Seaside villages such as Fanari, in northern Greece are often overlooked by sun-seekers heading to the islands. Barring the classic blue domes of the Aegean and the Italian-influenced architecture of the Ionian islands, travelling to northern Greece is a whole different experience worth one’s time and urge to explore.
Once in Thrace, visitors will come upon rows of seaside hamlets and villages- think of whitewashed harbours, beach taverns and hilltop churches- ready to be ransacked by those who don’t like to leave any stone unturned.
A great example of this is the magnificent Fanari village in Rodopi.
Fanari, with its postcard-like appearance, is located in the southwest of the prefecture of Rodopi, in the centre of Thrace. The settlement has no more than 700 permanent residents but as it is positioned between the big cities of Xanthi and Komotini, it has fast become a tourist attraction something which is not going to change anytime soon!
TOP THINGS TO DO IN FANARI
1. Visit Lake Vistonida
Adjacent to the village of Fanari is part of the famous Lake Vistonida, which circumscribes a unique ecosystem with several types of fish, mammals and birds. Driving through the highway from Komotini to Fanari, visitors can spot in Lake Vistonida a flamboyance of pink African flamingos and pelicans flying over from Lake Prespa, making Fanari the ideal destination for wild photography and bird watching, especially in late October when the flocks arrive.
2. Swim at one of Fanari’s beaches
Fanari is famous for its iconic blue flag beaches, a marker for environmental safety, and quality standards. Barakouda beach, the village’s main beach, is the place to go for a refreshing midday swim. Skala, the beach in front of the crowded promenade with the restaurants and cafés, is ideal for families and children playing whereas Ioulia beach, parallel to the main port of Fanari, is ideal for people with reduced mobility as a wheelchair ramp has recently been installed. In total, Fanari has five beaches and a coastline stretch that many Greek islands would be jealous of!
3. Fresh seafood at the port
Fanari has a plentiful of seaside restaurants and traditional taverns to serve you the best of seafood and fish. Whether you choose to sit at one in front of the promenade of the old harbour is totally up to you but our personal favourite is the traditional tavern ‘To Limani‘ (which in Greek literally means ‘The Harbour’). From here you can watch the fishing trawlers coming and going and the cats fighting for the remains of the catch of the day!
4. Sunset spotting
Skala is the best place for sunset spotting in Fanari. The wide, uninterrupted opening to the sea coupled with the changing sky colours reflected on the sea, makes this perfect for a romantic afternoon by the sea.
5. Coffee at the promenade
The best way to end your day in Fanari is to sit for a coffee at one of the promenade cafes. We recommend Daf Cafe for the sea views and Ioulia seaside café bar for the views of the port and the delicious beverages and cocktails. It also gets bonus points as it has access for people with mobility issues.
Fanari is not the place of glitz and glamour that makes headlines but it is definitely a place that will offer you the most nonchalant time ever!
Need more information about Fanari village? Have a look at the official website offering information on hotels, restaurants and more.
Images By Anastasia Fountouli ©