Greece, this south-eastern European country is one of the best summer holiday destinations in Europe. Ancient cultural landmarks reveal the secrets of our history, but the thousands of Greek islands in the Aegean and Ionian Seas are also full of amazing places to be explored. Rich heritage, wonderful coastline, great food and friendly people – a Greece beach vacation does offer something for everyone!
Greece Quick Info Guide
Language: The official language of Greece is Greek, however, in the tourism sector, English, German, French and Italian are also used.
Capital city: Athens, with a population of over 3 million
Visa: most tourists from EU countries, US, Canada, Australia, Japan do not need a visa up to 90 days. Since regulations may change in instant, always double check the current requirements with a Greek consular office prior your vacation.
Safety: all Greek holiday destinations are considered very safe. In popular tourist destinations such as big cities like Athens and around tourist landmarks, follow basic common sense to avoid pickpocketing/bag snatching.
Why is Greece perfect for a beach vacation?
Greece is known for its beaches: the county has the longest coastline in the Mediterranean region, the archipelago consists of more than 6000 islands with 227 inhabited ones grouped into The Argo Saronic islands, Cyclades, North Aegean islands, Dodecanese, Sporades, Crete and the Ionian islands.
It tells everything about the quality of the Greek beaches that in 2019, Greece has the second highest number of Blue Flag beaches (515) in the entirely world. Crete’s beaches got the most flags (115) followed by Rhodes.
Incredible natural diversity, pleasant weather, and endless beach destinations to choose from; these features make Greece is a top holiday destination of celebrities, actors, artist or top athletes and a wonderful place to visit for everybody! No matter you look for a resort area with bustling nightlife, a quiet Greek island for seniors or a family hotel with activities for kids a Greece beach vacation is never a bad idea!
Greece’s best 5 beaches
The country has the perfect place for all type of beachgoers. One can find here long sandy beaches that are ideal for families and for couples to chill out, but also dramatic rocky shores that are great for those love snorkeling and diving.
Navagio Beach – Zakynthos
When you start browsing photos of Greece best beaches, I’m sure that the image of the famous Navagio Beach will be one of the first ones that comes up. No coincidence, this beach in Zakynthos is truly magical: turquoise water, powdery white sand, magical cliffs and the iconic old wreck provide a view that is hard to beat. A must-visit beach in Greece!
Voidokoilia Beach – Messinia
Particular natural beauty with golden dunes and clear green-blue water make this unique Omage-shaped bay one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. The long sandy beach is an excellent place to chill out, but don’t miss out hiking up to enjoy the best view!
Balos Beach – Crete
Balos Beach near Kissamo was a secret spot for a while, but sowly became one of Greece most popular beaches when some photos of it went viral. This beautiful lagoon feature white and pink sandy beaches with crystal clear water. A truly spectacular spot with amazing view!
Myrtos Beach – Kefalonia
The Myrtos Beach with beautiful white sand and azure waters is Kefalonia’s top beach! The long, rocky shore is surrounded by high cliffs, creating a breath-taking scenery that makes Myrtos Beach a must-see!
Kolymbithres Beach – Paros
The lovely island of Paros is well-known for its beautiful beaches and gorgeous sea. It has several great sandy beaches, but perhaps Kolymbithres is the best of them! The greyish granite rock formations and emerald green water give this beach’s uniqueness.
Beach activities in Greece
The Greek islands offer ideal conditions for those like active holidays. With various water sport opportunities available, everyone can find a program to have fun at the beach.
The Greek waters are worldwide famous for its boating culture. There are numerous trips available at all location from half day speedboat trips through sunset cruises to sailing holidays. If you have a right license, you can rent a private boat too.
A Greece vacation couldn’t be complete without exploring the beautiful underwater world and snorkeling is the easiest and cheapest way to do it. Grab a mask, put on your fins and let the underwater adventure begin! Observe various fish species, crabs and critters. If you are lucky, you might see a turtle too!
Should you prefer submerging yourself with a tank on your back, the Greek waters feature top places for divers as well. Do you enjoy exploring wrecks and caves? Then you will love diving in Greece!
Adventure seekers find various beach activities in Greece that pump up the adrenaline level like jet skiing. The best jet ski centers you find in Greek islands that are popular by solo travelers and young couple, but some smaller islands might offer this service too.
An easy-to-lean fun activity for young and old. Kayaking is the best way to explore hidden coves and secret beaches in Greece, so perfect for those prefer staying away from the crowd.
Most Greek beaches have cliffs surrounding them offering ideal conditions for rock climbing. No matter you are beginner or experienced, there are places for all type of climbers to explore throughout the country.
It is one of the best beach activities you can organize if you want to impress your partner with a romantic program or organize a fun afternoon outing that the whole family can enjoy. Horse riding centers across the country offering courses and tours too.
The Greek beaches are beautiful from every angle, but I’m sure you will fall in love with the landscape if you get the chance to witness as birds see it. Parasailing over the incredibly blue lagoons will sure take your Greece beach vacation to the next level.
Best time for Greece beach vacation
For the best weather conditions and warm sea water, the best time for a Greek vacation is between late May and mid-October. The summer months are always busy, so consider arriving before the school holiday starts or else, in the beginning of autumn. Like this, you can avoid the crowd and enjoy the Greek beaches as their best.
Greece has a Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and cool, wet winters. In the higher mountains in the upper part of the country may snow in winter. The South Greek islands enjoy mild temperatures even during the coldest months when weather conditions are ideal for outdoor programs but not warm enough for beach activities.
The sea is the best for swimming and water sports during the summer months, however the temperatures vary depending on the region. In the Northern part of Greece (Aegean Sea and Ionian Sea) it is always a few degrees colder than in the South (Mediterranean Sea and Sea of Crete).
To check the current water temperatures, visit seatemperature.org.
Greece beach vacation costs
Greece isn’t considered as a cheap holiday destination, but it is not difficult to find places to stay at and activities that fit every budget. With a backpacking travel style, meaning sleeping in hostels and eating street food, it is manageable to set up a budget Greece vacation.
However, if you wish to stay at one of the most popular islands like Mykonos or Santorini, eat in fancy restaurants and visit famous beach clubs, prepare for an expensive vacation. For families, the most affordable way of spending the holiday in Greece is staying at a self-catering apartment or in a budget hotel.
Of course, what you spend depends on your demands, but here are some approximates on the daily costs:
Places to stay in Greece
The accommodations in Greece vary greatly. Generally, the most hyped Greek islands like Mykonos or Santorini are pretty expensive in terms of accommodation. The lesser known destinations can be up to 30% cheaper than the most popular islands.
Solo travelers or young couples on a budget find a wide selection of hotel rooms in the lower price range. Self-catering apartments offer a budget-friendly option for families or groups of friends.
Should you go for something fancy, Greece has numerous luxury accommodation to offer from hotels to private villas, especially in the most famous Greek islands!
Average accommodation prices in Greece:
Hostel or simple hotel: 15-45 USD
3/4 star hotel or AirBnb: 65-110 USD
Luxury hotel or high-quality apartment: 200-330 USD
To book your accommodation, use trusted sites that offer 24/7 of customer support if you would need any help with your reservation. We have very good experience with Booking.com.
Beach etiquette in Greece
Greece is very tourist central but there are a few important etiquette guidelines and tips to keep in mind.
You can wear every variety of swim and beachwear on your vacation. Although while in the US it is acceptable to walk into a restaurant by the sea in your swimwear, but in Greece it is rude showing up in beach clothing and bare feet outside the beaches.
Therefore, always put something over your swimsuit even if you just run into a café or a shop. Make sure to dress up appropriately if there is a church near the beach and you wish to visit it. In this case, ladies should cover their shoulders, men should wear long pants.
Nudity isn’t a taboo in Greece, and there are hundreds of beaches where nude sunbathing is accepted. Even at popular beaches, you can enjoy the sun topless if you stay discreet and walk away from the main strip, but there are some official naturist-friendly beaches too. To be on the safe side, choose one of these if you want to go full-nude.
Greek specialties to eat and drink
Thanks to its good climate, Greece is proud to have fresh ingredients all year-round that are the foundation of their fantastic, not only delicious but also healthy dishes. Here are the best local specialties you shouldn’t miss trying out when vacationing in Greece.
Olives/olive oil: the Greek olives and olive oil are world famous. According to the history, Athena (the Goddess of War, female counterpart of Ares) gave an olive tree to Athens. No matter which part of Greece you stay at, you will surely have the opportunity to taste cured or sundried throubes olives that are served with the meals. The elixir of Greece, the olive oil is used not only for cooking, but also in dips and salads. Many restaurants proudly use their own oil that gives the dishes a unique flavor.
Moussaka: sautéed aubergine, minced lamb, fried tomato and potato layers with onion, garlic and different spices like cinnamon and béchamel sauce and cheese on the top. A must eat when in Greece!
Taramasalata: a classic Greek fish roe dip. Eat with bread or potato base, and put virgin olive oil or fresh lemon juice on the top!
Dolmadakia: grape (or cabbage) leaves with ground lamb/beef and rice stuffing
Kataifi: a traditional Greek pastry along Baklava. This yummy dessert has nuts in the center and a special thin thread-like pastry dough. Once baked, a sweet syrup is poured over which gives Kataifi its unique flavor, and also allows the pastry last longer.
Ellinikos: traditional Greek coffee served in a long-handled copper pot. It is available in 3 tastes such as Sketos (no sugar), Metrios (medium sweet) and Vari Glyko (honey sweet). If you are a coffee lover, make sure to have Ellinikos during your Greece beach vacation.
Ouzo: this anise-flavored liqueur (38-49 % alcohol percentage) is a traditional aperitif that is produced only in Greece. It is often served with mezes, a variety of appetizers (small fresh fish, olives, cheese).
Metaxa: the world-famous Greek amber spirit which is actually a blend of wine and brandy with the taste of aromatic Mediterranean botanicals and an absolutely must-try when in Greece. You can drink on its own, with ices or as a long-drink topped up with coke, Sweppes Lemon, orange or cranberry juice.
Useful Greek phrases
However, most people who work in tourism speak English at a certain level, it is always nice to learn some simple everyday sentences that you can use while on holiday in Greece. I’m sure your efforts will be rewarded somehow, like better service or complimentary items.
Kaliméra – Good morning
Kalispéra – Good afternoon
Kaliníhta – Good night
Efharistó – Thank you
Parakaló – You’re welcome
Boríte na me voithísete – Can you help me?
Parakaló, miláte aggliká – Please, do you speak English?
De miláo eliniká – I don’t speak Greek
Syngnómiv – Sorry or excuse me
Tha ithela ena bíra/kafé/tsai/neró – Can I have a beer/coffee/tea/water?
Póso káni aftó? – How much is this
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