A quiet town, tucked away along the northern shores of the Corinthian Gulf, with Central Greece, Galaxidi is sheltered from the wind by the reassuring presence of the mountains which range around it. A place of considerable seafaring repute and a proud contributor to the sea skirmishes of the 1821 revolution, it prospered in tandem with the development of nautical navigation. In the 18th and 19th centuries, many a lugger and schooner set sail from Galaxidi to plough the Mediterranean Sea.
Nowadays, the town (which is an easy drive from Athens) has become a living tribute to Greek seamanship, embodying the spirit of the past in the captains’ residences and neoclassical houses, maritime-themed statuettes and two picturesque harbours.
Things to do in Galaxidi
The harbours and stately homes
Starting with a stroll along the first harbour, Agora, walk up the alleyways of the traditional town and feel the aura of prosperity, admiring the restored adobe-built stately homes along the way. In the Holy Temple of Agios Nikolaos, marvel at the two bell towers, the imposing dome and the masterpiece of a carved wood icon screen, while in the temple of Agia Paraskevi, the striking zodiac circle on the floor and the sundial in the courtyard are the undoubted highlights. Also well worth a visit are the old school buildings, now under preservation orders due to their historical and architectural importance.
In the town park, you will see two ancient monuments, namely the Tomb of King Locros and the remnants of the walls of ancient Oianthi, which used to stand there.
Your acquaintance with Hirolakas, the second harbour, definitely includes a stop at the old Liotrivi (the olive oil press and workshop), whose balcony facing the sea exudes an island feel. Finally, a walk through the pine-strewn Pera Panta ends up at the evocative statue of a Galaxidian Woman waving her handkerchief towards the sea while holding her children in her arms.
The Nautical and Ethnological Museum
Archaeological artefacts, coins ranging from the 4th century to the modern Greek state, the biggest selection of 19th-century sailing boat paintings in Greece, nautical items including clocks, timers, instruments, tools, travel logs, sea charts and maps as well as the postage stamp collection, ‘Argonaftes’, are all among the exhibits of the museum, reflecting Galaxidi’s centuries-old history and maritime tradition.
Monastery of Metamorphosis tou Sotiros
A Byzantine building at an altitude of 300m dating from 1250 AD, it was here that the monk and priest Efthymios wrote the history of the place entitled “Hroniko tou Galaxidiou” (Galaxidi Chronicle). Aside from its historical and ecclesiastical significance, the monastery offers amazing views of the town.
The sound of silence
Morning walks and quiet evenings with food or drink are very much the order of the day in romantic and nostalgic Galaxidi. According to the locals, it is this that makes its magic. Galaxidi, as they say, “talks through its silence”.
Short excursions near Galaxidi
One of the excursions you cannot miss out on is, Delphi, the “navel of the earth”, one of the epicentres of faith in antiquity. Your tour of the site starts from Kastalia Krini, the fountain where Pythia, the high priestess, her underlings and others washed before consultation with the oracle. Once you’ve taken in the wondrous surroundings, the archaeological museum, the second-most visited museum in the country, boasts a relief depicting the history of the Delphic sanctum and the famous oracle.
Any time of the year is the right time for a trip to Arachova. In winter, enjoy skiing at the ski centre while the forest roads, footpaths and unique natural landscapes make mountain biking and hiking exhilarating experiences whatever the weather.
Amfissa, capital of the Fokida prefecture, is a hospitable city welcoming you with the bronze-green hues of its olive groves. It’s a place rich in goods and tradition and the added attraction of the charming seaport of Itea lying to the south.