Cut off from other Greek mainland until 1950, the people of Galaxidi, located on the mainland’s southern tip, relied on the sea for transportation from as far back as the 18th century. Galaxidi was home to some of the country’s most important shipping families, a legacy which can be observed at the Nautical and Historical Museum, the first of its kind in Greece.
Apart from its maritime history, Galaxidi is a destination that’s perfect for a weekend break or longer stay. Beautiful neoclassical houses, old captains’ mansions, picturesque ports and the charm of a non-commercialized town are some of the reasons why you should visit.
“Apart from its maritime history, Galaxidi is a destination that’s perfect for a weekend break or longer stay.”
1. The island on the mainland
This is how Galaxidi was described in the past, as, up until 1963, when the Nafpaktos-Itea road project was completed, the town could only be accessed by boat from Itea. Even today, Galaxidi’s island-like nature has been maintained. Downhill paths lead to the sea, bougainvillea plants provide color to the alleys, and the wonderful promenade is popular for strolling.
2. The ports and stately houses (“kapetanospita”)
The town’s neoclassical houses with figureheads and pebble-covered courtyards have been preserved, as have the kapetanospita, meaning “captain’s houses”. Some are inhabited, while others have been transformed into holiday homes and guesthouses. In 1978, Galaxidi was listed. The initiative has preserved the glorious character of Galaxidi’s sailing past and kept tourism development mild.
Stroll about the town’s first port, feed the ducks and head up the cobbled alleys. Visit Aghios Nikolaos church with the wood-sculptured altarpiece, ornamented with unique details, as well as Aghia Paraskevi church, featuring a zodiac cycle on its floor surface, and a sundial outside. Head on to Hirolakas, the second port, and after having taken a good look around, carry on for the small and detached coves for swimming. Sit for a coffee or ouzo at Palio Liotrivi, an old olive press with a terrace above the sea. Observe the ancient walls on which the foundations of the Sidiropouleiko, one of many seafront mansions, are based.
Driving to Galaxidi from Athens takes roughly 3 hours, at a comfortable pace, either via Arahova or Distomo and Desfina. Expect fuel and road toll fees to cost about €60 (return).
3. Bicycle riding
If you own a bicycle, definitely take it with you as it will prove useful for covering both long and short distances, including a ride to Pera Panta, the town’s side with the pine trees, opposite the first port. Pera Panta reaches all the way to the statue of the Galaxidi woman (Galaxidiotissa). It depicts a woman waving a handkerchief towards the sea while embracing her children.
4. Its non-commercial charm
Ideal for a short getaway, as well as for quiet family vacations, Galaxidi may also serve as a launching pad for visits to Delphi, a 20-minute drive away, Amfissa, and the northern coastline of Corinthian Gulf. Though Galaxidi is certainly not a commercialized destination, some shops selling souvenirs, homemade marmalade and other local products may be found.
5. The overall serenity
Galaxidi is not a spot for major nightlife activity. Of course, visitors may enjoy drinks at one of the small bars. The place livens up during festive periods, such as carnival season, but, overall, serenity prevails.