Porto Katsiki, Lefkada, Kleftiko beach, Milos, and Seitan Limania beach in Crete ranked among Europe's top beaches, according to London-based travel gurus Condé Nast Traveller.
In a recent article, rounding up 15 of the continent's Greece's "postcard-perfect beaches" and only 3 hours 29 minutes flight time from the UK, the list provides plenty of inspiration for readers planning their first post-pandemic vacation.
Lefkada's Porto Katsiki beach is the first of three Greek entries.
On the island's rugged west coast, renowned for its turquoise seas, the beach is "surrounded by dramatic white cliffs carpeted in pines," providing much-needed shade during the mornings. Thanks to a ban on boats entering the bay, the article notes that beachgoers get breathtaking views across the Ionian islands.
Porto Katsiki, Lefkada, Greece
It wasn't until the mid-1990s that modern infrastructure arrived on this corner of Lefkada's rugged west coast, finally opening Porto Katsiki up to people instead of just goats. Now, it's one of the most popular beaches on one of the best Greek Islands, framed by dramatic white cliffs carpeted in pines. The deep-blue sea is a sublime spot for swimming, and while the ridges keep the pebbly sand under shade until midday, there are plenty of multicoloured umbrellas on standby for the steamy afternoons. Best of all, boats are restricted from entering the bay, treating sunbathers to blissfully unbroken Ionian views.
Kleftiko Beach, Milos, Greece
The second Greek beach is Kleftiko on Milos, famous for its volcanic rock formations and dramatic coastline.
On the southwest of the Cycladic island, secluded Kleftiko beach can be accessed by boat, or there's a dusty hiking trail winding down to the sea for those on foot" There's no beach as such.
Still, there are plenty of large, flat rocks to work on that golden Greek Tan.
The article highlights the "epic cliff-jumping" and snorkelling through "alabaster-white rock chambers" and also notes the nearby Agios Ioannis Siderianos monastery, where locals used to hide from pirate attacks!
Seitan Limania beach, Crete, Greece
There's a reason why Seitan Limania in Crete is more popular with brave locals than gaggles of tourists: you need nerves of steel to tackle the dirt roads and hairpin bends that lead here. It's worth visiting in the morning; the tall rocks protect the beach from Crete's infamous winds, but it's completely covered in the shade by mid-afternoon.
Bring proper shoes for the final scramble along the cliff face and watch out for the naughty pack of local goats patrolling the route – eventually, it gives way to a well-hidden, itsy-bitsy zigzag cove of white pebbles and eye-popping blue sea.