This a guest post written by Joey Holmes about her time wild camping in Greece.
Greece has, for a long time, been the perfect destination for travellers on a budget looking for guaranteed sunshine throughout the summer months. The varied and stunning ancient history, excellent food, pristine beaches and long sunny days holds huge appeal for European holidaymakers, many of whom go for incomprehensibly cheap (and often tacky) package holiday deals. But we wanted to see Greece from a different angle, away from the chaos of sunlounger filled beaches and booze cruise party people. We wanted to see Greece the way it’s depicted in the photos; deserted, tranquil, untouched and beautiful.
So with a tight budget and a week to spare, we decided that the best way for us to explore Greece our way was to road trip and wild camp. Although not the cheapest way to get around the country, renting a car proved to be the key to our success in finding the most isolated places we could, and enabled us to save loads of cash on accommodation and food without sacrificing the flexibility of ‘go where you want’ travel.
Wild camping has become something of a habit for us in the last few years – an ideal way to properly get away from it all without having to plan and book ahead. It’s pretty special finding a great spot and hunkering down in a cosy sleeping bag, the fire crackling beside you. But for me, the greatest appeal of wild camping is waking up in deserted locations with the sun rising at your feet. There really is nothing like it. So when choosing camping spots there is always the choice between watching the sunset or waking up to the sunrise. Rarely will you get to enjoy both, unless you are on the very top of a very high hill!
We took our wild camping adventures in Greece to the Peloponnese peninsula where three fingers of mountainous and stunning landscape reach out into the Mediterranean creating hundreds of miles of coastline to explore and conquer. Much of the coast, away from the tourist beaches, is seemingly inaccessible. But with time on our hands, some trusty wheels and the necessity of finding a place to sleep each night, we soon found that the tiny roads to seemingly nowhere provided access to some incredible and deserted beaches to lay our weary heads.
So each afternoon, after sightseeing, beach time and grocery shopping, we set off in search of the best and most tranquil beaches we could find. Some days we lucked out with excellent spots coming our way without much work at all. But on other days, in settling for nothing but the perfect spot away from civilisation and with a great view, we set ourselves up for a much greater challenge.
On those days, we earnt our fire cooked dinners, our evening swims, and sunrise snorkels. On those days, we put up with hours of driving down dead-end dusty tracks in the sweltering heat with nothing to reward us at the end, for we knew that eventually we’d find a piece of Greece that most people don’t even know exists, let alone have managed to get to and camp on.
It really was a highly memorable trip and a super budget-friendly way to explore. We were there at the very beginning of the summer season which meant there were less crowds to avoid, and we were very lucky with the weather – sunshine every day and only a threat of rain that failed to deliver.
Wild camping gear
We didn’t take a tent, but instead slept in sleeping bags and bivvy bags, with a lightweight tarp as a backup in case of rain. The lack of tent made us much less obvious and also meant that we could move on easily and quickly if we needed to. Our wild beach camping essentials included:
Cooking pots and utensils
Bottles of water
Snorkel and flippers (not really an essential but great to do in the morning and evening sunlight)
Wild camping at the beach
So if you’re looking for an alternative and budget-friendly way to explore somewhere new, I would highly recommend renting a car and hitting the road less traveled to seek out miniature pieces of paradise. If you fancy giving wild camping a go, then it’s worth trying it first on more familiar/local ground to make sure it’s for you. Do a bit of research to find the best beach tents to make your experience more pleasurable.
These tips on how to wild camp at the beach will help you on your way to feeling comfortable sleeping in wild places. Some places require permission from the landowner before you camp, but if you are on public land and not pitching a tent, it becomes a little easier. So long as you are discreet, respectful and leave no trace, there’s no reason why you too can’t enjoy the adventure of wild camping in paradise.
Joey Holmes is the editor of Cool of the Wild, an online resource for outdoor lovers. She has endless enthusiasm for any excuse to get out there and enjoy being active in the outdoor world, and loves sharing this passion to inspire others to find and follow their own dreams.