With azure seas, perfect beaches, great food and plenty of nightlife, Greek beach holidays are hugely popular. But did you know that the best water sports in Greece are up there with some of the top spots worldwide? Check out these top 9 aquatic Greek activity holidays to find out where we recommend for different water sports.
More than 6,000 islands, 13,676 kilometres (8,498 miles) of coast, warm Mediterranean waters, plenty of sunshine and reliable winds are the perfect ingredients for water sports. But Greece offers so much more – it is a beautiful land of utter enchantment.
Greece provides for almost every type of visitor from the 18-30 party crowd to retirees. Think whitewashed coastal villages, stunning food and warm hospitality. Add culture, mental party scenes and well developed tourist infrastructure and it’s clear aquatic Greek activity holidays offer it all.
A holiday in Greece offers destinations ranging from cheap and lively to expensive and sophisticated, from family orientated to romantic and remotely secluded to exceptionally busy. Furthermore, Greece is a cheap and convenient option from the UK and Europe.
On the water you can expect reliable wind during the summer for sailing, kiteboarding and windsurfing, plus more than enough blustery days the rest of the year. But the best water sports in Greece don’t only rely on the wind blowing. You can also kayak, paddle board, wakeboard, water ski and scuba dive.
If you like your activities to be wet and wild then check out the below options. We have broken it down by the most popular activities, choseing a top spot for each and recommending a few others.
Pounda on Paros is a regular stop on the world kitesurfing tour and regarded as one of the best kite spots in Europe. The shallow water sandy beach is free of obstacles and is perfect for all levels of kitesurfer. Not only is it a good spot to learn but you’ll also see pros testing out new tricks and people getting to grips with kitefoiling.
During the summer the water is warm enough to ride in shorts and vest. And year round you can expect four or five windy days a week in the 12 to 35 knots range. Conditions are best and most reliable when the thermal winds get up from May through to September.
Other top kitesurfing spots include Prasonisi on Rhodes, Marmari on Kos, Vasiliki on Lefkada, Keros Bay in Lemnos and Cape Drepano near Patras.
Paros could have been our suggestion for windsurfing too… But Vasiliki, on the southern tip of Lefkada in the Ionian islands overlooking Kefalonia, gets our vote. Why? Because it’s amazing for all levels, with one of the biggest and best windsurf centres on the planet providing world-class tuition including for foiling.
It’s one of the best Greece windsurf destinations as it works for windsurfers of all abilities and ages. This is because the wind shifts direction and strengthens during the day. So the morning offers lighter on-shore breezes for those learning, and the afternoon provides stronger cross-shore wind and chop for the more experienced.
Other top windsurfing spots include Prasonisi and Ixia Bay on Rhodes, Golden Beach on Paros, Mikri Vigla on Naxos, Issos Beach or St. George on Corfu, and Loutsa near Athens.
The protected flat waters of Elounda bay have some of the best conditions to water ski and wakeboard in Greece. You can hire the gear, get lessons or just book some boat time to get some practice in. The popular resort has a great nightlife with plenty of pubs, bars and clubs.
But if you want a more relaxing experience book a beach villa in Crete, you can then drive to Elounda to hit the water. While on Crete there are Minoan ruins such as the Palace of Knossos that are worth a visit as part of your aquatic Greek activity holidays.
Other popular wake and water ski spots include Lavrion near Athens, Agios Ioannis on Paros, Mikri Vigla on Naxos, Prasonissi on Rhodes, Vasiliki on Lefkada and Ftelia on Mykonos
If you are going to sail in Greece then you’ll want to explore a few islands. Perhaps start in the stunning island of Zante (Zakynthos) whose stunning beaches and dramatic cliffs make quite a backdrop. Visit the Blue Caves and the famous Navagio (shipwreck) beach, which are only accessible by boat.
Sail north to the romantic island of Kefalonia where beautiful scenery and tasty food can be enjoyed at the many harbours dotted along the coast. Be sure to try Kefalonia meat pie! Finally head onto Lefkada where you could tag on a kiteboarding or windsurfing holiday!
Other popular island chains to sail include Cyclades, Dodecanese, Saronic, and the Sporades. You could also explore the coast of the mainland.
If you are looking for one of the best dive spots in Europe then the Island of Chios offers a spectacular amount of variety. There are large colorful reefs, underwater caves to explore, spectacular wrecks, impressive vertical walls and interesting underwater rock formations.
European scuba diving holidays Sardinia one of the best dive spots in europe Flickr CC image by rolandschmidlin
With good visibility, minimal currents, shallow depths and reasonable temperatures there are plenty of dive sites that are suited to beginners. The diving is best between April and October so perfect for summer aquatic Greek activity holidays.
You’ll find other great dive spots in Antiparos, Corfu, Crete, Halkidiki, Kefalonia, Lefkada, Lesvos, Mykonos, Paros, Rhodes, Santorini, Thassos and Zante.
While sea kayaking around the Greek Islands is spectacular, we have gone inland for some world class wilderness white water action. The Aracthos River and its various tributaries offer a wealth of class III rapids hidden away in remote valleys and deep canyons.
The Greek mainland is relatively untouched by international kayakers and the locals don’t get that involved either. Meaning the birthplace of western society has untouched waterways awaiting intrepid paddlers. Gene 17 kayaking offers some organised kayaking trips to the region.
You’ll also find great kayaking in the seas around Corfu, Crete, Kefalonia, Milos Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini and Zante. Inland Kremaston Lake, Plastira Lake and Lyras Lake are also great spots.
Greece is not known for surfing, in most places you are far more likely to get flat water than anything approaching a descent swell. But Kolymbithra beach on Tinos is said to offer the top Greek surfing during summer, so it’s one of the best water sports in Greece.
Kolymbithra is a stunning north-facing horseshoe bay that hoovers up the northerly ‘Meltemi’ windswells that dominate the Aegean during the summer. The result is that you can surf on Tonos from May to August. Waves are small and require a large foam board, but these are available to rent on the beach.
The biggest surf can be found in western Crete and Lagouvardos Beach (Peloponnese) during the winter. You can also summer surf at Agios Nikolaos Beach and Arkassa Beach on Karpathos and Messakti Beach on Ikaria.
Stand up paddle boarding has taken the world by storm and Greece is no different. You can hire a board or take SUP lessons in most resorts, and as there are generally calm conditions, good weather and often a lack of excessive currents it is safer here than other parts of the world. But always listen to guidance and use safety equipment.
How about paddle boarding around an island for one of the best aquatic Greek activity holidays? You could camp on deserted beaches or stay in a different village each night. Of course it would take careful planning to work with the tides, avoid dangerous currents and shipping channels etc.
Hopefully the above breakdown of aquatic sports in Greece helps you to decide where to go for your next trip. You probably noticed that some of the same destinations pop up for multiple activities. So you could try many of the above sports in Paros, Rhodes, Lefkada, Crete and many other places in Greece.
We hope you found this guide to the best water sports in Greece useful and interesting. If the top 9 aquatic Greek activity holidays have inspired you then check out our Greece adventure travel page for more ideas.