First it is necessary to define which desirable qualities a beach has to offer in order for it to be described as one of the best in its country.
Most people would agree that clean and safe bathing are a basic requirement for any beach; it should also have fine sands and be free of jagged rocks or huge clumps of unsightly seaweed which attracts all manner of flies and insects; then there are the requirements of accessibility, adequate parking facilities and toilet and refreshment areas.
This narrows the field down considerably and even then people have many different expectations and needs. A windy beach may be paradise to a windsurfer but not so desirable if you wish to read the latest blockbuster without having to chase your beach umbrella along the sands every five minutes. In the end it all comes down to individual choice. Some may enjoy a beach that is packed solid with other holiday makers and others may prefer an isolated spot to imagine they are Robinson Crusoe with a desert island all to themselves.
Many Greek beaches appear in the holiday brochures to be more magnificent than they actually are – this is because pebbles and stones can appear like fine sand from a distance. For instance Myrtos beach on the Ionian island of Kefalonia which is one of the most photographed beaches in Greece is also perhaps the most deceiving. In photos of Myrtos beach taken from the road high above it appears to consist of pure white sand but as you draw nearer it becomes obvious that it is made up of rounded white pebbles of varying sizes that are almost impossible to walk upon. These pebbles can be even more treacherous when hot or if you are accompanied by a group of unruly children who decide to hurl them at one other (probably because of the distinct lack of sand with which to build sandcastles.) There is also no shade on Myrtos beach and swimming can only achieved by very careful negotiation over the ridge of pebbles which continue out onto the sea floor. It is only once you have managed to get into the sea to cool off that you can perhaps begin to appreciate the natural beauty of your surroundings. However the sea here is crystal clear and clean and in spite of the pebbles you will not regret a visit to this popular Kefalonian beach.
If it is golden sands you adore and soft yielding sand underfoot when you take swim then look no further than Glyfada on the west coast of the Ionian island of Corfu. Here you can sunbathe without the constant feeling that you are a feature on an ornamental rock garden. The children can build sandcastle to their hearts content and topless and even nude sunbathing is allowed on certain parts of the beach. So for those in search of an all over tan, Glyfada can be as near to paradise as they can get. Corfu also boasts an interesting beach at Sidari which has rock formations that are quite unique and thus worthy of a mention. Paleokastritsa too has an individual atmosphere that has made it increasingly popular. There are several small bays surrounded by verdant wooded hills and above the beach there is a fine selection of tavernas from which to take lunch and admire the scenery. Watersports are also widely available.
Chiona Beach on Crete, Greece’s largest island is a near perfect location. The red sandy cliffs are breathtaking and the beach is not commercialised although there are three restaurants and adequate facilities. The beach is long and rarely gets overcrowded. Here in the aquamarine waters of the Aegean you can go snorkelling or bask in the shade provided by nearby trees. There is ample parking and an interesting site of antiquity nearby.
Koukounaries Beach on the Sporadic Island of Skiathos also provides safe bathing and soft sand. The beach sweeps round in an interesting curve and is perfectly flat. There is a hotel on the beachfront and a view of colorful fishing boats in a typical Greek harbour. Tavernas beckon with the strains of bouzouki music and attractive souvenir shops are never far away or some interesting place to explore and go for an evening stroll.
Whether it is a glorious sunset you wish to capture, a sunbathers’ paradise you are in search of – or just a paddle in the sea, then Greece has the perfect spot for you. When it comes to beaches Greece has endless variety. The locations mentioned in this article are based purely on the personal preferences of the writer but with over two thousand Islands to choose from and not forgetting the Greek Mainland, there must surely be a paradise beach somewhere in Greece that is ideally suited to your own individual requirements