If you are looking to surf fun waves, embrace a rich culture and eat amazing food, you may want to consider Greece for your next surf trip.
The best time of year to find waves in Greece is from November to April. Winter time provides the most swell activity in the mediterranean. However, Ikaria Island is a well known surf destination and gets good swell in the summer. Greece has four seasons. The average water temperature in the winter is 62F and the average for the summer is 78F. If you decide to visit Crete, the temperature increases a bit given it is the southernmost point in the country and close to Libya. The perfect wetsuit to bring is a 4/3 in the winter and you just need a bathing suit in the summer. Your board of choice can vary from a shortboard to a longboard. If you are in Athens, it will be helpful to visit the Secret Spot surf shop for any surf essentials. The shop is located in the southern part of Athens near Vouliagmeni beach.
Vouliagmeni Beach is the Greek surf hub and it is said that the first Greek waves were surfed here. This break is reminiscent of Waikiki. The waves are soft and long. It is best to bring a longboard when it is small and a shortboard when it’s above 3ft. On a south wind swell this beach becomes completely packed with surfers catching incredibly long rides. The waves break very far out on good days and reform several times. If you are a beginner and would like some lessons in Athens, go to the Greek Surfing Academy. The Owner, Isidoros Plytas, has a great team of instructors. After your session, make a stop at Louizidis, an excellent Greek restaurant in Vouliagmeni. Around the corner from Vouliagmeni is another beach called Varkiza. This beach has surfing and all your water sporting needs. The owner of the Varkiza surf resort, Pavlos, is Greece’s best Surfer and a knowledgeable waterman.
The most common swell patterns are created by northwest winds that blow through the Adriatic sea between Italy and Croatia. This is a consistent wind path and brings frequent swell to the southern Peloponnese area. South winds that blow from Egypt and Libya are the least common but make for optimal swell at premier breaks. Your best bet to ensure you will find waves is to check out Lagouvardos beach. It pulls the most swell in the country. It is a 3 hour drive southwest from Athens and has several points along the way where you have to pay the National Highway toll. If you see there is swell tracking, it is worth a 4-5 day stay. Lagouvardos is a classic peaky beachbreak and fairly punchy. On its best days it throws a proper barrel. Get there early for the best surf conditions since the afternoon wind tends to pick up quickly. However, when the wind increases, the swell usually peaks since there are only windswell events in the Mediterranean. Swells tend to drop off quickly due to the limited area the swell is able to travel in a sea versus in the ocean. The water is very high in salinity and the tides hardly fluctuate. The surfers of Greece surf for 8 hours at a time because the tides don't bottom out and the conditions stay consistent throughout the day.
Down the road from Lagouvardos is a world class break called Kalo Nero. It is a perfect A-frame reef break with excellent shape and is Greece's version of lower trestles. The right is the high performance side allowing you to fit 5 turns into sharp coral heads while the left breaks solid off the first section then starts to go wide into a channel. The wave allows for tight carves, barrels and air sections. You can also board a ferry and head to Ikaria if you are visiting in the summer. The Ikaria Surf School is an epic place that offers yoga, hiking, and SUP. This Island is of legendary status and garnered its attention from the lengthy lifespans of its inhabitants making it a blue zone on the globe.
Crete is a special island that sits at the bottom of the Aegean sea and has an amazing stretch of coastline. The island is the largest in all of Greece and gets exposed to great waves. The west side has many great surf spots ranging from beach breaks to reef breaks. Chania is the second largest and most inviting city in Crete. It is an old venetian town with great surfing year round. Check out Stalos beach and their surf school, Surfing Crete. Alex Fatseas is the owner and has a wonderful facility on the beach with everything you would need. West of there and a bit further down the beach is a phenomenal surf spot called platanias. It’s a small harbor mouth with a jetty and has excellent peaks. However, this break can max out easier than most other spots nearby leading to big closeouts. This spot is always a lot bigger than it seems once you're in the water. If you are up for the adventure, you can head to Paleochora, the best wave on the island. It is a 90 minute drive towards the southwest tip. Paleochora is a small town with an excellent reef break that can handle any sized swell. It is considered to be a world class wave and you can enjoy a spectacular scenic drive on the way there. When you are done surfing and ready for a traditional Greek feast, head to To Stachi in Chania. The owners are local Cretans and all of their fresh vegetarian ingredients are locally sourced from their farm. Don't forget to order the Boureki!