Travelling to Thessaloniki? Read this magazine before you go — or while you’re there

Greece Is special Thessaloniki magazine issue

The cover of Thessaloniki, a free magazine published by the Greece Is online guide to culture, gastronomy and Greece destination experiences

 

Essential reading: A free magazine I picked up at the Athens International Airport in June, while waiting to fly home after my latest Greek holiday, has me wishing I could take a trip to Thessaloniki soon.

Entitled Thessaloniki, the 176-page glossy magazine is packed with dozens of beautiful photos and interesting articles describing the city’s fascinating history, its important cultural institutions, monuments and landmarks, its exciting arts, entertainment and food scenes, and much more.

 

 

The second-largest city in Greece, Thessaloniki is a dynamic port center and capital of the Central Macedonia region of Greece.

It’s “a cauldron of gods and heroes, civilizations and religions; a place where the old and new cohabitate fruitfully. You can sense it everywhere; during a stroll, at the markets and museums, in the architecture, food and music. It’s in the air!” says a welcome page message penned by Giros Tsiros. He’s the editor-in-chief of Greece Is, the wonderful culture and gastronomy website which has published several destination-specific magazine guides, like the one for Thessaloniki, during the past two years.

 

Thessaloniki waterfront

The historic WhiteTower and the long Thessaloniki waterfront strip are seen in a photo from the online edition of Thessaloniki magazine

 

I’m gradually working my way through the issue, learning about the city’s annual arts events and festivals, its popular port and waterfront areas, its thriving design community, its exciting  gastronomy scene, and nearby attractions like the scenic Halkidiki peninsula and the historic Mount Athos monastery. There are still many more articles for me to peruse, but already I’m amazed at the astounding variety of things to see and do in and near the city — almost overwhelmed, in fact, since there is just so much that has captured my interest. It makes me wonder why I haven’t heard more people talk about Thessaloniki, as well as ask myself why I haven’t made it a priority to go there.

But even though Thessaloniki is blessed with so many places to explore, one of the magazine’s contributors says that simply being in the city is an enchanting and enjoyable experience in itself — visitors don’t have to rush to all the tourist attractions or scour back streets for “secret” shops and restaurants and other hidden gems to discover what the place is all about.

“A great way to get to know Thessaloniki is to do nothing to ‘explore’ her, but instead just ‘be’ there. Just relax,” advises writer Rika Z. Vayianni, an Athenian who has been visiting Thessaloniki for decades. If you pause to linger and listen you will hear the city speak volumes, Rika notes in “The art of doing nothing,” the magazine’s introductory article. “Some of the things she will say, or show to you, will remain in your memory for a long, long time. Some of them will perplex you, take you out of your comfort zone. But the city does speak.”

With luck I will one day have the opportunity to listen as Thessaloniki speaks to me. In the meantime, I will be learning more about the city as I read the rest of the magazine articles over the summer.

 

Trigonian Tower in Thessaloniki

The Trigonian Tower in Thessaloniki’s Ano Poli (Upper Town) district, seen in a photo from the Greece Is website

 

If you will be travelling to Thessaloniki this year, or if you are considering the city for a future trip, be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine so you can get valuable background information, ideas and recommendations for your visit.

Thessaloniki is available at several locations in the city itself, as well as in central Athens and at the Athens airport. 

In Thessaloniki, you can obtain a copy at:

♦ the Kathimerini offices at 99 Tsimiski Street;

♦ the Archaeological Museum at 6 Manoli Andronikou Street; and

♦ the State Museum of Contemporary Art, 21 Kolokotroni St. 

In Athens, the magazine can be found at:

♦ the Kathimerini offices at 47-49 Panepistimiou Street, and

♦ the Acropolis Museum at 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street

Pickup locations at Athens International Airport include:

♦ Press Point

♦ Kir-Yianni Wine Bar

♦ Gate A, and

♦ the Athens Municipality information desk on the Arrivals level

If you can’t get to one of those locations, or if you’d rather read the magazine online, click here to access the collection of Thessaloniki articles on the Greece Is website.

Greece Is magazine distribution stands

Look for distribution racks like the one shown above so you can pick up a copy of Thessaloniki or other special edition magazines published by Greece Is

Aspects of Andros

Andros Greece Cyclades is a 3.5-minute video published June 21 by click

 

Andros revisited: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you probably have seen some of the photos and posts I published following our visit to Andros in late May 2015. (If you missed them, click here for a quick link to the articles.)

I haven’t looked at any of my Andros posts or photos for a few months, but this morning discovered a newly-published video that instantly made me feel like I was right back on the island, enjoying it all over again.

Andros Greece Cyclades is a short video that Epameinondas Marmaras filmed, in part, with a drone. His camera captures many of the beautiful sights and scenes that we got to see during our holiday last year, as well as some that we just didn’t have enough time to experience for ourselves.

Take time to watch the clip to see the impressive Andros landscapes and coastal scenery. Andros isn’t one of the mainstream tourist islands of Greece, but one viewing of the video may make you wonder why more people don’t go there– and why you haven’t yet gone yourself.

Where we could have cooled off during this week’s heat wave

Tolo beach IMG_3496

The beautiful golden sand seafront at Tolo stretches for approximately one kilometer from Psili Ammos beach (seen here) to a harbour barely visible in the center-top area of this photo

 

Extreme temps: We’re never happy after we return home from one of our Greek holidays, as we did three days ago — we always wish we were still in Greece. But this time we’re actually a bit relieved that we’re not there — we simply could not have handled the heat wave currently sweeping across the country.

Sunshine and temperatures hitting the low 30s (Celsius) hindered some of our walking and sightseeing in Nafplio, Monemvasia, Tolo and Hydra on several days of our vacation from May 30 to June 16, but since we left Greece on Thursday temperatures have soared even higher, approaching and even exceeding an absolutely sweltering 40 degrees in many places, particularly on the mainland.

 

 

On Saturday, for instance, the temperature reached 43.4 at Sparta, which we had found hot when it was in the low 30s during the day we spent there. As I write this post today, it’s 37 in Nafplio, where a few 30-degree days forced us to limit our activities during the first week of June. And temperatures are forecast to remain scorching hot for several more days. If we were still in Greece, we would either be hiding inside our air-conditioned hotel rooms, or swimming as much as possible.

Fortunately there were plenty of excellent places to take a dip in the sea at most of the destinations we visited. Click on the link below to turn to page 2 and see photos of the great swimming spots we discovered near Epidaurus, Hydra, Monemvasia, Nafplio and Tolo.

 

Hydronetta swimming spot on Hydra

Bathers cool off in the gorgeous turquoise waters at Hydronetta, a popular coastal swimming spot on Hydra island

 

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Photo highlights from our trip to the Peloponnese and Hydra

Monemvasia

The fascinating fortress town of Monemvasia, where we spent three days and nights in early June

 

Amazing experience: I only need one word to describe our first-ever visit to Greece’s Peloponnese region and  Hydra island this month: Wow!

We weren’t even halfway through our holiday when we noted that the trip was shaping up as one of our best vacation experiences ever in Greece. Now that we’re back home, recalling all the places and sights we encountered and sorting through our photos,  we’ve agreed that it was our favourite trip of all. 

The Argolida and Laconia districts of the Peloponnese far exceeded our high expectations, while a spur-of-the-moment trip to Hydra impressed us immensely as well. The sights and scenery everywhere we went were simply amazing.

 

 

 

We enjoyed exhilarating views of sparkling turquoise seas and mountains extending as far as the eye could see. We roamed around charming villages and towns, visited historic archaeological sites, and walked dozens of kilometers along scenic coastal paths. We saw vast groves of olive trees, thousands of citrus trees laden with fruit, and dozens of picturesque churches, chapels and monasteries. We explored ancient castles, even spending three nights in a fortress town and swimming in the sea below its formidable stone walls. And we drank good wine and dined on delicious traditional and contemporary Greek cuisine. 

I will tell you more about our trip in detailed posts to come, but will launch my 2016 trip report with a series of photos showing some highlight sights and scenes from our travels.

Please click on the link below to view the pictures on page 2.

 

the monastery of Elona

The Monastery of Elona, which clings to the face of a cliff on Mount Parnon, was a breathtaking sight during our drive from Nafplio to Monemvasia

 

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Mykonos: Amazing for all ages

Best of Mykonos ♥ – Greece 2016 is a short but sweet personal travel film that spotlights some of the gorgeous sights and scenery a couple and their young son enjoyed during a visit to Mykonos this spring

 

Age appropriate: Here’s a newly published video I’m sharing on the blog primarily for any parents out there who might be wondering: Should we take our kids to Mykonos?

Concerned by its well-established reputation as a “party island,” readers regularly ask me if Mykonos is suitable for families with toddlers, young kids and teens. These parents say they would love to visit the island, but they’re worried about exposing their kids to the drunken debauchery, street brawls and public sex they’ve heard about or seen on television shows like the What Happens in Kavos series on Britain’s Channel 4 several years ago.

Although Mykonos is justifiably famous for its adult-oriented attractions of restaurants, shopping and nightlife, the island does have attractions and activities suitable for people of all ages — and its popular party scene can easily be avoided.

 

 

True, Mykonos has a few beaches where celebrations can sometimes turn wild, crazy and salacious — Paradise, Super Paradise, Paraga and Psarou among them — but the parties usually don’t start until 4 p.m. That means mornings and early afternoons are ideal for families to enjoy the sun, sand, sea and sensational scenery at each of these picturesque beaches. Moreover, there’s plenty of “non-party” beaches that are perfect to take kids, including Platis Gialos, Ornos, Agios Stefanos, Kalo Livadi, Kalafatis, Agia Anna/Kalafatis and Agios Ioannis, some of which offer a variety of water sports activities in which children can participate.

And unless they take the kids on a midnight (or later) stroll through the labyrinthine streets of Mykonos Town, parents probably won’t even notice the night-time party scene at the dozens of bars and clubs scattered throughout the town center. (Families can avoid peak party season altogether — and peak crowds and prices — by travelling to Mykonos in late April, May, the first half of June or during September and early October.)

Getting back to the video, you’ll join the Pfeifer family — Vanessa and Ben, and their young boy, Vincent — as they experience picture postcard-perfect places like the Little Venice seafront and the charming lanes of Mykonos Town, as well as the impressive coastal scenery and stunning turquoise sea at Agios Ioannis (better known to many people around the world as “The Shirley Valentine beach”).

Ben is a professional photographer with Fotostudio Lichtecht in Annaberg-Buchholz, Germany, and his skills are on full display in the video as he captures beautiful scenes and images from around the island and at their accommodations, the luxurious Mykonos Grand Hotel at Agios Ioannis– one of the island’s top resorts.

The video is only three and a half minutes long, so it offers a rather quick glimpse of Mykonos. But besides highlighting some of its most popular attractions, I think it shows parents that Mykonos is a place their kids will be able to enjoy, too.

On our way to …. Nafplio!

Nafplio-Greece Timelapse is a 3:45-minute film by Stefanos Kyriazis

 

Next stop Nafplio: It’s holiday time at long last, and my partner and I are now on our way back to Greece to explore part of a region we have never visited before — the eastern Peloponnese. 

Our first destination will be Nafplio, the former capital of Greece, which is often described as one of the most beautiful towns in the entire country.  We have heard so many good things about Nafplio, and the many impressive attractions nearby, that  we figured it was high time we checked it out for ourselves.

I’ll post photos from Nafplio if I’m in a blogging mood while we’re there. In the meantime, I’m sharing this Stefanos Kyriazis timelapse film of Nafplio so readers who aren’t familiar with the town can see what it looks like.

More on Nafplio to follow!

 

Enchanting views of Naxos

Naxos: The island that will enchant you is a mesmerizing 4-minute area film by Naxos Times

 

Here’s an intriguing video of Naxos that’s unlike any I’ve seen before. Released just this week by Naxos Times, the 4-minute film features breathtaking aerial views of Naxos Town as well as Cape Agios Prokopios in the Stelida district of the island’s northwest coast. 

What’s unusual is that the film captures Naxos in the golden light of daybreak and sunset, when the seas are smooth as glass and barely a soul is in sight anywhere in the town. There’s an eerie and almost haunting, mysterious atmosphere to the video, but that’s what makes it even more captivating and fascinating.

Mykonos party events during August 2016

Kalua Bar Mykonos

Kalua Bar is holding 7 special beach party events during August

 

 

This post features promotional flyers for party events taking place in August only. To see events for other months during summer 2016, click here.

Events are added to this post whenever they are announced, so check back regularly for updates. Note that most bars and clubs don’t post their full party schedules for the summer, and often announce events as little as one to three days before they take place. So far, no events have been announced for September.

 

Audiofly DJs

Audiofly makes another appearance at Moni on Monday August 1

 

DJ Steve Aoki

Steve Aoki appears at Cavo Paradiso on August 1 to kick off the busiest month of parties on Mykonos in 2016 

 

Cavo Paradiso party event

Ingrosso and Brian Cross headline at Cavo Paradiso on August 2

 

Paradise Club Mykonos party event

 Elrow  and Paco Osuna are lead DJ acts at Paradise Club on August 2

 

 

 

 

Cavo Paradiso Mykonos

Cavo Paradiso‘s international DJ lineup for July & August 

 

Xlsior Mykonos

This is the event schedule for the 2016 Xlsior Mykonos Festival — the biggest series of annual parties on Mykonos. This year’s festival takes place August 17 through 24.

 

Turn to page 2 of this post to see a list of events taking place on specific days of the month during August.

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Mykonos bar and beach club parties in July 2016

Paradise Club Mykonos summer DJ lineup 2016

Paradise Club’s 2016 summer DJ lineup, released July 14

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Kalua Bar Mykonos

This is Kalua Bar‘s party lineup for July and August. An event for July 21 has been added since this list was released.

 

Cavo Paradiso Mykonos

Cavo Paradiso‘s international DJ lineup for July and August

 

Jose Padilla at Liasti Mykonos

The creator of the Cafe del Mar music collections, Jose Padilla, will make three appearances at Liasti Beach Resort in July — on Monday the 11th, Friday the 15th, and Saturday the 23rd

 

This post features promotional flyers for party events taking place on Mykonos during specific days in July only. If you want to see events for other months during summer 2016, click here.

 

Daily party events

The island’s main party beaches are Paradise, Super Paradise and Paraga, where beach parties start in the afternoon and continue into the evening. At Paradise, parties start around 4 p.m. at Tropicana Club and at Guapaloca, while partying can begin as early as mid afternoon at Super Paradise Club at Super Paradise beach. Guapaloca also throws a body painting partyk every night at 10 p.m. At Paraga, you’ll find afternoon beach parties at Kalua, daily pool parties at 5 p.m. at Sueno Village, and music entertainment events most days of the week at Scorpios. Parties can spontaneously erupt at Psarou beach, as well, when guests at Nammos beach bar and restaurant feel the urge to let loose (and they often do).

In Mykonos Town,  Semeli Hotel holds a Sun:Set party at 6 p.m. every day in its Semeli Lounge. The Elysium Hotel in the School of Fine Arts district presents its famous Sunset Cabaret on its seaview pool terrace every evening starting at 8:30 p.m., while @54 Club has nightly drag shows starring Roxy Brooks and dancer Matthew Malia at 1 a.m.

 

 

 

Regular weekly events

Besides special one-time events featuring leading Greek and international DJs, some bars and beach clubs hold regular theme parties on specific days of the week. Here are some of the regular events being offered during July and August this summer:

Monday: Kalua holds its Skin Orgasm Party with Ms Lefki starting at 5 p.m., while at Kalo Livadi beach, DJ Maga spins chill tunes at the new Chinawhite by Rakkan, starting at 4 pm. 

Tuesday: Scorpios hosts the Yoruba Soul Experience music event, starting at 5 p.m. Madon presents its weekly Propaganda party starting at midnight. Vinos bar features live jazz music from 10 p.m., and Dome Club has its Showtime Tuesdays party.

Wednesday: Kalua presents its Spirit party starting at 5 p.m.; Pinky Beach at Super Paradise hosts an After Beach Dine & Dance party with music by DJ Thanos starting at 6 p.m.; Toy Room Club hosts Toy Room on Fire, where the dress code is Red and music is by DJ Silence; and Rock N’ Roll Mykonos hosts special parties presented by Sintillate, with hip hop, RNB and house music by DJ Skaterboi. 

Thursday: Hippie Fish at Agios Ioannis beach throws its Peace Love Music parties starting at 1 p.m.; and Scorpios presents its weekly Movements music event at 5 p.m.  And starting at 10 p.m., Vinos bar presents live jazz music.

Friday: Scorpios holds its weekly Ceremonia music event beginning at 5 p.m.; Kalua holds its weekly Obsessions party with DJ Agent Greg starting at 5 p.m.; Blu Blu Lounge presents its Blu Sunset party with “eclectic” music by DJ Dest starting at 7.30 p.m.; and The Dublin pub at Agios Stefanos presents live Greek rock music with local band the VBros starting at 10:30 p.m.

Saturday: Monarch at Platis Gialos beach holds its weekly Blackrock Sinful Sunset beach party starting at 5 p.m.

Sunday: The weekly day-to-night Sneaky Sundays music event takes place at Scorpios beginning at 5 p.m.; Toy Room Club hosts its weekly Incognito Masked Ball; and DJ Giannis Zissis from Athens spins at Dome Club.

Party announcements are added to this post whenever they are released, so check back regularly for updates. I usually add new events every day, and sometimes more than once a day. Note that most bars and clubs don’t post their full party schedules for the summer, and sometimes announce special events or DJ appearances as little as one to three days before they take place.

Please click on the link below to turn to page 2 of this post, where you will find a day-by-day list of party events taking place throughout July.

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Fab video scenes from a reader’s visit to Athens, Santorini and Mykonos in May 2016

Kristoffer Clark’s beautifully-filmed Hellenic Republic video spotlights top attractions and stunning scenery from Athens, Mykonos and Santorini

 

Trip highlights:  Readers of my blog occasionally write to say they found my website helpful or inspiring for planning their own trips to Greece.  My favourite feedback message of all arrived just yesterday — and included a link to the wonderful video I shared above.

In a comment posted on my blog, Kristoffer Clark said he, his wife and some friends recently returned from their May 7 – 15 trip to Athens, Santorini and Mykonos.

“We loved it, we used your site to help plan our itinerary. Your site was a big help,” he wrote. “I love to make travel videos of my trips so i wanted to share our Greece one with you.”

It’s such a fabulous film that I can’t resist sharing it here, since I think it superbly captures the essence and tremendous beauty of all three destinations.

And what I like best, besides the gorgeous scenery, are all the smiles, laughs and happy faces in evidence as Kristoffer, his wife and friends enjoy and experience the sights and scenery of three amazing destinations I visited on my  own first trip to Greece. 

If you’ve been to Athens, Mykonos and Santorini before, watching Hellenic Republic will undoubtedly trigger many happy memories for you as well. And if you haven’t been to Greece yet, I’m sure it will quickly convince you that it’s time to go.  What are you waiting for? Start planning!

 

Hellenica.fr — A Greece travel guide tout en français

çHellenica French language guide to Greece travel

A screen capture from the homepage for Hellenica, a French-language travel guide to Greece and the Greek Islands

 

Guide de voyage: Travellers who read and speak French can now research, plan and book their holidays to Greece and the Greek Islands through a comprehensive French-language travel website, Hellenica.

Created by the husband and wife team of Guillaume, who is French, and Eleanna, who is Greek, Hellenica.fr provides detailed and personally verified information, all in French, to help readers easily plan their own trips to Greece. The website includes descriptions of Crete and the six chains of Greek islands, and has search engines that website visitors can use to book ferry tickets, flights and accommodations.  There’s also a section of trip reports illustrated with dozens of beautiful photos.

 

 

 

Guillaume and Eleanna developed the website to share their tremendous passion for Greece, and specifically to pass along information about their personal discoveries and favourite places.

Guillaume told me he’s been in love with Greece since his youth, when his parents took him to Matala, Crete during the 1970s; he says he has been visiting the country every year since. When he and Eleanna realized a complete Greece travel guide wasn’t available in French, they decided to launch their own.

Though Hellenica is packed with helpful information, readers who can’t find answers to their specific Greece travel questions are invited to ask Guillaume and Eleanna for assistance, either by email or through Hellenica’s Twitter feed.  Responses are promised within 48 hours.

Click here to visit the Hellenica website.

 

Hellenica French language travel guide to Greece

This is a screen capture from one of the photo-illustrated trip reports on Hellenica.fr

Getting a taste of Greek wines before my upcoming trip

A Taste of Greece in Toronto

Sampling Kamara Winery‘s Malagouzia 2015 at Taste of Greece, a special event held in Toronto by Wine Align and  New Wines of Greece 

 

Vintage Greece: Sunday May 15 was a bizarre day here in Toronto, bringing us weather from all four seasons in less than 24 hours — snow flurries, sleet, rain, high winds and occasional breaks of sunshine. But it was nice and toasty inside a special events hall at the Royal Ontario Museum, where hundreds of people got to enjoy a taste of Greece for a few hours and forget they were actually in chilly Toronto.

The event was Taste of Greece: Brilliant Wines, Inspiring Food, Timeless Culture, and featured hundreds of product tastings offered by nearly 50 different wineries from all over Greece.

New Wines of Greece

Some of the 500 people who packed a special events hall in Toronto to taste hundreds of wines from nearly 50 different Greek wineries (Photo from the New Wines of Greece Facebook page.)

 

Taste of Greece took place at a perfect time for me personally — just two weeks before I fly to Greece for my next holiday — and gave me some inspiration for wines to look for while we are exploring the Peloponnese.

But besides giving me and 500 other people a unique opportunity to sample dozens of Greek wines under one roof, Taste of Greece was providing support for a good cause. 

 

 

Proceeds from the event, which was hosted by WineAlign and presented by New Wines of Greece,  will assist the Friends of Boroume charity, a non-profit organization committed to reducing food waste and distributing surplus food to the needy throughout Greece.

Similar Taste of Greece events also were held in Montreal on May 11 and New York City on May 18.

For those of you Down Under, you’ll get your own chance to experience a taste of Greece when New Wines of Greece returns to Australia for the second time in June with events in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Click here to see details on the New Wines of Greece website.

 

A Taste of Greece Toronto

The Toronto wine tasting was one of 3 Taste of Greece events in North America this month —  the other two took place in Montreal and New York City. Similar events will be held in Australia in June.

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