Best Greek Islands for Beaches

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Written By: Pavlos Inglesis

greek islands for beaches

Greek islands are some of the most impressive destinations in the world, and it’s not a secret that they have the best beaches in Europe. To be totally honest with you, the best greek islands for beaches are also the best greek islands in general. I personally prefer sandy beaches and these greek islands won’t disappoint you if you are looking for that. However, they all also have beaches with crystal clear sea waters, incredible rock formations and remarkable natural beauty. 🏖️

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It is not a secret that some of the best beaches in Greece are on the greek islands (but mainland Greece has some very impressive ones too). From the famous Shipwreck Beach in Zakynthos to the white sand beach of Porto Katsiki and the sandy beaches of any Cyclades island, the beaches on the Greek islands are some of the best beaches in the world, hands down.

The best greek islands for beaches are:

greek island beach
This is Elafonissi beach in Crete, one of the best beaches in the world


Which Greek Island has the best beaches?

The Greek island with the best beaches is Mykonos, but Paros, Naxos, Milos, and Crete (read also: Best Beaches in Crete) have equally beautiful beaches and are cheaper to visit in general. However, almost every Greek island has a few beautiful beaches. You can even find some tropical-looking beaches just on the outskirts of Athens (capital of Greece)!🏖️

What Greek island has the best sandy beaches?

The Greek island with the best sandy beaches is Crete. It has the most diverse sandy beaches overall and some of the best beach hotels in Greece. Paros island, Naxos, and Milos also have incredible sandy beaches. In general, the greek islands that belong to the Cyclades islands group have golden sand beaches (except for Santorini that has black pebbles or red coarse sand because of the volcanic soils).

Which Greek islands have white sand beaches?

The Greek island with the best white sand beaches is Lefkada. In general, the Ionian islands (the islands between Italy and Greece: Lefkada, Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Ithaca) have white sand and small white pebbles beaches with light blue crystal clear sea-waters. These islands are also much greener than the Cyclades islands (Naxos, Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Milos)

Does Santorini have good beaches?

Santorini is possibly the most famous greek island, but it does not have great beaches, unfortunately. If being close to fantastic sandy beaches is your top priority for your holidays, avoid Santorini. Santorini sits on an active volcano, and even though it has some really quirky beaches like the famous red beach (which can be dangerous because of the falling rocks) or the black beaches of Perissa and Kamari, it is not the best greek island for beaches. is the website with the most available rooms and Private Villas in Athens, Santorini , Mykonos & Crete (more than Airbnb!)

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Expedia has all the available flights to and from the greek islands

So, let’s see the best greek islands for beaches:

1. Mykonos

mykonos beach
Elia beach in Mykonos is very well organized with lots of beach bars and restaurants

Mykonos is probably the second most famous greek island after Santorini and they are both very unique but different islands (you can read my detailed comparison Mykonos vs Santorini). It is a fact though that Mykonos beaches are some of the best in Greece and you will find excellent amenities in almost all of them. All the beaches in Mykonos have golden sand and are more or less organized with some of the best beach bars in Europe. Bear in mind though that Mykonos is an extremely expensive island and you may have to pay a lot to book a sunbed on the beach. You can definitely bring your own sunbeds and umbrella though.

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Mykonos

2. Naxos

naxos beach
Plaka beach with its white sand in Naxos is one of the longest beaches in Greece

Naxos is a very underrated greek island but it is one the best greek islands for beaches. It has lots of massive wide sandy beaches and since it is one of the largest greek islands it has lots of amenities and space around, so you will always feel comfortable. Naxos is a very affordable island and it is ideal for holidays with kids.

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Naxos

3. Crete

crete beach
Balos beach in Crete is a unique landscape

Crete is the largest greek island and it is completely different than any other island as you cannot visit it all at once since it’s massive. However, Crete is the most diverse greek island and it has some of the beast beaches in Europe with different colors and a completely different landscape. Crete is a unique place and you really have to spend there many days to appreciate its beauty. I highly recommend you rent a car while visiting Crete as this will allow you more flexibility and the option to see more places of this amazing greek island. When it comes to beaches on Crete I truly believe that beaches in Chania area (western Crete) are the best and most diverse with golden and pink sand along with colourful pebbles and lots of amenities.

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Crete

4. Corfu

paleokastritsa beach corfu
Paleokastritsa beach in Corfu

Corfu is a beautiful greek island with long history that lies between Greece and Italy. Corfu is not in the Cyclades group of islands (where Mykonos and Santorini are) and it has a completely different landscape than the Aegean islands. The island is much greener with beautiful pine tree forests and beaches with green waters. The island is a very famous holiday destination for people from all over Europe with direct flights from all major European cities during the summer months of June, July and August.

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Corfu

5. Skiathos

koukounaries beach skiathos
In Koukounaries beach in Skiathos, the pine trees are literally on the beach

Skiathos is a little gem that sits in the Aegean sea but it’s north of the Cyclades islands and it belongs to another group of islands called Sporades. It is a very green island with completely different architecture. Skiathos is one of the islands that Mama mia movie was filmed (along with Skopelos and a few other places) and it has crystal clear green waters with lots of amenities and in general cheaper prices than other islands. Most of the beaches have golden sand but there are few with white pebbles (such as Lalaria).

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Skiathos

6. Milos

sarakiniko beach milos
This is not the moon. This is the incredible Sarakiniko beach on Milos island.

Milos island is mostly known to greeks (which has always been a mystery to me…) but it is an island of incredible natural beauty. Milos is actually a volcanic island sitting on an active volcano (like Santorini) and it has some of the most unique beaches that you will find in Greece. Sarakiniko beach is probably the most quirky beach in Greece as it literally looks like a moon landscape but there is also a large variety of sandy beaches such as Achivadolimni, Firiplaka or Kleftiko that can only be reached by boat (or an organized tour).

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Milos

7. Ios

mylopotas beach ios island greece
Mylopotas is the most famous beach on Ios island

Ios island used to be a party island back in the 90’s but it’s not anymore. Ios is an island with amazing beauty and its golden sandy beaches are some of the best in Greece. All of the beaches on the island are sandy with crystal clear blue waters. Some of the beaches have many beach bars, restaurants and amenities around but there is a long list of really secluded and beautiful deserted beaches ready to be explored…

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Ios

8. Paros

kolibithers beach paros greece island
Kolibithres is the best beach on Paros island

Paros island feels like a small Mykonos nowadays. It has recently become one of the go-to islands if you want to party but it also has some of the best sandy beaches in Greece such as Kolibithers or Monastiri. However, there are still not that many great hotels that can make a difference in Paros but overall the island can be perfect even for family holidays. Paros is also a great spot for windsurfing as Chrysi Akti (Golden beach) is a well-known place that gathers windsurfers from around the world.

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Paros

9. Kefalonia

myrtos beach greece
Myrtos has been voted the best beach in the world for many years

Kefalonia sits between Greece and Italy in the Ionian islands group and it has one of the most impressive beaches in the world: Myrtos. But there is definitely more to Myrtos in Kefalonia as it is a very big island with lots of pine trees forests and beautiful villages and beaches with white sand. You can easily reach Kefalonia from Corfu as there are boats that run day trips to all the Ioanian islands.

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Kefalonia

10. Zakynthos

navagio beach greece
Navagio Beach or Shipwreck Beach is the most viral beach in Greece

Zakynthos is also an Ionian island that sits very close to Corfu and Kefalonia but it’s much smaller. The famous Navagio beach (Shipwreck beach) is in Zakynthos. The island is also called Zante and it is a famous destination for Western Europeans (British, Germans, and Scandinavians). There are lots of beautiful things to do in Zakynthos and it is true that the island has a boom in newly built hotels that are modern and very impressive.

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Zakynthos

11. Lefkada

porto katsiki beach greece
Porto Katsiki is the best beach on Lefkada island

Lefkada is a unique island and it is the only greek island that you can actually reach by car. It has a beach that is frequently voted one of the best beaches in the world called Porto Katsiki but there is a ton of stunning white sand and pebble beaches on the island that also sit between Italy and Greece.

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Lefkada

12. Rhodes

anthony quinn beach rhodes
Anthony Quinn beach in Rhodes is named after the famous actor who used to swim there while filming “The Guns of Navarone” back in 1961

Rhodes is one of the largest greek islands that sits on the southeast side of the Aegean Sea and it is very close to Turkey. The island has been a famous tourist destination since the 50s when the movie “The Guns of Navarone” was actually shot. Rhodes beaches are famous for their beauty and diversity but also for their proximity to stunning hotels and all-inclusive resorts. Rhodes is usually called the “all-inclusive queen” of the greek islands and it is perfect for family holidays.

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Rhodes

13. Koufonisia

koufonisia beach
Koufonisia is a less touristic Cycladic island with some of the best sandy beaches in Greece (this is Italida beach in Koufonisia)

Koufonisia is a little gem. Since it is not a very well-known place to the outside world, it is mostly visited by Greeks and that says a lot. There are very few hotels on the island and of course very minimal amenities in general. However, make no mistake as Koufonisia have some of the best wild sandy beaches in Greece. Koufonisia is literally a small complex of islands between Naxos and Ios and there are not that many frequent ferries to take you there. If you are looking for the wild side of the greek island then Koufonisia should be on the top of your list.

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Koufonisia

14. Kos

kos beach
Kos is an island on the east side of Greece with very diverse beaches where you can even enjoy horse-riding (this is on Marmari beach)

Kos is a pretty big island on the north side of Rhodes in the group of islands called Dodecanese islands. Kos is a famous destination in Europe with direct flights from all Europe during the summer. The island has some impressive resorts and a long list of beautiful sandy beaches for every taste.

READ ALSO: Best Hotels in Kos

15. Paxi & Antipaxi

paxos beach kipiadi
Paxi and Antipaxi, small islands between Greece and Italy, are considered to have the clearest seawater in the world (this is Kipiadi beach in Paxos island)

Paxos and Antipaxos are 2 little gems in the Ionian sea lying between Corfu and Kefalonia. These are some very small islands with impeccable beauty that are famous within the sailing communities as there are literally thousands of sailing boats and celebrity yachts visiting them every summer. There are very few hotels on the island and that’s for very good reasons as the locals don’t really want to spoil their land with over-tourism. The beaches in Paxos and Antipaxos have white pebbles or white sand and the clearest sea waters that you would probably see in your life!


Ok… so there you have them. These are the best greek islands for beaches, but they are also considered some of the best greek islands in general. To be totally honest with you, there are a few very good beaches on almost every greek island, but these are really the best in Greece. Unfortunately, Santorini is really not a place with great beaches like Perissa, Kamari, or Perivolos are really average compared to the sandy tropical beaches of Mykonos, Crete, or even Naxos. Also, bear in mind that it’s not only the greek islands with amazing beaches but also some fantastic ones in mainland Greece. Areas such as Peloponnese, Chalkidiki, or even the southern areas and suburbs of Athens are full of stunning beaches that will welcome you anytime!

Photo of author
Pavlos Inglesis
Greek, born and raised in Athens. I have been to almost every greek island and pretty much in every region of mainland Greece. I have also been eating souvlaki and gyros since the 80s. I love being a dad to my 2 beautiful daughters and also taking great photos of the places I visit. This is my blog to help you out explore the places I have visited with my inside tips as a Greek, knowing the ins and outs of my country and culture. Feel free to ask any questions under the post you are interested to and I wIll try my best to respond asap.

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