Looking for a low-key beach getaway this year? You’re spoilt for choice – Greece has tens if not hundreds of charming and authentic coastal villages that have remained under the radar.
To reach the best of them you’ll have to stay away from airports. And as with every beach in Greece, bear in mind that pretty much the whole country takes their summer vacation in July and August and even the most idyllic and empty beaches can suddenly sprout noisy beach bars (if you really want to get off the beaten track in July or August check out the 10 Quietest Greek Islands).
For your planning pleasure, here are 10 of the best small and unspoiled beach resorts in Greece:
Platis Gialos, Sifnos
The island of Sifnos is located in the western Cyclades and the fast ferry takes a few hours from Pireaus or Mykonos. Beach lovers should seek out Platys Gialos on the island’s south coast.
The sand here is even better and the village more spread out, with a few more options for eating. Several of the tavernas have tables underneath the tamarisk trees right on the beach. It has a quiet upscale vibe with several excellent restaurants.
Corfu is one of the busiest beach destinations in Greece, but there are still some tranquil hideaways if you know where to look. Liapades is not far from the popular Paleokastritsa, in a really scenic part of the island.
It’s a small settlement in two parts – a traditional village uphill, and some tavernas, accommodation, and amenities down near the beaches. There is some excellent hiking in the area including part of the Corfu Trail.
One of the easternmost Cycladic islands, Amorgos is just far enough away on the ferry to keep the crowds at bay. It still has a wild feel and attracts a slightly alternative crowd, who bring a bit of a buzz in the summer months.
There are two harbour towns on Amorgos – Aegiali is at the north end of the island and is the best base for a beach stay. It has a long tamarisk-lined beach of medium-dark golden sand and perfectly clear deep water.
A neighbouring destination often overlooked by international visitors but cherished by Greeks is the island of Serifos.
As you approach Serifos on the ferry you’ll see the small port in front of you, a generous sandy beach on either side (this is Livadi and Livadakia), and the whitewashed old town spreading out up the hill behind. It’s quite a sight. There’s plenty of simple and traditional accommodation around, including camping and bungalows.
Kalamaki Peninsula, Skiathos
Skiathos is small and lusciously green with some of the best sandy beaches in Greece. But it’s very popular with package tourists as well as mainlanders and so those delightful beaches get ridiculously packed. The most pleasant place to stay on the island is the quiet Kalamaki Peninsula.
There are 3 main beaches here – Kanapitsa, Sklithri, and Tzaneria (pictured above) – which have water taxi links and so do, but there are a few hidden beaches which require a scramble (or a boat). Kalamaki is small but hilly and accommodation tends to be is tucked away up above the beaches.
There are 4 small islands off the coast of Naxos which are together known as the Little Cyclades. Any one of these makes for a fantastically tranquil trip and they are all worth the journey to reach them.
Donousa is slightly separate to the other islands in the group and has a more isolated feel. If you’re looking for an old-school island vibe (and clothing-optional beaches) then Donousa will do nicely.
On the island of Milos you will find Pollonia, a whitewashed fishing village with a sandy beach which has somehow managed to remain under the radar. It has a relaxing and traditional vibe, mainly visited by local families. If your idea of heaven is a calm beach with a few tavernas and minimal souvenir shops/noisy bars then you’ll love it here.
Sithonia Peninsula in the Halkidiki region is one of the best areas for sandy beaches. And one of the nicest places there is Kalamitsi, with its wide sands and green landscape.
Simple pleasures abound here – crystal clear water, good vibes, and a few beach bars and tavernas. It’s great for older children. There’s a small island offshore that you can swim to and snorkel around.
The star attraction on Syros is its capital Ermoupoli, which means many visits don’t get as far as explore the fine beaches all around the island, which means you’ll mainly have locals for company.
Buses make a circuit of the island, stopping at all the beach villages. The best is Poseidonia which has several sandy beaches, shallow waters and fish tavernas. Accommodation tends to be cheaper than in town too.
Yes, Sifnos is getting two entries in this list! Kamares is the main ferry port but don’t let that put you off. The dock is tiny behind it lies a vast golden beach with shallow lagoon-like waters that go on forever.
Kamares is in a natural harbour surrounded by steep cliffs – very dramatic for a small place. It’s an amiable family-friendly place with a handful of traditional restaurants and good bars.
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Serifos: © Freesurf/ Adobe Stock
Platys Gialos: © The Mediterranean Traveller
Liapades: © sangriana / Adobe Stock
Aegiali: © Kite_rin / Shutterstock
Kalamaki: © The Mediterranean Traveller
Donousa: © John/ Adobe Stock
Pollonia: © gatsi / Adobe Stock
Kalamitsi: By Aleksandar Todorovic / Shutterstock
Poseidonia: © Aerial-motion / Shutterstock
Kamares: © The Mediterranean Traveller