Van Life #5 – Finding paradise in Western Greece & the Ionian islands

I have started a new blog series called ‘Van Life’ and it will mainly highlight wild camping and vegan tips in each country we visit. I really appreciate finding out information about this kind of thing whilst travelling to put me at ease and save time on finding wild spots and decent food.

I was so excited to cross the border into Greece, as it’s been my dream to buy a van and drive there and finally it has become a reality. I’ve been to Greece a couple of times before on holiday and I bloody love the country.

After driving for most of the morning from Albania we decided to stop pretty soon into Greece and made our way to the town of Plataria where there is a great wild camp spot ideal for chilling and swimming in the shallow bay. Next we headed to Parga on our friend’s recommendation and decided to stay at Camping Valtos as we had so much laundry to do. It was €20 a night and laundry was €4 and we were only one of three vans on the campsite, the quiet season was really starting to show. Parga is a nice touristy town with an amazing beach called Valtos, perfect for snorkelling. We had a vegan gyros at a little place called ‘giro giro’ which was very greasy but tasty.

Vegan gyros

From Parga we headed to our first island, Lefkada! It’s actually very close to the mainland and joined by a drawbridge but we were still excited for island life. We stayed at Kathisma beach for 2 nights with a handful of other vans. The bars and tavernas had closed for the season but one had kept it’s toilets and showers open! Win! The only annoying thing about this spot was that there was a lot of flies and mosquitoes which came out around sunset. The sea however was calm and completely turquoise, sooo nice for swimming.

Whilst on Lefkada, we stopped by Vasiliki for lunch (gyros) then attempted to see Nydri waterfalls. This was a complete fail as it hasn’t rained in so long but was still a nice walk. We slept in Syvota village which had a very yachty feel then made our back to Nydri in the morning to catch the ferry to Kefalonia. For our 5m van and 2 people, the ferry cost €71. There’s a set price per person then a charge per metre for a van.

After an hour and a half, we docked in Fiskardo, Kefalonia. It looked like such a pretty port town but we didn’t stop to have a look, we headed straight for Myrtos beach – apparently the best beach in Greece. It really was like paradise! Calm electric blue water, a stoney beach (I HATE sand) and plenty of car park space for campers. We stayed two peaceful nights here. Travelling out of season is the best for being the only campervan and having the beach to yourself in the evenings and early morning.

We retraced our steps to look around the Venetian castle in Asos, then parked up in Argostoli after stocking up at Lidl. There’s a brilliant free car park across from Argostoli, right next to the raised promenade which takes you right to the harbour. Whilst around Argostoli, we volunteered at Animal Rescue Kefalonia which is a great charity to check out if you want to adopt a cat or dog or just want to volunteer/donate! Their Facebook page and Instagram is always kept up to date.

We wanted to check out another highly rated beach on Kefalonia so drove to the western peninsula and down the eight hairpin bends to Petani beach. Similar to Myrtos, it had gorgeous clear water and a stone beach. With all the tavernas closed and holiday homes empty, we were the only ones here and it was perfect.

We spent our last night in Kefalonia near Poros at a beautiful camp spot on Ragia beach where we watched the sun rise over the ferry port, and then we then hopped onto a ferry (€78) to Kylini on the Peloponnese. We absolutely loved Kefalonia and travelling in a van out of season was perfect. I read some other van life blogs which said Kefalonia was snobby and they got moved on by police but we were totally undisturbed and will definitely be back.

Vegan food tips:

  • Shop for fruit and veg at greengrocers in small villages for cheap produce. Magganaras in Magganos was so good near the ferry port
  • Kritikos supermarket just up from Lidl on the roundabout sold dairy free milks, vegan cheese, vegan feta, hummus and coconut milk
  • Spathis Bakery in Argostoli had accidentally vegan potato pies
  • You can get vegan gyros practically at any souvlaki place, just ask for it without meat and tzatziki

Park4Night wild camp spots:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s