Greece Beaches – Where To Go

Updated: November 27, 2017

  • Greece has the best beaches in Europe.
  • When To Visit Greece: Greek beaches are at their best from late May to early October when there’s great weather and the sea water is warm for swimming.
  • The Greek islands with the best beaches are Crete, Naxos, Paros, Ios, Milos, Mykonos, and Rhodes. But almost every island has at least a few great beaches.
  • The best beach in Greece is Elafonissi Beach on Crete. The best beach for families is St. Georges Beach on Naxos. The best beach for partying is Paradise Beach on Mykonos. The best beach for quiet and solitude is Plaka Beach on Naxos.
  • The best beach hotels for an idyllic beach holiday are Ios Palace Hotel & Spa in Ios, Iria Beach Hotel in Naxos, and Branco Mykonos in Mykonos (brand new and right on the beach).

The Best Beach in Greece

Best beach in Greece and Greek Islands.
My personal favorite is Elafonissi Beach in Crete. A magical lagoon-like setting with great sand and a wonderful swimming area. Mykonos has the deserved reputation as the a beach paradise with a vibrant nightlife. While Naxos is great for beach lovers looking for a quieter, more relaxed island. Santorini is the most magical island in Greece but not really because of its beaches. Go to Santorini for its views, tours, hikes, and food and wine.

The Best Beaches in Greece

BeachIslandBest For
ElafonisiCreteEveryone
Platys GialosMykonosFun & Activity
PlakaNaxosRelaxation
FaragaParosSwimming
MylopotasIosGreat sand
St. Paul’sRhodesBeauty
PerissaSantoriniClear water

See Also

The 19 Best Beaches in Greece

1. Elafonissi, Crete

Elafonisi on Crete.
The best beach in Greece: Elafonissi beach on the south coast of Crete. There isn’t much else nearby besides a few small hotels so most people do a day trip from Chania. Recommended Beach Hotels: Elafonisi Resort by Kalomirakis Family • The wonderful town of Paleochora is a one hour boat ride away. Recommended Paleochora Hotels: Caravella Luxury Apartments (moderate) • Aris Hotel (budget)

2. Mylopotas Beach, Ios

Mylopotas Beach on Ios in the Cyclades.
Wonderful sand and a quick drop-off for people who like to swim. Stay at either Mylopotas Beach or in the fun main town (Chora) up on the hill. Recommended Hotels: Ios Palace Hotel & Spa (luxury) • Nissos Ios (budget) • Rita’s Place Hotel (budget)

3. Plaka Beach, Naxos

Plaka Beach on Naxos.
Naxos has many great beaches and if you’re looking for an island with a large variety of beaches it should be at the top of your list. Naxos Town is wonderfully charming and St George beach (a short walk away) is a great town beach. But down the southwest coast there are many others that are even better: Agia Anna, Agios Prokopios, Mikri Vigla, Pyrgaki – and perhaps the best of the lot, Plaka beach. I recommend staying in Naxos Town and taking the frequent buses to the beaches down the coast. Recommended Beach Hotels in Plaka: Iria Beach Hotel • Recommended Beach Hotels in Naxos Town: Nissaki Beach Hotel (luxury) • Naxos Resort Beach Hotel (moderate) • Xenia Hotel (budget)

4. Platys Gialos, Mykonos

The best beach on Mykonos: Platys Gialos near Mykonos Town.
The best beach on Mykonos and backed by hotels and restaurants. A fun mellow vibe through the day becomes a romantic/trendy vibe at night. Recommended Beach Hotels in Platys Gialos: Branco Mykonos (luxury, right on the beach) • Petasos Beach Resort & Spa (luxury) • Myconian Ambassador (luxury) • Petinos Beach Hotel (moderate)

5. Ornos Beach, Mykonos

Ornos Beach on Mykonos.
The most family friendly beach on Mykonos. Great sand and calm relaxing water with a shallow slope. It’s 10 minutes by bus from Mykonos Town. Recommended Beach Hotels in Ornos: Kivotos Luxury Boutique Hotel (luxury – great for honeymoons) • Santa Marina Resort & Villas (luxury – great for families) • Belvedere Hotel (luxury, my favorite hotel in Mykonos Town)

6. Mytros Beach, Kefalonia

Myrtos beach on Kefalonia. Myrtos beach on Kefalonia. Recommended Beach Hotels: Odyssey Villas (moderate – great place but you do need a rental car)

7. Paleokastritsa, Corfu

Paleokastritsa on Corfu.
Paleokastritsa is a series of bays on beautiful Corfu. Recommended Hotels: Zefiros Traditional Hotel (moderate)

8. Stafylo Beach, Skopelos

Stafylo Beach on Skopelos. Stafylo is one of the many great beaches on Skopelos. Recommended Beach Hotels: Skopelos Village (moderate) • Denise Hotel (budget)

9. Koukounaries Beach, Skiathos

Koukounaries Beach on Skiathos island.
Koukounaries Beach on Skiathos. Absolutely beautiful. Recommended Hotels: Skiathos Palace Hotel (moderate) • Golden Beach (budget) • Meltemi Hotel (budget – in Skiathos Town)

10. St Paul’s Bay, Rhodes

St Paul's Bay near Lindos on Rhodes.
A great little swimming spot near the castle at Lindos. The east coast of Rhodes is loaded with great beaches (including Faliraki and Lindos), but anything west of Rhodes Town will be very windy. I love staying in beautiful Rhodes Town and busing to the beaches through the day. Recommended Hotels: Atrium Palace Thalasso Spa Resort And Villas (luxury – near Lindos) • Spirit Of The Knights Boutique Hotel (luxury – Rhodes Old Town) •

11. Faraga Beach, Paros

The best beach on Paros: Faraga Beach.
Paros has many great beaches – some of them like Golden Beach, Pounda, and Piso Livadi are a bit too popular. Faraga is located in the south (protected from the meltemi winds) and away from the main towns. I recommend staying in Parikia and making a day trip to the beaches on the east and south coast. Recommended Hotels in Parikia: Argonauta Hotel (moderate) • Captain Manolis (budget)

12. Sarakiniko, Milos

Sarakiniko on Milos, Greece.
Is this a beach? Who knows, who cares. Mylos has many great little coves for swimming and sunning. Sarakiniko is one of the best spots to swim and relax. Recommended Milos Hotels: Milos Breeze Boutique Hotel (moderate) • Eiriana Luxury Suites (moderate)

13. Kamares Beach, Sifnos

Kamares Beach on Sifnos in the Cyclades.
Sifnos – a quiet island in the western Cyclades – is loaded with great beaches and Kamares is one of the best. The water is shallow and perfect for kids and there are many tavernas and hotels nearby. Recommended Hotels: Delfini (moderate) • Morpheas Pension Rooms & Apartments (budget)

14. Matala Beach, Crete

Matala Beach on Crete.
A great little town. The cliff at the end of the beach is filled with caves that you can explore. Recommended Hotels: Matala View (budget)

15. Shipwreck Beach, Zakynthos

Shipwreck Beach on Zakynthos.
Accessible by boat on a day trip. Take one of the smaller operators out to the beach and you’ll be able to explore some caves. The beach is always busy but the magical setting makes it all worthwhile. Recommended Hotels in Laganas: Castelli Hotel (moderate)

16. Vai Beach, Crete

Vai Beach on the Greek Island of Crete
The best beach in eastern Crete and backed by a unique palm forest (the only one in Europe). Vai is a good day trip from Sitia. Recommended Hotels: Petras Beach (budget)

17. Perissa Beach, Santorini

Perissa Beach on Santorini.
The nicest beach and sand on Santorini. Nearby Kamari beach is almost as good but has more restaurants and nightlife. A boat connects the two beaches (the trip takes 10 minutes and is quite fun). Recommend Hotels in Perissa: Meltemi Village Hotel (moderate) • Recommended Hotels in Kamari: Santorini Kastelli Resort (luxury) • Tamarix Del Mar Suites (luxury) • Sigalas Beach Hotel (moderate, right on the beach)

18. Red Beach, Santorini

Red Beach on Santorini.
Santorini has some of the most unique beaches in Greece. They aren’t of the soft white sand variety. Most are composed of volcanic sand and are red, black, or grey. Nearby Akrotiri has hotels for all budgets but it’s better to stay in Fira and make a day trip by bus. Recommended Hotels in Akrotiri: Astarte Suites (luxury) • Apanemo (moderate)

19. Vouliagmeni Beach, near Athens

Vouliagmeni Beach near Athens.
The best beach near Athens and about an hour’s trip by bus from the city center. Recommended Hotels on the Coast: The Westin Athens, Astir Palace Beach Resort • Recommended Hotels in Athens: Electra Palace Hotel Athens

What are the best beaches for kids in Greece?

Agios Georgios Beach on Naxos is wonderful for kids. It’s a short walk from the island’s wonderful main town and port.  A shallow shelf extends well out into the sea and the calm protected waters are perfect for children. Many places to eat and stay are in the immediate area. There are several other (quieter) beaches on Naxos that are also great for kids. As you move south away from the main town the beaches grow quieter and less developed – though almost all of them have at least 1 or 2 tavernas. The nearby islands of Paros and Antiparos have many kid-friendly beaches.

Read: The Best Islands in Greece for Families

What is the best beach for partying?

Paradise Beach on Mykonos is not for everyone. The category was Party Beach and this defines Paradise. Water sports, young people, sand, sun, and drinks wherever you look. Punda Beach on Paros has an equally established reputation for partying.

What is the best beach for quiet and solitude (on a popular island)?

Plaka Beach in Naxos and Ambelas Beach in Paros are fantastic. There are quieter beaches on less popular islands, but considering Naxos and Paros are very popular islands both beaches are downright tranquil. There are enough restaurants and hotels in the area of the two beaches so you don’t feel totally isolated. Visit outside of July and August and you could have either beach to yourself.

What is the best beach close to Athens?

Vouligmeni Beach is great for swimming and less than an hour from Athens. It can get very busy on the weekend but if you’re stuck in the heat of Athens you won’t complain once you’re here.

When is the best time to visit Greece?

Late May to Early October is the best time to visit Greece. July and August are the hottest and busiest months. June and September are nearly perfect with one small difference between them being that the sea is warmer in the fall while the countryside is greener in spring. Early May and Late October can still see warm weather and sunny days but you should be prepared for the possibility of rain and cloud – and pack a sweater for coolish nights. On the southern coast of Crete it’s not unheard of to be swimming into the first weeks of November.

What are the Best Greek Islands?

  • The Best Beaches: Mykonos, Crete, Naxos, Milos, Paros
  • The Best for Natural Beauty: Santorini and Crete
  • The Most Romantic: Santorini
  • The Best for College-Aged Partying: Ios
  • The Best for 20 to 30-Something Partying: Mykonos
  • The Best for Families: Naxos
  • The Best for Outdoor Activities and Historical Sites: Crete and Santorini
  • The Best for Quiet, Untouristy Beaches: Antiparos

When Is the Best Time to Visit the Greek Islands?

The Greek Islands have great beach weather from late May until early October – the weather is hot, the skies are blue, and there’s very little rain. July and August are the hottest but also sees the largest crowds and the highest prices. By favorite time to visit is September and early October when the weather is still consistently hot and the sea is at its warmest. Swimming and sunbathing are possible in early May and late October but you are taking a bit of a risk if you visit at these times with the intention of hitting the beach – but they’re great times if you’re here to hike, sight-see, and wine and dine.

I Only Have 1 Week in Greece, Where Should I Go?

I would spend 4 days in Santorini and 3 days in one of the less touristy islands. Probably Naxos, Milos, or Folegandros. (Or if you wanted a few nights to party and dance then Mykonos or Paros.)

I Have 2 Weeks in Greece, Where Should I Go?

I would still spend 4 (or 5) days on Santorini. Then 3 days each on 3 of the following islands: Naxos (beaches, hikes, traditional villages), Paros (beaches, partying), Antiparos (beaches, tranquility), Mykonos (beaches, partying, beautiful port town), Folegandros (hikes, beaches, non-touristy island), and Milos (beaches, full-day boat tours, unique scenery).

Booking Hotels on the Greek Islands

As you can tell from the comments below, I get more questions on hotels than any other topic. From late June to early September islands are packed and hotels often full. Book early.

  • Book your hotel before your ferry – The large conventional ferries rarely sell out even in the peak summer season. Hotels, on the other hand, fill up weeks and months before the date. Buying ferry tickets just a few days in advance from your current location in Greece is usually always enough time to secure a basic economy ticket. Some people buy ferry tickets first and then can’t find a hotel they like and have to compromise. Hotel first, then worry about the ferry.
  • Booking.com/Greece is the best website for finding hotels in Greece. It has the best selection and I love it because you can book and cancel rooms without any charges. This allows you to reserve multiple hotels, finalize your plans, then cancel the rooms you don’t need.
  • As ferries arrive at an island port there will usually be owners of small hotels and private rooms there to greet passengers. If you don’t have a hotel booked this can be an easy way to get a cheap room. The downside is that the rentals are usually located far out of the way (that’s why they come to meet the ferries). But it sure beats sleeping on the beach.
  • When to book hotels in Greece? The popular islands get fully booked in the summer months. Try to book hotels at least 3 to 8 weeks in advance. In the last decade Greece has gone from a popular summer vacation destination to a very very popular summer vacation destination. Every year it gets harder to find hotels by just showing up and hoping for the best.
  • The larger your group the farther in advance you should book. A single backpacker might able to find a hotel in Corfu with little notice. A family of 5 will have a very hard time if they haven’t booked well in advance.
  • Flipkey.com is great for finding villas and house rentals on the Greek islands.
  • For many islands you don’t need to book in advance for travel outside of July and August. When you arrive on the ferry there will likely be a handful of hotel owners waiting for you. This works well for single or couple backpackers. Not so well for families, groups, or luxury travelers looking for the best hotels.
  • Santorini – Book hotels well in advance for June to September
  • Athens – Book hotels well in advance for April to October
  • Mykonos, Rhodes, Corfu, Crete – Book hotels well in advance for late June until early September
  • Naxos, Paros, Milos, Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kefalonia – Book hotels well in advance for July and August

I hope that helps. Good luck.

See Also

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46 Questions and Comments

  1. Santorini and Corfu?

    First of all, congrats on an amazing travel guidance site. Well done. Now down to business, my wife and I are planning a trip to Greece in September. We will spend one week in Santorini and we are thinking of one more week somewhere on the Ionian side using Athens as our hub. We love beaches and nature but we also need to have stuff to do for a week. Is Corfu the right island? Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Corfu is an excellent island, but the right island is ultimately reflective of who you are and what you like to do. Gut feeling says that it is the ying to Santorini’s yang and that it will suit you nicely. Corfu is a sizeable, well vegetated (read green) island with a well-established tourism infrastructure. It has a quite different atmosphere to the Aegean island scene given that all the Ionian Islands were under Italian (Venetian) control for quite a long time. This is particularly apparent in the Old Town of Corfu, where the pastel coloured sandstone buildings remind more of Rome than the blue and white cubist mid-Aegean island villages.

      You’ll need to pick your base with a degree of care. The North is considered the ‘tourist’ side of the island – start from Benitses on the east side and Agios Gordios on the west side upwards. The prettier yet colder water beaches are along the west side (with Paleokastritsa being a popular base) and the more touristy ‘resorts’ with warmer waters run from Corfu Town northwards up to Kassiopi. The very north coast has a few centres that are more rural in feel and the strip of coastline centred on Kalami is Durrell family (and animals) territory. Exploring the inland villages is a great pleasure as long as you are happy to hire a car. So yes, Corfu might just be for you.

      A quick word about the other Ionian islands: Paxi (running south) is a miniature Corfu without the trappings. Rather exclusive and perceptibly quieter, it is still a very attractive destination. Lefkada – an island with a causeway across to it is often under looked, but is a quite alluring place with centres based on Nydri and Vasiliki that are popular with both Greek and foreign tourists. Aristotle Onassis’ island of Skorpios is just off the coast here.

      Kefallonia of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin fame still pulls in the punters and has a nice beach strip running along the south-western coastline centred on Lourdata. Fiskardo in the North is the popular classic-looking Ionian fishing village. Ithaki (Ithaca) doesn’t feature highly on travel itineraries because it is rather hard to get there, but if you are fascinated about the stories of Ulysses then you may opt for this left-of-centre, but admirable choice.

      Zakynthos has the famous ‘shipwreck’ beach of worldwide postcard fame, but it also has some rather drab, dreary and un-Greek package tourist ghettoes. Give it a miss. Finally, the distant sibling of the Ionians is Kythira a mystical, sometimes misty island that can really get under your skin. Good beaches (but you will have to drive to them) and excellent sense of place. Accessible by plan from Athens and by boat from Crete and the Peloponnese.

  2. Things To Do in Agios Nikolaos

    Hi Dave,

    Great site and information! Just a little question. Our family of four (two children 6 & 8) are going to Greece late July/August. We want to go to Crete for 5 nights (leaning towards Agios Nikolas) and then we have already booked Naxos for four nights and last Athens to see family for four nights and staying in an Air B&B near Kallithea or Moschato. What would be the top two places we must see in Crete when staying in Agios Nikolas?

    Thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Top things to do would be a day trip to Spinalonga Island (from Elounda) and visit Knossos (near Heraklion).

  3. Itinerary for Greece Honeymoon

    Hi Dave,

    Quick questions for you.

    I am planning on spending 5/6 nights on the greek islands for my honeymoon this summer. Last summer I had been to Santorini & Mykonos over 9 nights and loved it so much that we are considering doing the same Santorini / Mykonos (3 nights / 3 nights).

    We are also looking into alternatives: Corfu for 5 nights. Or else Santorini & Crete (3 nights / 3 nights). We are looking for good food, beaches, and decent night life. What would you recommend?

    Ryan M.

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Since you did Mykonos, then yeah, I would do Santorini and Crete. Corfu is wonderful but not as magical as the Cyclades and Crete.

  4. Best Greek Island with Teenagers

    Hi!
    We will be going to Greece for about 10 days next July. Two families, with a total of 3 kids (teenagers). We were thinking about spending 4 days in Athens, then the rest of the time in the islands. We thought given the short time that we should stick to just one island. We are looking for a relaxing beach vacation with great food, and were hoping to avoid the more touristy islands (although, yes, I know it will be july). We were mostly considering Milos and Naxos, but then I was drawn by the beautiful pictures of Crete. argh. Suggestions?
    Michelle

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Yeah, go with Naxos. Awesome island for families. Great food, great beaches, interesting inland day trips, small and easy to get around. 4 Days is a long time in Athens (for most people).

  5. What Island After Mykonos with Good Beaches

    Hi Dave, love your advice! I have learned so much from reading your advice to get ready for our September trip of 9 days. We would spend two days and a half in Athens then we hoped to go to Mykonos for 3 days then another island for 2 days then return to Athens. We are thinking of flying from Athens to Mykonos. But from Mykonos we would like to take a ferry to another island. What island do you recommend that we can take a (not so long) ferry ride that has a beautiful beach, easy bus transportation, nice views and that we can get back to Athens from? Thanks!!
    Sadia

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Both Naxos and Paros would be great: direct ferries from Mykonos and to Athens, and great beaches (Naxos a little better than Paros).

  6. Crete or Corfu in Late June

    Hi Dave, thank you for your beautifully informative website! I am thinking to go to Crete, last 10 days of June, as it is so big I am not sure which side is best to stay? I like lovely unspoilt no tourist beaches, with absolutely warm water but I get bored quickly so I like some hiking (not too difficult as I have mobility problems). Is Crete too big to travel by scooter? Otherwise with my needs do you think Corfu is more manageable and interesting (I fear the water in Corfu is not going to be warm enough)?
    Cinzia Taffagli

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      A decent-engined Lambretta, or Peugeot scooter would be just fine, but you will need some grunt in form of an engine in excess of 125cc. You can hire scooters locally in most places in Crete. However, their viability as longer distance tourers is questionable as you won’t be able to carry much in the way of luggage – unless it is a customised touring scooter. The smaller wheels of a scooter are generally considered less stable or safe than the larger wheels of a motor bike. Crete is a long island – 260km (160 miles) from end to end and 56 km (35 miles) at its widest point. If you are a scooter rider then you will be able to assess what that means in terms of practicalities and doability.

      If you are still insistent on using a scooter, you would want to limit yourself to the north coast – where it is flatter and there are more, wider straighter roads – but bear in mind you will share them with a lot of fast-moving four and six-wheeled traffic. You best base would probably be Rethymnon – a smaller city and easier to get around by scooter and plenty of beaches to choose from. Riding a scooter to Chania the bits in between – the Akrotiri Peninsula and the peninsula land between Georgoupoli and Kalyves – would be an easy day run. The distance to the south coast to say Plakias from Rethymnon is not too far (35 kms).

      Corfu while possibly more interesting (it is greener and prettier overall) presents other challenges for scooters: many narrow winding roads and few main, straight highways. Once again you can hire scooters locally, but for touring (with luggage) you will need some kind of bag carrying platform. The waters of Corfu are certainly cooler than those of Crete by late June, though the inner east side tends to avoid the chill of the more open Ionian west side. The terrain of Corfu lends for slower driving overall and for a scooter – despite the bends and frequent hills – the island is probably more conducive to a scooter tour than Crete. There are beaches aplenty and many, pretty, populated villages dotted around the island with traveller facilities.

      Of the two choices: Corfu probably wins as it is smaller, more compact, prettier, slower and is nearer to Italy where scooter is king and the people of Corfu are more used to this popular form of two-wheeled transport.

  7. August Weather in Mykonos and the Greek Islands

    Hi Dave,

    I have booked a family holiday to Mykonos this August. I had assumed that the temperature on all the islands would be similar, However I have read that in August Mykonos average temp is 25C and it can be very windy.

    I would appreciate your comments.

    Thank you,
    Kam Sangha

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      All the Greek Islands can be windy in August (when the Meltemi blows). It’s also the hottest month on the islands so the wind can often be a relief, though sometimes it’s strong enough to be a real nuisance. The wind usually blows from the north so beaches along the south of the islands (like the most popular beaches on Mykonos) will be more protected and more calm.

  8. Best Beach for Snorkeling in Greece

    Hi Dave
    Please forgive me if you answered this somewhere in this awesome blog, I wasn’t able to find much on snorkeling here or on any other sites for that matter. While I understand the Greek Islands are not a “snorkeling destination”, have you heard or experienced any particular Beach that you think is the best for snorkeling from the beach shore? You mentioned the bay in Rhodes, but it also sounds like Ios, and and naxos also might have good options?

    What do you think?

    Thank you! Kimberly

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Kolymbithres Beach on Paros is pretty good.

  9. Athens, Crete, and Santorini in March

    Hi Dave,
    W are planning to go for a winter honeymoon in Greece from 8th March to 20th March.We are planning to stay 4 overnights in Athens, 3 overnights in Santorini, 2 overnights in Heraklion and 2 overnights in Chania. We have the following queries:
    1. We are not planning to hire a car on the islands i.e. Santorini and Crete (since we both cannot drive) and are relying on public transport. Can we cover the major tourist locations using buses?
    2. If we want to hire a car with driver or rent a cab what will be the approximate cost per day?
    3. Are the beaches accessible in winter?

    Thank you so much!
    Shivali

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      1. Yes, all major tourist destinations are accessible by bus.
      2. To hire a car and driver (most likely just getting a taxi for the day) would run €100 to €150.
      3. Are the beaches accessible in March? If you mean can you walk along them, then yes. If you mean can you swim, no it’s too cold (unless you’re very bold).

  10. Is Island Hopping Hard in the Greek Islands?

    Hi Dave

    Is it hard to island hop? Meaning, if I wanted to go to Santorini, Crete, Naxos, Milos, and Paros, would I be able to get around via ferry?

    Sandy Falcon

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Yes, it’s easy and fun – as long as you come in the summer months (roughly May to October).

  11. Best Islands for Snorkeling in Greece

    Hi,

    My husband and I will fly into and out of Athens June 10 – June 19 for the purpose of enjoying a snorkeling trip.
    We are looking for a colorful, underwater area that is near a hotel, preferably AT a hotel so that we can simply step into the water and begin snorkeling. We are looking for something nice in a medium price range, if possible.

    Any suggestions?

    Thank you,
    Lacye Schmidt

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      The Greek Islands are not known for snorkeling. The beaches here are too sandy for good snorkeling.

  12. Good Beach Restaurant on Mykonos

    Hi Santorini Dave,

    Your website has been an absolute saviour. I’m planning a wedding in Mykonos and this has really helped put a lot of things in perspective. So firstly a thousand thanks!

    I was hoping to see if you could recommendation a beautiful beach taverna or casual restaurant in Mykonos for the day after the wedding for everyone to have some food and spend time at the beach. Everything I have been looking at seems very expensive and not authentic. We don’t mind a slightly less organised beach as long as it’s got some great food and beautiful beach (which should be a given in Mykonos!)

    Would you have any suggestions at all?

    Thank you!
    Shamini

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Nicolas Taverna in Paraga would be perfect. Quiet, semi-secluded, small beach, and great food.

  13. 3 Weeks in Greece – Where To Go

    Hi Dave,
    It’s great to read this site. My boyfriend and I have planned a three week trip to Greece in July. We arrive and leave in Athens. We haven’t planned anything yet, we’re quite impulsive (but I read that some planning is necessary). We will stay some days in Athens and then we want to go to some islands. We like nature, beaches, but mostly non touristic local places. We also like to rent a scooter to see the area. With this knowledge in mind, if you had the choice for three weeks Greece, how would you spend it? What do you recommend? I first thought that the Ionic islands are the best option (greener, snorkeling, not that busy) but I saw your comment that snorkeling isn’t that great in Greace and that the Cyclades also have much to offer.

    Christine Jans

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      If you plan to arrive in Athens in July, then some planning is definitely in order. Greece’s high season begins around mid July and runs to the end of August. Prices in general for accommodation go up and bookings for boats, planes, and buses can be tight. So the first advice is get some ideas down on paper and at least make some core bookings – particularly your entry and exit accommodation and core travel plans. You can wing it once you are on the ground and given that you have a good three weeks, it would be a pity to be bound by a fixed itinerary as half the fun of a Greek holiday is the knowledge that you have so many islands to wander among.

      Here are a few pointers to help you gel your planning. A Greek holiday for many people is typically a combination of mainland and islands. The mainland is usually included for the archaeological sites (Acropolis, Olympia, Delphi, Mycenae, Epidaurus etc) then combined with a beach and relaxing holiday on the islands. That said, the mainland has some excellent spots to relax and beach it. Three weeks gives you that flexibility so you may want to consider a mainland tour first, say for 5-6 days, then relocate to maybe two or three islands within easy travel distance of each other.

      You mention the Ionian islands – yes, greener, some decent snorkeling spots, though the water tends to be colder and they have a quite different feel to the more southerly islands of the Aegean. Of those islands Kerkyra (Corfu) and Paxi might make for you an attractive package – especially the latter as it is small, non-touristic and a little bit exclusive. The Italians love Paxi! If you love your myths and legends from Greece, then why not tack on Ithaki (Ithaca) Odysseus (Ulysses’ legendary home). You could easily manage this trio of islands in your two-week island block.

      Of course the Cyclades have a lot to offer – as do the other distinct, geographically determined other island groups: the Sporades, the Islands of the NE Aegean, the Dodecanese islands and the islands closer to Athens the Argo-Saronic group. Since you mentioned the Cyclades, let’s focus there. Jumping off the page are Mykonos and Santorini. You can’t go wrong with M&S. So why not start from here? Islands that match the M&S duopoly are the hub islands of the Cyclades, Paros and Naxos. The MSNP mix gives you groove, beauty, beaches, and culture all in a neat package. These four would happily fill in your remaining two weeks and they are all well-interconnected.

      However, it seems that you prefer less touristed places. So here is a potpourri of island combinations that you may like to investigate further and that can be done without too many transport snafus.

      Kythnos, Sifnos and Serifos (maybe Milos too, if you have time). A logically-connected island chain that gives you that less-touristed, but still immensely popular Aegean Cycladic passage. A bleached rock and archetypically Greek island experience with a little less buzz and movement than you will find on MSNP

      Ikaria, Patmos and Lipsi (Dodecanese Islands+one island from the NE Aegean group). Idiosyncrasy, spirituality and get-away-ism to the max. Few consider Ikaria, but it is a hidden Greek island gem. Think NW coast based on Armenistis. Patmos the spiritual island where the light is possibly blessed. Suave, understated and ever-so-nice. Lipsi – remote and all yours. Even the leader of Greece’s (now defunct) 17th November terrorist group chose to hide here and the Italians (si!) have discovered it too!

      The Sporades – another scenically endowed and interconnected group, comprising Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnisos and folksy, yet little visited, Skyros. Best done as a group of islands. Skiathos has long been discovered by European packaged tourists, but the packaging unravels as you move outwards and by the time you reach Skyros, you may feel that you have landed upon your own special Greek island.

      Finally, the islands of the NE Aegean are for the seriously untouristy set. They comprise the islands (running from north to south) of Samothraki, Limnos, Lesvos (Lesbos), Chios, Ikaria and Samos plus the quirky satellite islands of Oinousses, Psara and Agios Efstratios – the latter wearing the monicker of the remotest island of Greece. Of these Chios (+Oinousses and Psara), Lesvos match well as a bundle while only serious island hoppers venture out to Samothraki and Limnos.

      In summary: you are advised to keep your tour to island sub-sets as described above. Don’t try to do more than four islands in the two (or even three weeks) that you have at your disposal. If you forego the mainland tour, you will have a bit more leeway to tack on an island or two more. Greek waters are very clean and clear and snorkeling is good in a couple of select spots – just don’t be expecting the Caribbean. Rocks and reefs = interesting and sand = boring, so the catch is to get away from the sandy beaches that most people are attracted to. Finally, scooters aplenty everywhere. Just be aware that many a traveller comes a cropper after a bit too much sun and ouzo. Take heed and above all, happy planning: it’s half the fun!

  14. Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, Zakynthos, and Kefalonia

    Hi Dave

    We are planning a trip to Greece from September 17th – 30th. Looking at Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and then maybe Zakynthos or Kefalonia. We want to see the Melissani Cave and Shipwreck Beach (Navagio).
    1) What would be the best way/order to structure it.
    2) How many days would you recommend at each place?
    3) And what are the best transport options from one place to the other.

    Nisha

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      This sounds like an exciting trip and you’ve done your homework. Let’s see how we can best tweak your itinerary. First up you are pairing two distinct sets of island groups: the Cyclades (Mykonos and Santorini) and the Ionians (Zakynthos & Kefallonia) so you are going to have to be prepared for a bit of intermediary travel and lost time (via Athens) and I shall assume that you don’t mind flying by preference. You don’t have many days to fit it all in (just under two weeks, right?) so you’ll have to skimp on stays and be prepared to move swiftly.

      Best structure would be arrive Athens and ‘do’ the capital. Two full days would be enough. Then I would take a fast catamaran to Mykonos (you can fly, but it is more fun to go by sea!). Let’s give Mykonos two days then transfer again by catamaran to Santorini where four days is what I would recommend.

      You can get to Zakynthos in one day from Santorini via a combination of two flights: Santorini-Athens; Athens-Argostoli with Aegean Air. There is no other way as no boats run to Zakynthos from the Aegean Sea. The shipwreck beach is best visited by boat, though you can access the beach via a winding road. Have a look here for some enticing information on how to do it and it is a truly magical place, said to be the most photographed spot in Greece.

      At this point you only have five days left to departure and you still have Zakynthos to finish off and Kefallonia to get to, so apportion your time as you see fit. Depending on the time of your departure flight you may or may not need to get to Athens a day earlier. Either way you are not going to get a lot of time for the one island or the other.

      Now here it gets interesting. Getting to Kefallonia requires taking a local car ferry from the small port of Agios Nikolaos in the north of the island to the equally small port of Pesada on the south side of Kefallonia – then you have to get to your preferred overnight destination. Lourdata, which is near Pesada, has a nice beach scene. From there to get to the Melissani Cave you are realistically going to need your own car as it is about 27km to the town of Sami which is where the cave is located.

      The cave really is magical too and is worth the effort to get to it. You go in a little boat inside the cave and the waters are absolutely stunning (photos here). That leaves the question of what else to do on Kefallonia. Since you’ve got the car, carry on up the coast to picturesque and postcard pretty Fiskardo for lunch and return to Lourdata via the western coast road taking in some stunning coastal views. That would be a good day’s trip and if you don’t do much else in Kefallonia, you will have covered some worthy ground.

      You can fly back to Athens from the airport at the island’s capital of Argostoli. With airlines in Greece in full season, pre-bookings are absolutely necessary so you’ll have to do your planning tightly – especially for the Santorini-Zakynthos and Kefallonia-Athens legs.

      So, there you have it: a 4-islands+capital itinerary that would work well if you do the initial legwork and make some bookings. I hope it all works out. Good luck!

  15. Best Island for Beaches and Historical Sites

    Hi Dave,
    It is pretty amazing how you are giving individual advice to all the comments. So I thought I would give it a shot. My fiance and I are planning a honeymoon for the first week in August. I know it is high season but we want some nice beaches and a few historical sites/adventures. We are definitely wanting to hit Crete but are wondering what other island to go to. We have thought about Naxos and Santorini. I think I am wanting to avoid crowding as much as possible.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks!
    Suzie

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Personally, with just a week, I would stick with Crete and not waste valuable time (and a travel day) getting to another island. Crete has everything you’re looking for and some wonderful beaches. Spend 4 nights in Chania and explore Western Crete, then spend 3 nights in Agios Nikolaos (or the upscale Elounda) and relax for your final few days.

  16. Town for Two 70 Year Olds

    Hi Dave, two seventy year olds and we plan to visit a Greek island early September. Can you suggest somewhere
    that has a harbour, easy walking (bit arthritic), and possible easy access to beaches for a little snorkelling.
    Any suitable hotel recommendation would be most appreciated.

    Kind Regards David Carr

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Both Naxos Town and Mykonos Town are lovely towns that are very walkable. Naxos Town has a good town beach. For Mykonos you’ll have to take a bus or taxi. Not a lot of great snorkeling in Greece so don’t be expecting the Caribbean.

  17. Which Island for Active Family

    Alright Dave … you seem to be the Greek connection. Question: we went to Oia last summer for a week, rode four wheelers, stayed in a beautiful family owned villa on the caldera, have 2 daughters 14 and 11, love to eat and drink wine, love the beach (of course), love to hike/trail run and all that type of stuff. Where would you go next? We don’t like the chaos that there was in Fira.

    Any opinions would be awesome!

    Anthony Zimmitti

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      While Santorini is a magical island, it is only natural that visitors like yourselves will want to go further afield and sample more of that Cycladic/island magic and Santorini can get a shade chaotic at times. In Greece you are blessed with an enormous range of options – at least another 75 islands where you can hike, run, ride four-wheelers and savour splendid food and wine. Taking into account your profile – family of four with pre and teenage daughters, here are a few options to consider. I have selected one island from each of the main island groups with something that might just tempt.

      Paros is close to Santorini and in the Cyclades group. It is almost the ideal Cycladic island: compact enough to circumnavigate on 4-wheelers (the Greeks call them “gourounes” i.e. sows and you can circumnavigate the island in an easy day, stopping off at at least four beaches on the circuit. Naousa is the place with an Oia-like atmosphere, but the harbour water is next to you when you dine at night, not way down below. Piso Livadi on the east coast is a slowed-down resort with good beaches and eating options: you can also take in a day cruise from here to the Caribbean-esque and to-die-for Koufonisi island complex.

      Skopelos in the Sporades island group, is wooded, beached, and well-represented on the culinary side. The island has great walks. Some of the scenes from the movie Mama Mia were shot here; other scenes were shot on Skiathos and on the mainland at the Pilion village of Damouhari. South-east diagonally across the northern Aegean to the last of the NE Aegean island group and you will hit the island of Icarus (Ikaria): the wild card choice on this listing. Not everyone’s choice, unless you are south of centre. Oddball, quirky and ever-so-Greek. Plenty of walks – no “gourounes” from memory – but find out why people regularly live to be over 100 in this blue zone island. Ever-so-Greek … so give it patience.

      Here’s another wild card that you probably would never have thought about. Tilos, a mainly un-noticed by the masses, compact speck of rock and surrounding waters in the Dodecanese. Walkers and bird-watchers in the know have been coming here for years. Visitors tend to keep the secret to themselves and then come back the next year. You can rent a rustic villa with a pool in the hideaway village of Megalo Chorio from ex-UK residents Rob and Annie and feel that Greece belongs to you alone.

      The Ionian islands off the west coast of Greece are an atmosphere unto themselves. Italianate, verdant, Europe-looking and a excellent alternative to the drier Aegean. Corfu (Kerkyra) is the Queen of the group and has lots on offer: beaches, food, and beautiful scenery. My tip though: seek out also the little islands of Paxi and Antipaxi. Very secluded, very walkable, very foody – the Italians come here and they like their food.

      Greeks love to vacation on long weekends (and longer) in the closer to Athens Argo-Saronic group. No motorised vehicle of any sort on Hydra, but classy, style-conscious relaxation in a compact yachtie-friendly port. Yup, you can (and will) walk to your beaches because you will have no other choice. Crete is another story unto itself: almost a separate country.

      Lots of thoughts in here – but plenty to chew and think over. Good luck! Come back if you want more specific pointers. Always happy to help.

  18. Corfu to Santorini and the Cyclades

    Hi Dave! Your site is such a gem. Do you have any info or opinions about Corfu or Lefkada? If I’m coming to Greece and start my trip in Corfu, what is it like to travel to the Cyclades (how to approach it/how difficult is it/how expensive)? Thanks for any help – it’s much appreciated!
    Meredith

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      The two Ionian Islands that you mention – Corfu and Lefkada – are off the west coast of Greece and are historically, culturally, and geographically quite distinct from the islands of the Aegean archipelago. They are greener and milder in climatic disposition than the Cyclades, or other island groups in the Aegean. Historically they are more akin with Italy as they were under Italian rule for many years. Corfu (known as Kerkyra in Greek) is the jewel in the crown and is very popular for good reason. It is large enough to encompass a variety of environments: wooded beach coves, wide, sandy beaches, mystical villages hidden in among groves of tangled olive trees and relatively raucous tourist strips that see many of its clientele from the UK.

      Corfu is far enough away from the mainland to feel like an island destination, yet is exceptionally well connected both domestically and internationally both by air and by sea. It is about 90 minutes from the mainland by ferry and most ferries from Italy call in here too. You need to be choosy where you stay though as it can be touristy. Cosy Corfu town with its Venetian architecture is, actually a great spot to base yourself if you don’t want to spend your time by the beach. Buses run to most popular beaches daily. Some good beach locales you may consider are Paleokastritsa (on the West coast), Glyfada (also on the west coast) and a little closer to Corfu Town Benitses on the east coast. The north coast sports rather less appealing resorts of Agios Stefanos and Sidari, while there is an extended and geographically very pretty line of small village to full-scale hotel strips along the north east coast from Corfu Town to Kassiopi. Author Gerald Durrell lived with his family and animals in a white house in the little bay of Kalami along this stretch of coast.

      Lefkada is similar to Corfu in topography, but is a bit of a ‘cheat’ island because though it technically is an island you can drive there by crossing a narrow channel that separates Lefkada from the mainland. It is green and lush, boasts some fine beaches and similar sequestered villages as Corfu, but is not as touristy as its big sister further north. The only ferry serving Lefkada runs south to the islands of Ithaki and Kefallonia and its airport is actually on the mainland near the town of Preveza. Thriving and pretty places to stay are the main strip of Nydri on the mainland side where a popular pastime is to hire a boat and cruise among the off-shore islands including the private and Onassis estate-owned island of Skorpios where you can disembark and have a picnic on a private beach. Vasiliki on the south coast is a popular resort for wind surfers and beach lovers alike. Finally the north west Ionian coast boasts two pretty stunning beaches Mylos and Kathisma the former accessible only on foot while the latter is approachable by car.

      Getting to the Cyclades from either Corfu or Lefkada will involve a bit of work. There are no direct flights nor ferries. Period. From Lefkada (Aktio) you can fly to Athens and fly or sail onwards to your chosen Cycladic island. If you sail, you will incur the added travel link of getting from Athens Airport to the port of Piraeus or Rafina (closer). It’s much the same from Corfu: no direct flights to the Cyclades and the only onward ferry south is as far as Patra where you will be essentially stuck. The only other low-key alternative is by bus to Athens and ferry or plane thereon. It’s certainly not difficult to fly and expense will depend on when you fly and whither. A quick look and quote search brings up a fare €159 for a one-way flight from Corfu to Santorini via Athens in June. Bussing and boating it will involve transits in Athens from either the airport, or the bus station which is rather inconveniently located out in the middle of the north western suburbs – though there are bus transfer options to both the airport and the port of Piraeus.

      As a rule most travellers tend to stick with either the Ionians or the Cyclades – particularly if time is short, but there is no reason why you can’t mix ’n’ match if you do the homework. Good luck and happy trails!

  19. Best Beach Hotel on Ios

    My friends have raved about the beaches on Ios. What’s the best hotel on the main beach there? Want a pool and easy access to the beach.

    Thanks,
    Clair

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Ios Palace Hotel is right on Mylopotas Beach (the best beach on Ios). It has 2 great pools and the Chora (main town with clubs and restaurants) is a short bus ride away.

  20. Best Snorkeling Beach in Greece

    Hi Dave, so happy to have stumbled upon your site! Please could you recommend your favourite sandy beaches for snorkelling (with kids!) Thanks!

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Greece is not known for its snorkeling. When it comes to coastline you either have beach and sand, or rock and sea life – and Greece just has too many darn great sandy beaches. Kolymbithres Beach on Paros is one that has a little bit of both. It’s always fun (especially for kids) to throw on a mask and have a look around but just don’t be expecting the Caribbean.

      1. Rosa

        Thank you! I’ll check it out!

  21. Cyclades Weather End of May

    Hi Dave!
    I was hoping I could pick your brain- we are looking at traveling to Santorini for 9-10 days at the end of May of next year. These dates are the ones most convenient for coordinating with some other family members, but in the reading I’ve done it sounds like it may be a bit cool for the beach? I was wondering, is there any particular island or beach in the Cyclades region that might be any warmer than the others, or should we try to recoordinate everyone’s schedule to try a slightly warmer slice of summer? Also to note, we will have 4 adults and an 11-month-old girl. Any insight is greatly appreciated!
    Thanks so much,
    Emily

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      By the end of May the weather is pretty consistently warm/hot and I’d be surprised if you didn’t have some very nice weather perfect for suntanning. The water can still be cool though, so there is that consideration. All the Cycladic islands have similar weather. Crete is warmer and the beaches on southern Crete the first (and last) to have good beach weather in Greece.

      1. Emily

        Thanks so much for your reply. I appreciate the info!

  22. Best Greek Island for a Wedding

    Hi Dave!
    Thank you for such a wonderful site, and all of the comments listed. My fiance and are in the process of planning a destination wedding to Greece. It will only be ourselves and a few friends and family joining.. Maybe 15 people at most. We are looking for somewhere fairly easy to get to from Athens (our family have never traveled to Europe before), and also somewhere with traditional villages, somewhat lively and fun with several things to do, and delicious food, yet a very beautiful location for a ceremony, we’re hoping something on a cliff or overlooking the beautiful island/s. We seem to have narrowed it down to the islands of Santorini (although we’ve heard it’s very touristy), Naxos, or Folegandros. Do you have a strong recommendation for a fun, yet beautiful, village-y, and cliff-y location for the actual ceremony, and/or places to stay once there?
    I know that’s a lot, but we’d really like to start looking and seem to be a little lost..

    Thank you in advance! We look forward to hearing from you!
    🙂
    Lindsey

    1. Santorini DaveSantorini Dave Hotels + Travel

      Santorini is the most beautiful and busiest. Naxos has the best beaches and some very cool inland towns. Folegandros is more picturesque than Naxos is the least busy but is also very quiet (perhaps too quiet for even a laid-back wedding party). If it was me I would do Santorini but early in the year before the larger crowds arrived (say, late May). But even in high season, if you go to less visited spots you can trick yourself into thinking you’re the only one on the island.

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