At Rafina’s central square (N. Plastira 11) there is one of the oldest family managed hotels of the region, the only one continuously operating all over the year since 1935. Completely renovated within 2003, offers 16 rooms with central heating, private bathroom –W.C., phone, T.V. & air conditioning at competitive prices. It is located just a few meters from Rafina’s port, approximately one hour away from down town Athens and less than 30 minutes from “Eleftherios Venizelos” airport, fact that makes it the unique gateway to the islands, the ideal spot for vacations and the right place to stay, even for business travelers that need to be close to the town, the airport and even close to nature.
Rafina is mainly known as a port near Athens, one of the largest in Greece, with ferries for Evia & the Aegean islands, offering picturesque beaches and an active nightlife. Few people, however, know the history of this community of Asia Minor refugees. Rafina or “Arafinidon Alon” (back in the ancient times) has its roots in prehistoric times and more specifically in pre-hellenic times. Just south of Rafina, archaeologists have discovered a unique vase with a dog painted on it, dated back to 2800 B.C. In Rafina you will also find the ancient temple of Artemis Tavropolos.
The modern history of the port really begun early this century when the Asia Minor catastrophe forced the Greek government to give land in the area to the refugees who arrived in Greece from Triglia, a city near Prousa in Asia Minor. It was early 1924 when the community began to be built near the plantation of Alexandros Skouze between Rafina and Pikermi. The memories of that period are bitter as the difficult living conditions in tents & the diseases have caused vital problems to the refugees. When cultivating the land and building up has started, things changed rapidly for the better.
The port has grown dangerously, taking over entire beaches & rocky areas where the best beaches in Attica were used to be. Nevertheless, the port of Rafina has not yet lost its picturesque appearance with fish taverns offering fresh catches from the small local fishing boats. The beautiful beaches are also not completely lost, despite the development of the port. There are beautiful beaches with crystal clear water, stretching from Agios Nikolaos to Ble Limanaki (Blue Harbor) or larger beaches such as Ble Limanaki itself, Kokkino Limanaki (Red Harbor) to Mati and Marikes on the road to Loutsa. The best time to visit all these beautiful beaches is on weekdays, when they are a lot less crowded.
A walk towards “Aghios Nikolaos” (the landmark of Rafina) just before sundown is something that should not be missed. The small white church reminds one of the churches in the Cyclades islands and is built where Aghia Marina (the old Italian fort) was located at the hill overlooking the harbor. The view from there is impressive during the evening, with thousands of lights twinkling from Nea Makri & Marathon, to Evia and its ports Stira and Marmari.
Rafina offers a number of restaurants, fish taverns, cafeterias, bars & outdoor cinema to pass the time. To reach Rafina, take the bus from Athens, at Mavromateon 29 (“Pedio tou Areos” Park) and for information call at 210.821.0872. For the ferry boat schedules call the Rafina Port Authority at 22940-22300. The police in Rafina can be reached at 22940-22100, town hall at 22940-24444 and taxi station at 22940-23101.