Thursday 30 July 2015

Touring the Argolid: More Beaches and a little more Urban Exploration

Greece, 27th June – 2nd July 2015

After giant croissants that came from the Monemvasia bakery we left our beach parking spot and called at the port in Agios Andreas to fill up with water there (GPS: N37.37120 E22.78262). We drove through Paralia Astros which other than the seafront area which was busy with tavernas, was a bit rough so we kept on driving. We then came into Kiveri (above) which was made awkward to get in the final stretch of road due to plastic marker posts down the centreline of the road with the
right lane being slightly narrower and having garden walls and fences lining the edge with overhanging trees and plants. I just managed to squeeze through at a creeping pace with less than 5cm between the marker posts and the motorhome body at one point and the right mirror folded in at times, picking up a branch wedged between the pipe tube and the roof rack on the way through. We parked up overlooking the water at the end of the road at the edge of the village (GPS: N37.52789 E22.73152) planning to stay here just as a lunch stop but discovered there was good free WiFi so stayed to work on the blog.


Leaving Kiveri was thankfully easier than coming in and we drove on into Nafplio, parking in the large portside car park on the way in (GPS: N37.56823 E22.80170), where it is possible to overnight. The first sign we’d seen of the financial problems was when we passed a cash point in the town that had a large queue of around 12 people waiting to use it. We walked around the side streets near the harbour which were lined with bars and upmarket shops. The area was busy, particularly the string of bar-restaurants facing onto the harbour. The town is very different to anywhere else we’ve seen in Greece and was more like an Italian city. It was very hot so after a while we headed back to the van for some lunch.

A novel use for an old Beetle

Karathonas Beach - the main beach that tourists visiting
Nafplio would use
We drove around to our planned stopover at Karathonas Beach, the nearest beach to Nafplio which was very busy, likely to be due to being a summer weekend. There were several bars on the beach with loud music blaring out, sun loungers covering the sand by each one, and there were people all over. It wasn’t very appealing to stay over so we decided to continue on to somewhere further down the coast. Initially we tried the port parking 15km away in Tolo which is a popular seaside holiday town which was crowded with tourists through the main street through the centre that we passed along. The port car park was near enough full so we continued through and took the coast road to a Womo spot further along at Kondili Beach. A small steep winding road led down to a nice bay with a couple of beach bars that were relatively quiet and we could park up alongside the beach and had a quiet night with just one other motorhome that arrived later.

Kondili Beach
The next morning we started our day with a swim and snorkel seeing schools of hundreds of tiny fish. Whilst in the water a Greek lady spoke to us initially asking what Dethleffs written on the back of our van meant and going on to say it was a bad day for the Greek people due to the country’s bankruptcy and the prime minister announcing a referendum in a weeks’ time with banks being closed and no access to money until after then at least. She was on her holiday and seeming to enjoy it regardless.

Camping Nicolas

Today was the last day that most campsites give ACSI discount before the peak season starts so we decided to make the most of it rather than going onto a site in a couple of days’ time at a higher cost. After a detour back to Nafplio to Lidl and a fuel station filling the diesel tank to full for the first time since leaving the UK as it was the cheapest we’ve seen (€1.159/L), also so that I could work out our actual fuel consumption for the trip, and just in case of any issues getting fuel over the next week with the financial situation. Over 4400 miles we’d averaged 27.9 mpg which I think is good with the twisty hilly Greek driving included, and running at full load with my windsurf board and pipe tube on the roof.

Our pitch at Camping Nicolas I - there are only a few pitches
this close to the waterfront so we got lucky
We cut across the headland to Archea Epidavros (or Palea Epidavros) to Camping Nicolas I (GPS: 37.62999 E23.15855, €16 with ACSI inc electric and WiFi), which Dennis and Kate had recommended and shown us a photo of their van parked about a meter from the waters’ edge. We got parked in one of the few spots facing onto the water and spent most of the day utilising the slightly unreliable WiFi to work on our blog. We took a break at dinner time to cook some peri chicken on the Cadac which made a nice meal with sautéed potatoes and Greek salad.

There are certainly worse places to have to get some work done...
Jo got up early in the morning and continued on the blog while I went for a dip in the sea. At the campsite was a litter of five kittens. After we’d checked out and were about to set off after filling up with water they came over and became interested in our van wandering around and looking underneath and one climbed up onto a rear tyre and sat on top of the wheel looking out of the wheelarch! After one was out the way and we were clear to go another one or two would take its place. After several minutes of this we managed to get going and drove onto the headland of the bay of Archea Epidavros for lunch. There was a large Carthago liner set up here with levelling ramps and ground mat in place.

This one was very inquisitive!
Three of the five

Saladi Beach

The bay in which Saladi beach is located with the abandoned hotel in the middle
Overnighting at Saladi Beach

After some lunch we travelled back to the western coast to Saladi (or Salandi or Salanti) Beach (GPS: N37.44867 E23.12486), picking up some oranges from a roadside stall for €0.60/kg. Saladi Beach is an undeveloped stretch used by motorhomes, pickups driving by to somewhere the other end of the bay, and the occasional passing goat herd as we found out that evening. There were five other campers here, some of which looked like they were settled here for a while tucked back amongst the trees at the back of the large area of roughland behind the stone beach. We got the chairs out and sat out for a while until the weather turned off so we retired to the van for some reading, log writing and dinner.
Saladi Beach
Goats passing through

The only building near the beach is a large eight storey hotel complex that has been left abandoned for some time. We therefore started the day with some more urban exploration. From the beach we passed a bar area where there were coils of split plastic sheathing from electrical wiring that had been pulled up and the copper stripped out. There was an outdoor theatre (a modern concrete version of the ancient type), tennis courts and remains of a crazy golf course. Further along the overgrown paths was a large swimming pool that was empty apart from a brown pool at the deep end with sun loungers and chairs thrown in. It was a fascinating place to look around, in the hotel itself there were remains of arcade machines that had been ripped apart, mainly in one room and dotted around, and old boat or windsurfer sails hanging from the walls and on the floor that would presumably have been decoration. In a couple of places there were old Saladi Beach Hotel leaflets scattered around and other paperwork. Rotting mattresses left in various places and graffiti showed signs of previous visitors.

Inside the lift shaft
I don't think anyone has slept here recently...

The hotel basement
The basement had loads of crates and piles of empty beer bottles that would’ve been ones waiting to go back to suppliers and some laying around in other places, maybe that had been full ones that people had found and drunk there, or could’ve been taken there by people hanging around in the building. On the second floor which had a low ceiling and appeared to have been staff accommodation rooms and used for storage there were ringbinder files full of timesheets and of receipts with dates in the 1980’s so it seems this may have been another holiday accommodation victim in the 80’s. Mysteriously, on this floor there was a set of steel doors locked with a padlock that looked relatively recent. Peeking through a gap I could see electric units on the wall still in place so maybe the doors had been in place all along and had just not deteriorated.

We've put more of our shots of the hotel complex at the end of the post for anyone interested.

After a good couple of hours exploring we returned to the van for lunch and decided to stay another night as it was a quiet relaxing spot, spending the rest of the day chilling around the van. We watched a couple of episodes of Dexter later on and had a nice treat of Lidl profiteroles.

Paralia Metamorphosis

I had a morning swim at Saladi Beach, luckily taking the mask and snorkel so I spotted the black spiky sea urchins (I think?) on the stones under the water. After getting packed away we set off to Kranidi to look for a shop for bread and were in luck as there was a Lidl on the road in so we did a shop. From here we went across to Ermoini where we stopped on the port for lunch before following the small twisty road around the south coast. We planned to go to a Womo spot that the Dutch man had said was nice and was isolated, but when we got to the track leading to it, it was a rough loose dirt track that went uphill and then would’ve gone downhill to the coast, so there’s a good chance we could have struggled with traction to get back along it. It looked twisty on the sat nav and was 3-4 km long so we didn’t risk it and continued along to Galatas. There wasn’t a lot of room in the car park here and as it was about 34°C we didn’t feel like looking around the town and wanted somewhere to be able to relax so kept moving again to the beach at Paralia Metamorphosis. This is off of the road that leads across to the almost island-like piece of land of the Methana peninsula. The large Carthago we’d seen at Archea Epidavros was here which we parked up behind next to the beach. We sat out and read, Jo updated our accounts spreadsheet and we did some blog writing.

Paralia Metamorphosis

We were almost at the end of our tour of the Peloponese now, with just several days of sightseeing left with Epidavros, Acrocorinth and the Corinth Canal to see before crossing into central Greece which has got a lot to live up to.

- Matt

Extra Photos :

What an official looking sign!
The bridge we had to cross to get to Paralia Metamorphosis

View of Poros island from Galatas

More Saladi Beach Hotel shots:

The upstairs corridor and the mysterious locked door
Crates used as stepping stones in the basement - we didn't
have a torch (it's a lot darker than it appears in photos) so we
didn't go to see where it led
What remains of the pool

The main foyer
The lifts
If anyone visits Saladi Beach and they're feeling hungry, rest
assured there's a delicious tin of pineapple waiting in the
hotel kitchen
Some of the resort leaflets we found amongst the debris

The theatre
Remains of the crazy golf course
Beer bottles in the basement


  1. really interesting blog. Am staying in salads now and I'm getting some drone footage of the deserted hotel and grounds. My research tells me it was a very successful nudist hotel opening in 1980, before being forced to close around 1985 under pressure from the locals and the church. It was re-opened as a normal hotel but was a complete financial failure, before closing for good around 1985. Wha baffles me is that it was let so hurriedly and it still hasn't been demolished. Thanks for the interesting photos.

    1. Thanks for the comments and the info. I did a bit of research at the time but didn't find much. From what we read I thought it might've been forced to close due to not getting the correct planning permission when it was built which apparently was quite common around that time in Greece.
      Yes I too thought it was unusual how it got left as though they just walked out one day, we found folders full of hotel paperwork still laying around.
      Enjoy Greece, it's fantastic down there!