We’ve already gone through the first five of the best Greek beaches. Now it’s time to find out what the top five are.
Armenistis Beach, Sithonia, Halkidiki
Armenistis Beach is a quiet, sandy beach located on Sithonia, the middle ‘finger’ of the Halkidiki peninsula on mainland Greece. Armenistis is not a typical resort beach, but actually a camping center beach. Apart from campers, it is surrounded by beautiful pine forests, and has a view across the bay to Mount Athos, the holy mountain. The closest village is Sarti, while Thessaloniki is a three hour drive away.
Vai Beach, Lassithi, Crete
Vai Beach lies on the eastern side of Crete, and is backed by Europe’s largest natural palm grove. The trees are Cretan date palms, and according to legend, they grew from date stones that had been thrown away by Saracen pirates and then washed up on shore. The spectacular curved beach with golden sand and clear water, is actually owned by Monastery Toplou, which also runs a beach restaurant that serves traditional Greek food.
The beach was a hippie favourite in the 70s, and in the 80s it turned into a garbage-littered campground for backpackers. Eventually the grove was protected and fenced off, and the beach cleaned up. Today Vai Beach is the center for beach resorts in Eastern Crete, and the beach can get very crowded in high season. Snorkeling, windsurfing and jet-skiing are all popular activities at the beach.
Koukounaries Beach, Skiathos
Koukounaries means pine cones, because the beach is surrounded by a fragrant pine forest, which can provide shade on hot days. The beach itself is a mile long crescent of fine golden sand with deep blue clear water, and offers stunning sunsets. The forest and beach is a protected biotope, and as a result Koukounaries is one of the most pristine natural beaches in the Mediterranean.
However, this doesn’t mean you’ll get the beach to yourself. The region around the beach is actually the second largest resort on Skiathos, in the Sporades. This has made the beach a favourite among families and watersports enthusiasts.
Navagio Beach, Zakynthos
Navagio Beach (which means Shipwreck Beach) is one of the most famous beaches in Greece, located on the northwest tip of the Ionian island Zakynthos. The shipwreck in question is the wreck of the alleged smuggler ship Panagiotis. For this reason the beach is also referred to as Smugglers Cove.
The isolated sandy cove is surrounded by steep limestone cliffs, with white sand and clear blue water. It is only accessible by boat, but due to its reputation, Navagio is still visited by large amounts of tourists. Avoid the beach when the excursion boats from Zakynthos Town drop by, and rent a small boat instead.
Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia
Myrtos Beach is one of the most dramatic beaches in Greece. The first time you see it from the coast road above is breathtaking. It is surrounded by steep limestone cliffs, and the bright white marble pebbles contrast with the colours of the water, which varies from turquoise to sky blue. During sunsets, the water takes on magnificent reddish hues. No wonder this is one of the big draws of the Ionian island of Kefalonia.
The beach shelf drops quite steeply off shore, so it’s not a great place to splash around if you can’t swim. The beach has also been kept free of watersports, so that basically leaves a paradise for sun worshippers, who aren’t bothered by the lack of shade on the mile and half long beach. There’s a single beach bar where you can buy refreshments.
This is also the location for the mine explosion in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, but that is probably the least interesting thing about Myrtos Beach.
That ends our list of the best Greece beaches. We hope you get the opportunity to visit as many of them as possible.