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Beachhopping in Greece

Find your perfect shore

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Approach by kayak to Sweetwater Beach

Approach by kayak to Sweetwater Beach, Crete, a famous nude beach.

deTraci Regula
Time for word-association. I say "Greek Island!"

What do you respond? If you're like most of us, you're too busy gazing at your mind's-eye image of a beautiful beach, picturesque rocky shore, teal blue Aegean waters, brilliant sunshine, a few sailboats carried along by the meltami breezes.

Enough of that. I'm here to tell you that Greek beaches are REALLY nothing more than picturesque rocky shores, teal blue Aegean waters, brilliant sunshine...wait a minute. Where's that line between fantasy and reality?

In most cases, that line is never drawn on a Greek beach. While beaches really do vary in quality, the vast majority are practically perfect. The key factors to be concerned about are crowds and whether or not the beach is clothing-optional.

If you are travelling in high season, July and August, the easily-accessible beaches (in short, those reachable on foot or by some form of land-based transportation) will generally be crowded.

The exceptions to that rule are some more remote beaches reachable only by boat, and those on some of the islands still not overrun by summer tourists. You can check out a few of these in my feature on the Small Cyclades: Dream Islands.

Should you avoid the beaches then? Absolutely not. Even jammed, they have their delights. But remember to take a few Euros -usually about 4-6 - for a beach chair and umbrella. Remote beaches won't have these amenities, so be sure to pack a towel or blanket. In a pinch, a sarong can double as either.

If you're staying on a windy island or during a time when the winds are strong, ask at your hotel or among the locals which beaches are best during that specific type of wind. And on a windy day, the best Greek beach may be a pebble beach rather than a sandy one - the pebbles don't generally blow around.

Some of the Best Beaches in Greece

"Best" is very personal - but here are some of the most renowned beaches in Greece. Beaches which stand out in my mind include one near Achiaditsa in the Peloponnese, simply because that was my first Greek beach, where I discovered that the high-salt of the Aegean waters really does make the body more buoyant. I also discovered why most beach walkers and surf-strollers wear sandals, because of the abundant sea anemones that pack a fearsome sting. If you're used to anemones sticking to rocky areas, you may be surprised. In Greece, they can show up unexpectedly in sandy areas.

I've also enjoyed Ornos Beach on Mykonos, an easily-accessible sand beach lined with tavernas and old concrete structures providing a perfect perch to watch the sea. Just slightly past the high-season, this beach was warm and inviting, and almost deserted.

Nude Beaches in Greece

Regarding nude beaches, these are abundant in Greece, but may not be publicized in the visitor pamphlets. Ask at any taverna catering to the younger tourist set. They will also usually know the more secluded beaches and who with a boat can get you there.

The ever-informative folk at the Greek National Tourist Organization know the value of the beaches of Greece. They provide photos of each beach, describe whether or not it's sand or pebble, and give some indication of where they're located. Here's a few from the Cyclades and the Dodecanese islands.

GNTO Cycladic Island Beaches

Anafi - Amorgos - Andros - Folegandros - Ios - Kea - Kithnos - Kimolos - Milos - Mykonos - Naxos - Paros- Santorini- Serifos- Sifnos- Sikinos- Siros- Tinos

GNTO Dodecanese Island Beaches

Kalymnos- Kos- Nissiros- Patmos-Rhodes- Simi- Tilos

Enjoy your daydreaming about these abundant beaches...just save some sand for me!

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