Driving into Molyvos is like stepping back in time; coming over and down the hill from Petra you’re confronted with a postcard image; terracotta roofs, dark red painted shutters, stone houses, uniform and stacked neatly atop one another, crowned by the ruins of a beautiful byzantine castle.
There is no way to tell how old this place really is. In spots the ruins of the village that was poke up through the ground; who knows how many layers of history there are under the earth here. I often imagine the castle new and how people would have lived here all that time ago. There is a tangible energy in the air, land and sea of Molyvos; the local people say if you look back while leaving the village you will forever be drawn to this magical place.
During the winter the population is a small and familiar 1000 or so people, but during the summer season, from the 1st of May until the 1st of September you can find people from all over the world, many of whom have been returning to this place for more than 20 years.
To say I feel lucky to have roots in this would be modest. Visiting this small town as a child I had no appreciation for the small cobbled streets, traditional houses and beautiful harbour lined with restaurants serving the best the sea had to offer that day. Now that I’m older the uniqueness of this place is secure in my mind.
Here people have their own way. There are no ‘new’ buildings, there are strict rules about what you can and can’t build here which ensures the charm of this village hold true.
I think this is one of the reasons Molyvos is frozen in time, a glimpse into the simple, worry free Greek style life.
Once you enter the village there are only two roads, one going straight to the harbour past some small cafes and Gyros shops, and one going up to the ‘market street’.
Starting up the cobbled road either side is lined by houses, just the doors and different styled decoration are enough to make you coo, looking forward you see an old stone tunnel and to your right a rock face with more houses perched atop.
Passing through the tunnel you take a moment to catch your breath from the steep incline and peek through the old stone windows down to the deep green blue sea and beach bars and cedar trees lining the shore line.
Walking out from the tunnel you will find some traditional Greek tavernas to your left with balconies where you can sit and watch the sunset or just overlook the sea. Here the market street really starts and also splits, you can either walk down past the butcher, restaurants, cafes, shops and bars and meet with the main road to the harbour or you can continue upward.
Walking upward the only shops you will find the Greek eye on everything, unique jewellery, Greek food products and a few small mini markets. This road and the one below are lined with wisteria; old sturdy but twisted trees lay close against the walls of the shops and stretch their arms upward encasing the street. During the month of April, it blooms carpeting the stony street below and covering the overhanging vines in heavy light purple flowers.
At the very top of this steep climbing road lies the heart of the village, the bakery, open from the wee hours of the morning until 1 o’clock and closed on Sundays. The village bakery has always been here and dates way back. Here you will see the yaiyai (grandmothers) buying their fresh loaves each day, and the children picking up pernillie (cheesy bacon topped mini breads)
During Easter, the bakery opens its doors to those who don’t have a big enough oven to roast their Easter lamb at home.
Currently I’m living two houses up from the bakery and the smell of fresh bread baking every morning is a dreamy way to wake up. Reaching this point, you can either follow the signs up some cobbled steps to the castle to explore and have a coffee at the only coffee shop which overlooks the whole village and even lets you peek to turkey, or follow the road that now curves downward, here you will find one of the most beautiful restaurants “Tropicana”; family run (like everything in Molyvos) and set underneath a huge oak tree, where during Easter before the season starts they hang a large swing. I have a photo of me as a baby on this swing with my mum so this place always makes me smile. Traditions don’t die here which is something I love, you can come back after 10 years away and still find the place just as you left it.
Continuing downward your confronted by a breathtaking view of the sea, a few hurried steps down the last steep part of the street and you are now on the main road of the village, left will take you back to where you started and right will take you past two bars and down toward the harbour. Walking to the harbour for the first time will take your breath away, looking back over your shoulder you can see the houses and the castle and ahead there is just the small port and a huge vastness of green blue sea, where it touches the shore its translucent and lets you see the sea grasses and stones below the surface, and as the water gets deeper so does the colour, the blue carries on to the horizon line framed on one side by what look like painted mountains.
The harbour is the place to go if seafood is your preference, being a fishing village it’s in abundance here. They don’t serve frozen here. The available produce is seasonal and very fresh, kinas and mussels they have plenty, Mistrali is my favourite spot to eat, the special salad and grilled john dory or black snapper are my favourite meals.
If you are not that into seafood, there are plenty of small surrounding villages serving the best of famer raised meats and traditional sausages. All restaurant have their own small special plates and meze is often a good way to go if you want to get a taste for everything each establishment has to offer.
Aside from the two main streets there many small streets and alley ways that lead to all different and hidden streets of the village, in between these tiny avenues you will find a myriad of sweet little houses, and secret passageways that lead out to stunning view of the sea and surrounding sights. Molyvos is a treasure box a place to constantly discover or sit and soak it all it. I suits everyone of all ages, from the young who want to drink cocktails and sun all day at its beautiful beach bars, and then continue into the night at is classic bars or for the older who just want to relax and enjoy. Everything is within walking distance, nothing is overpriced or too commercial, it’s a truly unspoiled authentic place. A hidden gem of the Aegean.
Best restaurant for seafood
Best place for cakes, sweets, sorbet
Castro – This is where Kosta works and he makes the pizza here :p
Best beach bar
My favourite spots in the village to eat and chill
Blue fox – their balcony is most amazing spot to eat, and have coffee. all the food, especially the sweets are great, I know the chef has a big passion for desserts and this is reflected in his food.
Bazaar – they make amazing omelettes and I love eating breakfast in the harbour, the owner amber also makes all sorts of delicious international foods and cakes. Its open breakfast till dinner.
Castro – Italian food. Ok this is where Kosta works and I may be a little biased but he really does make the most amazing pizza ever, they pastas are equally amazing and their shrimp and avocado salad with pesto is to die for.
Balkonaki – This is my favourite little coffee shop to work and enjoy the beautiful view
Majoran – international and Greek food, a nice place to take your significant other for a nice meal out.
Pirates bar – this place is a Molyvos establishment if you don’t visit this place for a drink you haven’t experienced Molyvos.