No other beach destination in Europe, and perhaps the world, has the charm, the majesty, the history, and the sheer sexiness of Greece. Maybe it's because the Greeks have had thousands of years to perfect the white wine and grilled seafood that goes along with being at the beach. Or the fact that there are countless beautiful islands to be discovered, where waking late, eating leisurely lunches with your toes in the sand, and staying up late to dance and mingle with friends is the blissful summertime routine.
The Cycladic Islands, located southeast of mainland Greece, are home to some of the most popular destinations in the whole country. For those who want a classic Greek beach getaway, islands such as Mykonos, Milos, Paros, Antiparos, and Serifos have been luring travelers for years. On these islands, you can stay in a five-star luxury hotel, such as the Santa Marina, a Starwood Luxury Collection property on Mykonos, or, in a smaller, but equally as stylish property, such as the Cocomat Eco-Residences on Serifos. (Interestingly, though it is one of the Cycladic islands, and has mesmerizing views out across the caldera, Santorini is not known for its beaches. Still, it's worth a visit, and tops many a traveler's bucket lists.)
For the history lover, Crete—the largest island in Greece, and the second largest island in the Mediterranean—has incredible ruins, monasteries, and castles to explore, in addition to stunning, almost primordial sandy shores. For those looking to venture off-the-beaten path, the Peloponnese—a peninsula forming the southernmost part of mainland Greece—has beaches that have been touched by little development, and see mainly locals-only traffic. The destination is also known as a weekend getaway for Athenians looking to get out of the city.
Here are some of the most stunning beaches that Greece has to offer, places where the water is clear, the mood is mellow, and the Instagram opportunities are endless. Heading to Crete? We've got an entirely separate, expanded list for you, this way.