NYMFAIO

I was traveling through Northern Greece by rental car, coming from Bulgaria. I had heard of Nymfaio, as an intersting and very differently looking town. In fact, when I arrived, I wouldn't have thought to find such a place in Greece. Yes, it's the north of this mediterranean country, but it gave me the feeling of being in a whole different part of the world. Most likely the grey stones and bare hills surrounding the town gave me the feeling of being somewhere in Northern Europe. The town has a truly nice atmosphere. I was here in September and the excellent Greek climate allows for travel in this period - without the crowds. I highly suggest visiting Greece in September. This goes for the whole of Southeastern Europe.

The village is quite old. It was founded in 1358 by Vlachs (Eastern Romance-speaking people), fleeing into the mountains after fights with the Ottomans. Eventually, the town grew to be a center for silversmiths. They practiced their craft in these pretty houses. Nowadays, it's mostly a tourist town yet in a very positive way. There's also a bear reserve, the Arcturos Bear Sanctuary. It's just a kilometre walking from the town. I haven't visited myself. However, I did visit a bear sanctuary in Romania once and I certainly recommend visiting one. Not only are these fascinating, strong animals, you help the cause. You help bears that suffered immensely by the human hand. They are treated well in these sanctuaries, which at their turn rely on visitors and volunteers. There's also a Wolf Sanctuary, a bit farther down into the valley, however.

Make sure that when you visit Northern Greece outside summer, you have warm clothing with you. The bear sanctuary, for example, is at 1.350 metres altitude and it gets cold! There are several small-scale, cozy hotels in and around the town. Make sure to have a reservation on holidays because the town is popular with tourists from all over the Southern Balkans, so it might be full if you turn up without.

In the area, there's lots to see. I recommend the town Siatista, but also Loutraki, where you find some fantastic outside pools with mineral water. The whole of Northern Greece is packed with sights. Check out roadtrip itinerary I made for more!

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