5 car-free aka care-free Greek destinations

For most of us our daily routine consists of crossing busy intersections, walking on sidewalks so we won’t get hit by cars and even using our own vehicle to get to any place that we consider to be far from home. What if we could go about our day without turning our heads to see if there’s a car behind us so we can safely cross the street? What if we crossed the street without looking left and right just because we saw a picture perfect spot and we absolutely needed to observe it up close? That sounds like a care-free walk that gives us the opportunity to enjoy our time to the fullest. What if you weren’t interrupted by the noise that trucks make at the same time when you thought you were having a romantic moment overlooking the sunset with your loved one? What if you could finally breathe fresh air in a town without having to smell the car fumes?

You’re in luck because we have gathered not one or two but five destinations in Greece that can offer you the carefree, noise-free, pollution-free and of course the car-free vacation that you’re looking for. Enjoy!

Hydra Isand

What an aristocratic island! Located in the Argo Saronic Gulf, just a stone’s throw away from the busy capital making it the ideal island for Athenians to escape to for a long weekend. Hydra is a very interesting island as its town is built on the slopes of a hill around its port and it seduces its visitors at first sight with its charming stone mansions. As travelers aren’t in awe already, Hydra has prohibited entirely the use of cars and other motor vehicles. People either walk, use boats to go beach hopping or they use the traditional mean of transportation, none other than a donkey! Hydra is such an impressive yet elegant island with translucent waters and beautiful green surroundings that no one can resist.

Lindos, Rhodes Island

Let us travel to the Dodecanese, a stunning group of islands, but let’s focus on Rhodes and in particular on Lindos. It is the second most visited archaeological site in Greece, along with Delphi. This ancient village that is surrounded by the sea proudly showcases a centuries-old acropolis that grandly overlooks the archipelagos. The old town is as if you’re stepping back in time to the medieval ages, but so well put together and preserved. The vehicle-free streets allow visitors to explore its mesmerizing ancient corners by walking or taking donkey rides on its narrow paved alleys between whitewashed buildings, slightly resembling the Cycladic architecture.

Dilofo, Zagorochoria

Going up to the mountains of the prefecture of Ioannina, Dilofo is one of the Zagorochoria Villages that has been declared a traditional settlement, as it is perhaps the best-preserved settlement in the region. It has kept its traditional character and all the elements that make it so unique are visible today, such as stone fountains, cobbled streets, small churches and mansions. The people of Dilofo, urge everyone to protect the natural environment and for them to move around on foot or to explore the region by bicycles since within the settlement, cars are prohibited.

Monemvasia, Peloponnese

Moving down to the southern part of the Peloponnese, there is a castle-town that is also known of the “Gibraltar of the East”. Once you set foot in this car-free town, you will be transported to a majestic well-preserved “stone ship” as Yiannis Ritsos, a famous Greek poet, described his birthplace as. Wander around the aristocratic mansions and the vaulted alleyways and be enchanted by the stone built churches that have become one with the nature. Once you’ve explored every inch of Monemvasia, take a dip in the crystal-clear waters and taste the unique dishes the region has to offer.

Nafplio, Peloponnese

Nafplio was the first capital of the newly born Greek state, located in the Peloponnese and is considered to be one of the most breathtaking towns in Greece. That means a lot as it is being compared to many amazing seaside towns, however Nafplio, has a rare charisma that only travelers who have been there will completely grasp. It has all the elements that a seaside town should have and being in Greece, it of course offers a historic aspect as well. The old town of Nafplio is car-free and it’s where the magic happens. Syntagma Square is packed with luxury boutique hotels, restaurants with any cuisine you can imagine, and shops selling the most unique items. Every little street beholds a surprise so sit at one of the cafes and start planning your adventure.

Maria Nikolakaki is Managing Partner at Beyond Spaces Villas.

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Comments (8)

  1. Jane says:

    As someone who drives to work everyday it is really liberating to be on holiday without a car.

    It’s not just the driving it’s also the problem of finding somewhere to park in towns where you are a stranger.

    I haven’t driven on holiday for years so a car free environment is a dream for me.

  2. Ben says:

    Banning cars is a smart move. Filthy pollution and beautiful white architecture just don’t mix. These Greek islands were paradises before cars arrived, they need to go back to those good old days.

  3. Steve Nicholson says:

    These car bans make total sense. There are a lot more places throughout the world that ought to stand-up to the car. Those narrow alleys in these idyllic towns and villages were built long before anyone had even thought of the car. They were designed for people and the occasional horse and cart. It just doesn’t work having people forever looking over their shoulder to see when the next car will come racing through.

  4. Nick says:

    Often when I’m on holiday I like to relax, take my time over some photography or even get those A Level Art skills out to do some sketching. The last thing you want in your drawing or photo is some rusty old car belching out smoke as it rattles over the cobbles. Car-free has got my vote.

  5. Lorraine Berry says:

    It’s just wrong on so many levels to roar up to an archaeological site in your car. We tend to forget that Greece, arguably, saw the birth of civilisation, those archaeological sites need to be given the best chance of preservation that we can provide. Slowly walking up to them puts you back at the sedate pace of the ancient world, gets you in the right frame of mind. And who needs to hurry on holiday anyway?

  6. Sue says:

    I think what a lot of the comments are getting at – and the Greeks in the first place for making the decision – are the attractions of slow travel. Without cars we might just all slow down and start appreciating that world around us. It’s a smart move from these toes. If people saunter and stroll and take their time they’ll more likely to relax over coffee at a cafe or linger over a meze lunch at a taverna.

  7. Nick says:

    These care free destinations are a charming addition to any Greek travel itinerary! The nice thing about these places is because automobiles aren’t allowed, the places maintain some of the original charm that they had centuries ago.

  8. Zoey Evans says:

    It’s really refreshing to be in a city with no cars, no air pollution, and just clean streets with only people walking or riding bicycles and horses. It brings back the history of the city and you can really feel nostalgic even if you didn’t live in that era. It would make you feel as if you are living many centuries ago because even the streets look exactly like it was before. The architecture of the different structures are all dated back years ago.

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