Home to more than a thousand islands and countless sandy beaches, Greece consistently ranks among the top summer destinations worldwide. Every year in August, Athens looks like a desert city as locals leave the noisy and speed-mad capital behind in favor of some exotic island and tourists prefer to go island hopping than visit the Acropolis with temperatures reaching 104°F (40°C).

We can’t promise that these 10 beaches in the Aegean and the Ionian sea won’t be packed even if you choose to visit them before August. But we can guarantee that they’re the country’s finest.

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos

Shipwreck beach, or Navagio as locals call it, is probably the most famed Greek beach. A true flagship destination, it has been featured in countless guides and publications. And it’s all because of its astonishing landscape; a narrow strip of sand nestled under towering cliffs that overlook turquoise waters. Navagio takes its name from an actual shipwreck from the ’80s that is still ashore on the beach, completing the unique scenery.

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Elafonisi Beach, Crete

Crete might be home to an abundance of spectacular beaches, but none come even close to Elafonisi beach when it comes to natural beauty. Elafonisi is a tiny islet located in the southwest of Crete that is connected to the island by a narrow strip of sand. It might be a long ride to get there but the beach is more than rewarding. Sunbathing on the pink sand and swimming in crystal-clear waters will make a visit definitely worth your while.

Sarakiniko, Milos

Though often overlooked by tourists, Milos’ claim to fame are the otherworldly, moonlike seaside landscapes that comprise of white-washed volcanic rocks and shallow cerulean waters. Sarakiniko is beyond doubt the most famous beach on the island due to its impressive settings that seem to have jumped right out of a sci-fi film. If you aren’t lucky enough to find a spot on the sand, you can do as the locals and climb the rocks for a refreshing sunbathing session and some incredible photo opportunities.

Greek Islands to Visit This Summer

Porto Katsiki, Lefkada

Primarily a family-friendly destination, Lefkada is an Ionian island with long sandy coastlines and jaw-dropping beaches. Porto Katsiki’s name translates to “goat port” and it accurately describes its former unapproachability, as the beach is located under an imposing rock that only goats could climb. Luckily, there are now long flights of stairs that lead down to the bay, for those that don’t choose to reach it by boat. Porto Katsiki is especially well-known for the majestic sunset views that paint the sea and sky in the most unfathomable colors.

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Paradise Beach, Mykonos

With Mykonos being one of the most cosmopolitan islands of the country, it’s no surprise that its beaches are often packed with tourists looking for happy-hour thrills and week-long parties. Rows upon rows of umbrellas and chaise lounges in front of fancy beach bars, colorful cocktails on the seaside and a flamboyant see-and-be-seen attitude make Paradise Beach a must-see for your vacation on the island.

Myrtos, Kefalonia

Myrtos beach is Kefalonia’s crown jewel. It’s not uncommon for travelers to choose the island for their vacations solely because they want to see the famous beach up close. Being the backdrop for the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin hasn’t hurt its reputation either. Just a few kilometers north of Argostoli, Myrtos features azure waters splashing on a long sandy shore, under a lavish hill. On the beach, you’ll find a canteen serving refreshments and snacks to those arriving beat by the hot sun.

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Seychelles, Ikaria

Ikaria is one of the more alternative Greek vacation destinations that have been increasingly gaining in popularity during the past years. And Seychelles beach is one of its most outstanding attractions. Initially formed after a large landslide that drastically altered the scenery, the site quickly became the new favorite swimming spot among locals. Its name is all but undeserved, as the colorful contrasts shaped by white pebbles and clear blue waters create a most exotic setting.

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Voidokoilia, Messinia

This might be the only beach on this list that is located on the mainland, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as amazing as the rest. A few kilometers away from Pylos in Peloponnese, Voidokoilia beach is famous for its peculiar crescent moon shape that separates the sea from an adjusting lagoon, as well as Nestor’s cave and the ruins of a Frankish castle that is located just above. If you want to sleep under Greece’s night sky and close to the beach, do it like locals and set your tent at Erodios camping, which is located only 10 minutes away from Voidokoilia.

Koukounaries, Skiathos

Koukounaries beach takes its name from a pine tree forest biotope that spans across its length and provides valuable shade to travelers during hot summer months. Lined with beach bars offering refreshing beverages, beach loungers and water sports, Koukounaries is especially popular for families with kids. As is the case with almost every beach destination in Greece, the golden-sand beach is usually overpacked during August. So make sure to book one of the numerous nearby hotels well in advance if you want to enjoy this unspoiled paradise.

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10 Best Beaches in Greece photos courtesy of Erica Magugliani / Unsplash, Kostas Limitsios / Flickr, Eleni Afiontzi / Unsplash, George-prentzas / Unsplash, Lorenzo Spoleti / Unsplash, dimitrisvetsikas1969 / pixabay