Sea & Mountains
Porto Rafti (Greek: Πόρτο Ράφτη) is a seaside resort town on the Eastern coastline of Athens taking its name from Rafti island which is visible just off the headland. The town stretches amphitheatrically around the Rafti Bay, the largest naturally occurring port after Piraeus, providing access to the Aegean Sea. A few small island lay scattered within the bay, in the summertime frequented by fishermen, sailors, stand up paddle boarders (SUP) and scuba divers. Porto Rafti is surrounded by pine-cladded hills and mountains providing inviting trekking and mountain-biking trails.
Porto Rafti is a popular seaside resort, with free beaches at the locations of Agios Spyridonas (Greek: Aγιος Σπυρίδωνας), Agia Marina (Greek: Αγιά Μαρίνα) and an organized municipal beach at Avlaki (Greek: Αυλακι).
The Colossus of Rafti
Rafti (Greek: Ράφτη) is the largest of the islands in the bay. At the very top of Rafti rest the remains of a marble statue that dates back to the 2nd century AD. Standing 2.35 meters tall and with a base reaching two meters the statue is now known as the Colossus of Porto Rafti. Wind, salt and time have eroded away its form and features. The statue once depicted a person seated facing the sea with one of the hands raised and the other resting on the knee.
It is unknown if it was a man or a woman. Local folklore identifies this figure with the Raftis (Greek: Ράφτες), the Greek word for tailor, also suggesting that the statue at one point was holding a pair of golden scissors. The general census is, however, that the statue was that of a woman. Whilst much is unknown the statue remains imposing and magnificently located on the top of the island, perhaps once also serving as a beacon for shipping. The spectacular view from the top of the island is worth the boat-ride or paddle-trip and climb up the rocky slope.
Did you know?
- Here’s a special little something that you probably had not heard about … yet. Find yourself a map of Porto Rafti. Turn it around on its axis so that North faces South and South faces North. Now use a little bit of imagination. Look carefully and you will discover the happy face of a dolphin smiling back at you.
- In April 1941, during World War II, 6.000 New Zealand troops were successfully evacuated from the beach as German forces advanced into Athens.
- Many Mycenaean tombs have been found south of the bay of Porto Rafti, at Prasies, a port that flourished in the 7th and 6th centuries BC.
Things to see
- Check out the Colossus of Rafti up close, either by boat or SUP (weather conditions permitting)
- Reserve one-half to a whole day to visit the ancient temple of Artemis at Vravrona (Greek: Βραυρώνας), to browse the archaeological museum and to marvel at the beauty of the surrounding landscape
- Catch a glimpse of life in a monastery at Metamorfosis Sotiros Monastery (Greek: Μονή Μεταμόρφωσης Σωτήρος) in Kouvaras (Greek: Κουβαρά) and explore the beautiful countryside
Things to do
- Book an hour or two or even a tour stand up paddle boarding (SUP) in the bay with sup|port
- Spent some time afloat having a go at sailing with Porto Rafti Sailing Club (Greek: Ιστιοπλοϊκός Oμιλος Πόρτο Ράφτη)
- Explore the mountainside and enjoy the cool air starting with a hike around Evaggelistrias Monastery (Greek: Μόνη Ευαγγελίστριας)
- Go horseback riding at the Kouvaras Equestrian Club (Greek: Ιππικός Όμιλος Κουβαρά)
Getting to Porto Rafti
Porto Rafti is about 20 minutes by car from Athens International Airport and about 40 minutes from the center of Athens via the highway. A taxi from the airport should cost you approximately EUR 25.
For those also longing for a taste of island life, Porto Rafti is located between the ferry ports of Rafina and Lavrio providing access to the Aegean islands.
Feeling adventurous? … try local transportation
Unless you are strictly planning for an Athens city center experience we strongly recommend renting a car or motorcycle. That said Porto Rafti is connected with Athens city center through the orange bus-line, a ride that will take you an hour and a half or so. Alternatively public transportation can also take you to the Koropi metro station. The blue metro line will take you to the heart of Athens and destinations such as Syntagma and Monastiraki.
If you would like some tips in planning your stay please feel free to ask.