Free camping in Greece
- Submitted by: Arno Waal
- Submission Date: 10th Feb 2005
Here's a small contribution to the travel related newsgroups for anyone interrested in free camping in the main land of Greece. I've been to Greece for 4 weeks (9th of July until the 6th of August 1993) with a small camper and tried to stay away from campings and mass tourism. Here's a compilation of some interresting places.
First of all some practical tips.
First of all the best chance for finding a nice place to stay, is having a good map on which all roads are drawn. During our trip, we've used a map of Euro-Cart 1:300.000 (1 cm = 3 Km ISBN 3575112851) This map is better than the more commonly used maps of michellin. Also dust roads are drawn. Most of the places mentioned further on, are discovered by just taking a dust road and see where it ends.
Having a car which has some considerable amount of space underneath the chassis is recommendable. Some roads are still quit bad, having large holes and rocks on it. Driving slowly will prevent considerable damage. We've driven all sorts of roads using a Nissan KingCab pickup (2 WD).
How we got there
Comming from Holland, we took the ferry boat from Ancona to Igoumenitsa, which is a day and one night on the boat. Until now we've got experience with two ferry boat company's. The cheapest (of the two) was Minoan Lines. However the equipment was old, it did the job. Strintzis Lines is a more modern looking company. In both cases the greek personel was rude and easily irritated. Boarding the car is pure chaos, in Italy as well in Greece. This year Minoan Lines and a few other small company's have arranged the possibility for people with campers to stay on the (open-air) car deck. However (until now) these ferry boats go to Patras and further.
Free camping mentality
Most of the places I've been to are still quite clean. However when these places are commonly discovered, polution in the form of bottles, plastic sacks and so on, will immediatly appear. The best free-camping mentality is to keep these places clean and take your waste with you when you leave.
Future of free camping in Greece.
In general we've noticed that places reachable by normal road (asphalt) are becomming less attractive for free camping. Whenever a coastal dust road is on the nomination to be hardend, the places along these roads will suffocate in ordinary beach tourism. (Hotels, Bars, Restaurants and campings) In the years to come our expectations for the places we have seen this year are sad. Specially the pollution which comes with the hardend roads is enormous.
The first basic thing in Greece is to have water. My camper has a capacity of 40 liter. This is enough to last for two days for two persons. (Mainly for body/dish/cloth washing) Nearly every small town has a public water tap. Drinking water is best bought in a super market. Douching can be done by buying a black water bag, which can be hung on a tree. Put the bag in the sun and you'll have warm water for douching in the evening.
And now a short description of places we've experienced as nice and quite free-camping spots: (Use a detailed map to locate the places mentioned)
Perdika (near Igoumenitsa) :
The road from Perdika to the coast has a very nice beach for free camping. Drive this road until the end and you will find a nice sand beach with clear water. Unfortunatly this place is nominated to become a medium sized touristic attraction. (The road to the beach is already prepared to be hardend.)
Monodendri (near Inoanina):
Follow the dust road from this very small mountain place until the end and you will discover a lot of free camping sites near a very nice water tap. Nearby is a beautifull gorge with breathtaking views. This place is still very pure, and will (hopefully) stay this way.
Take the road to Lithoro and follow the signs to Mount Olympos. The road will get dusty after an hour, and will end at a small mountain cabin. This place can be the starting point of a 2 days walk to the top of Mount Olympos. (Great views, but lots of sweating...) Half way to the top you'll find a mountain cabin which is well equipped and offers a place to spend the night for a fair amount of money. (Advice: Don't start to late, you'll fry during the climb.)
Gliki (near Parga):
Take the small dust road after the bridge over the river Aherondas. This road will end at a very beautiful spot allong the river. Water is extremly cold, but very refreshing.... The only official free-camping site we've seen during our trip. Also the starting point for a very nice walk to a gorge further along the river.
Loutra Elefthero (near Kavala):
The coastal road to this place is full of nice spots along the beach.
Ski Center Parnassau :
This place is very quit in the summer and offers lot's of spots for free camping. It's also nearby the archeological center of Delphi. Pay attention for a sign to a cave allong this road. It's the first enormeous cave we've seen 'free of charge'. Don't forget to take a huge flashlight. The (very) small parking place is a nice spot to spend the night because it's great view over a valley.
Road from Paleros to Astakos (under Preveza) :
This coastal road has hundreds of very nice free-camping sites allong the beach.
When your 'on the move' and need a place to spend the night, the parking lots of several archeological sites can be used. In most cases, the sites are situated outside a town and are generally very quite after closing time. In the morning you're the first to visit the archeological site. I'll hope this list is a help for everyone who likes Greece and wants to experience some adventure. Surely I'm interrested in equivalent free-camping spots in Greece and other parts of Europe............
The Rec.Travel Library
More on Europe
More on Greece