My husband and I are heading to Greece for the first time for a week in May. We will spend a few days in Athens and then want to go elsewhere but where? Somewhere quiet and not super touristy, so from all I've read that rules out Santorini and Mykonos. I like the idea of traffic free Hydra, but do they have beaches? Where else would be scenic (whitewash & blue & water) and relaxing? Thanks travellers!
We went to Naxos two Mays ago and loved it. It has a tourist infrastructure but not over run. Beaches are lovely and why originally went. But we ended up finding so many things to do that we only spent a few hours at the beach!
We spent four nights there and really needed at least one more.
April 2018, we had a few days/nights in Athens at the end of our trip, which started on Hydra and was mostly driving the Peloponnese peninsula, the week before and after Greek Orthodox Easter. It wasn't yet the warmest time of year, and we weren’t looking for beach time. Hydra does have beaches along its western coast, according to our Rick Steves guidebook.
September/October 2019, we followed up with a trip to just Crete, a big island, and the southernmost point in Europe, still comfortable in fall. There are beaches around Crete - we really enjoyed the almost isolated Kato Zakros in the southeast corner of Crete - but it’s farther from Athens than other islands except Rhodes, so flying there might be the optimal way to reach Crete. Some parts still had tourists in the fall (ancient Minoan palace site of Knossos, beach area around Agios Nicolaos in the northeast, Pitsidia & Kommos beach in the south) but Crete’s big, and you can find plenty of wonderful places - but you have to be able to get to them. Whitewashed buildings and blue trim aren’t exactly what identifies Hydra or Crete buildings, but you’ll get a heartfelt greeting on either island.
There are quite a number of islands to recommend but it sounds you are more interested in the Cyclades Islands which feature the white-washed houses and colorful trim.
Hydra is lovely, not quite Cycladic in architecture but one of Greece's loveliest towns with the village cascading down to the lovely harbor. However, it's beaches are not that great. Some are jumping off of rocks in the sea. Others are pebbled beaches and a couple with sand beaches. Many of them are accessible by either walking or water taxi. Hydra is more of a hang out and peopling watch island rather than a beach island.
Lots of others that will meet your needs so here is a link to Greek Islands. Click on the Cyclades links for choices or check out the other island groups that will also offer wonderful beaches.
Last September I spent a lovely week on Milos. Great beaches, blue water, whitewashed architecture, with both ferry and airport for easy access.