Greece- The land of my childhood and heritage
This summer Michael and me packed our bags, put the tent on the pick-up and went on an amazing roadtrip through Northern Greece! For me this trip was also a trip back to my childhood and heritage. I used to spent all my summers in Greece until I was 16 at my Greek’s grandmas place. I was curious on how I would perceive the country as a young women. It did not disapoint me, when I got there I realised how much I actually missed it!
We started in Igoumenitsa in the West of the country and travelled all the way East in the area of Kavala. One thing: Greece is so much more than white and blue buildings, beaches and party hotspots. We’ve been in sleepy villages close to the Turkish boarder, crawled up mountains and passed lush green forests and springs. Here are my five highlights of the trip.
Those breathtaking monasteries are most definitely worth their own trip! Although it did change over the years with more tourists visiting, it’s still moderately busy and you can enjoy the monasteries together with a handful of tourists. There are six in general to explore, for all of them you need to be able to walk for around 10-25 minutes to reach the top, you pay 3 Euros entrance fee.
- Before your visit: Check Google maps which monastery is open, they rotate with their closing times
- Come for a sundowner: The light and this scenery combined doesn’t get any better
- Dress appropriately: Women should cover theirs shoulder as well as wearing a skirt/dress that covers their knees. Men should at least wear knee-long shorts
- Best camping place we had on our route: Camping Kastraki! Great place with lots of shade and generous places, there is an authentic and affordable “taverna” with it The sanitary facilities are really modern and clean
Free Camping at the beach in Chalkidi
One of the reasons Michael and me travel with the roof-top tent is of course to free camp, nothing is better than waking up and being surrounded by nature. If you have the possibility to do that- go ahead, read here about my tips for free camping. The place where you can find this spot is still on the Chalkidi island but in an area which is much less touristic we visited the second “finger” before, but left after one night since it’s really full with tourists!
To get to the beach we had to cross several dirt and dust roads, we assumed and hoped that therfore the beach would be empty. After some time we finally arrived: to find out that there are some other people already! Greek locals also enjoyed the beautiful place in their tents and some even brought down their caravans! So the next 4 days we relaxed, snorkeled, swam and spend time with our Greek neighbours, we had supper around a campfire, drank wine and Ouzo. Since the first day we arrived our cute neighbour brought food to us every day! I assume she thought we would starve otherwise: P
As mentioned I have relatives in Greece, first I was afraid of what they will say to me since I wasn’t in the country for such a long time. All my worries were for nothing they welcomed me back with open arms and I felt at home immediately. This part of my family lives in Krinides, a small town up in the North. Most of the time we spend eating, like always in Greek families:D Only when you feel that any next moment you will burst, the cook is happy.
The ancient ruins of Phillipi
If we didn’t eat (most of the time) my family showed us around the village as well as the HUGE remaining of the ancient town Phillipi which contains archeological artefacts from the ancient Greeks and Romans. One of the most important trading routes the “Via Egnatia” crossed the city which in ancient times connected Constantinople with a now Albanian harbor town to later on end in Rome. Since last year this sight is part of the Unesco World heritage list!
I can only recommend to visit the sight during the evening hours to have this soft light, entrance fee is 6 Euro which includes a visit in the small museum (which is really good!) During many summer evenings they display theater plays in the ancient sight from traditional to modern, of course all in Greek. When I was there they also displayed modern art sculptures among the ancient ruins- wonderful to look at! The museum contains delicate artefacts which where found in the areal like glass, coins and the best preserved statues as well as pillars.
- The sight is open until 20.00, come in the evening hours to catch some great evening sun to enjoy the ruins and take stunning pictures!
- The modern village Krinides which is right next to the ruins is worth strolling around and you can refresh yourself on one of the two big fountains with spring water and relax under big platan trees.
Nea Iraklitsa- Coastal village for foodies
The small town has a wonderful promenade where at night everybody walks up and down (volta) to meet each other, eat and drink. This is the town of my childhood but I would always and forever recommend this to anyone who likes small coastal towns which are still authentic with only a little bit of tourism (whereas in tourists many Greeks themselves are enjoying the town) THE best restaurant is all the way at the end of the street and is called Paradiso, the name really says it all. And of course you should try the local delicacy “Loukumades”- either the traditional version with syrup or honey or the more modern one with Nutella- yes it’s as good as it looks 😀
A tribute to (my) Greece
Thank you so much Greece: It felt like coming home again. You reminded me that I am part of you and you are part of me and that you never stop to put me into amazement about your nature and people. Since I am little, and now that I travelled a bit elsewhere I know: Greek people are some of the kindest and most generous souls out there <3 I really hope I could also show you that Northern Greece is always worth at least a ton of visits.
Wherever you go- go with all your heart! <3