in Greece for a day trip with the family. As a port town there’s plenty to explore, with a variety of shops and restaurants, and even a couple of supermarkets nearby for when you need a break from the heat of the sun.
In Kefalonia is where you will find the beach of Myrtos, to the north-west in the region known as Pylaros. Situated under the watchful gaze of the twin mountains Kalon Oros and Agia Dynati, Myrtos is ideally placed for sunbathing and hiking, meaning that you’ll always be surrounded by incredible scenery no matter what your past-time here. The limestone pebbles that make-up the beach serve to give the waters their turquoise hue, which contrasts against the wider panorama from one of the heights.
Navagio is more famously known as the Shipwreck Beach, or Smugglers Cove, named after the wrecking of a ship suspected to be carrying illegal goods, with its rusting hulk now settle on the sands. The beach is only accessible by boat, so this trip will need a little forward planning. Look out above and you’ll see base jumpers leaping and soaring above you, as this is one of the most high-profile spots for the sport in the Mediterranean.
Ornos is located just a few kilometres outside of Mykonos’ main town, on the island of the same name. This is very much a family beach, with a number of hotels now based here allowing you (and the multitude of other visitors) the easiest of access to the beach and surrounding areas. There are also regular boat trips to other islands in the region.
6. Porto Katsiki
Our second beach in Lefkada, Porto Katsiki is one that takes a bit of care getting to, situated as it is down 80 steep steps from the cliffs above. Once down, this is a hotspot for windsurfing and body boarding, so if you’re a keen on watersports this may be just the ticket for you.
Psarrou on Mykonos is one for the more chilled-out traveller; this isn’t much of a party beach, but is rather for those who are keen on relaxing in the sun and doing a bit of snorkelling. This one is as calm and serene as it gets, letting you switch off completely. There are opportunities to go scuba diving here for the more energetic holiday-makers.
8. Red Beach, Santorini
One of the more visually striking beaches, the Red Beach of Santorini is so coloured from the volcanic pebbles strewing the coast. The beach is quite small and hence can get fairly crowded, but the ancient site of Akrotiri is a nice escape if you need it. And, if red isn’t your colour, there’s a beach of black volcanic pebbles not too far away as well.
This is a beach on Milos Island, and is often considered to be the ‘Lunar’ beach due to the Moon-like whiteness of the rocks and curved rock formations. This is as close as you’ll get to following in Neil Armstrong’s footsteps while keeping your feet firmly on Planet Earth.
Schinias is about 45km away from Athens, and quite close to the famous ancient site of the Battle of Marathon. This is a major attraction for tourists and locals alike, particularly at weekends, due to the clarity and crystal-like quality of the waters, and the beach is exposed to winds ideally suited to windsurfing.
11. St. Paul’s Bay, Rhodes
The Bay is so-named as St. Paul is reputed to have landed here temporarily to wait out a storm. Not many beaches have an acropolis looking down from the cliffs above, but this one does. Something almost totally unique to the Bay is the fact that this is a major site for weddings, with a local service catering throughout the year for couples taking that step and tying the knot.
Our final beach is on the island of Antipaxos, and is the best place for couples to do for a little quality time together under the sun. The island is absolutely minute, and there are no real amenities nearby, so this is the time to show a bit of initiative and surprise your other half with a picnic hamper all set for just the two of you.