The hidden beaches of Kardamyli

Kardamilli is an idyllic mountain village, with traditional stone houses and narrow streets. However, Kardamilli is not on a mountain. Instead, it is surrounded by many of them, but situated next to the sea. This special village was the movie set from “Before Midnight” and is in reality as romantic as the movie. But what makes Kardamyli the perfect summer holiday destination, are the hidden beaches in the area.

Location Overview

Natural site
min 2 hours to max 2 days
Free
Be careful
No

Location

Kardamyli is located in the Mani region. This is a region in the middle of the Peloponnese peninsula. You can get to this beautiful village in two ways. Either you fly to Athens and drive 300 km (190 miles) South-East. Passing along many interesting places in the Peloponnese. However, if your holiday goal is to explore only the Mani region, you might prefer to fly to Kalamata. This city is only 47 km (30 miles) away from Kardamyli.

Landscape

Kardamilli was first mentioned in 1200 B.C. as the main port of Sparta. And today, the village’s connection with the sea is still what it is known for. The rugged coastline, surrounded by lush green mountains on one side, and clear blue waters on the other, are what make the area unique. Kardamily is the perfect place for nature lovers. Both on- and off-shore.

The beaches

Kardamyli offers countless opportunities to explore the Greek coastline. Around town, there is the organized beach of Ritsa, as well as multiple smaller beaches you stumble upon at the end of a village road. However, the real beauty of the region can be found a couple kilometers South of the village. At Foneas and Delfinia.

Delfinia

Let’s start with the least spectacular hidden one of the hidden beaches in Kardamyli. Delfinia is about 5 kilometers (3 miles) South of the villages, which is less than 10 minutes by car. You can park your car next to the main road and from here, the experience of Delfinia begins. 

There are stairs leading down to the beach, surrounded by beautiful old trees. Along the way, you will be amazed by the views of the sea and the untouched landscape around.

The beach is made from white pebble stones, and the water is clear as crystal. Because the beach is located in a bay, you will have beautiful scenery to enjoy during your swim. But another benefit of the bay is that (most days) you will find a natural swimming pool. A sea without waves or currents. As the Greeks call it, a sea-like oil.

Foneas

Foneas beach is slightly closer to Kardamyli, just 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) South. Although the way to Foneas is less spectacular (you can park your car in front of the beach), the beach itself is one of the most amazing places I have ever seen. 

Foneas lies in a much smaller bay than Delfinia, and the landscape here is extremely impressive. There is a cliffside cave, an underwater tunnel, and a giant rock in the middle of the beach. All surrounded by calm blue water.

What makes Foneas special, is the underwater life around the rocky coastline. Not many places in Greece are home to interesting and various species of fish. At Foneas, however, you will be surprised by the life that hides underneath the calm blue surface.

Tips:

  • Protect yourself against the sun. Both Delfinia and Foneas beach are unorganized, meaning there are no umbrellas to protect you against the sun. Bring your own, or find shade in the rugged landscape. Bring enough water, sunblock, and even a hat.
  • Unfortunately, the beaches of Kardamyli are becoming more popular each year. For the best experience, the end of May, the beginning of June, or September are the best times to visit. Nevertheless, if you’re passing by during the busy summer months, you can wake up early and have the beaches all to yourself during sunrise!
  • Delfinia means what it sounds like, dolphins. Although the beach has this name due to the dolphins that visit this part of the Greek seas, don’t get your hopes up. You might spot a dolphin, but you will have to be very lucky to do so.
  • At Delfinia, there is a small cantine halfway down the stairs that lead to the beach. They sell delicious pitas, small pies. We ate some for breakfast while enjoying a beautiful view over the beach. A priceless moment.

Curious to learn about more hidden gems in Greece? Leave your email below and explore Greece together with us!

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Swim with history at the sunken city of Greece

Upon arriving at Athens airport in the summer of 2022, an interesting advertisement was to be seen. A poster from a promotional campaign of EOT, Greece’s National Tourism Organisation. This poster showed something unique. A clear blue sea, photographed from above. With tree bright yellow kayaks floating above something that looks like an archeological site. An impressive scene, but without any information on where to find it. Luckily, we discovered it was close to Athens and on our way. The sunken city in Greece, is in Epidaurus.

Location Overview

Argolis, Peloponnese

Natural / Archeological

0.5 hour
tour: 4.5 hour

Free
tour: €70,- p.p.

Be careful
tour: >12 years

No
tour: contact

The EOT

The EOT (Hellenic Organization of Tourism) is an organization that falls under the supervision of Greece’s ministry of tourism. Their main mission is the development and promotion of tourism in Greece. Which counts for over 20 percent of the country’s GDP.

The 2022 summer campaign of EOT is based on the true story of Otto, an Austrian man who visited Greece and ended up “staying forever.” This sentence is the campaign’s slogan. And since the EOT was unclear about the location of their posters, you might end up doing just that.

EOT campaign greece sunken city kayak poster water archeological site ruins sea kayak
The summer 2022 campaign from Greece National Tourism Organization.

Location

The sunken city of Epidaurus is located in the North of the Peloponnese peninsula. In the East of the region called Argolis. This explains the nickname of the site, Argolida’s lost Atlantis

The Argolis region is home to Archaia (ancient) Epidaurus. The famous site which is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. But there are also Nea (new), and Palaia (old) Epidaurus. The latter is where you can find the sunken city of Greece.

The historical underwater site is located in the Aegean sea. The Saronic Gulf, to be specific. In order to reach the site by car, navigate to Gliati beach in Palaia Epidaurus. There you can find a small parking area from which you can walk to the sunken city in less than five minutes.

History

Little is known about the sunken city. There is no information on site nor online, and even the tour guides are uncertain about what it is that is hidden underneath the water.

It could be an old Mycenean settlement dating back to the 12th century A.D. The site shows the remains of ancient walls, foundations, and paved streets. The second possible explanation of the history of the sunken city is a bit younger. A Roman villa from the 2nd century B.C. 

How to visit?

The sunken city of Epidaurus can be experienced in two ways. By a guided kayak tour or by yourself with a snorkeling mask.

The tribal kayak tour

From the village Panagia, just South of Palaia Epidaurus, starts a guided kayak tour to the sunken city. This tour will take you along multiple historical and natural sites. A guide will tell you a lot about the region’s history and help you with your kayak. After the adventure, there is even home-cooked traditional Greek food. The complete tour takes 4,5 hours and costs 70 euros per person. This price includes water, dry bags, snorkeling gear, and a GoPro for underwater pictures. An absolutely recommended experience! However, pregnant mothers-to-be and children under 12 are not allowed to attend this tour.

Visit for free

If you travel through Greece on a budget or belong to one of the groups that are not accepted on the tour, there is another option. All you need is a snorkeling mask or goggles to be able to see the marvelous underwater scenery. Because the sunken city is just a few meters offshore and in shallow water, it is easy to reach swimming. Just bring water shoes or slippers you can walk in the water with. But these should be in everyone’s suitcase when traveling to Greece.

sealife at ancient ruins in sunken city Greece in Epidaurus fish and stones underwater kayak tour
Sea-life inside the ruins at the Sunken city
picture from tribal_kayak_argolida

The experience

Swimming over the sunken city of Greece is a unique and wonderful experience. Usually, archeological sites are organized, preserved, or even restored, and always packed with tourists. This one, however, is just there, taken over by nature in a unique way. And allows you to explore all by yourself.

Usually, only a drone can give you the perspective from above. At the sunken city, you are this low-flying drone. Floating over the ruins, you get a new kind of understanding of the spaces and sizes of ancient times. You can nearly touch the old walls and walk the ancient streets.

Where the Greek seas are usually very scarce when it comes to sea life, the sunken city is home to a rich underwater world. The ruins at Epidaurus are full of colorful fish and beautiful sea urchins, who now inhabit the structures once made by men. Add to that a clear blue sea like everywhere else in Greece, and you have a priceless experience. For free!

Tips:

  • If you plan on visiting the sunken city by kayak book your tour upfront through the website. 
  • Unfortunately, the site is difficult to reach with a wheelchair or with other difficulties walking. A couple minute walk over a pebble beach is needed to get there. However, you might be able to attend the kayak tour if you contact the company in advance and discuss your medical situation.
  • When you visit the site on your own with children, be careful. Make sure they wear shoes or slippers when they go in the water. For children not good at swimming yet, it is a good idea to take an air mattress or something else they can float on, so you can take them to the site inside the water.
  • For adults, the site needs caution as well. Wear either water shoes or slippers, or be extremely careful where you step inside the water. When we visited in August, the beach in front of the sunken city of Greece was home to giant wasps, so do not plan on nicely-staying at the beach here.
  • If you want to combine the archeological site with a lazy day at the beach, there are two options close by. Yialasi beach, just South of the site, or Kalamaki beach in the North.
  • The site is perfect to combine with a visit to ancient Epidaurus, the city of Nafplio, or the dolines of Didyma. By car, the sunken city is two hours away from Athens airport.

Take your underwater camera!

Don’t forget your underwater camera when you have one! We left it at the hotel the day we visited the sunken city and now do not have any pictures of this beautiful site. Did you visit, take pictures, and want to share them on our website? Please leave a comment below or send an email to discoveringrealgreeks@gmail.com

Curious to learn about more hidden gems in Greece? Leave your email below and explore Greece together with us!

Pool or beach? Where to go swimming in Greece?

Greece is full of hotels and apartments for tourists. Even the tiniest village in a good location has many accommodations to offer. In the mountains, on the coast, or in an idyllic traditional whitewashed house. Luxury, budget, or all-inclusive. With a swimming pool or without. Too much to choose from, and when you travel to Greece for the first time, you might not know what to expect. Do you need a swimming pool in Greece? Or is a sweet-water swim just a waste of money?

My experience

The first time I went to Greece, I paid extra for a swimming pool whenever I had the option. I used to believe that although the beaches of Greece might offer refreshments, a good swim requires an artificial pool. However, I barely used any of them. It turns out that the Greek sea is often like a swimming pool, but better. With clear, blue calm water at a pleasant temperature.

Over the years, I started to understand when it is worth paying for accommodation with a sweet water bath and when it is simply not. This summer, with just one night at a hotel with a pool, I was able to swim pleasantly on 100% of my 45 days in Greece.

When can you swim in the Greek sea?

The Greek seas, unfortunately, are not always comfortable to swim in. Water temperatures differ per region and even per beach. But in general, temperatures in Greece allow for swimming from half May till October.

When you visit Greece outside of this period, and you want to swim, a heated pool is what you’re looking for. But during the warmer months, the temperature of the seawater might be even more pleasant than water in an artificial pool. Booking accommodation with a pool is often just a waste of money in summer. Especially when you, either way, want to stay at the coast.

Why stay around the coast?

During summer, it is better to choose accommodation close to the sea. Especially when you are used to a colder climate. Temperatures in Greece are generally high but always lower at the coast. Inland there is less wind and more humidity. The temperature can be around 5 degrees Celcius higher compared to the shore. Besides, after a hot day, the evenings at the beach cool down much quicker after sunset.

The Greek sea is not an ocean

Since it is preferable to stay in the coastal regions of Greece in summer, you will always be close to the sea. When a refreshing jump at a free beach is near, a pool becomes completely unnecessary.

You might fear cold water, rough waves, and sea creatures, but in Greece a bad sea day is rare. The sea around Greece is the Mediterranean. This sea is almost fully enclosed by land. Because of this, the tides are minimal, and waves simply do not have enough space to become big. 

Besides, many of the Greek beaches are located in bays, either small or big. Here, land encloses an even smaller body of water, protecting it against wind and currents. This again results in fewer waves and, in general, very calm waters.

As a result, the Greek sea, with very few exceptions, is like a swimming pool. This is a saying many Greeks use, but one that is actually true. A natural swimming pool without waves and currents. Filled with clear and clean turquoise water.

Temperature-wise, the Greek sea is similar to the swimming pools in Greece. With an average of 250 days of sunshine, the Greeks often heat their warm water with sunlight. Pools, as well as the sea, are heated in the same way. The only difference is the amount of water that is heated. The Greek sun is strong enough to increase the seawater temperature to an average of 26 degrees, the perfect temperature for swimming. A benefit is that seawater cools down much slower than pool water at night because of the size, making a night or morning swim more pleasant at sea.

Benefits of the sea

  • Good for your skin. 
    Going for a refreshing jump into the sea is proven to be good for your skin. Salt opens your pores and works as a natural scrub. But there are other minerals too. Magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Salt water works antibacterial and may even help with skin conditions such as eczema. Besides, there are no added chemicals in seawater. Chlorine used in pools might harm your skin.
  • More relaxing. 
    Swimming pools always seem to amplify the noise around. Screaming children and splashing water, there is no way to avoid them. At the beach, however, you do not hear these noises. Sand filters the sound around, and often the only thing you hear is the crashing of the waves. Besides, a beach offers more space and is less packed. You can read your book in peace or just enjoy the sound of the sea. 
  • Sustainable. 
    A swimming pool consumes about 2,000 and 3,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year without considering heating. This is more than double the amount a single person uses at home in a year! The sea, on the other hand, requires no energy. So if you want a sustainable refreshment, the beach is where you want to go.
  • Fewer insects. 
    Without the use of any chemicals, the beach is a natural insect repeller. The lack of flowering plants at the beach makes this an uninteresting place for insects. 
  • Unique. 
    In Greece, there are sandy beaches, pebble stone beaches, and marble beaches. There are beaches surrounded by red or white cliffs, forests, or caves. And even the sea water seems different in all of them. Every beach is unique because of the nature that surrounds it, and often this nature is incredibly beautiful!

Children

As a parent, you might want to stay at a place with a pool. This might feel safer for your children. In a smaller environment, they are easier to watch while you don’t have to fear deep seas and waves. However, in this case, I would advise you to choose a children-friendly beach instead.

There are many areas in Greece where the sea is very shallow. Your child has to walk 100 meters into the water before he, or she, can not stand anymore. You will have plenty of time to respond before something goes wrong. Also good to know is that many of the popular beaches have a lifeguard during most of the day for extra safety.

Many of the more popular beaches in Greece provide an in-sea playground for children. With waterslides, trampolines, and obstacle courses. These beaches are the perfect place to amuse both young and older children.

Besides, the sand on a beach is a sound absorber. You don’t have to listen to other children playing around. Instead, you can read your book in peace and enjoy the nature around you.

Children-friendly beach in Elafonisos

Here is a list of family-friendly beaches around Greece, but there are many more, all around the country.

When do you want a swimming pool?

The sea in Greece makes an artificial pool a waste of both energy and money. However, there are a few cases in which you might want to consider sweet water swimming in Greece. 

  • Staying inland in summer. When you plan on staying inland during the summer months, a pool is a good option. When the beach is far away and temperatures reach 40 degrees (100 F), you want a closeby refreshment. Inland temperatures can feel unbearable due to a lack of wind and higher humidity. 
  • Between October and May. During these months, you should not expect to swim pleasantly in the Greek seawater. However, check if the accommodation’s pool is actively heated since many Greeks use the sun’s heat to increase the temperature of the water.
  • If your children beg for a pool. Younger children do not really care about sustainability, the beauty of nature, or the health of their skin. When they keep requesting a pool I guess you just have to give in. However, use the holiday to make them experience all the fun the sea has to offer. Next year they will beg for the beach!
Do you agree that swimming in the sea in Greece is better than a pool? Or do you believe the opposite? Let us know in the comments below!

Do you want to prepare yourself for a visit to Greece? Or do you simply want to learn all there is to known about this beautiful country? Leave your email below and get the answer to all your questions!

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Renting a boat in Greece

Nothing is more relaxing than sipping a freddo cappuccino on a sunbed overlooking a turquoise and quiet sea. The Greek beaches are the country’s number one tourist attraction. Perfect for relaxation, watersports, refreshments, and observing natural beauty. However, the most unique and clear waters are often hard to reach from land. Whether inaccessible or extremely expensive, the most beautiful coastal spots remain a dream for most. But did you ever consider renting a boat in Greece?

Why you should rent a boat in Greece

In Greece, there are many easily accessible and beautiful beaches. All around the country. Beach bars and sunbeds here are affordable, and there is space for unorganized sunbathing as well. However, these beaches are often large and crowded. For the adventurers amongst us, they might seem a bit too commercial or large-scale.

When looking for a more unique and private beach experience, you might run into problems. Accessing a tiny paradise from land, you’ll often have to hike or climb, over dangerous cliff sites. Although this is a great experience, and I can definitely recommend doing this, it is not a Greek summer mid-day activity. Especially when you have children.

The other option of accessing a Greek paradise with a private experience is very costly. Many beach bars and hotels have illegally claimed small beaches as theirs. They often made the beach easily accessible, and instead of a toll, they ask entrance money. Visiting the perfect sea can cost up to 100 euros, just for access. Completely ridiculous and not even allowed. But unfortunately, a well-practiced way to make money from tourism. 

The third way of accessing a unique beach in Greece is by (renting a) boat. This way you can avoid risking your life and figure out which beach bar is worth paying for. Plus, you will see Greece from a completely new perspective. On every island I visit, I spend at least one day on a privately rented boat. And it is this day that I enjoy the most.

Benefits of a boat

First of all, there is easy and free access to the most beautiful beaches. You don’t have to worry about hidden costs and overpaying. Instead, you can go around and visit all of them for free!

Secondly, being on a boat creates the perfect circumstances to get through a hot summer day. The wind while speeding up and the water around decrease the hot temperatures. Besides, if you still feel burning on the boat, all you have to do is jump.

The final benefit of a boat I want to mention is the experience. A big part of Greece’s coastline is undiscovered by tourism. Inaccessible by land because of the roughness of nature. But when you follow the coastline, those beautiful parts of Greece are suddenly revealed. Caves, cliffs, underwater life. You will meet it all on a boat!

How to rent a boat

In many areas in Greece, the ports are home to local boat rental companies. These companies often offer boat rentals, private cruises, and tours. During the summer months, these companies are often fully booked, so make sure to arrange a reservation a couple months before your holiday.

For many of the smaller boats, owning a boat license is not mandatory. Instead, the only criterion is a minimum age. Always check the required documents with the renal company to be sure.

What to look out for?

Renting a boat is popular amongst tourists in Greece, which is why many companies offer them. However, don’t go for the easiest or cheapest option. Here are a couple things you should look for when finding the right company.

  • Instructions
    Especially when you are going to drive a boat for the first time, you need an introduction. Look for a company that provides this. If the company is good, patient, and willing to help you, customers will mention this in their reviews. So check for this.
  • Tracking
    Although I am all about privacy, a rental company that tracks its boats is worth a temporary limit. Imagine you get stuck at sea, or the engine fails. You want the company to be able to find you and track your moves.
  • Safety & emergency equipment
    Check online for reviews in which customers tell about the available safety & emergency equipment on the boat.
  • Weather and sea information
    It is always good to check if the company provides customers with up-to-date information on weather and sea conditions. 
  • Tent
    When renting a boat during the summer months, you need a boat with a tent. Without shadow, sunstroke after a day on the water is very possible, especially in the middle of the day. So don’t budget on this one. 
  • Cooler
    When on holiday in a foreign country, you probably don’t have one in your suitcase. Many rental companies offer a cooler for your journey, and this definitely comes in handy. 

Do you want to prepare yourself for a visit to Greece? Or do you simply want to learn all there is to known about this beautiful country? Leave your email below and get the answer to all your questions!

What to take with you on the boat?

  • Water
    Never leave a hotel in Greece without taking water. When you go on a boat, make sure to take at least 1.5 liters per person with you.
  • Swimsuit
    Be prepared for a lot of refreshing jumps into the sea. Wear a swimsuit and maybe take one extra in case you get cold. 
  • Extra clothes and towels
    It is good to always take an extra set of clothes as well as an extra layer for unexpected wind. Besides, it is a good idea to bring a hat as well. When you go at high speed, you will have to lower the tent of the boat, a hat can provide you some shadow at this time.
  • Food
    Although it is an option to dock at a port and have food on shore, I do not recommend this. Especially when you are a first-time captain. Take lunch and snacks with you.
  • Drybag
    Do you want to take a phone, camera, drone, money, or anything else that should not get wet? Take a drybag. Many renting companies provide you one, but if not, make sure you take one yourself. You might not be in the water, there will be a lot of water splashing around. 
  • Sunscreen
    Water is great at reflecting sunlight, making you the perfect target for an overload of UV radiation. Even if you have a tent for shadow, do not forget sunscreen and apply it regularly.
  • Don’t pack too much
    There is not a lot of space on a small rental boat. You don’t want more on the deck than one cooler with water and food, a drybag, and maybe one more backpack with clothes. Don’t overdress, don’t wear shoes, and simply don’t overpack. Keep it simple.

What are the costs of renting a boat in Greece?

Although renting a boat in Greece is not for those who travel on a strict budget, it is not crazy expensive either. A small boat for two to four people costs around 100 to 150 euros a day. However, in more touristic places, prices can increase significantly. In Santorini, for example, a day on a boat may cost 400 euros.

Bigger boats for bigger groups, are more expensive and often require a license. In this case, a private boat with a captain might be an option. An indication of the price for this option is between 50 and 100 euros per person per day.

Seasickness

You might believe a boat is not an option for you when you have experienced seasickness on, for example, a ferry or when you get nauseous in a car. But don’t say no to a boat experience too quickly!

Let me tell you my story. Ever since I was young, I get motion sickness in the back of a bar or on a big stable ferry. I get dizzy and nauseous easily and quickly, even with medication. And I always believed that entering a small boat would end up in disaster.

But then I went. Armed with medication, an empty stomach, and a weeks-supply of water, I decided to not let my motion sickness take the experience from me any longer. Surprisingly, I did not feel anything that day on the boat. The connection with the sea and the fresh air on a small boat, make me feel ok with the motion. Unless the waters are really rough, I do not get seasick.

So try it! Stay close to the coastline, where the sea is calmer. Go on a good day with good visibility. Forget about phones, tablets, and even a book. Look around, breathe in, and enjoy!

Dolphins

The Greek sea is home to many dolphins. Maybe you have heard about them or even seen them on a ferry? They live all around Greece and are quite frequently spotted since they love playing with ferries and smaller boats. However, when renting a small boat in Greece, don’t get too excited about them.
The Greek dolphins don’t often come close to the coastline but remain in the deeper waters. The deep sea is rougher and more unpredictable, and you should not go there for dolphin hunting on a small rental boat. If you want to see dolphins book a tour or ask an experienced captain. Or hop on a ferry.
That said, meeting dolphins is an absolutely incredible experience!

Frequently asked questions

What documents are needed to rent a boat in Greece?

Most of the smaller boats (for up to four people) do not require documents but instead a minimum age. For other boats an internationally accepted boat license is required.

How much does it cost to rent a boat in Greece?

Prices vary, from 80 to 400 euros, depending in how touristic the location is.

How do I find a reliable boat rental company in Greece?

Check the reviews online. If there are positive reviews on patient instructions, emergency equipment and helpfulness, the company should be good.

Do I have to book a boat before my holiday in Greece?

In the summer months it is prefered to book a boat before your holiday, since many of the companies are fully booked in this period. For the other months, however, I would wait. Since there is a bigger chance of rain and rough seas, it is better to check the weater conditions on that day. Also, keep in mind that some rental companies close outside of summer.

What to take with you for a day on a boat?

Water, a swimsuit, extra clothes and towels, food, a drybag, and sunscreen. But remember to pack light, and don’t wear shoes.

Explore Xanthi. In the North of Greece

The day I heard my Greek boyfriend is from North-West Greece, I felt a bit sad. Why didn’t I find a guy from Crete, Kefalonia, or Mykonos? How am I supposed to enjoy my summers, spending an entire month in Xanthi? The only place in Greece that can have months of rain. And just 60.000 inhabitants in a region of almost 500 square kilometers.

Three years later, however, I realize how I based my opinion on prejudices. Asking me today if I want to go on a holiday in Crete, I would reply, only if we visit Xanthi as well! This small and unknown region in western Thrace stole a place in my heart.

Thrace,
mainland

City

5 days

Free

Yes

Yes

Why visit Xanthi?

Looking at the facts, Xanthi does not do well. The region does not have the bluest seas, the highest mountains, the most picturesque towns, interesting archeological sites, or idyllic churches. Xanthi is not the best at anything. However, it has everything. And that’s Xanthi’s power.

After waking up at the beach house in the morning, I have the freedom to do anything. Go for a swim or go shopping in the city center. In the mountains, I can go hiking or canoeing. I can get lost in the narrow streets of the old town, visit multiple archeological sites, or see an idyllic white church on a lake surrounded by flamingos. The best thing is, I can do all of the above without meeting other tourists and not spend more than 30 minutes in a car!

The region of Xanthi

The region of Xanthi is bound by mountains in the North, on the border with Bulgaria. In the South, the region is enclosed by the Aegean sea. In between, there is a plain, where the people of Xanthi used to grow tobacco. Which used to be the most important part of Xanthis economy.

The city of Xanthi consists of two parts. The old town, on the foot of the mountain Augo. Augo means egg in Greek, which perfectly describes the shape of the peak. Below the old town, towards the south, the new city of Xanthi is built. From here you are going towards Xanthis coastline.

In the east of the region are the wetlands. Home to many different bird species and part of Natura 2000. In the middle of a lake, part of these wetlands is a small monastery, built on a wooden deck in the water. In the winter, this area is home to thousands of flamingos.

Curious to learn about more hidden gems in Greece? Leave your email below and explore Greece together with us!

How to get to Xanthi

Xanthi doesn’t have an airport, making the region not easily accessible. In the summer months, however, many smaller airplanes fly from Athens and the islands to both Kavala and Alexandroupoli. From here, Xanthi is very close by.

The other option for reaching Xanthi is to fly to Thessaloniki. You can take a rental car or bus from here. This journey is about 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on how Greek you drive. On your way, you will pass the giant lakes of Korneia and Volvi, but you will also see Halkidiki and drive through the mountains. 

Is Xanthi expensive?

No. Xanthi is not (yet) discovered by tourism, meaning that prices here are Greek. You can buy a coffee, with a bottle of water, for less than two euros. Going out for food at one of the many tavernas costs approximately 10 euros per person. And staying in a hotel with two people during the summer costs only 60 euros a night. Outside of the summer season, prices will drop to 50 or even 40 euros. Besides, along the coast are many privately rented beach houses which usually offer a pretty good deal.

Meet the real Greeks

The prices make Xanthi the perfect place if you want to stay in Greece for a longer period and get to know the Greek culture. Tourism is not a big thing in Xanthi, so every person you meet or see during your stay will be Greek. 

Great events to visit in Xanthi are Carnival, Easter, Christmas, their liberation day on the 4th of October, and the old town festival at the end of the summer. But even the usual days here are worth experiencing. Pick up bougatsa for breakfast in the morning. Work only till 2 in the afternoon. Leave town for a swim in the summer, or a hike in the winter. Enjoy long and tasty Greek lunches. And visit the main square or the old town, at night. That is what life is like for the locals.

What to do in Xanthi

Here is a list of all the things you can do in Xanthi:

  • Go to the beach in Myrodato or Mólos. Or visit the beach bar Porto Moló at night.
  • Hike in the mountains, especially from Augo. The view on the top is amazing.
  • Canoe or barbecue on the Nestos river. 
  • There is also an accessible “monopati” if you want to watch the river on foot. From here you can see many old railway tunnels through the mountains.
  • Visit the Holy Monastery of Saint Nicholas.
  • Get lost in the old town.
  • Visit the bridges around Xanthi.
  • Watch flamingos in the lakes during the winter months.
  • Visit the Pomaks villages, like Smithi or Echinos.
  • Eat at local taverns, or try bougatsa, and a lot of other sweets.
  • Go to the Bazar on Saturdays. It used to be the biggest one in the Balkans.
  • Visit the waterfall of Levaditis.
  • Have a look at the great mansion of Manos Hatdjidakis. One of the greatest worldwide recognized music composers of Greece.
  • Walk the path of life.
  • Hang out at the square, together with the locals.

How long to stay in Xanthi?

As I mentioned before, Xanthi is perfect for a longer stay in Greece to blend in with the locals. Nonetheless, a shorter stay is also possible. Rent a house or room at the beach and relax for a week or two. Or, go hiking in the mountains. To visit all the landmarks of Xanthi four or five days should be enough. However, I do not recommend staying only for those days. Xanthi has to grow on you, so give it a chance!

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Blue Flag beaches in Greece

What is better than a summer holiday on a perfect beach? Swim and relax, absorb some vitamin D, and enjoy the beauty of nature around. This is what attracts over 30 million tourists to come to Greece every summer. Greece is famous for its beaches, and it would probably be no surprise that if there is an award for beaches, Greece would be amongst the top countries to receive them. Well, there is an award, the Blue Flag. And Greece has many Blue Flag awarded beaches, marinas, and recreational boat operators. A tourist magnet. But are these Blue Flag awarded places the best you can find in Greece? 

What is Blue Flag?

Blue Flag awards are the Oscars amongst beaches. Only with many price winners. With the help and support of the Foundation of Environmental Education, the program aims to protect our coasts and promote sustainable tourism. The goal of Blue Flag is “pure water, clean coasts, safety and access for all.” 

Blue Flag started in France in 1987 as an initiative to raise environmental awareness amongst children. Although the program had the right goals, it chose the wrong way to achieve them. Groups of children would write messages in plastic bottles to throw into the sea. The idea was that currents would take the bottles to different shores. Whenever someone far away would read this message, he or she should understand the impact litter has on nature. However, not many bottles were ever seen again, and the program started with actually increasing water pollution.

After this, Blue Flag evolved. With the support of the European Union, it grew into the number 1 program to develop quality standards for beaches and seawater. Today the program is active in 48 countries. The majority of participating countries are in the European Union. But, for instance, islands in the Caribbean, Mexico, Canada, and New Zeeland take part as well.

How does a beach get a Blue Flag award?

“A Blue Flag beach, marina or boating operator, is not only a place to give a sense of pride to the community and attract tourism but also promotes environmental issues and awareness.”

A Blue Flag is not only awarded to the most beautiful and clean beaches in this world. There are four categories in which a beach has to score points to acquire this eco-label.

Environmental education and information

One of the main goals of Blue Flag is to connect people to their surroundings. Each awarded beach has to inform visitors about ecosystems and provide environmental education activities. 

Water quality

The waters at a Blue Flag beach should meet ” the requirements for excellent bathing water.” No sewage systems can connect, nor can there be any industrial discharge. The waters have to be clean, healthy, and safe.

Environmental management

Proper waste and recycling management are included in this criteria. But also requirements related to domestic animals, camping, driving, and maintenance of buildings, are covered in this category.

Safety and services

Lifeguards, first aid equipment, and fresh drinking water have to be available to the public. It must be safe to both reach the beach as well as to be there. 

Blue Flag beaches in Greece

Around the world, 48 countries participate in the Blue Flag program. Amongst these 48, there are 5.042 awarded beaches, marinas, and boating operators, in 2022. Greece has a total of 602, 12% of the total awards, making Greece the 2nd country on this list. Most awarded are Crete (128), Halkidiki (87), and Rodes (55). But all over Greece there are awarded beaches. Even my beloved, nontouristic beach house is on a Blue Flag beach. Check the map on the Blue Flag website to discover if you have ever been on an awarded beach.

How to interpret the Blue Flag label?

A comfortable, clean, and safe beach

The Blue Flag eco-label is a tourist magnet, but should you travel, chasing the beaches granted this trophy? The answer depends on who you are and who you are traveling with. 

When traveling with young children, or if you are disabled or older, the award might be a good guideline when deciding where to go. The Blue Flag beaches must be easy and safely accessible. First aid equipment and lifeguards should be available to help in case something happens, and so are toilets and drinking water. A sea with strong currents or dangerous waves will never make it on the list. 

The Blue Flag beaches are safe for children and comfortable for their parents. And since Greece has many cliff-side beaches and terrible dirt roads, the list of Blue Flag beaches is a good indication for people with limited mobility. Besides, all beaches carrying the eco-label must encourage visitors to learn about the environment and contribute to at least 17 Sustainability Development Goals.

The eco-label is not a travel guide

When I look at the 2022 Blue Flag labeled beaches, I can say that the most impressive spots on the Greek coastline did not get the eco-label. Even though requirements for the eco-label include pure water and clean coasts, other criteria are safety and accessibility. Resulting in many Greek paradises that do not make it on the list. 

Blue Flag has the status amongst tourists of a travel guide to the best beaches. This is a misconception. Although awarded beaches are clean and environmentally friendly, non-eco-labeled spots can be even more worth visiting. 

A beach with the cleanest, bluest water, surrounded by wild nature and without any disturbance of natural life and peace, will not make it on the list. Instead, a concrete road through the untouched nature, is needed for safe access. Environmental education activities have to be offered. Lifeguards should be available, and waste disposal bins should be installed.

The Blue Flag eco-label includes the necessity of human interference. But does this genuinely upgrade the nature of this place? Do these measures increase the sustainability of nature itself? Does it even make the beach a better spot to go to as a tourist? 

I would answer with no to all of these questions. 

The risk of the Blue Flag award

Most Blue Flag beaches in Greece, are located in areas well known by tourists. Combining this with the fact that municipalities of the beach have to apply themselves for the award, shows that the Blue Flag is not only about a green and eco-friendly holiday. There is economics and competition involved as well. 

Today, Greece is second on the list of countries with the most awarded beaches. Spain is first, and Turkey is third. For all these three countries, tourism is important to the economy. Being first on the Blue Flag list plays a role in the number of tourists that visit, making it economically beneficial to have as many beaches as possible granted with the award. 

This raises my doubts when it comes to the Blue Flag label. What if competition drives countries to get as many beaches awarded as possible? The result would be a lack of unique, secluded, and rural coastlines. 

The Blue Flag award is beneficial in places already known as good holiday destinations. For a beach organized and visited often, I can only praise any attempt to increase sustainability through human action. But I fear that with the increase in the familiarity of the Blue Flag label amongst tourists, the beautiful and untouched beaches of today will turn into tourist magnets in the coming years. Great for the economy, but not for us travelers.

Do you want to prepare yourself for a visit to Greece? Or do you simply want to learn all there is to known about this beautiful country? Leave your email below and get the answer to all your questions!

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Ionian or Aegean islands?

With over 6.000 Greek islands, it can be extremely difficult to figure out where to go for your next holiday. Party in Mykonos, stunning Zakynthos, unspoiled Lefkada, or unique Santorini? There are really just too many good options to choose from. Unfortunately, I can not really help you with your choice. The perfect island for you might not be the same as the one I would choose to return to every year. What I can do, however, is tell you about the differences between each island, or in this case, the difference between the two seas that surround Greece. Because the Ionian Sea on the west, and the Aegean Sea on the south, are quite different from each other.

Geography

Let’s start with geography. For many foreigners, the Mediterranean sea is all there is in the South of Europe. Stretching from Spain to Turkey, it might seem that all the water here is the same. However, this is not true. The Mediterranean sea is divided into multiple seas, and around Greece, there are two main ones.

The Ionian sea lies between Italy and Greece, on the west side of Athens. The Agean sea is on the opposite side between Greece and Turkey. Crete has its own sea, which I will hopefully soon be able to include in this overview of seas in Greece.

Maps of the seas around Greece
image from BCcampus

The sea

Because the two seas are on different sides of Greece, they have separate currents that move the water, creating two individual bodies of water. The water of the Aegean sea is the calmest when it comes to water circulation. As a result, the water here can be a bit less clear than it is in the Ionian sea, where the water rushes toward Croatia.

Besides the clearness, the color of the seas is unalike as well. The water of the Ionian sea is just blue. Light blue when it’s shallow, and darker blue as the water gets deeper. But always really blue. The Aegean sea is more turquoise and might even seem green-ish in some areas. Still super beautiful, but you might not get the ultimate beach picture on every island or beach here, since the watercolor is depending heavily on the nature around.

The temperature of the water of the two seas is quite similar on paper. However, many Aegean islands have a more shallow coastline, whereas the Ionian coast is mainly made up of cliffs. The shallow water heats up more easily by the sun, making the Aegean water, in most places, feel warmer compared to the Ionian water

Vegetation

Although there are a few islands in the Aegean that are full of trees and other vegetation, most of the islands in this sea, especially in the South, are dry and wild. There is not a lot of vegetation around, and the islands are mostly rocks and dirt. I am not sure if this is a result of the difference in wind, climate, or the volcanic history of this area, but there is just not that much vegetation.

The Ionian islands, on the other hand, are green. They have many unexplored forests, that often go straight into the sea, or grow on a white cliff above. Lush greenery and hundreds of years old olive trees are everywhere on the Ionian islands.

Wind

The wind conditions in both seas are completely different from each other. Wind is created between high-pressure areas and low-pressure areas. The bigger the difference between the pressures, the faster the air will move from the high to the low pressure and the stronger the wind will be.

In the Aegean sea, there are the Meltemi winds. These winds are a result of the high-pressure area in the Balkans, and the low pressure in the South. They flow from north to south and can reach strengths up to 7 bft. Especially in the afternoons, prepare to be blown away.

The wind on the Ionian islands works differently. In the Ionian islands, there is no close-by clash between pressure areas. As a result, there is no strong wind on the islands here, more like a cool summer breeze, with a strength of about 4 bft at most.

The thing both seas have in common is the daily pattern of the winds. Usually, the mornings are fine, but then the wind starts to blow and gradually gains strength. In the afternoon, the wind speeds reach the maximum. They then die out at night and start over again the next day. This might be good to know when you’re going on a boat trip, these are much less bumpy in the morning!

Temperature

As a result of the Meltemi winds, the islands in the Aegean sea will feel much less hot in the summer months. The wind makes the temperature drop slightly while the Ionian islands might feel like a sauna. However, this only counts in July and August. Off-season, temperatures on the Aegean islands will be higher than on the Ionian sea. Making these perfect spring and fall destinations.

Culture

Greece has been the subject of many wars. Every island has a history of being concurred over and over. Venetians and Ottomans played a role throughout entire Greece. However, where the Ionian islands are mainly influenced by the Europeans, the Aegean islands got most of their cultural heritage from the Ottomans.

The Ionian islands eat more pasta and the Aegean islands have more mosques. Differences are everywhere, the villages, the local food, and drinks, the traditional music… An additional distinction today is that the Aegean islands have more of a party culture, whereas the Ionian islands do not have this.

Left is the Ionian sea, right is the Aegean sea.

Ionian or Aegean?

This is still a difficult question. If you go sailing and you are looking for an adventure, go Aegean. But if you’re new to sailing, I would recommend to stay on the Ionian sea until you feel comfortable enough to face the strong Meletimi winds.

If you like nature’s beauty more than anything, go to the Ionian islands. However, if you want a good scenery and be closer to nightlife as well, the Aegean islands may be better for you.

If you want uniqueness, like white-washed houses and the temple of Apollo, go to the Aegean islands. If you prefer stunning scenery all around, seeing many beautiful places instead of just a few amazing ones, I would say the Ionian islands would be for you.

In the end, however, both seas are stunning and amazing holiday destinations. The real advice I would like to give you is to visit both the Greek seas and as many of the Greek islands as possible! Explore the differences on your own.

Aegean or Ionian? What is your preferred destination? Leave a comment below.

Do you want to prepare yourself for a visit to Greece? Or do you simply want to learn all there is to known about this beautiful country? Leave your email below and get the answer to all your questions!

Island hopping in Greece

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Travel guide to Paxi. The most beautiful island in Greece

In the Ionian Sea, just south of the famous island of Corfu, you can find Paxos. With just 19 square kilometers of land, it is one of the smallest inhabited islands of Greece. The island is still quite untouched by tourism, but asking the Greeks about Paxi, they say it is the most paradise like island in the country. It is a place where you can completely relax and enjoy the absolutely stunning beauty of nature.

Paxoi, Ionian Sea
Island
1 -3 days
Free
Average
No

General information

Naming explained

There is some confusion about the naming of the island, especially amongst foreigners. Is it Paxos, Paxoi or Paxi? To start with, Paxi is the English version of Paxoi. But what about the other two?

Let me explain you something about the Greek language. Because the difference between Paxoi and Paxos is the ending of these two words. When a Greek words ends at -os, it means this word is singular, and most of the time masculine. An ending with -oi, however, is used in words that are plural.

So when you say Paxoi, the Greeks will understand this as referring to all the islands in the municipality of Paxoi. The island group. Paxos, the singular version of the name, is the main island of this group.

Mythology

Did you ever hear about Poseidon or Neptune? The ancient God of the sea, the earthquakes, and the horses? The one that always holds a trident? Well, according to the Greek mythology, he is the one who created the beautiful islands of Paxoi, as an act of love.

Poseidon had many lovers, but in this story, we will talk about his love for Amphitrite. When Poseidon saw this beautiful spirit of sea water dancing, he fell madly in love with her. Amphitrite, however, did not share his feelings and ran, far away.

But Poseidon, as the strong and poweful God he was, not getting what he wants would not make a good story. So he sent a dolphin out to find the love of his life and convince her to marry him. With succes. Amphitrite came back and married Poseidon, who then wanted to create a romantic get-away just for the two of them.

Poseidon went to the southern tip of Corfu. With his trident, he hit the ground so hard that the land broke off and traveled over the Ionian Sea. The chunks of land bounced to the horizon, and came to a stop about 50 kilometers off shore. Creating the islands of Paxoi.

How to get to Paxi?

The only way to reach the small island of Paxos is by boat. Easiest is to take a ferry from Lefkimmi on Corfu or Igoumenitsa on the main land. The journey takes around 45-90 minutes, making this island pretty easy to access.

Coming from the other Ionian islands however, a trip to Paxi is bit more time consuming. With a travel time of 10 hours from the famous Zakynthos, 7 hours from Kefelonia and ferries going just once every couple of days, this combination is not the best option for island hopping in Greece.

There is one more option for a visit the beautiful islands of Paxi. A day trip from Parga, in Epirus on the main land. In the summer season there is a boat every day that takes you along the beautiful coastline of Paxos and Antipaxos. However, these boats are extremely crowded and have a strict schedule. There is no time to relax while relaxing is the thing to do on Paxos.

Why to visit Paxi?

The answer to this question is simple. Paxoi is an amazingly beautiful island. The island itself is packed with old olive trees. Half a million of them were planted in the sixteenth century by the Venetians. Now, five hundred years later, they are still there, providing a stunning landscape, shade from the sun and amazing olive oil.

On the west of the island, there are huge white limestone cliffs, shaped by the erosion of thousands of years. Underneath them are many caves you can explore, swimming in the most clear and blue water in whole Greece. The island is almost too beautiful to be real.

daylight entering a cave in Greece white stone blue sea
white cliff with a cave in blue sea with little boat
girl steering a boat in Paxi
tall white limestone cliff with blue sea and caves in Paxi
white cliffs during sunset in Paxi
two people in a boat in clear turquoise water in Paxi
eroded rock in blue sea in Paxi
the best beach in Greece with crystal clear blue water in Antipaxos
1 / 9

What to do in Paxi?

Turn off your phone, forget about time, completely relax and enjoy the extreme beauty of nature. A trip to Paxi is really about disconnecting from the busy life you usually have and the landscape is perfect to help you doing that.

Beaches

On the west of the islands there are quite a few beaches. All with a combination of green trees and white lime stone around the turquoise clear water of the sea. The beaches of the island are sometimes hard to access but they all feel so paradise-like that you can easily spend just one day on one single beach. Good to know before is that all the beaches in Paxi have pebble stones, so when you are planning to visit this island, it might be a good idea to bring to water shoes.

Gaios

Another must-do on the island, is a visit to Gaios. Gaios is the main town of Paxoi and is picturesque village with colorful house, and narrow streets, located around the natural port of the island. This is quite unique. The island of Agios Nikolaos and Panagia, protect the coast of Gaios from rough waters and winds, naturally creating the perfect conditions for a port that is still used today.

From every point in Gaios you will see the islands that protect its shores as well as the many boats that lay in the port and this makes for a stunning view. Stroll along the water or get lost in the many narrow streets surrounded by traditional colored houses. Enjoy food next to the sea or on the main square. You will pay a bit more than the average Greek prices, but in return you get a really good view for your money.

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Rent a boat

The one thing I would absolutely recommend you to do in Paxi, is renting a boat. Although the island of Paxos is amazing by itself, the even more beautiful part of Paxoi is there where you can not reach from land. The white cliffs and their caves in the west, as well as the island of Antipaxos in the south are only accessible from the sea.

There are many organized day trips to explore this part of the islands, however, for almost the same price you are able to rent a small boat yourself. In most of the boat rental places it is enough to have a driver’s license in order to be able to rent a boat, and the rental company will teach you how to handle the boat before you go out on the sea.

I payed around 100 euro’s renting a boat for a day from the company called Panos. This might sound expensive but thinking back on the experience of that day, it would have been worth it to pay even more than double. Plus, this boat holds a maximum of 4 people, making it actually just 25 euro’s per person per day. Panos also offers a boat including a captain for when you don’t own a drivers license or if you are afraid of staring this journey by yourself. For both options, make sure to book before.

When renting a boat on Paxi, it is good to keep in mind that the later it gets in the afternoon, the rougher the sea will be on the south-west side of the island. Starting your trip early in the morning. First visit the caves and cliffs on the west, then go to Antipaxos and keep checking the roughness of the sea to get back safely to the main island to explore the east.

Antipaxos is famous for Voutoumi beach, which is an absolutely stunning one. However, in the summer months, it can be extremely crowded here. I would recommend you to keep following Antipaxos’ coastline till you find a more quiet place and enjoy the sea here before you make your way back to the main island to finish your tour.

How many days to spend in Paxi?

I visited Paxi for three days and this was a pretty good amount to explore the island and it shores. But where I combined this holiday with a roadtrip through Epirus and a month at the family beach house, three days might be a bit short for an entire holiday.

If you truly want to relax, slow down and disconnect from the rest of the world, you can stay longer. Maybe stay a couple of nights at Antipaxos instead of visiting the two islands in one day trip. But if you’re more about seeing things and exploring, I would say three days is enough, combining your trip to Paxi with a stay in Curfu or Parga.

Book in advance!

Paxi is a very small island and therefore accommodation is scarce. If you’re planning on visiting the island during the summer months, it is best to book a couple months in advance. I can recommend Electra Villa & Pool Studios, if you’re looking for a quiet getaway with a stunning view. Check the map below for available accommodations. If you’re booking through here, you are supporting this website.

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Time to walk on water! Agios Nikolaos on Lemnos

Opposite of fanaraki beach, in the middle of the island of Lemnos is a sea so enclosed by land that is characterized more like a lake. In the middle of this shallow calm water lies a little island with on top a small white church. How much Greeker can it get? And even better, you get to walk on water on your way there!

The Agios Nikolaos, Saint Nicholas church, is a must-see when visiting the island. Not so much for the little church itself as for the way that leads you there.

Following a dirt road from the village of Pedino, you pass through a beautiful rural area that even got my Greek parents-in-law surprised. Follow the wetlands as well as the dry ones with the biggest cacti, or cactuses on the island. You will pass some remote farms until you come at a y-section, take a left and drive until the road ends. This is from where you will see the path of the island.

Now it is time for you to walk on water! A narrow concrete path surrounded by sea will take you to the island of the church. Crossing around 200 meters it is really a special experience to walk “on” the sea like this. Beautiful!

The island itself is small and the church even smaller. But the island is so remote that it is the quietest place I found on Lemnos. With water all around it is so peaceful here. Even with a whole Greek family of 12 to join you, you can find your own spot and enjoy the nature and tranquillity around.

Me and a part of the Greek family crossing the path to the island

Tips:

  • The dirt road that leads to the church is pretty long and not the easiest to drive. However, we managed with four adults in a Volkswagen up! So don’t let the dirt scare you and go!
  • Although the way to the church seems pretty accessible, walking over the water by the concrete path. There are some stairs taking you up on the island. Making the island itself difficult to visit for disabled people.
  • The church might have a lot of sea around, it is not really a place to swim. So combine the visit to this church with a beach close by, mikro fanaraki is a good one!

Much more than a beach. Paralia Mikro Fanaraki

In the East of the island of Lemnos, there is a small beach called Mikro Fanaraki. A small lantern. The beach is probably named after the little lighthouse on the rocks closeby. Although Mikro Fanaraki itself is small as well, there is so much to see and do around that it deserves a visit during your stay on the island.

Location Overview

Lemnos
Natural site
3 hours
Free
Yes but be careful
No

Beach & Sea

Because the beach is almost completely enclosed, the sea will be clear, blue, and smooth, almost every day. A sea like oil is what the Real Greeks would say. Besides, the water is shallow making it the ideal beach for families with younger children. And with the whole beach being surrounded by white rocks, it feels like you enter a paradise.

But there is so much more on this beach!

The rocks in mikro Fanaraki – by google’s local host Apostolos Petalotis

Rocks

Swimming a little bit to the left coming from the beach, there are some small rocks in the water that make for a perfect playground. The rocks here are easy to walk on, steady, and go into the water like a ramp. Amazing for older kids to play on but even adults can enjoy themselves here.

Since the beach of Mikro Fanaraki itself is pretty small and busy, these rocks make the perfect place to enjoy the beauty of this area. You can pick your own spot, away from other people. Spend some time enjoying the scenery, cooling off with a swim in the crystal clear water.

little blue clear bay with white cliffs and green
Abandoned estate in the cliff close to mikro Fanaraki in Lemnos.
Almost invisible between the surrounding nature.

Abandoned estate on the cliff

Following the rocks, you will end up at a small bay with its own little sand beach. This beach was once owned by a rich man, who build an estate in the cliff above. After building, the man was forced to leave because of economic reasons. And now the beach, as well as the property, are abandoned and open for a visit.

First I have to say, as an architect, the house is an amazing design. From the sea it is nearly impossible to distinguish the house from the cliff it is built on. The color of the stones matches perfectly with the rocks around and the greenery in front makes it part of nature. Only a big round window in the front of the house reveal’s its presence. It is not often in Greece that villas are so polite to the nature they’re built in.

Coming back to the beach below. From here you can take a path with stairs up to the house that is part of a giant abandoned estate. Walk around but definitely take the paved walkway all along the cliffs. The view is marvelous and it is easy to walk. This path will eventually take you back to the mikro fanaraki beach.

Seal’s cave

Seal’s cave – by google’s local host Lucian Bagia

Coming back to the beach, there is one more thing you should do, swimming to the right side. Or go for a hike, whatever you prefer! Seal’s cave is a place with beautiful stone structures where you can swim through. The stone’s here are volcanic, meaning that many have beautiful colors and textures. Although the water in the caves can get a bit dirty and it smells like sulfide, the cave is a beautiful creation of nature.

Tips:

  • Mikro fanaraki is one of the most popular beaches on Lemnos and in summer it can get very crowded. Come early in the day or late in the afternoons to have a more peaceful experience. Or leave the beach itself and find a spot around on the cliffs in the afternoon.
  • There is quite a big parking near the road. From here you walk down to the beach through the sand, making it difficult for disabled people to get there.
  • The sunbeds on the beach are owned by the beach bar here and using one means buying something to eat or to drink from here. They are slightly overpriced. But we had just two coffees and spend the whole afternoon exploring the area. Meaning it was worth the price.
  • If you visit the beach at the end of the day. Move to paralia fanaraki (the beach on the other side) to watch the sunset. This is super beautiful because you will see the sun go down behind the mountains of the western part of the island.
Did you see the abandoned house in the picture? Or do you know another beach house that truly blends in with its surroundings? Let me know in the comments below.

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