A picturesque village at the top of the Cassandra peninsula, Nea Fokaia is a destination largely unknown to tourists. But with its sandy beaches for swimming, its historic monuments to the Byzantine era and its mouth-watering local cuisine made with fresh local ingredients, it’s a secret well worth sharing.
Swimmers and sunbathers are spoiled for choice in and around Nea Fokaia. The most popular beach is at the village waterfront, where you can swim or relax with a view of the Byzantine tower on the hill opposite, then have a delicious meal at one of the nearby fish taverns. Another excellent place to enjoy the sea is the beach at Aristotle Beach Hotel, around 2 km before Nea Fokaia coming from Afitos and Kallithea. Accessed via a bridge at the hotel, the beach is quite large and seldom crowded (often quite peaceful, even on a Saturday), apart from a short period each day when children come from a nearby camp for swimming. If you do happen to come at that brief busy interval, enjoy a cocktail at the small (and reasonably priced) beach bar – Mojitos were only 5 euros each last time I was there!
The other beach is at the base of some cliffs around half-way between the Aristotle Beach Hotel and Nea Fokaia. While not visible from the road, you can find it very easy. On the road from Afitos to Nea Fokaia, 1 km before the village, you will see a small parking area on the right hand site of the road. Park your car there and descend the steps built into the cliffs. You will find small private and semi-private beaches between the rocks. This beach is recommended more for couples rather than for families.
After working up an appetite swimming (or sweating off those calories lying in the sun) head to Nea Fokaia for something tasty to eat. While the village beachfront has a number of good fish taverns – where the fish is fresh and the prices reasonable – I often prefer to pay a visit to the central square of the village. There may not be any sea view there but the atmosphere in the square is rewarding. The place I usually visit when in Nea Fokaia is the “Massaleia” tavern in the top corner of the square, which offers a range of amazing mezes at reasonable prices.
Between swimming and eating, save a bit of time for culture. For starters, pay a visit to the small Orthodox Church, set in a cave next to the main road as you enter the village coming from Afitos. After that, the well-preserved Byzantine Tower is waiting for you at the top of a small hill across the main road. In the Byzantine era the tower was part of an early warning system alerting villagers to possible invaders.
I hope the above information is helpful to anyone thinking of visiting the Cassandra peninsula. Please feel free to ask if you have any additional questions regarding your holidays in Cassandra.