Greece Travel Guides for Backpackers

Best Places to Visit in the Peloponnese Peninsula

The Peloponnese (or Peloponnesus) is a peninsula in southern Greece, a place full of mysteries and myths, archaeological sites and wonderful beaches, a place that has so much to offer so that it can please any type of traveller. Below you can find the must-see places in Messinia and Laconia regions of the Peloponnese, including the Mani Peninsula. The Peloponnese is a great destination for those travellers who want to find an equilibrium between the pleasure of going to the beach and the one of admiring the cultural heritage of a place. Kalamata Kalamata is the capital and largest city of the Messinia region. Kalamata International Airport (situated about 11 km away from the city, in Messini), although very small, operates some international flights, as well as domestic flights to Athens and Thessaloniki. Kalamata Old Town, after having been almost destroyed by the Ottomans during the War of Independence and then rebuilt by French around 1830, was then destroyed again in 1986 by an earthquake. Miraculously, Kalamata’s Castle or the Kastro survived the earthquake and it can still be visited, offering a stunning view of the city. Another attraction that cannot be missed is the Church of Ypapantis, which hosts the miraculous icon of Virgin Mary, known as “kalo mata” (“good eye”), from which the city takes its name. Feel free to enjoy a walk on the narrow streets of Kalamata, among souvenir shops and restaurants where you can taste delicious gyros. Sparta and Mystras Sparta is the capital of Laconia region. It is attractive for visitors due to the archaeological site of Ancient Sparta, which offers a glimpse of what once was fearless Sparta. Although the remainings of Ancient Sparta are few, it is worth visiting the site (and it is free!) and it is interesting to admire from above the “new” Sparta. Mystras is about 6 km away from Sparta and the truth is that most of the people visit Sparta on their way to Mystras because Mystras is a fortified town that served as the capital of the Byzantine Despotate of the Morea in the 14th and 15th centuries and it experienced great prosperity. The town is a huge complex of ruins (libraries, monasteries, palace, fortress), but there are also a few churches in good condition. In 1989, Mystras fortified town was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The visit takes at least 3 hours, so make sure you have comfortable shoes and water. For those of you passionate about history and architecture, this place will be a paradise. Monemvasia and Kastania Cave Monemvasia offers both history and sea. Once you arrive there you will be immediately fascinated by the huge rock linked to the mainland (Gefyra) by a causeway. Monemvasia was part of the continent until 375 d.C. when an earthquake separated it, transforming it into an island. Monemvasia was a powerful medieval fortress and its area consists of a large plateau, about 100 m above sea level, 300 m wide and 1 km long. It […]

Traveling on a budget: Thessaloniki, Greece

Are you young and broke, but still refusing to empty your suitcase and settle down? Then, Thessaloniki, Greece, is probably the perfect place for you. Located at the point of the Balkans, in the South-East of Europe, Greece is a wonderful place for tourists, but usually known for the fancy nightlife in Mykonos and the luxurious 5-star hotels on the romantic island of Santorini. However, Thessaloniki is here to give a different point of view on Greece and make you make the best out of your experience, with the lowest budget possible. If you’re lucky enough to visit the city by spring, summer or early fall, then good news for you, the weather will most likely help your experience to rock! Here you can find 3 alternatives of things to do, depending on who you are and what you like doing. ”Nea Paralia” in Thessaloniki translated as ”New Beach” Coffee and morning plans If you are one of those morning people who cannot handle a whole of a day without a cup of coffee outside in the sun, then Thessaloniki will not disappoint you. In probably every central street you can find coffee shops, but the prices will not always be that kind to you, especially if you enjoy looking at the sea while you rest and have your drink. However, you can always get your drink for a takeaway, from mini coffee shops that sell coffee only for the go, and you will be surprised of how cheaper it can get. Plus, these little coffee places are almost everywhere. Take your drink and don’t lose the chance to sit somewhere around the White Tower” and ”Nea Paralia”, for some refreshing sea air and warm sun, while enjoying your beverage. Keep in mind that Greeks love cold iced coffee and if the temperature is getting red, you’re gonna need one, too! Evening/night out ideas If you consider yourself a night owl and you enjoy a cold beer or a refreshing soda drink in the evenings and at nights, but you don’t afford fancy nights out and cocktails, then why not buying your drink from the market instead? Many places of the city become the attraction of people, for those late hours when one wants to enjoy the company of people and share a drink with friends. All along the sea line, on city benches and parks, there are always people hanging out, but there are 2 specific places where you always know there will be someone, even if you don’t have company: ”Ano Poli” and the port of Thessaloniki. Ano Poli ”Ano Poli”, literally meaning ”Upper city”, is located on the top of the city, next to the castles that once used to protect it. Having a panoramic view of the whole city and the sea around it, ”Ano poli” is not only recommended for having your beer at, but also for visiting at any moment. However, when the sun goes down, it always gets even […]

Rhodes Island, Greece – Best beaches, nightlife, and more!

Beautiful beaches, nightlife, history, gastronomy, nature, music,… Rhodes Island is one of those places which to every curious tourist has something to offer: At the same time cosmopolitan and traditional!   Rhodes is the largest island in the Dodecanese group and the fourth largest Greek island. There are more than 40 beautiful beaches in Rhodes, an international airport, many wonderful landscapes, monasteries, several marinas, and the beautiful UNESCO-protected Old Town. Rhodes is not only the name of the island but also the capital of the island. The island of Rhodes is surrounded by the  Aegean Sea, and the interior of the island is surrounded by the smell of pine and cypress. There is also a mountain in the inner part of the island – Ativiros (Attavyros), whose summit is at 1,215 meters above sea level. Diagoras International Airport is located on Rhodes Island. Diagoras is Greece’s fourth-largest passenger airport. The airport is a half-hour drive from Rhodes city. You can reach the city by taxi, rented car, or with a bus (which I recommend as cheaper, but surely it is full of people during the whole season). The price for one ride with a bus is 2 euros. Island of the sun – This island is sunny for almost 300 days in a year, so the rain here will certainly not surprise you during the summer. Anyway, you have to be prepared for wind! West coast is windier, beaches aren’t so good and of course, the sea is wild. The eastern side is far calmer, but usually warmer as well, and it can be ideal. Rhodes’ largest and eponymous city is located in the northeast of the island. It is also the most visited by tourists, but there are other smaller cities as well as traditional Greek villages worth visiting. Rhodes is known to the world for Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. In addition to Greek culture, the remains of Turkish culture can be recognized here too. Best beaches in Rhodes island Beaches that are mentioned below are NOT on the windy side of the island. Elli beach Sandy beach,  located in Rhodes town with a walking distance from the city center. This beach is very popular with its closeness, but also by various beach bars and good organization. It is also suitable for children. Tsambika beach Located 25km south of Rhodes town. It is a long, sandy, organized beach, with plenty of beach bars and restaurants. One part of this beach is intended for watersports. The water is turquoise blue and very clear, it can be ideal for chilling and for families with children. Faliraki beach Located 16km south of Rhodes town, well-organized beach, popular for families with children, sandy and long. It is close to many restaurants and taverns. My favorite 2 Saint Paul’s bay beach Located in Lindos, 48km south of Rhodes town. Small, but perfectly cozy, sandy beach. It’s a little harder to get to, but once you get there […]

Travel Guide to Mykonos in 2019

Mykonos Islands are one of the best islands in Greece, where it is most enjoyable during the summer because of its beautiful beaches. Most people know Mykonos because of its great nightlife and beautiful beaches. This is an island you should consider if you are looking for romantic holidays and if you need to know more about Greek culture. Mykonos can be a great destination for people travelling as groups, families, and alone. If you are looking for a place to visit during the summer, which I recommend you do, below is an ultimate travel guide on how you can enjoy Mykonos to the maximum in 2019. Language and Currency Language can be a limiting factor when planning a trip to a foreign country. The two most used languages in Mykonos are Greek and English. This means that if you are an English speaker you will have an easy time communicating with the locals. Compared to other European destinations, Greece is cheaper. The currency used is the Euro, where the current conversion gives you €.86 in Euros for $1, which means you will get €86 Euros for $100 Dollars.  Although Greek is cheaper than other countries, Mykonos is a little bit pricier compared to other islands. You should thus avoid staying at the premium hotels and consider accommodation near beach hotels and eating at restaurants in Little Venice. Most hotels and restaurants accept debit and credit cards, but you should bring a lot of money for public transportations and small purchases. Moving around Mykonos For you to avoid a lot of hustles in Mykonos, it is recommendable that you stay close to town. There are cheap/affordable apartments in areas such as Lakka Square, which is near all restaurants and shops. Staying closer to the beach than the town would make you pay a premium because beaches are a few miles from Mykonos town centre. There are several modes of transports that one can use to move from the town to the beaches. The common forms of public transport are buses, taxis, and renting a scooter. You can rent a scooter for the time you plan to stay in the islands, with this being the most recommended since it would allow you to move easily to different beaches on the island. Scooters in Mykonos A breathtaking Mykonos beach  Visit Agios Sostis! A trip to Mykonos would not be complete without visiting its beautiful beaches. The beach I found most attractive and interesting is Agios Sostis. You can have an incredible time on the beautiful beach by enjoying the crystal-clear blue water and basking in the sun. Depending on the time you will spend on the Island, Agios Sostis should be your first beach. Starting the visit right to the Island right will determine whether you are going to enjoy the visit or not. So with the Agios Sostis beach setting the bar pretty high, you will be able to imagine the kind of experience you will get. Agios Sostis is a bit […]

City Break: A long weekend in Athens

The home of many key elements that form civilisation as we still know it today, Greece is a spectacular destination to immerse yourself in awe-inspiring history and culture, serene scenery and excellent gastronomy. The capital, Athens, is the ideal city break for experiencing a cool contemporary scene in surroundings steeped in ancient history that were enjoyed by some of the greatest thinkers of our time. I first came to Athens as a tourist and have now made it my home; from the major attractions to the deeper layers of this fascinating city, here are my top tips for making the most of your time in Athens.   Things To Do Historical Site -The Parthenon From many places in the city, your view of the skyline will include arguably the most important historical site in Greece, the Parthenon. Set on a rocky outcrop, the Parthenon is actually the crown of the wonder that is the Acropolis, a hillside dotted with historic buildings and archaeological sites dating back to 5th Century BC. It is a wonderful place to marvel at the advanced architecture of the time, as well as soak up the significance of these theatres and temples. To complete the experience, the artefacts and explanations in the Acropolis Museum enhance the story and certainly gave me an insight into Ancient Greece and the modern country that exists today. Summer Drinks on a rooftop terrace Its common in Greece to spend a few hours drinking coffee with friends, and with so many fabulous cafes in superb locations, you’ll be missing out if you don’t join the Athenians in one of their favourite pastimes. In the summer months opt for cold coffee such as freddo cappuccino or frappe. Take a stroll around the flea markets and pretty streets of Plaka and Monastiraki before choosing your spot, for an extra special experience find a table on a rooftop terrace. Although Athens is a bustling capital city, you can still find a tranquil green space in the National Gardens. Situated behind the parliament at Syntagma, the park offers a number of pathways leading to small lakes, statues and interesting flora and fauna. Exploring Athens Greek Cuisine There are two things that have helped me get to know Athens and see it for the magnificent city that it is: exploring the neighbourhoods and tasting the excellent local food. Visiting the big attractions will have given you a flavour of a few neighbourhoods, including the wide avenues containing political residences near the parliament, and the colourful and quaint streets of Monastiraki and Plaka. Experience the variety of Athens by exploring other areas; for food and drink I would recommend Kolonaki and Psyrri. The first offers chic and sophisticated hotspots and the second, a pleasing range of vibrant, modern bars and traditional tavernas. While a Greek salad will form a good starting point for your meals, don’t miss out on the fantastic flavours to be found in the fresh calamari and octopus dishes, Greek classics such as  (stuffed […]

Know your wine in Megalochori, Santorini

To be honest when I found out I was going to Santorini, Greece the only thing I really pictured was drinking wine at dusk with a beautiful sunset, stunning ocean views, a warm clifftop breeze and maybe a few nibbles (to stave off the inevitable danger of being wine-drunk). Oh boy was I not disappointed! Despite the size of the island (roughly 76km2), Santorini is able to produce quite a large amount of wine which, with the influx in population brought by tourists and the locals drinking nothing else, never leaves the island. Elsewhere in the world the wines of Santorini are one of the most expensive, apart from those made in Champagne, but inside the island they are cheap and plentiful. Everywhere sells good wine, for low prices and it really can become a habit; sharing a half Litre at lunch… The Grapes What makes the wine of Santorini so special is not just the breathtaking surroundings but the grapes themselves. Wherever you look on your travels around the island you will see brown fields with what looks like baskets in them, stretching across hills or tucked in-between buildings. The baskets are formed by weaving grape vines together over many years. The husks of which are sometimes used for decorations in bars and houses, once they have given their last harvest. Come the summer, these basket filled fields are covered with little green tendrils, which are woven into the structure and then, eventually, come grapes; which grow inside the protective older vines of the plant. Growing grapes in this way, close to the unusually fertile soil and packed together, is a Santorini-specific technique which protects the grapes from the strong sea winds, keeps in moisture and gives the grapes their characteristic sweet and punchy flavour. This makes the wine itself quite sweet and pretty high in alcohol. The Wine and drinking culture Vinsanto is the name given to wine made in the traditional style: the grapes are harvested late in the season and left in the sun for up to two weeks, they are then crushed and left to age in oak barrels for at least two years. This wine is strong, coming in at around 9% ABV, which is a lot considering most supermarkets sell it in 1.5L plastic bottles (normal sized bottles are also available). Taste-wise they are usually sweet, with all the complexities of a dessert wine but are just tart enough to have with your main course. Some styles of wine (Nykteri) are traditionally harvested at night, to avoid the scorching heat of the day, this wine is still dry but more delicate than the rest. When at a winery or looking for bottles to take home, tasters are encouraged, as are small snacks with the wine. Culturally the locals don’t go somewhere to drink without eating, so small plates are always provided when you order a glass of wine. The combination of fresh sea air, sun and stunning views, paired with traditional techniques makes […]

Athens beyond Acropolis: A guide to the neighborhoods

I feel a traveler in Athens even though I live there for more than 10 years. When I moved to Athens I was overwhelmed. I had to get to know a big, chaotic, complex extremely interesting city. OMG, how you can do it? I started with my then neighborhood, Kypseli, later I got to know the nearby Exarcheia and so on.  After so many years, I still feel I know nothing about Athens. It’s a city that constantly changes, people move in and out, districts are in or out, neighborhoods are hip, or not anymore, quickly and unexpectedly. If you are visiting Athens and you read an article written in 2017, please don’t believe a thing. A lot of what you read maybe is not accurate anymore. Visitors are now staying everywhere because of Airbnb. So, in case you have already read a lot about Plaka, Monastiraki, and Thisio, what about discovering something about Kypseli or Kolonaki? Exarcheia It’s the most controversial, politically active, anarchist friendly district of Athens. It has a long history of political activism and most of the riots initiate here. Residents and anarchist communities actively support immigrants and refugees through solidarity, instead of philanthropy. In Exarcheia took place the Polytechneio (National Technical University of Athens) uprising in November 1973, during the military junta (dictatorship). That is one of the most important events of the modern history of Greece. More recently (December 2007), in Exarcheia, a policeman killed Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 16-year-old boy. Huge riots followed the killing and now unofficially the street is named after the kid. Subway: Omonoia or Victoria Stations Some sightseeing: Most likely you are going to visit Exarcheia in order to explore the National Archaeological Museum. Don’t skip it! Strefi hill is worth your visit also, especially if you fancy long walks in parks. My personal favorites: The self-managed Nacarinou Park. It was meant to be parking, but Exarcheia local community has transformed the place into an admirable mini-green park. The mouth-watering vegan souvlaki of Coocoomela. Kypseli Maybe Kypseli is the less touristy of all the neighborhoods mentioned in this article. It is quite unlikely for a tourist to be there. Kypseli has evolved into a multicultural neighborhood, due to the many immigrant families who live within its borders. It’s packed with small theatres, cinemas, and art spaces. Fokionos Negri pedestrian street used to be a hip area during the 80s. Now it’s still full of cafes and restaurants, but most of the Athenians forgot its existence. The last years there is an effort to recreate Kypseli and the results are impressive. Now on you can find hip bars and interesting taverns full of the young residents of the area. Subway: Victoria Station Some sightseeing: Located at the Fokionos Negri pedestrian street, the Kypseli’s Municipal Market is a unique phenomenon. It is claimed to be the first Market of Social Entrepreneurship. Try to find an event taking place there, or just visit it for some alternative shopping. My personal favorites: Agiou Georgiou […]

Santorini, Greece: The Island of Ethereal Sunsets

As the plane was landing in Oia, Santorini, scenes from the movie Mama Mia were playing in my mind while I looked out of the plane window. I couldn’t stop picturing the ageless Meryl Streep dancing and singing with her girl pals on the island. My husband and I couldn’t wait to step out of the airport and witness the magical island with our own eyes. We completed the airport formalities and rushed out to meet our cab driver sent by our hotel management. Sadly, we couldn’t see much as night had fallen upon us. After a long drive, we reached our destination. we had picked a hotel with a Caldera view in Oia. Oia Oia is a quirky little village situated in the North West edge on the island, filled with endless stairs, throngs of people, fluffy cats, donkeys and romantic sunsets. It’s known for whitewashed buildings with bright blue domes. The hotels in this area are infamous for being over-priced but it’s possible to find reasonable hotels if proper research is done in advance. We had booked a lovely hotel with the help of “Tripadvisor”. Renting rooms/apartments through Airbnb is another wonderful option. We had travelled in October which was off-season. The island wasn’t filled with a horde of tourists, the weather was pleasant and we had got a fair price for the hotel room. Oia The view from our balcony room We climbed down hundreds of stone stairs in order to reach our hotel. Tired and weary we went to sleep as it was quite late at night. I gasped and stared in awe by the view that greeted me in the morning. Postcard blue sky and crystal clear sea, flanked by pure white houses, which were littered with vibrant bougainvillaea. It was even more alluring than I had imagined. A lot of our evenings were spent in our balcony while sipping greek wine and munching on an assortment of cheeses that were bought from a well-stocked convenience store nearby. Some evenings, we ate Souvlaki which is popular Greek street food and watched the sun go down. Stone paved paths We had a greek breakfast at the hotel balcony which overlooked the sea while a black tabby cat meowed at my feet asking for morsels of food from my plate. There was freshly baked bread, plump fruits, sour cream, cold-cuts of meats, tzatziki and tart teacakes accompanied with a strong cup of coffee. After the heavenly breakfast, we climbed up the stairs and reached a market with enthusiastic sellers. There was something for everyone. Handmade soaps, fridge magnets, silver jewellery which was embedded with precious stones, lava stone and coral jewellery, Greek spices, olive oil, clothes etc. We found a quaint bookshop called “Atlantis Books”. The shop owner was extremely helpful. He told us about some good restaurants and spots in Oia that had to be visited. We learned about a picturesque 3-hour hike to Fira and got tips on witnessing the sunset. Every evening crowds gathered […]

Top things to do in Aegina: the lesser known Greek Island

Somewhere amongst the Saronic Islands of Greece lies one more-or-less untouched by tourism. Deserted boats lay on the side of the road, locals gather around fruit stalls beside the sea, and the sun blazes down on a small quad-bike rental store. Welcome to Aegina where, outside of high season, the island remains tourist-free, with a plethora of secret beauties to explore.   Part of the Saronic Islands of Greece   “I imagined it tropical here,” Mary-Lou said to a car full of people in mid-June. “But it’s really just a desert surrounded by Mediterranean water.” I stared at the road ahead, navigating potholes as I went and trying not to incite stress into the group of adult-adults that I was chauffeuring. As twenty-four, I was also an adult, just not an adult-adult. Mary-Lou had flown from San Francisco to Athens earlier in the week, taking the Dolphin speed boat out to the island to meet us – and she had been expecting Hawaii. We were past the growing season, I told her – despite knowing olives were ripening all around us. But we knew what she meant as I took the coastline road that wound around the low dusty mountains further inland. The fauna was hard, dark green, and often prickly, whilst the sun glared off the stone paving. For Sarah and I, this was our third year on the island; a place we came to each late-spring thanks to Sarah’s grandmother who had run away from England fifty years ago to live in the village of Aiga Marina, Aegina Island. Each time we came, the week we spent there had a different atmosphere, a different story to tell that changed us in some way, giving us the strength to return home somewhat renewed. Normally we came in April, when the weather was cool; this year we were blistering under the white hot sunshine. Most people going to Greece have a number of cities or island on their radar that they know as the places to go. If you’re looking for somewhere less touristic, more secret and personal, come to Aegina.   The first thing one notices upon arrival is the feeling of having drifted into another time period. Not necessarily one that can be pinpointed, but more so just a feeling of no longer living in the modern society of fast-paced, high-growth organisation. There is something languid, laid-back, like maybe the rules don’t apply so much here. Especially when you leave the main port town of Aegina Town, which is touristic even in April, and move further around the island.   Agia Marina (Eye-ah Marina)   On the other side from Aegina Town, Agia Marina is one little high-street, made up of cafe-bars, little restaurants and shops selling Greek linen blouses. Come in April and the shops will be not yet be open, still waiting for the season to begin. The main street follows the curve of the coast and at intervals offers a little pathway down to the […]

Rhodes: a magnificent vacation to Knights' island in Greece

Rhodes is one of the hottest destinations in Greece, totally recommended to visit, as it combines unique sightseeing, magnificent outdoor activities, nightlife, golden sand beaches, and delicious gastronomic experiences. Situated in the South Aegean Sea, Rhodes is also known as “the island of the knights,” due to its old medieval town built in 1309 a.C. It is the place to be during summertime vacation, either you are traveling alone or with family and friends.   Mandrake Harbor, Rhodes island, Greece   Top Sights of Rhodes Castello Castello is the biggest medieval city in Europe that stands out for its picturesqueness. It is not only the ideal place for couples’ romantic promenades but also a vibrant town with proverbial nightlife. Since the Town is one of the most important monuments of the world’s cultural heritage, do not forget to visit its special architectural spots, apart from enjoying shopping and food. The Knights’ Castle, the Old Clock, Acropolis, the Temple of Zeus and Aphrodite, the Stadium, the Great Wizard’s Palace, the Orthodox Church of Saint Fanourios which is deep inside an old city cave, the Archaeological and the Byzantine Museum, and the Old Armory, are just a few of the “must visit” places during your stroll in Castello.   Grand Wizard’s Palace, Old City of Rhodes, Greece Lindos Lindos is an ancient navy city, situated 30 km from the city of Rhodes. Take a stroll in the small stone-paved streets to see the houses' traditional architecture, shop souvenirs, enjoy Greek delicacies and drink Greek ice coffee (frape coffee) while watching the romantic sunset. Don’t forget to visit the Acropolis, as the view from up there is extraordinary, but above all, relax, enjoy or even fall in love in one of the most charming and romantic places in Greece.   Rhodes island, Lindos City, Greece Rhodes’ Casino Rhodes is one of the most cosmopolitan destinations, thus during your vacation do visit the first Casino ever existed in Greece, which runs on the island since 1930. You can find it inside the Grande Albergo Delle Rose hotel and to get there, take the bus from downtown or a taxi. Inside the Casino, you will find many slots and 34 different board games. Be aware that only visitors over 23 years old can enter Rhodes' Casino.   Nature and outdoor activities. The Butterflies' Valley From June to September, millions of cute butterflies leave their eggs in this valley of extravagant beauty, which is situated 20 km southeast of the Rhodes city. While standing still, the butterflies become brown to stimulate the tree bole and protect themselves from their enemies but when flying their wings become black and red. Crossing the valley and surround yourselves by them is one of the most charming experiences. Don’t forget to bring your cameras to capture this unique spectacle, but in all cases do not use flash. Human intervention has significantly reduced the population of butterflies over the past years, so remember not to smoke or make noise and […]

Must See Ancient Ruins in Greece

Ancient historical sites are scattered all throughout Greece from the mainland to its many islands. Monumental temples, ancient athletic stadiums, impressive theaters, ancient seaside towns—every traveler and history lover should experience these amazing sites built by the ancient Greeks! As a Classicist I am excited to share a few of my favorite ancient ruins all around Greece, from the well-known Acropolis to the lesser known preserved city of Rhamnous. Athenian Acropolis Thousands of people each year travel to Athens and make the steep climb up the Acropolis. But what is the Acropolis exactly? For modern visitors this site is a hilltop of magnificent monuments. For the ancients this was the center of Greek religion. The Acropolis, which translates from Ancient Greek to mean “highest point of the city,” at one time housed dozens of small and large temples/shrines. The remaining temples were built in the mid-5th century B.C.E by a man named Pericles. After the devastation of the Persian Wars the Athenians wanted to show their perseverance through a massive building program. The Erectheion This is a stunning temple due to the Caryatids, the larger than life sculpted females whose own heads support the roof above them. This temple marks the sacred place where according to mythology Athena and Poseidon fought for the right to be patron of the city. Poseidon threw down his trident and in the spot where it landed he left a salt water well, offering a spring to the Athenians. Athena on the other hand offered them the olive tree, which was much more useful. A hole was left in one of the porches of this temple, which represents the place where Poseidon’s trident fell. An olive tree also stands beside the temple—even though it is a modern tree I like to think it was the one left by Athena! Parthenon Pictures simply don’t do this monument justice. It’s huge! One of the reasons why the ancient Greeks revered this temple was because of the unique size—temples were not normally built to be that large and it is amazing that it still stands for us to awe at today. The Parthenon was also famous for the statue dedicated to Athena Parthenos, “Athena the Virgin.” This statue stood at 37 ft 9 in on a pedestal 4 by 8 meters and was made of gold and ivory. Unfortunately, the statue no longer survives—but you are in luck (if you can make it to Nashville, TN)! Nashville was once the grounds for the World’s Fair and built a replica of the Parthenon with the statue inside. We have descriptions of the statue which allows us to believe this replica is accurate and to stare in disbelief as the ancients once did. You should also take time to visit the Acropolis museum right beside the Acropolis, which houses various statues and the artistic friezes which once decorated the Parthenon. Temple of Poseidon at Sounion Let’s step away from the hustle and bustle of Athens for a moment. This next […]

Kyllini: One of the most beautiful and undiscovered Greek beaches

In the south of Greece, in the region of Peloponnese, there is a not-so-well-known district called Kyllini, which is waiting to be your next paradise this summer. The locals call it “Golden Beach”, because of its golden sand and sunsets. The beach there is vast, expanding to a really long coast that covers many communities and villages. The destination is ideal for those who seek pure beauty and tranquility. It is really well-known among tourists who find the location via big tourism agencies that take them there for their all-inclusive vacations, but not so much among free travelers. I have spent many of my summers there as a kid with my family bathing in the shallow calm waters, as a teenager with my friends camping and as an adult working in one of its hotels. I can totally say that this place can charm you whatever age you are. Let’s see why it’s worthy for you to check it or even add it to your bucket list. Accomodation for all types of travelers The area can cover everyone’s needs and budgets. Some young people do free-camping in Arkoudi, others do it organized, in special campsites of Golden beach, with all the amenities included (showers, bar-restaurant, minimarket, fridges etc.), while people who have children prefer all-inclusive resorts or smaller pensions/rooms to let. Just open your accommodation search engines, google the area and the choices are all there open to you! Sunsets The sunset is amazing and you don’t even have to pay it as expensive as in Santorini. Ancient Olympia The place is only 55 minutes drive from Ancient Olympia, the archeological site where the Olympic Games started in the ancient times. Any Greek lover, who has an idea of Greek history can tell that Olympia is a major Greek-to-do, as its historical legacy is perhaps the most significant after the Acropolis. Nearby villages The villages across the coast are so cute and picturesque, full of tradition. You can check out Arkoudi for instance, an ideal place for Greek food and chilled cocktails by the beach, or Kastro, a traditional village with a castle on the top. Castle Tornese has been occupied by lots of different colonizers of the area. Originally built by the French as a fort in 1220, was later occupied by the Venetians, Byzantines, Turks. Today it is also open as an archeological site and if you are lucky, you can even find it open on a summer’s night, in case it hosts any concert or if it’s a full moon. Kyllini Port= more trips Kyllini has its own port, connecting itself with the popular Greek islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia and Ithaca. So it can never be a waste of your time going there, as you can combine your trip with other famous destinations. Zakynthos is famous for the Shipwreck and the Blue Caves, beaches that have been awarded as some of the world’s top. Also, Dionysios Solomos was born there, the national Greek poem, who wrote the Greek national […]

Top 7 Things To Do In Thessaloniki Greece

Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece but I wonder why most tourists don't go there! It’s a beautiful city with a very different history from the rest of Greece and I absolutely recommend a visit. Read on to know the top 7 things you must do when in Thessaloniki, Greece!   1. Take in the Panoramic View of the City from Trigonio Tower The Trigonio Tower is a Byzantine monument that is part of the City Walls of Thessaloniki. It is also known as the Triangle Tower. From here, you get to see a beautiful view of the city of Thessaloniki, right up to the waterfront. The City Walls originally surrounded the City on all sides, including the south sea-facing part of the city, which was demolished during the 19th century. Today, you can still see a lot of the wall structures in the Northern & Eastern side of the city.   2. Awaken your soul at the Churches of Agios Dimitrios and Agia Sophia Church of Agios Dimitrios (also Hagios Demetrios) is a church dedicated to the protector saint of Thessaloniki, Saint Dimitrios. The Church is built upon a Roman Bath and you can see the remains of the structure in the underground Crypt. It is here that Saint Dimitrios was imprisoned and killed around 303 A.D. The temple is a perfect sample of the Byzantine Architecture and was also turned into a mosque during the Ottoman rule. While the church is open till late, the crypt closes in the afternoon for some time. It would be best to visit it before 1 pm. Agia Sophia (also, Hagia Sophia) is one of the oldest churches in the city and is adorned with décor from the Byzantine period & Ottoman rule. The walls are painted with floral motifs in the lower half – from when it was turned into a Mosque, while the gold mosaic and frescos from the original Church were left untouched and can be seen towards the upper half of the Church, still in good condition. There are many churches in Thessaloniki. Depending on your love for Byzantine Architecture and/or the time you have, you could also visit – Church of Panagia Chalkeon, Church of the Acheiropoietos, Church of Hosios David and Church of Prophet Elijah, all within a radius of 1 km from Agios Dimitrios   3. Have a meal at Aristoteleous Square Aristoteleous Square is the city’s main square and was designed by French architect Ernest Hébrard. It is located right opposite the city’s waterfront and is a great place to park yourself down at one of the many cafés for a nice meal!   4. Admire the Beauty of The Arch Of Galerius and The Rotunda The Arch Of Galerius (also known as Kamara) was built in early 4th Century AD along with the Rotunda and the Galerius Palace. It has intricate marble carvings (that depict a story) and is absolutely stunning.   The palace remains can be found to the south-west of […]

Enjoy Thessaloniki like the locals do

It’s very likely that you haven’t heard of this place before- understandable. Greece is famous for Santorini, Rhodes, Mykonos, Athens… Thessaloniki? While it’s not popular with people from non-European continents, Thessaloniki still gets millions of visitors from Balkan countries every summer, mostly because it’s just a drive away and also cause it’s a cheap travel destination. It’s Greece’s second biggest city and even though it has the full package, it gets overlooked quite a lot. When in Thessaloniki, slow down. Here’s what you need to know about how things work in Thessaloniki. There’s a saying in Greek, “siga-siga”. It translates to “slowly-slowly”. That’s how everything goes in this city. People don’t rush for any reason. Try to walk fast on Tsimiski street and you’ll quickly realise that you look like an alien. Therefore, remember “siga-siga”. It’s ok to be late for events and common to wait in lines in stores for 10 full minutes. Greeks are extroverted people. The one thing that most people find surprising when they visit Thessaloniki, is the coffee culture. Not just the coffee itself, but the culture surrounding it. It’s a must for people to go out for a coffee with their friends AT LEAST once per day. Why? Well, the average Greek is a huge extrovert. They have to catch up with their friends- even though they caught up yesterday- and the day before! This is the reason that you can find a coffee shop everywhere. There are hundreds of thousands of them, for every kind of person. The most popular ones are on Leoforos Nikis street, right the sea. The “frappe”. What would a city that savours coffee so much do without its own coffee? Italians have espresso and so Thessalonikians have ‘’frappe’’. Yes, that’s a French word and it means “shaken”. This is a cold coffee that’s light and you’re obligated to drink it slowly. The funny thing about this coffee is that it was invented by accident, during the annual international exhibition of Thessaloniki, in the 1950s. If you’re visiting the city in September, it’s worth to pay a visit to. There’s all sorts of exhibitions, free food and of course, the museum of frappe!   If you’re a foodie, this is the place for you. There’s a little bit of everything in Thessaloniki, and it’s more about the quality than the quantity and of course, it HAS to be cheap. You’ll eat the best tikka masala of your life but you’ll have to visit the same place if you want to eat it again. Besides foreign foods, Thessaloniki is quite famous for its own foods. It’s hard to say no to a “bougatsa”, a “melomakarono”, a “spanakopita” or a “trigono panoramatos”. You’ll see people selling a bread-type-of-thing all across the streets, called “koulouri”, it’s very cheap and delicious. If you’re in the mood for something more savoury, you can’t skip on the now worldwide famous “gyros”. Gyros is a warm piece of pita bread with tzatziki sauce that’s hugging freshly grilled […]

8 top places to visit in Corfu: for travelers with a car

What got us to Corfu? Actually, the last minute flight tickets for a very good price, Greek food and beaches. And also the curiosity, because although I have heard about this island, I didn’t know where it is. We landed in Corfu airport at the end of the March. This time is an off-season, but very perfect time, if you want to avoid tourists and have a nice weather as well. So at first, a little bit about Corfu (also called Kerkyra). This is an island in Greece, belonging to Ionian islands, situated in the north-west side of the country. With a little bit more than 100 thousand inhabitants. It’s really not big. We rented a car for the full 4 days and it’s perfectly enough time to visit all the main attractions and drive around the whole island, without even changing the accommodation spot. So here are the 8 top places worth visiting, while you are in Corfu and you have rented a car for at least several days. You can put your order of these according to the place on the map. #8 Achillion palace This big palace is situated in a middle of an island, more on the east seaside. There is a beautiful garden outside of the palace and a panoramic view of the Corfu city. Inside the palace, there are a lot of mirrors and fancy furniture. Everything here feels really royal and luxurious. It’s a little bit history behind it. In the 19th century the Empress of Austria, also known as Sisi, after visiting Corfu, decided that this is the great place to build the palace of her own, to have a great getaway spot during vacation. And also to show how she admires Greece, especially it’s culture. Achillion palace #7 Canal d’Amour If you haven’t seen any kind of seaside formations, rocks and caves like that, you should definitely go there. Canal d’Amour is in the north side of the island, in Sidari village, located 36 km from the Corfu town. According to the traditions, couples who swim through the canals will likely get married soon. So grab your lover’s hand and go for it! Also, there is a nice beach nearby, with sandy shores and crystal clear water. Canal D'Amour #6 Palaiokastritsa Maybe you want to have even more perfect beach day? You need to go to Palaiokastritsa beaches then. They are situated in the north-east side of the island, in several cosy bays, offering a variety of activities (like renting a boat, visit aquarium, snorkel, hiking) and some Greek traditional tavernas nearby. One of the most beautiful beach there is Agios Spiridon (also one of the most beautiful in Corfu), surrounded by green hills. The water is a nice turquoise blue colour and very clear. Agios Spiridon beach #5 Donkey Rescue centre I think the nicest initiative in Corfu island is Donkey Rescue centre. This place is held on a […]

How to Travel to Mykonos on a Budget

Mykonos is a world-known Greek island, and one of the favorite places of many celebrities. Even though there are many other Greek islands that are equally or even more beautiful than Mykonos, this one is the most popular among foreigners. People from America and Australia come all way through Mykonos, travel many hours to spend their summer vacation in this magnificent place. Since there are so many wealthy people from all over the globe, Mykonos is more expensive than other islands and places in Greece.  If you have dreamed to spend your summer holiday on this VIP island, your dream may come true.  I have recently traveled to Mykonos with a limited budget and had a great time. That’s why I would like to share with you tips for travelling to Mykonos and not spending a fortune, based from my personal experience: Transport to the island Flights to Mykonos are very expensive, no matter how early you book a flight. Depending on a country you live in, try to find the cheapest ways to come to Athens instead. If you live in Europe for example, you can find many low cost airlines that offer cheap flight deals. So, buy the airline tickets to Athens as early as you can. The cheapest way to travel from Athens to Mykonos is with a ferryboat, which takes around 4 hours. Of course, there are faster ferries but if you want to cut your transport costs, this is the best way to go. Accommodation on Mykonos The cheapest accommodation in Mykonos is camping. Near one of the most popular beaches on Mykonos, Paradise beach, people often camp out. If you don’t like camping you can try to find cheaper apartments on Booking or Airbnb. Again, you need to book early. You can book at least 6 months in advance and get the lowest price. Many apartments have a free cancellation period, so if something comes up and you need to change travel dates, you can cancel the booking. Another tip for cheap accommodation in Mykonos is to travel with at least three of four friends. The more people are in an apartment, the cheaper is the accommodation. When it comes to location of your accommodation, it is better to stay in downtown or at least the outskirts of Chora. If you stay nearby one beach, far away from Chora you will spend more money on transport, every night. I stayed in Chora, 500m from the city centre and very close to the bus stop. I could go on foot at night and catch a bus to go to the beach during the day. Where to Get Cheap Food and drinks  Believe it or not, food and drinks are more expensive at the beaches, than in the Mykonos downtown (Chora). So if you want to save some money on food and drinks, follow this steps: Bring some food with you, like cans and other breakfast food. If you live far away and you can’t bring […]

CHANIA : A secret paradise in the Greek island of Crete

The sun is up and the summer feeling penetrates inside your mind. You have too much work, and projects with deadlines, but you dream that you are on a tropical island and drink your cocktail at the beach. You dream that you seek adventures and live new experiences with your flip-flops, but you don’t know where to go for your summer holidays. Keep calm and put your seatbelt on because I will travel you to the most magical destination. If you are a dreamer and you love exploring the secret corners of the world, let me show you a place that is best for you and is so breathtaking. Chania, can set you free and has a taste of Greece. The wonderful city is located on the Greek island of Crete, and it is like magic. I visited it before two years and it was the best experience of my life. Are you ready to begin the journey? A touch of blue calmness: Must see Beaches in Chania Elaphonisi Beach One of the most famous beaches in Crete is the Elafonisi Beach, that is located in the southwestern part of the island. The golden sand touches the crystal turquoise waters and the magical view is undeniably a scene of a fairy-tale. I was so excited when I went there because the combination of the light blue color of the sea and the white sand seems like a paradise on Earth. The aura of this destination it was so calm and positive so I recommend you to visit it. Elafonisi has a distance of 76 km from the center of Chania and you have the opportunity to go there with a car (1.5-hour distance) or with a bus from the center of the town. Seitan Limani And here we are. If you love challenges, it is must visit the most adventurous beach of Chania that called “Seitan Limani Beach”. Be ready to push your limits and feed your adrenaline. You will have the opportunity of testing your heartbeats while you should climb down through big rocks, in order to arrive at the beach. The climbing is the only way to arrive in Seitan Limani because is a secret beach area that is surrounded by huge caves. Unquestionably the breathtaking view and the baby blue colors of the water is worth the effort to take the risk. The amazing beach is located 22.2 km from the center of Chania (38 minutes distance) and you can move there with a car. Balos Have you ever seen pink sand? Yes, you read well. It is not a dream. It is real and it is waiting for you to explore that beautiful creation of God. A beach with clear waters, sand with pink shadows and the view of the horizon, are surely the best way to fulfillment and relax. Balos Beach is a work of art with ocean blue and light green colors that help you to set your soul free. You can move here […]

Ultimate Guide to Athens by Night

  So let’s pretend you’ve done the hop-on-hop-off tour, you’ve had a big fresh juicy Greek salad for lunch, you’ve visited the Acropolis and the museum that is located right underneath it and you’re done with the sightseeing. At least for today. It’s been a warm day, your water bottle needed a refill, you want to get rid of your hat and walking shoes. You’re just about to leave your hotel again after a well-deserved shower. Do you know what I’d suggest? It’s time to explore some hotspots of the city just like a local.   Vrachakia, in Athens (a.k.a Hill of Areopagus) Oh wait, did I just spoil it for you by uploading this image? Nah, you’ll be fine. It’s ten times more captivating when you are actually there, especially during sunset. And it’s all about the atmosphere, the breeze, and the sounds of the city. Okay, it isn’t all the way up to the Acropolis but it’s pretty damn close and you can see it from a short distance. You can go there at any time and it’s free of charge – though be aware of the fact it can get quiet during winter in the dark and slippery if you’re planning to climb up the rocks after a rainy day. The entrance is right near the ticket booth for the Parthenon. My personal favorite time of the year to be there is, obviously, summer. I often find myself and other friends grabbing a couple beers and quick snacks, to go and relax at the end of a hot day. So rewarding! six d.o.g.s, in Monastiraki Yes! Absolutely one of my all-time favorite places for a couple reasons. I’ll point them out right now: Art. Check! Music. Check! Drinks. Check! Garden. Check! I mean, it’s right in the center and so diverse. It’s an all day to all night space for gigs, art projects and has a bar. If you’re a creative person, this is the place to be, and if you’re not a creative person then this is still a cool place to hang out. For you the honors! Six dogs host a variety of live shows and DJ nights in their big indoor garden. It’s so laid back and therefore amazing for chilled summer nights. You should definitely check their facebook page for upcoming events, hopefully when you’re in the city and pay a visit.   iFeel Cafe Restaurant, in Psirri I hear someone say – hungry! Fair play, it has been quite a day for you and what would have been a better way than to eat at this fancy place in Psirri to start the night off right. In all honesty, I would also recommend having breakfast here but more on that in a different post… So, you get yourself a table and enjoy the atmosphere and interior design of the place. With highlights, the ropes hanging and separating the room and the tasty rum. Have a look at the menu and be surprised because there are vegetarian, vegan & […]

The Parties of Ios

Why Greece? No words or pictures can ever do justice to the beautiful Greek islands. The idyllic beaches, turquoise waters, charming villages, and welcoming locals are only a few of the many reasons why visiting the Greek islands should be on your upcoming travel plans. In terms of what islands to visit, I would say eventually you should tour all of them. Every island has something unique to offer and you’re bound to fall in love with the Greek culture with every new spot you tour. One island that will either fuel or reignite your inner wild animal is Ios. Before I continue, I want to make one thing clear: I am not what society categorizes as a ‘partier’ or a crazy ‘socialite.’ In fact, because I lead a healthy lifestyle I tend to stay away from parties as they take me off track. That being said, the parties of Ios are not what you are probably expecting of an island nightlife, and I would go as far as saying Ios may have some of the best parties in the world. Party Culture Ios has a party for everyone, and I mean everyone. From the upbeat music on the beaches that make watersports a celebration, to the dinners with romantic dancefloors, and finally, the indescribable nightlife. Whether you’re a dancer or not, you will spend your time in Ios sporting your best moves. Visitors of all ages can be seen clinking glasses, singing along to their favorite tunes, or dancing dances that are popular from all around the world. You will feel right at home even if home is a long plane or boat ride away. Overlooking the start to my inner party animal at Mylopotas Beach The magic of the nightlife Have I convinced to party in Ios yet? If not, here is a short list of some of the bars and clubs that stuck out to me while dancing through my vacation on this island. Once again, keep in mind that words or pictures do not do justice to the Greek islands. Take my descriptions as a trailer to a 5-star award winning movie. Alt Bar My inner Harry Potter lover came out in this bar. Shooters and cocktails are made with wicked state of the art mixing techniques that feel and look like magic. Baru Bar Stylish and elegant looking, the Dry Ice Cocktails will have you enjoy the night in class. Circus Take the fun and vibrant atmosphere of a circus and put it in an Aussie owned bar where you play drinking games with the bartenders and watch a fire flaring show to light up your night. At circus, your wild animal definitely won’t be tamed! Disco 69 One of the largest and oldest clubs on the island, you can’t go to Ios without dancing to a few songs on the Disco’s dancefloor to be a part of the beginning of the parties of Ios. Lost Boys This Aussie owned bar takes you to Neverland […]

Santorini – perfect guide for a 3 day stay!

Often we come across beautiful international destinations aptly captured in movies and song videos. Santorini is everything and more. How to reach Santorini? We took the quick route in; a flight from Athens did the job pretty well and we reached the airport within an hour of departure. However, if you want to fall in love with the vastness of the Aegean Sea, the ferry to Santorini is a pretty good option, which takes at least four hours. Both the airport and the dock are pretty close to the main town of Fira, which is where most travellers choose to stay. There is a constant flow of Ktel buses at fixed timings, which are coordinated with the flight timings, giving you a hassle-free journey into the beautiful creation of nature. Where to stay? I would recommend an Airbnb Cave house called as Raki Cave. It is a five-minute walk from the main bus station in Fira, and super close to all the restaurants. But this isn’t even the main highlight. The moment you step inside this cave house, which can accommodate three people, you will realize how heaven on earth looks like and that too just for 30 Euros a head per day. Well, besides this, there are plenty of hotel rooms available to choose from as Santorini strives on tourism. How to travel within the city? People usually go for rentals which makes it very easy to roam around without being time-bound. However, the Ktel bus services came to our rescue, since neither of us wanted to risk driving on foreign roads and getting lost. There is a fixed schedule, wherein all the buses start from the main bus stop in Fira and take you to all the main attractions. Make sure you are familiar with the time slots for the weekdays which are different than those for the weekends. These buses are super pocket-friendly as compared to the proficient but super expensive cab services. Day 1 Akrotiri Archaeological site For those who equate Santorini to only beaches, here’s a little surprise. There is this beautiful archaeological site, which is basically an excavation of the ancient city that existed before the volcanic eruptions led to the formation of the Caldera rim and the current semi-circular island of Santorini. The tour is fun, filled with insights of how the ancient city was built, and ends with a documentary which is basically the highlight. A guided tour is recommended to digest the history this site has to offer. Red beach The red beach is a little over hyped, as it isn’t an actual beach with sand (at least the place the arrow board took us to, wasn’t). Then the logical question would be, why did we choose to go there in the first place? Well, that was because we still had enough time to catch the bus back from Akrotiri to Fira, and the red beach was just a 10-minute walk from Akrotiri. Venetsanos Winery After finishing with the Red beach, […]

Patras: a 1-day city tour

The hidden treasure of western Greece Patras is Greece’s third largest city and is located in the northern Peloponnese. It’s just 10 kilometers on the west from the famous Rio-Antirrio bridge (officially named “Charilaos Trikoupis Bridge”), one of the worlds’ longest multi-span cable-stayed bridges. Close to Rio-Antirrio bridge is Patras university, famous both in Greece and abroad, which hosts more than thirty thousand students who bring a source of youthfulness in the city. So, if you want to relive your college years why not take a look at this beautiful coastal town? How to get there Unfortunately, there is no airport nearby Patras, so you can’t reach this beautiful place by plane. But this doesn’t mean that it isn’t easily accessible by other transport! After you land in Athens, the country’s capital, you are only 176 kilometers (109 miles) away! You can take the bus and be there in two and a half hours. Don’t worry if you haven’t considered booking your tickets in advance, there is a bus departing every thirty minutes. Or, if you are more of a train type and want a cheaper way to come to the city, there is a train every two hours that will bring you in Patras in safety within three hours. Of course, there is always the option to rent a car and drive for two hours or less if you aren’t a fan of public transportation. What’s worth visiting? Well, the whole city has hidden gems waiting to be discovered by you. But let’s assume for a second that you only have one day to spend here. What should be your first steps? Of course, there are dozens of things to see and places to go, but I narrowed down to the five must-visit places in Patras. So, sit down, relax and enjoy the virtual tour to one of my favorite cities in Greece. The Lighthouse Let’s start our day with a visit to Patras famous lighthouse (called “Faros” in greek), which is located in the south part of the city within walking distance from the city center. Today it doesn’t have maritime usage but it appears to be the symbol of the city. If the weather is good (and it usually is) take your time to walk along the beach in the leafy park around the lighthouse. You may meet some locals too, as they usually jog or walk their dogs there. In the basement of the lighthouse, you will find an amazing café-bar-restaurant where you can relax and just enjoy the view of the sea!          Saint Andrew’s church Only a few meters away from the lighthouse, lies the impressive church of Saint Andrew. It is the largest Orthodox church in Greece and third-largest in the Balkans. After admiring the exterior, don’t hesitate to take a look inside. I guarantee you will be shocked by the mystic atmosphere this temple creates. If you are lucky enough to visit it on a Sunday morning you might even have the […]

Holidays in Greece: Ikaria and the North Aegean sea

Experiencing the “no time” zone! Having already spent a week or so in Samos (Greece), we decided to fill in our holidays by heading it to the island across. So the next morning we took the first boat to Ikaria. It was 09.30 on the 14th of August. We didn’t have any reservation but couldn’t ignore the recommendations coming from multiple sources not to miss the traditional festive days taking place on the island of longevity! Agios Kirikos The main port of the island was the village we arrived. We knew that this part of the island (south) is supposed to be quiet while the other one is to be really busy… We looked at the map and noticed that on our way to the north, there was one interesting beach to go swimming! And so… there we are… at the Seychelles of the Aegean Sea! Speechless of the clean water and the fantastic hidden spot, we wished the beach was not that crowded so we could admire more of the magical landscape. The sun went away early in the evening, as the beach was also located on the east side of the island. The weak sunlight combined with the slight fresh air touching our wet bodies reminded us that we should continue our journey, reach a destination and find a place to stay. Even though people kept coming, we left the Hawaiian beach of Ikaria and after 1 hour of a maze, “far west” type of route, we arrived at the other port! Evdilos Amazed by the beautiful small village, we took a moment to enjoy the panoramic view of the exciting scenery coming into sight in front of us… Little blue and white stores, colorful wooden chairs, and tables setting a circle of special coffeehouses… We couldn’t resist the temptation; hence we decided to have a quick coffee at Rififi! Before we knew it and without exaggerating, we found ourselves staying at the same place for over 6 hours having absolutely no sense of the time passing… I remember telling Theodora that we should maybe start looking for a room and her restating the need to find a place to stay, us having the same discussion twice and triple… but none of us getting into actually doing something about it! Switching it from coffee to homemade lemonade… and fresh salads to beer and wine… it was not until 22.30 when we started calling at hotels and rooms to let… But our chances were proved haze as we were just being adjusted to the big fact that the next day was a festive one (15th August) and everything on the island was fully booked! Having admitted that we were entirely inconsistent and before jumping to the ultimate scenario, which we had already thought about, i.e. spend the night in our car… we found ourselves left with one last choice: phone the guys we had met on the ship when traveling to Samos a week ago altogether from Kavala. That’s […]

Kavala : The Greek Monte-Carlo

The Prefecture of Kavala: Location The city of Kavala could be described only as a diamond. The county of Kavala, it is nested in the northeastern part of Greece, in the province of Eastern Macedonia. 180 kilometers east of the sub-capital of Greece, Thessaloniki, it constitutes the border between two greek provinces: Macedonia and Thrace. The county of Kavala is divided into four smaller districts: Kavala district – with the capital city of Kavala, Paggaion district – with the capital town of Eleftheroupoli, Nestos district – with the capital town of Chrysoupoli (Nestos district took its name from the river Nestos which is located in the area) and Thassos district – with the capital town of Limenas (which is actually referred to Thassos island) A mix of cultures. Actually, if I have to describe the city of Kavala with one phrase, it would be “Hidden Gem”. I was born in this city, and although I traveled a lot in my life, I could never imagine a city that combines so many things: Quietness, crystal clear blue waters, clean beaches, traditional taverns offering delicious specialties in good prices, the Old Town with the fortress and the walls, picturesque scenic view from the most parts of the city and nightlife. All these gifts, combined with tourism and a mix of different cultures that passed from Kavala through the centuries – many leftovers of the Ottoman Empire, combined with the fine blend of the Balkans and the rich aroma of Ancient Macedonia – this is Kavala. What it is like, to live there: A short-trip in History I can ensure you for one thing: It is unique. It is like you live in Greece, but you also live in an ancient medieval town, also like you live on an island in the middle of the Aegean Sea, as well like you live in a city affected by the Balkan culture and also like you live in a city that passed through the centuries almost “untouched” from the affection of the Ottoman Empire. It takes like 2 kilometers walking at a steady pace from my home to the city center, and I feel somehow like I cross three or four different cities. There are so many differences between the neighborhoods in Kavala. They are like borders between completely different countries. It is like someday centuries ago, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, some French, Roman, and Slavic influences – decided to give birth to a single child – and this is Kavala. A unique characteristic of the city: many tobacco-warehouses. Whenever you ‘ll go in the city of Kavala, you will meet one common thing: Tobacco warehouses. They are everywhere – although they stopped from working since the 1930s. But you can still smell the tobacco aroma in the air, even if the warehouses are closed. It is a unique fragrance made of sandalwood, tobacco leaves – well-conserved through the time, sea salt, fresh morning – baked bread from the bakeries and rust from the old ships in the […]

An authentic Greek getaway

ELAPHONISOS: YOUR DREAM'S DESTINATION 15th of July. 38 Celsius Degrees. It's a busy Monday morning and you are sitting at your office desk, wondering when your summer holidays will come. And then suddenly you realize that “Summer holidays” means expensive and overcrowded hotels, beaches, restaurants and pretty much everything else. No thanks, right? Well then, let me tell you about a place. Close your eyes and imagine – actually, don't, otherwise, you cannot read… But yeah, you got it. I'm talking about long and white sand beaches, crystal clear sea water, little fishes swimming around you and great (but cheap) typical restaurants, where you can eat feet into the sand… No, I'm not kidding and yes, this place exists for real! And I've been there, three years in a row! How lucky, huh? Well, keep on reading and you'll be the next one! GET TO ELAPHONISOS ISLAND Elaphonisos. This is the name – but you will also find Elaphonisi, Elafonisos etc, so just pick one and it will work. This five-square-kilometers tiny island is located in Greece, or precisely in the Aegean Sea, just under the Peloponnese and it is reachable only thanks to the little blue ferry that goes back and forth every fifteen minutes from Pounta's coast. There are no airports on the island, so unless you don't own your personal helicopter, that's the only way. But you are probably wondering “Okay, thank you, but I live in Germany. How do I get to the coast?” That's a good point. Alright, you've got two possibilities: by air or by water. And by car of course, but it will take you the whole duration of your holiday probably, so here is what I recommend you from my personal experience. OPTION 1: fly from anywhere in the world to Athens, and then drive all the way down to the island; OPTION 2: take one of the huge overnight ferries that set sail almost from any big harbor and dock at Salonicco, and then again drive down to the island. Pros and cons: Flying by plane is undoubtedly faster than the ferry; But then you need a car anyway, and having your own instead of the wheeled-boxes they rent you at the airport is way better – say, dad and bro, respectively 190 and 185 cm height; Yes, 30 hours on a boat could be a bit boring, but when you have your own night cabin and a good book, time goes pretty fast – and to be kept in mind, you can drive your own car once disembarked (that means you can bring whatever you want aboard, grandma and surfboard included). 'SOGNO GRECO' AND GREEK SALAD: YES, PLEASE Sleep, eat (and repeat) like a local. That will be your one goal for the whole duration of the holiday. Counting not even 100 inhabitants during winter but more than 4000 among locals and tourists in summer, on Elaphonisos you'll find a huge offer (like, really huge) of accommodations, among hotels, B&B, […]
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