As the sun starts to rise and the day begins, the serenity of the sleepy village of Nea Epidavros starts to stir. It is just 125 km from Athens, but your entire world will be transformed once you arrive. You might hear the chirping of the birds, the buzzing of the bees and the sound of the waves lapping at the shores of the crystal clear Mediterranean, but be assured, that is all that you will hear.
Also locals and visitors alike get up with the sun and can be found spearfishing in the depths of the seas.
After a light breakfast of crisp bread and honey followed by fresh squeezed orange juice from the groves of the village you grab a cold frappe, a Greek version of a frappuccino and you are ready to start your day.
The village is quite peaceful year round, with the summer months seeing some traffic and the winter months turning the village into a ghost town. With most people interested in staying in the bigger hotels up the hill in Palio Epidavros and frequenting the beaches there, you will find that the sea is relaxing and the beach is not overcrowded at Nea Epidavros, so you can relax at the seaside all day long if you wish.
As you make your way to the beach you see locals meeting at the local taverna, Toula, drinking their coffees and gossiping about the latest events in the village. After you exchange “kalimera,” or good-mornings, you find yourself on a beautiful and natural beach made of small pebbles and crisp, clear water.
The beach of Nea Epidavros called Aliotou by locals, usually has calm water because it is a natural inlet, sheltered by a cliff of rocks on one side. You can swim out to greater depths than you ever have before since the sea floor has a steep drop-off where the depths go from 10 meters to as deep as 100 meters immediately after the drop.
Another unique thing locals like to do in Nea Epidavros is go fishing. Why is it unique? Because at Nea Epidavros you can find fresh gialisteres, or sea urchins along the rocky shore line as well as the bottom of the sea. You catch them with your hands and cut them open with a knife. You squeeze a bit of lemon on it and enjoy!
Around 11:30 you hear the beeping of a horn, signaling that the bread truck with fresh bread is making its rounds. The fourno is located in the village of original settlement of the village of Nea Epidavros up high on a rocky mountain side and overlooking the sea. This is your chance to get fresh bread, tiropita (cheese pie) and loukoumades (donuts)! Think of it as the ice-cream truck, only with bread.
After enjoying a light snack your day continues to enchant, and well, you continue to eat! Get cleaned up and take a quick shower because now the real feast begins. Around 2 to 2:30 pm locals will start filing into Toula’s taverna for lunch, the biggest meal of the day in Greece.
The taverna has seating across the street on the beachfront as well as a covered seating area that provides some shade from the hot Greek sun. The taverna is run by Toula herself along with her husband and son, and during summer months some locals join in the service team. Here you will eat the best, most authentic Greek food. You can order mezes, meat dishes and fresh seafood and be assured that Toula will look after you like family.
As the afternoon set in and the temperatures cool off a bit, why not take a walk along the shoreline to relax after a sumptuous meal? You can walk to the end of the shore along the scarcely traveled road and enjoy the reward of a traditional Elliniko cafe, or Greek coffee at a cafeteria on the sea. With your feet in the sand, sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful setting that surrounds you.
The day is winding down and you have an amazing evening ahead. Locals bring chairs down the seaside and play tavli and card games as the sun hides behind the mountain of the old village on the cliffs. The beach starts to find more shade and a late evening swim is in order.
As night approaches the moon rises in the sky and many of the locals gather at the beach and start a large bonfire, roasting meats on skewers and pita bread. You enjoy an ice-cold Mythos Greek beer and company. Just don’t stay up too late because tomorrow you can do it all again. Nea Epidavros is such a drastic and fantastic change from the hustle and bustle of Athens that you will never want to go back!