Among The best beach hotels in Europe 7 in Greece

In summer it’s hard to resist the sun soaked appeal the best beaches in Europe – even more alluring is a stay that’s an effortless barefoot stroll away from one of these prized spots. From small and secret hideaways on the harbour to sprawling resorts just steps from the water, here in no particular order, we round up the best beach hotels in Europe. For more recommendations, see our edit of the best hotels in Europe.

Mandarin Oriental, Costa Navarino, Greece 

The private Costa Navarino reserve in the Peloponnese’s Messenia is already known for its dunes, secret bays, world-class golf courses and family-friendly resorts – but Mandarin Oriental’s Greek debut takes things up a notch. With sweeping views of the coast, the resort is cast organically into the hillside, with flora-topped pool villas and gardens alive with pirouetting butterflies and bushels of oleander and rosemary. The 51 suites and 48 pool villas are spacious, and even entry-level rooms can interconnect for families. The central pool with swim-up bar is flanked by restaurants and high-end fashion stores including an Orlebar Brown, and there’s a separate adults-only pool. The vegetation topped private pool villas sit comfortably and organically in the landscape and the 225m sandy beach offers calm swimming conditions. {Book here now}

Breakfast tapas, or paramana, are served on the lavender-scented terrace of Oliviera restaurant, including homemade yogurt topped with pistachio and honeycomb, and milk cake. Aside from Eastern Mediterranean restaurant Tahir (whose silken baba ghanoush is a must), the pizza omakase counter at Pizza Sapienza impresses with its 48-hour-proved, perfectly singed slices topped with freshly picked courgette flowers and local horta bitter greens with nduja. The citrus-hued spa has a panoramic 25 metre pool and indoor- outdoor gym stocked with pepper and ginger kombucha shots. This is a resort for all generations, with access to Costa Navarino’s four golf courses, tennis academy and plentiful water sports; and new free kids’ club, laden with wooden toys. And thanks to its excellent GM, Raul Levis, there’s warmth in its soul. Jemima Sissons {Book here now}

Distance to the water: On the beach.

Travel time: 50-minute drive from Kalamata International Airport.

Oku Kos, Kos, Greece

Pure relaxation is difficult to find, but it’s near-impossible not to lean into the chilled-out vibe you feel immediately as you enter Oku’s open reception. Inspired by the relaxed Greek way of life, Oku aims to combine local culture with relaxation, and easily succeeds. Somehow there are 100 rooms in the hotel, but it feels more like 20; the property is wonderfully private, and Greek-style whitewashed buildings blend seamlessly into the open landscape. Guests can choose from rooms with private or semi-private pools (shared with two other rooms, but surprisingly personal), or opt for a larger villa with a roof terrace and sea views. Special mention to the showers, which are some of the best I’ve used in a hotel thanks to the strong waterfall current and moody, stone walls that lean into the minimal aesthetic. {Booking now here}

Food at Oku, overseen by executive Chef Mark Vaessen, is impeccable and unapologetically Greek. Salads are topped with crumbly feta and tomatoes that burst in the mouth, while the tzatziki is so good it’s impossible not to order a bowl at every meal. Take your dinners outside where you can watch the sunset – which sets over nearby Kalimnos and is guaranteed to be one of the most stunning you’ve seen – over the hotel’s private beach, with a cocktail made at the bar in-hand. Abigail Malbon {Booking now here}

Distance to the water: On the beach.

Santa Marina, a Luxury Collection Resort, Mykonos, Greece

When I chose hotels for honeymooning in southern Greece, where my mom’s family is from, it was important to me that I support Greek-owned hotels in the aftermath of the pandemic. I was ecstatic to discover that Santa Marina, the beloved five-star resort on Mykonos, remains owned by the same local family that opened it four decades ago. The only resort on the island with its own private stretch of sandy beach – and on calm and sought-after Ornos Bay, no less – Santa Marina includes 101 sea view rooms and suites with private plunge pools, plus a selection of 13 sprawling villas, a cove-nestled beach club shielded from the mighty Cycladic winds, and two infinity pools to mix up the lounging scenery. Two restaurants, including sushi spot Buddha-Bar Beach Mykonos and Mykonos Social by Jason Atherton, serve inventive plates ranging from Asian-inspired poke and ceviches led by the Mediterranean’s abundant fish, to taverna-style dishes: slow-cooked lamb, sun-dried grilled octopus, classic horiatiki, and bread baskets served with traditional dips like taramosalata (roe puree) and htipiti (spicy whipped feta). The on-site spa has a traditional hammam as well as aromatherapy massages, medical-grade facials, and a sauna that are well worth breaking from the sun and sand for an afternoon. But the real magic of Santa Marina is in the simple pleasures afforded by its fabled location – sipping assyrtiko from a shady cabana while the mega yachts go by, you’ll forget all about the island’s hard-partying reputation. Shannon McMahon {Booking now here}

Distance to the water: On the beach.

Cosme Hotel Paros, Greece

This hotel – part of Marriott Bonvoy’s Luxury Collection Hotels and Resorts portfolio – feels more like a narrative, a breathing thing. The property draws in the fresh, salty air that whips off the Aegean Sea and allows it to fill its white-washed lungs to uplift the myriad pathways and passages (inspired by the bright fishing villages of Paros itself) that connect guest rooms with thoughtful spaces and dining areas, and outdoor living. From the achingly cool entrance that frames the stretch of private beach in front to the half-moon infinity pool that perfectly kisses the ocean beyond it, island living doesn’t get much better – or much freer – than this. Anya Meyerowitz {Booking now here}

Distance to the water: On the beach.

Elix, part of Mar-Bella Collection, Parga, Greece

Depending on your route, the journey to and from Elix, part of Mar-Bella Collection, is as unforgettable as the destination. If you can, arrive in Corfu, where you can take the hotel’s boat, sailing past caves and secret beaches, to reach the resort’s beach cove. From there, it’s a beloved-by-kids funicular ride to the top where you’ll then be welcomed at the soothing spa-like reception. {Booking now here}

The journey to the hill-top location is worth it, with other-worldly views overlooking Paxos, Antipaxos and Corfu. These views are made a focal point in the rooms via clear balconies, and even from the pool via a freshwater infinity pool. Much of the action takes place here or at the sun loungers on the beach; both are served by a dedicated bar team serving up cocktails and light bites. There are plenty of options beyond the pool, too, especially for families with kids activities, including treasure hunts, sports championships, and theatre shows on offer. A London creative events company even organises the likes of stargazing and Greek mythology games during summer. If you’re in the mood to explore, don’t miss the nearby Monolithi Preveza beach, a sprawling stretch of sand that’s said to be one of the longest beaches in Europe. See our full hotel review for more. Becky Lucas {Booking now here}

Distance to the water: A funicular ride away.

Ekies All Senses Resort, Halkidiki, Greece

The emphasis at Ekies is very much on hanging out horizontally. With its oversized, Indian-style daybed in the lobby, Coco-Mat mattresses in the bedrooms, thick-cushioned sun loungers on its small beach, and hammock strung up in the sea, naps – accompanied by the lulling sounds of the waves and the cicadas – are thoroughly encouraged. Owner Alexandra Efstathiadou has turned the place around, commissioning four designers from Greece’s award-winning agency Beetroot to curate unique looks for the 76 rooms and the common living spaces. The results could have been messy but, thanks to Alexandra’s style-conscious eye, are instead fun and quirky. There are graphic touches, such as the stylised creatures (bees, squirrels and jellyfish) painted onto the walls to represent the fauna of the surrounding Sithonia peninsula, as well as more obvious additions such as Panton S chairs, polished concrete flooring and Tom Dixon lighting. But for all this attention to design detail, Ekies is essentially a barefoot hideaway, where sarongs rather than shoes take precedence in the dress code. {Booking now here}

Distance to the water: On its own beach.

Ammos Hotel, Chania, Crete, Greece

Breakfast alone makes the trip to this chic little Greek Island hotel on the west coast of Crete worthwhile. You could stay for a week and still not try everything: freshly baked spinach pie; orange cake; sesame cookies; Cretan yogurt with honey and nuts; mini barley rusks piled high with feta, olives and tomato. All are served in the groovy, Moroccan-tiled dining room with its primary-bright mismatched chairs until a very Mediterranean 11.30am (practically lunchtime for the many new parents who have wised up to this family-friendly getaway). Tables at the laid-back restaurant spill out past the swimming pool and down to a shallow, sandy beach, where the hotel has its own sunbeds and umbrellas. There’s a playroom if you want to keep toddlers out of the sun, and babysitters are on call in the evening. Bedrooms in the low-rise, sugarcube-shaped building are perky, with bright, colour-blocked walls, Marimekko cushions of clashing patterns and African-print Moroso stools adding a grown-up touch. The best are the deluxe sea-view studios – freshly revamped for this summer – where you can watch the sunset from your balcony and nod off to the sound of the waves. {Booking now here}

This is a feel-good hotel without any formality; most of the staff have been around for years and many guests are regulars, which comes as no surprise as the place is astonishingly good value. Owner Nikos Tsepetis, a self-confessed design junkie, has a black book packed with insider information about the best remote mountain villages and beaches in Crete, plus details on where to go in the lively Venetian harbour of Chania. {Booking now here}

Distance to the water: Right on the beach.