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Greece is famous for its ancient landmarks, fantastic food and countless beautiful islands. It also happens to boast some incredibly beautiful beaches, some of which have even been named among the very best in the world. These stretches of beach, in particular, are well-worth planning a trip around, and you’ll find plenty to do when you need a break from all the sun and sand too.
Elafonisi is one of the world’s most beautiful beaches and it can be found along the southwest coast of Crete. Once a locals’ secret, after being named among the top beaches on Earth by TripAdvisor readers, the word got out and it is now a top destination in Crete. However, if you avoid going in peak season, ideally in late spring or early fall, you can enjoy a more tranquil slice of the magnificent pink sands. Any time of the year, you can wade out to the island of Elafonisi across the warm, shallow lagoon to find a peaceful little cove for enjoying in seclusion.
Nicknamed the “Green Island,” Zakynthos is home to world-famous Smugglers’ Cove. Even if you don’t know it by name, odds are you’ve seen the sight, at least in photos, as this is one of the best beaches in the Mediterranean. The pristine beach that sits within Shipwreck Bay near the scenic mountain village of Volimes holds a ship that was abandoned in 1981 after Greek authorities were tipped off that it was smuggling wine, women and cigarettes. A chase ensued, and with stormy weather and bad visibility, the vessel ran aground. Today, the striking white sands, sandstone formations and rusty shipwreck make this beach truly one of a kind. As it isn’t easy to reach, the best way to get there is to take a boat tour from Zakynthos Town.
Naxos is truly one of the best-kept secrets in the Greek Islands. It’s home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the country like Plaka with its bright white sands framed by crystal-clear waters in a surreal shade of aquamarine. As the island doesn’t draw near as many visitors as its famous neighbors like Mykonos and Santorini, it’s easy to find your own perfect stretch to toss down a blanket too. When you’re ready for a break you’ll find plenty of places to dine on delicious local cuisine, including delectable island cheeses and fresh seafood.
Located on the north side of Milos, the isle where the famous statue, “Venus de Milo” was discovered, Sarakiniko sits in a tiny cove surrounded by soft white volcanic rocks that were sculpted over time by the elements into intriguing shapes while crystal clear waters in a myriad of greens and blues sit at its edge. They’re calm and shallow, ideal for swimming, while the smooth boulders make a great spot for lying down a towel and soaking up the Mediterranean sun. The island itself is a wonderful destination in the western Cyclades for travelers who want to experience more of an authentic slice of Greece and its striking natural beauty, without the crowds and high prices.
Just to the west of the village of Sidari on Corfu, Canal D’ Amour Beach, also known as the “Channel of Love,” this idyllic stretch of sands is framed with rock formations that create a series of secluded coves that edge dazzling blue-green waters, making it an especially romantic spot. They say whoever swims through the narrow opening in the rock will meet the love of their life on the other side. The village itself hosts some great local shops and eateries serving traditional Greek cuisine.
Photos of Voidokilia Beach in Messinia along the southwest corner of the Peloponesse have gone viral thanks to its striking beauty. The unspoiled white sands that form a perfect crescent around enticing aquamarine waters lie hidden behind dunes – when it comes into view you might think you’ve entered a fantasy. There are no water sports facilities, shops or eateries but you can enjoy the day sunbathing, swimming, bird watching or even climbing up to a cave. The mythical Nestor’s Cave is said to be the place where the ancient King of Pylos hid his cattle.
This Paros beach is a standout as one of the most stunning in the Cyclades, with smooth as silk rocks and unique formations sculpted over centuries of time along the island’s north coast. There are nearly endless hidden coves for relaxing in seclusion or enjoying an unforgettable swim, though you’ll find plenty of facilities nearby, including places to rent umbrellas and loungers, Greek tavernas and trendy beach bars. The island also offers ancient, ruins and monuments along with traditional white sugar-cube villages to explore.
Myrtos beach on Kefalonia, the largest and one of the most beautiful Ionian islands, is also often photographed, with the view from above absolutely breathtaking. Being on the beach itself is magical, gazing out at the sea which changes from electric blue and turquoise to sapphire. There’s a small bar and nearby are a number of traditional Greek restaurants. The island’s interior is dramatic too, with emerald mountains and a national park focused around the pine, cypress and olive tree covered Mount Ainos, a place where wild horses and deer roam.
Apella Beach is located on the second largest of the Dodecanese islands, Karpathos, in the Southern Aegean Sea known for its jaw-dropping beauty without the tourist crowds as one of the lesser-known Greek isles. There are umbrellas and sunbeds while the sand is surrounded by cliffs and lush greenery. Tamarisk and pine trees provide shade while the sea is a brilliant turquoise hue and is considered one of the top spots in Greece for snorkeling and diving. Hike the narrow path on the southern hillside and you’ll find a small secluded cove with another beautiful tiny beach.
While you’re unlikely to find seclusion here, there’s no doubt that Super Paradise Beach on Mykonos is worth traveling too. Just minutes from Mykonos Town, it may be famous for its all-day parties and beach bars, but it also offers powdery soft sands and especially alluring emerald waters for swimming. Enjoy sunbathing in between dips before watching a sunset, cocktail in hand.