I like almost everything about Greece so I suppose I should mention the beaches. After Spain (511), Greece (387) has the second most Blue Flag Beaches, but to put that into perspective it does have almost three times as much coastline so has only one award winning beach every thirty-five kilometres compared with Spain at approximately ten (Portugal, by the way, is the best with a blue flag beach every six and a half kilometres). Personally I don’t think Greek beaches are anywhere near the best so lucky for me then that I am not really a beach person.
Psili Ammos, Serifos
The plan was to walk out of Livadi and visit Psili Ammos beach just a short way out of town, which in Serifos they claim to be one of the top twenty beaches in the Mediterranean. Our guidebook said allow an hour and don’t do it in the middle of the day but we paid no attention to that and set off anyway even without a map.
This turned out to be a really mad thing to do especially because there was a perfectly good beach right next to the hotel and if we waited an hour or so there was a bus that went there anyway. It turned out to be much further than we estimated and a couple of wrong turns didn’t help. There was no proper road, just a rough unmade track that meant that hiking boots would have been more appropriate than our sandals and when we came to a sign for Agios Sostis beach we abandoned the attempt to reach Psili Ammos and settled for the alternative instead.
It was pleasant enough, a rough sandy beach and a sheltered rocky cove but it wouldn’t have made the top one hundred let alone the top twenty beaches but there were only a few people there and crucially there were some trees for shade. Kim collapsed from exhaustion almost immediately and being restless I went for a snorkel where I came across a seabed littered with dead fish which was a bit off-putting and then went for a walk along the shoreline and came across some monstrous washed up jelly fish struggling to return to the sea. They were a beautiful translucent blue but I didn’t fancy swimming with them so that was the last time I went in the sea this morning.
Myrtos Beach, Kefalonia
The road took us towards the narrow northern peninsula and as it did so began to rise up and down and twist first one way and then the other as it clung to the side of a mountain that tumbled precipitously into the sea whilst looking down on beautiful beaches and azure blue sea.
Eventually we arrived at Myrtos, which is the most famous of these beaches, a major tourist attraction and an automatic inclusion in any top ten beaches of Greece list. I don’t know about that but it has won several awards including ‘Best beach in Greece’ for several years running and third ‘Best beach in Mediterranean’. Myrtos is the beach all the brochures boast about and the island’s postcard pinup and from the roadside high above the scene was nothing short of breathtaking. A seductive crescent of delicious white pebble beach, gentle surf and brilliant blue water and nothing was going to stop us making a perilous descent down an incredibly steep road to the long ribbon of gleaming stones backed by pale yellow, vertical cliffs.
Although it was hot it was very pleasant this morning but in the high season there can be days of crippling heat as the bleached west facing stones, pale cliffs and turquoise sea combine to turn the entire beach into something resembling a slow roast oven. Actually once at the bottom it didn’t feel as special as it should have when compared with the view from the top. The pebble beach dropped very sharply into the sea, the stones were rough and there was a lot of tar about. We walked along the length of the beach to the naturist end in search of amusement but there was nothing remarkable to see so we returned to the car and made the tortuous return journey back up the stupendously steep hill.
Valmas Beach, Ios
And this is my favourite beach in the Greek Islands:
Valmas doesn’t look very much it has to be said, just a small quiet bay with a shingle beach and a sea bed littered with rocks that makes access to the sea quite difficult. As I have said, I am not much of a beach person but this is very nice indeed, not a tourist beach at all and most of the other people there were local people and those who clearly just happened to know about it. I know about it now as well so that is why we go back every year.
Lying on the rocks about a hundred metres away were three naked women all enjoying the sun on their bodies and manoeuvring themselves into precarious positions to maximise the tanning effects of the solar rays. Having what I consider to be a healthy interest in naked ladies this naturally intrigued me a great deal and on a sort of Jacques Cousteau pretence of snorkelling and looking for rare species of fish and other marine life I swam closer and closer until I could achieve a better view. Now, let this be a lesson to all men with deteriorating vision, because believe me on closer examination this was not a pretty sight at all and in the quest for a voyeuristic opportunity I have to confess a hugely bitter disappointment. On closer inspection this was really not worth all of the effort and it left me lamenting once again that super models never seem to be the ones who go naked sunbathing.