A well-sculpted, bronzed figure lays belly down, somewhat ungracefully, on a flat rock, roasting in the sun. With no thought of striking a more elegant pose, no hint of showing off, she has surrendered to the moment, as though no one can see her and nothing else matters. Such abandon can only be attributed to the effect that this place has on its lucky visitors.
We’re on the eastern coast of Sithonia, 39k from Nikiti, at Kavourotrypes (‘crab holes’), a string of small beaches with pine trees, powder grey-colored rocks and azure waters that lend a tropical note to the landscape. It is the perfect spot for summer vacation fantasies. Its magnificence, of course, comes at a price – hordes of tourists in the summer months – so, if your schedule allows, come during the low season.
Another popular area in eastern Sithonia is Vourvourou Bay, about 17k from Nikiti. “There are three great swimming spots here: the beach of Vourvourou proper, the sandy cove of Karydi and the Livari Lagoon, with its shallow waters and a sand bar known as Livaropetra that just calls out to sun worshippers“.
If you’re traveling by boat, it’s worth going the extra mile to the islets of Aghios Isidoros and Diaporos, so close to Sithonia that it’s often hard to see where the mainland ends and these islands begin. Though small, they are true Mediterranean paradises, strewn with the bodies of blissfully happy beachgoers.
“If you’re traveling by boat, it’s worth going the extra mile to the islets ofAghios Isidoros and Diaporos, so close to Sithonia that it’s often hard to see where the mainland ends and these islands begin.”
The southwestern tip of Sithonia, about 52k from Nikiti, is renowned for Porto Koufo, a quiet seaside village on Toronean Gulf that is the perfect place for a lovely, lazy afternoon. The natural sheltered harbor here has been known since antiquity as ‘the deaf port’ (‘koufo’ means deaf in Greek) because it was said that one could not hear the sea from its shores.
Further north from here, there is a small islet called Kelyfos (‘shell’), but also known as Turtle Island, thanks to its shape. Inhabited today only by wild goats and sea birds, the island is said to have traces of a temple dedicated to Zeus at its summit.
More impressive even than its beauty, its lush vegetation, the crystal waters and the screeching gulls, were the people who took us to Kelyfos. Paraskevas and his son Giorgos are fishermen who make their living trawling for bream, scorpion fish, lobsters and other sea creatures. They welcomed us onto their 8.5m boat overflowing with tools of the trade and more: knives, galoshes, muddy sneakers, binoculars, sunglasses, pens, nets, and a fathometer. Paraskevas, who treated us to a delightful two-hour cruise off Neos Marmaras, apologized for the messy state of his boat, explaining it was the “cleaning lady’s day off”, before demonstrating to us how he casts and gathers his nets. We watched him with interest, knowing that it was here on these waves that he made his living, but it was impossible not to appreciate it as a place of beauty as well, and a perfect destination for those of us taking a break from work.
“More impressive even than its beauty, its lush vegetation, the crystal waters and the screeching gulls, were the people who took us to Kelyfos.”