For the wow factor: Simos beach
Ask any Greek local for their favourite beaches in the country (never mind the Peloponnese) and chances are they’ll namedrop Simos on Elafanisos – and it’s not hard to see why. An idyllic sliver of white sand between two islands with crescents of shimmering blue on either side, it looks more like the Caribbean than somewhere in Europe. Divers can explore the ancient sunken city of Pavlopetri, an archeological site that dates back to around 3000BC and there’s windsurfing if the weather is right. Visit in the winter months when the visitor numbers drop and there are only a few hundred locals living on the island.
For photographers: Selinitsa beach
Instagram at the ready – it doesn’t get much more dramatic than swimming in the shadow of a rust-orange shipwreck. The Dimitrios was abandoned there in 1981 and is slowly crumbling into the ocean, its submerged hull is now home to a variety of sea life. Make sure you leave time to visit the beautiful port town of Gytheio nearby and try the plates of fresh fish at Saga restaurant, which also has rooms if you enjoy the slow pace of life.
For history buffs: Voidokilia beach
Greeks may hold a special place in their hearts for Voidokilia beach because it’s shaped like the letter omega (Ω). But it’s also a dreamy destination that’s part of a protected nature reserve. Ancient poet Homer was a fan – he even wrote about the cove in his masterpiece Odyssey. The beach is sheltered from the wind by dunes and you combine two beaches in one visit by heading to 1.5 kilometre-long Divari beach and the Gialova lagoon – a pitstop for migratory birds where you can do some twitching in spring and autumn.
For sporty types: Lagouvardos Beach
Surfers flock to this sheltered Greek beach to catch a wave and soak up some rays. Surfing school Beach Break teaches first-timers the ropes and rents boards to seasoned pros. For those who prefer things a little slower, there’s also Stand Up Paddleboarding. The beach itself is wide and sandy, on the west coast of the Peloponnese – perfect for relaxing with a cocktail and an awesome sunset at the end of a long day riding the waves.
For laid-back travellers: Gerolimenas beach
With boats bobbing on crystal blue water, weathered buildings on the harbour and an immaculate white pebble beach, Gerolimenas has been stuck in a time warp for the last 50 years. Chances are, you won’t see a soul in the middle of the day so pack a picnic in case you find the town shut. It’s a bit out of the way (on the middle ‘finger’ of the Peloponnese) but so worth it.