Tourists have flocked to the sunny shores of the Greece for years in search of the ultimate luxury getaway, and it never fails to impress. Restaurants offering fresh seafood line the shores, friendly locals are more than happy to help you uncover local gems and the weather is sublime, almost year round. There are white-sand beaches with crystal clear water just waiting to be swam in, traditional tavernas asking to be discovered and picturesque seaside towns begging to be admired. Here are the top 3 beach spots in Greece.
Halkidiki offers a Greek Island experience on the mainland, making it easily accessible by a major city airport. You can start by exploring the bustling nightlife of Thessaloniki at full throttle (the Excelsior Rooftop Garden is the perfect place to spectate from above, cocktail in hand) before heading to the remarkable coast of Halkidiki to enjoy the pristine white-sand beaches. The Halkidiki Peninsula strikes the Aegean Sea like a giant trident, with the third peninsula offering the most exclusive experience. Leave your worries behind as you step onto this slice of paradise, where the hordes of tourists are nowhere to be seen and the utter perfection of the beach is complemented by the lush, green forest that lies inland. Head to Kamares restaurant to taste fresh Greek food created with local produce and served with a side of too-good-to-be-true scenery.
Top tip: For a daytime excursion, explore Mount Athos. It is a medieval monastic community that is also UNESCO Protected Heritage.
Only a hop, skip and a jump away from the vibrant Athens lies the traditional island of Evia, a large Greek island linked to the mainland via bridge access. Despite its close proximity to Greece’s capital, the island hasn’t undergone a tourism transformation and offers authentic Greek villages and a virtually untouched landscape. This means you can explore the eclectic terrain in peace, giving you the opportunity to learn about the numerous archaeological finds and uncover the umpteen untouched beaches. Sink your teeth into traditional Greek culture with some local dishes at one of the many tavernas dotted around the island. For Mediterranean dishes with a gourmet flair, head south of Agkali to Alati restaurant, which offers a slice of barefoot luxury on Agia Anna Beach. To experience traditional Greece, head slightly inland to Agia Anna, which is an ancient village that has preserved its local manners and customs. Round off your adventure with a relaxing dip in Agkali, one of the most spectacular beaches on the island.
Top tip: Head to the Drimonas waterfalls, which stand above Rovies in northern Evia between the villages of Drimonas and Kerasia. This area is of outstanding natural beauty, with streams, a lush forest with black pines and idyllic ponds created by the river Sepia.
Only a short boat ride away from the Turkish coast is Kos, a large Greek island with a plethora of unforgettable experiences. With a rich history (including Greek and Roman landmarks) and a charming harbour town, Kos is an unexpected beauty with an abundance of white-sand beaches. Kos Town has been conquered numerous times, with each victor leaving behind a slice of their own culture. For this reason, the town’s architecture intrigues and simply getting lost in the streets becomes one of the island’s greatest adventures. For a more pure and traditional village experience, head inland to the mountain village of Asfendiou, west of Kos Town. Its vibe is as authentic as it comes, and the tavernas will leave a lasting impression on your taste buds. For a beach day, head down to Kamari beach. Not only will you be amazed by the crystal clear water and tavernas offering fresh seafood, but the surrounding rocky mountains result in a spectacular view as you bathe in the tepid waters.
Top tip: Be sure to experience the tastes provided at Cuvée, where award-winning chefs serve up inspired Mediterranean dishes using the freshest Greek produce.
Filip Boyen is Chief Executive Officer of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.