Just a short drive from Athens, Nea Makri offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city, where you can soak up the sun, indulge in delicious local cuisine, and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Greece. I decided to stay in Nea Makri and do Athens as a day trip instead of staying in the Greek capital – and I am so glad I did. The swimming pools and coastline offer a refreshing dip after a hardcore day of sight seeing! The centre of Nea Makri is extremely small and manageable. It’s also very safe and suitable for solo female travellers. Whether you’re a beach lover, a culture vulture or an adrenaline junkie, there’s something for everyone here.
The best things to do in Nea Makri at a Glance
- Nea Makri Market (every Thursday)
- Relaxing on Paralia Karla beach
- Orthodox Church of St. Konstantinos and St. Eleni
- Nea Makri Harbour
- Grab a cocktail at Cuba Libre Beach Bar
- Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods
- Visit Marathon
- Hiking Mount Penteli
- Saint Efraim Monastery
- Day trip to Athens
Nea Makri Market
Nea Makri market brings the city to life every Thursday, with stall owners shouting about their textiles, fruit, fish and vegetables. It’s very authentic, with reasonable prices. Everything is weighed out and set prices so you don’t need to barter (although asking for a discount on large or multiple purchases wouldn’t go amiss!) There are also a couple of food vans with amazing greek Souvlaki (kebabs).
Relax on the Beaches – Paralia Karla, Paralia Mprexiza and Marathon Beach
Nea Makri is a great place to relax and many people make the trip to this part of the coast on sunny weekends. The closest beach to Nea Makri is Paralia Karla beach. it’s a bit small and somewhat rocky but OK for sunbathing and a dip in the water. You might also like to head to some of Nea Makri’s more sandy and luxurious beaches such as Paralia Mprexiza or Marathon beach.
Orthodox Church of St. Konstantinos and St. Eleni
In the centre of Nea Makri town you will find the beautiful Orthodox Church of St. Konstantinos and St. Eleni. It’s just a few minutes walk from the main square. This is a traditional example of a Greek Orthodox Church and it is free to visit, but you must dress respectfully and remain silent inside. You will see an interesting Orthodox altar and iconography. Avoid taking pictures inside the Church.
Nea Makri Harbour
Head to the harbour in Nea Makri for a beautiful view of the sea and to have a look at the fishing boats as they come in. There are also small local tourist boats that go from here to some of the islands and also just out to sea for a drink on the water at sunset. The harbour area is full of fantastic bars and restaurants. It’s also a great place to start a promenade walk.
Cocktails at Cuba Libre beach bar
Walk along the beach North from Nea Makri harbour and you will come to one of my favourite beach bars – Cuba Libre. I love the Cuban theme and it’s really authentic and chilled. The bars in this area have better sea views than the ones in central Nea Makri.
Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods
Did you know that some of the ancient Greeks also had a fondness for worshipping Egyptian Gods? The Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods is tucked away around 15 minutes walk North of Nea Makri harbour. You will see a stepped sanctuary ruin along with the ruins of a Roman bathhouse. The sanctuary would have been spectacular in ancient times, with four entrances with Egyptian Gods (male and female) – one on each side of each entrance. The sanctuary was free to enter in 2023 and it is presumed that it will be free entry for the foreseeable future.
History enthusiasts will be thrilled to explore the nearby archaeological site of Marathon, where the famous Battle of Marathon took place in 490 BC. Stroll along the pathways of the ancient battlefield and imagine the epic clash between the Athenians and Persians, a pivotal moment in Greek history. The Archaeological Museum of Marathon mainly houses findings originating from the Battle of Marathon and from the Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods.
Hiking Mount Penteli
Take a leisurely hike through the nearby Mount Penteli, adorned with lush greenery and breathtaking panoramic views. The trail will lead you to the ancient quarry of Penteli, where the marble for the Parthenon was once sourced. Immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the landscape and discover the secrets hidden within these ancient stones.
Eating Seafood at H Trata Restaurant
After a day of exploration, indulge in the vibrant local cuisine that Nea Makri has to offer. From freshly caught seafood to traditional Greek delicacies, your taste buds will be treated to a symphony of flavours. Sit back at a charming taverna and savour mouthwatering dishes like grilled octopus, feta cheese, and tzatziki, accompanied by a glass of crisp Greek wine. I had a gorgeous shrimp pasta at H Trata restaurant but the harbour. Their seafood is fresh and they have a great Dorada. Another great place to eat out in Nea Makri is the Fish tavern Nea Galini.
Saint Ephraim Monastery
Grab a taxi just 10 minutes out of Nea Makri up the hill to discover a famous pilgrimage site for Greek Orthodox Christians – Saint Ephraim monastery. The Monastery itself is a medieval Orthodox monastery with vividly painted interiors, gilded orthodox icons and a stone bell tower. Inside the main Church you will see a beautifully painted dome with Orthodox iconography and a beautiful hanging chandelier. The monastery is dedicated to Saint Ephraim who was Martyred when he was killed by invading Arab pirates in 1426. The monastery is free to get in and will take around half an hour to explore. Remember that it is an active place of Christian worship and so you must dress conservatively and remain silent inside. Photography is allowed outside but not inside where worship is taking place.
Day trip to Athens
Nea Makri is a fantastic base for a day trip to Athens. The Greek capital is home to some of the most amazing ancient monuments in the world. Buses from Nea Makri to Athens go from outside the ‘Alphabank’ on the main road and take you to the metro station Nomismatokopio. Then you take the blue line metro in the direction towards Theatre (the opposite direction of the airport) to Monastiraki where you get off for the ancient sites.
Head straight for the Acropolis early in the morning (around 8am) to get fantastic views of the city of Athens as well as seeing the amazing ancient sites of the Acropolis and slopes including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike.
Further Reading on things to do in Nea Makri
- Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods
- Saint Ephraim Monastery Nea Makri
- Tips for visiting the Acropolis
- Is Greece worth visiting?