Galaxidi: a Nautical Town to Visit Year-Round

Galaxidi is equally beautiful in all seasons. Its summers are warm and hazy, with the sea resembling a lake. Autumn is more melancholy, and quiet. Winter finds it darker, harsher, and deserted, while in the spring it comes back to life in a lush green symphony that highlights its unassuming grandeur, with the imposing and impressive Church of Aghios Nikolaos dominating its peak and the pine forest across the way in Pera Panta sprawling down right to the sea’s edge. All year round, the town has a genuine island feel to it that is completely unlike the surrounding area.

A nautical town, Galaxidi is renowned for its fleet, which played an important role in the Greek War of Independence of 1821. A protected area of historical and cultural interest, the town is characterized by the rare architecture of its tiled roof mansions.

A destination that’s perfect for an idyllic weekend or a month-long vacation, Galaxidi is a peaceful, romantic spot with remarkable food and small gulfs with pristine waters for swimming. From here, you can take short day-trips and excursions to the mountains – it’s a pleasant 40-minute drive to the mountain village of Arachova – or the sea, and it’s only 210km from Athens.

Upon entering the cobbled streets that lead to Agora, one of the town’s two ports, you find yourself in a different world. Fishing boats, small leisure craft and yachts are lined up along the entire length of the harbor, extending around to the side opposite the restored captains’ mansions and picturesque shops. Enjoying the waterfront are couples of all ages, children on their bicycles, and families walking along the pier, gazing at the sailboats and observing the ducks as they stage their own performance in the sea below.

Our annual get-together at Galaxidi usually spans about 10 days in August. We’re mostly grandmothers now (no grandfathers in the group), a mix of old and new friends who, for these days, all become 18-year-olds again. This means we wake up late in the morning. Whoever has the energy heads to centrally located Manousakia Square (aka Iroon Square) for bread fresh from the bakery, for sweets from Konaki (a pastry shop with local delicacies) and for groceries at the supermarket.

Our days are spent swimming at Vistrithra Beach, then a late lunch, a little reading, siesta for some, card games for others, and a lazy traquility that lasts until dinnertime. Tavernas such as Maritsa and Skeletovrachos are timeless classics for seafood and urban grandeur. Tasos is a traditional fish taverna at the port, while nestled a bit further from the water, near the Church of Aghia Paraskevi, awaits Albatross with its dreamy magirefta (traditional dishes usually cooked in an oven dish or a deep pot). Next up, just like the good old days, come the bars. The first stop is either To Kioski or To Kaffeneio for a warm up. Walking to the end of the harbor with the sea glistening below we arrive at Ocean Drive Galaxadi, where we relax on the sun loungers until we greet the sun peeking over the tip of Mount Parnassus in the distance. The kafeneio (coffee shop) near the Police Station on Manousakia Square is where all late-night revelers end up for breakfast. So don’t forget: if you’re heading out for a drink in Galaxidi, be sure to take your sunglasses with you.

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