Pávlos Kountouriotis was born on Hydra to Theodoros Kountouriotis, Consul and Member of the Greek Parliament, and Loukia Negreponte. He was descended from the Hydriot Kountouriotis family, originally from the village of Kountoura, in the Megarid. His grandfather, Geórgios, was a shipowner who participated, as did many members of the family, in the Greek War of Independence and served as Prime Minister of Greece under King Otto. In 1875, following his family’s long-standing naval tradition, he joined the Royal Hellenic Navy, presumably in the rank of Ensign. He retired from the navy with the honorary rank of full admiral. In 1924 he was sworn in as the first President of the Second Hellenic Republic but resigned the post in March 1926, in opposition to General Pangalos’ dictatorship. He was reelected President in May 1929, but due to serious health complications he resigned in December of the same year.
Admiral Pávlos Kountouriotis died in 1935. Α World War II Greek destroyer and a Standard-class frigate, the F 462 Kountouriotis, are named after him.
One of the two gold 100-Euro coins issued by Greece in 2012 to commemorate the centenary of the Balkan Wars featured Kountouriotis and his ship the Averof.