The Greek government has signed a decision defining 198 beaches that will be protected from any form of commercial activity or exploitation as part of a bill to preserve the natural environment called “Untouchable beaches”.

The Joint Bi-Ministerial Decision called “Terms of Exploitation of Public Property in Coastal Areas” was co-signed by the Ministries of National Economy and Finance, and Environment and Energy.

These beaches, numbering 198 across the country, fall within the Natura 2000 network and will be off-limits for concession and, by extension, for the placement of umbrellas, sunbeds, etc.

The new legislative initiative will also allow citizens to use a digital application “MyCoast” to report violations of concessions or arbitrary occupation of beaches promptly.

The criteria for designation of the “Untouchable Beaches” include the significant presence of habitats protected by EU or national legislation, rare endemic flora and fauna species, the performance of significant ecological functions for protected species, designation as Key Biodiversity Areas, the presence of important ecosystems in need of protection, preservation, or restoration.

The 6 prohibited activities

According to the Joint Ministerial Decision, on the “Untouchable Beaches,” the concession of simple beach use rights is prohibited, as well as any other action that may endanger their morphology and integrity regarding their ecological functions, especially:

a) The presence of motorized vehicles,
b) The organization of events involving more than ten individuals,
c) Music or other sound production using electric playback or amplification devices for conducting activities,
d) Placing mobile elements such as tables, umbrellas, sunbeds, etc.,
e) Conducting activities serving bathers or the public’s recreation, for the leasing of marine recreational equipment,
f) The operation of a self-propelled or towed mobile refreshment stand.