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Spending the winter in Greece

Most long term motorhomers spend the winter in the west of Europe, in Spain or Portugal, with an increasing number heading even further south to Morocco.

We thought about following this well-worn route, but in the end of the lure of Greece was just too much.

We both love this country, whose landscape can be so beautiful it breaks your heart; where the history of our world lies around every corner, and hospitality to strangers – filoxenia – is a matter of national pride.

Not to mention the wonderful produce which is a boon to (almost) vegetarians on a budget and the weather…

Oh, the weather. Our research suggested Greece would be a fine place to spend November through to mid-January, not as hot as Morocco, or as temperate as the Algarve, but very pleasant.

And so it was, until the snowstorms hit, and poor Greece experienced its worst winter weather in living memory.

We were lucky, as we had a pre-planned escape route to Cyprus where we spent a week with three of our four grandchildren, but for much of Greece the New Year brought only cold, chaos, and lots and lots of snow.

But don’t let this unusual bout of bad weather put you off Greece as a winter destination. It may be a longer drive to get here than to Spain, but it is much less crowded and you are a guaranteed a genuinely warm welcome, as well as great sightseeing, fabulous local markets, and of course, those heartbreaking views.

As we come to the end of our wonderful two month stay here, we wanted to share the places we’ve stayed at, and offer a little information about each one – some factual, some our own opinions!

You will spot that in our travels around the Peloponnese – with a couple of excursions to Athens – we have stayed overnight in just 12 different locations

This is because we wanted to spend December in one place preparing for the year ahead, and enjoying the soothing daily rhythm of van life, and of Greece.

We found the perfect resting place in the marvellous Afrodite’s Waters camperstop in Ancient Corinth, Greece’s first and best camperstop.

Its very Greek charms may not be to everyone’s taste, but for us it was the perfect winter spot.

The climate in this north east corner of the Peloponnese is mild in the winter, as we can testify – the blizzards hit after we left!

The location is second to none, with Athens only an hour’s drive – or train journey – away, and the Patras ferries a two hour journey.

And the hospitality of the Pantazi family, who transformed their farm steading into a Greece’s first camperstop in 2010, is as warm as it is genuine.

Our Greek stopovers

Some disclaimers on the information below.

The prices are the ones we paid, and may not necessarily be available in the future.

We stayed at all these sites between late October and the end of December 2016, so many did not look their best.

Most had on-site shops and/or tavernas that are open in high season, but all but one were closed when we were there.

There are not listed in any sort of ranking, but are (roughly) in clockwise order of their locations, starting in the West of the Peloponnese.

‘All services included’ means you don’t have to pay any extra for electricity, wifi or showers – though everywhere charges extra for their washing machines.

Hope you find the information useful!

Aginara Beach, near Glifa

Open: all year. Website: www.camping-aginara.gr. Location: N 37.838333, E 21.129722. €13 per night, all services included.

Great wifi! Separate pitches shaded by trees. Located right next to a beautiful beach and bay. Glifa village is around 1.5km away with a couple of small shops and bars. One of the shops sells delicious local olive oil.

Paradise Camping, Palouki

Open: normally all year, but the site was damaged by a storm in October 2016. Website: www.camping-paradise.gr. Location: N 37.757216, E 21.304515. €15 per night, all services included.

A site of two halves, one with grass next to the beach (no marked pitches), the other more shaded across a narrow road, next to the main reception. No wifi on the side we parked on, nearest the beach. Roadside kiosk and restaurant within 800m. Great view of the sunset from the beach side – but it will sadly require a lot of work by owners to restore the bar/restaurant damage for 2017.

Kato Alissos, near Patras

Open: until end Oct. Website: www.camping-kato-alissos.gr.  Location: N 38.15, E 21.577222. €17 per night, all services included.

The approach to site is via narrow but accessible roads. Separate pitches shaded by trees. The wifi was not great. Small shop on site. Facilities a bit tired.

Nafpaktos

Free roadside parking on the outskirts of the town. Location: N 38.386641, E 21.820565. Please note these are approximate coordinates, as I didn’t record them when we were staying there. Alternatively, there is a less pleasant parking spot on gravel further from the town, at N 38.38139, E 21.81661.

The parking bays we stayed in are just a couple of hundred metres from the edge of the town, which has an outstanding Venetian castle (there is a road to the top, over 200m up the hill overlooking the town), a great little harbour (see banner image) and lots of shops, bars and tavernas. A gem of a town.

Neo Itylo

Free roadside parking on edge of the village. Location: N 36.69246 E 22.3896.

Neo Itylo is a tiny village in a beautiful bay, surrounded by glowering hills. There are cafes and tavernas to help you enjoy the spectacular setting. Campers can park at the side of the road at the edge of the village, literally next to the beach. There is a Camperstop Europe location behind the Black Pirate taverna, but the view is much better next to the beach!

Gythion Bay, Gythio

Open: until end Oct (please note it says the site is open all year in the 2016 ACSI book). Website: www.gythiocamping.gr.  Location: N 36.729167, E 22.545278. €15 per night, all services included.

Separate pitches shaded by trees, the wifi not great. Good taverna only 1km along the beach, and the beach is stunning. Gythio itself is a working port, with some wonderful fish tavernas and plenty of shops and cafes.

Nafplio harbour

Free parking in the main harbour car park. Location: N 37.56823, E 22.80170.

The car park is at the heart of this great town, the first capital of Greece in the 19th century, and has everything from castles to pedestrianised shopping streets to a great farmers’ market twice a week. One of our favourite places in Greece.

Triton II, Drepano

Open: all year. Website: www.tritonii.gr. (Please note it’s not in 2016 ACSI book, but is an ACSI site). Location: N 37.53173, E 22.89056. €20 per night, all services included.

Separate pitches shaded by trees – the facilities are high quality. Good wifi. It’s situated right next to a beautiful beach. The centre of the small town of Drepano, with a good range of shops and eating/drinking places, is an easy 1.5km walk.

Iria Beach, 12km past Drepano

Open: all year. Website: www.iriabeach.com. Location: N 37.497222 E 22.990556. €17 per night, all services included.

Separate pitches shaded by trees. The approach to the site along the coast road past Drepano is slow and twisting for several km. Wifi not great and the facilities a bit tired.

Camping Nicolas II, Ancient Epidavros

Open: until end Oct. Website: www.nicolasgikas.gr. Location: N 37.630556, E 23.158333. €15 per night, all services included.

Separate pitches shaded by trees. Good wifi. Site facilities could be improved, but location is right next to fabulous beach. Nearest café/bar around 1.5km along the beach, with the small, pretty town of Palaia Epidavros a further 2km or so away.

Afrodite’s Waters, Ancient Corinth

Open: all year. Website: www.camperstop.gr. Location: N 37.91139, E 22.87861. €10 per night, all services included.

There is a sharp turn on a hill into the site itself – but we have seen 8 metre vehicles on here, so it’s not too difficult. Good wifi in the reception area. The camperstop is a few minutes’ walk from the village of Ancient Corinth, which has a wide choice of shops, cafes and tavernas. Ancient Corinth is also home to one of the finest archeological sites in the whole of Greece. And if the name seems familiar to you, this is the place from which St Paul wrote his letters to the Corinthians. The sizeable port town of Corinth is just a few kilometres away. Now one of our favourite places in the world!

Camping Athens

Open: all year. Website: www.campingathens.com.gr. Location: N 38.00889, E 23.67222. €33 per night, all services included.

Separate pitches shaded by trees. Great wifi in the common area of the site. It is expensive, but has great, spotlessly clean facilities and is in a superb location, right on the main road from the west into Athens. It is only 20-30 minutes, on good public transport, from one of the greatest city centres in the world (we love Athens!).

If you are looking for a more extensive list of sites in Greece, we found MagBaz Travels a great resource.

Experienced travellers Margaret and Barry know Greece well. Their site has lots of advice on Greece: where to stay, what to eat, and what to see. It also contains a link to the famous guide Peejays Stopovers by Peter Jenkins.

And they introduced us to the European Nomad, whose list of 31 stops in Greece is very useful, if a bit late for us!

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