Greece is known for its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and ancient history. However, what many people don’t realize is that Greece can also be a unique destination for surfing. Surrounded by six different seas with over 10,000 miles of coastline across its 6,000 islands, Greece has plenty of shoreline exposed to swells.
Although surfing is not as popular as windsurfing or kitesurfing in Greece, the country has seen a rise in surfing clubs across the islands in recent years. Although perhaps a more novelty spot for surf tourism, there’s something to be said for exploring outside the norm in terms of surf travel.
In this article, we will explore the best surfing spots in Greece, the ideal time to surf, and some tips for beginners. Whether you are a seasoned surfer or just starting out, Greece has something to offer for everyone. So grab your board and get ready to ride the waves in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
In a nutshell:
- Decent swells for the Mediterranean
- Lots of spots to choose from
- Beautiful region with lots to do after surfing
- Short swell windows
- Weaker windswell waves – bring thicker or longer boards
- Best surfing isn’t during warmer months
Check out this video from Nixon. Barrels…in Greece?
Best Surfing Spots in Greece
One of the most popular and surf-spot-dense areas to surf in Greece is the region known as Epirus. Situated on the western side of the country facing the Ionian, Mediterranean and Adriatic sea, it’s open to swells coming from the West and the South. It typically receives some of the more long period and larger swells the country sees. Crete is another popular destination for some waves as it can also capture those longer period swells.
Athens itself can get some marginally small waves, as well as the Aegean islands which tend to get mostly windswell from the northerly “Meltemi” winds. If you happen to be on the more tourist centric island such as Naxos, Rhodes and Kos, you can catch some of the northerly windswell generated by these winds.
Tucked under some impressive cliffs lies Kastro, where the waves wrap around a point and hit a shallower reef allowing it to jack up and give it a bit more punch than many other waves in the region. This is probably one of the better waves in Greece, offering a fairly rippable shoulder. The wave can get a bit crowded but the locals are rather friendly for the most part. Kastro is in the town of Parga, which has been called the Hawaii of the Ionian Sea.
Ammoudia Right and Left
20 km south of Parga is the small town of Ammoudia. A large parking lot with public access makes this an easy to find place. The right works best when southwest swells hit the headland sandbar. It’s a more beachbreak style wave here with a bit more consistency than average for the area. Ammoudia Left breaks on the northwest swells that are generated mostly by local wind weather events. There is a rivermouth here that can end up forming a pointbreak style wave that can get fun.
A beachbreak along a sandy stretch dotted by homes, this is one of the more consistent true beachbreaks in Greece. The offshore winds typically come from the northeast, but cross shore breezes offer no shelter. Both groundswells and windswells are equally probable, with the optimal swell direction being from the southwest. This beach break offers both left- and right-hand waves, and surfers can enjoy decently fun conditions at any tide. Despite the consistency, crowds are not bad. However, there are some rips that can form here so be aware. Easy parking.
Need protection from northwest winds? Little Bay offers some protection here. The rocky beach break is sheltered a bit, but the rocks can be a bit treacherous to contend with. Nonetheless, this is a great option when other spots are blown out.
A left reef point, Mytikas will line up best in summer when the west and northwest wind swells kick up. However, it’s fickle and can easily get blown out.
If you’re in Athens, Vouliagmeni beach is the place to go. Featuring small but decently consistent windswell, it also has a bigger crowd factor to deal with simply for being in a metropolitan area. Great for beginners and longboarders.
On the Aegean Sea in Eastern Greece, Asprovalta is a beach break favoring the winter months. It’s considered one of the more reliable spots in the area.
On Crete there are a handful of spots that can capture some of the longer west swells and the local windswell chop from the north and south. Preveli is one of those spots, along with Falasama and Chania.
Surfing Conditions in Greece
Wind and Swell Patterns
Greece offers a variety of surfing conditions, but the best time to surf is during the winter months from November to March. During this time, the Epirus region is able to capture the southwest and west swells for more powerful and longer period surf. Winter winds tend to blow from the northeast all the way to the southeast, providing offshore conditions to groom the shorter period swells into some fun, shreddable surf.
There are also some good surf spots on the east coast of Greece in the Aegean, but they are more exposed to the wind and are better during the summer months. The wind direction during the summer is from the northerly Meltemi winds, and the best surf spots capture these short windswells.
When the conditions are perfect, swells can last 2-3 days. However, a 1 day swell window is usually the norm thanks to the smaller size of the surrounding seas.
The water temperature in Greece varies depending on the season. During the winter months, the water temperature can drop to around 14°C (57°F), while during the summer months, the water temperature can rise to around 25°C (77°F). It is recommended to wear a wetsuit during the winter months, and a shorty or boardshorts during the summer months.
Crowds and Localism
Traditional surfing is not very popular in Greece, and there are not many surfers in the water. However, during the summer months, the beaches can get crowded with tourists. It is important to respect the locals and the surf etiquette, especially in the more popular surf spots. Localism is not a big issue in Greece, but it is always better to be respectful and avoid any conflicts.
Greek Vibe Check – Surf Culture and History
Surfing is a relatively new sport in Greece, with the first surfers appearing in the 1990s. The first surf spots were discovered on the island of Crete, where the waves were perfect for surfing. Since then, the sport has grown in popularity, and more and more surfers are discovering the beauty of surfing in Greece.
The Greek surf community is small, but it is growing rapidly. There are now surf schools and surf camps in many of the top surf spots, which are helping to introduce more people to the sport. The Greek Surfing Association was established in 2003, and it is now a member of the International Surfing Association. This has helped to raise the profile of surfing in Greece and has also helped to attract more surfers to the country.
The surfing culture in Greece is very friendly and welcoming. Most surfers are happy to share their knowledge and experience with others, and there is a real sense of camaraderie among the surfing community. Surfing is seen as a way of life, and many surfers in Greece are passionate about protecting the environment and keeping the beaches clean. They’re also passionate and proud of their coastline.
One of the unique aspects of surfing in Greece is the combination of surfing with the rich history and culture of the country. Many of the top surf spots are located near ancient ruins and historic sites, which makes for a truly unique and unforgettable surfing experience.
Things to do if you’re not surfing
One of the top attractions in Greece is the Acropolis, which dominates the skyline of Athens. The complex is made from glittering marble and used to be the site of the famous statue. The Acropolis is a must-visit attraction for anyone in Greece. Another great thing to do in Greece is to hike to the top of Mount Olympus. Known in Greek mythology as the home of the gods, Mount Olympus is the tallest mountain in Greece, standing at an impressive 9,570 feet tall. The hike to the top is challenging, but the views are absolutely breathtaking.
For those looking for a more relaxed activity, a visit to the Cyclades is a must. This group of islands is located in the Aegean Sea and is known for its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters. Santorini, one of the most popular islands in the Cyclades, is famous for its white-washed buildings and stunning sunsets. Another great island to visit is Mykonos, which is known for its lively nightlife and beautiful beaches.
Surfing in Greece is a unique and exciting experience that should not be missed. With its beautiful beaches and clear waters, Greece offers excellent conditions for surfers of all levels. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer, you will find waves that suit your skill level and preferences.
Some of the best beaches for surfing in Greece include Kolymbithres in Tinos, Leivada in Tinos, and Vai Beach in Crete. These beaches offer excellent waves and beautiful scenery, making them perfect for a surfing adventure.
If you are planning a trip to Greece, be sure to pack your surfboard and experience the thrill of surfing in the Mediterranean. With its warm waters, stunning beaches, and friendly locals, Greece is a great destination for surfers looking for a unique and unforgettable experience.