Just 145km away from Athens city centre, Tolo is a great destination both for your summer holidays and for mini getaways before the first autumn rains. Departing from the capital, it will take you about two hours to reach it and find yourself on amazing beaches, having avoided cramped ferries and long waits.


The majority of the inhabitants of Tolo are of Cretan origin. Its land was granted to Cretan refugees who fled their island in an attempt to escape the fury of the Turkish conquerors. For several decades Tolo was a poor fishing village with tiny plots and houses. Children would walk to school from Tolo to Nafplio barefoot. However, all this gradually changed in the 1960s, when performances at the ancient theatre of Epidaurus turned into a meeting point for the rich and famous. It was the era of Maria Callas and Aristotle Onassis, whose fame brought American, French and Italian yachts to Greece. Looking for a quiet place to moor their yachts, they discovered picturesque Tolo with its crystal clear waters, fresh fish and friendly inhabitants.

Slowly, Tolo gained fame; outdoor toilets were converted into rental rooms, locals would rent half of their house to tourists, while their families lived in one single room and, thus, little by little, the first tourist accommodations appeared. In the following decades, with a peak in the 1980s, Tolo went from zero to hero very quickly. It became a top tourist destination with numerous fish taverns by the sea and five legendary discos that would stay up late until dawn. It may have experienced a slight downturn since the mid-1990s, but it has long since bounced back dynamically, in response to travellers’ need for “slow travel”, relaxing, hassle-free holidays, good food and clean seas. Greek art shops, sophisticated boutiques and restaurants with great gastronomic aspirations are what make Tolo stand out from the neighbouring settlements. It should be noted that the Danish Canoe Kayak Team, which visits Tolo twice a year for training, has its boats here.

Journalist and advisor to the President of Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation – ERT S.A. Lina Papadaki has been bombarding me since spring about Tolo and my curiosity has been piqued. For she always talks with such love and passion about its history and the warm hospitality of the locals that stems from their Cretan origin; about “the most delicious and fresh fish and –if you’re lucky- slipper lobster that you will hardly find elsewhere”; about the beautiful beach with its crystal clear waters and the one-day excursions to the three amazing islets spread out in the picturesque bay; about the fact that “here you will have the most relaxing holiday ever”.

Lina, an avid fan and local, constantly posts photos of amazing waters and continues to convert me: “the best time of the day is early in the morning, going down to the beach when everyone is still asleep, the sound of the sea and the colours of the sunrise are simply splendid, the breeze is incredible”, and she continues, “know that Tolo is wonderful all year round, even in winter, but you will enjoy it most in June or September, when Psili Ammos resembles those huge blue lake of the Italian North”, she stresses, “start from the pier and walk to Ancient Assini, but walk barefoot in the sand to feel the energy of the earth, take a dip in Kastraki first and then return”, and also, “take the boat that takes you to Spetses, Hydra, Monemvasia and Nafplio. Between Tolo and Spetses, if you are lucky, you will see pods of dolphins giving an amazing show next to the boat”, she concludes. Unable to resist any longer, I packed a couple of clothes, two swimsuits, a pair of flip-flops and a towel and set off for Tolo.

My day in Tolo started idly. There is no need to rush or make plans. Here everything is close by, cafes, beach, taverns and bars are all ten minutes away. Breakfast is offered by numerous cafés around the village, such as Esperando on Sekeri Street serving sweet and savoury crepes, waffles and nice cappuccino. You might even want to come back in the evening for cocktails and delicious pizza. For a coffee with a sea view, go to Ippocampus, overlooking the entire bay of Tolo and the teeny-tiny island of Koronissi.

My next appointment is with the beach of Psili Ammos that stretches in front of the village. Note that many of the accommodations are right on the beach. You put on your swimsuit, grab your towel, walk down the steps and…. into the water. Sea umbrellas, sunbeds and beach bars; Psili Ammos is fully serviced, yet there is also enough space for all of you who wish to simply lie down on your towel and enjoy the sun. If you are seeking for some privacy, go to Kastraki, located just before the archaeological site of Ancient Assini, a beautiful beach of fine shingle with clear blue waters. If you want, you can go even further and discover more beaches, as there are many in the area. Just after the cape of Ancient Assini, unfolds a long beach that stretches out to Drepano. In the same area, the beach of Plaka, where the legendary Triton campsite is located, has in recent years improved considerably, featuring nice beach bars and cafés. After Vivari, about twenty minutes from Tolo, Kondyli beach is one of the most beautiful in the area, large and pebbly, with incredible waters, and fully serviced. Very close by you will find the long and sandy beach of Kandia, where “Baraki” beach bar serves amazing margaritas –an ideal place for a late night by the beach. Iria beach, just after Kandia, also boasts excellent waters. The whole coastal area from Tolo to Iria is wonderful, with many lovely beaches.

And when you’ve had your fill of sun and sea and the smell of fried squid and grilled octopus leaves you drooling, head to “Romvi”, a fish and seafood tavern with tables on the sand. Overlooking Koronissi, “Steki” also features tables on the sand and is famous for its fresh local ingredients. Try their fried anchovies which are fiendishly delicious and as crispy as chips! For Mediterranean cuisine, Maria’s Restaurant in Boumboulinas Street easily competes with all those classy Athenian restaurants, while its wine cellar is exceptional. The restaurant’s elegant exterior is surrounded by beautiful bougainvillea trees, while there is also an impressive terrace right above the sea. Known among the locals as “Tsatsarakias”, “Neon” tavern is one of the oldest in Tolo, serving delicious casserole dishes and fine fried fish. “Karnagio”, the new entry in Sekeri Street, is housed in a beautiful stone building and serves Modern Greek cuisine on a comfortable wooden terrace with a thatch roof. “Leimonia” restaurant serves everything from meat and seafood to pizza in a lovely cool lawned garden with palms and mulberry trees. “Arkoudas” restaurant in Assini is particularly famous among meat-lovers. Try their grilled ribs and hand-cut French fries. “Nakos”, located in the very heart of Drepano, offers great casserole dishes and grilled meats.

At night I find myself wandering the streets and beach of Tolo to discover its nightlife. Until the 1990s Tolo featured five discos and attracted many youths who would party until the break of dawn. Now the nightlife has moved to the coastal road between Nea Kios and Nafplio, but there are still plenty of bars for a casual drink. With breath-taking views of the entire bay and sophisticated tunes, “Kokkinos Vrahos” is the most iconic bar in the area. “Remember” and “Gorillas” boast beautiful summer settings and great cocktails by the sea, while “Barbaressa” often hosts Greek music nights attended by both British and Greek tourists.

Tolo may be ideal for a relaxing holiday, but that doesn’t mean it lacks sports and outdoor activities. The bay of Tolo is ideal for windsurfing, kite surfing and canoeing, and there are many water sports centres and diving schools. Don’t miss the opportunity to discover the wonderful seabed of Koronissi, Romvi and Daskalio, the three small islands in the bay of Tolo. Rent a boat from “Bik John” or “Telis” and tour the three small islands; discover Romvi’s hidden beach, Daskalio’s stunning waters and the rocky coastline and crystal clear waters of Koronissi.

Visit Ancient Assini in the late afternoon or early morning. It is about two kilometres from Tolo and can be reached by car or on foot. On the archaeological site there are findings from the Middle Helladic, Mycenaean, Hellenistic and Roman periods. Houses have been found, a Roman bath, a fruit press, etc., which testify to the glamour of the area in the past. A cultural centre has also been established in the area where various cultural events are held. The view from the site is unique. Another great route, much longer (about 8km), that goes through the famous orange groves of Argolida is the one starting from Tolo and leading to Nafplio. The route from Tolo to Vivari (about 6.5km) via the wetlands –where many herons, cormorants, ducks and swans find shelter- is also breathtakingly beautiful.


Taken over by the third generation of the family, Louloudakis super market has everything you might need.

For fluffy bread, fresh pastry and excellent cakes go to Cleopatra’s bakery.

Panagiotis’ bakery in the neighbouring village of Assini is best known for its delicious cheese pies and freshly baked rusks.


King Minos Hotel: Built on a hill overlooking the bay, it offers comfortable rooms characterized by discreet luxury. You will also find a swimming pool and a fitness centre. (6, Miaouli Str., Tolo, +30 27520 59902).

Viaros Hotel Apartments: Comfortable and modern rooms about 100m from the beach. (31, Minoos Str., +30 27520 59511).

Onira Boutique Hotel: Beautiful rooms with nice and cosy décor and well-kept outdoor areas, just 30 m. from the beach. (6, Bouboulinas Str., Tolo, +30 27520 59658).

Dolphin Hotel: Neat and comfortable rooms right in front of the beach. (50, Aktis Str., Tolo, +30 27520 59868).

Gregory Apartments: Classic hotel interior and clean rooms overlooking the entire village of Tolo. Plus, beautiful pool area. (+30 27520 59320).