The Best Beaches in Greece

From Mykonos to Milos, here's where to find Greece's most pristine sands, limestone cliffs, quiet coves, and crystal-clear waters.

There are few beach destinations with the charm, history, and 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 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 Cyclades chain of islands, located southeast of mainland Greece, is 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. Whether you stay at a 5-star luxury hotel, such as the Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, Mykonos, or, in a smaller, but equally stylish property, such as the Coco-mat Eco Residences, you'll be able to enjoy the refreshing Aegean Sea. Here are some of the best beaches in Greece to add to your island hopping itinerary.

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Lia Beach, Mykonos

Best Beaches in Greece: Lia, Mykonos
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A quiet beach with soft golden sand on the southeastern side of Mykonos, Lia is removed from the party scene — and perfect for couples and families who don't want to bother wearing designer head-to-toe during the day. People come here to snorkel and sunbathe, and there's a stylish beach club and restaurant to check out, too, so it's easy to make a whole day of it.

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Paliochori Beach, Milos

Best Beaches in Greece: Palioxori, Milos

Home to thermal springs, ancient ruins, and lovely traditional fishing villages, Milos — an island that sees less traffic than Santorini and Mykonos — has more than 80 beaches to explore. Paliochori is a lovely pebbled beach bordered by beautiful multi-colored rock formations. The water here is beautiful and clear, and there are beach bars where you can grab drinks.

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Vagia Beach, Serifos

Best Beaches in Greece: Vagia, Serifos
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Here, at this sheltered beach where the waters shift in color from blue to green, you'll find the hip Coco-mat Eco Residences, a hotel set in a complex of former miners' houses. The resort has placed mattresses and umbrellas on their side of the sand, and there's a lovely open-air bar offering panoramic vistas of the Aegean and sunbeds available for non-guests to rent.

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Kapari, Mykonos

Best Beaches in Greece: Kapari, Mykonos
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Close to Mykonos town, Kapari is a beach mainly used by locals, even in the popular peak season months. There are no sunbeds, bars, or restaurants. Parking is tricky (it's next to a small cliff) and reaching the beach itself can be a challenge (you'll have to clamber over rocks to get there). But the water in this quiet cove is warm and marvelous, and you won't be elbow to elbow with tons of tourists.

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Fragos (Simos) Beach, Elafonisos

Best Beaches in Greece: Fragos (Simos), Elafonisos
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During the summer season, Elafonisos, which is located just south of the Peloponnese region and overlooks Kythira island, becomes a haven for windsurfers and beach purists. They're here to visit Simos, one of Greece's most storied sandy stretches because it's actually two beaches in one. A small strip of white sand divides Megalos Simons and Mikros Simos, and both beaches face out to the blue-green Aegean. Easily accessible by car, Simos tends to get a bit crowded in the summer, so come early. With several sunbeds, umbrellas, beach bars, and restaurants, you can easily spend a day here.

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Triades Beach, Milos

Best Beaches in Greece: Triades, Milos
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Adventurous types endure a bumpy drive to get to this beautiful white-sand beach, made up of three sandy coves that lie on the western coast of the island. There are several sea caves to explore, too, but no restaurant facilities — so go with your lunch packed and plenty of water.

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Kolymbithres Beach, Paros

Best Beaches in Greece: Kolymbithres, Paros
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With its charming small towns, magnificent shores, and intimate, family-run tavernas, Paros is one of the Cycladic islands you can't miss. Backed by low rock formations, Kolymbithres, a small beach located close to the town of Naoussa, draws families to its warm, aquamarine waters. Here, you can rent chairs, splash in the Aegean, and stay on until the later hours to enjoy sunset.

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Psarou Beach, Mykonos

Best Beaches Greece Psarou
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This beach embraces Mykonos' hedonistic, see-and-be-seen vibe. In the peak summer months, this sheltered cove is chock-a-block with blue lounge chairs — and partygoers ordering magnums of rosé from the pricey Nammos restaurant, dancing to club tunes while they swim. The water itself? Turquoise, shallow, and clear, so that you can see all the way to your toes. And yes, you'll also see plenty of yachts off in the distance.

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Apantima Beach, Antiparos

Best Beaches in Greece: Apantima, Antiparos
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While no longer a secret, Antiparos is still less crowded than its sister island, Paros. A-listers including Tom Hanks have been vacationing on this Cycladic island for years, in part because locals leave them alone. Beach House, an eight-suite, rustic-chic property set on pebbly Apantima beach, offers sunbeds. Come for the day to sip rosé at the bar, swim in the crystal clear water, and visit the hotel's standout concept store.

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Elafonissi Beach, Crete

Best Beaches in Greece: Elafonisi, Crete
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Yes, there are pink coral sand beaches in Greece. Located on the southwest side of Crete, Elafonissi is a tiny islet (and a protected nature reserve) and is famous for its rose-hued sand and crystal-clear waters. On some days, the water is so shallow that you can actually wade through the lagoon to reach the nearly mile-long islet and if you bring your snorkel gear, you'll be able to spot lots of fish. On the mainland, you'll find sunbeds and a beach restaurant, the nearby Chrysoskalitissa Monastery, and a roped-off turtle nesting site. You can reach the beach via a scenic 1.5-hour drive from the nearby town of Chania — there are transfer services and guided tours for those who don't want to rent a car.

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Sarakiniko Beach, Milos

Best Beaches in Greece: Sarakiniko, Milos
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Located on the north side of Milos, Sarakiniko has an otherworldly, almost lunar-like quality to it. Polished white boulders, made of volcanic rock, hug this tiny cove, where the turquoise waters are shallow — and perfect for families. Swimmers can spread out with a towel on the rocks to sunbathe. You won't find any shade or places to buy snacks, aside from a pricey food truck near the entrance, so pack accordingly.

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Ftelia Beach, Mykonos

Best Beaches in Greece: Ftelia Beach, Mykonos
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You'll need a rental car (or, at the very least, one of the island's few taxis) to get to this remote beach, which is located on the northern side of the island. When the wind picks up, you'll often spot windsurfers skipping over waves, but the beach is wonderful for swimming, too. There are also two standout restaurants where you can enjoy lunch: the boho-chic Ftelia Pacha, and Alemagou, an open-air, terraced spot that draws a chic Athenian crowd.

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Voidokilia Beach, Messinia, the Peloponnese

Best Beaches in Greece: Voidokoilia, Messinia, the Peloponnese
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This beautifully curved bay, located in Messinia, has a unique history: it is believed to be the spot where King Nestor welcomed Odysseus' son, Telemachus, who was searching for his father. Legend aside, you'll find beautiful natural attractions to explore. For an ambitious workout, head to the southwest side of the beach and hike up above the hills to reach Nestor's Cave. Ancient Greek mythology holds that this is the place where Hermes hid 50 oxen he stole from his brother, Apollo. You can also make time to see the ruins of a 13th-century castle. The beach is protected, so there are no sunbeds, bars, or restrooms but you'll find a few restaurants within driving distance. Behind the bay is the Gialova Lagoon, a nature reserve with a variety of bird species.

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Agios Sostis Beach, Mykonos

Best Beaches in Greece: Agios Sositis, Mykonos
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Set on the northern side of the island, Agios Sostis is a stunning, protected cove, and one of Mykonos' more remote sandy stretches — no nightclubs here. Rather, the beach takes its name from a small traditional chapel, which sits just above. For lunch, stop by Kiki's, an iconic tavern serving simple salads, grilled fish, and one killer pork chop. The restaurant is only open from mid-May to the end of October. There is no electricity (and no reservations), so it closes up once the sun has set.

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