Autumn is the classic time to visit the north eastern corner of Attica peninsula. Starting with a driving tour that takes in wild coast and historical landscapes before continuing south through forested mountains dappled in vivid colours. This inspiring landscape of soaring peaks, lush valleys and turquoise bays looks incredible from our motorhome window, but comes into its own if you venture off the beaten track to drive your way to more remote spots.
Walking around the hills, we were quite happily playing ball with Mac n Tosh as part of their morning stroll when we stumbled upon tiny stone church and a chapel hidden in a cave. The perfect hiding place for a hermit monk with amazing views across the countryside. Located at an altitude of 484m, it is surrounded by lush greenery and beautiful yellow crocus flowers.
It feels very untouched.
Within a minutes of leaving the monastery we found ourselves descending from the empty mountains into this lush, lost world of olives, fields, tiny farmhouses and cobbled villages. In the fields people cutting and gathering hay by hand, with scythes and pitchforks. In the villages the elderly women were almost all dressed in black with thick nylons and scarves around their heads. It was like a picture out of the distant past.
After a morning of beautiful scenery we arrive at our first urban sprawl. It all felt too crazy with people dashing here and there. As we drive down the high street, we spot a Lidl in the distance and head over. We scoot the aisles for tasty morsels but Greek Lidl’s seem to offer very little in way of unusual goodies or ‘ooo that could be nice for dinner’. Nether the less, we exited the store €60 lighter with 3 bags of shopping and a child!
Where did she come from? I checked the receipt to make sure we hadn’t been charged for an abandoned child whilst Craig scurried to the motorhome for fear of becoming a father. The Greek child clasped Craig’s arm in the hope he would take pity. I couldn’t help but chuckle, the child dressed in a smart leather jacket, Levi jeans and new Nike trainers looked better dressed than us. Still we couldn’t help feel for the girl so we offered her an apple and a banana to ensure a little nutrients, but nah, the kid was only interested in money. With our hard earned cash not on offer she kindly tugged on our trolley in the hope she could walk it 3 feet to the trolley bay and keep the €1. We think not!
After a quick LPG fill (plenty LPG stations in Greece!), we continued along the coast admiring the views until we arrived at small fishing town called Chalkoutsi. Lots of fishing boats in the arched bay with dried nets and empty bate buckets all waiting for tomorrows activity.
Our sleepy spot: On a small beach overlooking the marina and the wonderful island of Euboea
Wild Camping GPS position Chalkoutsi N038.332342, E023.736165
Today, we are off visiting the classical temples at the less known archaeological sites around the Attica peninsula and countryside. The first one is the sanctuary of Amphiaraos, a chthonic deity and hero.
We arrived at the site with very little parking options, so we ended up pulling in to a small clearing just opposite the entry. We paid our €2 entrance fee and proceeded on to the site whilst reading our information pamphlet and in a nut shell…The Amphiareion at Oropos is in honour of the king of Argos, Amphiaraos. After a failed attack the king fled and Zeus caused the ground to open in front of him…boom, Amphairaos disappeared and became immortal. That was enough for sick folk to flock to the sanctuary, throw money in to the spring, slaughter a ram and then go to sleep in the bloody ram skin. Next morning, a priest would pop by and based upon the impressions of the ram skin would prescribe the healing drugs. Click pictures to enlarge.
Our Bumble Verdict: Quite a small asite but still impressive especially the stone chairs
We hop back in Vin and tootle off down the small road. The road turned in to a lane, the lane turned in to an alley and finally a very tight off the road path with over grown bushes, trees and big pot holes. I was breathed in and took a big sigh but Craig, took it all in his stride. It was a tad tight but we made it and found a beautiful little hidden gem of a bay.
Hard to believe that less than an hour’s drive south of Delphi, on the old coastal road that cuts through a lush, sub-tropical landscape, is a speck on the map called Limiona Beach. It’s an almost deserted stretch of shingly sand sandwiched between the warm Corinth Sea and rocky island of Euboea. The setting owes its unspoilt nature, in part, to the rocky terrain and impassable dirt tracks that meander to the sea. The remoteness has served as a deterrent to development. All that has sprung up along the edge over the years are a handful of small villa’s and the odd shoreline restaurant.
We parked up on Limiona Beach and went for a paddle.
In the afternoon, we moved over the headland to the next bay. For years, as the map rightly depicted, this small track, that went over the craggy coast, was a walking trail or a donkey track at best. Locals, especially wandering shepherds, used as a short-cut route. We were mindful around the edges, sometimes gaps signalling a crumbling ledge were trees slide down to the sea. Goats and sheep freely wander just as they did many years ago.
We parked up on the next bay and stayed put for a few days. Our next stop is Athens and the dogs will not have the same freedom to run around, so will tire them out here. Although, no matter how much running around they do they never seem to tire. At the moment, they are in their mischievous adolescence stage of doing what ever they fancy.
As we sit and relax, it is so hard to believe it is the middle of autumn when you have temperature in the 80’s. Even the nights are nice at around 60. Forget autumn leaves and think summer cool, blue, turquoise waters.
Our Bumble Verdict: Small secluded bays are beautiful but a challenge to find.
Our sleepy spot: Very quiet and secluded bay of Varnava with shingly beach right on our door step.
Wild Camping GPS position Varnava N038.287780, E023.936644