A travel blogger’s first-time visits to Santorini and Mykonos

Fira Santorini panoramic image by Christine from Vancouver blog IMG_20150508_102459

A panoramic view of Fira, the capital and main town on Santorini


Octopus at Amoudi Bay Santorini image by Christine from Vancouver blog IMG_20150511_130719_hdr

Octopus at Amoudi Bay on Santorini


Do you wonder what it’s like visiting Greek islands for the first time? Especially as a solo female traveller?

Two fascinating trip reports by a travel blogger from Vancouver, Canada will give you excellent insight into the entire experience. (They’re also great fun to read even if you have already been to Greece yourself.)

Blogger Christine visited Santorini and Mykonos earlier this month during a two-week holiday — her first-ever trip to Greece. She posted a thorough account of her journey, complete with dozens of photos, on her Christine in Vancouver blog.

I love the reports not just because they show Greece through the eyes of an island-hopping “newbie,” but also since they include scores of food pictures and valuable information about costs and prices — important details that I think will be extremely helpful to others considering a trip to Greece.

Click here to read Christine’s report for her May 6 to 13 stay on Santorini, and click here to read about her May 13 to 19 visit to Mykonos.

The two photos from Santorini posted above, as well as the two photos from Mykonos shown below, are just four of the dozens of fabulous pictures you’ll get to see in Christine’s reports (you’ll be able to view her photos full-size in a slide-show format.)

Enjoy your trip to Santorini and Mykonos with Christine!


Mykonos Town streets image by Christine from Vancouver blog IMG_2819

Streets in the heart of Mykonos Town


Ornos beach Mykonos image by Christine from Vancouver blog IMG_20150516_135434_hdr

Ornos, one of the top “family” beach resort areas on Mykonos


A musical tour of Naxos

“On an island in the center of the world” is a 3-minute music video in which Kostas Doxas and Maria Makri tour top attractions on Naxos


If you haven’t been to Naxos yet, here’s a fun way to see some of the island’s beautiful beaches, fascinating towns and villages, hiking trails, mountain biking routes, restaurants and nightclubs. “Naxos: A World to Experience” is a 3-minute promotional video for Naxos that features a catchy pop song — “On an Island in the Center of the World” — with English subtitles for those who don’t understand Greek.

Even if you have been to Naxos before, you’ll still enjoy watching the music video to see how many of the sights and attractions are familiar to you.

The video stars Kostas Doxas and Maria Makri, while the song features original music by dj Rico – Vaggelis Serifis and lyrics by Yiannis Papadakos. The direction, script and photography also were the work of Papadakos.


Private seaside cinema: the new Greek island luxury villa perk

Private beach cinema at Casa del Mar Mykonos photo 01 from SLH Facebook page

This summer, guests at Casa del Mar Mykonos Seaside Resort can go to the movies at a private seaside “cinema” on the beach below their villas


Coming soon to a beach near your Greek Island luxury villa — a private seaside cinema?

That’s actually what guests at the Casa del Mar Mykonos Seaside Resort will get to enjoy after dark this summer should they prefer to stay “home” one night rather than travel two miles (4 km) into Mykonos Town to shop, dine, party or people-watch. Merely by walking down a few steps to the resort’s private beach, they’ll be able to curl up on a comfy lounge chair with a glass of wine or bowl of popcorn and watch a film displayed on a wide-screen high-definition panel positioned right on the water’s edge.

A member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group of independent hotels, Casa del Mar is an exclusive villa and spa resort at Glyfadi beach, a quiet off-the-beaten-path cove in the Aleomandra area at the southwest tip of Mykonos. The resort website describes Casa del Mar as “an eclectic collection” of nine “luxury sea view suites … grandly appointed with deluxe amenities, quality furnishings and modern conveniences.” 

The newest of those “conveniences” was unveiled this week when the Small Luxury Hotels Facebook page posted the two photographs that I have republished in this article. A photo caption read: “There’s nothing wrong with a night in! We think the brand new private beach cinema at SLH’s Casa Del Mar Mykonos might be just the ticket!”

If you’re not able to stay at Casa del Mar while visiting Mykonos this summer, don’t dismay — you can watch a movie outdoors at Cine Manto in Mykonos Town instead (starting May 22). It won’t be the same as watching a film from the comfort of a luxurious sunbed on a sandy beach, of course, but at least it’s in the fresh, open air in a lovely garden setting.

And if you’re travelling somewhere in Greece other than Mykonos, you might be able to attend an outdoor cinema near your destination, too, since there are more than 100 outdoor movie theatres in the country.

I couldn’t find an online directory listing all outdoor cinemas in Greece, but the Athens Info Guide website has a directory of summer cinemas in the city, which you can view by clicking here.

You can read more about the Athens outdoor cinemas on the Greeka.com blog, and on the Visit Greece tourism website.

And for an interesting read about how digital technology is impacting on Greece’s outdoor cinemas, see this August 2014 article from The Guardian newspaper in the U.K.


Private beach cinema at Casa del Mar Mykonos photo 02 from SLH Facebook page

Another view of the private beach cinema at Casa del Mar Mykonos


Petros the Mykonos pelican is all set for summer photo close-ups

Mykonos pelican photo 01 by Antoine Nikolopoulos of Odyssey Art Photography

Petros the Mykonos pelican struck this pose for Antoine Nikolopoulos of Odyssey Art Photography on May 14


He’s still there! The Mediterranean’s most famous bird, Petros the pelican, is alive and well and braced for the onslaught of tourist paparazzi that will flock to Mykonos during the next six months.

Since last year, several people have emailed me to ask if Petros, the unofficial mascot of Mykonos, is truly still alive, because they didn’t see the long-beaked bird while visiting the island. I fielded numerous requests to recommend places where people would have the best chance to get their pictures taken with the big pink pelican.

One woman told me she was convinced the pelican had died because she and her young children had unsuccessfully scoured the streets of Mykonos Town for days in desperate search of Petros, with whom the kids were keen to pose for pictures. The youngsters were tremendously disappointed, as were a few adults who wrote to me wondering if the bird had flown to another island or was being deliberately kept out of sight.

But Petros is still strolling the cobblestone streets of Mykonos Town to the amusement and delight of travellers from around the world.

From my experience, you can usually find the pelican on the Mykonos Town waterfront, near the Paraportiani Church, or at Niko’s Taverna, which keeps him well fed with fresh fish treats.

A big thanks to Antoine Nikolopoulos of Odyssey Art Photography for sending me these photos he shot of Petros on May 14.


Mykonos pelican photo 02 by Antoine Nikolopoulos of Odyssey Art Photography

Petros sits for another portrait by photographer Antoine Nikolopoulos

Enticing air & ground tours of Koukounaries beach on Skiathos

Click on the white arrow to view a fun aerial tour of Koukounaries beach. It was produced by Skiathos Air, a company that provide aerophotography and aerofilming services


I haven’t been to Skiathos yet, but I’ve heard endless good comments about its dozens of fabulous beaches, especially Koukounaries, which is one of the largest on the island and apparently the most famous.  After watching the two videos I’ve posted here, I understand why people love it so much — and I wish I could see it for myself this summer!

The first clip is an aerial video filmed with drone technology by Skiathos Air, while the one below was shot from ground level and posted online two years ago by Goran Tosic.

Koukounaries is a beautiful golden sand beach that curls along the edge of a verdant pine forest. (In Greek it’s called Chrisi Ammos, which means “golden sand,” while “koukounaries” means pine cones.) Organized with sunbeds, bars, restaurants and water sports, I’m told  it’s great beach destination for families but also a place where adults can have a blast, too.

It’s now on my bucket list for a future holiday!


Click the arrow to view Goran Tosic’s 6-minute video of Koukounaries


Mykonos set for banner year of tourism with new places to eat, drink, shop, sleep and party

Cayenne Mykonos restaurant logo

Located at Tourlos, just a short walk from the New Port, Cayenne is one of dozens of businesses that are brand-new to Mykonos this year



[Updated May 21 2015]

 “Crisis? What crisis?” That’s a question many regular visitors to Mykonos will probably ask when they see all the new and completely-renovated businesses that are opening on the island this year.

While Greece shudders through its sixth straight year of devastating economic turbulence,  Mykonos appears to be in a different world altogether, virtually unscathed from the recession that has ravaged the rest of the country.

Last year, the island enjoyed a record year for tourism, and a number of longtime local residents told me they could not recall ever seeing the island as crowded and busy as it was during July and August. Hotels were filled to capacity, flotillas of luxury yachts were common sights at many beaches, and champagne flowed by the caseload at bars and restaurants across the island. As I reported in a July 16 2014 post, hotel rates reached higher levels, too, with the international online travel firm Trivago noting that prices had soared as much as 61% over the previous year.


Unprecedented building boom

In anticipation that even more tourists with thick wallets will arrive in 2015, local and international companies have been pouring millions of Euros into the construction of new hotels, shops, bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as the renovation or upgrading of existing properties. Indeed, since late last autumn, Mykonos has been experiencing an unprecedented building boom as small armies of contractors swarmed around the island in a rush to finish dozens of projects.

With many of the new enterprises aimed at affluent travellers, Mykonos mayor Konstantinos Koukas has told local media he’s confident that the island is now well-poised to compete for a bigger share of the the world’s luxury travel market, and will successfully lure big spenders who usually flock to other Mediterranean hotspots like St Tropez, Monaco and Ibiza.

To see what’s new on Mykonos this year, please turn to page 2 of this post, where I will introduce you to the island’s newcomers. I will be updating this report as I learn of other new arrivals, since there are bound to be many more. So keep checking back for new additions.

Scorpios Mykonos beach club website image

Already hyped as the hippest new beach hangout on Mykonos for 2015, the Scorpios Beach Restaurant and Bar promises to provide an “idyllic haven” on a peninsula between Paraga and Platis Gialos. See photos and read more about Scorpios on page 2.


Buddha-Bar Beach restaurant and bar at Santa Marina Resort Mykonos photo from the resort Facebook page

The world’s first Buddha-Bar Beach restaurant, bar and beach club opens May 20 at the Santa Marina Resort at Ornos. See page 2 of this post for more information about the newest member of the Buddha-Bar family.



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