Four of the best beach hotels in Europe are in Greece

Marbella Elix, Parga Depending on your route, the journey to and from Marbella Elix 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 Marbella Elix’s beach cove. From there, it’s a beloved-by-kids funicular ride to the top and 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. See our Marbella Elix hotel review for more. {Booking now here}

  • Distance to the water: A funicular ride away.
  • Travel time: 1 hour 13 minute drive from Preveza Airport.
  • Inside tip: 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.

Ekies All Senses Resort, Vourvourou 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. {Booking now here}

Owner Alexandra Efstathiadou has turned the place around, commissioning four designers from Greece’s award-winning agency Beetroot to curate unique looks for the 64 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.
  • Travel time: A 75-minute drive from Thessaloniki airport.
  • Inside tip: Head to the old town of nearby Nikiti for an iced coffee or a glass of wine on the shady terrace up in the hills at Café Barcarolla, surrounded by the scent of jasmine, fig and pine trees.

Kyrimai, Gerolimenas Peloponnese, Greece Finding Kyrimai is tricky, lying as it does at the end of a tiny road that winds down one of Peloponnese’s long fingers, past miniature Byzantine churches, gorges and wandering goats. But it is well worth the drive. A converted warehouse dating back to the 1870s, the hotel sits as close to the water’s edge as is possible, with a central tower looking out to sea. {Booking now here}

The 22 bedrooms, all different, are spread out, some in the tower, others off an interior courtyard or clustered around a spiral stone staircase. Inside, all is silent and pared-back, with wooden beams, exposed stonework, and crisp grey and white linen on the beds. In the mornings, heavy shutters open to reveal a blast of cerulean sky and the rhythmic slap of the sea against the mossy green walls beneath. Terraces of honey-coloured stone are warmed by the sun and toasty underfoot. Breakfast is a feast of just-baked pastries, local honey and creamy yogurt, served beneath a shady pergola by the swimming pool. This is also the venue for lunch, with plates of just-fried calamari and smoked aubergine salad washed down with Asirtiko wine from nearby Monemvasia. The surrounding countryside has classical ruins and antiquities to explore, but no one will bat an eyelid if you spend the day by the pool, stirring only to cool down by leaping from the jetty into the sea. {Booking now here}

  • Distance to the water: Three steps.
  • Travel time: A 90-minute drive from Kalamata airport.
  • Inside tip: The wonderful 11th-century church currently being restored in nearby Ochia is worth a visit.

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. {Booking now here}

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.

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.
  • Travel time: A 20-minute drive from Chania airport.
  • Inside tip: Ask Nikos for directions to Dounias, a taverna hidden in the foothills of the White Mountains. Everything from the goat to the aubergines comes from the owner’s farm and is slow-cooked in a wood-fired oven.


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