In 1860, Galaxidi numbered over 300 ships, while in the 1870s it was the second shipping center of Greece, with 130 shipowner families, shipyards, mutual insurance companies, banking "shops" and a cosmopolitan atmosphere.
To get there, Galaxidi had to overcome the losses it suffered in the Revolution of 1821 when the Turks destroyed 40 of its 70 ships and burned them three times. However, it failed to "turn the page" when steam replaced sails and so at the beginning of the 20th century its sailing ships stopped crossing the Mediterranean.
The era of naval prosperity, of the Arvanites, such as Visvikides, Dedousides, Katsoulis, Mitropoulos, and several others, remains alive in the picturesque Galaxidi. It is reminded of the mansions with European elements, the large anchor in the port of Cherolakas, the statues of the sailor's wife with the children and the Galaxidiotis captain with the helm, the magnificent Maritime and Historical Museum, the first of its kind in Greece, with the 140 watercolors of galactic sailing ships.
That's what Galaxidi was called because, until 1963, when the Nafpaktos-Itea road was completed, you could only get to it by boat from Itea. To this day the place maintains an almost island atmosphere – from its downhill streets that end up at the sea and the bougainvillea that gives color to its alleys to its wonderful pedestrian area.
Its neoclassical houses with gables and cobbled courtyards have survived, as have the extraordinary captain's houses. Some are inhabited, others have been converted into holiday homes, and some into guesthouses. In 1978, Galaxidi was classified as a protected area, so its old glorious maritime character takes the lead in its mildly modern tourist status. Tour the first port, feed the ducks, and walk its uphill cobblestones. Worship at the church of Agios Nikolaos, with its wood-carved iconostasis decorated with unique details, and at Agia Paraskevi, with the carved zodiac on its floor and the sundial on the outside. Continue sailing towards Cherolakas, its second port, and after exploring it, proceed to the small secluded coves for diving. Sit down for a coffee or ouzo at a traditional café. Notice the ancient walls on which one of the many mansions on the beach, is founded.
If you have a bicycle, definitely take it with you, it will come in handy for long or short distances, such as the ride to Pera Panda. This is the name of the side with the pine trees, opposite the first port, which reaches up to the statue of the Galaxidiotissa woman. She stands with the children in her arms and waves the scarf toward the sea.
Ideal for a two-day getaway but also a quiet family holiday, Galaxidi can also be a summer base for Delphi (20 minutes drive), Amfissa, and the northern shores of the Gulf of Corinth. You will find some small items for souvenirs, homemade jams, and other products of the region.
Galaxidi will not easily seduce you into nights out and sprees. You can enjoy your drink in one of the bars, making it livelier on festive days, like for example, Carnival, but most of the time it is serene and ideal for relaxation.