Every once in awhile when we meet with friends, our conversations turn into making plans for exciting and challenging vacations. Everyone is full of enthusiasm, but when the time comes to start turning plans into reality, people are often reluctant and they give up easily with a variety of excuses, from the sudden lack of time to unforeseen obligations. Sounds familiar?
But last summer, we were lucky enough that it finally happened and we headed straight to Greece! Our destination was the beautiful Sithonia, also known as Longos. To be more precise a small paradise called Kavourotrypes. This beautiful corner lies on the eastern coast of the peninsula. How to get there?
We traveled south from Vourvourou, about half an hour, or 20 kilometers, when on the left side of the road we saw a large panel saying NO CAMPING scribbled with graffiti saying FREE CAMPING.
There we got off the main road onto a bumpy terrain and the farthest we could get with our car was about 50 meters, after that the roots of pine trees became so dominant that it was possible only to walk up to there. From the first moment we got out of the car we felt like we were drunk from the scent coming from pine trees and the gentle breeze in their shade. After a half minute walk, we were on a cliff above a string of paradise beaches with white sand and turquoise water. All along this coastline cliff, in fragrant woods there are numerous tents of free campers, and it all looks like a little village.
Some campers were there for so long that they simply formed courtyard spaces around their tents (some had planted herbs such as oregano and basil). From young couples to entire families with small children, this place is suitable for everyone who enjoys spending their vacation in nature. We were amazed by how much the way they organized their camping spaces exuded with creativity.
When we found our perfect spot, we installed our tents, unpacked and immediately went down to the beach. The water was warm and relatively shallow, from 1m to 5m depth a little further away from the coast. All the fatigue and frustration from long traveling was gone after just 5 minutes of swimming here.
After this delight, we cooked some dinner on our small portable stove and enjoyed watching the sunset. In the central part of this area, there was this one big van, selling food, making an extraordinary coffee and playing some really cool music. In front of it were a couple of colorful wooden chairs and tables. The owners were two lovely people who knew a bit of English, and always used to greet us with a smile.
The next day we went exploring the landscape a bit more – following the network of small paths we were able to find even more incredible beaches. Some days we even swam up to these places (those were a Beach movie-like scenes – we swam with drinking water and things that we needed during the day tied to our bodies). In short, we lived an adventure that we dreamed about for so long.
The only thing we had to buy frequently was drinking water. Every evening we took a 15 minute walk to a car-camp (in which we originally considered to stay at) and there was a well equipped supermarket. Whenever we were walking or driving on the main roads, we noticed that in many places along the road there are small (4-5 feet tall) church-like monuments, in which you can light up candles.
We ended up sitting on the cliffs each day, watching Athos, the sunsets and couple of times we even saw dolphins. Our exploration became a little wider as we drove to other places two or three times (although we agreed not to use a car during this vacation).
One day we visited Sarti, small but very popular town south from where we were camping. While wandering through streets we came across some old houses with charming white facades and green and blue wooden doors and windows.
Later we enjoyed the big waves and finished the day in a beautiful restaurant Arche Noah. There are a lot of restaurants on the beach in Sarti, but this one caught our attention since its floor was made of sand and was directly connected with the beach.
We had dinner under incredibly large moon and drank some superb wine made by the monks of Athos. We had various vegetarian specialties and gained the impression that even the simplest Greek meal is a specialty itself. Then we celebrated my birthday there.
I must admit, although I traveled a lot, their mentality was something I haven’t yet experienced. They are “fiery”, they’re full of unexplainable energy and pride, they talk fast, oh and when they’re angry they’re both scary and cute. And at the same time, they can be sooooo relaxed like there’s not a thing in the world they would worry about. They’re very sociable. It was really charming to see how much opposite they are from the western indifference.
Our next trip was at the end of the vacation when we visited Vourvourou. It’s a small romantic place, but during the season it gets really crowded. After our small but tasty breakfast which consisted of fresh greek salad with exquisite feta cheese (which you can get only in Greece and it’s made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk) we headed to the main beach which consists of several small bays. That day our mission was to swim to the Diaporos Island across from Vourvourou.
I would say it took us around one hour to get to the island and at one point, all we could see was deep blue, almost black water and it became really scary even though we had our diving masks.
After all day of swimming and exploring the island we came back before sunset to Vourvourou, picked up the stuff we left at a beach (there wasn’t anything missing) and went to a walk. We ended up at the Edra Restaurant. Once again we enjoyed wonderful meals. I especially loved the eggplant stuffed with Greek feta cheese, cherry tomato and garlic, topped with olive oil and various spices. After a short walk on the promenade we got back to our camp for a good night’s sleep. The next day was our last one here, so we packed our things and tents and headed to Thessaloniki.
We would definitely go for such an adventure again instead of the classic summer vacation with rented apartment or hotel rooms and spending time in restaurants and bars. Not to be confused, Greece is magnificent in both cases.
We returned to our homes completely refreshed, very much in love with this country, delighted with its exotic landscapes, and the Greeks, their strong temperament, great hospitality and their fantastic cuisine.