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Authored by Joey Holmes

After years of full time travel, finding a frequent fix of life on the road is a necessity now that I’ve (kind of) re-joined the real world. But the need pursue adventure on a regular basis has a tendency to present financial obstacles, so I’m constantly creating new ways to explore on a budget, without having to feel like a backpacker again.

With a love of outdoor adventure, over the years I’ve developed a bit of a habit for sleeping out under the stars. So this time I set my sights on a week of wild camping in Greece.

The Time We Went Wild Beach Camping in Greece

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Wild Camping

Wild camping is setting up camp anywhere that isn’t a designated campground. This may be a park, the forest, on the beach, the side of the road, or deep in the mountains. My preference is to wild camp as far from civilization as possible, which generally avoids any potential conflict with humans who may object to your presence.

In much of the world, wild camping is legal so long as you are discreet and respectful. However in many parts of Europe you must gain permission from the land-owner before you pitch a tent, so be sure to complete proper research on your destination before you go. For instance wild camping in Iceland was recently prohibited as it is damaging to their fragile environment.

Seeking permission to camp on private land takes the spontaneity and flexibility out of sleeping wherever you end up, so to avoid this altogether, I stick to camping on public land (footpaths, beaches etc). And I usually do so without a tent – not technically camping, and offers the ability to move on easily if need be.

Campfire

Our Week in Greece

Our week in Greece was spent exploring the incredible coastline of the Peloponnese Peninsula in a hire car. Yes, not the most budget friendly mode of transport, but it provided a way to get to otherwise unreachable gems; beaches hidden all around the peninsula.

Our mornings were spent enjoying time at the beach, visiting the sights, and strolling round sleepy whitewashed villages, whilst our afternoons were filled with exploration – time spent finding the most wild and remote beaches possible. 

Though don’t be fooled by the romance of such an exciting task. It sometimes took us 3 or 4 hours of driving and hiking down dead end tracks only to find a 60ft cliff dropping away to nothing but the deep turquoise ocean below.

Peloponnese Peninsula Greece

Camping on the beach

Although this was the best possible way to find truly wild and beautiful spots in an otherwise tourist-filled destination, on some days it became a very tiring adventure to be embarking upon in the heat of the afternoon sun.

That said, each night we succeeded in finding postcard perfect beaches that we were confident no-one else even knew about, let alone knew we were on! The hard work paid off, and each evening we spent hours relaxing, swimming in calm sheltered bays, and cooking meals over the campfire from the fresh produce we had purchased earlier in the day. Paradise.

Wild Beach Camping Essentials

To make the whole ‘camping’ thing as easy as possible, we had all our gear in a hiking backpack so we could grab it from the discreetly abandoned car and walk as far as needed to get to our pocket of beach perfection.

Because we didn’t bring a tent, a tarp was essential in case of rain. As it happened, we didn’t need to use it once, but it was good to know it was there – especially on the day when the clouds were rumbling with thunder over the mountains.

Other Wild Beach Camping Essentials

A Super Cheap Adventure

Our week wild camping in some of Greece’s more remote corners was a super cheap adventure and one that we won’t forget in a hurry.

We traveled at the beginning of the summer before tourism really kicked in, and were very lucky with the weather. Despite the hard work we put in to find the perfect pitch to sleep each night, we’d do it again in a heartbeat.

So if you are considering trying your hand at wild camping, then check out these great tips for discreet and respectful overnight beach sleeping that will be sure to help you find and keep your beach paradise, for a night at least.

Find cheap flights to Greece by downloading the free Skyscanner app. Click here

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Joey Holmes is the editor of Cool of the Wild, an online resource for outdoor lovers. She has endless enthusiasm for any excuse to get out there and enjoy being active in the outdoor world, and loves sharing this passion to inspire others to find and follow their own dreams.

    28 Comments

  1. I think wild camping is the type of spontaneous adventure many dream of but don’t get around to doing it. I also think Greece is the perfect place to do it. Haven;t yet done wild camping officially but unofficially have slept in places out of necessity where I shouldn’t have.

    • I agree with you – it’s a great way to add some spontaneity to your travels, and Greece is definitely up there as one of the best destinations to do it.

      Hope you have the chance to try your hand at some wild camping in the new year :)

  2. Wow! You are much more adventurous than me – I’m kind of a glamping kind of gal, but I do see the draw of sleeping out underneath the stars. I’m a beach bum and, if I were to try this out, that’d definitely be my preferred location. Falling asleep and waking up hearing the sound of the ocean would be absolutely amazing. Thanks for sharing ^^

    • Lindsay, if you love the beach then yes, wild camping there would be PERFECT for you. There’s nothing better than a swim at sunrise. Or a cheeky dip in the ocean once the stars come out. You should definitely give it a go! And if you’re prepared, you can still glamp it up a little too!

  3. Hey it was great to stumble upon your article on wild camping around Greece. I am Greek and live on a Greek island and growing up here gave us plenty of opportunities to do this on a regular basis! We took it for granted however and never thought anything about it, in terms of not being allowed or restricted.
    Your post just made me appreciate more of what is like to wake up under the stars ..

    • Ah, so lucky that you get to do it whenever you want. Such a special place!

  4. What a wonderful way to see Greece! It sounds like you found some amazing beaches and your evenings sounded idyllic. My one question…how do you stop all the sand getting into your sleeping bag?!

    • Hi Katja, A few of the beaches were pebbly, so sand wasn’t an issue. But on the sandy beaches, we put down a tarp/ground sheet, had a sleeping mat on top of that, and then our sleeping bags. Cosy!

  5. Going back to basics…simply living, simple holidaying. Greece has so much to offer in terms to variety for different kinds of travellers.

    • Agreed! Thanks for stopping by Punita :)

  6. Hey Joey….wow, that post is some inspiration! Question. How do you use the tarp to protect you from the rain (especially if it’s blustery?) How big is the tarp to cover 2 people? and what do you use for poles to hold it up securely? i would imagine mine would be blowing over and falling down in a storm. Either way, love this post!

    • Hi Mike, We use a 3x3m tarp for two of us. Strong sticks are usually fine to use as poles. But we’ve also use walking poles when trekking, and canoe paddles on river trips – they work really well! To keep it secure, we use bungy cords that we stake down with pegs, to rocks or to trees. They create loads of tension to keep the whole setup relatively secure. But if I’m honest, I’ve never used my tarp in super blustery conditions so have yet to test just how good that system is!

  7. You are very brave. I would feel very vulnerable camped out on a footpath, perhaps dreaming of Charles Manson! :) Great beaches maybe worth it.

    • Hi Penny. Yes, that does cross my mind sometimes! But I usually turn it around and remember that no-one else is mad enough to be out in the middle of nowhere at night (other than me of course!). And being in the city at night is way more dangerous, we’ve just gotten used to it!

  8. Camping is such a perfect way to save money while traveling. I’m always worried about the legality of it but you bring up a good point. As long as you are respectful you should be fine.

    • Research before your trip is key to not breaking any laws overseas – the last thing you want to do in a foreign country!

  9. First off Greece is so high on my list it is crazy. I hope I make it there next year. I never even contemplated camping there. That is different. Those dead end drops offs sound a bit scary. I wouldn’t have been happening walking all that and then find out I can’t even set up shop haha.

    • Yeah it was a bit annoying sometimes. Especially when it was super hot. But it was ALWAYS worth the effort once we found that perfect place. Enjoy your trip there!

  10. How awesome – this is totally my husband’s ideal holiday! We call it “freedom camping” in New Zealand, but there have been lots of problems with some of them who have not been so respectful of the environment. In one area the mayor was trying to ban freedom campers throughout his town because of the damage & negative impact on tourism it was having. But if done well, then clearly it is quite an exceptional experience! Worth it when you have those amazing views & peacefulness…

    • Ah it’s such a shame when a few disrespectful people ruin for the rest of us. Perhaps there should be more in schools about leaving no trace? More involvement in clean up projects etc.

  11. Haven’t done this and haven’t visited Greece yet. But this post and your adventure sure sounds exciting!

    • Carla, it was exciting, but also really relaxing. An usual combination for a holiday I think!

  12. Wild camping – well you don’t hear that every day! Greece is on my list for next year as it is a BIG birthday for me! The kids will be along as we always travel as a family and this wild camping sounds like something they would just enjoy! We did encounter a dead end in Hawaii as we took a guided truck…then hiked…then reached a tall rock wall you would have to rappel down! So… we only looked.

    Enjoying off the beaten path is a great way to make family memories. I’m researching and creating a travel guide for the kids for Greece and will be sure to add the hiking and camping!

    • Wow, the kids will LOVE Greece. There are some ‘proper’ campgrounds right on the beach too which might be easier with a family? Wherever you end up I’m sure you’ll have a fab time. And happy birthday for then!

  13. I have never tried wild camping in Greece before, but it sounds positively fun!

    • It’s a blast! Hope you have the chance to give it a go soon :) Though wild camping in any country is adventurous and fun if you don’t have immediate plans for Greece :)

  14. The Best Sharing. Maybe you’ll come to Turkey one day…

    You should discover!

    • Ooh I’d LOVE to go explore Turkey! Will have to add that to my ever-growing list!

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