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.

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The five best beaches in Greece

Elafonisi Beach

Located on the island of Crete, this beach is known for its crystal clear waters and fine, pink sand. Pink? Yes! Microscopic red organisms live in the coral reefs off-shore and give the otherwise white beach a unique pink shade. Besides the color, it is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling. The shallow waters make it the perfect beach for families with younger children.

Navagio Beach

Navagio Beach is better known as the famous Shipwreck Beach. Located on the island of Zakynthos, this site is a must-visit for anyone traveling to Greece. Navagio is a secluded cove with clear blue waters and a shipwreck on the shore, which adds to its charm. However, you can not reach this beach from the land, so the perfect opportunity to rent a boat in Greece!

Santorini’s Red Beach

Again a beach with a crazy color! However, this time the color is not on the sand itself. Instead, the red comes from volcanic cliffs surrounding this beach. The Red Beach is located in the South of the island of Santorini. It is a unique and picturesque spot, with crystal clear waters and fine, black sand.

Milos Sarakiniko Beach

Sarakiniko beach is a top destination for travelers visiting the island of Milos in Greece. This beautiful beach is known for its white, smooth rock formations and is shaped by the elements over time. The site’s unique landscape is often referred to as moon-like. Furthermore, the clear waters and bright blue skies make it a breathtaking natural wonder. Make sure to put Sarakiniko beach on your list of must-see destinations, but don’t forget to bring a lot of sunscreen during your visit.

Porto Katsiki Beach

Located on the island of Lefkada, Porto Katsiki is considered one of the most beautiful in Greece. The beach is long and sandy, with crystal-clear waters and a stunning view of the surrounding cliffs. Unlike the beauty of this beach, its name is less flattering. In Greek, Porto means port, and Katsiki means goat. This name refers to the tall white cliffs around, which were, before human interference, only accessible to goats.

Discover by yourself!

Although these are the five most popular beaches in Greece, there are many other beautiful ones to discover. In my opinion, the best beach is hidden, undiscovered by mass tourism, and private. You can find these unique places all around in the country. A couple examples are:

Curious about more off-the-beaten-track ideas? Check all our destinations here.

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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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.

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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Imagine a simple island…

Let’s assume you have decided to spend a week on the most boring island in Greece. It has four beaches, one north, one east, one south, and one west. They are all equally beautiful but besides that, the island has nothing else. You have arrived and the only thing you can do for the next 7 days is to go to one of these four beaches. How do you decide which one to go to?

This is how you pick

Greeks have a technique that helps them pick out the best beach each day, they look where the wind comes from. If the wind is coming from the east, they will avoid the beaches on this side of the island, unless they are surfers. The Greeks will instead go to the beach on the west of the island. In the same way, a wind from the south will lead them to the beach on the north.

Why? Because the onshore wind, the wind coming over the sea towards the beach, will create waves while the offshore wind will result in a calm sea, a sea that is like oil, is what the Greeks call this.

I must confess that for someone, not Greek, going to a Greek beach in the worst wind conditions will still result in an absolutely paradise-like sea experience. But if you wonder why one day there are no Greeks there and the next day there are, this is the answer.

What might be good to remember, is that Greece in summer, usually has strong winds, the Meltemi Winds or Etesian winds. These winds can be quite strong, especially in the afternoons making it better to plan your boat trips in the morning or during the night.