It's probably the best-known beach on the Greek holiday island of Skiathos and it features regularly in tourist brochures and magazine articles on vacations in Greece. But picking up a white pebble to take home as a souvenir of Lalaria could trigger a hefty fine. Authorities on Skiathos have threatened to impose fines of up to €1,000 for people who pocket the famous white pebbles.
A popular target of tourist boat trips, the white pebble beach of Lalaria on Skiathos is a photogenic wonderland where clear blue waters crash onto a shore of steeply banked pure white pebbles.
But the thousands of Skiathos holiday day trippers who flock to Lalaria Beach each year are taking their toll on the spectacular landscape. Now geologists fear that the continued loss of white stones from the beautiful beach may cause permanent damage to the scenery.
The Cultural Association of Skiathos has posted warning notices along the beach warning visitors not to take any white pebbles as souvenirs of their visit. And tourists are warned that they could face fines of €400 to €1,000 for ignoring the ban.
A statement by the cultural association claims that irreversible damage may already have been done to the white pebble beach at Lalaria.
A spokesman said: "The landscape has been largely altered and now the situation is irreversible. During summer the beach empties of pebbles as everyone is collecting them instead of enjoying the scenery. This can no longer continue."
But it is not just the visiting holiday tourists who are at fault here. Over the years, many Greeks have poached pebbles from the beach to decorate their homes and many backyards on Skiathos will have mosaics of stone taken from Lalaria enhance the homes.
The Skiathos beach of Lalaria can only be reached from the sea and is famed the world over for its brilliant white pebbles, clear turquoise waters and spectacular rocky arches.
Sun-bleached pebbles and white underwater marble slabs combine to create a dazzling aquamarine seashore that attracts thousands each holiday season. Although a very beautiful spot, boat trip visitors will usually find Lalaria crowded other tourists.
Almost every excursion boat on the island offers trips here and scores of visitors arrive hourly to walk on the beach. Boats usually anchor here for one to two hours before heading off to visit nearby caves and to visit the nearby Kastro.