Greek Islands are at their very best in June, early July and early September, when water is warm, crowds are down but full services
are in operation. The beaches are fine from May to mid October, though the water
is still chilly up to June and naturally there are crowds, possibly excessive heat and strong
winds (the Meltemi) July 20th-August 20th, during Greek holidays.
Note that the Mediterranean is not comparable with the Caribbean or Pacific
- the water is cooler and the sand generally coarser. Shady tree fringes
are also rare, though hot sunshine, good food, clear water and friendly
English-speaking locals are almost guaranteed.
Low prices, apart from ferries, are no longer with us thanks to the
Euro and current sophistication of Greek society.
Greek beaches range from volcanic pebbles to fine sand so beach shoes may be
imperative depending on your choice of holiday destination.
Blue Flag beaches in Greece, 379. EU water reports:
In Greece, 100 % of the coastal bathing waters usually meet high water quality standards. Since the start of the reporting in 1990, no coastal bathing water had to be closed during the season.
topless is acceptable just about everywhere on Greece islands, while
areas of total nudism exist discreetly on many islands. e.g. Little
Banana (Skiathos), Super Paradise and Panormas (Mykonos), Plaka (Naxos).
hopping is a joy these days with fast, cheap ferries connecting all the
dots, tho' the fastest ones - bumpy, noisy hydrofoils and smooth,
quiet catamarans - may be cancelled due to moderate winds.
Fast travel is easiest if you stay within an island group. e.g.
Ionian islands (Corfu, Cephalonia, Zante +); The Cyclades (Santorini,
Mykonos, Ios, Paros, Naxos +); The Sporades (Skiathos, Skopelos
Typically, Mykonos to Santorini would take about two hours, Paros to Mykonos 45 minutes, Skiathos Skopelos just 20 minutes. More about modern Greek ferries
the Bugcrew get sea sick easily but had no problems on 8 boat journeys
during the month of September. Short bouncy trips on hydrofoils hardly merited the
acupressure wrist bands we wore. 4 hours on a Blue Star ferry in
a force 6 wind with 4ft waves was amazingly stable, with no more
than 2cm of visible roll.
Still, we suggest acupressure wrist bands as a starting point and
some fast-acting chemical as a back-up if things go wobbly.
wheels good, bike guide:
Unless you really like a lot of walking or waiting for buses you'll
need your own transport in Greece's islands. The roads are often
picturesque, mostly in good condition and other drivers generally
sensible, though we would avoid much night driving and beware occasional
grit on the roads.
Cars are a little expensive to rent and can be a
hassle to park. Transport of choice is the scooter, though many
renters will NOT accept a European car driving licence to pilot
a 50cc jobby. You MUST have a bike licence. Helmets are supposed
to be worn but most riders don't. More Greece Driving Safety Advice.
mission position: we
are not attempting to assess every beach on every island, merely
to give you an idea of what to expect in different areas. Part of
the joy of Greece is the space to escape the crowds and find your
own little paradise. So there are plenty of beaches left for adventurers...
The Best Greece Beaches
Cyclades islands: Southeast of Athens, easy to reach by ferry
from Pireus or Rafina, see Cyclades Map
Super Paradise and Panormas beaches, Mykonos
Mykonos is one of the most attractive islands
in Greece with its dry stone walls and cute organic architecture.
Gorgeous Mikonos town (photos
and information) is the epitome of whitewashed, blue wood,
narrow street Greek towns and doesn't
have to be so expensive... Just avoid waterfront dining!
Although Mykonos is fairly hilly, it's only ten miles long by seven
miles wide, so most visitors rent cars or scooters to explore.
Places such as Agios Stefanos, Platyialos, and Psarou all have well
protected beaches with medium grade sand and a good selection of
tavernas - though heavily umbrella infested, but the pick for under-40s
visitors is either the trees, coarse sand, funky bars and all-night beach raves of Paradise
beach, or the even coarser but prettier Super
where naked gays have colonised one end. Both are a little exposed
so water can get choppy.
For soft sand, dunes, stunning scenery, less people, less services
and mad ducks try Panormas on the other side of the island, it's a charmer.
Santorini, also known as Thira and sometimes misspelt as Santorine is spectacularly situated on the
edge of a dormant volcano (photos
Many believe that this is where the Atlantis legend began, when the volcano blew hugely
in 1650BC, not only knocking off the local, highly civilised Minoans
in their 'island within
an island', but also sending out a tidal wave that would have destroyed
many other Minoan sites and ships and closed the book on Minoan
power in the Mediterranean.
Along with Mykonos, San torini is probably the most expensive of the Greek Islands, but the teetering towns of Fira and Oia are spectacularly
Due to its volcanic soil most Santorini beaches - Perissa and Karmari are
the best known- are layered with unattractive and sole-frying black sand/pebbles, though the water is
clean and clear and snorkelling or scuba interesting.
The best beach is narrow, characterful Red
with small red grainy sand partially covered in wood shavings to
keep it cool, crystal water and rocks to offer snorkellers some
A fast ferry Mykonos to Santorini will only take a couple of hours in comfort.
and *Manganari beaches, Ios
Although reknowned as a young person party island, Ios is surprisingly
tranquil during the daytime and sports two superb beaches. Excellent
only 5 minutes by scooter from the town, a huge stretch of soft
yellow sand and calm, clear water. Watersports and plenty of discreet,
varied tavernas lurk adjacent.
Superb Manganari is even better
but a long road or boat trip, little accommodation and
not good for nipping back to rave in the evenings.
Ammos beach, Serifos
Psili Ammos means soft fine
sand, and that exactly how this superb white beach is, along with
clear water and a tree-lined shore. Accommodation and excellent
and *Plaka beaches, Naxos
Rugged and mountainous Naxos is favoured by German hikers (photos
and information) and has a pretty little, lively main town.
Don't even consider grotty Grotto, north of the town, though Agios Georgios at the south end is good for a town beach - fine sand, nice
views, clear water and loads of accomodation and other services
A little further away and also popular is large, coarse sanded Agios
Prokopios, and small, unnattractive Agios Anna.
The pick of Naxos beaches is the long stretch of dunes running from
Maragas to Plaka. Soft sand, a scattering of trees, discreet services on a dirt
road, almost turquoise water and lots of space make this an excellent
location for layabouts. Nudists hang out in Plaka.
Although this is the transport hub for the Cyclades, Paros is surprisingly
pleasant. The town has the usual little, white-washed labyrinthine
streets (photos and
information), some smart sunset bars and restaurants and a terrific
church, the Ekatondapiliani - the oldest in use in Greece.
The countryside is a little on the dull side but beaches are quite
acceptable. The two biggish ones sharing the town's bay, Livadia and Krios, are both calm, clear, tree lined and well-taverned.
Paros' east coast has some bigger beaches that are heavily promoted
- such as Golden Beach - but Bugbog found them to be overly windy,
with choppy water and hard sand - excellent for wind and kite surfers but not for sun bathing.
The prettiest beach on the island is undoubtedly Kolymbithres
near the cute tourist town of Naoussa, with shallow aquamarine water
enclosed by fine sand and strangely eroded rocks. Great for children,
the only problem is size...it's very small and will get crowded
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Guide | Greece