Within moments of arriving in Greece we had already fallen in love. Bustling with the excitement of being in a new country and meeting up again with our friends and fellow motorhomers Karen and Myles, we almost couldn’t contain ourselves. Our initial feelings have been further cemented the longer we stay in this beautiful country, so we thought we share some practical tips based on our experiences so far:
Motorhomes in Greece
Our first month has seen us journey from the central mainland down to the Peloponnese choosing to take a clockwise direction around the fingers of this stunning peninsular.
Our route so far
Wild Camping: With 100’s of kilometres of breath-taking coastline on route we have been spoilt by the choice of wild camping opportunities in beautiful beachside locations. The lack of other motorhomes on our journey so far has made this very easy and we have often been the only ones there. We always ensure we do this respectfully and pay for our stay in other ways by spending money in the local community on shopping, meals out and attractions, feeding any stray dogs we come across, cleaning up beaches etc. We have felt very safe when wild camping here and have had very few problems so far – just the odd boy racers wheels spinning, but even they stopped to ask us if it was OK for them to continue! Personally we have seen no evidence wild camping being an issue to either locals or the police although after reading a recent post on a facebook motorhome group about a friend of a member being fined 300€ for wild camping at Ammoudia in Greece this prompted me to do further research here’s a link to which clarifies this http://eu.camperistas.com/2898/greece-wild-camping#more-2898
We use a variety of sources to find wild spots, our eyes of course being our best asset in spotting suitable resting spots. In addition though we also use a variety of resources, here’s a link to a recent blog on the ones we use: https://followourmotorhome.co.uk/2017/04/13/a-round-up-of-resources-how-we-find-places-to-stay/
Wild camping spots are plentiful
The campsites we have stayed on have been a little “tight” in terms of space (which at this time a year isn’t a problem, but in high season may be) and also almost always seem to be at the bottom of a narrow access road, but we have then been rewarded with some terrific views. The facilities vary from site to site and so it’s best to check first. Last week we experienced a campsite where the washing machine took 3 hours per load and the wifi signal was non-existent (our two main reasons for going on site)! We have paid between 16 – 19€ per night for campsites.
Fresh water is widely available, but you sometimes have to be prepared to hunt for it. There are communal taps available in most towns,plus some marinas and rest areas and also showers on the majority of beaches. It might be worth carrying a funnel and short length of hose / water container.
Black and Grey waste: If wild camping in Greece I would strongly recommend carrying a spare cassette to extend the period you can wild camp for as facilities are limited. Some service stations have allowed us to empty our cassette if buying fuel or gas and also some campsites have allowed us to do the same (some with a fee some without), you just have to be prepared to ask. We are yet to find a campsite that has a dedicated grey emptying point, they just request that you let it run into the ground or empty into a bucket.
Vehicle Size: This is one place where size really does matter. Boris is 7.6 m long (8m with our bikes) x 2.4 wide and 2.9 tall and we have already experienced our fair share of sticky situations on very narrow dead end roads, as well as encountering overhanging bushes making narrow passes even narrower and tiny village centres ! We have learnt our lesson though and now where possible I hop out and check out the location on foot beforehand.
Getting to Greece
Of course there are numerous routes via road to get to Greece, however as we were already in Spain this winter we opted to take a ferry from Barcelona to Civitavecchia with Grimaldi lines (cost with outside cabin was £376) and then another ferry with Anek lines from Ancona Italy to Igoumenitsa Greece (cost £250 with camping on board) ,the same ferry also goes on to Patras in the Peloponnese. We will then drive back through Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and beyond.
Anek lines allow camping in your motorhome on board the ferry
Roads & Driving
The condition of the roads in Greece varies greatly even on the same piece of road, on the central mainland roads were generally in poorer condition than on the Peloponnese.
Journeys here though take much longer so be prepared for it to take around an hour to do just 40 km’s. . If travelling on a mountain road it is not uncommon to see rocks in the road and for the outer edge to be crumbling away so extra care is needed hereNavigation: Although we invested in a new Aguri sat nav before this trip that allows us to enter our vehicle size, it has not proved infallible here in Greece, often not even recognising roads or sending us on the wrong route. We now follow all routes on our maps.me app (on off line mapping system) as well as a backup.
Driving: Firstly, the Greeks will park anywhere – sometimes a metre from the kerb or even in the middle of the road. On blind bends, while they have a quick coffee or directly outside a supermarket, even though there is a perfectly good, empty car park a few metres away. Secondly, all speed limits and road markings are completely ignored. It’s apparently fine to overtake despite the bends in the road and the double white lines along the centre. No one bothers to stop and check for traffic at junctions and, if you are a bit slower than the average Greek, you are expected to drive on the hard shoulder so they can pass you. Note other than driving on the right the main difference here in Greece is on roundabouts. In the UK when approaching a roundabout you stop and give way to traffic on the roundabout. In Greece traffic ON a roundabout has to stop and give way to traffic entering the roundabout from the right
Diesel & LPG
Both of these are widely available. Diesel prices vary with 1.34€ being the most we have paid and 1.19€ being the least (although we have since seen it cheaper at 1.15€). LPG is around 0.79€ a litre. Here is a list of LPG station throughout Greece https://www.mylpg.eu/stations/greece/list
Greece has featured highly in the media over the past few years for both their economic and migrant issues, although at present we are not seeing much evidence of either. The only visual evidence of the austerity measures & economic downturn has been the often overflowing rubbish bins at the side of roads and the occasional derelict hotel complex or unfinished building project. Although after being in Spain, Greece does at first appear to be expensive, however it is still considerably cheaper than the UK as the stats below show:
|Consumer Prices in United Kingdom are 28.01% higher than in Greece|
|Consumer Prices Including Rent in United Kingdom are 57.41% higher than in Greece|
|Rent Prices in United Kingdom are 233.85% higher than in Greece|
|Restaurant Prices in United Kingdom are 44.52% higher than in Greece|
|Groceries Prices in United Kingdom are 25.67% higher than in Greece|
Greeks rely heavily on shopping locally at independent butchers, bakers and firshmongers therefore some of the large supermarkets only carry a very limited selection of fresh meat and fish. Look out for roadside fruit and veg sellers as well as pick-up trucks with loudspeakers selling their wares.
Eating and drinking out
The Greeks do hospitality so well that when eating out at a family run Greek taverna you are not only rewarded with the sumptuous flavours of local Greek cuisine you are also warmly welcomed (often into the kitchen) by your hosts. Greece is a nation of small farmers who produce an incredible array of mainly organically cultivated produce. Greece’s climate is perfect growing for olive and lemon trees, producing two of the most important elements of Greek cooking. Spices garlic and other are also widely used, as are other local fresh vegetables such as aubergine and courgette. The average price we have paid for a meal for two including drinks is around 30€.
Delicious fresh Greek Cuisine
The Greek People
Greeks are naturally friendly and hospitable, and will return a friendly Yasu (Hello) with a beaming smile. We have been warmly welcomed everywhere and have even had locals bring us fruit from their gardens and stop for a chat whether we could converse or not. We have found the majority of Greek speak English much better than we speak Greek (although we are learning as we go). We could all learn a lot from their attitude to others; this place really does warm the soul.
Lessons we could learn
As Karen and Myles (www.motoroaming.com) go off to Crete we continue onward around the Peloponnese. More Greek adventures coming soon.
Andi & Paul x