The 10 Dog friendly Beaches of the Cyclades We Visited!
The one question that keeps popping up regarding our trip to the Cyclades is: “What were the beaches like?”. It’s a single minded question that comes up over and over. And hey – don’t get me wrong I love a great beach just as much as anyone … I mean see?
Yep I love me some good sand! Always have — ever since I first discovered it way back on my first trip to Florida. So I get it. I really do. I just find it odd that it is “the” question. After all Greece has so very much to offer; amazing history, ancient ruins, fabulous food … but since it is “the” question, I thought I would do a little review of the beaches of the Cyclades before moving on to the Bulgarian leg of our trip. A sort of round up or grand tour of the sands. Regardless of what island they were on … or how much or little time we got to enjoy them.
Before I get started one thing you must know:
ALL the beaches are DOG FRIENDLY. Every … single … one… no exceptions!!
WOOOOHOOO! *Happy Dance*
Now, in chronological order:
Vlihada Beach – Santorini: We chose to go to the Vlihada beach instead of the more famous red sand beach for the mysterious dark sand and quiet atmosphere. A mix of pumice stone and volcanic ash, this beach glitters in the sun like expensive midnight black gems. There is a small fee for chairs and sunshade/umbrella (3 Euro per person) but it is well worth it. There are bathrooms and a small restaurant at the marina just a few steps away and the best way to get to the beach is to rent a car, a four wheeler or scooter (look around they are all in competition with one another and ready to make a deal). We discovered this wonderful little beach because it is where our sailing adventure started and ended and where our sailboat docked. I really believe it is where the locals go rather than the hordes of tourists. For us, that made it perfect.
Karavostasi Beach – Folegandros: The dog friendly beach near the marina is a pebbled beach, these are warm and soft. I really enjoyed the feel of them under my paws even if walking on them was something to be undertaken with care. Little coffee shops served snack foods and drinks for anyone nearby and it really felt like everyone was on a completely different schedule than the rest of the world.
Yialos Beach – Ios: The town beach is dog friendly, with loads of little café’s and Greek Taverna’s happy to bring you a drink on the beach. The chairs and sun umbrellas are free. Mom was just happy to sit in the sun, enjoy a fruit smoothie and let her body recover from being seasick. Dad dosed off and even snored for a bit. I ran like a crazy dog in the sand then slept under the chairs, and even waded into the sea when the bipeds went in together. I know … I know… I went IN the water. Shocking.
Psathi Beach – Ios: We found Psathi Beach in the valley by the same name and were amazed. The beach has fine golden sand and large flat rocks. The sea is a stunning deep blue. It’s ideal for relaxation and tranquility, its wild and almost deserted. How could this be? The wind was picking up and we could tell the waves could, under the right environment, rise high enough to be of interest to surfers. And maybe that was why that day it was deserted. Maybe it’s a surfers beach and the winds were too calm. Either way. We had the place to ourselves and it was perfection.
Agea Theodoti Beach – Ios: Another charming and deserted stretch of sand. It seems Ios has more spectacular beaches than it knows what to do with! I am not sure how many ways I can describe a beach! Sand, sun, awesome turquoise waters. There.
Kolitsani Beach – Ios: It’s beautiful, small and quiet. Just what I enjoy the most. It’s really just a small cove protected on all sides by rocky hills. It’s the perfect refuge on really windy days. The sea is clear and turquoise with pale soft sand. There was no one on the beach but there were a few yachts anchored nearby.
Manganari Beach – Ios: We never made it to the most famous Ios beach. I think we didn’t really want to go. We don’t like crowds. We don’t like … following them either. As a result we missed Mylopotas beach (One of Europes top 10 beaches) and instead made our way to Manganari beach. We have absolutely no regrets. It’s technically not one beach but a series of sandy coves that shape into several smaller beaches. It’s waters are shallow and atmosphere is very relaxed. It is well organized, with a specific section of the beach for sunbeds and umbrellas (free) near water sport rentals like kayaks, and windsurfing and so on. But there are also sections of beach to enjoy far away from all of that. There are a handful of Greek Tavernas to enjoy fabulous fresh seafood and traditional Greek dishes open for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The beach I was told, has changed very little over the years. There are even still goats that enjoy the sandy beach now and then if you come later in the day or early in the morning. So I sunbathed, or dug a hole in the sand and imagined how the place must have looked when taken over by film crew in 1988 to film parts of “The Big Blue”.
For more info on the beaches of Ios visit here; it will give you the low down on amenities and so on.
Probably Has a Name but Don’t Know it Beach – Naxos: The island of Naxos has a lot of beaches. You can find anything from pebbled secluded spots, to long sandy more organized beaches. But where we went has no name. It’s one of those places you can’t get to unless … your sailing. Yep, no road leads to this secluded beach. The only way is by water. The only other visitors are goats. On this beach our Captain Toby prepared a feast on hot coals from a dying fire. We let the sun go down as we sat around a happy crackling bon fire (a different one than the one we let go to coals). The stars came out and were magnificent without any light pollution to dampen their shine. It was amazing. But I could not tell you where it was… only that it was on the tip of Naxos just as we were leaving towards the little Cyclades. It was an incredible experience.
Voriní Spiliá Bay – Irakliá: Take trail #8 from just beside the Ágios Geórgios village’s last, big house with cars and a boat in the fenced front yard. It’s about 25 minutes’ hike down to the bay and its lovely water and sand. There is a sign asking people to help keep the place clean and you can see that washed-up garbage is a small problem. But with the big dumpster provided, and everyone pitching in when they stop by its quickly dealt with and a beautiful place to luxuriate in the Greek sun and sea. Don’t be surprised to find nudists on the island by the way. Consider yourself “warned.
Tourkopígado – Irakliá: A tiny pebbled beach in a very pretty alcove about a good 15 – 20 min walk to Ágios Geórgios. Often used by folks with sailboats when there is no more room at the marina. You have to dingy to the beach and from there walk to town. For the full adventure you can read about our time on Irakliá here.
Alimniá Beach – Irakliá: A lovely sandy (often nudist) beach and the well preserved remains of a crashed World War II plane. Only accessible by boat but there is a sort of makeshift dock with a small converted fishing boat acting as a sort of ferry system from the main towns. While I remained on board with Captain Toby, Mom and Dad went out to snorkel above the wreckage and told me it was pretty neat. Dad even did a little free diving. After everyone left, Mom lingered above the plane solo for a time and a large octopus came out of the wreckage. She believes the beast has made the plane its home. It’s a great way to recycle don’t you think?
(sorry no photo — loops!)
And I think that about covers our sandy (or pebbly) adventures! I hope this answers all those “what about the beaches” questions. They are all wonderful, all dog friendly and frankly I would return to any of them in a heartbeat.
Do you have any questions?