If you’re looking to spend a few days beach hopping, there may be no better place in the world to do so than the Greek Islands.

Greece is renowned for the beauty and quality of its beaches, and with a mind-boggling 1,200 to 6,000 islands (estimates vary due to differing definitions of minimum size), there are a lot of beaches—and many different types of beaches—to choose from. In the Greek Islands, waters range in color from deep cobalt blue to dazzling turquoise; their shores offer everything from powder-soft white sand to otherworldly rock formations; and their towns run the gamut from tiny fishing villages to luxurious party destinations.

While ideally your tour would take a year (or forever), we’re giving you an itinerary for a quick four-day jaunt around the Cyclades, one of six major clusters of islands in Greece. So Καλό ταξίδι!, or “have a nice trip” in Greek!

Day 1: Paros

Kolymbithres Beach
Photo credit: Kostas Limitsios/Flickr

Kolymbithres Beach

With its typical Cycladic whitewashed towns, quaint fishing villages, and jaw-dropping beaches, Paros is a fantastic introduction to the Greek Islands.

One of the most famous beaches in Paros is Kolymbithres, located in Naoussa Bay. Kolymbithres, which means “swimming pools,” is known for its strange, moon-like rock formations which have been sculpted by the sea and wind over centuries. The area is filled with small sandy coves and the water is clear. Get there early and you may even get lucky and score your own little cove! Sun loungers and umbrellas can be hired at some of the beaches. There are a few beach bars and small trattorias where you can grab a bite to eat.

Stay: Aella Residence

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Aella Residence, Paros

Conveniently located near the center of Naoussa, Aella Residence is a beautifully decorated boutique hotel offering 16 double rooms and suites. Rooms are cozy and feature a balcony or terrace, fridge, flat-screen TV, brand new bathrooms, and daily maid service. The staff is friendly, and there is a beautiful pool, small bar, and a delicious daily breakfast (try the coconut cake!).

Day 2: Naxos

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Agios Prokopios Beach

Our next stop is Naxos, just 30 minutes away from Paros by ferry. The largest of the Cyclades, Naxos is known for its long sandy beaches and fertile interior, which produces a number of foods including olives, grapes, figs, and citrus fruit. The island is also great for travelers seeking a little more action; thanks to strong winds that blow in the afternoon, Naxos’ western coastline is ideal for kitesurfing and windsurfing.

For those that want a more relaxing day at the beach (raises hand), Plaka, Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, Orkos, and Mikri Vigla are all excellent options. In fact, some consider Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna to be the most beautiful beaches in Greece. While you likely won’t have these beaches to yourself, some of them are long enough that you can find a stretch without many people.

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Plaka Beach

Stay: Iria Beach Art Hotel

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Iria Beach Art Hotel, Naxos

Situated on beautiful Agia Anna beach is the Iria Beach Art Hotel. Each of this family-owned hotel’s 23 rooms offers air conditioning, a modern bathroom, an espresso machine, and soundproof windows and doors. There is an on-site restaurant, spa, fantastic homemade buffet breakfast, and an excellent staff; the hotel is also within walking distance of lots of great restaurants.

Day 3: Ios

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Manganari Beach

An hour ferry ride from Naxos, the small island of Ios is filled with rolling hills, beautiful whitewashed buildings, and over 75 kilometers (46.6 miles) of gorgeous beaches. Ios’ beaches are known for their white sand and sparkling turquoise waters and many are quite secluded, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy some peace and quiet—if they work for it.

One of the most famous beaches on Ios is Manganari, located on the southernmost point of the island. For more seclusion, consider heading to Papas, Psathi, Kambaki, or Tripiti.

Stay: Brother’s Hotel

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Brother’s Hotel, Ios

Brother’s Hotel is located in the tranquil Kampos Valley and is just a short walk from Yialos Beach. The hotel offers 17 modern, spotless rooms that are simple but a great value. There is a beautiful pool and seating area, and a fresh breakfast is served every day. While the location and facilities are excellent, it’s the service that keeps guests coming back again and again; Brother’s is run by hosts Nicki and Lisa who are known for being extremely friendly and helpful.

Day 4: Milos

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Sarakiniko Beach

Last but certainly not least is Milos, a quiet, rugged island about three hours from Ios. It’s easy to use superlatives when describing Greece’s beaches, but Milos truly has some of the most spectacular beaches in the country. And, with over 70 beaches on the island, there is lots of beauty to take in.

One of Milos’ most famous beaches is Sarakiniko, known for its incredible sculpted white rock formations set against striking turquoise and cobalt-blue water. Sarakiniko been called the most photographed landscape in the Aegean Sea. Try to visit Sarakiniko at night, too, especially if the moon is full; the white rocks reflect the moonlight, creating a truly magical atmosphere.

Another great destination is Firopotamos, a small, gorgeous beach and charming village. And don’t miss Kleftiko, known for its castle-like rock formations that can only be reached by sea.

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Firiplaka Beach

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Kleftiko Beach

Stay: Heliotropio Studios & Apartments

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Heliotropio Studios & Apartments

Located just a few meters from the sea in the village of Pollonia, Heliotropio Studios & Apartments consists of two neighboring buildings, one with studios and apartments and the other with newly-constructed double rooms. Many of the studios, apartments, and rooms have a full or partial sea view, and all enable guests to wake up to the sound of the waves every day.  There is also a rooftop terrace with sun loungers and umbrellas, dock, breakfast room, private garden, and free laundry service.

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