Balmy and beautiful: Eight of my favorite Greek beaches

There’s no doubt that we are spoilt for choice when it comes to beach time in Greece. One of the blessings of this relatively mild climate is that the Greek beaches can be a year-round destination, not just for swimming but also for water sports, walking, castle-building, picnicking and so on.

Here are some of my favorites:

Skinias Beach

Outskirts of Athens

This sandy seashore holds wonderful childhood memories for most Athenians (including me). Skinias is a relatively short drive from the city, yet it feels light years away.

Towards the middle and end of this idyllic shoreline, Skinias is lined with magnificent pine trees which provide the perfect shade for picnics all year long. Just a short drive away is Marathon Beach where you will find some nice and simple seaside eateries with decent selections (including fish, of course) and lots of locals.

Perissa Black Sand Beach

Santorini Island

Santorini is a beloved Greek island for many reasons, but, honestly, off season is the only way to go in order to truly appreciate its splendor (and to save your sanity).

This black sand beach is a must. It was created by volcanic activity in ancient times and boasts gorgeous crystal-clear waters. Swimming in spring or early autumn is easy temperature-wise, so be sure to hit this unique stretch of coastline without the crazy crowds.

It is east-facing and perfect for a wondrous sunrise swim.

Ganema Breach, Serifos (Photo by Christina Hudson)

Ganema Beach

Serifos Island

Serifos is a windy Cycladic island, but it is blessed with beaches all along its perimeter, so you can always find one that works. Ganema offers the perfect serene protection from the northern winds. It is a spectacular bay which is lined with one of my favorite trees, the salt cedar.

The dappled sunlight coming through the branches of a salt cedar creates some magical colors and feelings! The food at the little taverna is mediocre and overpriced but you simply cannot beat this location.

Ganema is one of my all-time favorites!

Monolithi Beach

Greater Preveza area

Located just north of the sweet seaside town of Preveza, on Greece’s lesser-known west coast, this lovely and crazy-long beach is on the Ioanian Sea.

The area is generally quite green and lush (read: high humidity in summer!) and is in the vicinity of important wetlands, Ancient Nicopolis and the fabled island of Lefkada.

Pick your spot along the way – loud and lively or pristine and peaceful.

Due to land development restrictions connected with the Nicopolis archaeological site and the beautiful ‘beachy forest’ of Mitikas, the southern section of Monolithi Beach is, overall, quieter than the area farther north. Head north towards Parga if you are in beach-party mode, stay south if you are in a more mellow state of mind.

Kastraki Beach


Located on the west coast of Naxos, this beach is perfect for surfing, sunset-viewing and or just lounging and enjoying a (mostly) wild beach with cool, crystalline waters. True relaxation can be had here with sand and sea as far as the eyes can see.

This is one of my favorite beaches for a sunset picnic dinner after a long afternoon and early evening of

Kokkinokastro Beach (photo by Christina Hudson)

Kokkinokastro Beach


I am a sucker for the Greek pine-sea combo and this beach delivers that plus a gorgeous reddish peninsula to boot. (“Kokkinokastro” translates to “Red Castle.”)

This is a really special place.

I always balked at the sight of beach umbrellas but some places do it tastefully and this is one of them. Also, truth be told, the Greek summer sun is too hot without serious
protection, so I secretly welcome some good coverage now that I am in my 40s and no longer interested in burning to a crisp.

Agios Georgios Dysalona Beach

Simi Island

This is the beach from which all beach postcards should be made. Just go.

Agios Georgios Dysalona Berach is surrounded by huge dramatic cliffs so you will need to get a boat from the port of Gialos to reach it. Try to stay past the time when most of the day trippers have departed and you will be rewarded with peace that matches the beauty of the place.

Seeing this beach as you approach by boat will probably take your breath away – you have been warned.

Don’t forget to take food and water and whatever else you might need as there are no amenities there. Also, be sure to arrange your ride home before you step onto the magical sands.

Ritsa Beach


Just a 45-minute drive from the major Peloponnesian hub of Kalamata lies one of my all-time favorite shorelines (pebbled beach lover here!), especially on the far end, right across the street from the lovely Elies Restaurant.

This is a stunning area but it has been built up in recent years, so the best times to visit are early summer or after 30 August, if possible.

Swimming with a view of the silvery-green olive groves is a truly unforgettable experience.

Be sure to pack water shoes if you have sensitive feet!


Read more about beaches here in Dispatches’ archives.

See more from Christina here.

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A Pittsburgher by birth, Christina T. Hudson is also half Greek and has – so far – spent most of her life in Athens, the chaotic but captivating capital city of Greece.

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