Taking it easy in the Greek wilderness and then getting stuck…

After our educational but exhausting trip to Olympia (#sarcasm), it was time to satisfy our inner hippies and relax for a few weeks. But that didn’t go without a hitch…

Souvlaki, the national pride of fast food, which we needed after visiting Olympia

Until now we had been looking for a new place between Igoumenitsa and Peloponnese every 1 or 2 days. We gradually began to crave for a nice spot where we could stay a little longer. We found this spot on Elea Beach. If you drop this name on vanlifers who have been to Greece, chances are they know what you’re talking about. It is a beach with adjacent forest that runs more or less three kilometers along the coast. Officially it is a protected area and Greece receives money from the EU to maintain it. The beach is an important breeding ground for turtles and you are asked not to go on the beach at night. Nature lovers and travelers mark the places where eggs are buried with stones and sticks so they don’t get trampled…

A little piece of Elea Beach

Dozens, perhaps 100 campers, vans, mobile homes and expedition trucks are parked in the area, in the woods and on the plain between dunes and trees. In the summer the number would rise to 3000, or so we were told, and then even the Greek authorities think it’s enough. Best avoided during high season.

Solar tent out
A romantic sunset

But, now during low season, no problem. Everyone has enough space. There are water points and rubbish bins available and we noticed how clean this place is. It seems that everyone is taking their responsibility and keeping the place pleasant for everyone. We stayed here for a little over a week waiting for Kai & Amber and then stayed another week. Some people just stay here for a whole winter, the climate would be the best here…

A caravan in the cargo box is all you need…
Some need a little more…
Sometimes such a mobile home needs some help from a sturdy Expedition Truck
After some back and forth chatting we reunited with our friends Niels & Esmee

We also had a good time here, with some walks in between, cozy campfires and above all a lot of ‘amusing yourself with nothing’… Besides Amber & Kai and our Dutch friends in the beautiful VW, we met another nice Swiss couple in another VW , with the nice name ‘Moupi‘.

When we finally wanted to leave Elea after two weeks, the beach wouldn’t let go of us. Although we had already driven to the store once, our Nigel dug himself into the sand unyieldingly this time. Fortunately, help is never far away on this beach, and together with some disaster tourists we tried to dig ourselves out. With the suspension in the sand, we jacked each side up to 3 times to put stone and steel ramps underneath to get out of the sand under our own power. It almost worked, but eventually a French couple, who were about to leave for Latin America, came to help us with an old Toyota Landcruiser. This thing lived up to its reputation and gave Nigel the final jerk to finally get out of the meanwhile, deep pit… Luckily the weather was good and we didn’t have to be anywhere. I can assure you that we slept well that night!

To the jellyfish bay

When we finally got out of the sand, we headed south. We had received many tips from other travelers and one of the things we liked was Voidokilia Beach. Since this is a rather difficult name to remember, we christened it ‘jellyfish bay’, you can see why below. On our way there we came across a beautiful waterfowl area and I was able to capture a few beautiful flamingos from a distance. Unfortunately, my 200mm telephoto lens is not suitable for better birding.

The fortress at Voidokilia bay

With another trauma of Nigel digging himself in we took no chances and parked at Kai a few km from jellyfish bay, next to a gravel road 20 meters from a lagoon: Paralia Chrisi Ammos. From there we could go up a hill on which stood the remains of an old fortress. There we had a beautiful view of jellyfish bay.

The fortress was originally built by the Franks in the 13th century and was later expanded by the Ottomans in the 15th century. It served as a strategic defense post in an area often involved in military conflicts and invasions throughout the Middle Ages and the early modern period. On arrival we didn’t know if it was safe to walk through the gate, but come on, it’s been here for so long, it would stay there for a while.

From the fort we had a beautiful view of the famous bay with its typical shape. This resulted in beautiful images, both with the classic Nikon and the drone…

Photo taken from the fortress
But even more spectacular with the drone

Which of the two do you think is the most successful? I can’t choose myself…

The adventure was not over yet. For descending on the other side we came across the cave of Nestor: This cave is surrounded by myths and legends of Greek mythology, where it is said that it was the hiding place of King Nestor, the wise ruler of Pylos who played an important role in Homer’s epic poem ‘Iliad’.

According to legend, Nestor used the cave to protect and hide his livestock, while also serving as a storage area for agricultural produce. Although no archaeological finds have been made to confirm the mythical connection to King Nestor, the cave still bears the name and remains an intriguing place for locals and tourists alike.

The cave itself is not that big or spectacular but relies on its legends and myths. You can enter but there is not much to do…

Nestor’s cave

Next time we will continue our tour around Peloponnese. Thank you again for reading!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *