Top ten beach at Koukounaries
Photo: Gillian Moy
Fine golden sand and shallow waters.
Most visitors to the Greek island of Skiathos will have heard of Koukounaries beach as it is regularly voted among the top ten beaches in the world.
One look at the beautiful sands of Koukounaries is enough to see why with one kilometre long crescent of golden sand sweeping around the bay and backed by a tree-lined lagoon.
The long swathe of fine golden sand and shallow waters make this an ideal family beach while the woodland walks only add to the magic of the place.
But such a popular and attractive beach creates the seeds of its own downfall are more visitors opt for a day out on one of the best beaches in Greece.
Tour buses roll in with grim regularity, disgorging hundreds of day trippers until the sands are a noisy bedlam of holiday happy sunbathers.
Beach tavernas compete with gaudy pennants and loud advertisements to attract the customers while the sea roars to the whine of jet-skis, water-skis and growling powerboats.
There were three watersports centres at the last count, all offering water-skiing and power-boating as well as jet-skiing and scuba diving.
Fortunately the large lagoon at the back of the beach has won nature reserve status and this has helped to curb excessive tourist development.
But behind the lagoon and across the main road are a string of low-level luxury hotels and a row of roadside tavernas offering international cuisine.
There is no village in Koukounaries; there is just the beach, harbour, lagoon, roadside hotels and a couple of large holiday hotels on the hills above the bay.
Koukounaries beach is located on the south-western tip of Skiathos almost at the end of the island's single 12 kilometre coast road where there is a small car park.
There are regular buses from Skiathos Town and distances are so small on this Greek island that a taxi ride is never going to break the bank.