Hitch hiking in Greece

Wow it was a long time since my last update. I have done a lot of things recently, mostly in Bulgaria where I was living before the summer. Under the summer time though I was living in Greece for about 2½ month, most of the time without computer or mobile phone.

The trip started in Alexandropolis, where we stayed for some days before we got a ride with a sail boat, and his owner Christos, to Samothraki some 6 hours away. Samothraki is a beautiful island in north Greece, very idyllic with waterfalls, lagoons, thermal bath and a lot of hippie people meet up there for the summer. I was living in a camping for about one month, sleeping in a hammock just next to the ocean and with the sunrise waking me up every morning. It was incredibly relaxing to do things in your own pace. Also me and my friends there was doing a lot of trekking on the island, plus walking up to the mountain top which was on 1600 meters height with an incredible view!

After Samothraki we went back to Alexandropolis, where we got a ride (on the first try) with a couple going to Thessanoliki. We ended up staying in Thessanoliki for some days which was a really nice city.

When we finally decided to leave Thessanoliki we got a ride to Platamonas, a small touristic town where everything is centered around the beach. Great for a one-day stop to freshen up and finally go swimming again, which we hadn’t done since Samothraki (where it didn’t go one day without swimming).

The next stop after Platamonas was Larissa, which we later found out is Greece most warm city and definitely not a good place for hitch hiking. After 6 hours in the sun with the thumb up we ended up taking a 6 hour night train instead to Athens. What you should know about Greek trains is that they are usually overbooked and there is not even places to sit, which is why we ended up sleeping on the floor in the middle of one walkway inside the train.

Athens was great and has so much different things to offer, which resulted in us staying for some days there. My favorite part is the Indian area with big illegal markets and interesting small back alleys. The beach in Athens is not recommended as it’s very dirty, so when the city became to hot we left with a ferry to Crete, 6 hours away.

Crete. What to say about this big island? We traveled around a lot, with the biggest places being as following: Chania, Platanias, Kissamos, Falasarna, Chora, Loutra, Samaria Gorge, Agia Roumeli, Rethymno and finally Iraklio. My favorites was definitely these two:

Falasarna: a very beautiful beach with good snorkeling, caves and a ancient city. A few of the caves people have decorated with furniture and are living inside. The beach is not too crowded and OK to camp on without trouble from the police.

Samaria Gore: an interesting 6 hour walk inside the gore, to finally reach a small town next to the sea. After you can continue east (as we did) along two paths, where the one we chose goes up the mountain again very steep and with an incredible view. At the end (some 4 hours later) you will end up in a small small town where you need to hitch hike down to a bigger town to get back to “normal” civilization.

I will not get into more detail about Greece at this moment, as it is too many impressions to recreate. Instead, here are some general tips about hitch hiking:

  • Have a big sign saying where you want to go. This is specially good in countries where you are not good at the language (and pronunciation).
  • Also have a map, so that if a driver is not going exactly where you want to go, you can quickly see if it at least is in the right direction.
  • Look somewhat proper and not too dirty. Smile and don’t use sunglasses or a too big hat that will cover your face. In a lot of countries they are afraid of hitch hikers because of their history of robbing the people who pick them up (like in Greece). Because of this you need the people in the cars to trust you (in the first few seconds they see you).
  • The best place to stay is usually a bit outside the city, where the motorway/highway starts. Don’t stop on the highway itself though if you can avoid it, as it is illegal. Gas stations near the city exit is also good, because that allows you to actually talk to the driver and have a better chance of charming him/her. Also gas stations is usually the only shadow you can find in some countries.
  • Stay in the shadow as much as possible (if that doesn’t hide you too much) and use a cap/suncream.
  • Have enough clothes, food and water to survive for some days outdoor, because you never know how long time it will take you to reach your destination.
  • If you get a bad feeling about a driver, specially when you are hitch hiking by yourself, have an excuse ready to tell him and don’t go with him, even if you have waited for a long time without anybody stopping.
  • If the police stops you for hitch hiking on the highway or in a country where it is illegal, play stupid and be as nice to them as possible. If you are lucky they will give you a ride to the closest bus station, which will be in the next time where you are going anyway.
  • Don’t try to hide one of the persons just to more easily get a ride, but if you have a lot of luggage you can put it away not to scare of the drivers.

I will definitely try to write again soon! At the moment I am visiting friends & family in Denmark & Sweden, but in about a week I am moving on to South Africa & Mozambique where I will focus mainly on scuba diving.

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2 Responses to “Hitch hiking in Greece”

  1. […] Hitch hiking is in general more easy the more south or east of Europe you go. In some countries people think that hitch hiking are illegal in their country, but this is in most cases not true and the misconception comes mainly because of a lack of hitch hiking culture in these countries. In the same countries it can sometimes be more difficult to hitch hike because of the same reason. […]

  2. Leo Carona says:

    Thanks a lot for sharing the text!!

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