Perfect if you like rocky, claustrophobic beaches

Trip Start May 30, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Greece  , Ionian Islands,
Friday, July 16, 2010

Just west of Laganas Beach there is a small island in the bay called Agios Sostis I had noticed it on the around the island boat trip and thought it looked like a quiet, secluded beach Oh, how wrong I was!

The walk from Laganas was on a narrow winding road (the only kind here) past lots of olive groves.  Eventually the road runs downhill to a large sandy beach which has been turned into a parking lot. There is also small harbor here for little boats and some of the turtle-spotting vessels.  From this beach a long, wooden bridge has been built to the very photogenic island of Agios Sostis.

After crossing the bridge there are steps up to the top of the island where you're met by a doorman This was a shocker Nowhere had I seen a sign saying that it was a private island or mention that you couldn't just swim on your own here. It's convenient that it isn't until you've gotten all the way to the top of the island that you're confronted with a cover charge. Granted it was only 4 euros and included a free drink (no Coke Zero though; I asked if there was a beach since the Laganas side is just cliffs and the doorman said there was so I went ahead and paid up.

The island has great views of Laganas from a restaurant and bar. The "beach" was on the sea side of the island and was occupied mainly by a seating area for the beach bar; The part that was not covered was pebbly and smaller than the footprint of a house. People literally had their towels lined up next to each other to squeeze into the tiny space. I was not happy but would make do. The music was loud but not entirely bad and I read later that it turns into a dance club at night.

The island 100% tourists with most being Russians I think There was a long pier out into the water where kids could jump in to snorkel The beach itself was treacherously rocky and even the Astroturf sidewalk into the water didn't help much. I figured with such terrain the swimming might be good and was bound to feel good since it was insanely hot.

On the way to the beach I had bought some bread so I took a small piece with me into the water to attract the fish. Boy did it work! I thought I was going to get attacked by these small fish who acted like they hadn't eaten in weeks. It was fun to watch them underwater as I dropped pieces of bread inI enjoyed seeing the different species in so many cool colors.  I felt bad when the bread was gone since some of the fish continued to follow me.

Unlike many parts of Laganas Bay, boating thrives around Agios Sostis with many of the tour boats coming up right next to the pier to show the island to passengers. There were plenty of other small boats that really limited the space available for swimming. I was exploring around the rocky base of the island when I spotted my first octopus! It was so cool. Much of it was hidden beneath a rock on the sea floor but enough was exposed to where I could easily identify it. I watched it for 10 minutes or so as it moved around hoping it would come out from under the rock but it did not. Still, it was a new creature to see.

After my brief swim I tried reading again on the beach but it was just too hot. You felt like you were in an oven and there was no breeze at all. I think the rocks absorb the heat so not having a sandy beach just made it worse.  I finally called it a day and walked back to the nice AC in my hotel room

Agios Sostis would be fun in certain situations, being with a group/kids/party, but it didn't suit what I was looking for so I found it disappointing. The tiny, rocky beach and limited swim area were negatives but the location and setting of the island were positives. It all depends on what you're looking for.

As a side note - up until a few centuries ago Agios Sostis was connected to the mainland, but was separated from it in the 1633 earthquake. It is named after the church of Saint Sostis that stood on the island in the sixteenth century.
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