In my previous vanlife blog (LINK: https://gr8fool.com/greece-beach-life/), I shared photos of incredible beaches I got to experience during my “slow-mo” loop of gorgeous Greece. I say slow-mo because while exploring this country I made a conscious effort to slow down, reducing locations to visit and stopping at places for longer.
This was easier said than done, especially when part of you constantly battles with that fear of missing out. When you travel in this way, in your own campervan, you have that extra freedom to move to new places whenever you want to. I have learnt to let go of wanting to see it all!
I needed to slow it down a notch, after 8 months of travelling through 10 countries (Scotland, England, France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria and Italy). Mostly moving every day or two, except when I spent family time in North Italy over Christmas / early January.
SLOWING DOWN TIME
When I first talked to lovely Rachel at Elddis UK (LINK: http://www.elddis.co.uk/Hub) to discuss this amazing opportunity of travelling in their brand new Compass CV20 for a whole year, I was beyond excited and at the same time also a little concerned about being on the road for that long.
Time flies when you have fun and now it saddens me to think that it will be over in a couple of months . But I know that nothing ever really ends when you carry the memories and experience with you forever. And this adventure is giving me plenty of those and it has taught me that I could easily live and travel like this again in the future.
After travelling at a fast-ish pace from one location to the next for months, I wondered if slowing down my driving would somehow slow down the time too. Or at least my perception of time-passing.
I may not have succeeded in this quest, and in fact I mostly lose complete track of time and days, but simply trying reinforced the importance of enjoying each moment in the present and finding the right balance between time spent driving, exploring, writing, coaching and relaxing, etc.
A MONTH LOOP OF GREECE
After Italy, I promised myself that once I crossed over the Adriatic Sea, from Brindisi (Puglia) to Igumenitsa (Greece), I would take more time to soak up each location I visited.
I spent roughly a month in Greece and in spite of my promise, I still managed to cover quite a big area and enjoy many beautiful places. My key destinations:-
IGUMENITSA (Northern East Coast)
I arrived at the Igumenitsa port with a beautiful sunrise at 5am and I headed to a camping site, a short drive South. A great start. The campsite Elena has its own beautiful private beach, great welcoming staff and a nice restaurant too. As eager as I was to explore, I stayed here for a few nights, making new friends and relaxing after an hectic tour of Puglia the previous week.
After Igumenitsa I targeted Meteora, with a quick stop in Ioannina for a bike ride by the lake on my way there. Meteora is incredible, a perfect combination of nature and human miracles. I stayed for a few days to make sure I really soaked up this amazing site hosting vertical mountain formations, with some of the largest and most precipitously monasteries built on top. You can easily take transfer buses from one monastery to the next, but there are also great hiking paths in between.
SKOPELOS (Island of Mamma Mia)
I made plans to meet with three friends on the Mamma Mia island of Skopelos, which I reached on a ferry from Volos and the boys joined me on the same boat in Skiathos. I couldn’t take Peter Van unfortunately, but I found a private garage near Volos where he could chill and wait for me safely for a week. Skopelos town is adorable, with plenty of nice cafes, restaurants and cute shops, then we explored the various beaches by car. A week of full beachlife and Greek food immersion!
VOLOS / PELIO PENINSULA (Central East Coast)
Back from Skopelos, I spent another 10 days in and around Volos, the gorgeous Pelion mountain and the peninsula. I stayed three times at Camping Hellas, a well-serviced campsite with private beach just 15minutes drive East of Volos; drove around the peninsula down to Trikeri then up to the East Coast; relaxed for an entire week at Papa Nero Beach; and hiked the Centaur’s Path in Portaria on the Pelion mountains (where I wild camped for a night with an incredible view of the port city below).
Volos is lovely and offers great beach clubs too: one right by the port (Isalos Beach Club) and one a bit further East (the Rivera Beach Club – cover photo), where they let me stay the night pitched in their olive tree garden, after spending the afternoon on their sea-front terrace.
It was nice to slow down in Papa Nero. Enough time to create a routine of meditations and swims on the (almost empty) crystal clear beach, buy my daily fresh fruit&veg from the local shop, hike along the coast to explore nearby beaches etc.
I was invited to an unmissable wedding in Devon and I was glad to discover a new Easyjet route Volos-Gatwick. So I parked up for free by the newish airport, which still serves the military aviation. I flew back quite late one night and ended up sleeping in the van. The quickest airport transfer home ever. I was woken up early by the powerful roaring of jet planes.
After my early wake-up call at the airport I drove to Delphi. I received mixed reviews from travellers, but personally, I LOVED IT.
I stayed in a gorgeous camping site (Delphi Camping) which offers a warm welcome with a platter of olives and olive oil and amazing views of the valley (or “sea of olive trees”), by the gulf of Corinth, that I enjoyed from my van, the pool side and their restaurant terrace! Most people simply pass through Delphi but I stopped and relaxed for a few nights.
The archeological sites of Delphi made me truly time-travel just like Pompei did in Italy and Olympia did later on this trip! How I wish I could really experience those days, maybe a life regression session or two will take me there?
After Delphi, I crossed the breath-taking Corynth canal, to reach the Peloponnese.
You could spend a whole year or a lifetime roaming around this beautiful region, so I narrowed my stops down to 3 for this time. A combination of paradise coastlines and ancient sites.
- Nafplion and nearby Dantis and Tolos beaches
- Pilos and Voidokilia beaches
I completed my “not so slow-mo after all” loop of Greece spending a few more days on the West Coast (Perdika), before crossing 3 country borders to meet with Elddis film crew in Dubrovnik by a set date. Here we would be filming part 2 of my vanlife. Part 1 video was filmed in Venice (LINK: https://gr8fool.com/video-in-venice/), and reached over 40k views on Elddis FACEBOOK PAGE!)
Guys, so many insanely gorgeous beach coves to explore in this part of Greece and a good choice of glam beach clubs and hotels too. I stopped by the road side on my last day to plunge into one of them, called Small Ntrafi!
BENEFITS OF SLOWING DOWN
Slowing down through Greece allowed me to relax more, tackle my lingering FOMO and focus more time on my work too.
While in Greece, I finalised my new Freedom Coaching programmes (LINK here) and upgraded my website (gr8fool.com). In addition to accessing all my vanlife and lifestyle blogs, you can now find more information about my coaching and interact with quiz, downloads, a spotify playlist and much more. Enjoy it and let me know what you think!
I’m aware that I missed some amazing spot, as pointed out by travellers’ I met on the way, but I know I have made it to many great locations and I loved the incredible driving sceneries too.
All those unvisited places will give me reasons to return to Greece again and again!