Thursday, 29 August 2013

The North Greek Beaches - Kryoneri Camping

Kageles Beach
As a Bulgarian, I have the privilege to live very close to Greece. Few times of my life I had chances to visit the biggest cities - Athens and Thessaloniki (and some areas around Olympus Mountain) and finally this summer was time to explore some little hidden gems in North Greece.

We left Plovdiv early in the morning and after 2 hours we crossed the border near Zlatograd. The road from Greek side was really narrow and it was hard to drive with more than 40-50 km/ hour but the view in Rodopi Mountain was amazing. We passed through several villages and actually I didn't find much difference between Bulgarian and Greek Rodopi people and houses architecture. Even they say that many people there know Bulgarian language but we didn't stop to check it. Soon we were in Xanthi and after crossing the city we took the way to Lagos, just right at the Aegean Sea. Another option is to take the highway to Komotini and then turn straight down to Xilagani (as we did on our way back).
Whatever you decide, take a map or GPS or at least remember the name of the nearest village of your final destination!

The water road
I don't know what happened to our mobiles but we had no connection and we realized we had a printed map from Google maps, not good zoomed, so we didn't have the names of the villages, only their locations. Anyway, with my perfect orientation we didn't get lost but we had to stop at many places, get out of the car and make some strange movements and looks around to decide which direction to take.
It was really pleasant journey as almost all the time we were driving by the seaside and through some little villages with small white houses and many flowers in front of them. At once we stopped as the road was crossing a river. There was no bridge...Literally, the river goes over the road and there is a sign: "Be careful, slippery ground!" Overcoming this obstacle, soon we found our camping - Kryoneri Camping.

The camping is situated in Kryoneri village, 30 km south from Komitini, only 600-700 m far from the nearest beach. The area is so more than 5 cars a day were going on the road in front of the camping. At the end of June is still not very high season so it was not crowded at all - there were 6 tents and 1 camper. Toilets and baths are very clean, the area for the tents is green and has a good shade over it. There is a kitchen with 4 sinks and 4 ovens; there is a fridge; there are washing machines; there is a barbecue; there is a playground for children and all those things could be used for free.
In the camping
The camping owners are 2 sisters and their father. All of them are very kind and smiling. One of the evenings the father prepared for us delicious octopus (half was grilled, the other half was boiled). We invited them with us for the dinner and had a wonderful conversation. One of the sisters, Ioanna, told us about the festival they organize at the end of June. She also gave us some ideas of what to do around and where to go. Really charming people.
They also have a restaurant that offers different meals at normal prices and a little shop for the most necessary things. If you still are missing something, there are shops in the nearby villages, only 5 km far from the camping - Proskinites and Maroneia.
I should not forget to mention that is very cheap - per night we were paying 11 EUR which includes 2 people, 1 tent and 1 car. But you'll check the prices in their website.

For the 3 days that we stayed at the camping, we managed to spend our time at two of the beaches - the one in Kryoneri and the other one - Kageles (about 10 km east of the camping). As many of the Greek beaches, these ones were also stony but it doesn't make them look any  worse than a normal sandy beach. The view above Kageles beach was wonderful - red rocks on the side and Samohtraki island in the distance. The beach is small and a nice cafe is offering refreshing drinks. Also you can take some mattresses and other inflatable equipment to use in the water for free. It goes without saying that the water is crystal blue and cool.

You can continue exploring the area by car (and at some moments on foot) as there are archaeological Byzantine excavations. Unfortunately we didn't find much information but it seems people are working on them. Of course, we found the best time to explore the area (2-3 pm) and it was so hot that we didn't want to walk much but I bet that this would be a pleasant walk along the olive trees, the charming villas and the beautiful flowers on the road.
People told us that the area is very suitable for fishing too and lots of boats goes into the sea every morning for different kind of fish.

See more photos in facebook.

I stay with so many positive emotions that for sure I will go back, We really wanted to be in September but we couldn't. Finally, the loooong terming project of the road Komotini (Greece) - Kardzhali (Bulgaria) is over and I hope that next year we could visit that part of Greece for only few hours!
If you live close, or if you plan to visit Greece anyway, just drop in that region, it's off the beaten path but you'll love it!


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