The best snorkeling spots in Greece

Greece is teeming with islands, islets and rocky coves with crystal clear waters, which are home to thousands of snorkeling spots. While it is possible to get into the water almost anywhere along the country’s coastline, the Greek islands offer the best snorkeling opportunities and unparalleled underwater visibility.

Ready to snorkel into the gin-clear sea of Greece? From Athens to the Cyclades, via Zakynthos and Rhodes, Snorkeling Report takes you to the best snorkeling spots in the country. Let’s go!

Korakonissi Bay, Zakynthos
Korakonissi Bay, in Zakynthos, is one of the Greek Island’s most singular snorkeling locations.

The best snorkeling spots near Athens

A sprawling metropolis where history and modernity meet, Athens is not famous for snorkeling. However, if you are staying in the capital and don’t have time to visit the islands, you may find decent snorkeling in the surroundings of this port city.

Many rocky coves are found along the Athens Riviera, which extends south of the city to Cape Sounion. Lemos Cape, Megalo Kavouri, Charakas Beach and Cape Sounion itself offer some of the best snorkeling in the area.

Less than a 1-hour drive East of the capital, Nea Makri is the departing point for snorkeling trips that will take you to the Cape of Marathon and Schinias Bay area.

Cameo Island and Laganas Beach
Cameo Island and Laganas Beach, in Zakynthos. This area is probably the best in Greece to snorkel with sea turtles.

The best snorkeling spots in the Ionian Islands

The Ionian Islands are an archipelago between mainland Greece and Italy, famous for its white sand and deep blue waters. Among them, the island of Zakynthos has no equal in the Mediterranean. It is indeed one of the only places in Europe where snorkelers have good chances of encountering sea turtles (loggerhead turtles).

They are easily spotted in Laganas Beach, around Cameo Island and in Dafni Beach, and less frequently at Kalamaki Beach and Gerakas Beach. Tiny Marathonisi Island, known for its sea caves, is also a popular snorkeling tour if you are staying on Zakynthos south side.

Loggerhead sea turtle in Cameo Island
A loggerhead sea turtle in Cameo Island. Used to snorkelers, most of them are easy to approach and photograph.

The west coast of the island is also home to great snorkeling spots, the most famous of which are the translucent rocky coves of Korakonissi Beach and Porto Limnionas Beach. Further north, you can also snorkel at Navagio Beach, a beautiful cove surrounded by white cliffs, often considered one of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.

Avlaki, Corfu
Avlaki Peninsula, Corfu.

In Corfu, a few miles only from the Albanian coast, there are countless coves and beaches to explore. But one area is especially recommended: at the eastern tip of the island, Avlaki Beach, Vouvalomantria Beach and Vrachli Beach, nestled in a forest-covered peninsula, offer the best snorkeling in Corfu.

In Kefalonia, Foki Beach is a not to be missed location. Its pine trees and tropical-like setting make it one of the best snorkeling spots in Greece. If you visit Paxos, the twin coves of Galazio Beach and Avlaki Beach offer unparalleled underwater adventures, while Ammoussa Beach and Agiofilli Beach are perhaps the best spots in Lefkada.

Foki Beach Kefalonia
Foki Beach, Kefalonia, offers an enchanting setting and great snorkeling.

The best snorkeling spots in the Cyclades

Dazzling light, crystal-blue sea and whitewashed houses: the Cyclades, an archipelago of more than 250 islands located in the southern Aegean Sea, are a dream for travelers from all over the world.

Known for its scenic beauty, Santorini is not really suitable for shore snorkeling. However, some local diving clubs offer snorkeling trips at the foot of its volcanic cliffs, which are difficult to reach except by the sea.

Known as the « party island », Mykonos has also a lot of history… and snorkeling! Even at Paradise Beach, known for being the party central in Mykonos, there are many fish around the rocky reef facing the beach. Neighboring Paraga Beach also offers good snorkeling. On the wilder southeastern coast, Agia Anna Beach, Lia Beach and Frangias Beach and their lively rocky beds are also recommended.

Pair of wide-eyed flounders in Mykonos
A pair of wide-eyed flounders in Agia Anna Beach, Mykonos.

In Naxos, the largest island of the Cyclades, most of the snorkeling is found on the southwest coast. From north to south, we recommend Alyko Beach, Mikri Vigla and Roos Beach, whose rocky seabeds are full of life.

If you visit the neighboring island of Paros, go lose yourself in the turquoise waters of lagoon-like Kolymbithres Beach. Almost every beach on the island is suitable for snorkeling, including near the harbor, at Parikia Beach.

Pearly razorfish in Parikia Beach
A pearly razorfish in Parikia Beach.

With hundreds of other islands, including Tinos, Ios, Serifos and Milos, the Cyclades offer countless snorkeling opportunities, with hundreds of locations to explore.

The best snorkeling spots in the Dodecanese

The Dodecanese is an archipelago in the Aegean Sea with more than 150 islands, many of them uninhabited.

Anthony Quinn Bay, Rhodes
Anthony Quinn Bay is Rhodes’s most popular snorkeling spot.

The largest -and most famous- is Rhodes, famous for its archaeological sites and its seaside resorts. Many people say Anthony Quinn Bay, near Falikari, has the best snorkeling on the island.

This emerald cove shelters beautiful rocky beds, which you will not get tired of exploring. It can be reached by road (20 minutes by car from Rhodes), or by boat, during small cruises that can be booked anywhere on the coast. Kallithea Beach, 8km further north, is also a good option.

The best snorkeling spots in the Northern Aegean

Just off the coast of Turkey, the islands of the northern Aegean Sea each have their own character. The best known are Thassos and Lesbos, but no matter which island you visit, you will find good snorkeling spots.

Sargo in Mikri Vigla
Sargo is one of the most common fish in the Mediterranean. Here, in Mikri Vigla, Naxos.

In Thassos, Aliki Beach and its three small rocky coves is not to be missed. Also on the south coast, you can get to Thymonia Beach, Livadi Beach, Arsanas Beach and Salonikios Beach.

In Lesbos, Saint Hermogenes cove offers great snorkeling, as well as Tsonia Beach, further north, which is more for advanced snorkelers.

The best snorkeling spots in Crete

The largest of the Greek islands (and the 5th largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus and Corsica) boasts more than 100 beaches along its coastline. Many of them are great snorkeling spots, that you can explore depending on the area of the island you are staying in.

Weever in Itanos, Crete
A weever in Itanos, on Crete’s eastern coast.

Skinaria Beach (or Shinaria Beach), with its rugged underwaterscape and crystal clear water, is often considered one of the best beaches in Crete for snorkeling. Located on the south coast, it is definitely worth a detour if you are visiting the island.

Ágios Nikólaos and its huge bay are also home to many spots, such as Hartalamis Kolimbos Beach rocky cove, close to Voulisma Beach, or the beaches nestled in the Spinalonga Peninsula, near Elounda, with its dazzling natural setting.

At the southwestern tip of Crete, Elafonissi Beach, known for its pink sand and turquoise water, seems to be straight out of a tropical dream. The sandy bottom near the beach, but also the rocks that border the peninsula, support amazing sea life.

What can you see while snorkeling in Greece?

Like everywhere in the Mediterranean, there are no shallow coral reefs in Greece. However, the shore waters offer amazing landscapes and environments, including Posidonia meadows, sandy flats and rocky beds where sea stars, sponges, sea anemones and sea urchins abound.

Mediterranean fish in Andros, Greece
Mediterranean fish in Paralia Kipri, Andros.

Greece has a fascinating and diverse marine life. Wrasse, salema, sargo, mullets and damselfish are easy to spot at snorkeling depth, sometimes a few meters from the shore only. Encounters with small groupers, brown meagre or the discreet Mediterranean parrotfish are frequent, especially in the protected areas.

Several exotic species from the Red Sea, which accidentally reached the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal, have also settled in Greece after having gradually invaded the coasts of Israel, Lebanon and Turkey. They can sometimes be observed at snorkeling depth, especially the rabbitfish, and more rarely the lionfish.

Salema and saddled seabream in Corfu
It is common to see hundreds of salema and saddled seabream on the most crowded beaches, where they are fed by tourists. Here, in Nissaki.

Greece is also one of the few places in Europe with Cyprus where snorkelers have very good chances of spotting sea turtles. They are seen almost exclusively in summer (May to October) along the coast of Zakynthos, the island being the first loggerhead turtle nesting site in the whole Mediterranean.

If you are planning to go snorkeling in Greece soon, we recommend you take with you the excellent Marine Fish Identification Guide – Europe & Mediterranean, which will help you identify the different species of fish you will see during your snorkeling time.

Galazio and Avlaki Beach, Paxos
Galazio Beach and Avlaki Beach, Paxos.

What is the best time of the year to go snorkeling in Greece?

Snorkeling is mainly practiced during the summer in Greece, where the climate is warm and sunny from May to October. July and August hold their highest peak of frequentation, where millions of tourists land on the coast. Daytime temperatures generally exceed 30°C.

The temperature of the water ranges between 20 and 27°C from July to October and around 17°C from May to June. The sea can reach up to 5°C warmer in the southern part of the country (especially in Crete) than along the north coast. Later, in the winter, waters cool sharply- though it rarely drops below 11°C.

Even during summer, we recommend wearing a rashguard, which will protect your back and shoulders from the strong UV radiations that occur in the Mediterranean. Our selection of the best rashguards and wetsuits for snorkeling may help you to make your choice!

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