Rafina. The Greek mainland east of Athens offers, among other things, the port town of Rafina, where there is ferry traffic to several Greek islands. Rafina harbor can be a fine alternative to Piraeus when going on an island holiday, as it is somewhat less chaotic compared to Piraeus, and is located a relatively short distance from Athens airport. Rafina looks like most small towns in Greece, with a square and a bit of shopping. The town is slightly higher than the harbour, so you drive down a hill to the harbor area, where there are both homes, shops and several places to eat. Quite a cozy place, where there is also the possibility of a holiday home. The harbor area is quiet and very clear. The ferries dock outside on a rather long pier.
Nera Makri. We had a few days on the mainland before we had to go on to the islands and we had found a place to stay in Nera Makri, a little north of Rafina. Nera Makri is a small town, which along the sea has a long road, where there are several holiday homes between taverns and local homes. Supermarket up in town. There is also a marina and good local life in the evening, with clowns on the beach road, street musicians, and more. Ok place for a few days, even if there wasn’t a super good beach on site. The beach here is on the outside by the marina.
Beaches There are several beaches up the coast from Nera Makri and many of them are a little crowded, especially at weekends, with locals from the surrounding towns. We found a good spot up the coast where, in addition to a nice long sandy beach, there was also a fantastic tavern at the far end, where we went down to the beach. It was actually so good that we went out there two days in a row and right in this spot there was also space on the beach so you could just lie on your towel.
Marathon. If you continue up the coast you come to the town of Marathon, where there is a marathon museum. We went inside to have a look and it is quite exciting to see that the history of the Marathon has its roots in a Greek story from the Battle of Marathon, which took place in 490 BC. According to legend, the brave courier Pheidippides ran barefoot from the city of Marathon all the way to Athens, a distance of about 40 kilometers, to report on the victory of the Athenian army over the Persians.
We had some good days here on the coast, but we don’t think it’s the most exciting place you can find on the Greek mainland. On the other hand, there was plenty of local Greek city life, which we always prefer.