The top summer destinations in mainland Greece

John KarkalatosAugust 10, 2023

We associate summer with island holidays but that's not the whole truth. You can also have your summer holidays on the mainland since there are several destinations that are not inferior to the islands and in fact several of them are like being on an island. These holidays are ideal for those who like road trips or want to avoid the ferry tickets and in general the hassle of going to an island and for family holidays.

1. Peloponnese


Simos beach in Elafonisos

The top destination for southern Greece that combines holidays with archaeological attractions.

The destinations in Corinthia are the nearest to Athens, in Loutraki, Loutra Oreas Elenis, Kiato, Xylokastro, Vrachati, but with a lot of traffic due to this proximity to Athens, for quieter places you have to go to other prefectures.

In Argolis prefecture, Tolo with Chrissi Akti (Golden Coast) figures prominently, Drepano with its endless beach and the campsites, Palaia Epidavros, Porto - Heli which is combined with a visit to Spetses and Ermioni with Kouverta beach.

In Arcadia the mountains end abruptly at wonderful beaches. You will find in Xiropigado village, Paralio Astros and Leonidio. For a more detailed list of Arcadia beaches, please read my article The best beaches of Arcadia.

In Achaia prefecture Aegio - Selianitika, Akrata Beach, Diakopto, Aegeira Beach, but without being top choices.

Ilia is famous for its endless kilometers of sandy beaches in the Ionian Sea. Between Kyllini, Katakolo and Zaharo are the largest beaches in Greece, the most famous being Kourouta. For a beach holiday it is one of the best options.

You will of course also find wonderful beaches in Messinia. Kalamata is the most obvious choice, followed by Bouka beach between Messini and Petalidi. You will also find very nice beaches in Kyparissia, Koroni, Finikounda, Stoupa where the famous Kalogria and Foneas beaches are located as well as in Agios Andreas of Messini.

In Laconia prefecture the rugged landscape hides the picturesque village of Kyparissi, with its dreamy beach in stark contrast to the steep mountains. Also Elafonissos, Viglafia, Plytra and the beaches of Mani with the most famous being Limeni.

2. Halkidiki


Top destination for Northern Greece with countless golden beaches. At the threshold of Mount Athos is Ammouliani islet accessible by ferry boat from Tripiti. On the doorstep of Kassandra there are many beaches between Nea Moudania and Agios Mama, with Flogita and Nea Plagia being very good options for accommodation. Popular destinations are Pefkohori with its amazing sandy beach, Nea Kallikrateia and Kallithea with its lively nightlife. Paliouri also stands out for its natural beauty and Poseidi with its tongue-shaped beach.

You will also find amazing beaches in Neos Marmaras, Kriopigi, Ierissos, Olympiada, Tripiti, Xiropotamos, Develiki, Salonikiou and Sarti.

3. Epirus

Monolithi Preveza

Monolithi beach in Preveza

Known for its mountains but not for its golden beaches in the Ionian Sea, the destinations it hides are among the best in Greece. The best known is Sivota. In this small island complex an extension of the mainland that you can reach on foot at Bela Vraka beach, the landscape is no different from the Ionian Islands. The most famous beach is Pisina (Pool) with turquoise waters and you go there by excursion boat.

Parga with its wonderful natural landscape, the beaches, the small island with the church, the venetian castle is one of the most famous destinations. Also beautiful Preveza at the entrance of Amvrakikos gulf with its endless beaches in a row and the archaeological site of Nikopolis. Among the top choices is the incomparably beautiful enclosed bay in Ammoudia. Karavostasi and the peaceful village of Plataria in Thesprotia are also worth visiting.

Swimming in the rivers of Epirus is very popular too. In Kolymbithres in Papigo village, the natural pools formed by the Rogovou stream, in Acherontas river and Aoos. Don't forget that now access to Epirus is easy with the distances having been drastically shortened thanks to Ionia Motorway.

4. Euboea

Agia Anna

Agia Anna beach

The mountainous landscape of Evia hides beautiful beaches with the most beautiful ones being on the eastern side, but you have to find them calm otherwise they bring a lot of waves. Among the most popular are Korasida, very close to Achladeri village, and the well-known Hiliadou. Secluded beaches, peaceful with magical waters. The big beach of Mourteri and Agia Anna in Agali are also excellent. You will find nice beaches in Neo Pyrgos, Ilia, Karystos, Nea Styra, accessible by ferry from Agia Marina in Marathonas, Psaropouli and Achladi.

5. Thessaly


Agiokampos beach

Many are the summer beauties of Thessaly in Pagasitikos, Pelion and on the coast of the Aegean. Nea Messagala, Agiokambos and Kokkino Nero (Red Water) in Larissa prefecture stand out. In Pelion the beaches near Neochori stand out, while at the entrance of Pagasitikos, Pteleos with the surrounding beaches.