The last village before crossing the mountains is Iria. Iria is a small village with port and endless five kilometers long beach. The beach is never full and You can chose whether to stay at an isolated spot without being disturbed by anyone or at a bar with music, showers, toilets, cold drinks and snacks. This beach can be a bit windy so it is good for windsurfing. Furthermore because it is so long and so empty it is good for kiting as well.
Driving from Nauplio one can either follow the sea shore and pass through Drepano, Vivari, Kandia until finally arriving to Iria or upon leaving Nauplio take a route to Epidauros and four kilometers after passing the first village Pirgiotika, turn right towards Kandia and then continue to Iria. The latter one is 4 kilometers longer in distance and definitely not attractive for passengers, but it is about five minutes faster. The first route following the sea shore is certainly more beautiful.
The beginning of Iria beach is usually empty. Sometimes there are fishermen and rarely visitiors. Most people continue to the bar. Surprisingly even during the hottest summer weekends, this beach does not attract many tourist. Partially due to the distance from Nauplio (only 25km, but 30 minutes driving) and partially because, with the exception of one bar and a taverna in port, the beach lacks touristic facilities. Iria beach hosts mostly locals, tourists from campings and few hotels in the village and occasionally it is visited by Greeks from around, typically when other beaches get full.
The sea is clean in Iria, although most of the time there are waves, currents and wind. Since the beach is not visited so often, the rocks in the sea are coverred with a green slippery lettuce. Although it does not look attractive, it is an accurate indication of clean water.
Sea bed declines rapidly in Iria and one should not expect shallow waters. Because of the currents, waves and short distance until fully submerged, it is better to tell kids not to swim too far and keep them in sight at all times.
The good news is that these conditions together with usual summer wind direction are very pleasant for sporting activities. Windsurfers and kiters are often seen here. Naturally it depends on the wind, but the conditions are usually good at least for a ride.
If You keep driving, after passing nice campings and not so good hotel "Iria Mare", instead of going straight to the port and village, you can turn right and follow the road parallel to the sea shore. A nice bar located here is never full and You will always find a place there. During busy times umbrellas may be taken, but even then You will get a table with loungers and usually within an hour umbrella will be available. This place close to the bar is one of the few spots in Iria where the beach can be "crowded".
However, do not get confused. Iria beach is visited mostly by locals and maintains its traditional character just like Vivari does. That is why the area close to the bar is my favourite place when coming here.
For more pictures of Iria beach look at our gallery
Notice at the end, please do not throw cigarettes, plastic cups and other waste into the sea nor on the beach. With the exception of bar and taverna in port, Iria beach is not organised. If You do not see a trash bin, take the waste with you. We are proud of our nature and Vila Vivari participates in the program of a sustainable tourism.
Protect the beauty around you, so that Your children may one day see it as well.
written by Michal Kohlmann