Just the mention of Greece brings to mind stunning images of pearly white sand and a dazzling blue sea. But the tiny village of Asprovalta in mainland Greece, just an hour’s drive away from Thessaloniki, is often overlooked for the likes of Santorini, Zakynthos, and the latest celebrity favourite, Mykonos.
Perhaps Asprovalta isn’t particularly fabulous, but it is an absolutely perfect option if you’re looking to unwind properly. With scenic beaches, a range of restaurants with local cuisine, and an impressively long promenade that spans two neighbouring villages, this place will definitely be a great backdrop for a relaxing summer holiday.
When we arrived in the early morning after a long drive from Sofia, it was impossible to resist the urge to dip straight in.
Obviously, after half a day of sunbathing and swimming, one will feel famished. And obviously, when in Greece, one should aim to consume as much Greek salad as possible. Extra cheese, anyone?
In addition, when in Greece, look out for the following signs: ζαχαροπλαστειο
It means confectionery shop and the best ones sell some essential local specialities you simply have to try, like these heavenly chocolate dipped candied orange slices.
We held out as long as we could, but the sun was determined to set and end our great day at the beach. It did however, treat us to a beautiful view over the horizon.
That same evening we went for dinner at El Greco, a 40 year old family owned tavern with a lovely garden seating area. It’s located in Nea Vrasna, about a 5 minute drive from central Asprovalta. The food is beyond sublime, and the service is fantastic. I highly recommend trying the beef meatballs, or for a vegetarian option – the feta aubergine and the fried zucchini with tzatziki.
We followed up with a relaxed stroll from Nea Vrasna all the way back to Asprovalta (a 30 minute walk at a leisurely pace). The promenade is wonderfully colourful, lined with shops, cafes and restaurants on one side, and palm trees, sand an sea on the other.
I find it hard to believe that anyone can get tired of Asprovalta, but in case you somehow do, you can always switch it up and head over to the neighbouring village of Stavros, located about 15 minutes away by car. A further 20 minutes down the road will take you to beautiful Olympiada, the birthplace (and recently confirmed) last resting place of Greek philosopher Aristotle, which also offers a great little beach, tucked away in a rocky cove.
My gloriously poor attempt at graceful underwater photography. At least it does justice to the white sand and the clean blue sea.
After our day at the beach near Olympiada, we took the customary stroll along the promenade, this time in Stavros. It is ostensibly quieter and less busy, but also makes for a lovely experience as you take in the surrounding landscape under the last rays of the afternoon sun.
To end on a high note, I’ll treat you to a recommendation for a dinner with a marvellous panoramic view. Agnanti definitely deserves the description of ‘Best restaurant in Stavros’ on TripAdvisor, not only for the view, but also for great service and some seriously sumptuous food. Top tip: try the fresh fagri fish, and the baked feta cheese – they’re phenomenal! Don’t forget to raise a toast to amazing days in Greece, and enjoy yourself! These beautiful resorts will take care of the rest.