Porto Limniona, located along the west coast of Zakynthos, is by far one of the best places to swim when visiting this Ionian island!
Surrounded by lush, rugged cliffs and boasting beautiful turquoise waters, this picturesque spot invites visitors to sit back and relax, while enjoying the idyllic scenery.
Set a few kilometres from the charming village of Agios Leon, from here the road leads you down the coast- making for a spectacular drive as you simply follow the signs for Porto Limniona.
Once you reach the bay, there is a large car park at the top and from there you can make your way down the steps and jump straight in for a swim and a snorkel. Otherwise just kick back on one of the sun lounges (10 € per set) and order a drink while taking in the spectacular views.
If you visit during the peak summer season, we suggest getting here early- by at least 10:30- 11 am, as it gets packed out by midday and can be difficult to find both a car spot and a sun bed. Just keep in mind there is no shade, nor sand, which means you can’t bring your own umbrella. So if you are planning on making a day of it, just be prepared!
After diving off the rocks and exploring the fabulous sea caves, walk over to Taverna Porto Limnionas, which offers uninterrupted views of the bay. The traditional restaurant serves a range of seafood and meat dishes, along with mezedes and fresh salads.
Open for lunch and dinner, the best time to sit on the outdoor terrace and sip on a glass of wine is while watching the sunset!
Let’s be honest, the perfect Greek island summer holiday entails arriving at the beach in the morning (ordering a Freddo Cappuccino as soon as you get there) and leaving when it’s almost dark (after that last post-sunset swim and a cocktail at the bar).
Whether you prefer kicking back on a sun bed listening to famous DJs playing the latest and hottest tracks, or discovering remote spots that offer complete and utter privacy- we’ve rounded up the best Greek islands for those (like us) who love spending endless hours at the beach every summer!
Greece’s largest island is filled with some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and whether you visit Chania, Rethymno, or Heraklion- you are in for a treat!
Best beaches in Crete
Vai (about 2 hours from Heraklion), Preveli (closest to Rethymnon), Balos (55 km from Chania), Elafonisi (1.5-hour drive from Chania), and Seitan Limani (in Chania).
This small Cycladic island offers breathtaking beaches and stunning waters; the bonus is you can easily get around from one beach to another without a car!
Best beaches in Koufonissia
Finikas, Fanos, Ammos, Italida, Pori, Charakopou and Parianos.
Postcard-perfect beaches are scattered all over the island! From famous Porto Katsiki to remote little bays that boast crystal clear waters- Lefkada is a must for water babies!
Best beaches in Lefkada
Porto Katsiki, Egremni, Kathisma, Pefkoulia, Agiofili and Avali.
Lefkada’s neighbouring Ionian isle is also renowned for its stunning waters that are surrounded by lush cliffs that make for memorable days at the beach.
Best beaches in Zakynthos
Navagio (for the views), Marathonissi island (a small boat ride from town), Gerakas, Dafni, Limnionas, Porto Vromi, and Xyngia.
Fast becoming one of Greece’s most popular islands, Milos is home to some of the Cyclades (if not Greece’s) most beautiful beaches.
Best beaches in Milos
Sarakiniko, Firiplaka, Tsigrado, Papafragas and Fyropotamos.
This is the largest island of the Cyclades and an ideal destination for those that want to spend all day and night on a long sandy beach that’s lined with taverns and bars- so you don’t need to move!
Best beaches in Naxos
Plaka, Agios Prokopios, Agios Giorgios, Sahara and Mikri Vigla.
An under-the-radar island that offers striking beaches that are quiet and remote; this is the ideal island for those who prefer privacy and tranquility during their summer getaway.
Best beaches in Donoussa
Kedros, Livadi, Kalotaritissa, Fikio and Stavros
With water temperatures that are ideal from early Spring through to late Autumn, Rhodes is by far one of the best Greek islands for those that want to make the most of the magical Mediterranean Sea!
By far the lushest of all the Greek island chains, the Ionian Islands offer the most breathtaking cliff-backed beaches, with striking milky white sand that blends in beautifully with the azure turquoise sea.
Featuring seven main islands that attract many visitors from around the world each year, the Ionian still retains a sense of authenticity and a mysterious allure waiting to be discovered.
Here are the 7 main islands of the Ionian- that are all ideal for a summer getaway!
Boasting crystal waters, a cosmopolitan Old Town, and remarkable landscapes, Corfu with its Venetian fortresses, British mansions, grand royal palaces and fine French arcades- is the perfect place to explore both day and night. The elegant Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Centre, filled with monuments and museums; here you will feel as though you are taking a mini- stroll through Europe! Corfu is paradise who those that love the sea and can explore the Aqualand and the Corfu aquarium for water adventures and getting up close to sea life.
Best beaches: Prasoudi, Voutoumi, Halikounas, Marathia; Glyfada Beach, Canal d’Amour, Paleokastritsa, Barbati, Issos, Agios Giorgios Agios Stefanos and Avlaki Beach should all be added to your list!
By far one of the greenest islands, where lush emerald hills meet the bright blue Ionian sea- there is so much to see and do on this large island that’s filled with so many beautiful coves, great restaurants, luxury hotels and of course- the Navagio/ Shipwreck (the view is breathtaking from the cliffs) – one of the most famous beaches not only in Greece but in the world; you can’t visit Zakynthos without capturing a glimpse of this beauty.
Best beaches: Marathonissi island (a small boat ride), Gerakas, Dafni, Limnionas, Porto Vromi, Porto Zorro, Banana, Makris Gialos (pebbly), Xyngia, Pelegaki. Best swimming caves: Blue Caves and Keri Caves.
Note: much of the island’s south coast is a nature reserve due to endangered turtles who hatch in the sand. You can’t enter the turtle beaches, but there are so many beautiful coves to discover. From Keri, you can cast away for Marathonisi island, another turtle sanctuary.
Reachable by car, Lefkada is known for its gorgeous white sand beaches and turquoise waters; The island is a paradise for water babies –swimming, windsurfing, kayaking and kite-surfing. This Ionian isle boasts remarkable natural landscapes, world-famous beaches, verdant mountains, delightful local cuisine, a noteworthy winemaking tradition, and an exciting range of things to see and do.
Best beaches: Standouts are Porto Katsiki, Egremni, Kathisma, Perfkoulia, Agiofylu and to avoid the crowds head to the local faves: Mylos, Ammousa, Megali Petra and Avali Beach.
Boasting spectacular azure waters and charming architecture, Paxos is one of Greece’s most beautiful islands. Boasting some of the most stunning and exotic beaches in the world; as well as a wonderful natural landscape with lush vegetation it combines a cosmopolitan feel with natural beauty. Popular with the yachting crowd, here you can rent a small boat and spend the day dipping in and out of the sea.
Best beaches: Make sure to swim in the passage between Mongonissi and Kaltsonisi. Jump into the deep blue waters that are famous worldwide and enjoy the mesmerising beaches including Alati, Kaki Lagada, Kipiadi, Magonisi and Marmari.
Tip:Take a day trip to Antipaxoi- this tiny unspoiled island boasts one of the most impressive natural landscapes; the most famous beaches of the island are Vrika and Voutoumi- pure paradise!
The largest of the Ionian Isles, Kefalonia remains pure and protected from mass tourism. What makes this place so special is the pride locals take in keeping their island clean, fresh, modern, yet warm and inviting, all while encouraging its natural charm and authentic beauty to shine through. From the main town of Argostoli where you’ll find a range of eateries, bars, and boutiques through to gorgeous fishing villages and quaint towns, there’s so much to see and do on this lush island.
Best beaches: The most famous beach of Kefalonia is Myrtos, which you have to see, however depending on where the wind is blowing it may not be perfect for swimming. Also head to Antisamos and local favourite Petani (with the most amazing little tavern). For families, we recommend Platis Gialos, Makris Gialos, and Lassi. If you want to stay away from the crowds head to Gradakia and Xi beach with its orange sand. And you can’t leave without having a dip in the most stunning emerald waters of Assos.
Ithaca island the birthplace of Odysseus, is set in the Ionian Sea and flies very much under the radar compared to its neighbouring islands Kefalonia and Zakynthos, however, we suggest you put Ithaca at the top of your Greek island holiday list. Boasting stunning blue beaches, verdant green landscapes, charming villages, breathtaking views, and Venetian architecture; there is plenty to see and do when visiting the island home of Homer’s mythical hero who found peace on an island that also leaves its visitors feeling relaxed and rejuvenated after spending time here.
Best beaches: There are so many beautiful beaches and bays on Ithaca and some of our favourites include: Filatro (organised beach with sunbeds), Skinos (a gorgeous secluded beach), Gidaki (which can only be reached by boat), as well as Aetos, Agios Ioannis and Sarakiniko.
This undiscovered island is filled with rich history, secret caves, medieval architecture, wonderful natural setting and amazing beaches. Located off the south coast of the Peloponnese, one of our favourite spots here is Avlemonas, a traditional fishing settlement built in Cycladic style and boasts stunning gulfs and lush vegetation that create a beautiful natural backdrop. The whitewashed houses and lush gardens draw visitors here each summer, as they take a quick dip in the sea.
Best beaches: Paleopoli, Kapsali, Fyri Ammos, Kaladai, Melidioni, Likodimou, or Chalkos and Kombonada- you can’t go wrong!
Many stunning islands and coastlines around Greece have more to offer than just beaches and sunsets. Many are dotted with amazing sea caves that have been worn away over the years, leaving behind natural wonders.
These caves sit on the edge of the sea and are absolutely breathtaking. If you get a chance to visit any of the islands mentioned below we suggest you do yourself a favour and get up close to one of these magical sea caves.
Lake Cave of Melissani, Kefalonia
Located near Sami, Melissani has an amazing lake inside the cave featuring trees and forests. The cave itself is B-shaped and when the roof of one of the halls caved in centuries ago, it allowed sunlight to filter through, making it an incredible experience when you visit in the afternoon. The sunlight hitting the turquoise-blue waters creates a magical illusion and it’s one of the most spectacular images of Kefalonia island.
Blue Caves, Zakynthos
Located near Volimes, the waters here have the colour of deep blue and the bottom of the sea features purple and orange coral. You can only reach the blue caves by boat and you can either hire a boat to take part in one of the tours. It’s best to visit the caves in the morning to enjoy the colours of the water and keep in mind only small boats can get through the caves.
Blue Caves, Alonissos
Located on the northeastern side of Alonissos, between the remote beaches of Strovili and Lalarias. Excursion boats depart daily from Patitiri village for surrounding beautiful islets and the remote caves. The striking water around the Blue Cave is so clear and most visitors dive off the rocks to enjoy an unforgettable swim.
Papanikolis Cave, Lefkada
Lefkada is known for its magical beaches (Egremni, Porto Katsiki, Kathisma) thanks to its turquoise waters and its white sandy beaches, which get their rich colour thanks to the island’s limestone. If you are looking for a unique swim on the island that’s truly spectacular, make sure to visit Papnikolis Cave. This is one of the largest and most beautiful caves in Greece, that can only be reached by boat.
Blue Grotto, Katelorizo
The Blue Cave of Kastelorizo is famous worldwide and one of the biggest attractions to the island. This cave is said to be among the most impressive natural treasures found in the Mediterranean, as it’s larger than the Grotta Azzurra on Capri in Italy. The best time of the day to visit here is during the early morning when the sun is still low.
Caves of Papafragas, Milos
Papafragas on Milos island features a gorgeous rectangular-shaped cove surrounded by tall cliffs and natural caves, which were the base of operations for pirates during the Byzantium and were named after the last priest (papa – Frangos). The rocks around the beach are huge and visitors can only reach them by car.
You will find this spectacular sea cave on the way to Pori. Featuring an amazing shape, it’s named milk as the water is white due to the dust of calcium that falls from the rock. You can only get here by boat but it’s definitely worth the effort.
The Cave, Hydra
On the island of Hydra, you can experience a breathtaking swim in a cave that is set on the most famous beach on the island. The water is spectacular and you can spend endless hours swimming through the cave and feeling a sense of serenity.
Diatripti Cave, Skyros
Boasting beautiful turquoise waters, you can reach Datripti by boat and there are quite a few tours to the cave throughout summer. In the caves, the colours of the water are magical, thanks to the reflection of the sun. The stalactites and the green bottom of the sea will amaze you.
Nausica Cave in Palaiokastritsa, Corfu
Palaiokastritsa is where you can find the cave of Nausica. Referred to as the “Capri of the Ionian Sea” Palaiokastritsa village is located on the west side of Corfu. Boasting crystal clear, turquoise waters, steep rocks and lush greenery that almost reaches the sea, this is a magnificent spot not to be missed when visiting Corfu.
Boasting stunning views of the island from a hillside location, this unique 5-star hotel in Zakynthos is the ideal getaway.
Located on a lush green hill in Tsilivi, a small village on the island, Olea All Suite Hotel evolves organically around an impressive, 4000 sqm pool that marks the tranquil, relaxing feel of the entire space.
Calming water is Olea’s main element; present in various forms throughout the hotel, seamlessly connecting the indoors with the outdoors with streams and pools flowing between island-like clusters of tropical-modernist cube structures, communal areas under skylights, hidden gardens, and historical olive trees.
Set on a picturesque hill and surrounded by layers of lush greenery, it is within walking distance of Tsilivi resort, 10 minutes from Zakynthos town and the airport; and it’s very close to the nearby village and the sandy beaches.
Character & Style
Inspired by the island’s beautiful landscape and the calming effect of water, leading Greek architects Block 722 created a sprawling hotel featuring 93 suites revolving around a stunning pool that resembles a lake. The result is a contemporary, peaceful retreat that combines Mediterranean architecture with tropical modernism, seamlessly blending into the relaxing natural landscape that surrounds it.
All 93 suites boast modern charm and a romantic ambiance; they all feature outdoor living spaces with impressive views of the hotel’s surroundings, allowing guests to relax while enjoying views of the Ionian sea or the hotel’s lavish green gardens.
The Superior Suite Swim Up and the Superior Water Suite offer a shared pool, while the Executive Suite, the Honeymoon Suite, and the Presidential Suite come complete with a private swimming pool.
Food & Drinks
The hotel’s three restaurants and three bars serve a wide variety of culinary delights that celebrate Greek and Mediterranean cuisine with a modern spin. Enjoy a fine dining meal at Omikron, or for a more laid back vibe head to Cocoon Restobar, while Flow Wine and Dine serve creative Mediterranean dishes; while O Bar and F Bar serve a fantastic selection of Greek and international wines and signature cocktails.
A big part of the Olea experience is their dedication to wellness, with their Royal Spa offering soothing therapies using special aromatic and essential oils therapies using Mediterranean herbs. With indoor and outdoor pools, cryotherapy, hammam, a fully-equipped gym, a beauty salon, and a yoga pavilion, there is plenty of places to unwind and soothe the body, mind, and soul.
Ideal for… Couples in search of a romantic getaway, solo travellers, or groups of friends in search of a wellness retreat and a place that offers complete privacy and moments of peace and quiet.
Many popular Greek airports are ready to welcome visitors again- as the huge upgrades are designed to greatly enhance the passenger experience of local and international travellers.
Fraport Greece launched the airport development program in April 2017, with 11 island and three mainland airports across Greece receiving major upgrades as part of the innovative €440 million airport development program.
Having finished three months ahead of schedule, the completion includes five brand new terminals, the expansion and modernisation of five existing terminals, and upgrades of four other terminals. Construction projects at airside operational areas of the regional airports included renovating 12 runways, improving ramp areas, and constructing and renovating 12 fire stations. All of the airports have also been equipped with new state-of-the-art baggage handling and security detection systems.
Construction projects were completed at the airports of Zakynthos, Chania (Crete) and Kavala. Also on the mainland, Aktion Airport’s terminal had a complete overhaul, on the island of Samos, the airport terminal was modernised and expanded and Skiathos Airport has been completely refurbished and enlarged.
Odysseas Elytis Airport in Mytilini features a new terminal and similarly the new terminal at Kefalonia offers some 10,700 square meter of space for passenger comfort, including more services, a 70% increase in the number of check-in counters, and twice as many security checkpoints and departure gates.
On Mykonos, the redesigned terminal is now 50% bigger and combines traditional Cycladic architectural highlights with modern airport facilities. As a result, there is more space for check-in counters, departure gates, as well as a unique ambiance with attractive amenities.
On Rhodes, the airport has also been upgraded to offer world-class services. The terminal has a larger check-in area, plus more security checkpoints and baggage belts, a wider choice of shopping and dining. The apron in front of the terminal was also redesigned for improved operations.
Similarly, in the second quarter of 2020 Corfu Ioannis Kapodistrias Airport opened a new terminal and the islands of Kos and Santorini also underwent major redevelopment.
Final construction works were also completed at Thessaloniki Makedonia Airport, the largest airport in Fraport Greece’s portfolio. This €100 million development has created a new terminal complex that is said to rival Europe’s most popular airports. The new terminal is linked via skyway bridges to the redesigned existing terminal – doubling the amount of terminal space available. More check-in space, twice as many departure gates, and a wide range of restaurants, cafes and shops now shape a completely new environment at the international gateway to Greece’s second largest city.
Marking the official completion of the construction program, Fraport Greece CEO, Alexander Zinell announced, “The completion of this emblematic, €440-million construction program of 2021 fills me with pride and optimism. These airports will serve as a catalyst for re-starting the vital Greek tourist industry. I am confident that these new state-of-the-art airport facilities will fully welcome and satisfy travellers wishing to explore the beauties of this magnificent country.”
Eleni Stasinopoulou, creator of the popular blog The Hotel Trotter, has been a fashion and lifestyle journalist for 20 years and a contributor to many leading Greek publications, including Harpers Bazaar, Madame Figaro and InStyle.
Recognised as a social media influencer, Eleni hosts a series of styling seminars and also appears on popular Greek television shows, sharing her style and fashion tips.
With a keen eye for detail and an absolute obsession with hotels, Eleni has created a blog that allows her to visit a range of hotels- staying in the nicest rooms with a view, while reviewing lobby designs, buffet breakfasts, sunset drinks, poolside lounges, and private beaches!
IN+SIGHTS GREECE recently spoke with Eleni about her amazing career and her favourite hotels in Greece.
Can you please tell us about your work as Editor in Chief of numerous leading Greek publications?
As long as I remember myself, I always wanted to work in the media industry. I started as a fashion editor in women’s magazines and went on to participate in the introduction of digital media in Greece. The last eight years I have been a web editor in chief for the lifestyle sites of Attica Media Group (MadameFigaro, MissBloom.gr, HarpersBazaar.gr among them) and have loved every moment. It’s a non-stop – sometimes exhausting job- but at the same time a very exciting and creative one. Working for digital media is like a youth elixir. I think this job will keep me forever young!
When did your wanderlust begin and how did it feel when you were able to combine your everyday work with your love for travel?
Ι grew up believing that every hotel is an exciting parallel universe. I believe in hotel magic! Magic happens every single time. A nice hotel can turn me into a much better version of myself. Show me the reception and I instantly forget all my everyday chaos. I am always ready to move into this world of liberating temporality, where vacation mode is switched on.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Apart from this, my job always gave me the chance to enjoy unique travel experiences as well as a stay at great hotels. Long before Instagram existed, I used to take snapshots of my hotel rooms, breakfasts and views. In 2015, this habit of mine became my Instagram account @thehoteltrotter. Sometime after this, I also created my blog. TheHotelTrotter focuses on this obsession of mine, the hotel life which to me symbolises a much needed carefree mode of living. With the mere of a fashion and lifestyle editor, I hope to inspire all stylish connoisseurs of travelling.
What was the highlight(s) of your travels throughout summer 2020 in Greece?
Visiting popular Greek islands such as Patmos, Mykonos, Santorini, Zakynthos without the crowds of tourists was a unique experience but I hope this will never happen again and tourism will go back to normal very very soon.
In Greece, which would you say are your favourite hotels for A) luxury stay B) wellbeing retreat C) best design/decor
Due to its legacy and location, Kinsterna in Monemvasia is a unique hotel in Greece. Poseidonion at Spetses offers an unforgettable experience. It is one of the few Grand Dame hotels in Greece. Euphoria Retreat at Mystras is an amazing holistic destination and spa-like no one else in the country. Architecture at Olea All Suite in Zakynthos is awesome and so Instagram -worthy. Dexamenes Seaside is an architectural project that has gathered publicity from all around the world, having transformed old wine tanks to a boutique hotel. I could go on forever.
In 2020, what do you believe makes a hotel shine?
Safety, uniqueness, thoughtfulness, interesting details (that enhance the experience, the design, the food etc) and location, location, location!
You are a fashion/beauty editor, can you please tell us your personal style. And what do always pack with you when you travel?
I like versatile clothes that can take you from morning to night. I love blazers, which I combine with everything from elegant skirts to casual jeans and also dresses because they can instantly change a look. Apart from these (blazers and dresses), I like to pack sarongs and espadrilles (if it’s summer) and mid-heel boots and scarves (if it’s winter). I have a travel beauty kit with small sizes of my beauty essentials, which I always take with me.
Over the cooler months, where do you love spending time in Greece? And what are your travel plans for this winter?
I usually travel to Europe and especially Paris, which is the city I can’t stop falling in love with. My next plans included Portugal and Jordan but like everybody, I will have to wait a bit… Let’s hope that we all will start to travel again soon.
For people planning to visit Greece in autumn/winter for the first time, do you have any tips and advice on where to go?
Athens is a must. It is such a lively city with amazing small boutique and large luxe hotels, a cool art scene and great museums. The Peloponnese and Pelion are also wonderful destinations, full of picturesque villages and cultural must-sees.
This year has proven why our home should be our sanctuary and while many of us wait to travel again, our team has rounded up six beautiful hotels in Greece that will create some serious design envy and help inspire you to makeover your own abode!
Who doesn’t love the absolute luxury of a hotel? And when it comes to the crème-de-la-crème of accommodation, look no further than the famous Grand Bretagne. Located in the heart of Athens, it features historic Greek architecture mixed with modern interiors. Think high ceilings, black and white checkered marbled floors, Ancient Greek motifs, columns and wooden doors- combined with velvet furniture, antique candelabras, elaborate chandeliers, classic paintings and touches of gold. The stand-out feature by far is the grand marble staircase.
Located at the edge of the village of Odi, these former homes, barns and cellars have been turned into a boutique hotel with rooms in caves. The bright white paint on the smooth arched and angled wall spaces, combine to give a sleek Greek island feel. The rooms are decorated with simple and minimal fittings. Pieces of unique furniture, such as seating pods with hinged lids and circular sunshades, give the spaces a serene feel.
Set in Zakynthos, this intimate adults-only hotel, only steps away from a private beach, is designed to provide the perfect inspiration for your dream modern abode. Contemporary sleek lines and neutral furnishings compliment the polished light timber and endless glass walls. Incorporating shades of grey, neutral colours and black for both design and décor, we love the variety of rattan chairs that are displayed in the dining and outdoor areas, providing a casual yet chic look to your space.
Whether you’re jumping in for a swim or lounging on the deck, a pool is a great addition to your home. If you’re thinking of getting a pool or you already have one, check out Lango’s amazing outdoor area, which will give your backyard a stunning new look. Featuring natural stone, wood and towering greenery, this is the ideal place to entertain or to get some much-needed R&R.
The spaces in Istoria Hotel are intended to make guests feel as if they are living in an authentic Santorinian mansion. Here you will discover elements of the original estate, such as old wooden ceilings and preserved stone columns, creating a spectacular combination of original and contemporary features. Sourcing a collection of antique and new furniture from the Mediterranean, the hotel features terracotta, natural wood, and classical decorative touches.
A neo-modernist marvel, Perianth Hotel celebrates contemporary Greek culture in the heart of its ancient capital, Athens. For the interiors, the designers incorporated terrazzo floors, slim black-metal frames, marble furniture elements, and glass-brick walls. The hotel also features custom-made furniture and lighting. In the guestrooms, a pastel palette and grey and dark green flooring provide the perfect canvas for wooden desks, brass details, and curved brass tubes and black metal pipes.