Pool or beach? Where to go swimming in Greece?

underwater at sea in Greece, blue and clear like a swimming pool

Greece is full of hotels and apartments for tourists. Even the tiniest village in a good location has many accommodations to offer. In the mountains, on the coast, or in an idyllic traditional whitewashed house. Luxury, budget, or all-inclusive. With a swimming pool or without. Too much to choose from, and when you travel to Greece for the first time, you might not know what to expect. Do you need a swimming pool in Greece? Or is a sweet-water swim just a waste of money?

My experience

The first time I went to Greece, I paid extra for a swimming pool whenever I had the option. I used to believe that although the beaches of Greece might offer refreshments, a good swim requires an artificial pool. However, I barely used any of them. It turns out that the Greek sea is often like a swimming pool, but better. With clear, blue calm water at a pleasant temperature.

Over the years, I started to understand when it is worth paying for accommodation with a sweet water bath and when it is simply not. This summer, with just one night at a hotel with a pool, I was able to swim pleasantly on 100% of my 45 days in Greece.

When can you swim in the Greek sea?

The Greek seas, unfortunately, are not always comfortable to swim in. Water temperatures differ per region and even per beach. But in general, temperatures in Greece allow for swimming from half May till October.

When you visit Greece outside of this period, and you want to swim, a heated pool is what you’re looking for. But during the warmer months, the temperature of the seawater might be even more pleasant than water in an artificial pool. Booking accommodation with a pool is often just a waste of money in summer. Especially when you, either way, want to stay at the coast.

Why stay around the coast?

During summer, it is better to choose accommodation close to the sea. Especially when you are used to a colder climate. Temperatures in Greece are generally high but always lower at the coast. Inland there is less wind and more humidity. The temperature can be around 5 degrees Celcius higher compared to the shore. Besides, after a hot day, the evenings at the beach cool down much quicker after sunset.

The Greek sea is not an ocean

Since it is preferable to stay in the coastal regions of Greece in summer, you will always be close to the sea. When a refreshing jump at a free beach is near, a pool becomes completely unnecessary.

You might fear cold water, rough waves, and sea creatures, but in Greece a bad sea day is rare. The sea around Greece is the Mediterranean. This sea is almost fully enclosed by land. Because of this, the tides are minimal, and waves simply do not have enough space to become big. 

Besides, many of the Greek beaches are located in bays, either small or big. Here, land encloses an even smaller body of water, protecting it against wind and currents. This again results in fewer waves and, in general, very calm waters.

As a result, the Greek sea, with very few exceptions, is like a swimming pool. This is a saying many Greeks use, but one that is actually true. A natural swimming pool without waves and currents. Filled with clear and clean turquoise water.

Temperature-wise, the Greek sea is similar to the swimming pools in Greece. With an average of 250 days of sunshine, the Greeks often heat their warm water with sunlight. Pools, as well as the sea, are heated in the same way. The only difference is the amount of water that is heated. The Greek sun is strong enough to increase the seawater temperature to an average of 26 degrees, the perfect temperature for swimming. A benefit is that seawater cools down much slower than pool water at night because of the size, making a night or morning swim more pleasant at sea.

Benefits of the sea

  • Good for your skin. 
    Going for a refreshing jump into the sea is proven to be good for your skin. Salt opens your pores and works as a natural scrub. But there are other minerals too. Magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Salt water works antibacterial and may even help with skin conditions such as eczema. Besides, there are no added chemicals in seawater. Chlorine used in pools might harm your skin.
  • More relaxing. 
    Swimming pools always seem to amplify the noise around. Screaming children and splashing water, there is no way to avoid them. At the beach, however, you do not hear these noises. Sand filters the sound around, and often the only thing you hear is the crashing of the waves. Besides, a beach offers more space and is less packed. You can read your book in peace or just enjoy the sound of the sea. 
  • Sustainable. 
    A swimming pool consumes about 2,000 and 3,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year without considering heating. This is more than double the amount a single person uses at home in a year! The sea, on the other hand, requires no energy. So if you want a sustainable refreshment, the beach is where you want to go.
  • Fewer insects. 
    Without the use of any chemicals, the beach is a natural insect repeller. The lack of flowering plants at the beach makes this an uninteresting place for insects. 
  • Unique. 
    In Greece, there are sandy beaches, pebble stone beaches, and marble beaches. There are beaches surrounded by red or white cliffs, forests, or caves. And even the sea water seems different in all of them. Every beach is unique because of the nature that surrounds it, and often this nature is incredibly beautiful!

Children

As a parent, you might want to stay at a place with a pool. This might feel safer for your children. In a smaller environment, they are easier to watch while you don’t have to fear deep seas and waves. However, in this case, I would advise you to choose a children-friendly beach instead.

There are many areas in Greece where the sea is very shallow. Your child has to walk 100 meters into the water before he, or she, can not stand anymore. You will have plenty of time to respond before something goes wrong. Also good to know is that many of the popular beaches have a lifeguard during most of the day for extra safety.

Many of the more popular beaches in Greece provide an in-sea playground for children. With waterslides, trampolines, and obstacle courses. These beaches are the perfect place to amuse both young and older children.

Besides, the sand on a beach is a sound absorber. You don’t have to listen to other children playing around. Instead, you can read your book in peace and enjoy the nature around you.

Children-friendly beach in Elafonisos

Here is a list of family-friendly beaches around Greece, but there are many more, all around the country.

When do you want a swimming pool?

The sea in Greece makes an artificial pool a waste of both energy and money. However, there are a few cases in which you might want to consider sweet water swimming in Greece. 

  • Staying inland in summer. When you plan on staying inland during the summer months, a pool is a good option. When the beach is far away and temperatures reach 40 degrees (100 F), you want a closeby refreshment. Inland temperatures can feel unbearable due to a lack of wind and higher humidity. 
  • Between October and May. During these months, you should not expect to swim pleasantly in the Greek seawater. However, check if the accommodation’s pool is actively heated since many Greeks use the sun’s heat to increase the temperature of the water.
  • If your children beg for a pool. Younger children do not really care about sustainability, the beauty of nature, or the health of their skin. When they keep requesting a pool I guess you just have to give in. However, use the holiday to make them experience all the fun the sea has to offer. Next year they will beg for the beach!

Do you agree that swimming in the sea in Greece is better than a pool? Or do you believe the opposite? Let us know in the comments below!

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