The beautiful and jagged coastline of Greece is a gift to behold while on a visit to the country. Some edges of these shores are decorated with mysterious, old lighthouses which used to bring the good news of land nearby for sailors in the open waters. Now, they stand imposingly as remnants of a historic past, inviting visitors and adventurers to discover their secrets and enjoy magnificent views of sunsets and the endless sea.
Here’s a list of the best lighthouses in Greece to explore:
12 Picturesque Lighthouses to See in Greece
Chania Lighthouse, Crete
In the magnificent city of Chania in Crete, you will find Chania Lighthouse, originally built around the 16th century. It is a Venetian lighthouse, also thought of as the largest Egyptian Lighthouse in Crete, built there to protect the harbor, offering closure to the harbor with a chain when needed. It is the perfect spot for evening strolls and stunning photos!
What about its history?
During the Turkish occupation, the lighthouse’s infrastructure deteriorated and this led to its remodification as a minaret between the years 1824 and 1832. The Lighthouse of Chania is nicknamed the “Egyptian lighthouse” because of the presence of the Egyptian troops in Crete at that time, to the aid of the declining ottoman empire against the Cretan resistance.
The lighthouse was leaning a lot, especially after the bombings of WWII and subsequent earthquakes. In the modern lighthouse, only the Venetian base is the original. The rest had to be renovated in 2005 and it is still in excellent condition, decorating the long mole and offering amazing views of the whole harbor!
Chania lighthouse is not open to visitors, but you can explore it up close from the outside and enjoy the panorama during sunsets!
Rethymno Lighthouse, Crete
The second-largest remaining Egyptian lighthouse in Crete, after the Chania lighthouse mentioned above, is located in Rethymno. It stands imposingly on the edge of the old harbor of Rethymnon, like a jewel standing out of the promontory. It is worth a visit during your stay in Rethymno, and thankfully, it has very easy access.
As regards its history, it was built during the Egyptian occupation, around 1830, just like Chania Lighthouse. It is estimated that before this lighthouse there used to be an older Venetian one, just like Chania, but it was rebuilt and changed form.
The stone-built lighthouse is currently closed to the public and does not operate, but it is still accessible for sightseeing and photographs. It stands imposingly at approximately 9 meters in height.
Armenistis Lighthouse, Mykonos
On the cosmopolitan island of Cyclades, you can find Armenistis Lighthouse, located in Cape Armenistis. Standing imposingly at 19 meters in height, the old lighthouse is now an important sight of Mykonos Island.
The lighthouse was built in 1891, and many legends surround it. The reason for building it was a sinking accident of English steamer VOLTA 1887, where 11 crew members died. Since then, the octagonal tower on top of the cape is in operation, marking the approach to land out in the open waters.
To get to Armenistis lighthouse, take the road from Agios Stefanos. There you will find the stunning lighthouse, standing aloof from civilization at the edge of a rock, facing the sea. You can stroll the way there and enjoy amazing sunsets, watch the waves and the ships passing, and the seagulls flying around.
Tip: It is a popular sightseeing spot in Mykonos, so it tends to get rather crowded during the high season.
Tourlitis Lighthouse, Andros
Perhaps one of the most impressive lighthouses in Greece is The Tourlitis Lighthouse in Andros Town. The lighthouse is built on an islet and operates for approximately 120 years. You can find it just opposite the Venetian Castle of Chora.
Tourlitis Lighthouse is also unique in Europe for being built on a rock in the open sea. It is 7 meters tall and illuminates the way for about 11 nautical miles. Its construction was finished in 1887 and its operation started in 1897.
Apart from standing out thanks to its location, it also the first “automatic” lighthouse in Greece. Unfortunately, bombings during the Second World War destroyed the lighthouse, leading to its reconstruction in 1994, although its ruins were in use as automatic acetylene in 1950.
You can marvel at its beauty from the Venetian Castle of Andros Chora, and take amazing shots of it. Its beauty is so distinct and importance so high, that it became a stamp as well.
Akrotiri Lighthouse, Santorini
The volcanic island of Santorini offers landscapes of exquisite natural beauty and endless possibilities for exploration. In the quiet village of Akrotiri, you can find the Akrotiri lighthouse, marking the southwesternmost part of the island. It is considered one of the best and most beautiful lighthouses in the Cyclades.
At the edge of a cliff, you will find the Akrotiri Lighthouse with its Santorinian whitewashed walls, 10 meters in height. It was constructed in 1892 yet stopped operating during WWII until 1945 when it was reconstructed.
It is an idyllic landscape and a romantic sight to behold. The famous sunset of Santorini is not only perfect in Oia, but Akrotiri lighthouse as well. The magical hour of orange skies and vibrant colors is the perfect visiting hour.
The tower is not open to the public to visit, but the lighthouse is accessible by road from Akrotiri village.
Lighthouse of St. Theodore, Kefalonia
Among the best lighthouses in Greece is the lighthouse of Saint Theodore in Argostoli of Kefalonia, which decorates the peninsula near Argostoli village, also the capital of the island. You can find it just 3 km from Argostoli or you will spot it while going to Lixouri village by boat.
It is not a simple lighthouse tower, but rather, a whole architectural circular structure 8 meters in height with 20 columns of the classical Doric style. It was built back in 1828 when the island of Kefalonia was under British occupation.
Unfortunately, in 1953 a very severe earthquake hit the island of Kefalonia, destroying most of the lighthouse. In 1960 it was rebuilt to resemble its original design, and since then it has been operating.
Nowadays, you can visit the peninsula and walk to the lighthouse to enjoy breathtaking views of the endless Ionian azure, as well as awe-inspiring sunsets.
Taron Lighthouse, Peloponnese
Another important and worthwhile lighthouse is situated at Cape Tenaro, which is proven to be the southernmost point of mainland Greece, a fact that marks its significance since antiquity. At Mani region in Peloponnese, it is the limit between the Messinian Gulf and the Laconian Gulf.
The cape takes its name from the mythical hero and son of Zeus, Taenarus, who was believed to have built a city at this location thousands of years ago. According to the myth, the location is also a gate to the underworld, as there is a small gate that God Hades was thought to go through. Another mythical reference wants the cape to be the place where Orpheus went to look for Euridice, coming across Cerberus, the three-headed dog of hell.
In 1882, the French built a lighthouse here to help seamen spot the steep cliffs and mark the approach to mainland Greece. In 1950, the lighthouse was renovated to the image that still prevails today.
Regardless of macabre myths and ancient legends, Cape Tenaron and its lighthouse are worth a visit for adventurers and ancient history enthusiasts. The atmosphere at the edge of the cliff is imposing and freeing. To get there, follow the path from Agioi Asomatoi church and walk the path that Hades took for about 20-30 minutes. The view is rewarding!
Tip: For bird-watching lovers, this is an important spot as it is on the route of migratory birds going to Africa for hotter climates.
Doukato Lighthouse, Cape Lefkada, Lefkada
In the majestic island of Lefkada, where lush pine trees meet the turquoise Ionian waters, you will find the Doukato lighthouse at Doukato Cape or Lefkas Cape, which is 14 meters high and overlooks the neighboring islands of Kefalonia and Ithaki.
The cliffs of the cape carry the sad story of the ancient poetess Sappho of Lesbos, who, according to the legends, fell from the cliffs committing suicide to relieve herself from her unrequited love for Phaon. The lighthouse tower was built in 1890 at the southernmost point, where the ancient temple of Apollo Lefkatas used to lie.
Road access to the lighthouse is now very easy, and the smooth ride offers the most breathtaking views. The spectacular view from up there is surely unforgettable, and this location illustrates the raw power of nature.
The lighthouse of Cavo Maleas, Peloponnese
A tall square tower lighthouse illuminates from the Cape of Maleas in Peloponnese, helping sailors navigate their way through the strait of Elafonissos for centuries. It is just above a steep rocky cliff, and a breathtaking sight.
Cape Maleas is a peninsula and cape in the southeast of the Peloponnese in Greece. It between the Laconian Gulf and the Aegean Sea. The open sea from Cavo Maleas is very dangerous and difficult to navigate for sailors, hence the significance of the lighthouse is paramount.
It is even mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey when the poet recounts how bad weather led Odysseus to be left stranded on his return home to Ithaca, lost for 10 years. Bad weather, treacherous currents, and legends of evil prevail for sailors.
Today, it is a wonderful sight to behold, and its lighthouse is thankfully still in operation. You can visit the lighthouse as it is open to the public, and there are various hiking trails such as Velanidia (nearly 8 km) to get there.
Lighthouse of Alexandroupoli
In northern Greece, there is the lighthouse of Alexandroupoli, a landmark of the city and a symbol of its naval past. Since 1994, it is considered one of the historical monuments of Evros.
Alexandroupoli was a port city since the mid-19th century a maritime city with, on the route of the ships that entering the Bosporus. Around 1850, the lighthouse was constructed by the French Company of Ottoman Lighthouses to help navigation and safety. It started operating back in 1880 and has continued ever since.
The lighthouse is 18 meters in height and it beams as far as 24 nautical miles away. To reach the top room, where the lantern is situated, one has to climb 98 stairs. You can walk along the promenade and explore more of its rich history once you get there.
In beautiful Skopelos of the Sporades in the Aegean, there is a Lighthouse, located at the northern end of Skopelos, outside the area of Glossa. The cape it decorates is called Gourouni. You can spot it from the main port of the island.
The imposing tower stands out, almost 18 meters in height, made of stones. It was originally constructed in 1889. It went out of operation during the occupation but in 1944 it went into operation again, to become automated in 1989. It is considered a historical monument by the Greek Ministry of Culture for 25 years.
To get to the lighthouse, you pass a mountain with virgin forests. It is a very remote part of Skopelos, and you might need to drive along a long dirt road, but the amazing views of the Aegean and the pristine island of Skopelos are surely rewarding.
In the cosmopolitan city of Patra of Peloponnese, there is Patras Lighthouse, a loved sight for locals and visitors alike. It is located in Trion Navarchon street, opposite the temple of St. Andrew, overlooking the sea.
The first lighthouse of Patras was in another location, in Agios Nikolaos, built in 1858. However, in 1999 the authorities rebuilt it south, opposite the cathedral. The lighthouse is not used for maritime purposes, but as a landmark of the city.
You can find it and stroll around the seafront. In addition, it is operating as a café bar & restaurant, where you can enjoy a drink or dine with a seaside view. Access is very easy and the atmosphere is worth it.