With the sea at your feet and the mountains in the background, with its original architecture of neoclassical houses and stately mansions standing; and with the laid back way of life, it truly is a great escape from the concrete jungle.
The fact that Galaxidi did not have direct road access to the mainland until the 1950s, meant that the locals had to rely on the sea for transportation, a mode of transport dating as far back as the 18th century. But it wasn’t until 1963, when the Nafpaktos-Itea road project was completed, that Galaxidi was properly connected with the mainland. Until then the town could only be accessed by boat from Itea.
Galaxidi was home to some of Greece’s top shipping families; a heritage that can be seen in the Nautical and Historical Museum, which is the first ever built in Greece. They developed impressive seamanship skills and their sailing ships were renowned all over the Mediterranean for their quality and their crews. Around the 18th century Galaxidi became a major shipping hub, having two ports, their fleet reaching to all corners of the Mediterranean, with more than 300 ships. Thus their determination and will to prosper placed them on the map.
With its bougainvilleas coloring the narrow pebble-stoned streets, the stately mansions, and “kapetanospita”meaning “captain’s houses”, all come beautifully together to form an idyllic scenery between the mountains and the sea.
Some of these “kapetanospita” are still inhabited, while others have been renovated and transformed into wonderful holiday homes and guesthouses. Many are still standing, along with a couple of notable churches of peculiar structure. One of them is the church of Aghios Nikolaos with a unique, wood-sculptured altarpiece.The other is the church of Aghia Paraskevi which features a zodiac cycle on the center of its floor, and a sundial outside.Both are worth a visit.
An ideal means of getting around town would be by bicycle; easy, smooth and safe, above all. One of the best rides goes to Pera Panta, the town’s pine covered side, opposite the first port; all the way to the statue of “Galaxidiotissa”, supposed wife of a seafarer, waving a handkerchief towards the sea, while embracing her children.
In Hirolakas, the second port, and the small and detached coves close by, offer a rare swimming pleasure. The sea views from the terrace of the old olive press building above the waters, and the smell of fresh fish mixed with the smell of ouzo, are things you will remember.
Galaxidi offers the perfect excuse to sit down and eat, drink and organize your exploration of the Greek lower mainland, with this beautiful and calm town as your base.