Mykonos 2014 restaurant update (Part 3)

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Pasaji restaurant at Ornos beach Mykonos

One of the newest restaurants on Mykonos this summer is Pasají, which opened in July at Ornos beach.  It features Mediterranean fusion cuisine and sushi, and boasts a chic beach bar and beachside swimming pool.

 

 

More choices: Mykonos is probably best known for its nightlife and beaches, but with well over 300 restaurants and bars catering to all tastes and budgets, it’s also one of the most interesting and exciting destinations for dining and drinking in all of the Greek Islands.

Choosing from such an extensive variety of restaurants is no easy task, especially since dozens are critically acclaimed and come highly recommended by websites and print publications geared to foodies and travellers.

Deciding where to go for a meal or cocktail became even more difficult this year when more than 20 newcomers arrived to spice up the island’s restaurant scene with additional flavours, tastes and unique dining environments.

I have already written two reports profiling some of the new arrivals for 2014: Remezzo club gets restyled into restaurant & bar as new places to eat, stay & play open on Mykonos, published on April 13, and Mykonos 2014 restaurant & club update (Part 2), posted on May 5.

In this third instalment, I’ll introduce you to 12 more new establishments that are waiting to whet your appetite when you visit Mykonos. Some of the restaurants opened as recently as July, while others launched at the end of last autumn. But this is the first summer all have been operating, and the feedback about food and service has been extremely favourable for most.

Not surprisingly, Greek and Mediterranean cuisine (including seafood) figure prominently on the menu selections at most of the new eateries. But in line with recent trends, several restaurants focus on sushi, while three specialize in either Thai, Indian or Italian dishes. Two are the Greek equivalent of “fast food” joints — grill houses that serve cheaply-priced gyros and souvlaki.

More than half of the new dining spots are located in Mykonos Town, while the rest are at beach resort areas including Agia Anna/Paraga, Ornos and Paradise.

 

 

 

~ White Star ~

 

White Star Mykonos

Part of the dining room at White Star is shown in this photo, one of numerous images from the restaurant’s Facebook page.

 

White Star Mykonos

 White Star’s exterior is shown in a screenshot from a promotional video

 

 

The new restaurant getting the most buzz this summer is White Star, located at  bustling Lakka Square in Mykonos Town. The reason? Its inventive menu of fine Greek cuisine was created by Michelin-starred chef Lefteris Lazarou.

According to the White Star website, “You will be tempted by highly refined dishes such as salad with marinated seaweed and sea urchin, fish roe with figs and baby arugula, marinated sea bass with ‘stamnagathi’, baked squid with black-eyed peas and marjoram, Moussaka with minced shrimp, fish fillet with cauliflower mousse, vegetable ratatouille with cuttlefish ink sauce, rack of lamb with aromatic potatoes and metsovone cream, picanha with aioli cream and Kozani crocus, beef fillet with lentil salad, polenta and aubergine cream.”

White Star has been a gastronomic sensation since its opening, and has received extensive rave reviews online and in the Greek and international media. It was one of 10 acclaimed restaurants featured in “A Gastro Guide to Greece,” which I wrote about in my August 11 post entitled 2board summer issue features gastronomy guide, hotel profiles + tour ideas for Athens & Chania.

Below is a promotional video that appears on the White Star website.

 

WHITE STAR Marina from Delphi Art on Vimeo gives glimpses of a few Mykonos attractions before offering tempting peeks at some of White Star Restaurant’s signature cocktails and superb Greek cuisine.

 

 

 

~ Suba Sushi ~

 

Suba Sushi Mykonos

Views of the exterior and interior of Suba Japanese restaurant situated off Matogianni Street in Mykonos Town. These photos appear on the Suba website.

 

Sushi has been a big hit on Mykonos for the past several years and the trend shows no signs of abating, with several new sushi bars opening shop this summer. One of them is Suba Mykonos, a sister to the popular Suba Japanese restaurant in the Kolonaki district of Athens.

Suba Mykonos is located near Interni restaurant in Matogianni, the premier shopping district of Mykonos Town. The restaurant’s website states that “the unique Suba-concept of authentic Japanese cuisine, fused with western bits of culture, sets a new attitude towards food that enlivens the senses.” Online reviews agree. I have seen only positive comments about Suba’s food, and Pinktrotters — the “Glam Chic Travellers” website –  called Suba “outstanding” in their Mykonos Glam City Guide.

 

 

 

~ Sushi Med ~

 

Sushi Med Mykonos

This photo of the restaurant’s outdoor dining terrace was posted on the Sushi Med Facebook page

 

 

Another new sushi spot in Mykonos Town is Sushi Med, which opened on May 24 as part of the Mykonos Mediterraneo Ristorante Pizzeria Disco Club complex at at Lakka Square.  The menu includes appetizers and tartare specials, as well as noodles and gunkan, teppan, nigiri sushi, hosomaki, uramaki, sushi and sashimi dishes. Since it’s part of an Italian restaurant run by Italians (a place incredibly popular with the many Italians who holiday on Mykonos each summer), Sushi Med also offers a selection of Italian wines.

Feedback about Sushi Med has been overwhelmingly positive, and as of this writing the restaurant is the #38-ranked Mykonos Town restaurant on TripAdvisor.

 

Sushi Med Mykonos

This photo of the restaurant’s various Teppan dishes is one of several menu pictures posted on the Sushi Med website

 

 

 

~ Balthazar ~

 

Balthazar restaurant Mykonos

Balthazar restaurant offers courtyard dining at Agia Kyriaki Square in Mykonos Town. This image is from the Balthazar Facebook page.

 

 

Another newcomer to the Matogianni district is Balthazar Mykonos, an island sister to the long-established (since 1973) Balthazar restaurant and bar in Athens. The Mykonos resto is situated at Agia Kyriaki Square in Mykonos Town, right next door to the popular Rock n Roll Mykonos nightclub and bar. (Long-time Mykonos visitors will know the location — it’s the same square where the legendary Pierro’s bar had been situated.)

According to the Balthazar Mykonos Facebook page, the restaurant’s Greek and Mediterranean cuisine is “inspired by the Cyclades and dedicated to the development and evolution of local products, making fresh and creative dishes.”

The restaurant has been praised by OneLoveHotels.com, which called Balthazar its “favourite new restaurant in Mykonos.” A post on the OneLoveHotels Facebook page noted that Balthazar offers “fresh and delicious Mediterranean food with an Asian influence, artfully arranged and served with panache. And for the louche hedonists among you, it also helps that Rock and Roll bar is right next door for that nightcap that turns into an all day hangover.”

 

 

Balthazar Mykonos

This photo of Balthazar’s open-air courtyard bar and dining terrace appeared on the OneLoveHotels Facebook page in a post that called Balthazar “our favourite new restaurant in Mykonos.”

 

 

~ Mr Pug ~

 

Mr Pug Mykonos

The stone-walled exterior of the new Mr Pug restaurant on the hilltop overlooking Mykonos Town. The photo is from the Mr Pug Facebook page.

 

 

Several of my friends made a point of dining at Blue Ginger restaurant during their annual trips to Mykonos because they loved its delicious and authentic Asian cuisine. All of them have travelled the globe extensively, and one had even lived in Thailand, so if they insisted that Blue Ginger was good, I knew it must be true. Unfortunately, I never made it there myself, and won’t get the opportunity next time I’m back on Mykonos — Blue Ginger closed at the end of the 2013 tourist season.

However, a new restaurant specializing in Asian and Thai cuisine — Mr Pug — has opened this summer in the same location — at a plaza off the main highway on the hilltop above Mykonos Town.

The Mr Pug listing on TripAdvisor.com says that the restaurant, which was “created by celebrity Greek chef Georgios Venieris,” draws its inspiration “from the cuisine of ancient Royal Thailand. Our dishes are infused with the exquisite tastes and permeate with the delicate fragrances of Siam. Our fare is light, summery, aromatic and above all else yummy!”

I’ll be anxious to hear what my friends have to say if they visit Mr Pug later this summer when they’re on Mykonos. So far, online reviews have been excellent, with guests praising both the food and the cocktails.

If you’ve got wheels, you’ll be happy to hear that Mr Pug has ample parking. The restaurant is located just past the first roundabout (if you’re approaching from the direction of the Mykonos New Port area), across the road from the Shell station.

 

Mr Pug Mykonos

Diners will enjoy marvellous sunset views with their meal, thanks to Mr Pug’s hilltop location high above Mykonos Town

 

 

~ Indian Palace ~

 

Indian Palace restaurant Mykonos

The dining terrace at Indian Palace boasts views of Paradise Bay

 

 

Paradise beach has long been the top place to party on Mykonos, but it has never been considered a dining destination.  The beachfront cafeterias served decent Greek dishes, salads and North American fare (e.g. burgers and fries), but people seeking better quality sit-down meals were limited to Stamatis and Dimitris Place near the Paradise beach bus stop, or had to walk over to nearby Paraga beach and Agia Anna beach for excellent Greek food at the cafés and tavernas situated there. It’s totally a different story this summer.

As I noted in my Remezzo club gets restyled report back on April 13, Anna’s Place Restaurant & Bar had just opened, offering a menu of Greek, seafood, meat and pasta dishes along with great views of Paradise beach and bay from its hillside location. But Anna’s isn’t the only new restaurant at Paradise this year — it has been joined by Indian Palace.

This restaurant serves traditional and authentic Indian cuisine, and boasts an extensive wine list along with Indian lager beers. Open for lunch and dinner, Indian Palace offers its customers a wonderful sea view as well as plenty of room for family, group and business gatherings — it can accommodate 150 diners, and even has a separate hall that can hold up to 100 guests for special private events.

Feedback about the restaurant has been laudatory since it opened. As of this week, 14 favourable reviews had been posted to TripAdvisor.com, with 12 people rating it “excellent” and two “very good.” 

Indian Palace is operated by the same people who run the two Jaipur Palace restaurants in Athens — one in the Kifissia neighbourhood and the other in the Alimos area.

 Indian Palace restaurant Mykonos

Exterior view of Indian Palace at Paradise beach.  The restaurant features a terrace with views across the beach and bay.

 

 

 

~ LAMÉD Seaside Pleasure ~

 

LAMED restaurant on Mykonos

 This photo, from the LAMÉD Seaside Pleasure Facebook page, shows a view of the restaurant entrance from Agia Anna beach on the opposite side of the road

 

 

Regular readers of this blog may recall that little Agia Anna beach, situated between Paraga and Platis Gialos, is one of my favourite destinations on Mykonos — primarily to escape the crowds at busier beaches while enjoying some of the excellent food at the family-run Nikolas Taverna. In fact, Nikolas is one of the restaurants I recommend the most to people planning holidays on Mykonos.

Although Nikolas has been around since 1967, it isn’t always the only dining choice at Agia Anna/Paraga. From time to time, someone opens another restaurant on a property just several dozen meters away, near the northern end of Agia Anna beach. From 2000 to 2006, for instance, a Greek food restaurant called Axinaioi operated in the space, which has a very large open-air dining terrace just steps from the small sandy beach. In 2009, an upmarket restaurant called Blanco opened there, serving Greek and Italian cuisine for a few years. Axinaioi re-opened in the spring of 2013, and received several five star reviews on TripAdvisor. But it didn’t last.

This year, the Axinaioi space has been totally transformed into LAMÉD Seaside Pleasure, a trendy restaurant and beach bar with a menu focussed on Mediterranean cuisine. With its comfy lounge chairs and umbrellas on the small beach, beverage and lunch service to customers renting the sunbeds, and a Sama boutique fashion shop on the premises, LAMÉD offers a chic beach club atmosphere that contrasts sharply with the traditional taverna ambience over at Nikolas. LAMÉD also hosts special party events from time to time; it recently brought in the popular Greek music groups Melisses and OtherView for live performances, and held a full moon party with music by DJ de Puta Madre.

I’ve been hearing good comments about LAMÉD this summer, and have noticed it has received overwhelmingly positive reviews on TripAdvisor (with one recent exception).  If it can maintain its favourable reviews, it’s bound to draw more people from Platis Gialos and Paraga. And if its special event parties with live entertainment remain popular, LAMÉD could well put Agia Anna on the map as the newest party beach on Mykonos.

 

LAMED Mykonos

A Facebook photo of LAMÉD’s large dining terrace

 

 

LAMED restaurant

A Facebook photo showing a night view of LAMÉD. The restaurant occasionally hosts parties with either DJs or live performances by popular Greek musical groups like Melisses and OtherView.

 

 

~ Pasají ~

 

Pasaji Mykonos

This photo, from the Pasají Mykonos Facebook page, shows how the restaurant and pool bar property extends along the eastern end of Ornos beach

 

Pasají Mykonos, a new restaurant and beach club at Ornos, is a yet another example of the continuing trend for successful Athens restaurants to expand their dining empires to Mykonos.

The Athens Pasaji has been situated in the Spyromiliou Arcade in Central Athens since 2008, and serves “modern Greek” cuisine as well as sushi. Pasají Mykonos made its debut in July. It describes its menu as “Mediterranean fusion” and, like its Athens counterpart, has a sushi bar. But the island restaurant can boast about some noteworthy extras — an extensive beachfront with luxurious sunbeds and umbrellas, as well as a large beachview bar terrace with a swimming pool and DJ.

(Pasají Mykonos occupies the prime Ornos beachfront properties that were previously home to a highly popular restaurant called Ithaki, and an adjacent eatery called Nostimon. As I noted in my first Mykonos restaurant update for 2014, Ithaki’s owner opened a new restaurant earlier this year. It’s called Apaggio, and it’s located on the Ornos seaside just a few hundred meters away from the former Ithaki premises.)

The Pasají Mykonos restaurant and beach club concept appears to be a huge hit. People have posted rave reviews online, complimenting the food, staff, service, views and beachfront.

 

Pasaji Mykonos

The Pasaji complex includes this swimming pool and large terrace, shown in a photo from the restaurant’s Facebook page

 

 

Pasaji Mykonos

Another photo from Facebook shows the comfy sunbeds lining the beach in front of the Pasaji restaurant and pool bar areas

 

 

 

~ Mpalothies ~

 

Mpalothies taverna at Ornos

All summer, the Facebook page for Mpalothies taverna has been filled with photos of its tantalizing Greek cuisine.  I feel hungry the instant I see their posts!

 

 

If you’re hankering for a hearty, delicious meal at a traditional Greek taverna, Mpalothies will hit the spot. It’s situated at Ornos, a short walk up the road from the beach, and specializes in authentic Cretan cuisine.

I have been following Mpalothies on Facebook throughout the summer, and must admit I feel hungry whenever I see the photos they regularly post showing some of the Greek food items on their menu. Everything looks yummy!

The restaurant gets considerable praise online, especially in reviews on TripAdvisor, where customers rave about the excellent friendly service and reasonable prices, as well as the generously-sized portions of delicious Greek food. I have also read highly positive comments about Mpalothies in articles I’ve discovered in Greek news and travel websites.

To enhance its authentic taverna experience, the restaurant often offers live musical entertainment in the evening.

 

Mpalothies taverna Mykonos

This photo from the Mpalothies Facebook page shows a street view of the taverna’s open-air dining terrace

 

 

Mpalothies Taverna on Mykonos

Besides superb Cretan cuisine, Mpalothies sometimes offers live entertainment

 

 

 

~ Pepper Souvlaki & More ~

 

Pepper Souvlaki & More in Mykonos

A photo of the sign for the new Pepper souvlaki shop in Mykonos Town

 

 

If you’re in the mood for some cheap but tasty eats either before or after a night of partying at Skandinavian Bar or one of the clubs at nearby Little Venice (or anywhere else in Mykonos Town, for that matter), head over to Pepper Souvlaki & More.

Located on Kouzi Georgouli Street in the Barkia district of town, Pepper serves souvlaki, gyros, salads, burgers & fries at what, for Mykonos, are considered bargain prices.

New this year, Pepper has been a big hit with visitors who have praised the tasty food and reasonable prices in scores on online reviews. I rarely hear people say they got a good burger in Mykonos, but the ones served at Pepper have been called “amazing” by customers who have thoroughly enjoyed them. In fact, so many people have been giving Pepper good ratings this summer that, as of this writing, it is the #13-ranked Mykonos Town restaurant on TripAdvisor.

 

Pepper Souvlaki & More in Mykonos

Skewers of souvlaki are shown in an image that was posted on the Pepper Facebook page

 

 

 

~ Kalammmakia Lakka ~

 

Kalammmakia Grill House

From the Kalammmakia Grill House Facebook page, a photo showing an outdoor view of the popular fast food restaurant at Lakka Square

 

 

Another popular new souvlaki and gyros joint is the Kalammmakia Grill House in the Lakka area of Mykonos Town — generally called Kalammmakia Lakka, to distinguish it from another Kalammmakia Grill House that the same owners opened near Ano Mera village last year.

The Lakka restaurant — like its counterpart in Ano Mera — gets highly favourable reviews for delicious souvlaki, gyros and kebab at low prices. Some reviewers have praised it as having “the best” souvlaki in town.

The tasty cheap eats and cheap prices have struck a chord with travellers — Kalammmakia Lakka is currently the #22-rated Mykonos Town restaurant on TripAdvisor.

 

Kalammmakia Grill House Lakka Square Mykonos

From Facebook, a photo showing the interior of Kalammmakia Lakka

 

 

Posted in Bars and/or tavernas, Cyclades islands, Greek Islands, Mykonos, Popular Posts, Top Mykonos posts | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

2board summer issue features gastronomy guide, hotel profiles + tour ideas for Athens & Chania

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2board Magazine Gastro Guide

The July–September issue of 2board magazine features a gastronomy guide, suggested tours for Athens and Chania, and profiles of top boutique hotels

 

 

2board magazine coverTons of great tips: If you’re passing through Athens International Airport anytime this month, be sure to grab a copy of the July–September issue of 2board magazine while you’re in the terminal.

The 212-page glossy publication (the cover is shown at left) is packed full of useful travel tips about hotels, restaurants, and attractions at a variety of destinations — information that could come in handy during your current travels in Greece, or for planning a future holiday.

2board is the official magazine of the Athens airport. Copies are available free of charge from magazine racks situated at various locations in the terminal building.

I always find a wealth of interesting information, travel ideas and helpful research material in 2board, and this summer’s edition is no exception. In fact, it’s one of the better issues, content-wise, that I’ve seen. (And, as always, it’s packed with photos of luxurious resorts, villas and restaurants I can only dream about visiting someday … but it’s still great fun to imagine what it would be like seeing these places and photographing them with my own camera.)

 

Gastro Guide to 10 top restaurants

Foodies will want to flip directly to page 21 for 2board‘s “Gastro Guide to Greece,” which profiles “Ten restaurants that do not simply dish up Greek high gastronomy, they consistently take it one step further.”

The guide highlights two acclaimed restaurants on Mykonos, three on Santorini, one each on the islands of Corfu, Crete and Rhodes, and two on the Greek mainland — one at Preveza and another in Halkidiki:

Etrusco at Kato Korakiana on Corfu;

♦ Old Mill at the Elounda Mare Hotel at Elounda on Crete;

♦ The Squirrel, one of the restaurants at Danai Beach Resort & Villas in Halkidiki;

♦ the dining room at Bill & Coo Suites & Lounge above Megali Ammos beach on Mykonos;

♦ the brand new White Star at Lakka Square in Mykonos Town;

♦ the restaurant at SESA Boutique Hotel at Kanali beach in Preveza;

♦ The Greek, a new dining room at the Sheraton Rhodes Resort on Rhodes;

♦ Selene in Pyrgos village on Santorini;

♦ Sea Side by Notos at Santorini’s Perivolos beach; and

♦ the dining room at the Grace Santorini hotel in Imerovigli.

The Gastro Guide includes full-page photos of the respective restaurants’ chefs and some of their tantalizing creations, along with suggestions of signature dishes to try if you get the opportunity to dine at one of these fine establishments. A word of warning: don’t read this article on an empty stomach, because the stunning food photos and descriptions of the unique dishes will instantly make you feel hungry!

 

Facebook page photo of the dining terrace at The Squirrel restaurant

The seaside dining terrace at The Squirrel restaurant in the Danai Beach Resort & Villas in Halkidiki. The photo is from the Danai Beach Resort Facebook page.

 

 

Profiles of select boutique hotels

  Aigis Suites resort on Kea island

Guests enjoy fantastic sunset views at the Aigis Suites resort on Kea island. This image is from a gallery on the resort’s website.

 

In addition to its restaurant recommendations, 2board promotional profiles spotlight several upscale or boutique hotel properties at various locations on the Greek islands and mainland.

Among the resorts profiled in the summer magazine issue are the St Nicolas Bay Resort on Crete; Aigis Suites on Kea; the King George Hotel at Syntagma Square in Central Athens; and the Elefsina Hotel in the city of Elefsina, less than 30 minutes’ driving time from downtown Athens.

 

 St Nicolas Bay Resort

This photo showing the view from a swimming pool at the St Nicolas Bay Resort  appears in a gallery on the hotel website. The resort overlooks Mirabello Bay in the Agios Nikolaos area of Crete.

 

 

Highlights of the Chania area of Crete

A photo caption for the magazine’s “5 days in … Chania” feature says “there is so much to explore besides the charming old town.” That’s a bit of an understatement! The article author describes five busy days of activities that included meals at Kandani,  Anidri, Theriso and other traditional Cretan villages; visits to Elafonissi island and Balos beach; a hike down the Samaria Gorge, and of course sightseeing in and around the town of Chania itself.

Website or telephone contact information is provided for most of the hotels, restaurants and sights mentioned in the article, so it will be a useful resource to consult if you’re planning a trip to Crete yourself.

 

2board magazine Chania article

The magazine’s “5 days in … Chania” feature suggests things to see and do on a getaway trip to what it calls “one of Crete’s most atmospheric towns.”

 

 

“Customized” Athens visits

One of the magazine’s main features is “45 Tips for Tailor Made Athens,” a city guide chock full of suggestions for sightseeing, dining, accommodations and shopping.

2board magazineIt’s actually three guides in one package — divided into three separate levels appropriate to travellers with varying familiarity with Athens:

♦ Level One describes 15 “must see” attractions for the “Enthusiastic Newcomer” to Athens;

♦ Level Two offers 15 suggestions for the “Frequent Lover” who wants to “see the city’s underbelly and experience it as natives do”, and

♦ Level Three provides 15 recommendations for the “Almost Local” — the frequent Athens visitor who may think they have seen everything. “Think again,” the guide advises. “Athens is the city that never ceases to amaze.”

 

11 top reasons to visit Greece

Another fun feature in the summer issue is “60+ Reasons to Holiday in Greece,” in which 11 experts offer 66 reasons that “explain why this country never looks better than it does during the [summer] holiday season.”

There’s something for every kind of traveller here, since the experts highlight attractions and activities that appeal to all kinds of tourists. The subjects they explore include:

2board magazine♦ Magical festivals;

♦ Divine local delicacies;

♦ Windsurfing hotspots;

♦ Fun family holidays;

♦ Unique stays;

♦ Boutique havens;

♦ Dreamy resorts;

♦ Awesome nature trails;

♦ Sporting events;

♦ Unspoilt beaches;

♦ Wine destinations;

♦ Wildlife spots, and

♦ Unique adventures

Besides the special articles described above, the magazine is loaded with information about shopping and activities in Athens and elsewhere, cultural events like the annual Athens & Epidaurus Festival, and even destinations outside of Greece.

It also has several sections about shops, restaurants, services and facilities in the airport terminal, including a special section on the building’s newly redesigned food court.

If you can’t pick up a copy of the 2board summer magazine because you won’t be travelling through Athens International Airport this month, you can still view the complete issue online. Click here to reach the airport’s publications webpage, where you can review either the current edition of 2board, or browse back issues.

 

Posted in Air travel, Athens, Corfu, Crete, Greece in magazines, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands hotels, Greek Islands photos, Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, Tourist attractions, Travel guides, Wildife and domestic animals | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Summer’s top drink on Mykonos: champagne

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Bubblesgallery Champagne-Cocktail bar

Just as this photo from the Bubblesgallery Champagne-Cocktail Bar Facebook page suggests, champagne is the top beverage choice for Mykonos visitors celebrating important occasions or special holiday moments …

 

 

Super Paradise beach Mykonos

… but at some of the island’s notorious party beaches, champagne is meant to be shaken and sprayed, not drunk, as this photo from the Super Paradise Beach Facebook page illustrates

 

 

Sip it or spray it: Seems like only yesterday that mojitos were all the rage on Mykonos.  Everywhere I went a couple of summers ago, whether in Mykonos Town or at one of the island’s world-famous beaches, I saw people sipping mojitos.  Dozens of different drinks are more in favour now, but social media postings show that the most popular alcoholic beverage on the island this summer isn’t a cocktail — it’s champagne.

I regularly follow Mykonos events on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and elsewhere, and have been astounded by the vast number of photos and videos of champagne that have been published so far this summer.

The images confirm that Mykonos tourists will drink thousands of cases of bubbly this travel season, but also suggest it’s possible that much of the sparkling French wine sold on the island won’t even touch people’s lips.

Many visitors will order bottles of bubbly to toast an important occasion or mark a special holiday moment, of course, but countless more will purchase champagne with absolutely no intention of ever taking a taste. For them, it’s only meant to be shaken and sprayed — at other people, especially sexy bikini-clad young ladies.

Bars at two of the island’s top party beaches — Paradise and Super Paradise — have been stocking champagne by the truckload this summer to supply revellers who want to shake things up and get wet, wild and sticky after spending their afternoon frolicking in the sun and sea.

While dowsing people with drinks sounds like something one might expect to see only at beaches where 18- to 35-year-old partygoers gather to get totally trashed, champagne showers have been recorded even at classy high-end Mykonos dining and drinking establishments, like Nammos Restaurant by the Sea at upscale Psarou beach.

If you’re travelling to Mykonos this season, here are some of the best places to enjoy champagne — whether you prefer to sip it or spray it:

 

Best champagne bar in Mykonos Town

You don’t have to go far to find champagne in Mykonos Town, which is home to more than 200 restaurants and bars, many of which cater to affluent, well-heeled travellers. But only one of those establishments is specifically dedicated to the exquisite bubbly beverage — Bubblesgallery Champagne-Cocktail Bar.

Opened several years ago by Despina Kitsinis, Bubbles Gallery is situated next to Agios Vlassis church in a cozy cobblestone-paved square near the Mykonos harbourfront. Despina has arranged tables and chairs in front of her lounge so customers can savour Veuve Cliquot by the bottle or glass while watching the steady parade of people from around the globe strolling past. (If you’re not a fan of champagne, you can order from an extensive menu of exquisite cocktails instead.) Bubbles Gallery is an ideal spot for a drink either before or after dinner, but those who prefer having a bite to eat with their bubbly can get that here, too — Despina added a sushi bar this summer.

As of this week, Bubbles Gallery holds the #3 ranking on the TripAdvisor nightlife listing for Mykonos.

 

Bubblesgallery champagne-cocktail bar Mykonos

This photo from the Bubbles Gallery Facebook page shows the lounge’s outdoor seating in St Vlassis Square.

 

 

 Best beach bars for champagne drinking

If your idea of an ultimate chill-out vacation is to sip fine champagne while lounging on a legendary Greek beach packed with gorgeous women, you’ll feel like you’re on holiday in heaven at Pinky Beach Mykonos.

The trendy club, which opened at Super Paradise in 2013, includes a restaurant and bar with dozens of comfortable sunbeds arranged in rows on the soft brown sand. With a menu of Italian and Greek cuisine, a bar specializing in champagne and cocktails, VIP treatment from the attractive staff, plus lounge tunes and occasional live entertainment by Greek saxophonist Sotiris Tatsis, Pinky Beach brought a level of sophistication and class to a beach that has for decades held a salacious reputation as one of the Mediterranean’s premier party destinations for young travellers.

The club frequently posts pictures and updates on its Facebook pages, most of which show smiling and curvaceous Pinky Beach staff posing beside buckets filled with ice, champagne flutes and bottles of Armand de Brignac. (When I scanned through the club’s photo albums on Facebook, I almost felt light-headed from seeing so much champagne — Pinky Beach posts more pictures of the beverage than any other venue on the island.)

 

Pinky Beach Mykonos

In this photo from one of the Pinky Beach Facebook pages, an employee poses with champagne she’s delivering to customers on the club’s sunbeds

 

 

Pinky Beach  Mykonos

Another photo from Facebook shows two members of the Pinky Beach crew making a dramatic champagne delivery on the beach

 

 

Nammos Restaurant by the Sea is another top beach venue for vacationers who appreciate champagne and the finer things in life. The trendy club has been a fixture at Psarou beach for years, where its clientele includes some of the richest and most famous people in the world, many of whom arrive on sleek private yachts. Nammos is known for its gourmet dining and swish beach bar, as well as for its splashy special events and exclusive parties. The club made international headlines just two weeks ago when Latin singing superstar Julio Iglesias performed live with popular Greek entertainer Antonis Remos (see my July 25 2014 post for more on that). Amr Diab, the world’s best-selling Middle Eastern musical artist, headlined an event at Nammos on August 9.

 

Nammos by the Sea Mykonos

Three glittering bottles of Armand de Brignac chill on ice in a shiny golden bucket at Nammos Restaurant by the Sea at Psarou beach. The image was posted on the Nammos Facebook page. From their luxurious sunbeds on the golden sand beach, or their seaview tables inside the chic restaurant, Nammos guests can savour their champagne while watching the world’s rich, famous and fabulous sail into Psarou Bay on luxurious yachts and sailboats …

 

 

Nammos by the Sea Mykonos

… or they might just prefer to drink the champagne and dance on their tables, as this photo from the Nammos Facebook page illustrates. It appeared with the caption: “The usual #Nammos lovers Popping bottles and dancing on tables!!!”

 

 

 

Solymar Mykonos at Kalo Livadi is another upscale bar and restaurant where champagne lovers will enjoy sipping their favourite beverage in a classy environment with views of a beautiful beach and bay. Like Nammos, Solymar attracts an international well-to-do crowd, and each summer it throws at least a half dozen major beach parties featuring big-name DJs or musical groups.

 

Solymar Mykonos

 This photo of a golden bottle of Armand de Brignac champagne was posted on the Solymar Mykonos Facebook page

 

 

 

Best beach bars for champagne spraying

In sharp contrast to Pinky Beach, where visitors actually drink their champagne, the young people partying next door at the Super Paradise Beach Club practically bathe in the bubbly stuff. When the afternoon parties reach full frenzy, don’t be surprised to hear corks pop and see champagne rain down on people as they dance in the club or on the sand out front. Sometimes the sparkling showers are the club’s main draw — earlier this summer, it hosted “the greatest champagne spraying even in Europe” (see the promotional image posted below).

Champagne spraying is a popular feature of the afternoon parties held at the Tropicana Club’s Tropicana bar and Guapaloca bar on Paradise beach, too.

 

Guapaloca bar Mykonos

This is one of numerous photos, from the Guapaloca bar Facebook page, that shows champagne spraying parties at the popular Paradise beach bar

 

 

Tropicana club at Paradise beach Mykonos

A photo from the Tropicana bar Facebook page shows an employee posing with buckets of champagne for one of the club’s afternoon beach parties

 

 

Tropicana Bar Mykonos

Just another one of many champagne pics on Tropicana’s Facebook page

 

 

Tropicana beach bar

In this photo from Facebook, Tropicana bar emcee Sasà (in the thong, at left) prepares to uncork a huge bottle of Moët & Chandon at one of the club’s afternoon beach bashes

 

 

Tropicana beach bar at Paradise beach Mykonos

Another Facebook photo shows people spraying champagne at the crowd at Paradise beach’s Tropicana Club.

 

 

Super Paradise Beach Club

Super Paradise Beach Club held a special champagne party in June

 

 

Champagne shared on social media networks

Below are a few more champagne-themed photos recently posted on Facebook, followed by several videos with scenes from some of the champagne parties at Paradise and Super Paradise.

 

Votsalaki Resort Mykonos

The Votsalaki Resort at Paradise beach posted to its Facebook page this photo of two guests enjoying the fabulous sea views from the resort’s infinity pool with a bottle of Armand de Brignac champagne. The photo caption read, in part: “being at the best place in Mykonos, with the best company, drinking the best champagne in the world. what else do you wish for?”

 

 

Caprice of Mykonos champagne photo

This photo showing a bottle of champagne on ice at sunset was shared on the Caprice of Mykonos Facebook page. The Caprice group operates hugely popular bars and restaurants in three superb seaside locations at Mykonos Town’s scenic Little Venice area — all excellent places for visitors to enjoy a wonderful sunset view while sipping champagne.

 

 

Yefsi restaurant Mykonos

Champagne is a popular beverage at the family-oriented beaches on Mykonos, too.  This photo of an ice bucket chilling three bottles of Moët & Chandon appeared on the Facebook page for Yefsi Restaurant at Platis Gialos beach.

 

 

Spilia restaurant Mykonos

Champagne has long been associated with romance, and one of the most romantic places to enjoy champagne on Mykonos is on the wonderful water’s edge terrace at Spilia Seaside Restaurant at Agia Anna/Kalafatis

 

 

Kalita restaurant Mykonos

Kalita Restaurant recently posted to its Facebook page this photograph of two champagne bottles. Located on Kalogera Street in Mykonos Town, Kalita is just one of many stylish drinking and dining spots where champagne afficionados gather to clink glasses. Other outstanding places to celebrate special occasions with champagne and fine food include Avra Garden Restaurant (also on Kalogera Street) Interni Restaurant on Malamatemia Street and, at the Little Venice seaside, the three Caprice of Mykonos establishments — Sea Satin Market, Aqua Taverna and the immensely popular Caprice Bar.

 

 

Pinky Beach Mykonos

This photo, shared on Facebook this week, shows a woman posing on a pile of empty champagne bottles at Pinky Beach. The picture was captioned: “Finite le vacanze” (“Over the holidays.”)

 

 

Pinky Beach Mykonos

That same heap of champagne bottles was shown in this image that hip hop recording artist Fabolous posted on Facebook August 7 with the caption: “When you celebrate LIFE there’s no such thing as too much champagne.”

 

 

Kazarma restaurant Mykonos

If you enjoy people watching while you sip Dom Perignon, there’s no better place to do it than at Kazarma Storia e gusto, an all-day café-bar-restaurant situated on Akti Kambani, the busy harbourside promenade in Mykonos Town. This photo appeared on the Kazarma Facebook page.

 

 

 

Yefsi Restaurant Mykonos

A member of the team at Yefsi holds a 6L bottle of Veuve Cliquot for a photo posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page recently

 

 

COOH Sunset Bar & Club

but they were trumped by COOH Sunset Bar & Club in Mykonos Town, which posted this photo of a woman getting cozy with a massive 15L Moët

 

 

Kalua Mykonos beach bar & restaurant

Two women pose with giant bottles of champagne at Kalua beach bar and restaurant at Paraga beach

 

 

 

George Lemmas created this film of a party at Super Paradise Beach Club. The champagne spraying starts around the 3:00 mark of the clip.

 

 

 

MykonosLiveTV published this Super Paradise Beach Club Official Video 2013-2014. The first half of the clip shows scenes from Mykonos and views of visiting celebrities and beautiful women, while the second half (starting around the 1:50 point) shows champagne spraying through the air at the beach bar.

 

 

 

This clip, also by MykonosLiveTV, shows scenes from champagne parties at Paradise Beach’s Tropicana bar

 

 

 

Another MykonosLiveTV video of a champagne party at Tropicana Bar

 

 

 

Protothema News website

Prothema News posted this image in a recently-published lifestyle story, Money blowing through Mykonos. The image purportedly shows the prices that the Jackie O’ Beach Club at Super Paradise charged for champagne during the club’s July 26 concert celebrating singer Anna Vissi’s 40th anniversary in the music business. The 2014 Eurovision Song Contest winner, Conchita Wurst, joined Anna onstage for a duet performance of her 2006 hit song “Everything.”

 

 

Protothema News

The Protothema News report Money Blowing Through Mykonos also included this image of a €57,175 bill which the publication claims a group of Lebanese tourists racked up at Nammos Restaurant by the Sea back on July 10. According to Protothema, most of the tab was for hundreds of bottles of champagne, many of which were shaken and sprayed at other people. Click here to see the article, which includes a 1-minute videoclip of the champagne spraying.

 

 

Posted in Arts & culture, Bars & Cafes, Cyclades islands, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands photos, Greek Islands videos, Mykonos, nightclubs & parties, Party places, Popular Posts, Top Mykonos posts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On my bucket list: Shipwreck beach on Zakynthos

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Shipwreck Beach on Zakynthos (Zante) island

Zakynthos island’s breathtaking Navagio beach — more famously known throughout the world as Shipwreck Beach — is seen in a photo provided courtesy of Flickr member Neitsch (Andreas Neuburger). Click here to view the stunning full-size version of the photo on Flickr, and click here to view other outstanding travel and landscape images from Andreas’s photostream on Flickr.

 

 

Ionian intrigue: I will have to live a very long and healthy life if I’m ever going to check off all the destinations on my long bucket list of places to see in Greece.

I still haven’t been anywhere in the Ionian group of islands, for example, where I would love to visit Corfu, Kefalonia, Ithaka, Lefkada, Zakynthos and several of the chain’s smaller islands (though not in that particular order).

A Greek-Canadian acquaintance is disappointed that I haven’t yet made it to Zakynthos (also known as Zante), which is one of his personal favourite places in all of Greece. “You’ve really gotta go there man,” he has repeatedly told me, insisting I’ll be “blown away” when I see the incredible beaches, coastlines and landscapes.

I’m already well aware of the island’s spectacular coastal cliffs and the gorgeous white pebble beaches nestled below them — including Navagio, more popularly known around the world as Shipwreck Beach.

Although I’ve seen hundreds of photos and dozens of videos, I never get tired looking at images of Navagio — they just make me want to see it (and the rest of Zakynthos) in person even more.

So do online travel articles that I stumble upon from time to time.

 

Online photo features and travel pieces

Like the photo feature entitled This is the the prettiest beach in Greece, which basically makes it the prettiest in the world, which Huffington Post Travel published earlier this year and updated just last month.

Or the article headlined Scenic caves, shipwrecks and turquoise sea: Discover Zante, published today in the online edition of the U.K.’s Express newspaper. It was penned by travel writer Rob Crossan, who described Zakynthos as “an island where stress rarely gets beyond deciding whether to have one more portion of fresh fish, one more dip in the inviting Ionian Sea, or one more evening stroll beneath the twinkling stars.”

[Coincidentally, it was almost exactly a year ago that the Express published another piece about Zakynthos -- Fantasy island! Head to Zante for beautiful beaches and delicious food -- in which Laura Millar wrote about Shipwreck beach, the famous Blue Caves, and the wonderful local cuisine.]

Besides the travel writing, there’s the countless Zakynthos photos on Fickr, and scores of videos on YouTube, that keep me mesmerized and dreaming about going to the island sometime soon.

Here are a few that show Zakynthos from a variety of interesting and alluring perspectives:

 

Shipwreck beach

This unique view of Navagio was posted on Twitter by Amazing Pictures

 

 

Shipwreck beach

This photo of the infamous shipwreck on Navagio beach was posted on the Wonderful Greece Facebook page

 

 

Zakynthos 2013 is an 8-minute video by alessevera

 

 

 

Robert Polasek posted this film in October 2011; it features more than a full hour of sights and scenes from across Zakynthos, including Shipwreck Beach

 

 

This Zakynthos 2013 video was posted by Petkovic Dusan

 

 

Raul Ceclan posted this personal travel clip of his August 2013 trip

 

Posted in Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands photos, Greek Islands videos, Ionian islands, Zakynthos | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Naxos calendar packed with arts, culture, food, music, party & sports events for August

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Dimitria Festival 2014

A promotional poster for Dimitria 2014, the 3rd annual Agrotourism Exhibition in Sangri village. The festival includes a variety of cultural events, including: photography, painting, knitwear and traditional antique shows.

 

 

Month full of fun: On any given summer day, there’s plenty to see and do on Naxos — as I’ve described in numerous posts, including my comprehensive January 6 2014 report on Our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos.

But if you happen to be travelling to Naxos during August this year, you’re going to be spoiled for choice even more — the island’s calendar is packed with special celebrations and activities appealing to visitors of all ages, backgrounds and interests.

Events include painting, sculpture and photography shows; food festivals; religious feasts and celebrations; live music concerts and performances; live theatre; entertainment for kids; movie screenings; sporting tournaments and nightclub parties.

I outlined a few of the island’s special events, including those held as part of the annual Naxos Festival, in my July 3 post, Cyclades islands celebrate summer with festivals for food & wine, arts & literature, culture & sports.

 

Website listings for all Naxos events in August

Further details about many more August celebrations and festivities can be found on the following Naxos information websites:

♦ The Domus Festival page on the Naxos Festival website contains a chart listing the performers that will be appearing at the Venetian Castle in Naxos Town;

♦  The Bazeos Tower website contains a listing of all exhibitions and live performances being held at the 17th-Century monument, which is situated 12 km from Naxos Town;

♦  The What’s On section of the naxos-web.com portal has a chart showing dates and venues for most of the events taking place on the island in August; and

♦ The Naxos and Small Cyclades website includes a detailed day-by-day list of events and activities not just on Naxos, but also on the nearby islands of Schinoussa, Koufonissia, Donoussa, and Iraklia; and

♦ the Naxos Festival Facebook page contains a wealth of photos and informational posts about the festival lineup.

Below are promotional posters illustrating just a few of the August events. 

Since most of the events take place during the evening or at night, Naxos visitors will have plenty of time to enjoy the island’s fabulous beaches and scenic towns and villages before taking in the entertainment.

 

Event listing and location map for the Dimitria 2014 festival in Sangri village on Naxos

A map and program guide for the 2014 Dimitria festival at Sangri. Click on the image to view a larger picture.

 

 

 Naxos Potato Festival

The 2014 Naxos Potatoes Festival takes place this Saturday (August 2) with food, music and dance celebrations at Agia Anna (Kapares)

 

 

Elaia Arts Festival on Naxos

The Elaia Arts Festival takes place at Kaloxylos village from August 1 to 3 and features photography, painting and sculpture exhibitions, theatrical performances, literary readings and special programs for children. Consult the Elaia Festival Facebook page for photos and further information.

 

 

 

 Naxos basketball tournament August 2014

Genesis Gym is hosting the 3 on 3 basketball tournament August 1 to 3 in Naxos Town.  Professional basketball player Mixalis Polytarchou will be appearing.

 

 

 Thalassea Sports Naxos special event

Thalasea Sports at Mikri Vigla will be throwing a beach party Saturday night (August 2) with live pop and rock music entertainment by The Gang.

 

 

Naxos Beach Volleyball tournament

The annual beach volleyball tournament takes place at Mikri Vigla on Saturday and Sunday (August 2 and 3), with competitions by men’s and women’s teams

 

 

Yazoo Summer Bliss parties on Naxos

Plaka beach will be rocking on Saturday night (August 2) with the Free Style Summer Tunes Party at Yazoo Summer Bliss cocktail bar and restaurant

 

 

Day Night Bar in Naxos Town

Singer Dimitris Karadimos will appearance at Day Night Bar in Naxos Town on Monday August 4

 

 

Island Bar at Agia Anna Naxos

Island Bar at Agia Anna beach will be presenting Ministry of Sound Wednesday night (August 6).  Check the Island Bar Facebook page for more information about the club’s summer parties.

 

 

Santana beach club Naxos

The Spice Music Festival will take place each afternoon from August 8 through August 12 at Santana Beach Club at Agia Anna

 

 

People Cocktail Bar on Naxos

People Cocktail Bar in Naxos Town will be throwing a Party Animals event on Friday August 8

 

 

 

Naxos book fair

A Book Fair will take place August 8 to 12 at the Apiranthos Elementary School

 

 

Natasha Theodoridou concerts on Naxos

Popular Greek singer Natasha Theodoridou will be appearing in a concert performances at the Naxos gymnasium on the evening of Saturday August 9

 

 

Kynidaros music and dance festival

A traditional island music and dance event will be held August 9 at Kynidaros at the village’s culture and athletic multispace.  The event features music of the brothers Klouvatos, Vasilis Koutelieris and their band.

 

 

Naxos Race of Health

The Race of Health starts at 4:45 p.m. on August 13 at the village square in Filoti

 

 

 

Mojo Cocktail Bar party lineup summer 2014

This calendar shows the acts that will be appearing for special August party events at  Mojo Cocktail Bar in Naxos Town

 

 

Santana beach club Naxos

Greek pop/rock group 7and will appear at Santana Beach Club on August 20

 

 

Stelida Archaeological Project

Dr. Tristan Carter from the Stelida Naxos Archaeological Project will give a talk on Early Humans in the Aegean on the evening of August 25. The event takes place at the Iakovos Kampanelis Museum in Naxos Town.

 

 

Naxos Triathlon 2014

A busy month of celebrations and events will conclude with the 7th Annual Naxos Triathlon, taking place the afternoon of Saturday August 30 at the Naxos port.

 

Posted in Art, Arts & culture, Cyclades islands, Events, Film, Greek Island villages and towns, Greek Islands, In the news, Literature, Naxos, nightclubs & parties, Party places, Photography, Popular music, Popular Posts, Top events posts, Top Naxos posts, Tourist attractions, Watersports | Tagged , | Leave a comment

2014 Greek holiday report Part 5: A coastal walk and an evening in town for our last day on Naxos

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Naxos west coast

Cape Agios Prokopios view toward a recently-built residential neighbourhood on the west side of Stelida mountain. We walked a coastal trail below the houses and followed a dirt road back to Agios Prokopios beach.

 

 

[Editor's note: This is the fifth instalment in an ongoing series of reports about our 2014 spring vacation in the Cyclades and Athens. Click here to see Part 1, click here to access Part 2, click here for Part 3, and click this link for Part 4. You can view full-size versions of all the photos posted below in the Naxos May 23 2014 album on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page.]

 

 

Friday May 23

 

Final full day: Time passes far too quickly when we’re on vacation! We were completely relaxed and feeling right at home on Naxos, but already it was our last full day on the island. After breakfast tomorrow we would have to pack, check out of the hotel and get to the port for our ferry to Syros. Where did the time go?

I had been certain we would see and do a lot more on Naxos than we actually did. Before coming to the island, we had tentatively planned to visit at least one village — Koronos and Apollonas were the likely candidates — and to mountain bike as far down the south coast as we could possibly go. Windy conditions forced us to scale back our biking plans, while this morning we simply didn’t feel like hurrying into Naxos Town to catch a bus and spend more than an hour riding it to one of the villages. I felt guilty that we didn’t get to scratch more Naxos destinations off our must-see list, but a whirlwind sightseeing tour could wait for a future trip — today we found it more important to unwind and take it easy.

That’s what passengers appeared to be doing on two different sailboats that arrived in Agios Prokopios Bay while we were having breakfast. One was a large sailing yacht, probably a private charter, flying flags for Turkey and Greece. The other was a private sailboat flying a German flag. Both dropped anchor in the bay a hundred meters or so offshore, where their occupants would enjoy impressive panoramic views of Agios Prokiopios beach, Stelida mountain, and the rocky southern shores of Cape Agios Prokopios. As I watched them float quietly on the sparkling sea, I started daydreaming about what it would be like to cruise the Greek Islands on a sailboat. I hope some day I’ll get the opportunity to find out …

 

sailing yacht at Agios Prokopios

A Turkish-flagged sailing yacht approaches the west coast of Naxos

 

 

sailing yacht at Agios Prokopios

and drops anchor in Agios Prokopios Bay, a short distance from shore

 

 

sailboat at Agios Prokopios

joined soon afterwards by another sailboat

 

 

 

A walk along the Cape and west coast of Stelida

Although we felt lazy, we didn’t want to spend a day sitting around or laying in the sun — we needed to move around, but at a relaxed pace. So after breakfast we took a long, slow walk along Cape Agios Prokopios and the west side of Stelida mountain, eventually making our way back to the hotel. Here’s some of the sights we saw during our hike:

 

 Lianos Village Hotel

This would be our final full day at Lianos Village Hotel we would be moving on to Syros the next day

 

 

a villa on Naxos

A private villa just a few steps down the road from our hotel. We have walked past it many times during our Naxos holidays, but have never seen anyone there. It might be a holiday house for someone from Athens or elsewhere in Europe.

 

 

apartment building on Naxos

This building, right next door to the villa, appears to contain several separate apartments. We’ve never seen anyone here, either — the windows have always been shuttered. It’s just a 5-minute walk from here to Agios Prokopios beach.

 

 

Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa

The Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa occupies a very large property on the opposite side of the road from the villa and the apartment building. It has a lovely figure 8-shaped swimming pool and separate soaking pool, but we have never seen anyone in the water or on the large terrace. We’ve been told the resort is packed in summer months with vacationing families and tour groups from Italy.

 

 

Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa

The main entrance to the Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa. The hotel usually looks vacant when we visit Naxos (the resort opens in late May and closes at the end of September), but when we passed it today dozens of young Italians filed out the front door and boarded tour buses parked on the road outside the hotel. First time we have seen any guests there!

 

 

road to Agios Prokopios beach

The road from Stelida passes Molos Taverna (center) before reaching a parking area next to the dunes at Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

Villas at Agios Prokopios

Two huge villas occupy the rocky hill opposite Molos Taverna. The one on the right has been under construction since at least 2009. Whoever is building it has been making slow but steady progress

 

 

villas at Agios Prokopios

… as you can see from this photo which I shot during our holiday in October 2013, at which time the exterior walls of the new villa had yet to be painted.

 

 

sailing yacht at Agios Prokopios

The Turkish-flagged sailing yacht comes into view as we approached the shrub-covered sand dunes behind Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

sailing yacht at Agios Prokopios

While I was admiring the yacht, one of the passengers began hanging laundry out to dry on the port side of the boat

 

 

Agios Prokopios beach

Agios Prokopios beach has views toward Orkos (rear left) and Cape Mikri Vigla (rear right) on the far side of the bay

 

 

road to Cape Agios Prokopios

Paros island comes into view as we walk up a dirt road leading from the beach to Cape Agios Prokopios

 

 

sailboat at Agios Prokopios

A view of Paros, a sailboat and the rocky shores of Cape Agios Prokopios

 

 

Cape Agios Prokopios

Looking across the southern side of Cape Agios Prokopios toward Paros

 

 

Cape Agios Prokopios

There’s a wide variety of terrain on Cape Agios Prokopios. Here, footpaths and dirt roads criss-cross wide rolling hills strewn with huge boulders.

 

 

 Cape Agios Prokopios

Spring flowers blanket some of the hills on the cape

 

 

Cape Agios Prokopios

A footpath traverses the wildflower-covered slope

 

 

Cape Agios Prokopios

Some of the cape’s terrain is quite steep and rocky

 

 

Cape Agios Prokopios

The south side of the cape is quite rugged with cliffs rising above the bay. We tried walking close to the shore, to see if we could reach a coastal area where we could see people fishing, but turned back to follow an easier route when we got tired of climbing over jagged boulders — our sneakers weren’t suitable footwear for the challenging terrain.

 

 

Agios Prokopios Bay

View toward the two sailboats anchored in Agios Prokopios bay

 

 

Agios Prokopios bay

Another view of the shoreline along the south side of Cape Agios Prokopios

 

 

shipwreck at Agios Prokopios

A rusting section of hull is all that remains of a shipwreck on the cape’s south coast. I have read that it’s the remains of a Dutch merchant vessel that foundered on the rocks in the 1980s.

 

 

Cape Agios Prokopios

Sailboats in Agios Prokopios Bay near the shipwreck on the cape

 

 

Cape Agios Prokopios

A man fishes from rocks near the southwestern tip of Cape Agios Prokopios

 

 

Cape Agios Prokopios

Another view of the fisherman on the point

 

 

Cape Agios Prokopios

View toward Paros from the coast near the northwest tip of the cape

 

 

western coast of Naxos

View from the cape toward houses on the lower slopes of Stelida mountain, above the western coast of Naxos. Many of the homes were built between 2008 and 2010, and more new residences are under construction.

 

 

 

a beach on Naxos

Approaching a secluded beach on the north side of the cape

 

 

wild herbs on Naxos

A slope near the beach was covered with waist-tall mounds of wild herbs

 

 

Queen Anne's Lace

There were thousands of Queen Anne’s Lace (daucus carota) growing on the low hills behind the beach

 

 

west coast of Naxos

View toward Paros from the hill behind the little beach

 

 

a beach on Naxos

A view of the beach from a rocky point to the north. I don’t know the name of this particular beach; it isn’t marked on any of my maps of Naxos

 

 

Here’s a short video of the beach. Click on the arrow to view it.

 

 

Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa beach

Approaching a different beach on the west coast. This particular strand is situated directly behind the Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa

 

 

This is a short video of the beach and bay behind the hotel

 

 

Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa beach

The hotel has rows of beach chairs and umbrellas under some trees next to the beach. The beach has suffered considerable erosion since I first saw it in May 2009 while we were riding a ferry from Amorgos to Naxos (see photo below).

 

 

Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa beach

I shot this pic of the Naxos Imperial Resort and its private beach five years ago.  The hotel had been built during the winter of 2008-2009, and there were no rocky sections or eroded areas on the beach during its first season.

 

 

Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa beach

Another view, from the passing ferry, of lounge chairs and umbrellas on the beach at the then-brand-new Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa in May 2009.

 

 

Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa beach

Although the hotel has had to pull its lounges and umbrellas several meters farther back from the sea because of the erosion, there is still a respectable section of sandy beachfront, and the bay is quite scenic

 

 

Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa beach

Shade trees next to the hotel beach. Paros is visible across the channel.

 

 

west coast of Naxos

Herbs and wildflowers along the coastal trail

 

 

west coast of Naxos

The footpath follows beside a series of long fences that mark property lines of some of the private villas on the southern slope of Stelida mountain

 

 

Here’s a short video of another sandy cove we passed while hiking along the west coast in the Stelida area. Click on the arrow to start the clip.

 

 

 a cove on Naxos

Lounge chairs on the sand in a small cove below the residential development. I saw people from one of the houses walk down the hill to lay on the sunbeds.

 

 

birds on Naxos

Large birds gather on a rocky outcropping on the coast below the houses

 

 

west coast of Naxos

The rugged coastline at the northwest tip of Naxos. We didn’t walk beyond this point; instead, we walked through part of the hillside residential area on our way back to Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

guard dogs on Naxos

These guard dogs barked furiously at us from one of the nearby estates as we made our way up the hillside to a road in the residential development. We were glad they were securely chained — judging by the look of their emaciated bodies, they probably were hungry enough to eat us!

 

 

esidential area on Stelida mountain

We avoided the property with the guard dogs and walked through a field of prickly scrub brush and herb bushes to reach the nearest road. It took us downhill between tall stone walls that separated some of the villa estates.

 

 

a villa on Naxos

One of the villas on the west side of Stelida mountain

 

 

a villa on Naxos

Another villa on the slope above the west coast of Naxos. The properties here all have amazing views toward Paros.

 

 

Lianos Village Hotel

Approaching Lianos Village Hotel (left) following our walk along the cape and the west coast of Naxos. Construction work on the road is finished and the section that had been dug up when we arrived is now paved with fresh asphalt.

 

 

a villa in Stelida

A private villa across the road from our hotel

 

 

 A final visit to Agios Prokopios beach

The Lianos Village swimming pool looked inviting when we returned to the hotel; only four people were sunbathing on the terrace at the time. We would have liked to take a swim, but there was no way I could get in the water — it felt too cold. We decided to spend some time down at Agios Prokopios beach instead. So we headed back down the hill — repeating the first part of our morning walk — and stopped at Molos Taverna for a snack and drink. After our beach time, we took the long way back to the hotel, walking to the resort area at Agios Prokopios and following the roads up to Stelida and back to Lianos Village.

 

Lianos Village Hotel swimming pool

The hotel pool looked inviting, but the water was too chilly for us to swim

 

 

Lianos Village Hotel swimming pool

Another view of the Lianos Village pool

 

 

view from Lianos Village

View toward Agios Prokopios beach from the Lianos Village hotel pool deck. The building in the foreground is a studio apartment complex. Between the building and the dunes is one of three large salt ponds known variously as The Three Lakes and The Red Lakes (because the water often has a reddish hue). The ponds apparently dry up during the hot summer months.

 

 

a balcony on Naxos

A balcony on a house near Lianos Village Hotel

 

 

bougainvillea on Naxos

Bougainvillea outside another house near our hotel

 

 

Molos Taverna at Agios Prokopios

We stopped at Molos Taverna for a snack. The restaurant has a large open-air terrace set back a couple of hundred meters from Agios Prokopios beach.

 

 

Molos Taverna view

Looking across the Molos Taverna parking lot toward the dunes behind Agios Prokopios beach. You can purchase bottled water, soft drinks and beer from the taverna to take to the beach — it’s the closest place to get food and beverages.

 

 

Molos Taverna

View of Molos Taverna from the dunes behind the beach

 

 

sunbeds at Agios Prokopios beach

View from the dunes of sunbeds and a lifeguard post on Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

Agios Prokopios salt lakes

One of the three Red Lakes (salt ponds) near the dunes at Agios Prokopios. Naxos residents have been opposing Greek government proposals to sell these and other natural wetlands on Naxos, as well as some beaches and seashores, so private companies can redevelop the properties into luxury resorts and sports facilities.  Large-scale development here would ruin Agios Prokopios — one of my favourite beaches in Greece — so I hope the government comes to its senses and leaves the wetlands and seashores alone. Residents have launched a Naxos SOS — Save our Seashores campaign to fight any sell-off of the public lands.

 

 

Agios Prokopios salt pond

One of the “Red Lake” salt ponds at Agios Prokopios. Rather than sell the land for redevelopment into unsightly modern resorts, I’d rather see the government take measures to make the walking areas around the ponds more attractive.

 

 

sailing yacht at Agios Prokopios

The sail yacht has the entire bay to itself

 

 

Agios Prokopios beach

Looking to the east across Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

Stelida mountain on Naxos

Agios Prokopios beach view of one of the salt lakes below Stelida mountain

 

 

Agios Prokopios beach

Looking toward the northwest end of Agios Prokopios beach and the cape (far left) where we hiked during the morning

 

 

Here’s a short video of Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

Agios Prokopios beach

Lounge chairs and umbrellas near the southern end of Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

Agios Prokopios beach

Looking northwest across the wide, golden sands of Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

Agios Prokopios beach

View toward Paros from the southern end of Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

 Hotel Three Lakes

Hotel Three Lakes is one of numerous properties with hotel and studio apartment accommodations around the eastern end of the salt ponds at Agios Prokopios

 

 

Alykes Studios Naxos

Alykes Studios, on the east side of the salt ponds, is just a short walk from the resort’s shopping and restaurant strip

 

 

Perla Hotel Naxos

The swimming pools at the Perla Hotel near Agios Prokopios beach. The hotel has direct views of the beach and Paros island across the field between the Alykes Studios, left, and Hotel Three Lakes, right.

 

 

Perla Hotel Naxos

Street view of the Perla Hotel front entrance. We saw a studio apartment here; it was bright and spacious and very reasonably priced. We will consider the Perla for a future holiday if we ever decide to stay in a studio rather than a hotel.

 

 

Naxos Island Hotel

Street view of the Naxos Island Hotel on the main commercial strip at Agios Prokopios. A sign said the boutique hotel and its highly-rated The Taverna restaurant would be opening for the season the next day. We still haven’t had a chance to sample The Taverna’s food — the restaurant has not been open the last three times we have been to Naxos.

 

 

an abandoned hotel

While we were walking along the main road from Agios Prokopios to Stelida, my curiosity was piqued by an overgrown path leading off the left side of the highway. I walked down the road to discover this small hotel or apartment complex which appears to have been abandoned for years.

 

 

an abandoned hotel

Mother Nature is slowly reclaiming the vacant site, but the blue paint on the building’s doors and window shutters has held up surprisingly well

 

 

 Tzivaeri taverna and bungalows

View from the main road of Tzivaeri Taverna and Bungalows, which are only a 5-minute walk from the Agios Prokopios commercial area. The taverna features live rembetiko, a type of Greek folk music. We could hear the music when we walked past the restaurant two nights earlier.

 

 

a Stelida road

Near the halfway point on our walk from Agios Prokopios to Lianos Village Hotel. At right is one of several studio apartment complexes we pass along the way.

 

 

potted plants in Stelida

Potted plants on a staircase at a house we walked past in Stelida

 

 

Hotel Proteas on Naxos

Bougainvillea vines with scarlet leaves reach to the roof of Hotel Proteas

 

 

 A walk into town for dinner

It wasn’t long before we were on the move again. After freshening up and then relaxing on our hotel room terrace, we hit the road for another walk into Naxos Town. We planned to have dinner at Nostimon Hellas and then stroll around the Old Market and Castle areas for one last time.

As we approached the junction of the roads to Stelida and Agios Prokopios, near the southern end of St George’s Bay, we caught up with two Australian women who were walking along the highway. They were fashionably dressed for an evening out, and wearing high heeled shoes, so I wondered what they were doing so far from a hotel. One asked if we knew how long it would take to walk to the waterfront of Naxos Town, where they were planning to go for dinner. She said they had thought it would be only a short walk from where they were staying, but they’d been walking more than 20 minutes already and still couldn’t see any sign of the town.

I said the walk would take about 30 to 40 minutes for us, but considerably longer for them — if they could even make it all the way into town in their fancy footwear. I suggested they flag down a taxi or take the bus, whichever came along first. They walked with us for about 10 minutes, but declined to take a taxi that I waved down. It was out of sight by the time they realized they wouldn’t be able to walk much farther. Fortunately for their feet, the bus came by moments later. We waved for the driver to stop, and the two ladies hurried aboard after thanking us for the company and conversation during part of their trek toward town. We continued on our way — it was a beautiful evening and we were enjoying the walk.

 

a Stelida road

We got our first glimpse of St George’s Bay and Naxos Town (center rear) from this road in Stelida, about an 8-minute walk from our hotel

 

 

a road in Stelida

This road leads downhill from Stelida to the south side of St George’s Bay, where it merges onto the main road between Naxos Town and Agios Prokopios. It will take us about 10 minutes to walk to the junction of the two highways.

 

 

road from Stelida to Naxos Town

A blue sign (center) indicates where the Stelida road meets the highway from Naxos Town to Agios Prokopios. You can barely see them in this small picture, but the two women we met have nearly reached the junction — one is standing in front of the sign, while her friend is across the road, taking a photo.

 

 

Naxos countryside

The Naxos countryside basks in the golden glow of the low evening sun.  From this point, we can see houses on the mountains behind Naxos Town. We’ll reach the outskirts of Town in about 15 to 20 minutes.

 

 

Stelida mountain

Looking toward Stelida, where we had started our walk over half an hour earlier

 

 

highway on Naxos

Trees along the highway near the outskirts of Naxos Town. We can see St George’s Bay and will soon approach the beach.

 

 

a road near St George's beach

Almost there! An hour after we left our hotel, we’re about to walk down this dirt road, which will lead us to hotels near the southern end of St George’s beach.

 

 

St George's beach Naxos

Sunbeds cast shadows on St George’s beach in the glare of the evening sun

 

 

St George's beach

View toward Naxos Town from the southern end of the organized section of St George’s beach

 

 

a street in Naxos Town

Bougainvillea and azaleas on a Naxos Town street close to St George’s beach

 

 

a street in Naxos Town

Looking down the same street, from the opposite direction

 

 

a street in Naxos Town

We see our shadows as we walk down a quiet street in Naxos Town. The streets near the beach are lined with rental studio apartments and small hotels.

 

 

Nostimon Hellas restaurant Naxos

Street view of Nostimon Hellas restaurant at the corner of Tripodon and Ioannou Paparigopoulou Streets in Naxos Town, where we had a fabulous meal. This building housed the popular Yiayiaka’s Kitchen until the owners of that restaurant retired last fall.  (I wrote about Yiayiaka’s in my post Our best food & drink experiences of 2013.) I’ll tell you more about the wonderful food at Nostimon Hellas in an upcoming post about our meals on Naxos in 2014.

 

 

A night-time stroll through the Old Market and Castle

After dinner we took a long walk in Naxos Town, strolling through the Old Market area and the Castle. After a walk along the waterfront, we headed to Protodikeiou Square, where we hailed a taxi for a ride back to our hotel. We had walked enough for one day, and weren’t going to hike back to the hotel in the dark! We felt sad that we would be leaving Naxos in only 12 hours, but we had thoroughly enjoyed our sixth visit to the island. We will be back!

 

a street in Naxos Town

This street leads from Protodikeiou Square to the waterfront paralia, which is lined with dozens of shops, cafés, bars and restaurants

 

 

a street in Naxos Town

A pedestrian street in Naxos Town

 

 

Sarris Taverna

Sarris Taverna is popular for its seafood and Greek cuisine

 

 

Flamingo Restaurant

The sign outside Flamingo Restaurant advertises a bargain-priced dinner special — a salad, tzatziki, moussaka and a dessert crêpe for just €10.

 

 

church gate in Naxos

The elegant arched entrance gate to a church in Naxos Town

 

 

Taverna To Kastro

Taverna To Kastro tables in Braduna Square

 

 

 Naxos Castle entrance

The Naxos Castle entrance off Braduna Square

 

 

 art shop in the Naxos Castle

An art and souvenir shop inside the castle entrance

 

 

 Naxos Castle

A street inside the Castle

 

 

a street in the Naxos Castle

Steps in a lane in the castle

 

 

Naxos Castle

A tall stone wall along a lane in the castle

 

 

Naxos Castle

Passing through a quiet square in the Naxos Castle

 

 

 Naxos Castle wall

A window in the castle’s outer wall

 

 

Naxos Castle at night

The imposing stone wall of the castle exterior

 

 

Naxos Castle

A spooky-looking corridor in the castle

 

 

a lane in Naxos

A cobblestone lane leading to the Old Market area of Naxos Town

 

 

Naxos Cafe

Tables in Old Market Street outside the cozy Naxos Cafe

 

 

a street in Naxos Town

A passageway in the Old Market area

 

 

Naxos Town paralia

Along the waterfront paralia in Naxos Town

 

 [Full-size versions of all of the photos in this report can be viewed in the Naxos May 23 2014 album on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page.]

 

Posted in Cyclades islands, Greece holiday May 2014, Greek Island villages and towns, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands photos, Naxos | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Julio Iglesias, Anna Vissi & Conchita Wurst to perform at Mykonos beach clubs this week

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 Conchita Wurtz and Anna Vissi

Eurovision singing sensation Conchita Wurst, left, and Greek entertainer Anna Vissi, right, will appear at the Jackie O’ Beach club on Mykonos Saturday night. This image was posted with a recent protothemanews report about the event.

 

 

Big-name acts: The Mykonos party scene will reach a midsummer climax over the next four days when several internationally-renowned singers make live appearances at two of the island’s top beach clubs.

Anna Vissi will perform at Jackie O’ Beach Saturday July 26 during a special concert event celebrating the 40th anniversary of her music career. She will be joined by “bearded lady” Conchita Wurst, who won the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest for Austria six weeks ago with the song “Rise Like a Phoenix.”

Jackie O’ Beach is located at Super Paradise beach. The popular straight-friendly gay club will open its doors at 7:30 for the event, which will feature warm-up performances by Greek singer Demy as well as Greek Eurovision participants Freaky Fortune, Risky Kidd and Apostolos Mitropoulos.

Tickets are being sold at Jackie O’ Beach as well as its sister bar, Jackie O’ Mykonos in Mykonos Town. The club’s website doesn’t provide ticket prices, but a Greek Reporter article published today said prices range from €100 to €450.

On Wednesday July 30, international singing superstar Julio Iglesias will appear with popular Greek performer Antonis Remos at Nammos by the Sea, the chic restaurant and nightclub at trendy Psarou beach.

The Facebook page for the Julio Iglesias Meets Antonis Remos event doesn’t list ticket prices, but one fan posted that she heard standing-room tickets start at €60 while tables are priced from €1000. Tickets can be ordered by contacting Nammos by telephone at: +30 22890 22440.

 

 

Julio Iglesias and Antonis Remos

A promotional image for the upcoming live appearances by Julio Iglesias and Antonis Remos at Nammos by the Sea on Mykonos

 

 

Other events at Nammos

The Iglesias & Remos concert is just one of four major entertainment events that Nammos is hosting at Psarou beach during the next three weeks.

On Saturday afternoon (July 26), Nammos is holding its Ultra Beach Party with a set by Greek DJ & music producer Vassili Tsilichristos.

On the evening of Saturday August 9, Egyptian music star Amr Diab, the “Father of Mediterranean Music,” will appear in concert.

And from 3 to 10 p.m. on Sunday August 17, Nammos will hold its TeaDance Mykonos beach party with feature sets by DJs H.O.S.H. and Freespirit.

 

Nammos by the Sea Mykonos

 DJ Vassili Tsilichristos will headline Nammos’s Ultimate Beach Party

 

 

Amr Diab at Nammos

Singer Amr Diab will appear in concert on August 9

 

 

Nammos by the Sea Mykonos

People will be kicking up their heels on Psarou beach during the TeaDance Mykonos party the afternoon & evening of August 17

 

 

 

Upcoming events at other Mykonos venues

The hot place to party tonight is the Kiku Japanese restaurant at the posh Cavo Tagoo 5-star hotel in Mykonos Town, where three DJs — Anastasis Tsirikos, Ninefold  and Clubkid — will be spinning for the Asian Moustache Party.

On Sunday afternoon (July 27), Solymar Beach Bar & Restaurant will host its Doors Afternoon Party at Kalo Livadi beach.  The event features a DJ set and live act starring DJ Andre and Nikos Apergis.

Starting at 9 p.m. Sunday evening, Anna’s Place Restaurant & Bar at Paradise beach will host a special Cuban music party, featuring live performances by Ramon Soto and his band from Cuba.

Also on Sunday night, the new ODE Mykonos nightclub in the Tria Pigadia area of Mykonos Town is hosting an After Party with a special set by MadeofSounds and warm-ups by John Kitsopoulos and Mixed H.

Looking ahead, Semeli Bar on the Little Venice seafront of Mykonos Town will celebrate its 10th anniversary on August 1 with a 10 Years Party featuring noted DJ/musician Quentin Harris.

 

Kiku Japanese Restaurant

A promotional image for the Asian Moustache Party taking place at Cavo Tagoo Hotel’s Kiku Japanese Restaurant

 

 

Solymar Mykonos

A promotional image for the Doors Afternoon Party taking place this Sunday at Solymar Beach Bar & Restaurant

 

 

Semeli Bar Mykonos

Semeli Bar will celebrate its 10th anniversary on August 1 with a party headlined by Quentin Harris

 

 

MadeofSounds set at ODE Mykonos

A promotional image for the July 27 2014 MadeofSounds After Party set at ODE Mykonos nightclub

 

 

Anna's Place Restaurant & Bar Mykonos

A poster for the July 27 live appearance by Ramon Soto and his band at Anna’s Place Restaurant & Bar at Paradise beach

 

 

 

Posted in Arts & culture, Cyclades islands, Events, Greek Islands, In the news, Mykonos, nightclubs & parties, Party places, Popular music, Popular Posts, Top events posts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Take flight over the Corinth gulf & canal

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A Greek Gulf from Panos Smirniotis on Vimeo.

 

Fun flight: While scanning through tweets by some of the people I follow on Twitter, I discovered a real gem of a film clip today — A Greek Gulf, an amazing aerial video by photographer Panos Smirniotis.

The 6-minute clip, which is posted on Vimeo, shows captivating coastal scenery in areas around the southeastern end of the Gulf of Cornith, including the Heraion Lighthouse, the Sanctuary of Hera, and the Vouliagmeni Lagoon in Perachora; the world-famous Corinth Canal; and the beach and resort at Loutraki.

I have seen the Gulf of Corinth a couple of times, but only from jet airplanes cruising thousands of feet high, so it was impossible to notice the delightful scenery passing beneath us. Although the places shown in A Greek Gulf are seen from the air as well, Panos’s camera skimmed closer to earth, capturing gorgeous high-definition views of the water, beaches and coastal landscapes in the Corinthia area.

The uplifting music that accompanies the video is Piano Dream, by Andreas Agiannitopoulos (aka DJ A).

To view the video, click the white arrow at the bottom left corner of the image at the top of this post.

Below is a Google map of Greece, on which I have circled the approximate area in which the film was shot.

 I suddenly have an urge to go for a swim in the Vouliagmeni lagoon!

 

Google map of Greece

 

 

Posted in Corinth, Greece mainland, Greece mainland beaches, Greece mainland villages & towns, Greece videos, Watersports | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Summer hotel prices skyrocketing on Mykonos as rates rise less sharply or drop on other islands

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Little Venice

The Little Venice seafront at Mykonos Town is a must-see attraction for hundreds of thousands of people who visit the island each year

 

 

Rising rates: Survey data from Trivago, the international hotel comparison website, has confirmed something I have been noticing for months — accommodation prices on Mykonos have risen sharply since last year.

In fact, the average nightly price for a Mykonos hotel room this month has climbed to a stunning €322 compared to €200 per night in July 2013 — a whopping 61% increase, Trivago’s research data indicates.

This news comes on the heels of a separate Trivago survey result released several days ago that ranked Mykonos as the 7th most expensive destination in the world in terms of hotel prices.

Many Mykonos hotels had frozen or even reduced their rates during the economic crisis that has devastated Greece for more than five years, with some properties losing money or barely breaking even each year as owners waited for the economy to improve. With Greek tourist traffic soaring to record levels this summer, it appears that hotels may be taking advantage of the increased demand for accommodation to try to recoup some of the losses they sustained.

 

Parikia on Paros

Parikia is the biggest town and port on Paros.  Average hotel prices for Parikia have increased 10% this month from the same time last year.

 

 

Hotel prices rise at 16 other destinations

But Mykonos isn’t the only popular destination in Greece where hotel prices have increased since last year.

The Trivago survey shows that rates have climbed anywhere from 3% to 38% in 16 other island and mainland locations.

Places posting single-digit price increases include Corfu (+3%), Agios Nikolaos, Andros and Hydra (each +5%), plus Iraklio, Naxos and Rethymnon (up 8% each).

Locations with double-digit increases include Parikia (+10%), Rhodes (+15%), Chania (+16%), Hersonissos and Kos (each up 17%), Elounda (+18%), Ios (+19%), Zakynthos (+21%) and Lefkada (+38%).

 

 

Rates dropped on 11 islands

 

Ermoupoli Syros

Trivago says room rates have dropped 13% at Ermoupoli on Syros

 

Higher prices are not a trend throughout Greece, however, since nightly room rates actually have dropped significantly on some islands or, in the case of Rhodes, at one of its most popular tourist destinations (Lindos), Trivago data indicates.

On Folegandros, for example, the average price for a hotel room this month is €97, down a startling 27% from the €133 average rate in July 2013. Sharp price cuts also occurred at Koukounaries on Skiathos (-24%), Spetses (-23%), Argostoli (-15%), Astipalea (-14%), Ermoupoli on Syros (-13%), Lindos on Rhodes (-10%). Lower reductions were noted on Koufonissi and Tinos (both -4%)  and at Molyvos and Apollonia (both -3%).

Curiously, the Trivago survey didn’t mention prices on Santorini which, like Mykonos, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Greece.

 

Folegandros chora

Chora village on Folegandros. Average hotel room rates on this charming island dropped by 27% this month compared to July 2013, Trivago says.

 

 

Mykonos among Top 10 most expensive global destinations

Mykonos achieved notoriety for pricey hotel rooms on another Trivago report that made the news a few days ago. In a survey of summer 2014 trends for travellers from the United Kingdom, Trivago examined searches conducted between January 1 and June 15 for travel to take place during this month and August. (Trivago’s system compares rates from more than 700,000 hotels on more than 150 different booking sites around the world.)

The data showed that the average online price for a hotel in Mykonos Town was €244 Euros. This gave Mykonos the #7 spot on Trivago’s list of the Top 10 Most Expensive Global Destinations, behind #1 Velden, Austria; #2 Belek, Turkey, #3 Ascona, Switzerland, #4 Porto Vecchio, Corsica, #5 Montreux, Switzerland, and #6, Boston, USA.  Rounding out the top 10 behind Mykonos were #8 New York, USA, #9 Locarno, Switzerland, and #10 Lugano, Switzerland.

The results of the two Trivago surveys will cement Mykonos’s reputation as one of the most expensive places to visit in Greece — something that shouldn’t really come as a surprise, considering that the island was put on the map by the jet set in the first place, and remains a popular getaway destination for the world’s rich and famous.

Still, a 61% increase in prices is startling, even for a place frequented by affluent travellers.

 

Mykonos Town

Rooftops on buildings in Mykonos Town. Hotel rates on the island are practically going through the roof this year, rising 61% over prices for July 2013.

 

 

Complaints raised in emails seeking hotel advice

I noticed that Mykonos hotel prices were on the rise early this year when I was checking hotel rates to answer accommodation questions posted in the Mykonos travel forum on TripAdvisor.com. Prices seemed marginally higher than I remembered them being in 2013. As winter moved into spring, I received numerous private messages on TripAdvisor, and emails to my blog, from people seeking suggestions for cheaper accommodation because they were finding summer prices too high.

Many of the people complaining about high hotel rates were travellers from the United Kingdom who wanted to stay on Mykonos only one night. They were flying to Mykonos on EasyJet or British Airways direct flights, but immediately transferring to another island — usually Naxos, Paros or somewhere in the Small Cyclades. Because of awkward ferry schedules, many of these travellers would have to spend a night on Mykonos in order to catch their return flights home. Many were astounded not only by the high room rates on Mykonos, but also by the fact many hotels impose a minimum stay requirement of 3 nights or longer during peak travel season, which limited their accommodation options even further.

My advice for travellers seeking summer bargains is to shop around on Trivago and other online sites, and to compare prices found there to rates listed on hotel websites. Booking directly with a hotel can sometimes achieve either significant price savings or extras like complimentary shuttle service to and from the Mykonos ferry ports or airports.

If you still find Mykonos hotels too expensive for your budget, consider visiting nearby islands like Naxos or Syros instead, or one of the places where the Trivago survey showed that prices have dropped this year. There are many other islands where budget-minded tourists will get more bang for their buck. But if you’re looking for glitz, glamour and glitter, there’s only one Mykonos — and going there this summer could put a bigger dent in your wallet than you’re anticipating.

 

Kos Town harbour

Tour boats in the harbour at Kos Town. Trivago found that average hotel rates for Kos have gone up 17% for this month compared to the same time last year.

 

Posted in Astipalea, Corfu, Crete, Cyclades islands, Dodecanese islands, East Aegean Islands, Folegandros, Greek Island villages and towns, Greek Islands, Greek Islands hotels, Greek Islands photos, In the news, Ionian islands, Ios, Kos, Lefkada, Lesvos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Rhodes, Skiathos, Sporades islands, Syros, Tinos, Zakynthos | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greek Islands get travel mag cover treatment

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GEO magazine June 2014 cover

GEO magazine profiled Greece in its June 2014 issue with a cover photo of Mandrakia village on Milos and an “Escape” feature on the “Secret islands and archipelagos of Greece.” They’re obviously not secret anymore!

 

 

Summer reads: When I’m not in Greece I enjoy reading about it — in books, magazines, online travel forums and websites. Thanks to feature cover stories about Greece published by three major European travel magazines recently, I’ve got plenty to read while relaxing on my balcony this summer.

Here’s a look at what the three magazine cover stories say about Greece:

 

 GEO magazine June 2014

I discovered GEO magazine from France purely by chance — I was looking for another magazine at a newsstand when a photo on GEO’s bold green cover caught my eye. It was the picturesque harbour at Mandrakia, a fishing hamlet on Milos, under the headline: “Secret islands and archipelagos of Greece.” I couldn’t resist and bought the magazine after taking only a cursory glance at the contents.

It turns out there are 28 full pages of text and beautiful photos about several Greek islands including Kythera, Kalymnos, Milos, Santorini, Chios, Aegina, Tinos, Skyros, Folegandros and Rhodes. The stories aren’t travel guides — they don’t recommend hotels to stay in, for instance, or suggest the hottest restaurants and coolest beaches to visit. Some of the pieces provide brief descriptions and overviews of the destinations, while others take an insightful look into how the Greek Islands have been affected by the country’s devastating economic crisis. The sale of island real estate to foreign billionaires is considered in part of one report, for example, while another piece profiles people who have started new business ventures selling local agricultural products.

 

Island village photo foul-up

 

GEO magazine photo of Astipalea

Mon Dieu! GEO magazine mistakenly published this eye-catching photo of Chora village on Astipalea to illustrate a short piece about Chora on Kythera — another island in a completely different area of Greece.

 

 

One of the GEO feature’s excellent photos — spread across pages 36 and 37  — really piqued my curiosity. It shows a white-domed church rising from the middle of a huge stone castle perched on a hilltop. The slopes below the castle are stacked with white cube houses that descend to a row of derelict windmills. I instantly recognized the location — Chora village on Astipalea, a butterfly-shaped island in the Dodecanese archipelago. I had shot photos from almost the identical vantage point when we visited Astipalea in 2009. However, the picture accompanied an article about Kythera, which is part of the Ionian island group, and the text said the town in the photo is that island’s capital, also called Chora. (Most main towns on Greek islands are called Chora).

I haven’t been to Kythera yet, but I was absolutely certain the photo was from Astipalea. So I poured through my photos to confirm I was right (there’s more than 300 pictures in my Astipalea collection on Flickr). Sure enough, details in my pictures of Astipalea’s Chora matched the same features visible in the GEO image, which was credited to Velissario Voutsas /IML – Hemis.fr, a French photo agency. Obviously someone on the magazine staff had made a big boo-boo by purchasing the wrong stock image to illustrate the article!

(You can learn more about Kythera, and see photos showing what its Chora looks like, on the comprehensive Visit Kythera website.)

Photo flop aside, the GEO stories are compelling reads, and are bound to encourage people in France to consider island hopping in Greece on an upcoming vacation. Moreover, photos and information about Leros, Kalymnos, Chios, Skyros and Tinos will encourage travellers to visit charming islands that often get overlooked because they aren’t instantly-recognizable mainstream tourist destinations like Santorini, Paros, Naxos and Mykonos.

 

 

 Condé Nast Traveller July 2014

 

Conde Nast Traveller July 2014

The July 2014 edition of Condé Nast Traveller has a cover photo of the San Giorgio “Bohemian Luxury” Hotel on Mykonos plus a feature spread on “the hottest hotels” and “coolest hangouts” in the Greek Islands

 

 

I had been anxious to obtain the July Condé Nast Traveller after the San Giorgio Hotel on Mykonos announced in a post on its Facebook page several weeks ago that it was pictured on the cover of the magazine’s feature issue on Greece.

The magazine devotes 14 full pages to “The Best of the Greek Islands,” promising an “insider’s guide to the loveliest hotels, smartest new villas, tastiest tavernas and most beautiful beaches from the Ionians to the Dodecanese,” and more.

The Hotels article profiles “Five great little places you should know about,” including the aforementioned San Giorgio on Mykonos, Anemi Hotel on Folegandros, Onar Resort on Andros, Coco-Mat Eco Residences on Serifos, and Perivolas Hideaway on Thirassia.

The Favourite Islands section cites Symi, Antiparos, Hydra, Ithaca and Mykonos as “Five all-time greats,” and recommends select accommodations, restaurants and beaches on each. It also offers a “hot tip” on particular things to see or do, and provides directions on how to get to these islands.

 

Kiki’s Taverna worth a wait in line

For Mykonos, the guide recommends dining at what it calls “the island’s worst-kept secret” — Kiki’s Taverna at Agios Sostis beach.  “There’s no phone and they don’t take bookings, but it’s well worth the wait if there’s a queue,” the magazine says. It didn’t surprise me that Kiki’s was a top pick — I  praised a lunch we enjoyed there as one of “Our best food & drink experiences of 2013” and I described the taverna at length in my “Mykonos food and drink 2013: where we ate” report. I also wrote about Kiki’s in a post about the Most popular beach tavernas on Mykonos in 2013. I haven’t compiled a similar report for 2014 yet, but if I did Kiki’s would rank highly once more — as of this week, it’s the #6-ranked Mykonos restaurant on TripAdvisor.com.

 

Great people-watching at La Louche

For Hydra, the magazine suggests staying at Bratsera Hotel and dining at Taverna Gitoniko. The newly-opened Perantzada Art Hotel is described as the best accommodations in Ithaca, while the pasta dishes at Libretto Trattoria are recommended “for an alternative to traditional Greek food.” The new Beach House Antiparos is top pick for — where else? — Antiparos, and La Louche Restaurant & Café gets a rave recommendation not only for best brunch on that island, but also as the best nighttime people-watching spot. The Old Markets boutique hotel is singled out for Symi, as is seafood restaurant Tholos.

The feature piece includes profiles of new villas on five different islands, as well as “hot tips from the country’s top chefs” and advice about unique boat excursions.

This issue will be a keeper, primarily for the insider tips about beaches, restaurants and excursions.

 

 

  The Sunday Times Travel Magazine June 2014

 

The Sunday Times Travel Magazine June 2014

The Sunday Times Travel Magazine published a handy “Total Guide” to the Greek Islands, but didn’t identify the name of the Oia, Santorini resort whose enticing infinity pool is pictured on the cover.

 

 

According to the lead story in the GEO magazine spotlight on Greece, the country has 9,841 islands, of which only 227 are populated and accessible to tourists via ferries and flights. If you haven’t been to Greece yet, or have done only a bit of island hopping but want to do more, how the heck to you decide which of those 227 islands to visit?

Over 200 places is certainly a daunting number of destinations to research, but the June 2014 issue of The Sunday Times Travel Magazine will help solve the dilemma.

Its 22-page “Total Guide to the Geek Islands” is an excellent practical resource that profiles “the 36 most gorgeous isles” in an immensely practical, useful and fun-to-read format illustrated by absolutely gorgeous photographs. Unlike most magazine guides, it doesn’t simply pick a handful of “hot” or “secret” destinations and describe its choice of top accommodations, restaurants, beaches and activities. Instead, it advises readers of the best places to go for specific things they want to see, do and experience — such as where to find “the empty beach,” “the out-of-time refuge,” “the blinding blue domes,” “the bustling harbour,” “the romantic ruins,” “the atmospheric monastery,” and more.

 

Where to find empty beaches

In its “You want: The empty beach” category, for instance, the guide claims you’ll find it on Naxos — and I concur, having been there three times in the past 15 months. It suggests six specific south coast beaches where you can avoid crowds — Kastraki, Alyko, Pyrgaki, Agiassos, Psili Ammos and Klidos  — and recommends Psili Ammos Studios and Rooms at Pyrgaki, which it calls a “hideaway” with “good home cooking in its taverna.” (Check out the pictures on the studios’ website — they put me on the verge of booking a return trip to Naxos so I could stay there. I’ve bookmarked it for future reference.) 

For travellers seeking an alternative to the tourist-mobbed Shipwreck Beach on Zakynthos, the guide suggests going to Porto Katsiki and Egremni beaches on Lefkada instead. And for “sandy swatches that no-one‘s heard of,” Sikinos is the place to go. People seeking beach solitude should avoid Mykonos, however. “It has gorgeous sandy beaches, but none are anywhere near empty,” the guide points out.

 

Where to see iconic blue-domed churches

In the “You want: The blinding blue domes” section, the guide suggests three islands where visitors can view the iconic Greek Island images and scenery they’ve seen on postcards and in travel brochures. Santorini is, of course, the pick of the pack. “Come for the cliffside churches, but stay for the high style, dramatic history and knockout sunsets,” the guide says, and stay at Astra Suites in Imerovigli or Art Maisons in Oia. (Check out the websites for both properties to see jaw-dropping, eye-popping photos of their incredible sunset and scenery views.)

If Santorini is out of your price range, Skopelos is an affordable good alternative. “It’s as unique as anything on Santorini, and almost as famous” thanks to Agios Ioannis church, the chapel on the rocky hill where the wedding scene from the Mamma Mia! movie was set. Recommended accommodations on Skopelos are Adrina Resort & Spa at Panormos bay. Milos is perfect for solo travellers, the magazine insists, dvising that the island’s spectacular scenery is best experienced on a sea kayak tour. Mimallis Apartments at Plaka gets the nod for accommodations on this beautiful isle.

Other islands profiled in the Sunday Times Travel Magazine guide include Amorgos, Patmos, Chios, Karpathos, Folegandros, Astipalea, Hydra, Symi, Paros, Ithaca, Antiparos, Skiathos, Crete, Aegaina, Samothraki, Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Kos, Nisyros, Rhodes, Corfu, Samos and Alonissos. A 4-page “Factfile” explains exactly how to get to each of the destinations.

I know I will be referring to this issue frequently for future trip planning and information for upcoming blog articles.

If you can’t find copies of these magazines at your local news agencies, check the websites for each publication to see if back issues are available. If the issues are sold out, you can still find extensive information about Greece in numerous articles on each website. Happy reading!

[Editor's Update: Condé Nast Traveller has published an online version of part of the content from its printed magazine article described above. Click here to read their "Five great Greek Islands insider guide to the most beautiful beaches from the Ionians to the Dodecanese."]

 

 

One magazine  I didn’t bother buying…

 

National Geographic Best of Europe

An iconic image of blue-domed churches in Oia village on Santorini is featured on the cover of the National Geographic Best of Europe special issue

 

 

At a local newsstand today (July 24), I couldn’t help but notice copies of the National Geographic Best of Europe special issue — the eye-catching cover photo shows three of the iconic blue-domed churches in Oia village on Santorini.

The issue profiles “100 must-see destinations” with full-colour photos and a very brief one-paragraph description of each — far from an informative read and not tremendously helpful for anyone planning a trip to Europe. I suppose the special issue is intended to introduce destinations to readers who aren’t familiar with Europe by means of impressive photos, some of which are double-page spreads.

I flipped through the issue to see the entries for Greece — there’s photos and blurbs of the village of Methoni in Messenia and the Athens Acropolis, both on the Greece mainland, plus Santorini and other Aegean islands — but I didn’t think the magazine was worth the price tag ($13.99 U.S. and $16.99 CDN).

One thing that really took me by surprise, though, was a travel “tip” included with the photo and text description of Santorini — it recommended riding a donkey up the cliffs to take in the spectacular views from the top of the island.  I was disappointed to see this suggestion from the National Geographic since the use of donkeys as tourist “taxis” is a controversial “tradition” that animal rights organizations, including The Donkey Sanctuary in the U.K., have been protesting for last several years.

For further information about why it’s not a good idea to ride the Santorini donkeys, please see my April 2013 report Don’t ride the donkeys! Why tourists should avoid taking the mule ‘taxis’ on Santorini, and my recent June 2014 update post Petition seeks better working conditions for mules & donkeys used as ‘tourist taxis’ on Santorini.

And if you travel to Santorini, please ignore the National Geographic recommendation and refrain from riding the donkeys.

 

 

Posted in Crete, Cyclades islands, Dodecanese islands, East Aegean Islands, Greece in magazines, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands hotels, Greek Islands photos, Ionian islands, On my bookshelf, Skopelos, Sporades islands, Travel guides | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greeks of the Sea TV show debuts Down Under

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Click on the arrow to view a 2-minute promotional trailer for the Greeks of the Sea television series premiering July 19 in Australia

 

 

Aegean odyssey: Television viewers Down Under will be seeing and learning a lot about Greece’s centuries-long seafaring heritage in a multi-part program premiering next weekend — Greeks of the Sea, an engaging and visually striking documentary series about fishermen, boat builders, ferry captains, sponge divers and other Greeks who earn a living and spend their lives at sea.

Greeks of the Sea intertwines fascinating and moving stories of the sea within a rich tapestry of Greek culture, hospitality, religion, history and mythology.  Taking in breathtakingly beautiful islands and stepping aboard spectacular ships, viewers are in for a visual treat – the series is presented in stunning full 1080p High Definition,” the program website states.

 

July 19 TV premiere in Australia

The series premieres at 7.30 p.m. Saturday July 19 on Australia’s SBS TV. The program was produced by Greek Seadogs/Tadpole Studios in association with SBS Television. Two versions of Greeks of the Sea were created — a 3-episode version for the Australian domestic television market, and a 6-part series for international distribution. (No information is available at this time on when the program might be broadcast in other countries.)

Greeks of the Sea is hosted by an Australian-born Greek, Nikos Andronicos, who visits Athens and more than two dozen different Greek islands “to meet the world’s most acclaimed mariners, and to discover the key to their success.”

Full details about the production — including episode summaries, photos, and information about its cast and crew — are available on the Greeks of the Sea website.  Be sure to watch the series trailer (above), which will give you a sneak peak of Nikos’s adventures on the Aegean.

Fingers crossed that the show is a big hit with viewers so the producers will be encouraged to create a second season!

 

Posted in Greece on TV & Film, Greece videos, Greek Islands, In the news, TV programs | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Aegean in-flight mag lauds the marvels of Milos

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Aegean Airlines Blue magazine cover image

Fashion model Vasilianna strikes a pose on one of the seaside rock formations at spectacular Sarakiniko beach on Milos island in the Cyclades. The photo, by Olympia Krasagaki, graces the cover of the summer 2014 edition of Blue, the in-flight magazine of Aegean Airlines.

 

 

Cover story: One of my favourite islands will be getting a lot of international attention over the next three months thanks to Aegean Airlines.

Milos is pictured not only on the cover of the airline’s in-flight magazine Blue this summer, but also in a Nature focus article as well as in a fashion photo spread featuring some of the island’s breathtaking beaches and magnificent coastal scenery.

The articles laud Milos for its “extraordinary beauty,” “spectacular coastline” and gorgeous beaches, and points out that the volcanic island also “has plenty of pretty, traditional villages, ancient monuments, excellent local cuisine and an overall air of elegance.”

Milos is, of course, one of the splendid island destinations that can easily be reached from Athens on daily flights by Olympic Air, which merged with Aegean several years ago.

The release of the summer 2014 edition of Blue was announced today on the Aegean Airlines International Facebook page.

The 340-page glossy magazine will be available to passengers flying Aegean during the next three months, and also can be viewed online in an e-book format available on the airline’s website. Click here to peruse the online edition.

The magazine cover photo shows a fashion model posing on the seaside at Sarakiniko, which is one of the most fascinating and impressive coastal landscapes I’ve seen out of all the Greek islands I’ve been fortunate to visit so far.

More pictures of Sarakiniko are included in a women’s fashion feature that starts on page 212. The fashion spread includes photos shot at other spectacular locations on Milos, including the colourful fishing village at Klima, the picturesque mountain town of Plaka, the scenic seaside at Fyriplaka beach, and the Glaronissia islets off the north coast of the island near Pollonia.

 

Aegean Airlines Blue magazine

The coastline at Fyriplaka beach provides a breathtakingly beautiful backdrop for this fashion photo by Olympia Krasagaki. Click here to open the online edition of Blue magazine and view full-size photos of the superlative Milos scenery.

 

 

Places to see, eat and drink on Milos

The Nature focus Milos: natural wonder begins at page 116 and includes amazing photos of the majestic coastal rock formations at Kleftiko and the incomparable Papafragas, a sliver of sandy beach wedged between tall stone walls. The article describes popular tourist and natural attractions on Milos, including some of the island’s 75 remarkable beaches, and suggests places to eat and drink.

Restaurant recommendations include our personal favourite O Chamos at Papakinou beach in the port town of Adamas, as well as Archontoula and Fatses in Plaka, Ergina in Tripiti, Enalion in Pollonia, and a few others.

For nice spots to enjoy a drink, the magazine’s picks include Akri and Mikro in Adamas, along with Gatis, Bakaliko and Utopia Café in Plaka (see my April 4 2012 post Utopian sunsets on Milos for photos of the sensational sunset views from the terrace at Utopia Café’s outdoor terrace).

 

 

Profiles for other island & mainland destinations

Although Milos claimed bragging rights to the cover photo and two feature articles, it isn’t the only must-see Greek destination profiled in Blue magazine. The summer issue is packed with beguiling photos and interesting travel information about 17 other intriguing islands as well as several cities and regions on the mainland.

For foodies, there are appetizing descriptions of new restaurants that have opened recently on the islands of Rhodes and Mykonos, as well as in Halkidiki.

For fans of arts and culture, there are articles about the 2014 Sani Festival in Halkidi, plus the impressive Viannos Art Gallery in Keratokambos, a small town situated at the southernmost point on Crete.

And for travellers who’d like to plan some island hopping, there are informative reports on things to see and do on Syros, Kasos, Paros, Corfu, Kos, Leros, Naxos, Lemnos, Ikaria, Kastellorizo, Kefalonia, Santorini, Rhodes and Astipalia — all accompanied by captivating full-colour photos.

If you’re lucky to be flying Aegean while the summer edition of Blue is available, be sure to collect a free copy from the seat pocket — it will be an excellent research resource for future Greek holiday planning. (And please get a copy for me!)

 

Thalassitra Church Milos

If you haven’t been to Milos and want to see why it was an outstanding choice for Blue magazine’s cover, check out my Milos photo collection on Flickr. It includes images of Milos landmarks like Thalassitra Church at Plaka village (above).

 

 

Posted in Air travel, Cyclades islands, Greece in magazines, Greek Island villages and towns, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands photos, In the news, Milos, Popular Posts, Top Milos posts | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 Greek holiday report Part 4: A walkabout in Naxos Town and a bikeride to Plaka beach

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Grotta beach and bay

Our fourth day on Naxos included visits to wind- and wave-battered Grotta beach at Naxos Town (above) as well as the tantalizing long stretch of soft sand and dunes at fabulous Plaka beach (below)

 

Plaka beach

 

 

[Editor's note: This is the fourth instalment in an ongoing series of reports about our 2014 spring vacation in the Cyclades and Athens. Click here to see Part 1, click here to access Part 2, and click here for Part 3. Full-size versions of all the photos posted below can be viewed in the Naxos May 22 2014 album on Flickr.]

 

 

Thursday May 22

 

Back on the bikes: Thursday brought more excellent summer weather — sunshine, clear skies and warm temperatures. The hotel swimming pool looked oh-so-inviting but, with 24 hours remaining on our mountain bike rental, we were keen to spend time riding rather than sunbathing and swimming.

The strong winds that blew in yesterday had stuck around, however, and after our challenging ride to Mikri Vigla we weren’t keen to pedal through gusts and dust in a second effort to reach Kastraki and beaches farther south. We would leave that trek for a future trip and ride into Naxos Town instead.

 

Cape Agios Prokopios

Blue skies prevail in this morning view from Lianos Village Hotel toward Cape Agios Prokopios on Naxos (left) and Paros island (right rear).

 

 

Lianos Village Hotel

There was lots of blue in the view from our breakfast table at Lianos Village — the hotel swimming pool, the Aegean Sea, and the clear sky overhead

 

 

Lianos Village Hotel

It was tempting to stay at the hotel just to sunbathe, swim and snooze, but we gave the pool a pass and pedalled our bikes to Naxos Town

 

 

A walkabout in Naxos Town

The bike ride from the hotel to Protodikeiou Square in Naxos Town took us around 25 minutes. The trip should have been faster, but construction work on the road through Stelida delayed us slightly, while the strong winds blowing inland from St George’s Bay slowed us down on the long straight stretch of highway between Stelida and the edge of Naxos Town.

When we finally got off the bikes to lock them to a lamp post near the Fotis Greek Cuisine restaurant, we felt a sudden blast of dry heat. The wind had kept us comfortable during the bike ride, but now that we weren’t moving the sunshine radiating from the pavement and reflecting off the whitewashed buildings made it feel as though Naxos Town was 20 degrees hotter than Stelida. We dashed to the shaded side of the street, but it didn’t feel significantly cooler standing out of the sun. This was going to be one heck of a hot day!

Before going any further, we stopped into Naxos Travel Agency (located at Protodikeiou Square a few doors down from Scirocco restaurant) to purchase the tickets for our Saturday ferry trip to Syros. With that important task out of the way, it was time to explore Naxos Town — one of our favourite port “cities” in the Cyclades — for a few hours.  We would walk to the Old Market area and then head up to the Castle that towers above the town, hoping we would be able to walk in shade as much as possible.

 

Flamingo Restaurant Naxos

Scarlet bougainvillea spills over the whitewashed walls of Flamingo Restaurant in Naxos Town. See the Olympic rings logo in the merchandise display in front of the restaurant? It’s a flag from the 2004 Athens Olympics, one of several Olympic souvenir items that the sportswear store partly visible at right was selling. I was hoping to find an Athens 2004 Olympic Emblem T-shirt to replace the well-worn one I bought 10 years ago, but the shop only had children’s-sized merchandise with images of Athena and Phevos, the Olympic mascots.

 

 

Flamingo Restaurant

Want to enjoy a drink or meal while watching a sunset and watching a live Greek music show? These signs suggest Flamingo Restaurant is the place to go.

 

 

a lane in Naxos Town

The gently sloped lane outside the Flamingo Restaurant

 

 

a lane in Naxos Town

Red bougainvillea blooms add a bold jolt of colour to a lane near the Old Market

 

 

bougainvillea in Naxos Town

The bougainvillea matches the colour on the sign for Maria Rooms

 

 

a building in Naxos Town

Looking for an investment property that’s centrally located in the Old Market area of Naxos Town? This fixer-upper might fit the bill!

 

 

 

a building in Naxos Town

Another fixer-upper in the Old Market area. This one is situated just below the Castle, and has a large, bright balcony.

 

 

a passageway near the Naxos Castle

A view toward the Taverna To Kastro from a passageway near the Naxos Castle (it occupies the building with the green vines and red bougainvillea at right, and the terrace with the stacks of blue and white tables and chairs on the opposite side of the street). The entrance to another popular dining spot, Oniro Restaurant, is off to the right. With a second-floor dining area, Oniro can rightly boast that it has the “highest elevated restaurant” terrace in Naxos Town.

 

 

view from Braduna Square

Taverna To Kastro‘s open-air dining terrace in Braduna Square has a view of the Naxos Town waterfront and Stelida mountain on the far side of St George’s Bay

 

 

Taverna To Kastro

We’ve heard good things about Taverna To Kastro, but haven’t dined there yet. Although it was lunch time, the restaurant was closed when we walked past — in May, it doesn’t open until 6:30 p.m. But whenever we have seen it at night, the taverna has been busy, usually with a full house on the outdoor terrace.

 

 

Art galleries and a fascinating antique shop

The Old Market area was exceptionally quiet. In fact, we saw fewer than half a dozen other tourists wandering around at the same time, and only a few local residents. The Old Market had been similarly empty whenever we visited in the daytime last October but we knew it would be a different story after dark, when hordes of tourists flock to the area for shopping, drinks and dinner.

The Castle (kastro) was equally quiet, with just a few people wandering the flagstone-paved lanes and alleys. The only businesses that were open here were art galleries and antique shops, so that’s where we would usually encounter other tourists.

The first shop, which sells souvenir art, handicrafts and gift items, is tucked into a passageway at the kastro entrance off Braduna Square, just steps from Taverna To Kastro. From there, the lane leads uphill to Petalouda Art Gallery, which displays paintings, an extensive selection of intriguing glass, metal and stone sculptures, and a variety of other fine artwork.

A short walk down the road is the Antico Veneziano antique shop, situated in a building that once housed living and working quarters for servants employed in the castle during ancient times. Even if you don’t collect or admire antiques, you’ll find the shop worth a quick visit to see four archaic pillars that originally were part of an acropolis that had once stood on the site where the castle was built. The building’s owners, Nikos and Elena Dellaroka, are immensely proud of their property, and Elena clearly enjoyed telling us and other visitors about its history and the Dellaroka family’s decision to open the premises to public view. I can’t think of a better location for an antique shop than a castle building that’s eight centuries old itself!

 

art and souvenir shop in the castle

The souvenir art and gift shop inside a Castle passageway

 

 

a lane in the castle

Steps in a lane lead uphill to lanes that provide access to the homes, churches, museums and galleries situated in the heart of the Castle. The Petalouda Art Gallery is located at the top of the steps. Note the interesting construction of the section of castle wall at left.

 

 

Naxos castle

A segment of an archaic column — possibly from the ancient acropolis that once stood on the castle site — appears to have been recycled into the stone wall

 

 

Antico Veneziano antique shop

The photograph on this sign shows the archaic stone columns that can be seen inside the wonderful Antico Veneziano antique shop. The pillars are more than 800 years old.

 

 

Petalouda Art Gallery

Figures in traditional Cycladic style are among the many sculptures of all sizes displayed in the upscale Petalouda Art Gallery in the castle.

 

 

 Strolling the cobblestone streets and courtyards

After taking a look in Antico Veneziano, we headed deeper into the Castle. Nobody else was around; presumably, most tourists had gone to the row of tavernas on the waterfront paralia to have lunch. We had the Castle completely to ourselves until we reached a courtyard near the Catholic church where a teacher was giving an outdoor drawing lesson to a class of about a dozen elementary schoolchildren. To the teacher’s chagrin, some of the students seemed more interested in our cameras and watching us take photos, and ignored her admonishments to concentrate on their assignment. But most of the kids appeared to be totally absorbed in their sketches, and didn’t seem to notice us. We hurried out of the courtyard so we wouldn’t continue to be a distraction to the class.

Once we were past the Catholic church the streets were empty and silent again. It felt eerie hearing only the sounds of our footsteps and the clicks from our camera shutters. We took our time walking around before gradually working our way out of the Castle and down dozens of steps leading to ground level.

 

 Naxos Castle

Potted plants sit on steps in a Castle passageway near the antique shop

 

 

a cat in the Naxos castle

The sleepy cat was comfortably curled up on a ledge beside a Castle street

 

 

Naxos castle

A palm tree occupies the corner of a terrace on an upper level of the Castle near the Catholic church

 

 

Naxos Castle

The belltower on a chapel behind the Catholic church

 

 

Naxos Castle

The exterior of the Catholic church is clad with panels of shiny marble

 

 

Naxos Castle

A passageway in the Castle

 

 

 Naxos Castle

Stairs next to a narrow castle street

 

 

Naxos Castle

A long, narrow lane in the castle

 

 

Naxos castle

A window in an archway above the door to a private residence in the castle

 

 

 Naxos Castle

Street view of the stone exterior of a private home in the castle

 

 

Naxos castle

Stone arches grace the corner entrance to another home in the castle

 

 

Naxos Castle

Construction elements of a stone buttress are visible above this castle lane

 

 

Naxos Castle

An old staircase on the rustic exterior of a home in the castle

 

 

Naxos Castle

 Steps lead to a dilapidated house in the castle

 

 

Views of mountains and the Grotta neighbourhood

Our path led us to a lookout point on the outside of the castle, from which a series of long staircases descended toward street level. From this vantage point, we were treated to excellent views of the areas of Naxos Town behind the castle, the row of mountains that forms a scenic backdrop for the town (when viewed from sea), and the hillside Grotta neighbourhood to the northeast of the Castle.  We shot some photos here before walking down the dozens of steps toward the ringroad that links the Naxos port to the island’s beaches and mountain villages.

 

Naxos Town

A view of a white-domed church and buildings on the east side of Naxos Town behind the Castle

 

 

Agios Nikodimos church

Castle view of the big, blue-domed Agios Nikodimos church in Naxos Town

 

 

Grotta neighbourhood

The Grotta neighbourhood above the coast on the northeast side of Naxos Town.  The yellow building near the top of the hill is the popular Hotel Grotta. Some of the hotel’s rooms and common areas have spectacular views of the sea and the Portara monument on the Palatia peninsula.

 

 

Grotta neighbourhood

A view of the central part of the hillside Grotta neighbourhood. The Adriani Hotel is situated in this area, which is just a short walk from the heart of Naxos Town.

 

 

Theologaki cave church

The Theologaki cave church high up one of the mountains behind Naxos Town

 

 

 Theologaki cave church

A zoom view of Theologaki, one of numerous churches built against mountain caves on Naxos

 

 

Naxos Castle

One of several sets of stairs that lead down the hill from the Castle

 

 

Naxos Castle

Another long set of steps offers great views of the Grotta neighbourhood

 

 

buildings in Naxos Town

Homes and studio apartment buildings on the hillside below the Castle

 

 

Naxos Town

Steps in a lane on the hillside below the Castle

 

 

Naxos Town

Potted plants decorate a lane on the hillside below the castle

 

 

Naxos Town

Decorative blue and white railings on a balcony in Naxos Town

 

 

potted plants in Naxos Town

We came across a courtyard terrace that contained dozens of blue planters filled with flowers, herbs and plants

 

 

Discovering Metropolis Square

We wound our way down the hill from the Castle, passing through a neighbourhood with a mix of private homes as well as rental studios and hotel accommodations. This area was considerably more lively and active than the Castle and Old Market areas, with local residents busy cleaning, painting and tidying up their properties to prepare for the summer tourist season.

Even though we have strolled around Naxos Town numerous times over the years, we haven’t seen it all, and we always discover something new. Today we found something quite old that we had never seen before — Metropolis Square, a site where archaeologists found remains of the ancient town of Naxos, dating from the 2nd and 1st millenium B.C. We have walked within just a few meters of Metropolis Square on past vacations, and have even taken photos of the distinctive green domes of the biggest building there — the Cathedral of Zoodochos Pigi. But for some reason we had never set foot on Metropolis Square itself — we had always gone around it, without realizing what we were missing.

Today, the square is home to five different churches, some of which date back to the 17th Century. The floor of one, the church of Saint Nicolas, was constructed at the same level as archaeological remains that date between the 4th and 7th Centuries A.D. The impressive Zoodochos Pigi cathedral, which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary as Fountain of Life, was built in 1787 on the site of what had once been an older and smaller chapel. A couple of the other churches were built where older chapels had previously existed. It’s amazing to think of the extensive church and local history that’s packed into this single town square!

 

Metropolis Square in Naxos Town

A sign points the way to historic Metropolis Square

 

 

Zoodochos Pigi cathedral

The green domes of Zoodochos Pigi Cathedral

 

 

Zoodochos Pigi Cathedral

Front view of Zoodochos Pigi Cathedral, which dates from 1787

 

 

Church of Saint Nicolas and Zoodochos Pigi Cathedral

Church of Saint Nicolas, left, and Zoodochos Pigi Cathedral

 

 

Panagia Chrysopolitissa church

Another of the churches at Metropolis Square, Panagia Chrysopolitissa (Our Lady of the Golden City), is a complex of four single-aisled basilicas built at different periods of time. The oldest dates to the 17th Century.

 

 

Panagia Chrysopolitissa

View of Panagia Chrysopolitissa from an open area strewn with remnants of columns and other parts of ancient buildings that once occupied the site

 

 

Panagia Chrysopolitissa

Bits and pieces of ancient buildings lay on the ground in a tree-shaded area in front of Panagia Chrysopolitissa

 

 

a building in Naxos Town

This building beside Metropolis Square would regain its past elegance if someone were to invest money to spruce it up

 

 

a building in Naxos Town

Weeds are gradually overtaking the steps outside the building entrance

 

 

a lane near Metropolis Square

A lane leads from Metropolis Square toward the Old Market area of Naxos Town

 

 

Watching the waves at Grotta beach

From Metropolis Square we crossed Leof. Naxou Eggaron, the busy road that starts at the Naxos port and winds its way behind the Castle hill, leading to villages and resorts to the north, east and south. A flagstone path between Funway Rent a Bike and Kozi Taverna & Grill House took us to a dirt trail that ends at Grotta beach, a pebbly strand that has superb views of the Grotta neighbourhood as well as the monumental Temple of Apollo on the Palatia peninsula. 

Grotta Bay tends to be windy, and today was no exception — the steady gusts propelled large waves across the bay and crashed them against the stone beach. We paused to take in the scenery and listen to the roar of the waves for awhile, then walked across the beach to the causeway that joins the Palatia peninsula to the Naxos Town waterfront. We were tempted to walk up to the Portara, but were feeling hungry and thirsty and thought it was time we stopped for a bite to eat. We had visited the peninsula several times last October to watch the sunset, so we didn’t feel like we were missing out by not going up the hill to see the Portara once again on this holiday. Viewing the grand Naxos monument from a distance was perfectly fine by us.

We strolled along the pedestrian path on the marina side of the Naxos Town waterfront and made our way over to Protodikeiou Square, where we had parked our mountain bikes. The shaded outdoor terrace at Fotis Greek Cuisine looked inviting, so we took seats at a table there and had a light lunch before riding back to our hotel.

 

the Portara

Grotta beach view of the Portara (Temple of Apollo) monument on the Palatia Peninsula. It’s just a short walk from the Naxos Town waterfront.

 

 

Grotta beach on Naxos

Me posing for an “I was there!” photo, with the Apollo Temple landmark identifying my location on Grotta beach

 

 

 Grotta beach and bay

Large waves roll across Grotta Bay toward the pebbly shoreline

 

 

Grotta beach on Naxos

Grotta beach isn’t suitable for swimming because of the rough seas and large rocks in the water just a few meters off shore. However, it’s a great spot to take photos of the Portara and the scenic Naxos coastline.

 

 

Palatia Peninsula on Naxos

Grotta Bay and the rocky seashore of the Palatia Peninsula

 

 

the Portara

A view of the Portara from the causeway linking the Palatia Peninsula to the Naxos Town waterfront. This sheltered bay is a popular swimming spot for locals.

 

 

Panagia Mirtidiotissa church

A fishing boat is docked at a pier in the harbour near Panagia Mirtidiotissa, a picturesque church on an islet at the Naxos port

 

 

octopus hanging on a line

Octopus drying in the sun on the Naxos Town waterfront

 

 

octopus drying in the sun on the Naxos Town waterfront IMG_5218

That’s me sitting on a front-row seat at Fotis Greek Cuisine, one of half a dozen restaurants and cafes that line two sides of Protodikeiou Square

 

 

Bikeride to Plaka beach

When we got back to our room at Lianos Village Hotel, we debated whether to spend some time by the swimming pool or take another bikeride. We only had a few hours remaining on our mountain bike rental, so we decided to go to Plaka beach for awhile and return the bikes afterward. We rode to the end of the dirt road that extends about two-thirds of the way down Plaka, and spent some time enjoying the late afternoon sun on the beach before slowly making our way to Agios Prokopios to return the bikes.

We could not have picked a better time to visit the gorgeous long beach. There weren’t many people around — just a handful of sunbathers and walkers here and there, some of whom were nude — and we had a long stretch of sand all to ourselves most of the time. The wind had eased up considerably, so there was just a pleasant light breeze blowing off the sea — a welcome change from yesterday. With the sun sparkling on the channel between Naxos and Paros, and no noise but the sound of waves and birds and the breeze rustling through tall grass on the dunes, the beach was delightfully calm and quiet. I couldn’t believe how relaxed and mellow I felt in mere minutes.

After chilling out at Plaka beach for a couple of hours we got back on the bikes and rode north toward Agios Prokopios. When we were cycling past Tonia’s Courtyard at Agia Anna beach, Tonia gave us a wave from her restaurant terrace. We stopped to say hello and ask what she would be cooking for dinner tonight. She led us into the kitchen to show us what she had made and, since every item looked so appetizing, we decided on the spot that we would come back later for dinner.

We dropped off the bikes at Niko’s, returned to the hotel to shower and change, and then walked down to Tonia’s for dinner. We were glad we returned to her restaurant for the second night in a row — a wonderful meal of Tonia’s delicious Greek cuisine capped off a great day of cycling and walking.

 

 Agios Nikolaos church

Zoom view from our hotel room terrace of Agios Nikolaos church on the rocky point between Agia Anna and Maragas beaches. In the background is part of Plaka beach, where we rode to on our mountain bikes.

 

 

Plaka beach Naxos

Lounge chairs and blue umbrellas on a section of Plaka beach. Unlike most of the popular beaches on Mykonos, which are lined end-to-end with rows of sunbeds, most Naxos beaches boast long, wide-open stretches of sand with only small sections occupied by rental loungers.

 

 

Plaka beach

View toward Paros island from dunes at Plaka beach

 

 

Plaka beach

Powdery-soft sand dunes extend much of the length of Plaka beach

 

 

Plaka beach

Looking south along Plaka beach toward Orkos and Mikri Vigla

 

 

Marine Dream Studios

Accommodations along and near Plaka beach include hotels and self-catering studios, like Marine Dream Studios and Apartments

 

 

Sea Melody Studios

The dirt road along Plaka beach ends near Sea Melody Studios, so that was as far as we rode on the mountain bikes

 

 

Plaka beach on Naxos

The end of the road along Plaka beach. It’s too difficult to ride mountain bikes on the soft sand, so from this point you have to walk to reach the southern section of Plaka. The hillside with all the white buildings is the Orkos area of Naxos.

 

 

Plaka beach on Naxos

Looking south along Plaka beach toward Orkos

 

 

Plaka beach on Naxos

Most people on Plaka beach were wearing swimsuits or other clothing, but some — like the couple on the far side of the bay — were completely naked

 

 

the channel between Naxos and Paros

Late afternoon sunshine sparkles on the channel between Naxos and Paros

 

 

Plaka beach on Naxos

This couple had a very long stretch of beach all to themselves

 

 

Plaka beach

A boardwalk leads from the road to a row of sunbeds on Plaka beach

 

 

Plaka beach on Naxos

Five people strolling on the sand made this one of the busiest sections of Plaka

 

 

Picasso restaurant Naxos

Picasso is a hugely popular Mexican restaurant at Plaka beach. We still haven’t had a meal here ourselves, but friends and other travellers we have spoken to all have recommended the place for good food and drinks.

 

 

Plaka beach

A view of Plaka and the dirt road that runs alongside part of the beach

 

 

 Paradiso Studios and Apartments

Big palm trees grace the yard in front of Paradiso Studios and Apartments at the north end of Plaka beach near Maragas

 

 

Plaka beach

Paros island viewed from the dunes at Plaka beach

 

 

road along Plaka beach

Approaching the Maragas resort area on Plaka beach road

 

 

studio apartments in Stelida

Part of a complex of studio apartments that we pass on the road from Stelida to Agios Prokopios

 

 

Hotel Proteas

Bougainvillea vines cling to the walls on each side of a terrace at Hotel Proteas

 

 

mountains on Naxos

An evening view, from Stelida, of the mountains that rise behind Naxos Town

 

 

bougainvillea in Stelida

A colourful bougainvillea canopy above a terrace at a house in Stelida

 

 

 a villa in Stelida

Lush vegetation surrounds a private villa in Stelida

 

 

road to Agios Prokopios

Walking along the road to Agios Prokopios at twilight, after a wonderful dinner at Tonia’s Courtyard at Agia Anna

 

 

Liana Hotel

The Liana Hotel near the south end of Agios Prokopios beach. It’s one of the most popular hotels in the resort area.

 

 

Agios Prokopios beach

Twilight view of the southern end of Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

Hide Away Cafe

Hanging lamps at the Café Hide Away on the main commercial strip at Agios Prokopios. The Hide Away is a great spot for breakfast and is a cozy place to go at night for light meals or drinks.

 

 

Lagos Mare Hotel on Naxos

The outdoor bar and the giant chess set in the yard at Lagos Mare Hotel

 

~

[Editor's Note: Full-size versions of all the photos in this post can be viewed in the Naxos May 22 2014 album on Flickr.]

 

Posted in Cyclades islands, Greece holiday May 2014, Greek Island villages and towns, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands photos, Naxos | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Where I wish I was going for dinner tonight

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Alati seafood restaurant

I love the high arched ceiling and rustic stone walls of the dining room at Alati, a new seafood restaurant that has just opened at the Vedema Resort on Santorini. Located in Megalochori village, the Starwood Luxury Collection member resort consists of suites and villas in 45 coquette houses built around a 400-year-old winery. This photo of Alati’s stunning interior caught my eye when it was posted on the Vedema Resort Facebook page today. To see more of the exclusive resort, which follows “a barefoot chic philosophy,” check out this 1 minute 46-second promotional video (below) from the Vedema website.

 

 

 

Posted in Architecture & design, Cyclades islands, Greek Islands, Greek Islands hotels, Greek Islands photos, Hotel of the week, Santorini | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

An awe-inspiring Aegean Airlines video trip to some of the ‘most magical places in Greece’

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 Enter Greece is a fabulous 11-minute Aegean Airlines-produced film that will give you “a taste of the most magical places in Greece!”

 

 

Sensational scenery: If Greece isn’t already on your “bucket list” of places to visit, the Enter Greece video from the Aegean Airlines YouTube channel might well convince you to include it among your top “must see” destinations.

Even if you have been to Greece before, whether as a one-time or repeat visitor, you’ll still enjoy watching sensational cinematography of what the airline calls some of “the most magical places in Greece.”

The 11-minute film clip includes amazing views of the Athens Acropolis, the Acropolis Museum, Cape Sounion, Spetses, Santorini, Mykonos, Delos, Milos, Crete, Zakynthos, Lefkada, Meteora, Monemvasia, the Corinth Canal and many more outstanding island and mainland Greece destinations.

“Travel through the blue sky and sea, the taste and history, unique landscapes, art and tradition of Greece,” the video summary states.

It delivers as promised — I developed an immense craving for Greek food and wanted to book a flight to Athens immediately after watching the video!

 

Posted in Crete, Cyclades islands, Greece mainland, Greece mainland villages & towns, Greece videos, Greek Island villages and towns, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands videos, Ionian islands, Ionian islands, Lefkada, Milos, Monemvasia, Monuments & historic sites, Mykonos, Peloponnese, Santorini, Tourist attractions, Zakynthos | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Santorini claims #1 spot on T+L magazine readers’ ranking of best islands in Europe & the world

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Oia Santorini

Luxury hotels crown the spectacular caldera cliffs in Santorini’s Oia village

 

Reader favourite: Santorini is the world’s best island for 2014, according to a survey of Travel + Leisure magazine readers.

Santorini beat out three Hawaiian islands as well as Bali, Indonesia to claim top spot in T+L’s World’s Best Awards 2014. Last year, Santorini held fourth place.

The American travel magazine announced the results of its 19th annual reader poll on July 2.

Although Santorini was the top-rated island globally and the only European island to make the worldwide Top 10, Greek islands scored well on the Top Islands in Europe poll, claiming three of the top 5 spots.  Santorini captured the #1 rating, of course, while Crete took #3 and Mykonos claimed #5. (Two Italian islands, Capri and Sicily, took the #2 and #4 places, respectively).

Last year, Santorini and Crete held the same rankings for best islands in Europe, while Mykonos failed to crack the Top 5.

The annual reader survey is highly influential and should help Greece maintain its record-setting appeal to travellers from North America. Last year, Travel + Leisure had an average monthly print circulation of nearly 1 million copies, and its web edition achieved an average of 38 million page views per month. The publication has a readership of 6.5 million people, more than 2.4 million of whom are considered “affluent” travellers with a high personal net worth.

When the magazine announced Santorini’s top ranking in a post with a photograph of Oia on the T+L Facebook page, one reader added the comment: “Now I understand why gods choose Greece to live  :-)

Indeed!

You can view hundreds of photos of the world’s #1 island in my Santorini photo collection on Flickr.  There are thousands of pics of Europe’s #5 island in my Mykonos photo collection, also on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page. Unfortunately, there’s no collection of Crete photos at this time — I haven’t been to that island since 2004 and don’t have images from that vacation online. Clearly, I’ve got to get back to Crete!

 

 

Posted in Cyclades islands, Greek Island villages and towns, Greek Islands, Greek Islands photos, In the news, Popular Posts, Santorini, Top Santorini posts, Tourist attractions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Cyclades islands celebrate summer with festivals for food & wine, arts & literature, culture & sports

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International Festival of the Aegean

A promotional poster for the 10th Annual International Festival of the Aegean taking place July 6 to 19 in Ermoupoli on Syros island.

 

Food & culture fests: I love travelling to Greek islands during low season, particularly in the spring, but that means I always miss out on major cultural and gastronomical celebrations that are held only during the summer.

Just in the Cyclades group of islands this month alone, a wide variety of food & wine festivals, painting & photography shows, arts & literature events and fun sport competitions will be taking place on Antiparos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Schinoussa, Serifos and Syros.

(Cultural events abound in other island groups, too, and of course there are scores of religious festivals throughout the country, many of which take place during the summer. But those are topics I’ll cover in future posts.)

Below is an outline of just a few of the festivities you can check out if you happen to be island hopping in the Cyclades between this weekend and the end of September. You’re in for a big surprise if you thought the Greek islands were only about picturesque villages, beautiful sandy beaches and gorgeous scenery!

 

 

ANTIPAROS

Antiparos is a small laidback island known for its famous cave, a picturesque harbour town, a long scenic coastline and scores of golden sand beaches and coves. Accessible only by ferry from nearby Paros island, it’s popular with people seeking peace and quiet off the busy tourist route between Mykonos and Santorini (part of the reason it’s where a number of Hollywood celebrities, like Tom Hanks, own secluded luxury villas).

I haven’t been to Antiparos yet, but correspond online with some regular visitors who insist that I’ll fall in love with the island and keep going back once I finally make my first visit. This month would have been a good time to go, since Antiparos will be buzzing with two main events — a photography show and a four-day celebration of summer with cycling, running, sailing and swimming competitions.

 

Antiparos Photo Festival

This promotional flyer lists the photographers whose work will be displayed during the Antiparos Photo Festival, opening Friday July 4 at the Anti Art Gallery in Kastro.  Additional information about the event is available on the Antiparos Photo Festival 2014 Facebook page.

 

 

Antiparos Summer Festival

The Antiparos Summer Festival offers a variety of fun sports competitions for active vacationers and local residents. Events include a sailboat regatta, marathon runs, adult bicycle races, and a swim across the channel between Paros and Antiparos. Activities are scheduled for four separate days, while celebrations with traditional Greek dancing will be held on the evenings of July 5 and 17.

 

 

SANTORINI

The island famous for its marvellous scenery, breathtaking sunsets, clifftop villages, wineries and volcano tours also is home to one of my favourite bookstores — the internationally-acclaimed Atlantis Books. (It’s included on BuzzFeed‘s list of 17 bookstores that will literally change your life and has been named one of the world’s best bookstores by numerous publications and literary websites.)

Atlantis Books is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year by hosting the 3rd Caldera Arts & Literature Festival from July 4 to 6. The festival promises “a weekend of reading, writing, live music and performance” with events for adults and children in and around the bookstore premises on Nomikos Street in the beautiful village of Oia.

You can view a promotional trailer for the festival below. For additional information about both the store and the festival, consult the Atlantis Books Facebook page.

Meanwhile, in Pyrgos village, a special exhibition of work by renowned American travel and architecture photographer William Abranowicz starts July 6 and runs until August 15. Abranowicz has photographed extensively in Greece for about three decades, and the show will feature some of his Greece photography from 1988 to 2007. The exhibition is being held in the showroom of the corner tower in the main square of Pyrgos. (If you can’t make it, check out The Greek Work page of the artist’s website to view some of his images from Greece. You can also see more of his photography, including pictures shot on Pyrgos this week, on the William Abranowicz Tumblr page.)

And on Saturday August 2, the Iama Wine Store in Oia will be hosting a wine tasting event from 7 to 10 p.m. The Logotheti Family will be offering tastings of traditionally-prepared fava dishes, and samples of three fine extra virgin olive oils from Greece and other local products will be available. See the promotional poster below for further details.

The big Santorini event of the summer is the Megaro Gyzi Festival 2014, an annual celebration of arts and culture held by the Megaro Gyzi Cultural Centre.  Founded as a non-profit organization in 1980 by the Catholic Diocese of Santorini, the Centre is situated in a 17th Century mansion near the cable car entrance in Fira. The organization’s goal is to promote cultural and spiritual life in Santorini.  This year’s festival features painting and printmaking exhibitions, along with six concerts.  Click here to view a detailed, 16-page program for the event, or click here to view a 4-page summary of the program. Complete information about this year’s festival, past events, and the organization itself, are available on the Megaro Gyzi website and the Megaro Gyzi Cultural Centre Facebook page.

You’ll have a blast if you happen to be on Santorini the evening of August 24 — that’s when an exhilarating fireworks show, held as part of the island’s annual Volcano Festival, will light the sky above the volcano island. Known as Ifestia, the event is organized by the municipality of Santorini and celebrates the massive Minoan-era volcanic eruption that occurred around 1600 BC.  Festival events include traditional music and dancing performances, but the highlight is the dramatic fireworks display that represents the volcanic explosion. The fireworks show will be visible from most places along the island’s caldera rim, but many restaurants and bars — including IDOL in Fira village — will be hosting special seatings to celebrate. Numerous boat excursions will be available, too, allowing participants to view the pyrotechnics from sea level. Some are expensive, but last four hours and include a sunset cruise, with wine provided. Others, like those offered by the Santorini Boatmen Union, are no-frills, shorter outings, and cost only €15 per person (see poster below).

 

A promotional trailer for the 3rd Caldera Arts & Literature Festival being held from July 4 to 6 in scenic Oia village on Santorini

 

 

Arts & Literature Caldera Festival

A promotional flyer for the Third Caldera Arts & Literature Festival, being hosted by Atlantis Books as part of its 10th anniversary celebrations

 

 

William Abranowicz photography exhibition

A promotional flyer for the William Abranowicz photography exhibition being held in Santorini’s Pyros village July 6 to August 16

 

 

Iama Wine Store Oia Santorini

The Iama Wine Store in Oia will be holding a special Wine and Local Products event on the evening of Saturday August 2. Samples of traditionally-prepared Santorini fava will be available for tasting, as will three extra virgin olive oils and other local and Greek products.

 

 

Megaro Gyzi Festival  on Santorini 

A poster of events being held on Santorini in August as part of the annual Megaro Gyzi Festival. The events take place at the Megaro Gyzi Cultural Centre in Fira, and admission is free.

 

 

Santorini Volcano Festival 2014

Ifestia, the annual Santorini Volcano Festival, will take place on August 24 with an amazing fireworks show above the volcano island. Boat tours to view the fireworks from sea level are being offered by the Santorini Boatmen Union, but tourists will be able to watch the show from anywhere on the island’s caldera rim.

 

 

 

NAXOS

When it comes to islands offering plenty of things to see and do, it’s hard to top Naxos — this island is absolutely bursting with attractions and activities, including the annual Naxos Festival that presents a wide variety of cultural events — including concerts and art exhibitions — from April until October. Festival activities take place in the Della Rocca-Barozzi Tower in the historic Castle of Naxos Town, which also happens to be home to the Venetian Museum of Naxos.

Additional cultural events are presented at other venues in the Castle and elsewhere on the island as well.

For instance, the castle’s Cultural Center is presenting Road Journal, an exhibition of paintings by artist Mariela Konstantinidou. The show opened on July 1 and continues at the castle under July 18. It then moves to the Labyrinth Wine Restaurant in the Old Market area of Naxos Town, where Mariela’s work will be on display from July 20 until September 30.

Another restaurant in the Old Market, L’Osteria Wine Bar, is holding an summer exhibition that features work by three different artists. The shows are From nowhere time, a mixed media exhibition by Kristian Zara, Synecdoche of Athens, an exhibition of fine art photography by Aigli Drakou, and Epic Art by Blank, a painting exposition by Blank. The show runs until August 30.

Meanwhile, Elli’s Bar-Restaurant in the Grotta area of Naxos Town is the place to go for live musical performances by Istanbul Orchestra this summer.  The four-member group — Zekiye Yurekli (vocals), Dimitris Bousounis (guitar & vocals), MIkko Papadopoulos (bouzouki) and Peter Macray Jacques (clarinet & trumpet) — performs every Friday and Saturday until July 12, and then daily from July 13 to the end of August.

Visitors interested in history and archaeology should mark the evening of August 25 on their calendars — that’s when Dr. Tristan Carter from McMaster University’s Stelida Naxos Archaeological Project will speak on the subject Early Humans in the Aegean. The lecture starts at 20:30 in the Iakovos Kampanelis Museum in Naxos Town.

 

Cultural events at Bazeos Tower

Arts and music events take place outside of Naxos Town, too. This summer will witness an extensive series of shows and performances at the historic Venetian-era Bazeos Tower, situated 12 km from Naxos Town along the main road to Halki, Filoti and the coastal area of Agiassos.

From now until September 9, the Bazeos Tower is hosting Syn-opsis, an exhibition of work by photographer Costis Antoniades. The show features “Portraits and intriguing environments as well as a surprising and unexpected view of Naxos landscapes processed under the “day for night” technique i.e. pictures taken in broad daylight with the use of a blue filter,” according to an event listing on the Bazeos Tower webpage for the 2014 Naxos Festival.

The summer cultural program at Bazeos Tower also includes mis en scène performances of relay operas from  the 2014 Festival of Aix-en-Provence in France; screenings of six French films (with Greek subtitles); a performance by the Groove Catchers jazz group; a puppet show and theater performance for children; a Greek music concert by Nikos Portokaloglou; and other events. Click here to access the Bazeos Tower webpage with full event descriptions and information about admission prices and show times.

 

Road Journal painting exhibition by Mariela Konstantinidou

A promotional flyer for the Road Journal painting exhibition by Mariela Konstantinidou, being held at two locations in Naxos Town

 

 

Elli's Bar in Naxos

The four-member group Istanbul Orchestra will be appearing live at Elli’s Bar-Restaurant each day from July 13 to the end of August.

 

Stelida Archaeological Project
Dr. Tristan Carter from the Stelida Naxos Archaeological Project will give a talk on Early Humans in the Aegean on the evening of August 25

 

 

 

Naxos Festival 2014 event

A poster for the Syn-opsis photography exhibition by Costis Antoniadis, being held at the Bazeos Tower until September 9 as part of the Naxos Festival.

 

 

 

PAROS

Paros is much like its next-door neighbour Naxos in that it offers plenty of attractions and activities to entertain visitors. Paros boasts dozens of beaches, scenic seaside and mountain villages, a Valley of Butterflies, the remarkable Church of 100 Doors (Ekatontapyliani), and top-rated facilities for windsurfing world cup competitions.  It, too, features numerous cultural, social and sporting events each summer.

Many of those activities — including the annual eight-day Jazz in Paros Festival — take place at the Environmental and Cultural Park of Paros (Paros Park), an 800-acre peninsula with walking trails and beaches at Ai Yannis Detis near Naoussa.  The park has an amphitheatre where cultural events are put on, as well as the Cine Enastron outdoor cinema that screens Greek and foreign films under the stars during July, August and September.

The Festival at the Park program for this summer includes musical, theatrical and dance performances, and concludes in late September with triathlons for adults and kids. The Jazz Festival, which runs from July 19 to 27, will feature singers Heleen Schuttevaêr from Netherlands, Anna Lauvergnac from Italy and Chloé Cailleton from France, plus a performance of the  “Electric” Paris Paros Project with musicians from Greece and France. In addition, a creative performance of poetry and jazz will be held at the amphitheater in Lefkes village.

One of the key celebrations of the season is the 2nd annual Festival of Products of Paros, which takes place this weekend (July 4 to 6). The festival focusses on the island’s vineyards and wineries, and is aimed in part at increasing global awareness of Parian wine. Events include tastings, workshops and meetings, concerts and live entertainment. (I have been a fan of Parian wine ever since we visited the Moraitis family winery at Naoussa during an island bus tour. I’ve made it a point to buy bottles of Moraitis wine, whenever we can find some, to enjoy on our hotel room balconies and terraces during our island-hopping holidays.)

 

Paros Jazz Festival

The 4th annual Paros Jazz Festival will take place July 19 to 25

 

 

Products of Paros Festival

A promotional image for this month’s 2nd Festival of Products of Paros and Parian Wine Gladdens celebration

 

 

Paros Park

A promotional image for the July 8 Sunset Walk at the Cultural and Environmental Park (Paros Park) near Naoussa. Further information about events and activities at the 800-acre park can be obtained from the Paros Park Facebook page.

 

 

SCHINOUSSA

One of the Small Cyclades islands near Naxos, Schinoussa is only 9 square kilometers large with two tiny villages and a population of less than 300.  Schinoussa is named after a mastic tree shrub that grows throughout the island, but is famous for two other things — its 18 beautiful beaches and the local katsouni fava (yellow split peas) it produces. (It’s known for other agricultural products, too, such as beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and melons, as well as beef, pork and goat meat and local cheese.)

The big summer event on Schinoussa is the 3rd Annual Fava Festival, which takes place this coming Monday (July 7) in the courtyard of the local school. The festival is timed to coincide not just with the start of the island’s main tourist season, but also the end of the fava harvest period. The celebration will include live music, dancing, wine, raki and lots of fava dishes. I love fava, and really wish I could be on Schinoussa next week to partake in the party. (It’s yet another island I haven’t been to but would like to see, especially since I have have heard nothing but positive comments about it from people who have travelled there more than once).

On August 18, Schinoussa will hold its 4th annual Donkey Games, an event that pays tribute to the hard-working domestic animals. It promises a fun day of games and prizes with entertainment by Johnny Vavouras and the Cadillacs.

If you think you might like to visit the island some time, you can find a wealth of travel information on the Schinoussa website. And if you’d like more information about Schinoussa fava, click here to read an article on the Naxos and Small Cyclades website.

 

fava dish

 This photo of a classic Schinoussa fava purée is from the Naxos and Small Cyclades website. Schinoussa produces approximately 5 tons of the katsouni variety of fava (yellow split peas). Click here to access recipes for several tasty fava side dishes you could try making to enjoy at home.

 

 

Schinoussa Fava Festival

A promotional poster for the 2014 Fava Festival on Schinoussa

 

 

Schinoussa Donkey Games

The 4th annual Schinoussa Donkey Games take place August 18. It’s a day of fun, games and live musical entertainment and a tribute to the hard-working donkey.

 

 

 

SYROS

Syros is a wonderful island we got to visit for the first time in May — and hope to revisit in the near future. I’ll be telling you more about it in soon in upcoming instalments of my 2014 Greek holiday report.

For now, I’ll just say that Syros is the place to go for cultural entertainment during the next six weeks.

Fans of opera, classical music and jazz will want to visit Syros from July 6 to 19 to take in the 10th Annual International Festival of the Aegean at the city of Ermoupoli’s landmark Apollo Theater, which just happens to be celebrating its 150th anniversary. A full schedule of performances is provided on the main page of the festival website.

That big event is followed by the 21st Hermoupolis Guitar Festival July 21 to 25, and then the Syros International Film Festival July 26 to August 1.

Music will take center stage at the Apollo Theater yet again during the 10th International Classical Music Festival of Cyclades, from August 9 to 17.  The world’s oldest orchestra, the Royal Danish Orchestra (established in 1448), will be guest of honour, while a diverse selection of artists will be appearing throughout the festival.

A media release says the festival program includes “distinguished artists such as the Athens Mandolinata quintet, the soloists of the Greek National Opera, Vassiliki Karayanni, Irene Karayanni and Ioanna Forti, the counter tenor Nikos Spanatis, the pianists Alexandra Nomidou and Karolos Zouganelis, the Greek actress Magda Mavroyanni, the concertmaster of the Daejeon Philharmonic Orchestra, Korean violinist Paul Kim, the artistic director and conductor of the Athens State Orchestra, Stefanos Tsialis, the artistic director of the Sinfonia Piraeus and the Saronic islands Festival, conductor Nikos Haliassas, and the violinist Yiannos Margaziotis, concertmaster of the National Greek Opera Orchestra and artistic director of the International Classical Music Festival of Cyclades.”

 

Cyclades Music Festival

A promotional image for the International Classical Music Festival of Cyclades 2014, which takes place August 9 to 17 at the historic Apollo Theater in Ermoupoli on Syros. Click here to view program information on the festival website.

 

 

21st Hermoupolis Guitar Festival

A promotional image for the 21st Hermoupolis Guitar Festival on Syros

 

 

Syros International Film Festival

The full program for the Syros International Film Festival (SIFF) will be announced at a press conference in Athens on July 10. The festival will take place July 26 to August 1 at various locations in Ermoupoli, including the Pallas outdoor cinema, the Tarsana shipyard, the Cycladic Art Gallery and the Stars beach bar. The first SIFF was held last year and featured 24 films along with professional workshops. This year’s program is expected to include around 50 films, as well as workshops, seminars and an art exhibition. Further information about the event is available on the Syros International Film Festival Facebook page.

 

 

SERIFOS

There’s a big summer celebration on another small island I haven’t yet visited — Serifos, situated in the western Cyclades between Sifnos and Kythnos. I’ve heard very good things about it from a few people, who have said it’s a generally quiet and relaxing place to visit even in peak season (though apparently it can get busy on weekends since it’s a convenient destination for people in Athens seeking a quick getaway from the mainland).

From late July until late August, you can bet the island will be popular with Athenians and tourists alike for another reason — the 3rd annual Serifos Festival.

The event, which begins with a concert on July 27 and ends with an art exhibition and concert on August 20, takes place mainly in Kato (Lower) Hora village, where an amphitheater with views of the sea is situated.

The Serifos Festival features musical concerts, theatrical productions, traditional music and dance performances, music workshops, art and painting exhibitions, and creative writing workshops (including sessions that focus on travel writing).

Click here to see the schedule of events for this summer’s festival. Information about the writing workshops is available (mostly in Greek) on the Serifos Travel Writing 2014 blog.

 

Serifos Festival 2014

A promotional poster for Serifos Festival 2014. Information about the event is available on the Serifos Festival Facebook page.

 

 

MYKONOS

It’s known for nightlife, shopping and dining, but there’s more to Mykonos than contemporary popular culture.

The premier event of the summer is Kivotos Art Projects 2014, which is held at the Kivotos Luxury Boutique Hotel at Ornos beach from May through to October 1. The exhibition features paintings, sculpture, photography, multimedia and installations by 23 visual artists.  The event is presented by Aegeanale, an “international art and culture platform” that “highlights the Aegean as region of inspiration, creativity and intercultural dialogue.” Below is a 2.5-minute videoclip that the Kivotos Hotel posted on its website to promote Kivotos Art Projects 2014.

From August 14 to 30, visual artist Michael Romanos will hold a unique exhibition of original works inspired by the wonderful Paraportiani Church, one of the most famous landmarks and tourist attractions on Mykonos. What’s special about this particular exhibit is that viewers will get to tour the heart of Mykonos Town while enjoying Romanos’s work — his art will be on display at four separate locations: the Leto Hotel, the foyer of the Mykonos Municipal Gallery, the Meletopoulos public garden, and at the Panagiotis Kousantha Library. Click here to access the artist’s blog, which features photos and further information about the exhibition.

On August 16, Skoufa Gallery in Mykonos Town will open a special exhibition of work by a group of Greek artists. The gallery exhibits paintings, sculpture, jewellery, ceramics, small handcrafted art pieces and Greek industrial design products.

The Women’s Clubs of Mykonos will showcase art, handicrafts and local food and products during its sixth annual Bazaar August 22 and 23. The event takes place in the town square at Ano Mera.

From August 25 to September 15, the Mykonian Hand Weaving Exhibition will showcase traditional woven art and handicrafts at Dedes’ House on Matogianni Street, and at the KDEPAM Workshop in the Panachra area of Mykonos Town a short walk from Matogianni.

 

Kivotos Art Projects 2014_Promo video from Philip Mykonos on Vimeo.

 

 

Michael Romanos art exhibit

A special exhibit of original works by visual artist Michael Romanos will be held at four locations in Mykonos Town from August 14 to 30.

 

 

Skoufa Gallery Mykonos

Skoufa Gallery in Mykonos Town will open an exhibition of work by a group of Greek artists on August 16 2014

 

 

Mykonos Bazaar

The Women’s Clubs of Mykonos will hold their annual Bazaar in Ano Mera August 22-23 201. Local food and products as well as art and handicrafts will be on sale.

 

 

 

Mykonian Hand Weaving exhibition

A promotional image for the Mykonian Hand Weaving exhibition, being held for three weeks beginning August 25

 

Posted in Antiparos, Art, Arts & culture, Cyclades islands, Film, Greek Islands, Literature, Naxos, Paros, Photography, Popular Posts, Santorini, Schinoussa, Serifos, Syros, Top events posts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New clubs open & July/August events announced as Mykonos summer party scene starts to sizzle

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Nova Club Mykonos

Promotional image for tonight’s (July 1 2014) grand opening of Nova, an exclusive new private members’ social club on Mykonos

 

 

[Editor's update: This report has been updated with information about special events taking place during August 2014. Be sure to check my post Beach parties on Mykonos this summer for updates on August events taking place specifically at Mykonos beach clubs.]

 

 

Summer sizzle: July 1 marks the start of the peak summer party season on Mykonos, and with two new club openings and a host of additional entertainment events just announced, the island is set to cement its reputation as one of the top party destinations in the Mediterranean.

Here’s a look at some of the parties and special performances that will be rocking Mykonos this month:

 

Nova Club grand opening

July kicks off with opening celebrations for a new high-end social club and special event venue, Nova, which is located in the Lakka Square area of Mykonos Town. The exclusive private members’ club will be open from 23:00 (11 p.m.) every night and promises to offer “the highest class and sophistication.” The Nova Club Facebook page recommends “dressy” attire for guests, and says walk-ins are welcome, though table reservations can also be made by contacting the club.

Check the club’s Facebook page as well as the Nova Mykonos Twitter feed for further information.

 

Nova Club Mykonos

This teaser image was posted on the Nova Mykonos Twitter feed to show “a little of what is yet to come” from the brand-new social club and special performance venue in the Lakka Square area of Mykonos Town

 

 

Sass Cafe Monaco party

This image, from the events listing on the Nova Club Facebook page, promoted an August 4 party held in conjunction with Sass Cafe in Monaco. The sold-out event is among many special theme parties taking place at Nova this summer.

 

 

Kaz James & Sneaky Sounds at Paradise Club

Tonight is the first of four “Show Me Mykonos” parties that DJ Kaz James is presenting at Paradise Club during July and August. The July 1 event features a guest performance by Sneaky Sound System, while the July 23 party will star Nervo, Ivan Gough and Kaz James. The roster for July 31 includes Steve Aoki, Autoerotique and Kaz James.

Paradise Club has 16 special events scheduled for July alone; click here to see the entertainment lineup that has been announced so far.

 

Paradise Club Mykonos

A promotional flyer for four separate Kaz James events at Paradise Club, the first of which takes place tonight (July 1)

 

 

 

Ballshevik dance club grand opening

July 2 marks the big debut of Ballshevik, a new dance club venue located in the Klouvas area of Mykonos (roughly midway along the road between Mykonos Town and Ano Mera). With weekly “Mongays” and “Frigays” plus Thursday “Fruit Dance” events, the club clearly appears to be targeting the island’s sizable gay travel market, but hasn’t branded itself as an entertainment venue for any specific lifestyle and should have wide appeal.

Ballshevik’s opening night party is being presented by Red Bull Music Academy and will feature a special DJ set by legendary synth-disco artist and producer Giorgio Moroder (see this entry on the RBMA events page for further info about Moroder’s appearance).

Ballshevik has events scheduled for every night in July. Below are promotional flyers that were posted on the Ballshevik Facebook page for some of this week’s upcoming parties.

 

Ballshevik Club Mykonos 

The red symbol in the center of this Google map image shows the location of the new Ballshevik club on the highway between Mykonos Town and Ano Mera

 

 

Ballshevik Mykonos

A promotional image for the grand opening party at Ballshevik, where the “godfather of electronic dance music,” Giorgio Moroder, will headline a DJ set

 

 

Ballshevik club Mykonos

House Twins will be headlining the July 3 Sugar on Top party at Ballshevik

 

 

Ballshevik Mykonos

Anstascia and Vivie-Ann of Blond:ish will entertain at Balshevik’s first Frigays event on July 4

 

 

Ballshevik club Mykonos

The full July 2014 special event lineup at Ballshevik club

 

 

 

FIX Live Mykonos club on the highway to Ano Mera

 

Panos Kalidis show on Mykonos

Greek singer Panos Kalidis and his band will appear at FIX Live Mykonos on August 9 2014.  The new adult entertainment club, which is located on the highway between Mykonos Town and Ano Mera, features live Greek music.

 

Panos Kalidis appearance on Mykonos

A promotional image with details of the Panos Kaliadis show at FIX Live

 

 

Live Funky Jazz at Notorious Bar

Jazz music afficionados are in for a treat on Wednesday the 2nd when Notorious Bar-Café presents its first Funky-Jazzy Night of July. (The bar previously held a Funky-Jazzy Night on June 25).

The event stars saxophonist Giuseppe Fabris and gets underway at 22:30 (10:30 pm). Notorious Bar is located at 3 Kampani Street near Ag. Kiriaki Square.

 

Notorious Bar Mykonos

A promotional flyer for the July 2 2014 jazz party featuring Giuseppe Fabris at Notorious Bar in Mykonos Town

 

 

 July 4 parties at Little Venice

The popular Little Venice seafront of Mykonos Town will be buzzing on Friday July 4 with special events at two of the area’s most popular bars.

Omega Club will be hosting what it calls “the ultimate Mykonos party,” featuring DJ/music producer Sotiris Soulfellaz.  Further details are available on the Omega Club Facebook page.

Only a few steps away at Veranda Bar, George Siras will be headlining the club’s first Friday House party of July. Veranda will hold three more Friday’s House events during the month; see the image below and check the Veranda Club-Cafe Facebook page for further details.

 

Omega Club Mykonos

A promotional image for the July 4 party featuring DJ Sotiris Soufellaz at Omega Club in the Little Venice area of Mykonos Town

 

 

Veranda Club Mykonos

A promotional flyer showing July 2014 events at Veranda Club

 

 

COOH Sunset Bar & Club on the Kastro seafront

During the two weeks starting Friday, there are four special events on the calendar for the new COOH Sunset Bar & Club on the seafront in the Kastro area of Mykonos Town (near the Mykonos Town Hall and the Delos ferry boat pier).

Below are promotional flyers with details for each of the events:

 

COOH Sunset Bar & Club Mykonos

COOH’s July 4 party features Kenny Larkin, Junior Pappa and Claudia

 

 

COOH Sunset Bar & Club Mykonos

COOH’s July 5 bash features sets by Edu Imbernon, Endie Kenzak and Claudia

 

 

COOH Sunset Bar & Club Mykonos

Valentino Kanzyani, Anestie Gomez and Claudia headline at COOH on July 11

 

 

COOH Sunset Bar & Club Mykonos

COOH’s July 12 lineup includes Sidney Charles, Endie Kenzak and Claudia

 

 

Nammos brings Angelique to Psarou beach

It’s one of the top beach restaurants and nightclubs on Mykonos, but on July 4 Nammos by the Sea will look and feel more like one of the hottest nightspots in Turkey instead. The trendy Psarou beach resto and bar will host its much-anticipated Nammos Presents Angelique Gourmet & Party extravaganza, with participation of the entire staff team from Istanbul’s popular Anjelique restaurant and nightclub.

The event starts at 22:30 (10:30 p.m.) on Friday, and tickets cost €80 per person.  Check the Nammos by the Sea Facebook page for information about how to RSVP for the event.

On the afternoon of July 26, Nammos will hold another special event — this time an “ultra beach party” featuring a main set by DJ & music producer Vassili Tsilichristos, whose latest CD, Made in Mykonos, is being released July 2.

 

Nammos by the Sea Mykonos

From the Nammos Facebook page, a promotional flyer for the July 4 Nammos Presents Angelique Gourmet & Party

 

 

 Nammos by the Sea Mykonos

A flyer for the Made in Mykonos beach party that will take place July 26 at Nammos by the Sea on Psarou beach. DJ Vassili Tsilichristos will headline for this event, which is named after his latest CD.

 

 

 Kalua parties at Paraga beach

Visitors to Paraga beach can get a taste of the Istanbul club scene, too,  when Kalua Bar & Restaurant throws its Kalua Meets Lucca Style party starting at 17:00 (5 p.m.) this coming Saturday (July 5). DJ Murat Tokuz will spin for the event, which will feature cocktail and drink tasting sessions presented by the bartending team from Lucca Bistronomique Bar & Lounge in Istanbul.  Lucca is the chic bar and lounge that Conde Nast Traveler magazine has described as “the super-hip Istanbul restaurant.” Admission to the event is free.

Kalua has eight more parties planned for July, plus more in August, and admission is free for all of the events. The lineup includes Agent Greg on July 9, Valeron on the 11th, DJ Angelo and DA Mike on the 16th, Ms Leyki on the 18th, Best Seller on the 23rd, Johnny Gerontakis on the 25th, and Agent Greg closes out the month on the 30th.  See the lineup calendar below for acts scheduled to appear at Kalua’s August events.

 

Kalua Bar Mykonos

Promotional flyer for the Lucca Meets Kalua party on July 5

 

 

Kalua bar restaurant Mykonos

The special events lineup for July & August at Kalua bar & restaurant at Paraga beach. Follow the Kalua Facebook page for updates and photos.

 

 

esthète party at Kivotos Hotel at Ornos beach

The 5-star Kivotos Hotel at Ornos beach will be the place to go on July 25 — that’s where Alexandros Christopoulos will host his latest esthète Mykonos Edition.

The event begins at 22:00 (10 p.m.) with an introductory set by DJ Richard Horn. Advance table reservations are “highly recommended.” Full details are available on the esthète Mykonos Edition Facebook page.

 

Esthete Mykonos Edition

Promotional flyer for the esthète Mykonos Edition event at Kivotos Hotel

 

 

Scream and shout @54

The new @54 lounge and discotheque at Taxi Square in Mykonos Town will be celebrating July 4 with a Scream and Shout party featuring DJ Matt.

On August 2, @54 will hold a Get Sexy Swimwear & Underwear Show with fashions provided by Fifty Five Men’s Wear in Mykonos Town. The party gets underway at 1.30 a.m.

 

@54 Mykonos

A promotional poster for the July 4 Scream and Shout party @54

 

 

@54 Bar Lounge & Disco Mykonos

A promotional image for the Get Sexy Swimwear & Underwear Show taking place August 2 at the @54 Bar Lounge Disco at Taxi Square in Mykonos Town

 

 

Another Solymar party at Kalo Livadi

Solymar restaurant and beach bar at Kalo Livadi has added another party to its summer lineup of six major events. (Two took place in June and there will be two more this month and another two in August.)

The extra event is set for Saturday July 12 and will feature DJ Stelios Ioannou on the decks. The fun gets going at 19:00 (7 p.m.).

 

Solymar Mykonos

A promotional poster for Solymar’s July 12 2014 party with DJ Stelios Ioannou

 

 

Updated summer DJ lineup for Cavo Paradiso

On July 27, Cavo Paradiso released an updated list of events scheduled for August. The new lineup fills in the names of several headline acts that had been marked “to be announced” in earlier schedules.

The list does not include acts scheduled for early September.  As of August 7, the Upcoming Events page on the Cavo Paradiso website was showing events confirmed for September 1, 3, 4 and 5. These are:

September 1: GK Apsis & Mark Code

September 3: Dino MFU & Valeron

September 4: Argie & AnXid

September 5: Heavy G & Gogos

Still no word on the exact date in September that Cavo will hold its season closing party.

 

Cavo Paradiso Mykonos summer 2014 DJ lineup (as of July 27 2014)

Cavo Paradiso released this updated schedule on July 27 2014. Click on the image to view a full-size version.

 

 

Phos restaurant & bar in Mykonos Town

 

Phos restaurant & bar Mykonos

DJ Antonis Dimitriadis will be spinning for a Thursday Party being held August 7 at Phos Restaurant & Bar which is located on Tourlianis Street in the Matogianni area of Mykonos Town.

 

 

Belvedere Hotel in Mykonos Town

 

Angelika Dusk at Belvedere Hotel Mykonos

Singer Angelika Dusk and her band will be performing at the Belvedere Hotel‘s pool bar each evening from August 8 to 10. This photo of Angelika was posted to the Belvedere’s Facebook page.

 

 

De.light Mykonos Boutique Hotel & Spa at Agios Ioannis

 

 Delight Mykonos boutique hotel

The De.light Mykonos Boutique Hotel & Spa will be celebrating the August full moon with its “Flavors of the Aegean … degustation night & piano” — an evening of excellent gourmet cuisine and keyboard music entertainment. Situated at Agios Ioannis (the “Shirley Valentine beach”), the hotel offers one of the island’s most romantic dining environments.

 

 

Bill & Coo Suites and Lounge in Mykonos Town

 

Bill & Coo Suites & Mykonos

Valeron will be on the decks for an August 14 sunset party at the Bill & Coo Suites and Lounge, located on the edge of Mykonos Town above Megali Ammos

 

 

Passo Doble bar on Matogianni Street in Mykonos Town

 

Passo Doble bar in Mykonos

DJ Snatch will be spinning for an August 15 party at the Passo Doble Cocktail Bar on Matogianni Street in the heart of Mykonos Town

 

 

XLSIOR Mykonos Festival 2014 events

 

XLSIOR Mykonos 2014

A flyer for the Brazilian-themed Pool Party being held at Elysium Hotel in Mykonos Town on August 20. The event, with DJs Guga Rahner, Grind and Nick A, is one of the main functions taking place during XLSIOR Mykonos 2014, the annual music and party festival attended by tens of thousands of gay and gay-friendly participants every August.

 

 

XLSIOR Mykonos 2014

“Vicious Bondage” is the title of the August 20 XLSIOR Mykonos festival theme party being held at DC Club (Dream City, in the former Space Club premises)

 

 

XLSIOR Mykonos 2014

“Garage” is the theme for the XLSIOR Mykonos festival pool party being held at Rocky City starting at midnight. Rock City is a pool complex situated along the main highway between Elia beach and Mykonos Town.

 

 

~

Editor’s note: This was the latest in a series of reports about the 2014 summer dining, entertainment and party scene on Mykonos. Previous posts have described upcoming special events as well as new places to eat and play on Mykonos this year. You can view those posts by clicking on the links below:

 ♦ June 6: Mykonos town & beach party clubs ready to rock with Holy Spirit long weekend special events

 ♦  June 6: Cavo & Tropicana release summer DJ lineups

 ♦  May 14: Beach parties on Mykonos this summer

 ♦ May 5: Mykonos 2014 restaurant & club update (Part 2)

 ♦ April 16: Cavo Paradiso opening on May 17

 ♦ April 13: Remezzo club gets restyled into restaurant & bar as new places to eat, stay & play open on Mykonos

 ♦ March 31: Paradise Club to kick off Mykonos party season with all-night opening bash on May 21

 

Posted in Arts & culture, Cyclades islands, Greek Islands, Mykonos, nightclubs & parties, Party places, Popular music, Popular Posts, Top events posts, Top Mykonos posts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 Greek holiday report and photos Part 3: Our breezy afternoon bike ride to Mikri Vigla beach

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Kitesurfers challenge the wind and wavs off Mikri Vigla beach on Naxos

Kitesurfers challenge the wind and waves off Mikri Vigla beach on Naxos. We shot this photograph from our dune- and seaview table at Kontos Taverna. Click on the picture to view a full-size image.

 

 

[Editor's note: This is the third instalment in an ongoing series of reports about our Greek holiday in the spring of 2014. Click here to see Part 1, and click here to access Part 2. Full-size versions of the photos shown below can be viewed in the Naxos May 21 2014 album on Flickr.]

 

 

Wednesday May 21

Hikes & bikes: Warm, bright and breezy would summarize Wednesday succinctly. Morning brought a clear sky, light breeze and warm temperatures that would climb into the high 20s (Celsius) during the afternoon. Our big decision of the day would be figuring out whether to just chill out and relax for awhile at the Lianos Village Hotel pool, do something more active like hiking or cycling, or do a bit of both.

During our leisurely breakfast, Dan and I agreed to take a short hike along the coast in the Stelida area to get some exercise first, and then see how the rest of the day would unfold. So we left the hotel and made our way down the hill to the northwest end of Agios Prokopios beach, where we could access hiking trails on Cape Agios Prokopios from the end of the road near Avali restaurant.

 

buildings in Stelida

This telephoto image, shot from our terrace at Lianos Village Hotel, shows two white and blue apartment buildings on a hill overlooking the north side of Cape Agios Prokopios. That’s Paros island across the channel. Walking trails on the Cape offer excellent views of the east coast of Paros.

 

 

a building in Stelida

Studio apartments along the road to Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

Naxos Imperial Hotel

Pedestrians get a good view of the Naxos Imperial Hotel and its swimming pool as they pass the resort on the main Stelida road to Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

 a building in Stelilda

Pink bougainvillea provides a pop of bright colour on a white apartment building with blue trim next to the road to Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

sheep on Naxos

Sheep snooze under a shade tree on a farm field in Stelida

 

 

a church in Stelida

Springflowers fill a churchyard at the northwest end of Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

a road in Stelida

Tall bamboo lines one side of a Stelida road at the end of Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

Agios Prokopios beach

A view of Agios Prokopios beach from the dirt road shown in the photo above

 

 

Avali restaurant  Naxos

Avali restaurant is located on the hillside at the northwest end of Agios Prokopios beach. Walking trails on Cape Agios Prokopios can be accessed from the road that runs past the restaurant. Avali has the best beach views of any restaurant at Agios Prokopios; its seaview terraces are perfect places to enjoy the Naxos coastal scenery while having a drink or meal.

 

 

Cape Agios Prokopios

Wildflowers flank a footpath on Cape Agios Prokopios

 

 

Cape Agios Prokopios

A quiet bay on the southern coast of Cape Agios Prokopios

 

 

Cape Agios Prokopios

Looking out to sea from Cape Agios Prokopios

 

 

 A sudden change in plans

We got partway along Cape Agios Prokopios when we changed our minds and decided we’d prefer to spend the afternoon riding bikes rather than walking. So we turned back and hiked across the full length of Agios Prokopios beach to the main resort area, where we could visit two different vehicle rental agencies to check out mountain bikes and compare prices.

Though it was an absolutely gorgeous morning, there were only a couple of dozen people on the entire beach so far, and surprisingly no nudists in sight. That was a remarkable change from last May and October (and our previous Naxos holidays), since we would usually see more than a dozen people near the midsection of the beach, sunbathing and swimming au naturel. (Last year I shot a beach photo that showed several nudists wading in the sea; it has since become the #1 picture with the most all-time views on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page.)

Another obvious change was the presence of more than 100 organized sunbeds on one section of sand near the Stelida beach access road. We had not seen any lounge chairs and umbrellas there last year, and only saw a few on some of our previous Naxos holidays. Signs suggested the loungers might be for guests of the Naxos Imperial Hotel, but nobody was using any of the chairs at the time. I suspected there might be fewer nudists at Agios Prokopios because the sunbeds would attract more people — particularly families with kids — to that area. The naturists seemed to prefer getting naked in places with fewer people around, and may have relocated to another beach.

 

Agios Prokopios beach

The view from the north end of Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

Agios Prokopios beach

Rows of lounge chairs and umbrellas on Agios Prokopios beach. We had never seen so many sunbeds near the north end of the beach.

 

 

Agios Prokopios beach

Looking out to sea from Agios Prokopios beach

 

 

Agios Prokopios beach

A view of the north end of the beach and the rocky hill on Cape Agios Prokopios

 

 

A bike ride to the west coast beaches

Our first stop was the Moto Power Naxos office on the main road near the Eko gas station. We had rented mountain bikes here last October, but today they had cars and scooters only. So we strolled down the road to Niko’s Bikes Moto Center, which is situated next door to Niko’s Taverna near the bus stop. (I have no idea if only one man named Niko owns both businesses, but there’s a strong possibly that’s actually the case.)

Cost for a 2-day rental would be €16 — a reasonable €4 per bike per day. We picked out two mountain bikes, signed the paperwork, and set off, riding first to Agia Anna beach and then inland to reach a smooth asphalt road that the Niko’s staff said would take us to a point near the south end of Plaka beach. From there, we would follow a dirt road to Orkos, Mikri Vigla and possibly points beyond. (The coast road leading south from Agia Anna and Maragas doesn’t extend the full length of Plaka beach, so we had no choice but to take the highway route). 

We didn’t have a specific goal or destination in mind — we just wanted to have a good bikeride and enjoy the Naxos countryside, beaches and coastal scenery.

 

our cycling route on Naxos

The red line on this Google map of Naxos shows the approximate route we took while cycling from Agios Prokopios beach to Mikri Vigla beach, and back.

 

 

Asphalt highways and dirt roads

About half of our ride would be along a recently-built two-lane highway with smooth asphalt pavement. The rest would be along a dirt road. The route took us through a sizeable agricultural district that extends between Plaka beach and a row of moderately-sized hills to the east. We wound our way past farm fields, small houses, luxurious-looking private villas, dozens of studio apartment buildings, and a few churches, including one with a blue domed roof. There was a considerable amount of building development along the way, with dozens of rental apartment buildings and villas in various stages of construction.

The highway eventually ends at a junction where a left turn would have taken us up into the hills. We turned right onto a dirt road that heads west to Plaka beach. We were thankful there wasn’t much traffic because every passing motor vehicle — truck, car or even just a scooter — stirred up thick clouds of dust that lingered up to a minute or two before dissipating. Although several considerate motorists slowed their speed when they saw us, to try to minimize the amount of dust their vehicles would kick up in our faces, truck drivers weren’t so courteous. I’m certain they were all chuckling and cackling “Eat my dust!” in Greek as they barrelled past, almost forcing us off the road.

 

cycling on Naxos

Cycling along a paved country road that runs in a southerly direction a few hundred meters inland from Agia Anna and Plaka beaches

 

 

farm fields on Naxos

One of the dozens of farm fields we passed during our bike ride

 

 

blue domed church

A blue-domed church next door to Mateus Studios near Plaka

 

 

buildings on a hill on Naxos

There were numerous studio apartments, houses and villas on the hills east of the highway, but this large white building really stood out

 

 

 

villa on Naxos

and this telephoto image offered a better view of what appeared to be either a massive family estate or a multi-level complex of several individual apartment units. I had not seen a design like this before.

 

 

azaleas on Naxos

The terrain along our cycling route was predominantly brown and green, but every now and then flowering plants — like this long, tall row of pink azaleas — added brilliant bursts of colour to the landscape

 

 

a country road on Naxos

To reach the beaches, we had to turn off the highway and follow this dirt road

 

 

a road on Naxos

The dirt road twisted and turned along a flat stretch of land behind Plaka beach, winding its way past farms, fields, private villas and rental studios

 

 

a garden on Naxos

Pink and red geraniums fill a front yard garden space

 

 

a villa on Naxos

One of the many construction sites we passed during our ride. This is a side view of what is actually two large and inter-connected buildings. I couldn’t tell if this is going to be two private residences or an apartment or hotel complex.

 

 

bamboo plants on Naxos

Bamboo plants tower along a dead-end dirt road behind Plaka beach

 

 

apartments near Plaka beach

A crisp white studio apartment building near Plaka beach

 

 

a hill on Naxos

Farm fields and a terraced hillside dominate the view to the east

 

 

Akti Karras Maria Hotel

The Akti Karras Maria Hotel didn’t appear to be open for the season yet. More than 90% of the accommodation properties we passed probably won’t be occupied until peak travel season (July and August).

 

 

Brisk winds along the coast

The light morning breeze had become a brisk, steady wind by the time we reached the south end of Plaka beach near Orkos, where the dirt road runs close to the coast as far as Mikri Vigla. It had been an easy, comfortable bike ride up to this point, but now that it was quite windy we had to put more effort into pedalling the bikes over the uneven sand and dirt surface.  We were only about 15 minutes from Mikri Vigla beach, but we paused at the roadside next to Plaka beach for about 10 minutes to catch our breath, drink some water, and take photos of the gorgeous long beach to the north, and the scenic coastline along Orkos bay to the south.

 

Plaka beach

The dirt road eventually reaches the coast at this point near the southern tip of Plaka beach. Part of the Orkos area of Naxos is visible at left.

 

 

Plaka beach

The soft sands of Plaka beach curve to the north as far as the eye can see

 

 

road to Orkos beach on Naxos

From the end of Plaka beach, this dirt road twists uphill along the coast, passing the Orkos and Mikri Vigla areas of Naxos

 

 

coastline at Orkos on Naxos

The Naxos coastline at Orkos

 

 

Orkos Bay on Naxos

The sea at Orkos always fascinates me with its striking shades of turquoise

 

 

the coastline near Orko

The hillside at Orkos is dotted with dozens of private homes as well as studio apartment buildings and other rental accommodations

 

 

Plaka beach

The road through Orkos offers great views of Plaka beach across the bay

 

 

Orkos beach

The coastline at Orkos features rocky coves and several beaches with soft light brown sand, like this one. We didn’t see a soul on any of the Orkos beaches.

 

 

Mikri Vigla beach

Approaching Mikri Vigla, the rocky hill and peninsula partly visible at center rear of the photo. There are two beaches here — one on each side of the cape. The beach seen here is popular with windsurfers and kitesurfers because it’s prone to windy conditions. The long beach on the opposite side of the hill gets considerably less wind and has calmer seas.

 

 

Mikri Vigla beach

Two kitesurfers test the wind and waves at Mikri Vigla beach

 

 

A drink and snack break at Kontos Taverna

As we got closer to Mikri Vigla, strong gusts of wind blasted sand into our faces and forced us to slow our pace considerably. Our plan had been to cycle at least as far as Mikri Vigla Taverna (which I profiled in Our best food & drink experiences of 2013 post) before taking a break, but we were thirsty and feeling a bit weary from riding against the wind. When we saw the sign for Kontos Taverna coming up on our right side, we decided to stop there instead. We had never been to Kontos before, but I had heard good things about it, and was familiar with the restaurant because I had been following the Kontos Facebook page.

Kontos is located a few dozen meters back of the beach, behind a row of tall dunes, and has an open-air dining terrace with exhilarating views of the beach and sea. The scenery is wonderful, but the live entertainment — skilled kitesurfers riding the choppy sea on the north side of Cape Mikri Vigla — is an added bonus. At one point nearly a dozen kitesurfing enthusiasts were challenging the wind and waves, and it was interesting and fun to watch them skim back and forth across the bay and fly through the air from time to time.

(I will tell you about the food at Kontos Taverna in an upcoming post describing our restaurant dining experiences during our Naxos holiday.)

 

 Kontos Taverna

The open-air seaview dining terrace at Kontos Taverna

 

 

Kontos Taverna

There are excellent views from the sheltered dining area at Kontos Taverna, too

 

 

Kontos Taverna

My “ringside seat” at Kontos Taverna was the perfect spot to sit back with an ice cold beer and watch the kitesurfers and scenery at Mikri Vigla

 

 

kitesurfers at Mikri Vigla

Three kitesurfers test their skills in the wind and waves at Mikri Vigla

 

 

Mikri vigla beach

The dunes between Kontos Taverna and Mikri Vigla beach

 

 

Mikri Vigla beach on Naxos

The silhouette of Paros island provides a backdrop for the kitesurfers

 

 

kitesurfers at Mikri Vigla

Two kitesurfers ride the waves in Mikri Vigla Bay

 

 

kitesurfer on Naxos

This kitesurfer appears to have a GoPro camera mounted on his helmet to catch the action just as he’s seeing it himself

 

 

Mikri Vigla beacn

One final view of Mikri Vigla beach

 

 

An ancient tower, windmills and church

While we were at Kontos, customers at a nearby table asked the restaurant owner to recommend some sights worth seeing in the immediate area. He suggested some places they could visit, including the remains of an ancient watch tower on a hill behind Plaka beach. He told them a section of only one of the tower walls is still standing, but is an impressive sight nonetheless considering that it’s probably more than 1,000 years old. While I was paying our bill, I asked for directions to the tower. It should be easy to find — just a few hundred meters from the end of the paved highway we rode through the countryside from Agia Anna to Plaka. Since we would be heading that way for our eventual ride back to our hotel, I made a mental note to take a short detour to view the tower.

We got back on our bikes with full intentions of riding farther south to the Alyko beach area, which have never seen before, but 10 minutes into our ride we gave up and turned around — it was too much work riding against the wind, and it wasn’t fun being blasted repeatedly with blowing sand. We would go see the ancient tower instead, and gradually make our way back to Stelida.

 

road at Orkos

Riding back the way we came — along the road through Orkos

 

 

Naxos coastline near Orkos

A view of several of the secluded coves on the coast at Orkos

 

 

coastline at Orkos

Small sandy coves and one larger beach strip are scattered between rock outcroppings that jut into the bay at Orkos

 

 

ancient watch tower in Plaka

This section of stone wall is all that remains of an ancient watch tower on a hill behind Plaka beach. We were told it’s more than 1,000 years old.

 

 

windmills on Naxos

The remains of two old windmills atop of a hill near the ancient watch tower

 

 

Agios Mathiou church

Agios Mathiou church sits on the edge of a farm field near the remains of the century-old Plaka watch tower

 

 

Agios Mathios church

This side view shows a curious feature of Agios Mathios church — two different styles of roof construction on one building.

 

 

 

A cave church on the hill

That short detour of only a few hundred meters gave us views of an ancient watch tower,  two crumbling windmills, and that curious Agios Mathios church. Not far from there, we got to see another interesting site — the Agios Nikoloas cave church, a narrow chapel built against the peak of a hilltop. (It’s one of numerous Naxos chapels constructed on the outside of caves). We didn’t feel like hiking up the hill to take a closer look, so we settled for taking some telephoto pictures of it instead.

 

Aghios Nikolaos cave church

The Agios Nikolaos cave church is nestled against the peak of a rocky hilltop

 

 

Aghios Nikoloas cave church

A zoom view of the Agios Nikolaos cave church high up the hill

 

 

Naxos countryside

Some of the countryside we cycled through on the highway behind Plaka beach

 

 

agave flower stems

When we reached the main highway leading back to Agia Anna, we could see the whitewashed buildings of Naxos Town in the distance (behind these three agave flower stems on the roadside).

 

 

A brief stop at Agia Anna beach

We had planned to stop at the Agia Anna resort area to pick up some items we needed at the Aspasia supermarket, but we first rode to the harbour pier to briefly check out the views from there. The pier divides Agia Anna beach in two; the north side is lined with tavernas and is very popular with families, while the south side is a long, narrow strand that curves partway around a bay in which fishing boats and sailboats drop anchor. After a 10-minute stop to take photos and enjoy the views, we did our shopping at the supermarket and returned to our hotel room.

 

Agia Anna harbour

The harbour pier divides Agia Anna into two separate beaches

 

 

Agia Anna beach

The north beach section is lined with restaurants and beach bars, and is a popular destination for families with small children

 

 

Agia Anna bay and beach

Boats anchored in the bay off the southern stretch of Agia Anna beach

 

 

 

Back to Agia Anna for dinner

After enjoying a glass of wine on our terrace it was time to head out for dinner, and our destination tonight was Tonia’s Courtyard (Η Αυλή της Τόνιας), an Agia Anna taverna we had never tried before. We considered riding the bikes down, but they weren’t equipped with lights and we didn’t want to ride in the dark on the way back. So we walked. (Heck, what’s a mere 30-minute walk after spending a good part of the day cycling against the wind?) 

I’ll tell you more about our meal at Tonia’s in a separate upcoming post. For now, let me just say that Tonia’s home-cooked Greek cuisine was amazing.

 

view from Lianos Village

Early evening view of Cape Agios Prokopios from our hotel room terrace

 

 

 Tonia's Courtyard

Evening sun illuminates the dining terrace at Tonia’s Courtyard

 

 

 view from Tonia's Courtyard

Tonia’s terrace has a view of Agia Anna beach, the sea, and Paros island

 

 

Agia Anna beach on Naxos

Evening view of part of Agia Anna beach

 

 

sunset view from Tonia's Courtyard

A big tree on Agia Anna beach is cast in silhouette by the slowly setting sun. We shot this photo from the terrace at Tonia’s Courtyard while eating our dinner.

 

 

Agios Prokopios beach Naxos

Looking north toward Agios Prokopios beach at nightfall

 

 

Agios Prokopios main road

Looking down the main Agios Prokopios commercial strip toward the Super Market Naxos convenience store (left), the new Cafeateria restaurant (right), and Cafe Hideaway (partly visible behind Cafeateria).  I bought an interesting book of Naxos photographs in the convenience store.

 

 

 A souvenir book of Naxos photographs

After an excellent dinner during which we got to see another impressive sunset, we had one final half-hour hike ahead of us. We took our time walking back to the hotel, and stopped in to the Super Market Naxos convenience store at Agios Prokopios to pick up ice cream treats to eat on the way to Lianos Village. 

While in the store, a hardcover book called Top 7 Naxos caught my eye. It contains more than 110 pages of photographs that author Manolis G. Santorinaios shot at scenic locations all over Naxos — some of which we instantly recognized, but most of which we have yet to see in person (including rivers, waterfalls, water mills, bridges, bays, olive mills, ruins, threshing floors and more).

The shop owner told me that Manolis is his uncle, and that he self-published a 1,000-copy print run of the book in 2010. The pictures in the book are some of his uncle’s favourite images from an extensive collection of photos he shot on the island during the last couple of decades. I thought the book would be a unique souvenir from our Naxos holiday, and when I heard it was the last copy still available for sale, snapped it up immediately.

Twenty-five minutes later we were back at the hotel. I started looking at the photographs in Top 7 Naxos but couldn’t keep my eyes open — I was utterly exhausted from all the cycling and walking we had done during the day. It was time to get some sleep after another excellent and active day on Naxos.

 

Top 7 Naxos book cover

The cover of the Manolis G Santorinaios book, Top 7 Naxos, that I purchased as a holiday souvenir for myself

 

 

Top 7 Naxos book

The Top 7 Naxos book contains more than 100 pages of colour photographs of Naxos landscapes, sights and attractions

 

 

[You can view full size versions of all of the photographs included in this post, along with hundreds of additional pictures, in the Naxos May 21 2014 album on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page. For general information about travelling to Naxos island, see my post Our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos.]

 

Posted in Cyclades islands, Greece holiday May 2014, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands photos, Naxos | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

2014 Greek holiday report Part 3: Videos of Plaka, Orkos, Mikri Vigla & Agia Anna on Naxos

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Above is a brief video that I shot from the southern end of Plaka beach, near Orkos, during our May 22 bikeride along the west coast of Naxos. This and the six other short clips (below) accompany Part 3 of my trip report (posted above).

 

 

Orkos Bay

 

 

Orkos beach

 

 

Mikri Vigla beach and bay

 

 

Views from Kontos Taverna at Mikri Vigla beach

 

 

Kitesurfers at Mikri Vigla

 

 

Agia Anna beach, viewed from the pier at Agia Anna harbour

 

Posted in Cyclades islands, Greece holiday May 2014, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands videos, Naxos, Watersports | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

More pics added to Naxos trip report album

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windsurfers at Naxos

A windsurfer skims across St George’s Bay near Naxos Town

 

Bigger album:  Just wanted to advise that more photos have been added to the Naxos May 20 2014 Flickr album that accompanies Part 2 of my holiday trip report, which I recently posted on the blog.

More than 90 additional photos have been uploaded to the album, which you can view by clicking here.

I’m currently putting Part 3 of the trip report together and hope to publish it later this week.

If you want to see more of Naxos in the meantime, click here for instant access to the Naxos photo collection on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page. The collection features thousands of pictures from our two Naxos holidays in 2013 as well as previous visits to the island, and also includes photos of the various hotels at which we have stayed.

Further information about Naxos is just a click away in one of my most widely-read posts: Our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos

 

 

Posted in Cyclades islands, Greece holiday May 2014, Greek Island villages and towns, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands photos, Naxos | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Pretty Petra bay on Patmos

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Petra beach and bay near Grikos on Patmos island

A view of Petra beach and bay, as seen from Kalikatsou Rock on Patmos island. Below is a view of the bay from the top of a cliff above the southwestern end of Petra beach. Although the long beach is comprised of stones rather than sand (see bottom picture), the waters of the bay are crystal-clear. Petra is just one among dozens of scenic beach and bay areas scattered along the Patmos coastline.  Click on the photos to view full-size images of each.

 

A view of Petra bay from a hillside above the southwest end of rocky Petra beach

View from a cliff near the western tip of Petra beach

 

 

 View toward Tragonissi Island from the stone shoreline of Petra Bay

Looking toward Tragonissi Island from the stone shore of Petra Bay

 

Posted in Dodecanese islands, Greece holiday pic of the day, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands photos, Patmos | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment