Why is Galaxidi so special?
Galaxidi Greece is a charming coastal town that has an island-like atmosphere to it. In fact until 1963 it was only accessible by boat so it truly was like an island.
Galaxidi is a perfect destination for an idyllic weekend or a month-long vacation, thanks to its pristine waters, ideal for open-water swimming and local feel. Relax by strolling through the narrow cobblestone streets connecting the well-sheltered harbors to either side and admiring the traditional architecture and the flowering bougainvillea.
Galaxidi is still under the mass tourism radar, so it is the place to be if you are looking for a quiet vacation. Here, you will also discover Greece’s nautical past: in the 18th and 19th centuries, many luggers and schooners set sail from Galaxidi to plow the Mediterranean Sea. It played a significant role in Greece’s martime history and at one point, along with Syros, was the most important producer of ships and sailors in the country.
The town is a living tribute to Greek seamanship, embodying its important past in the captains’ neoclassical houses, maritime-themed statues, and the two picturesque harbors.
In Greek it is spelt γαλαξιδι, which means ‘galaxy’.
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When to visit Galaxidi
Galaxidi is very popular in the spring and fall but really it can be enjoyed year round.
It is a popular spot in Summer when tourists descend on the surrounding sites such as Delphi and use it as a stopping off point for a night or two and is also popular with Athenians looking for a peaceful weekend getway.
It is also very nice in Spring and Fall when the wildflowers or Autumn leaves in the surrounding countryside are quite beautiful and the coastal road along the Gulf of Iteas is a lovely drive. It’s especially fun to visit on ‘Clean Monday’ which occurs in either March or April, depending on the dates for Orthodox Easter.
The winter months are much colder. December to February see highs of only 15°C and lows of around 9°C. That said, it’s still much warmer than a lot of Europe at this time of year and coupled with the sunshine, it could make for a good place to soak up some winter sun and explore the history of the island.
Where is Galaxidi?
Galaxidi is a beautiful seaside town in Fokida prefecture, in Central Greece. Galaxidi is located on the western side of The Gulf of Itea, a northward bay of the Gulf of Corinth.
It faces South-East over the Gulf with the Peloponnese one the other side to the south. It is around 90 minutes from Athens by car and the same to the city of Patras to the south, over the Rio Antirio Bridge. If you are visiting Delphi it is only another 20 minutes to Galaxidi.
How to get to Galaxidi
The easiest way to travel to Galaxidi is by car. It is a pleasant 2.5 to 3-hour drive from Athens or you may prefer to visit from the west coast of Athens, perhaps after visiting the Ionian Islands.
Galaxidi from Athens
Galaxidi is located 217km from Athens.
If driving, you can make your way to Galaxidi from Athens in about three hours, allowing for a short break. You can either opt for the road via Delphi or Desfina, with the latter being a scenic route along the coast.
There are regular buses that connect Galaxidi with Athens, as well as with Delphi and Patras. The bus link between Athens and Galaxidi runs twice a day and takes two hours and 45 minutes to arrive.
The bus from Delphi to Galaxidi is 30 minutes long and operates several times a day – see timetables HERE. You can also cover the road between the two towns by driving if you have a car.
To travel from Patras to Galaxidi, you must be on the road for around an hour and 15 minutes. You can either drive there yourself or take the bus, which runs four times per day.
There are several lovely boutique hotels in Galaxidi and several are converted Captains Houses.
Ganimede Hotel is a small hotel a few blocks from the harbour with a beautiful garden and courtyard. It was once a 19th century Captains House and is a very quite and peaceful place to stay. They have both traditional and modern rooms including a new apartment that can sleep 5 people.
Just a few doors from the harbour and the Maritime Museum is Hotel Miramare, also once a Captains House and with a great outdoor terrace overlooking the square. Rooms have partial sea views and can sleep 3 people.
Right on the harbour is Seamore Pension, with cheap and cheerful rooms with great water views.
Nostos Hotel is also very popular and is right in the heart of town or Acroploro Hotel is on the outskirts of town and is actually a set of self-contained apartments that can sleep 4 people, with plenty of parking and a big fragrant garden.
Miramare Studios Galaxidi
Galaxidi restaurants and food
A must-do while vacationing in Greece is tasting the delicious local cuisine! In Galaxidi, you will find many restaurants and taverns where you can try traditional Greek food.
Dolmades is a classic dish made from vine leaf filled with long-grain rice and vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini, and then baked. The stuffing is flavored with herbs like thyme, dill, fennel , and oregano.
Moussaka is one of the most iconic Greek dishes: an oven-baked lasagna-like, with layers made from sautéed eggplant (aubergine), minced lamb, fried puréed tomato, onion, garlic, and spices. The moussaka is topped with a béchamel sauce and cheese.
Top Tavernas in Galaxidi
Steki Family is a popular seaside restaurant in Galaxidi. The outdoor courtyards room is perfect for enjoying the delicious dishes prepared in the restaurant. The restaurant serves a wide range of traditional dishes, such as gyro sandwiches.
The best Dolmades we have very eaten anywhere was at this taverna, in July 2022.
Ab oVo is a family-run restaurant with a warm atmosphere. At Ab oVo, you will taste the rich Greek flavors in dishes prepared with fresh and local ingredients. The restaurant has a beautiful outdoor garden decorated with roses, where you can sit to enjoy your meal.
O Bebelis is close to the port and the main square. The outside sitting area is located in one of Galaxidi’s typical alleys, while the inside of the restaurant is traditionally decorated. The menu is created so that larger groups can share their dishes, allowing you to sample the entire dish offer.
Albatross is located near the Church of Agios Nikolaos and offers home-style cooking. The best dishes to try are the mezedes (appetizers).
Maritsa is a restaurant located on Pera Panta hill and has an incredible outdoor courtyard. The restaurant serves a wide range of local and seafood dishes and is renowned for its lobster pasta.
Skeletovrachos is located in the picturesque port of Galaxidi. The restaurant’s chefs are father and son and cook fresh and local seafood specialties. The restaurant also has vegetarian options.
Galaxidi Cafes, Bars, and Bakeries
In Galaxidi, you will find many cafes, bars, and bakeries to take a break or enjoy an evening out while listening to good music. All of the cafe bars are located around Galaxidi’s two ports.
Ocean Drive is one of the most popular bars in Galaxidi. The outdoor bar is on a platform in the sea, where you can relax on the sun loungers sipping a great cocktail while watching the sunset and Mount Parnassus in the distance.
Melydron Cafe-Bar takes its name from a Greek song, located in a neoclassical building with mountain and sea views. The bar organizes themed party nights with live music or DJ sets. It is open from the morning until late evening, so it’s the perfect place to have breakfast or enjoy a night in town.
Two other places you should check out are Cafe Liberty and Ok Bar.
Galaxidi is popular for its many bakeries that serve freshly made bread and pastries. The most famous bakery in town is Patisserie Konaki, located near the Archeological Collection and the Naval Museum of Galaxidi. Other great bakeries are Papalexis and Aiolida.
Things to do in Galaxidi
Visit the harbors
Galixidi’s history is deeply linked with the sea, so visiting the town’s two harbors is one of the best things to do.
The older harbor was a major shipbuilding center during the 19th century. It is called, by the locals, Hirolakas, which means ‘Widows’ Port’. This nickname is a tribute to the wives who waited in vain for their sailor husbands whose ships never returned. The town is full of beautiful neo-classical houses and you will see many have been restored and are protected ‘kapetanospita” or Captains Houses.
While exploring the old harbor on foot, stop at Liotrivi, the olive oil press, and workshop. And then keep walking through the pine-strewn Pera Panta hill that ends at the statue of a Galaxidian Woman waving her handkerchief while holding her children in her arms.
The other harbor, to the south, is called Agora, and it is lined with bars, cafes, and fish restaurants. Take a coffee or lunch break here while admiring the narrow channel where the port is located.
There are several museums in Galaxidi that you can visit to discover more about the history and the important role the town had in its country’s past.
Must-sees are the Archeological Collection and the Naval Museum of Galaxidi. The two museums are located inside the same building, and you can learn many different things about the town by visiting them. The Archaeological Collection traces Galaxidi’s antique life by displaying artifacts dating from the Bronze age to the late antique period.
The Naval Museum tells the story of Galaxidi’s flourishing maritime past. Inside the museum, you can see sea maps, model ships, sail paintings, and weapons from the War of Independence.
Another great museum in Galaxidi is the Folklore Museum, housed in the old Aggelis mansion. There are traditional costumes and embroideries among the items exhibited in the museum.
The Monastery of Metamorphosis of Sotiras is a gorgeous Byzantine building dating back to 1250 CE. It is located at an altitude of 300 meters, and it’s in the monastery that the monk Efthymios wrote the famous Galaxidi Chronicle. Aside from its historical and cultural significance, the monastery offers amazing views of Galaxidi.
The Church of Agios Nikolaos is located atop the hill between Galaxidi’s two harbors. The most unique element of the church is the carved wood iconostasis dedicated to the church’s namesake, the patron saint of sailors. The church of Agios Nikolaos also has two imposing bell towers and a magnifucent dome. It is one of Galaxidi’s main religious spots.
On the same road, there is also the Church of Aghia Paraskevi, which has a beautiful zodiac calendar depicted on its marble floor.
Galaxidi Naval Museum
Galaxidi is a great place to visit if you are looking for tranquil beaches to spend time relaxing and swimming. The town’s beaches are in sheltered bays and have crystal-clear and calm waters. The beaches around Galaxidi are mostly made of sand, but you can also find small rocks here and there.
The best beach is Kendri beach. You will find it immediately after the statue of the sailor’s wife. Kendri beach is not equipped with sun umbrellas and beach lounges, but it has many trees under which you can find shelter from the sun. The calm and not-so-deep waters make it perfect for families with children.
If you are looking for an organized beach, check out Kalafatis Beach Club. Here you will find umbrellas and chairs to rent and a small pool where kids can swim safely.
Daytrips to Delphi and Nafpaktos
A holiday in Galaxidi should include a day trip to one of the nearby towns. The best places nearby Galaxidi to visit are Delphi and Nafpaktos. You can arrive in Delphi from Galaxidi both by bus and car. The drive is 20 minutes long.
Delphi is one of the most interesting places to visit in all of Greece. Referred to by the ancients as the ‘navel of the earth’, the Sanctuary of Apollo was one of the epicenters of faith in antiquity. Visit the fountain where the Pythia, the high priestess, washed before consultation with the oracle. Then, make sure to stop at the archaeological museum, the second-most visited museum in the country, to learn all about the history of the Delphic oracle.
Nafpaktos is another great day trip destination. You can get to Nafpaktos from Galaxidi by KTEL bus or car. The bus will take you to Nafpaktos in an hour and 20 minutes. Getting there by car will give you extra time to explore the town, given that the road from Galaxidi can be covered in a little under one hour.
Nafpaktos is a beautiful town built in the shape of an amphitheater on a pine-clad slope. While in Nafpaktos, you can visit the site of a famous sea battle where the European forces defeated the Turkish fleet.
In Nafpaktos, you can also relax on the idyllic beaches facing the Gulf of Corinth and hike the mountains surrounding the town. Make sure to visit the Venetian castle and the Venetian port, which reflect the town’s rich history.
Other activities near Galaxidi
Only 45 minutes North over the mountains you will find Moros Lake, fed by the Mornos River and home to attractions such a Kallion waterfall, a small but tranquil waterfall not far from the road. There are various churches and scenic spots to see around the lake which is usually devoid of tourists and a very peaceful place to visit that nature-lovers will enjoy. Stop for a meal at To Petrino on your way back for excellent local food.
Also in the mountains behind the town you will find Xirotyri-Palaiopournara-Karvelas (Galaxidiou-Penteorion)a protected National Park which is a thriving bird habitat. There are numerous hiking trails here and in the entire region.
Ocean Drive Beach Club
Events in Galaxidi
Easter is one of the most important religious holidays in Greece, celebrated everywhere in the country. Greek towns and islands have different Easter traditions and costumes.
The quiet harbor town of Galaxidi is famous for a peculiar event held every year on Clean Monday, the first day of Lent, Easter’s fasting period. Locals participate in the ‘flour wars’ (called in Greek alevromoutzouroma). During the event, people throw around 1.5 tons of colored flour at each other!
This old custom originated in the 19th century as a way to defy the Ottoman rule that forbade any form of celebration for the Christian Easter. So, the locals came up with the idea of dancing in the streets and tossing flour as an alternative way to celebrate Easter without displaying the religious meaning of the festivity.
Carnival, known as Apokries, traditionally begins ten weeks before the Orthodox Easter and culminates on the weekend before ‘Clean Monday’, the first day of Lent.
In Galaxidi, the carnival is celebrated with endless parties, dances, and songs by the locals, who also enjoy wearing traditional customs.
Also called Labor Day, it is a public holiday happening on May 1, during which many businesses and services don’t operate, with the exclusion of restaurants and grocery stores.
According to folkloristic tales, the victory of summer over winter is celebrated on May Day, which is indeed dedicated to the Greek goddess of agriculture.
August 15 is the Christian festivity of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, one of the main religious holidays in the Orthodox calendar.
During the Panagia, as the holiday is called in Greek, churches organize special services followed by a parade through the town’s streets. The Panagia ends with the locals playing live music and dancing into the night.