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Greece: Overnight Parking PDF Printable Version E-mail

 

OVERNIGHT PARKING FOR MOTORHOMES IN GREECE

Barry and Margaret Williamson 
Updated January 2012

'Overnight Parking' = 'Night Halts' = 'Stopovers'  (These are terms we prefer to 'Free Camping' or the wildly exaggerated 'Wild Camping')

PEEJAY'S LIST

Pete Jenkins has spent a lot of time putting together a most thorough set of information about 'Night Halts' throughout Greece and is sharing it through our website.

The information takes the form of a clickable Google map, co-ordinates and a brief description indicating the size and nature of the location and any problems of access. Over 169 sites are included throughout mainland Greece and Crete.

You can move around within the Google map, zoom in and out and switch to 'Satellite' mode to actually see the area.

Find it at: PeeJay's Stopovers Link

Our own original list, given below, is puny in comparison and a quick cross-check where they overlap confirms the accuracy of Pete's findings.

Feel free to use Pete's list (but don't share it with friends in case the sites get too full!)

Feedback: For comments, updates and additions, you can Contact Us on this website or contact Pete direct at: . Feedback can also be left on the Google map itself.

Peter Highe in his article 'Highe in the Peloponnese' uses some of Pete's places, adds others and gives very useful GPS co-ordinates.

Ian and Judit travelling in their Bessacarr E760 are producing an excellent list of Night Stops, Campings and Parkings as they progress anti-clockwise round the Peloponnese. In addition to text describing their experience and local facilities (water, WiFi, cafes, etc), they provide a photograph and co-ordinates. They use PJ's list as a base, but add their own locations. Excellent!

OUR OVERNIGHT PARKING ROUND THE PELOPONNESE

Here's our own list of Overnight Parking spots round the coast of the Peloponnese, described anti-clockwise from Patras. In general, overnight parking is often available outside closed campgrounds, in car parks at the ends of roads leading down to the sea, outside restaurants (ask permission if they are open), by harbours, and adjacent to some ancient sites/museums. This list is particularly useful when most campsites are closed - usually between end-September and Easter. All the ones listed below have been safely used by us and others we know in wintertime. In the high season they may be more crowded, restricted or forbidden.

1. Patras: In a cul-de-sac leading to a closed campsite a mile or 2 N of the former ferry port along the sea front.

2. Kato Achia: Colin & Jan reported a quiet night outside the closed Camping Kato Alissos, on the Old National Road about 12 miles west of Patras. They even found water.

3. Kalogria Beach: About 20 miles S of Patras, turn right off the New National Road for Kalogria. After the Arachos air force base, 5 miles along, turn left for another couple of miles to Kalogria Beach. Several places to stay in winter, under the pine trees by the shore or on the car parks of empty tavernas and cafes. Warning!!! In March 2008, Colin & Jan wrote to say that they were disturbed at night by a group of youths on motorbikes throwing rocks at their motorhome. On the other hand, we had a quiet night there in December 2007 and again in March 2011. Viv Luscott warned of flooding there in the storms of December 2011.

4. Killini: Turn right off the New National Road about 40 miles S of Patras, to the port for Zakinthos and Kefalonia. Parking on the harbour (water and toilets behind the Port Police office), or on the sea front W of the harbour.

5. Ancient Elis: About 40 miles S of Patras on the New National Road, turn left at the traffic lights (rather than right for Gastouni and Loutra Killinis). Continue 6 miles to the site of Ancient Elis. Level parking area on right opposite the original museum, which has toilets. Entry to site, ancient theatre etc is free. (For the new museum, with small entry fee, continue along road and take next right. This also has a free car park but it's very sloping.)  

6. Loutra Killinis: 5 miles S of Killinis, accessed via Gastouni. On the sea front at the end of the cul-de-sac, in a turning circle.

7. Thinnon Forest: 3 miles S of Vartholomio (which is between Gastouni and Loutra Killinis). On the beach by the tavernas in a large car park.

8. Amaliada Beaches: Several lanes lead to quiet seaside parking areas and seasonal campsites SW of Amaliada. For example, turn right at traffic lights on New National Road (rather than left for supermarkets and Amaliada town centre) to Kourouta Beach, 2 miles along. Level well-lit sea-front parking area at N37.77052 E.21.29399.  Tavernas and cafes nearby. Next to Municipal Camping, so probably unwelcome when it's open, in summer, but very quiet in winter. 

9. Katakolo Harbour: Turn right off New National Road before Pirgos and continue 6 miles to Katakolo. Vast free parking area on harbour with water (and electricity, maybe €5 extra if Harbour Master calls). In March 2011 we were the only camper, but busy in season when cruise liners dock for Ancient Olympia. Train runs to Pirgos and Olympia year round.

10. Pirgos: The car park of the AB on the right of the main road (New National Road), waiting for the supermarket to open!

11. Lake Kaiafas: 5 miles N of Zacharo by the warm springs and sulphurous baths at Kaiafa Lake. Approach on minor road leaving main road N of lake. No-one has troubled us during overnight parking in winter, when the complex is closed.

12. Giannitsohori: 10 miles S of Zacharo. One of several cul-de-sacs leading to seafront parking.

13. Kalo Neri: A few miles before Kiparissia, turn right to the beach.

14. Kiparissia: On the sea front off the road leading to the campsite (which is closed in winter).

15. Marathopoli: 3 miles W of Gargaliani on minor seafront road. By the harbour or on the sea front of this small fishing port.

16. Gialova: 10 miles N of Pylos. Follow tracks leading to headland on N side of Navarino Bay (you will probably have company near one of Greece's best beaches).

17. Pylos: Excellent overnight parking on the harbour, although Rosemary Newton reports being moved on by the local police in October 2010! We've had no problems during several stays.

18. Methoni: On the extensive harbour car park near the Municipal Camping (campsite closed in winter).

19. Petalidi: On the waterfront south of the town centre (but beware parking there Thursday night - you will be blocked in next morning by the Friday market!).

20. Nea Itilo: 4 miles N of Areopoli. Leave the main road to the N of Nea Itilo to find small splendid parking (signed) by a fish taverna, which is closed in winter. Alternatively, park by the shore. Road through the village is very narrow - leave the way you entered.

21. Gerolimenas: Near the foot of the Mani, west side. Small gravel car park behind the tiny harbour, behind hotel, W of the road. Great place from which to cycle to Cape Matapan.

22. Marmari: Near the foot of the Mani, east side. Small parking area before the hotel at the end of the road, signed 'Parking for Car and Mobile Homes'. Even nearer to Cape Matapan.

23. Gythion: On the promenade on the N side of town, on road towards Skala.

24. Glikovrisi: 20 miles NE of Gythion. On the beach outside the (now permanently closed) campground.

25. Monemvassia: By the harbour, S of town, before Camping Paradise (campsite closed in winter). Alternatively, continue past Paradise for a couple of miles to park on a little cove.

26. Paralia Astros: A long way N of Monemvassia. 18 miles S of Argos. Main road bypasses town. In car park for nature reserve, just N of town of Paralia Astros.

27. Nea Kios: 5 miles S of Argos, 5 miles W of Nafplio. In large car park on seafront road.

28. Nafplio: Lots of opportunities in large parking areas around commercial harbour and railway station.

29. Epidavros: Ancient site and theatre near Asklipio, 20 miles E of Nafplio. In the extensive free car park. (Not to be confused with Palea Epidavros on the coast, where there are seasonal campsites.)

30. Corinth: At Isthmia, the far E end of the Canal. In large car park at the very end of the canal near control station or, just S, on a small seafront road near gardens.

31. Rion: 5 miles NE of Patras, for ferry or new bridge to cross the Gulf of Corinth. Lots of space on large waiting areas for ferry (which costs less than the toll bridge).

OUR OVERNIGHT PARKING IN NORTHERN GREECE

In February/March 2011, returning from Turkey across Northern Greece, hardly any campsites were open along our route after Alexandroupolis, apart from Kalambaka. We used the following parking places, with no problems at all. Again, in the high season they may be more crowded, restricted or forbidden. SatNav co-ordinates are given.

Maronia Harbour, Thrace
N40.5234 E25.3036  Parking space at harbour, near ancient site of Maronia. Fish taverna, waste bins, water. Fishermen keen to sell you their catch, dead or alive!

Fanari, Thrace (See also PJ's List) 
N40.95497 E25.14750  Beyond the EOT campsite (only open mid-June to end September), there is over a mile of parking space along the wide road, between sea and lagoon, with flamingoes and pelicans for company. Very quiet, one restaurant open in winter.

Avdera, Thrace
N40.55596 E24.58191  Parking opposite entrance to Ancient Avdera. Tap at church, opposite. Also parking and water on nearby harbour. Excellent free archaeological museum in Avdera village, 3 miles inland.

Paralia Orfani (Orfani Beach), Macedonia (See also PJ's List) 
N40.74988 E23.94127  Very peaceful, with snack bar closed. Tap nearby at Lifeguard post, opposite children's fun park (also closed). Maybe less welcome in summer, with a seasonal campsite 2 miles west in the village.

Vergina 1, Macedonia
 N40.48514 E22.31957  Private guarded car park with hook-up, recycling bins and drinking water. Friendly owner in adjacent house. Short walk from the magnificent Royal Macedonian Tombs. €6 including electric.

Vergina 2, Macedonia
N40.48447 E22.32195  Large open parking area, with no facilities except bins and theft warning notices! This one is free.

Thermopiles, Central Greece
N38.79446 E22.53034  At the Thermal Springs there is a vast expanse of rough ground for parking. Signed along a short lane beside the Shell fuel station/cafe, past a police station and a spa hotel (closed). You can bathe al fresco in the sulphurous pool or just join other free campers for the night. Usually busy but only 3 other motorhomes in Feb 2011. In November 2011, Viv Luscott reported the large parking area fenced off, though still possible to stay overnight under the trees by the (closed) hotel.

Episkopi, Lake Kremaston, Central Greece
 N38.88534 E21.60224  A well lit parking spot outside an abandoned café, by the bridge across a dammed lake on the mountain road E952, north of Agrinio. No facilities, but taverna open on far side of bridge.

Vonitsa, Epiros (See also PJ's List)   
N38.92070 E20.89859  Excellent place to east of town, just off E55, with plenty of parking space along shore. Short walk into centre. Water tap behind shed by footbridge to island.
  
MORE OVERNIGHT PARKING INFORMATION FROM JOHN HUGHES

In January 2010, John Hughes added the following information based on a motorhome tour of Greece earlier in 2009. His experience seems to show a greater use of overnight parking opportunities by motorhomers, more notices 'prohibiting' overnight parking, and some evidence of police activity in at least one location.

Given the extent to which Greeks park their cars, vans and trucks where they will, at any time of the day or night, it seems to us that such notices are not enforceable. It is more likely that nearby campsite owners are using their 'contacts' to erect signs to force or con motorhomers onto their overpriced sites. At the time of writing, Greece is in no position to oppress tourists and new legislation brings in, for the first time, the chance to question the questionable actions of the police. (For an example of oppressive police action against tourists see, for example, our own bad experience in: The Siege of Kalithea)

John Hughes writes:

"Last year (2009) we spent some 8 weeks, in spring, exploring Greece. As this was our first visit to the country using our motorhome, we are indebted to you and all the information on your website. Apart from a rather out of date German publication (Stellplatzen in Griechenland), we relied heavily on the information we had printed from the Magbaz website in order to find suitable places for overnight halts.

Below are a few notes I made which may help you keep your invaluable list up to date:”

Nafplio: We, plus all the other motorhomers there during the day, were warned by a police roving patrol that there was definitely no overnight parking on the large parking lot in the docks. (Late April 2009)

MycenaeMessene and Mystra: No Overnight Parking signs were very prominent in the car parks at the ruins.

Monemavassia: Water tap at harbour parking. This is the large parking lot by the fishing harbour. The parking by the causeway had signs up forbidding overnight parking.

Parolio Beach: No parking at Parolio Beach but just north of the town we found a large beachside car park at Vernena Beach (not the nature reserve, where the car park was very muddy and totally unsuitable). A tap was available out of season.

Other excellent free stopovers we used (not on the Peloponnese) were:

Vliho on Lefkada: Harbourside

Xiliadau: Some 15 km east of the northern end of the Rio bridge. This was a tranquil spot with a tap and a taverna next to the harbour-side parking. We shared the spot with two Dutch motorhomers, who said that it was listed on Dutch websites.

Various Dutch motorhomers whom we met during our stay in Greece recommended the following Dutch and German websites:

www.griekenlandmetdecamper.nl (means 'Greece with the Motorhome'). In Dutch. Many free camping places in Greece, with maps and GPS co-ordinates.

www.campercontact.nl (means 'Motorhome Contact'). In Dutch. 6 free camping places in Greece plus many sites in many other countries.

www.campervriendelijk.nl (means 'Motorhome Friendly'). In Dutch. Look under 'Camper Plaatsen' ('Motorhome Places') then 'Buitenland' ('Abroad' if you are Dutch). Many free and paying camping places in Greece and elsewhere including 1 in Albania.

www.womo.de (means 'Motorhome') In German. Devoted to selling books of free camping places.

I am not sure how useful these sites are but both Dutch and German motorhomers seemed to have a wealth of detail of safe places to stay in Greece."

EXTRA OVERNIGHT PARKING SUGGESTIONS FROM THE PIPPINS

In October 2010, Rosemary and Andy Newton provided the following additional information. The full story is in Rosemary's diary on this website atPippins in the Peloponnese.

"1. Ancient Messene (Ithomi) – new car park has 'No Camping' sign but can spend night at the Voulkanou monastery above the site. Very quiet indeed, apart from the pack of dogs that arrived to be fed by a bearded monk, barking at the passing cars (less than one an hour) and everything else! Visited monastery next morning (closed 2-5 pm).

2. Dimitsana - in the car park of the excellent water museum at Dimitsana, underneath two enormous spreading sycamore trees. Next to the car park was a lovely little church, all of its furniture highly decorated with gold and two-headed eagles.

3. Katakolo - parked on the jetty for free. Greeted by the harbour master who offered a hook-up at 5 Euros per night. There is an excellent little train that runs from here to Olympia, 21 miles away, costing the princely sum of €3 return (via Pyrgos, a 20-minute journey costing €1.60 return). When cruise ships are docked, a museum that specialises in working models of Ancient Greek Inventions is open, with films of them working.

4. Beside the beach at Kalamia, south of Kyllinis below Kastro, with view of Zakynthos and Kefallonia."

MAPS FOR GREECE

Note that Greece is sometimes not included in SatNav systems: their definition of Europe often ends at Italy and Austria! However, our 'Garmin Nuvi' model (bought in 2013 at Halfords in Arnhem, Holland, when its predecessor let us down) has thorough coverage of Greece. 

Most maps made and sold in Greece are simply misleading: they are hard to read, inaccurate and very selective in their content. This is equally true of the atlases that are on sale at inflated prices. If you do buy an atlas, check that all the pages are there, in the right order! (We once returned a faulty one bought in Igoumenitsa, only to find they were all alike!)

The best map of the Peloponnese, made and available in Greece, is number 5 in the 1:250,000 series 'Road Editions' which cover Greece in 5 overlapping maps (Crete is the 6th). There is an index in Greek and English, including separate indices to monasteries and ancient sites, and street maps of key towns. Of all the road maps of Greece, this one does the most to show contours. The Greek Islands are covered separately in 18 maps with scales ranging from 1:20,000 to 1:1,000,000. Another series for walkers covers 8 mountain areas at 1:50,000 (roughly 1 mile = 1 inch).

Available in the UK, but not seen on sale in Greece, is the much cheaper option, the 1:300,000 GeoCentre Euro Map 'Greece and the Islands', published by RV Verlag GmbH in Stuttgart. Available from good bookshops in the UK; we bought ours in Blackpool. Printed on both sides, it covers the whole of Greece on a good scale, clearly and with considerable accuracy. All the islands are included and there is a splendid little map showing the regions. The index is in English only, with a very few street plans.

Stanfords of Covent Garden, the best map and guidebook source in the UK, will post maps and guides to Greece, to a Poste Restante for example, paying by credit card. Their International Mail Order Service Number is +44 (0)207 836 1321. Website: www.stanfords.co.uk

And, of course, there are the Google maps!