Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Photos Courtesy of:
Monday, July 14, 2008
Beaches and diving destinations
Nosy Be Archipelago
These tropical islands off the northwest coast have some of the region's finest beaches. Most accessible on Nosy Be is Andilana, the northernmost beach. Don't miss the day trip to beautiful, reef-ringed Nosy Tanikely, a marine reserve with a lovely, sunny beach. Nosy Komba has a good, small beach near Ampangorinana village; and quiet, unspoiled coves in the south of the island. There are real gems further afield on Nosy Iranja ("the turtles island") and in the Mitsio Isles.
Ile Sainte Marie
Along the west coast, there are a number of secluded, palm-lined coves, off which to swim and snorkel and there is a stunning beach on the offshore islet of Ile Aux Nattes. The orchids are at their peak in September and the whales' migration takes place between July and October.
Ifaty has a pleasant beach and easy access to the spiny desert. The beach is at its best in front of the hotels Bamboo Club and Vovo Telo. The coral reefs attract scuba divers and there is an good PADI diving centre, but the coral is in very poor condition, mostly due to the effects of El Nino.
Anakao & Nosy Ve
Anakao is a traditional Vezo fishing village on the southwest coast of Madagascar, about 35 km south of Toliara (TulÃ©ar). Its isolation has protected it from most tourism and it remains fairly unspoiled. Among Madagascar aficionados, Anakao is known for its long white beach lined with an armada of brightly painted pirogues; its turquoise lagoon, with tints of emerals; its fishing, diving and surfing ('Flamball').
Sadly, its once-superb snorkelling is a thing of the past, now that bleaching has reduced the shallow reef to a vista of dead coral. The traditional practice of hunting for sea cucumbers and octopus has caused further damage; and its growth, fuelled by demand from the Far East, is placing intolerable pressure on the marine environment. Purchasing items made by the local women provides them with an alternative source of income.
A short walk south of Anakao will lead you to some tombs, and then to a peninsula on which fragments of Aepyornis eggshells can still be found (It is illegal to take them out of Madagascar.). A visit to the weekly market is another pleasure of a stay in Anakao.
Most people enjoy being on a tiny desert island. Three km west of Anakao, the island of Nosy Ve, with its superb white beach, reefs and breeding colony of tropic-birds, makes a lovely day-trip. In addition to the Red-tailed tropic-birds, birders should encounter a variety of terns, and, with luck, Crab plovers and the White-tailed tropic-birds.
MorondavaThe Morondava seafront has a wide, white sandy beach off which it is safe to swim. It is at its best in the vicinity of Hotel Chez Maggie.
Island HoppingSail the Indian Ocean on board a luxury private yacht, mooring at inhabited and uninhabited islands in the Nosy Be Archipelago and the remote Mitsio Isles.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
After exploring the cities, touring the lakes and walking in the mountains, the beaches are the perfect place to relax, unwind and reflect. Most of the year the beaches are sunny, and with 7,600 miles of shoreline bordering Italy and its islands, you can easily find waters where the temperatures are ideal for swimming. Miles upon miles of golden, sun drenched sand, in some places up to 1 km deep. The sea welcomes the sun seeker in comfort and style. An array of colours, which one can quickly identify by the rows of neatly laid out sun umbrellas and deck chairs, which seem to almost dot the entire seashore.
The Blue Flag
104 Italian beaches have been awarded with a Blue Flag in 2008. This award is given to the beaches that offer cleanliness and safe bathing areas. The Blue Flag is an exclusive eco-label awarded to over 2672 beaches and 640 marinas in 36 countries across Europe, South Africa, Morocco, New Zealand, Canada and the Caribbean in 2007.
The Blue Flag Campaign is owned and run by the independent non-profit organization Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE). The Blue Flag works towards sustainable development at beaches and marinas through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management and safety and other important services. http://www.blueflag.org/
Martinsicuro, Alba Adriatica, Tortoreto, Giulianova-lungomare nord e lido Zara, Roseto degli Abruzzi, Pineto-Scerne/Villa Fumosa-Villa Ardente/Torre Cerrano; Silvi arenile sud-L.mare centrale-T.re Cerrano (Teramo); Francavilla al Mare, San Vito Chietino-Calata Turchino-Molo sud; Rocca San Giovanni, Fossacesia, Vasto-Marina e Punta Penna, San Salvo-L.mare Colombo (Chieti)
Rodi Garganico, Mattinata (Foggia); Polignano a Mare (Bari); Ostuni (Brindisi); Ginosa (Taranto)
Cirò Marina (Crotone); Roccella Jonica, Marina di Gioiosa Jonica (Reggio Calabria)
Massa Lubrense (Napoli); Positano, Agropoli-Trentova-San Marco, Castellabate, Montecorice/Agnone-Agnone-Capitello, Acciaroli-Pioppi di Pollica, Ascea-Marina Velia-Petroso/Scogliera, Pisciotta-La Gabella-Pietracciaio Acquabianca, Centola-Palinuro-Baia della Molpa, Vibonati-Villammare, Sapri (Salerno)
Comacchio (Ferrara); Lidi Ravennati, Cervia (Ravenna); Cesenatico, San Mauro Pascoli (Forlì-Cesena); Rimini, Misano Adriatico, Cattolica (Rimini)
Grado (Gorizia); Lignano Sabbiadoro (Udine)
Sabaudia, Sperlonga, Gaeta (Latina)
Camporosso, Bordighera (Imperia); Finale Ligure, Noli, Spotorno, Bergeggi, Albisola Superiore, Albissola Marina, Celle Ligure, Varazze (Savona); Chiavari, Lavagna, Moneglia (Genova); Lerici (La Spezia)
Gabicce Mare, Pesaro-Lido di Ponente e di Levante, Fano nord-Sassonia/Torrette-Marotta (Pesaro-Urbino); Senigallia, Sirolo, Numana Alta e Bassa (Ancona); Porto Recanati-Scossicci, Civitanova Marche, Potenza Picena (Macerata); Porto S.Elpidio; Fermo-Lido/Casablanca-Marina Palmense, Porto San Giorgio, Grottammare-lungomare nord e sud, Cupra Marittima, San Benedetto del Tronto (Ascoli Piceno)
Termoli, Campomarino (Campobasso)
Cannero Riviera (Verbania)
Santa Teresa di Gallura-Rena Bianca, La Maddalena-Spalmatore (Olbia-Tempio)
Pozzallo (Ragusa); Menfi (Agrigento); Fiumefreddo di Sicilia (Catania); Marsala (Trapani)
Forte dei Marmi, Camaiore, Viareggio (Lucca); Pisa-Marina di Pisa-Tirrenia-Calambrone; Livorno-Antignano e Quercianella, Castiglioncello e Vada di Rosignano Marittimo, Cecina-Gorette e Marina di Cecina, Marina di Bibbona, Castagneto Carducci, San Vincenzo, Riotorto-Piombino: parco naturale della Sterpaia (Livorno); Follonica, Castiglione della Pescaia, Marina e Principina di Grosseto, Monte Argentario (Grosseto)
Caorle, San Michele al Tagliamento-Bibione, Eraclea, Jesolo, Cavallino Treporti (Venezia)
Friday, July 4, 2008
The Best Beaches
White sandy beaches put Puerto Rico and its offshore islands on tourist maps in the first place. Many other Caribbean destinations have only jagged coral outcroppings or black volcanic-sand beaches that get very hot in the noonday sun.
Best for Singles (Straight & Gay):
Sandwiched between the Condado and Isla Verde beaches along San Juan's beachfront, Ocean Park Beach attracts more adults and less of the family trade. Only Isla Verde beach to the east matches Ocean Park for its broad beach and good swimming. The people-watching here is nothing compared to the well-stuffed bikinis (both male and female) found on South Miami Beach or Rio de Janeiro. However, for the Caribbean, Ocean Park is as good as it gets. Because many gay boarding houses lie in Ocean Park, a lot of the beach here is frequented by gay young men, mainly from New York. However, straight people looking to meet someone while wearing swimwear will find plenty of lookers (and perhaps takers).
Best Beach for Families:
Winning without contest, Luquillo Beach, 30 miles (48km) east of San Juan, attracts both local families, mainly from San Juan, and visitors from Condado and Isla Verde beaches in San Juan. Beach buffs heading for Luquillo know they will get better sands and clearer waters there than in San Juan. The vast sandy beach opens onto a crescent-shaped bay edged by a coconut grove. Coral reefs protect the crystal-clear lagoon from the often rough Atlantic waters that can buffet the northern coast, making Luquillo a good place for young children to swim. Much photographed because of its white sands, Luquillo also has tent sites and other facilities, including picnic areas with changing rooms, lockers, and showers.
Best for Teenagers:
More families with teenagers check into the Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort & Country Club west of San Juan than into any other competitor in Puerto Rico, including the resorts along the San Juan beach strip. Six beaches border the Hyatt resorts, each a strip of white sand fronting the north coast. Because the Dorado features many activities for kids of all ages, its beaches over the years have become family favorites. The Hyatt beaches originally opened onto a grapefruit-and-coconut plantation, but today these 1,000 landscaped acres (400 hectares) are devoted to fun, ranging from jogging and biking trails to swimming in the longest pool on the island. Young people find it easy to meet other teenagers here, not only on the beach but while participating in the resorts' myriad of activities.
Best for Swimming:
Whereas on much of the northwest coast of Puerto Rico, rough Atlantic waters often deter bathers but attract surfers , the south coast waters are calmer. On the south coast, Playa de Ponce, outside Ponce, Puerto Rico's second-largest city, consists of a long strip of beautiful white sand that opens onto the tranquil waters of the Caribbean. Less crowded than Condado and Luquillo, Playa de Ponce is an ideal place to swim year-round in clearer, less polluted waters than those along the more heavily populated northern coastline.
Best for Scenery:
In the southwestern corner of Puerto Rico, Boquerón Beach lies in a section of the island called the Cape Cod of Puerto Rico. The beach town of Boquerón itself, filled with colorful scenery, stands at the heart of a 3-mile (5km) bay, with palm-fringed white sand curving away on both sides. In addition to this panoramic vista, you can also sample vignettes of local life. Fisherfolk, sailors, and scuba divers are also attracted to this beach, where fresh oysters are shucked on the spot, doused with Tabasco, and sold at various ramshackle shacks. You can see that there are plenty of interesting photo ops at this beach. While enjoying the scenery and the sands, you can take a break and order a regional ice cream at one of the stands. It's made with sweet corn and dusted with paprika. Sound awful? Try it: It's good.
Best for Windsurfing:
Rincón's winter surf, especially at Playa Higüero, puts Malibu to shame. Today surfers from all over the world are attracted to Rincón, which they have dubbed "Little Malibu." From Borinquén Point south to Rincón, nearly all the beaches along the western coast are ideal for surfing from November to April. As the windsurfing capital of the Caribbean, the Rincón area was put on the map when it was the site of the 1968 world surfing championships. Some of the 16-foot (4.8m) breakers here equal those on the north shore of Oahu.
Best Beaches for Being Alone:
The main island is filled with isolated sandy coves that only the locals seem to know about. The best, all guaranteed to delight the escapist in you, stretch between Cabo Rojo (the southwesterly tip of Puerto Rico) all the way east to Ponce. Beginning in the west, directly east of Cabo Rojo, you'll discover Rosado Beach, Santa Beach, Caña Gorda Beach, and Tamarindo Beach. Access to many of these is limited because of poor roads, but the effort is worth it. Be sure to bring the necessary supplies.
Best for Snorkeling:
For snorkeling, we prefer to escape from the Puerto Rican mainland altogether, heading for the isolated beaches of the offshore islands of Vieques and Culebra, part of the Spanish Virgin Islands. In Vieques alone there are some 40 beaches, most of them officially unnamed even though U.S. sailors once stationed on the island have nicknamed their favorites-everything from Green Beach to Orchid. The best beach for snorkeling on Vieques is Playa Esperanza, especially that spot in front of the Trade Winds Guesthouse. Another favorite location, which we discovered when directed there by a Navy SEAL, is across the little harbor at Cayo de Afuera. This site gives you the best preview of dramatic (and living) antler coral. Nurse sharks and the occasional manatee also hang out here.
On the neighboring island of Culebra, the beaches are less visited by snorkelers, even though they open onto coral reefs and clear waters. The snorkeling is not so hot at the island's most frequented beach, Flamenco Beach. But all you have to do is take a 15- to 20-minute hike from the parking lot at Flamenco over the hill to Playa Carlos Rosario, which offers some of the best snorkeling in Puerto Rico. A barrier reef virtually envelops the beach, and you can snorkel all day. For other great snorkeling, you can walk along the cliffs south of here for about a quarter mile (.4km) to a place called "The Wall," which has 40-foot (12m) drop-offs, rainbow-hued fish, and other delights.
The Best Hotel Beaches
Wyndham El San Juan Hotel & Casino
(San Juan; tel. 800/WYNDHAM or 787/791-1000): This posh resort occupies the choicest beachfront real estate at Isla Verde Beach, one of the finest in Puerto Rico. Ideal for swimming, the golden sands near the airport evoke South Miami Beach. Picnic tables are found here, and the beach is also good for snorkeling. But it is mostly the sands themselves that provide the attraction-that and all the many facilities of El San Juan resort itself.
Hyatt Resort at Dorado
(Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort & Country Club; tel. 800/233-1234 or 787/796-1234): Lying 18 miles (29km) west of San Juan, this posh resort was carved out of a plantation. Today it opens onto several miles of white sandy beaches at the mouth of the Río de la Plata. Since the turn of the 20th century, Dorado, which means "golden," has attracted U.S. presidents and rich folks like the Rockefellers. Today families can be seen romping along its sands.
Copamarina Beach Resort
(Caña Gorda; tel. 787/821-0505) lies west of Ponce, Puerto Rico's second-largest city. A laid-back retreat, the resort opens onto one of the best and least crowded beaches in southwestern Puerto Rico. This appealing beach is set a quarter mile (.4km) south of Guánica at the edge of a government-protected marshland known for its rich bird life. Its pale beige sand fronts a backdrop of bohios (thatched huts), where you can retreat from the noonday sun.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Patara Beach -
Rated as the best beach in the world by The Sunday Times. With all due respect to a great newspaper, Pah! Patara may be the best in the Mediterranean but it can't compare with tropical beaches. However it is 14.2 kms/9miles long [the longest beach in the Mediterranean] of child-friendly shore - medium grain brown sand - backed only by ancient ruins and swooping dunes - with no buildings visible save a small café at one end. Loungers and umbrellas available for rent but no watersports or camping. The area is inexpensive and there's a limited selection of low-key accommodation in nearby Patara town, with beach commuter transport or a longish walk. Alternatively day trip in from Kalkan/Kas. 50 miles from Fethiye.
Olu Deniz Beach, near Fethiye -
Olu Deniz is a picturesque resort area, especially the main hillside town of Belcekiz, which has crystal clear water, and a long shingle beach curving away from the town promenade along to a calm blue lagoon. In addition to good value hotels - usually with pools - in Olu Deniz town, there are some popular resort villages nearby, such as Ovacik and Hisaronu [10 mins], which means that the beach can get overcrowded. The promenade by the town has plenty of bars, restaurants and cafés and there are loads of umbrellas and loungers for hire, and a wide range of water sports available. Paragliding and Hangliding, solo or tandem, off adjacent Babadag mountain and landing on the beach are extremely popular, as is scuba diving. Locals claim the season is all year round. Summer temperature averages 32C, winter 20C. 1hr 45 mins from Dalaman Airport.
Gemile Bay Beach, near FethiyeIf Olu Deniz is too commercial for you, try the secluded beach in Gemile Bay. Gemile Bay Beach is a unspoiled, picturesque cove with a great view of St. Nicholas island [you can swim or take a boat across to see the ruins].
Turtle [Iztuzu] Beach, Dalyan -
Reached by boat, Turtle Beach [also known as Iztuzu Beach], a sandbar of the Dalyan Delta, is a national conservation area and one of the last breeding places in Europe for the protected loggerhead 'Cretta' sea turtle. It's several kilometres long, with very scenic surroundings, hot brown sand, and shallow water. A small café, sun loungers and umbrellas available. Accessible mainly by an enjoyable 20min public boat ride from pleasant, relaxed Dalyan town. Dalyan has a gorgeous river frontage looking across to Lycian tombs carved into the rock face. Twitcher alert! Swamp bugs can be irritating to humans but delicious to avians, so lots of bird life here, especially swallows. Other excursions from Dalyan are mud bathing in the local hot mineral springs or swimming in nearby Lake Koycegiz. 30 mins from Dalaman Airport.
Kaputas Beach, near Kalkan & KasKaputas is a mountain gorge with a small shingle cove beach under a bridge crossing the gorge, with a steep set of steps up/down to the beach,and a steep drop off into the clear blue sea. It's a 10 minute dolmus [bus] ride from the hill village of Kalkan, a harbour town with colourful restaurants and terraced bars overlooking the not particularly attractive marina. Kalkan has it's own small shingle beach too - More sophisticated than most Turkish resorts. 2.5 hrs from Dalaman Airport.
Ladies Beach and Kustur Beach,
Kyrenia, Northern Cyprus islandKyrenia [also known as Girne] is a harbour town, and one of the liveliest resorts of North Cyprus. It's located in a stunning coastline backed by mountains, with clear Mediterranean waters in front of it. Small villages sprawl along the coast on both sides of the town, but the coastline continues with golden sandy beaches and rocky coves, and the clean water is ideal for swimming and snorkeling.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Majorca is synonymous with world-renowned beaches and coves, but is also a perfect destination to enjoy countryside, culture, water sports, entertainment... There are many reasons to visit the island, the largest of the Balearics.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Egypt attract lots of the tourist because of its pyramid and beaches. The beaches of Egypt are very beautiful. Egypt is one of the oldest tourist destination on world. The beach vacation of Egypt are really inexpensive in comparision to the European beaches. It is also one of the reason why tourist prefer Egypt Beaches
Egypt has been divided into seven beaches zones they are as follow
- Mediterranean beaches in mainline coast from the Suez Canal over to Libya
- The Mainland coast south of the Red Sea
- The Sinai coast along Gulf of Suez
- The southern Sinai region in the Red Sea
- The Mainland coast along Gulf of Suez
- The Mediterranean beaches along northern Sinai
- The Sinai coast along the gulf of Aqaba
. The Beaches of Egypt are either connected with Mediterranean or with the Red Sea. Some of the beaches in Egypt attract vast number of tourist and some of the beaches you can hardly find any people. Alexandaria beaches attract very huge number of tourist in comparision with the other beaches of Egypt. The Facilities around the beach in egypt range from very rudimentary beach camps to the finest imaginable five star hotels, and include the possibility of villa rentals. In general, in the region south of Hurghada, not including Marsa Alam, beach camps and more undeveloped accommodations seem to be more Popular, but then so too are open beaches with little in the way of crowds. On the east, Aqaba part of the Sinai, while Taba and in particular Sharm el-Sheikh are built up areas with fine amenities to choose from, the area in between these two destinations tend to be more camp-like, despite the fact that there are certainly a few fine hotels here and there. These areas, south of Hurghada, tend to be very laid back areas of beach with less proper amusement facilities than the main tourist areas of El Gouna, Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh, Taba and more, Marsa Alam.
Water activity around Egypt BeachesThe main differences between the beaches around coastal regions in Red Sea and the beaches around the Gulfs and Mediterranean Zones is the availability of Scuba Diving. There is some less scuba diving facilities in just about every beach region around Egypt , Most of the Scuba Diving facilities are located from El-Gouna south along the Red Sea, and around Sharm el-Sheikh on the Sinai. In fact, perhaps as much as 80% of all Scuba Diving activities originate from the immediate region of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh. This is not to say that activities such as snorkeling cannot be found at almost all beach areas. Furthermore, other activities such as windsurfing and skiing, while available in many different locations, seems to be very popular along the mainland Gulf of Suez Zone. At various locations on just about all of the beaches there are other water sports available, such as sail boat rentals and parasailing
Sunday, June 22, 2008
The island contains the Natural World Heritage Site entitled Jeju Volcanic Island and Lava Tubes.
Tourism commands a large fraction of Jeju's economy. Jeju's temperate climate, natural scenery, and beaches make it a popular tourist destination for both South Koreans and many visitors from Japan, China, northern and southern Asia. Especially, Cheonjeyeon and Cheonjiyeon waterfalls, Mountain Halla, Hyeobje cave, Hyeongje island are popular places for tourists. Also, tourists enjoy lots of leisure sports in Jeju island including golf, horse riding, hunting, fishing, mountain climbing, etc. Depending on seasons, tourists can enjoy many festivals: penguin swimming contest in winter, cherry blossom festival in spring, midsummer night beach festival in summer, horse festival in autumn and many more. Usually, tourists enter and exit Jeju through Jeju International Airport and rent cars in the island. Lastly, tourists can buy numerous products in the island. Tourists can buy not only Jeju's special products including tile fish and mandarin oranges, but also souvenirs or duty-free products.
Jeju Island, also known as the "Island of the Gods," is a popular vacation spot for Koreans and many Japanese. It remains one of the top honeymoon destinations for Korean newlyweds. The island's mixture of volcanic rock, frequent rains, and temperate climate, make it very similar to the Hawaiian Islands in the U.S. The island offers visitors a wide range of activities: hiking on Halla-san (South Korea's highest peak), catching sunrises and sunsets over the ocean, viewing majestic waterfalls, riding horses, or just lying around on the sandy beaches.
Although tourism is one of the main industries on the island, many of the hotels and other tourist areas are run by mainland companies, so much of the income never gets put back into the local economy. Also, since the attractions are geared towards tourists, many of the entrance fees can be hefty (although the locally owned and operated ones tend to be cheaper). Similar to Gyeongju and some other areas, local residents can enter most places for free or for a steeply discounted price.
Jeju (Cheju) Island has 15 lodging facilities listed with Life in Korea. See the full list for this area.
Bicycle: Given Jeju's wide expanses, bicycling here is much safer than in most of Korea. Many of the roads have sufficient room to ride along the edge, and some even have special bike lanes- not just a painted line between you and traffic, but a separate road with curbs between you and the drivers. Unfortunately, many of the local residents are convinced that the bikes lanes were actually built especially for them to dry their seeds and herbs, so in some places you may have to take short detours onto the road.
Boat: The ferry terminals in Jeju City has daily boats to Busan, Yeosu, Mokp'o, Wando, Noktong, and Incheon on the mainland, as well as several boats to Japan (see the Jeju Port section for schedules). Several other smaller ports have boats to the outlying islands of Kapa-do, Mara-do, Piyang-do, and U-do.
Bus: The bus terminal in Jeju City has buses to numerous destinations around the island. Most do circuits between here and Seogwip'o or Jungmun Resort on the south coast, stopping at various points of interest along the way. Several Jeju City buses criss-cross the city. The main bus is #100, running between the airport and the port, passing the bus terminal and most major hotels. Major hotels and tourist agencies run 1- and 2-day tours around the island.
Car: Several rental car agencies have various models for hire, starting from around W35,000 per half day.
Plane: Jeju International Airport has several flights daily via Korean Air and Asiana to Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Jinju, Kunsan, Gwangju, Mokp'o, P'ohang, Ulsan, Yecheon, and Yeosu. Domestic flights have an airport tax of W3,000. It also has international flights to Japan: Fukuoka, Nagoya, Osaka, and Tokyo. International flights have an airport tax of W9,000.
Food and Drink:
Besides tourism, Cheju's main industries are fishing and agriculture. Fresh fish, squid, octopus, sea cucumber, and various other creatures can be easily bought in markets, restaurants, and even right on the beach. Cheju's tropical weather and high preciptation are perfect for growing pineapples and tangerines. The island is also famouse for its Shitake mushrooms and cactus plants. Honey made from local flowers has a special taste.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
The Greek Islands are famous throughout the world. Each one is individual in it's own right, offering it's visitors a selection of history, culture, and of course, entertainment.
With so many Greek Islands to choose from, you really will be spoilt for choice. Your Greek Holidays can easily be the most fun and relaxation you have ever had during your vacations. The images of the dazzling white houses, set against a backdrop of the blue sky and crystal waters will stay with you forever.
The beaches range from pebbles to fine sand so beach shoes can be useful.
The Mediterranean is not truly comparable with the Caribbean or Pacific - the water is cooler and the sand generally coarser. Shady tree fringes are also rare, though hot sunshine, good food, clear water and friendly English-speaking locals are almost guarenteed.
Low prices, apart from ferries, are no longer with us thanks to the Euro and current sophistication of Greek society.
Tour operators offering tours to Greece can be found in our listings here: Greece Tours
EU beaches that failed water quality tests in 2007: none in Greece.
Nudist beaches: Going topless is acceptable just about everywhere on Greece islands, while areas of total nudism exist discreetly on many islands. e.g. Little Banana [Skiathos], Super Paradise and Panormas [Mykonos], Plaka
Island hopping is a joy these days with fast, cheap ferries connecting all the dots, tho' the fastest ones - bumpy, noisy hydrofoils and smooth, quiet catamarans - can be cancelled due to moderate winds. Bugbog's choice of ferry line is Blue Star, running superb new, apparently safe, efficient car ferries and catamarans.
Fast hopping is easiest if you stay within an island group. e.g. Ionian islands [Corfu, Cephalonia, Zante +] The Cyclades [Santorini, Mykonos, Ios, Paros, Naxos +], The Sporades [Skiathos, Skopelos +]. Typically, Santorini to Naxos would take about an hour and cost about €10. Paros to Mykonos 45 minutes.
Sea sickness guide: the Bugcrew get sea sick easily but had no problems on 8 boat journeys in September. Short bouncy trips on hydrofoils hardly merited the acupressure wrist bands we wore. 4 hours on a Blue Star ferry in a force 6 wind with 4ft waves was amazingly stable, with no more than 2cm of visible roll.
Still, we suggest acupressure wrist bands as a starting point and some fast-acting chemical as a back-up if things go wobbly.
Two wheels good, bike guide:
Unless you really like a lot of walking or waiting for buses you'll need your own transport in Greece's islands. The roads are often picturesque, mostly in good condition and other drivers generally sensible, though we would avoid much night driving and beware occasional grit on the roads.
Cars are a little expensive to rent [€25+ pd] and can be a hassle to park. Transport of choice is the scooter [€8+ pd, , though many renters will NOT accept a European car driving licence to pilot a 50cc jobby. You MUST have a bike licence. Helmets are supposed to be worn but most riders don't.
Bugbog mission position: we are not attempting to assess every beach on every island, merely to give you an idea of what to expect in different areas. Part of the joy of Greece is the space to escape the crowds and find your own little paradise. So there are plenty of beaches left for adventurers...
The Cyclades islands [SE of Athens, easy to reach by ferry from Pireus or Rafina]
Paradise, Super Paradise and Panormas beaches, Mykonos
Mykonos is one of the most attractive islands in Greece with its dry stone walls and cute organic architecture. Gorgeous Mykonos town - the epitome of whitewashed, blue wooded, narrow street Greek towns - is the start of the action, and it doesn't have to be so expensive... Just avoid waterfront dining!
Although Mykonos is fairly hilly, it's only ten miles long by seven miles wide, so most visitors rent cars or scooters to explore.
Places such as Agios Stefanos, Platyialos, and Psarou all have well protected beaches with medium grade sand and a good selection of tavernas - though heavily umbrella infested, but the pick for under-40s visitors is either the trees, coarse sand and funky bars of Paradise beach, or the even coarser but prettier Super Paradise , where naked gays have colonised one end. Both are a little exposed so water can get choppy.
For soft sand, dunes, stunning scenery, less people, less services and mad ducks try Panormas on the other side of the island.
Red Beach, Santorini
Santorini [also known as Thira] is spectacularly situated on the edge of a dormant volcano . Many believe that this is where the Atlantis legend began, when the volcano blew hugely in 1650BC, not only knocking off the local, highly civilised Minoans [remnants still visible at the Akrotiri site] in their 'island within an island', but also sending out a tidal wave that would have destroyed many other Minoan sites and ships and closed the book on Minoan power in the Mediterranean.
Along with Mykonos, Santorini is one of the most expensive islands in Greece, but the teetering towns of Fira and Oia are spectacularly worth it.
Due to its volcanic soil most beaches - Perissa and Karmari are the best known- have hot black sand/pebbles, though the water is clean and clear.
The best beach is narrow, characterful Red Beach , with small red grainy sand partially covered in wood shavings to keep it cool, crystal water and rocks to offer snorkellers some action.
*Milopotas and *Manganari beaches, Ios
Although reknowned as a young person party island, Ios is surprisingly tranquil during the daytime and sports two superb beaches. Excellent Milopotas is only 5 minutes by scooter from the town, a huge stretch of soft yellow sand and calm, clear water. Watersports and plenty of discreet, varied tavernas lurk adjacent.
Superb Manganari is even better but a long dirt road hike or boat ride, little accommodation and not good for nipping back to rave in the evenings.
*Psili Ammos beach, Serifos
Psili Ammos means soft fine sand, and that exactly how this superb white beach is, along with clear water and a tree-lined shore. Accommodation and excellent tavernas nearby.
*Maragas and *Plaka beaches, Naxos
Rugged and mountainous Naxos is favoured by German hikers and has a pretty little, lively main town. Don't even consider grotty Grotto, north of the town, though Agios Georges at the south end is good for a town beach - fine sand, nice views, clear water and loads of accomodation and other services nearby.
A little further away and also popular is large, coarse sanded Agios Prokopios, and small, unnattractive Agios Anna.
The pick of Naxos beaches is the long stretch of dunes running from Maragas to Plaka. Soft sand, a scattering of trees, discreet services on a dirt road, almost turquoise water and lots of space make this an excellent location for layabouts. Nudists hang out in Plaka.
Kolymbithres beach, Paros
Although this is the transport hub for the Cyclades, Paros is surprisingly pleasant. The town has the usual little, white-washed labyrinthine streets, some smart sunset bars and restaurants and a terrific church, the Ekatondapiliani - the oldest in use in Greece.
The countryside is a little on the dull side but beaches are quite acceptable. The two biggish ones sharing the town's bay, Livadia and Krios, are both calm, clear, tree lined and well-taverned.
Paros' east coast has some bigger beaches that are heavily promoted - such as Golden Beach - but Bugbog found them the be overly windy, with choppy water and hard sand.
The prettiest beach on the island is undoubtedly Kolymbithres, near the tourist town of Naoussa, with shallow aquamarine water enclosed by fine sand and strangely eroded rocks. Great for children, the only problem is size...it's very small and will get crowded easily.