Thursday, 1st September 2022
Once you get used to having breakfast included at your accommodation, staying somewhere you have to fend for yourself can be frustrating. On the other hand, it does force you to get up and outside if you want to eat! I’d slept much better and was feeling energized and excited for a day of sightseeing on Agistri.
Throwing on some shorts and a vest, I set off towards the centre of Skala in search of a cafe or taverna that was open and had a breakfast menu. It was still quite early, barely 8 am, but I was keen to get going so I could make the most of the day. Searching the streets, I was disappointed at the lack of options but eventually circled around to Yianna Hotel, not far from the port. The menu looked reasonable, and I could see a few people sitting and eating, so I knew it was open for business. I ordered a set menu continental breakfast, though I managed to swap the cheese and egg for yoghurt with honey. The food was decent, though probably not enough to make me return again tomorrow.
It was approaching 9 am when I’d finished eating, so I paid up, walked around the corner to the moped rental shop I’d enquired about the day before, and secured a 50cc bike for two days for €25. They did try to charge me €30, but when I said I’d been quoted a lower price the day before, they honoured it. The bike also had a full tank of fuel which was handy as it meant I didn’t have to make a petrol station my first stop, but I will need to fill it back up again when I return it tomorrow.
I’d already decided my first stop would be at Chalikiada Beach, a secluded spot on the island’s eastern side. Apparently popular for wild camping and quite hard to get to, I’d researched how to find the path through the trees and was optimistic about getting there.
The ride took less than 10 minutes on the moped, heading uphill behind Skala and following the coastal road east. As expected, the roads were exceptionally quiet, and I felt very safe on the moped. Despite my research, the first place I stopped was too far south of the beach: I got off the bike and walked for about 5 minutes through the trees, following a path that eventually led to a steep ravine I wasn’t sure how to get around. Convinced there must be an easier way and reluctant to push forward, I retraced my steps and got back on the bike to try again. This time, I found a small layby with a pile of rocks that had been placed there presumably to mark the access to the beach:
The path here is much more apparent and I could even see a few tents as I neared the coastline. Unfortunately, this turned out to be the easy part as getting down to the beach itself seemed to require quite a steep climb down some rocks at the beach’s northern end. Given my fear of heights, I couldn’t bring myself to attempt the climb and had to be satisfied with some pictures and videos from the viewpoint instead:
Fortunately, perhaps, the beach itself looks quite rocky and relatively busy, with several tents and several sunbathers so I wasn’t too disappointed at not making it down.
Chalikiada is the only thing to see east of Skala, so, having checked it off my list, I decided to head straight to the far side of the island and work my way back towards Skala. Back on the bike, I headed west through Skala, only stopping briefly to get some more water, before carrying on through the capital, Megalochori, then south all the way to Aponisos on the southwest corner. Being a small island, this only took 25 minutes along the single main road.
Aponisos isn’t a resort as there’s no accommodation there. Instead, you’ll find a large fishing pond (with hardly any water in the summer), a small port with a tiny beach and a couple of tavernas, plus a small private island with access via a road bridge. You can visit the island for €5, which then gets you access to the sunloungers and canoe rental (at an additional cost). There’s not much of a beach on the island though, and I wouldn’t recommend paying unless you plan to spend the day.
I found a quiet spot to use my drone and got some lovely photos and videos, many of which feature in the YouTube video (link at the bottom).
After a quick swim to cool off, I returned to the moped and began retracing my route north. This took me through the small village of Livadakia that I’d passed on my way to Aponisos. I didn’t think there was much to see – and I was correct – but I stopped for a few minutes anyway to walk around and get more content for YouTube. (Sadly, there are no photos, so you’ll have to check out the video to see what it’s like!)
The most popular beach on the island, Dragonera, is on the western coast about halfway between Aponisos and Megalochori. I almost missed the turning for the beach road as it’s on the left, just after a sharp corner, but I made it down to the beach where there’s plenty of space to park under the shade of some trees.
The beach isn’t huge, and I was disappointed that it’s not very sandy and is also quite rocky in the sea. I had time to spare, so I bought a can of beer from the beach canteen and sat under the shade for a bit. I got the drone out again and got some more decent footage.
I wasn’t sure whether to hang around, sunbathe/swim, or continue sightseeing. Ultimately, I decided to move on, knowing I had all day tomorrow to revisit places I wanted to see again. My stomach had also announced it was lunchtime, so I figured I’d see if I could find somewhere to eat in Megalochori.
Megalochori – or not – and lunch
I tried to find my way back into Megalochori without using my phone to guide me. This was a mistake, as I found myself on a road that bypassed most of the village and brought me back onto the coastal road just west of Skala. Figuring I might as well carry on, I ended up back at Gyrokomenion – my lunch spot from yesterday – and had another excellent pork gyros and Coke Zero (not wanting to risk a second beer while I had the moped).
As it was a working day, I used the opportunity of being near my accommodation to pop back and check my laptop to see if I had any work that needed sorting. I did a few bits and pieces, then decided to relax as I’d got pretty hot during my sightseeing expedition.
Chalikiada Second Attempt
I set off on the moped again late afternoon, determined to have a second go at getting down to the beach at Chalikiada. I was frustrated at not making it this morning and figured I’d give it another go since it’s not far from Skala.
Sadly, I was no more successful this time than the first. I managed to step off the top of the rocky beach access path but then got scared at the prospect of dropping further down the almost sheer face. Scrambling back up, I admitted defeat and headed back to my moped.
I’ve since learned there is an easier way down to the beach – presumably via a different path, probably to the north of where I tried, so in hindsight, I ought to have explored a bit more to see if there were alternative routes, but as I said earlier, the beach isn’t that great and my only frustration was at seeing other people there and not being able to figure out how they’d done it!
Dinner Deja Vu
If you’ve read any of my other blog posts, you’ll know by now that I’m a creature of habit. I showered and dressed for dinner, intending to eat somewhere different tonight. However, after browsing several menus through Skala and seeing nothing that took my fancy, I returned to Avli Pizzeria, the same restaurant I’d visited yesterday. I knew they had a couple of good pasta options I wanted to try, so I didn’t feel bad returning.
I ordered focaccia pizza bread to start, feeling hungry from a full day of sightseeing, followed by tortellini pasta with mushrooms and bacon in a cream sauce. I was shocked when the starter arrived: it was massive!! Almost as big as my pizza main course from the night before. Worse still, my tortellini arrived just a few minutes later, so I had to tackle them both simultaneously! Fortunately, the pasta had quite a lot of sauce, so I used the bread to mop it up which made the bread go down much more easily. I still couldn’t quite finish both dishes, but I tried my best.
I washed down the food with a nice half-litre of wine – having left the moped safely back at the apartment – and strolled home feeling satisfied at the end of another great day in Greece.
Check out my YouTube video below for a more detailed look at Agistri.