1. Seychelles – Ikaria (TOP)
Cool and crystal-clear waters that quickly get deep, white sand, pale pebbles and enormous boulders that provide shade to the people quick enough to secure a spot under them: Ikaria’s most exotic beach actually owes its existence to landslides caused by the construction of the road to the village of Magganitis in 1985. Since then it has become the island’s most famous beach. Wear sneakers for the 10-minute walk down to the beach, taking water and snacks with you, and enjoy swimming in the incredible waters and diving off the rocks. Seychelles Beach is located on the southern coast of Ikaria, 25 km from Aghios Kyrikos.
2. Myrsini, Diaporos – Halkidiki
Opposite Vourvourou on the eastern coast of the Halkidiki’s middle peninsula, the islet of Diaporos is an argument in and of itself for renting a boat. The beach of Myrsini on its eastern side is also often referred to as “Hawaii”, “Lefki Ammos” (meaning “white sand”) as well as “Pisina” (swimming pool) due to its stunningly clear waters. White rocks and pine trees add their hues to the color palette of this exceptionally beautiful beach.
3. Lalaria – Skiathos
Lalaria frequently makes lists of the world’s best beaches, and not by chance. Its small white pebbles (the “lalaria”) together with its turquoise waters create a setting of unique, wild beauty. Located on the northeastern shore of Skiathos, it can only be reached by boat (and only when the weather permits) – either privately or on the daily tourist boats that leave from the main port. If you plan to reach the beach with a rented sail or speedboat, be wary of the jagged rocks in the sea, especially near the end with oft-photographed natural archway.
4. Vlychada – Santorini
It’s easy to lose track of time simply gazing at this beach, with its cliffs of volcanic rock on the one side – positively Gaudiesque, with their colors shifting as the sun moves across the sky – and the waves melting into white foam on the dark gray sand on the other. Relatively few opt to spend a day swimming here – it appeals mainly to those seeking solitude and quiet far from noisy beach bars and rows of umbrellas; most instead come to take selfies on the first short stretch at the eastern end before departing. The beach is at its best at sunset. Leave your car at the Santorini Arts Factory and walk to the Theros Wave Bar (Tel. +30 22861-12015, open until 20.30).
5. Afiartis – Karpathos
The locals know it as Makrygialos; to the wind and kitesurfers it is Chicken Bay. But however you refer to this stretch of sand which is located in the area of Afiartis, the sense you get swimming here never changes; it is like diving into a crystal-clear, saltwater swimming pool. The beach attracts beginner windsurfers looking to master the art of skimming over the turquoise waters. If, however, you don’t want to try your hand at the sport at one of the clubs that operate here, take a book and sit near the shallow waters at the quieter end of the bay to the right.
6. Sarakiniko – Milos
If the moon had beaches, it’s most beautiful would look like Sarakiniko. Far from a long stretch of sand, Sarakiniko consists of white and gray pumice sculpted into impressive formations which frame small coves, the landscape resembling mounds of the traditional almond biscuits of the Cyclades dusted in powdered sugar. The undersea landscape is equally impressive, ideal for explorations with a mask and snorkel. The only shade available is found beneath the arches and overhangs of the curving rock-faces, and it is constantly shifting as the sun passes overhead so we suggest you visit around 18.00. That is when the light begins to soften allowing you to take superb photographs at Milos’ most photogenic location.
7. Blue Cave – Kastellorizo
A small opening allows the natural light to filter into the interior of the Blue Cave, filling it with the surreal shade of blue from which it takes its name. The opening is so low to the water that it is likely that the boatman will ask you to lie down as he guides the craft in to ensure you do not bump your head. Also known as Spilia tou Parasta (Parasta’s Cave) it is 75 meters in length with small stalactites on the ceiling and the mysterious atmosphere typical of underground natural chambers. Swimming in the waters here is a one-of-a-kind and unforgettable experience.
8. Egremni – Lefkada
Paradise must look a lot like this: an indescribable blue-turquoise hue at the base of a towering white cliff-face that gave this beach its name (“gremos” means cliff in Greek). Egremni in Lefkada is one of those beaches that everyone dreams about finding themselves on. In 2015 an earthquake destroyed the 350 steps leading down to the beach, making access only possible by sea. This year, however, the steps are being repaired by the local municipality, while tourist boats will also continue stopping at it. Make sure to take water and snacks with you.