Sea views, sunsets, and sultry, starry nights – the essential elements of a romantic holidayin Greece are very accessible. But it’s not as easy as you might think to find a hotel that lets the scenery do the talking.
Plenty of hotels in Greece know how to put on the rose-petal-strewn ritz for lovers and newlyweds. But we think the places with real sex appeal are the ones that are naturally comfortable in their own (naked, sun-kissed) skin.
Quietly seductive rather than desperate to impress, these romantic Greek hotels all have a distinctive personality and a strong sense of place. You don’t have to be on honeymoon in Greece to fall for their charms, but it would be a shame to stay at these hotels solo.
Best for: laid-back luxury
The black sand beach you spy on arrival might not match your preconceived notions of Crete, but don’t fret. Here, you’ll find Numo, an adults-only resort that wraps around the Mediterranean coastline. The nature of the island’s southern end inspired the hotel’s design, with a muted colour palette and pared-back design. While the finishing touches could be improved, Numo has achieved a sense of serenity with its design.
We took full advantage of the sun loungers sprinkled across the grounds, alternating between seaside and poolside. This village-like spot successfully makes everything easy, whether strolling to one of the restaurants for a meal, ordering a cocktail on the beach or enjoying a free 15-minute massage, making for the perfect romantic getaway.
Price: from about £200 per night
Best for: knockout views and sushi
Nicknamed the supermodel of the Greek Islands, it’s only fitting that A-list favourite Nobu plants a flag in a prime position on Santorini. Its volcanic cliff location boasts a rarity on the island – crowd-free sunset views from private balconies with jacuzzis. If that doesn’t shout romance, the main restaurant, right by the pool area, will seduce you with its black miso cod, wagyu dumplings and new-style sashimi.
Breakfast is served until a generous 12pm, allowing for leisurely lie-ins in the traditional Greek cave-style rooms – all enjoy ocean views while some have their own jacuzzi or pool. Read our full Nobu Santorini review.
Price: from about £448 per night
Best for: secluded luxury
A world away from the party animals and tacky tat of Mykonos town, newcomer Cali was born from a simple vision: create a hotel that’s "ultra-luxe", ‘ultra-secluded" and one that in no way imposes on the landscape. The result is supremely sexy, lazy, hazy summer cool. Rooms are a picture of Cycladic chic, with raw materials and white walls adorned with Greek-only art. All have private terraces with unobstructed views of the coast. For a blow-out stay, the deluxe pool suites come with a salt-water pool, sunbeds and a stylish pergola-topped lounge area spread across a mammoth terrace.
For more swimming, there’s a private beach and curvaceous pool of Olympic propositions. Food here is eco-minded, catch-of-the-day dining – organic chicken with zucchini cream, baby calamari with cod’s roe and ouzo jellies. A spa with a hammam and treat rooms is still to come. Until then, you can book in-room massages using all-natural products. Read our full Cali Mykonos review.
Price: from about £1000 per night
Best for: authentic island vibes
The location is legendary and rooms are spread across four stone buildings arranged to create an intimate vision of a typical Sifnos village. Some come with balconies and secluded courtyards, others have private or plunge pools. Food is a big deal here, with a laser focus on local ingredients and cooking techniques, married with a firm commitment to zero waste.
Lunch might include crab salad with crunchy raw courgette and carrot doused with a zesty dill dressing, as well as classic dishes such as taramasalata. For a romantic gesture, reservations manager Konstantina Sarela can arrange a private RIB cruise to explore the island's crystal waters. Read our full Nos, Sifnos review.
Price: from about £258 per night
Best for: relaxation
Hidden in the shadows of pine-forested Mount Ainos, F Zeen (which means “the good life” in ancient Greek) is an adults-only wellness hotel without an ounce of pretension. The retreat is based on the concept of connecting with nature, respecting the environment and refocusing on the here and now. Sustainability is everywhere you look, as is a range of exercise classes and wellness activities, from personal training sessions and yoga and meditation classes to snorkelling, paddle boarding and mountain hikes.
Follow it up with a session at the subterranean spa, or a dip in one of three separate swimming pools. The glittering ocean is just steps away, with private sunbeds and views of Zakynthos in the distance. Read our full F Zeen, Kefalonia review.
Price: from about £414 per night
Best for: laid-back romance
Set on a private beachfront on the north of Kos, Oku embodies relaxed minimalism, with hotel rooms housed in whitewashed buildings, and everything at ground level (aside from the few rooms that have two floors). Couples should book into one of the swim-up suites, where fringed hammocks hang from private terraces and overlook a pool shared with just two other rooms.
A stay here feels like moving into a very chic village, where you have easy access to a spa and restaurant, and your well-dressed neighbours (adults-only) are also there to soak up the tranquillity for a few nights. Read our full Oku Kos review.
Price: from about £168 per night
Best for: Private dining à deux, paired with exuberant wines from the hotel’s sister winery, Vassaltis Vineyards
Santorini has been so successful at selling itself as a destination for loved-up couples that it can sometimes feel like a theme park for honeymooners. Not The Vasilicos, a hotel with genuine heart and soul. This seven-suite hideaway, teetering on the edge of the cliffside village of Imerovigli, used to be the summer house of Vassilis Valambous, a bon viveur who loved to entertain friends and family.
His daughter Daphne Valambous’s immaculate taste is evident in every thoughtful detail: regal purple parasols, wildflower bouquets, bedside volumes of Greek poetry. Suites are far roomier and airier than Santorini’s typical cave houses and yes, most do have the obligatory plunge pool with giddying caldera views. (The others share a sleek heated pool.)
Price: from about £290 per night
Best for: Stargazing to a soundtrack of sighing waves
When Anita Papantoniou first visited Koufonisia 30 years ago, there was not much but a huddle of whitewashed cottages. The only way to get there was on the Skopelitis Express, a hardy little ferry boat that still services the Small Cyclades, a constellation of tiny, time-warp islands. These days, high-speed catamarans churn up the milky-blue harbour and chic villas have replaced spartan rooms to let. But this low-slung island ringed by fluorescent bays still has an easy, go-slow charm.
Papantoniou (who also created the lovely Corona Borealis hotel on nearby Naxos) spent years perfecting this discreet retreat. Four houses surrounded by stone walls are furnished with family heirlooms, handmade ceramics and vintage textiles. Named after the Greek god of love, Eros Keros is quietly romantic without a hint of schmaltz.
Price: from about £215 per night
Best for: Infinite views and thoughtful staff
Slotted into a burnished hillside, this low-key hotel is all about tuning out the noise of modern life. There’s nothing around but the distant smudge of white Greek villages and islands hovering on the horizon. No sounds but hypnotic cicadas, jangling goat bells and the clink of ice cubes in your glass of rosé as you ponder whether to dip into the stone-paved infinity pool or wander down to a rocky bay protected by a blue-domed church.
Rooms are gentle and calm, with big beds and picture windows draped in grey and sand linens. But you’ll spend most of the time on your perfectly private veranda, gazing at the blue view. The definition of effortlessly sexy. Read the full review of Verina Astra, Sifnos.
Price: from about £115 per night