Endless blue seas, secret coves, and wild landscapes are some of the highlights of summer in the Greek islands. A cosmopolitan lifestyle, vibrant nightlife, warm hospitality, and delicious local cuisine are usually what attract millions of visitors each year. Each island has its distinct character, unique architecture, and landmarks, but what are the best Greek islands for beaches?
Find the top 8 Greek islands with the best beaches here:
The 8 Best Islands in Greece for Beaches
Crete is the largest island in Greece, offering endless possibilities for any type of traveler. In Crete, you will arguably find most of the best beaches in all the Greek islands. Chania’s region features pristine nature, wild landscapes with crystal-clear cyan waters, and great beaches and coves. The rest of Crete is also known for its canyons, leading to stunning unorganized beaches with crystal-clear waters.
Here are some of the best beaches in Crete:
Elafonisi: The renowned Elafonisi beach is situated in the southwesternmost part of Crete. This lagoon with its pink sand and 1-meter depth seawater looks like a separate islet but is actually a peninsula.
The endless dunes, crystal-clear waters, and virgin nature is protected by Natura 2000 as a vital habitat for different species of flora and fauna, including Caretta-caretta turtles. The beach is accessible by car and is a 1.5-hour-drive from Chania.
Balos: You will find Balos lagoon 17 km outside of Kissamos and roughly 56 km northwest of the town of Chania. Balos is another pink beach in Crete, and among the best beaches in all Greek islands.
The turquoise waters are unparalleled, and the landscape is wild and untamed, with thick white sand and pink sand in some spots. You may even find Caretta-caretta turtles on its shores.
Falassarna: Falassarna region is 59km outside of Chania and 17km from Kissamos, split into 5 beaches, the most famous of which is Pachia Ammos.
You can find amenities, including drinks and snacks under the protection of umbrellas, as well as sunbeds. For a quieter day at the beach, head to the remote coves nearby and enjoy tranquility on the sand.
Preveli: Another stunning beach of Crete is Preveli, situated just 35km south of Rethymnon. It is located where the large Kourtaliotiko gorge meets the Cretan Sea, where the river Mega Potamos flows.
On the river banks and behind the beach is a thick palm forest of rare Cretan palms (Phoenix Theophrasti). There are no amenities whatsoever aside from a snack bar. The shore is partly sandy and partly pebbly, and just 200 meters in length.
Vai: Vai beach is located among the thick palm forest of Vai, with thousands of visitors every year, who flock there to enjoy the exotic atmosphere and large sandy shore.
To get there, you will have to drive for about 2 hours from Heraklion, to find the beach and the forest located 24 km east of Sitia. The beach is very well organized, with amenities, beach bars, restaurants, and water sports facilities as well.
Check out: The best beaches in Crete.
Milos is perhaps the top Greek island with the best beaches to visit and enjoy pristine emerald waters surrounding the volcanic beauty of white stones and steep cliffs.
Sarakiniko: Among the most visited and photographed places on the island is Sarakiniko beach, known for the peculiarly shaped white-shaped rocks, creating arched-shaped caves to dive into. The crystal-clear emerald waters are out of this world!
You can access it by road, as it is located along the coastal road in the eastern part of Adamas in northeast Milos.
Firiplaka: Firiplaka is a long sandy/pebbly beach of deep, crystalline, turquoise water. The sand is almost silvery surrounded by steep rocks along the coastline. The beach gives off an exotic atmosphere thanks to the strong contrasts, and the seabed is interesting for snorkeling.
There are sunbeds and parasols there, but also free space if you want peace and quiet. There is road access to the beach and a bus route that makes a stop there for visitors.
Papafragkas: Three kilometers from Pollonia, you will find Papafragkas, a narrow beach, and a cave with the same name, which is formed between fjords and peculiar rock formations. The beach is remote and you can get there by descending a natural path of medium difficulty. The wild landscape and the caves of the beach are worth it!
Check out: The best beaches in Milos.
Naxos is another jewel of the Cyclades and worth a visit, as it’s another one of the best islands in Greece for beaches. While in Naxos, you can’t miss Portara, the imposing ‘great door’ made out of marble, which is a remnant of the ancient Temple of Apollo in antiquity.
Agios Prokopios: Perhaps the most famous beach on this Greek island, Agios Prokopios beach is a well-organized paradise with sunbeds and parasols for travelers of all types, including families, couples, and groups of friends. You can find it just 4 km away from the main port of Naxos.
The coarse sand is endless and offers itself for beach rackets and beach volleyball, and the waters are ideal, with emerald and turquoise hues, crystal-clear and usually calm.
Agia Anna: The busy beach of Agia Anna is the continuation of Agios Prokopios. The beach is also sandy and well-organized, with beach bars, umbrellas, and sunbeds. The waters are inviting, and usually somewhat wavy, although there is a protected cove you can head to on windy days.
Access to the beach is easy by road, and there is also public transportation daily.
Plaka: The white sand and turquoise waters are not missing from Plaka beach, as well. This 4-kilometer-long and wide beach is ideal. Plaka used to be a nudist beach, and although now it is popular for all, there are still fans of nudism around, enjoying pristine nature.
You can get to Plaka by following the asphalt road towards Agios Prokopios, and then continue on a seaside dirt road for several kilometers.
Check out: The best beaches in Naxos.
Cosmopolitan Mykonos is one of the best Greek islands to visit for its stunning beaches, renowned for the lush beach partying, luxury, and youthful atmosphere.
Psarou: One of the trendiest and best beaches in the Greek islands is Psarou in Mykonos, where countless visitors enjoy emerald waters and the luxury of Nammos, a very famous and high-class beach bar. You can find various restaurants and accommodation options. Access is easy, but parking is difficult during the high season. You can also get there by bus.
Ornos: Ornos beach is a family-friendly, very well-organized beach in Mykonos. It has great amenities, with lots of restaurants, beach bars with sunbeds and parasols, and luxurious hotels. The shore is sandy and wide and you can get there by car in 10 minutes (from Mykonos town).
Super Paradise: Super Paradise is also among the best beaches in the Greek islands, but for beach partying, clubbing, and dancing all day. The beach is sandy and filled with parasols, sunbeds, and other beach furniture to lounge in and enjoy cocktails by the sea. Although crowded, the seawater is heavenly and shallow. Access is easy by road.
Check out: The best Mykonos beaches.
Kefalonia is perhaps the crown jewel of the Ionian Sea, popular as one of the best Greek islands for beaches and exotic waters. Like the rest of the islands, it features stunning mirror-like waters of amazing blue hues, and lush green vegetation surrounding the steep cliffs.
Myrtos: Myrtos is justifiably one of the most beautiful beaches of Europe, its beauty untamed and otherworldly. Tall mountainous terrain and steep cliffs stop abruptly to a stunning white sandy/pebbly beach of the purest azure water. There are no amenities whatsoever, that’s why the landscape is unspoiled. You can get there by car but the road is not very good, and once there, know that the descend to swim is abrupt and challenging.
Antisamos: You will find the pristine beach close to the port of Sami, among the greenest hills. The waters are a rich turquoise, the shore sandy and organized, known from the famous movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.” The beach has a side for secluded sunbathing and nature lovers. You can get there easily by road from Sami port.
Xi: A beach, unlike all others, Xi beach in Kefalonia has distinct white rocky surroundings contrasting with a brownish, almost red sand. Well organized with shallow waters and small waves, it is very family-friendly and convenient. You can get there by car or by bus from Lixouri or Argostoli.
Check out: The best beaches in Kefalonia.
The Ionian beauty of Zakynthos also offers two of the best beaches on the Greek islands. The distinct character of Zante is interwoven with its lovely beaches, ideal for sunbathing and swimming, as well as sightseeing and active adventure.
Navagio Beach: The highlight of the island one of the most photographed places in Greece, and even worldwide, is the famous Navagio of Zakynthos, a virgin beach with a rusty shipwreck, accessible only by boat.
The waters are the endless bright blue of the Ionian, and the sight of the shipwreck imposing and awe-inspiring.
Porto Zoro Beach: Located around 17 km outside of Zakynthos town, Porto Zoro beach is ideal for a peaceful swim in lovely waters, away from the fuss of the crowds. The landscape has lush vegetation and peculiar rock formations, ideal for snorkeling. There is a hotel at the beach with lots of amenities, mostly for guests. You can get there easily by car.
Check out: The best beaches in Zakynthos.
One of the best islands in Greece for beaches is Lefkada, its Ionian beauty unparalleled and its landscapes breathtakingly raw. Although it is easily accessible from mainland Greece and tends to get crowded, its beaches remain untouched.
Porto Katsiki: In the southeastern side of Lefkada, after a long drive on a challenging road with turns, you will find Porto Katsiki, a long pebbly beach of unparalleled beauty, just below the steepest of cliffs. The open seawater is a cobalt blue that almost blinds you, its temperature refreshing all year round.
The beach is not organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, but you will find an organized parking space and two beach bars before the long staircase down the beach.
Egremni: Even more untouched and wild, Egremni beach, just some kilometers before Porto Katsiki, is a breathtaking cliff (as the name suggests) ending to the most pristine beach in Lefkada. Access to the beach was cut when huge rocks fell, but now it is restored. And yet, it still is very challenging to descend there. The lovely view of a wide, almost endlessly long pebbly beach is surely worth it.
Kathisma: In the same part of the island, you will find Kathisma beach, another long beach with crystal-clear waters. Unlike the other two, Kathisma is the most organized beach on the island, packed with well-arranged sunbeds and parasols to chill by the waves. The sea is very open and prone to strong waves and currents. There are many amenities, including watersports and a lifeguard on watch.
Check out: Best beaches in Lefkada.
Last but not least, Skiathos is also among the best Greek islands for beaches, much like its neighboring Skopelos. Here, you will find youthful travelers, couples, and groups of friends who want to enjoy pristine nature and some partying combined.
Koukounaries: As the name suggests, rich vegetation of lush pines surrounds the beach, making it the most stunning and most visited beach in Skiathos. It is crammed with people who enjoy its turquoise waters, as well as the amenities and services of the beach bars and water sports facilities.
Behind the beach, inside the forest, there is a protected biotope with rich flora and fauna, developed to promote ecotourism.
Lalaria: Lalaria beach is only accessible by boat, thanks to its remote location. Huge white cliffs meet the most emerald, mirror-like waters, unspoiled and virgin. The place gets many boat visitors who anchor there and enjoy its beauty.
The rock forms an arch-like underwater passage, and there are some caves nearby to explore.
Check out: The best beaches in Skiathos.
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