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Blue Flags 2010

Greece was awarded Blue Flags for 421 Beaches and 9 Marinas by the International Blue Flag Jury, winning second place among 41 countries. 
The prefectures of Lasithi (on Crete), and Halkidiki (northern Greece), as well as the islands of Corfu and Rhodes were awarded the highest number of Blue Flags.
The Blue Flag is an internationally recognized standard for quality, develporewarding sustainable development at beaches and marinas, relying on strict criteria, such as water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, and safety.
Hellenic Society for the Protection of Nature: Greek Beachs awarded the Blue Flag for 2010
Greek News Agenda: 425 Blue Flags for Greece

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Watersports Delight in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Greece famous for its sun, sea and wonderful beaches is a watersports paradise, providing perfect conditions for adventures of the aquatic variety for almost five months a year – June to roughly October.  Watersports facilities and clubs can be found on many islands as well as in the Attica region, just an hour away from Athens.

» Windsurfing

WindsurfingConditions in Greece are perfect for windsurfing, especially during July and August when the northern ‘meltemi’ wind blows across the Aegean. The sport became extremely popular in the country in the 90s after Nikos Kaklamanakis’s gold medal in the Athanta 1996 Olympics.  There are several windsurfing clubs around Attica – the closest to Athens being the Varkiza sailing Club. Closer to Sounio, there is also the Kouros Club Anavissos.  On the east coast of Attica, windsurfing clubs can be found in Schinias and Loutsa.

» Kite surfing

Kite SurfingKite surfing -the newest and more adrenaline-inducing surf experience- has been growing rapidly in popularity in Greece in the last few years.  In Attica the Aiolos Surf Club in Loutsa offers lessons for beginners while on the island of Paros there is a Kiteboarding Center, home of the official International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) school. 

» Sea kayaking

Sea KayakingSea kayaking offers the opportunity not only to enjoy doing a watersport but also explore the surrounding area.  In that sense, the Ionian Sea is considered to be an ideal place to practice this activity.  With dramatic coastal cliffs, fascinating sea caves, unspoiled beaches, and turquoise bays of sparsely inhabited isles, along with traditional fishing villages, Venetian fortresses, and ancient Orthodox monasteries, the region is considered one of the world’s top 10 kayaking destinations.
Athens Plus: Summer Watersports (17.07.09 p.24-4)

High Quality Bathing Waters in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The European Commission’s latest report regarding the quality of bathing water during the 2008 season puts Greece in one of the top spots for cleanest bathing waters.  The parameters taken into account for the assessment – according to the mandatory quality standards of the updated 2006 Bathing Water Directive of the European Union – are the amount of microbiological, physical and chemical elements.  After monitoring several bathing water samples, the results of the report confirmed that Greece’s coastal bathing waters and freshwater in lakes meet all the standards set by the EU. The countries with the best scores in bathing water quality are: Cyprus (98.2%), Greece (97.7%), France (96.3%), and Malta (94.3%). European Environment Agency: State of Bathing Water

Arcadia: A “must” to see in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)    The trip to Arcadia in central Peloponnese reveals historical, religious, and environmental beauties little known. Some of these beauties are the gorges of Loussios River, as well as the nearby historic cities Dimitsana and Karitaina.   The rare variety of fauna and flora but also the landscape’s serene life -due to the difficulty of access- made it possible for monastic life to flourish over the centuries.   Monasteries clinging on Loussios rocks and the numerous shrines, chapels and churches, are impressive monuments of the life of Orthodox monks. The best known monastery is the Philosophou, founded in 963 AD.  The monastery served as “a secret school” during the Ottoman rule, to preserve the Greek language and Orthodox faith. Inside the monastery lie frescoes from the 17th century and precious icons. Prodromou monastery, probably founded in the 16th century, is currently the largest monastery with some 14 monks. Almost invisible, literally hanging from the wall of rock, it was used as hospital during the Greek War of Independence.  Loussios River and its many streams have been the source of the prosperity in the region during the 18th century, when economic activity revolved around water. The water mills were used, inter alia, to produce gun powder, fuelling Greece’s independence war in 1821. The city of Dimitsana nowadays hosts an open-air hydraulics museum, which reproduces the activity of the old water mills.

Environment Matters in Greece: Rainwater Collection

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   Water reservoirs to collect and channel rainwater are the focus of a pilot programme involving municipal buildings on the Cyclades islands, as part of a Rainwater Collection Programme launched this month by the Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company and the Coca-Cola company in cooperation with Global Water Partnership as part of the firm’s “Mission Water,” which began in 2006.  The technology used to collect rainwater from roofs and other surfaces ranges from simple containers to water reservoirs and underground cisterns, all originating in practices used by ancient civilizations in Greece and North Africa and which are still used today as sources of drinking water in rural areas.  The islands of Naxos, Paros, Tinos and Syros have been chosen for the pilot programme because of their limited rainfall, geology, and sparse vegetation and human activities, which have all contributed to water shortages. Apart from water collection, the programme also includes training for local services and information campaigns.  Athens Plus: In Brief – Island rainwater collection (p.6)  See also: Global Water Partnership-Mediterranean; New website: Apostoli Nero (“Mission Water”)  

Green Energy in Greece

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The Mediterranean Sea comprises many diverse regions – islands, mountain, rural and urban areas – but many of these areas have common environment and development problems, such as the issues of management and development of water and energy resources. The necessity for covering energy needs reliably in urban and rural areas gave rise to the Emergence 2010 project launched under the European Interreg IIIB MEDOCC programme. The objective is “to ensure a reliable and continuous energy supply through decentralized production form Renewable Energy Sources leading to energy solutions with no contribution to greenhouse gases production.” The project partners involve several Mediterranean countries, including the Dodecanese Prefecture and the Center for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES) in Greece.  Center for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES): EMERGENCE 2010