Porto Katsiki, Lefkada, Kleftiko beach, Milos, and Seitan Limania beach in Crete have been listed among Europe’s top beaches, according to London-based travel gurus Condé Nast Traveller.
In a recent article, rounding up 15 of the continent’s “postcard-perfect beaches” just a few hours flight-time from the UK, the list provides plenty of inspiration for readers planning their first post-pandemic vacation.
Europe’s combined coastline of 185,000 kilometers, with its myriad islands, peninsulas and bays, boasts some of the most breathtakingly beautiful beaches in the world. For travelers already in Europe, why go to the trouble of a long-haul flight when there are so many options on the doorstep?
One of the striking things about this particular list is that it isn’t limited to the “usual suspects” in the Mediterranean but includes a couple of interesting off-the-beaten-track options in Europe’s north, including Kvalvikia beach in the rugged Lofoten archipelago of Norway, deep inside the Arctic Circle, and Luskentyre on the Isle of Harris, Scotland, noted for its “chalk-white sands and dazzling teal water.”
Lefkada’s Porto Katsiki beach is the first of three Greek entries on the list. Located on the rugged west coast of the island, renowned for its turquoise seas, the beach is “framed by dramatic white cliffs carpeted in pines,” providing much-needed shade during the mornings. Thanks to a ban on boats entering the bay, the article notes that beachgoers are treated to breathtaking views across the Ionian islands.
The second Greek beach on the list is Kleftiko on Milos, famous for its volcanic rock formations and dramatic coastline. Located in the southwest of the Cycladic island, secluded Kleftiko beach can be accessed by boat or on foot via a “dusty hiking trail.” The article highlights the “epic cliff-jumping” and snorkelling through “alabaster-white rock chambers,” and also notes the nearby Agious Ioannis Siderianos monastery, where locals used to hide from pirate attacks!
The third and final entry is hard-to-reach Seitan Limania beach on Crete’s northeast coast. More popular with locals (and a resident herd of goats), the rugged “dirt roads and hairpin bends” that lead to the coast discourage all but the most determined travelers to explore this corner of Greece’s largest island. Nevertheless, the reward is a spectacular stretch of secluded coastline, a white-pebbled beach and “eye-poppingly blue sea.”
Elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean, the list includes Turkey’s Butterfly Valley Beach, so-called for the 100 species of butterfly that flutter around the valley. This secluded beach on the Turquoise Coast is noted as being “gloriously foot-print free.”
The other nine entries include Santa Giulia in Corsica, Calanque d’en Vau, on the rugged coast between Marseille and Cassis on the south coast of France, Praia do Carvalho, Portugal, the picturesque seaside resort of Spiaggia Grande, Positano, Italy, Zlatni Rat, Brač, Croatia, Cala Macarella, Menorca, Spain, Sveti Stefan beach, Montenegro, Playa de Ses Illetes, on the Balearic island of Formentera, and Cala Coticcio, Maddalena Archipelago, Sardinia.
This article first appeared in Greece Is (www.greece-is.com), a Kathimerini publishing initiative.