Athens bounces back: NY Times travel report sees rise in Greek capital’s confidence & creativity


 Click the arrow to view 36 Hours in Athens by The New York Times



On the rebound: As tourists continue pouring into Athens in record numbers, visitor statistics aren’t the only things on the rise — so is the city’s self-confidence and creativity, The New York Times reports.

That surge in local pride is in turn reflected in the city’s burgeoning arts and culture scene, where new shops, restaurants, bars and, museums and cultural venues have been popping up all over Athens, Joanna Kakissis notes in a travel piece published by the venerable American newspaper.


New cafés & restaurants revive city squares

“After years of dreadful press that defined Athens as a broken-down capital prone to fiery riots, the city’s self-confidence and creativity are stirring again. Enterprising young fashion and graphic designers are opening shops celebrating the classic lines of ancient Greece and the anarchic wit of modern times. In reviving city squares, there are new restaurants and cafes serving native delicacies like Cretan sausage and sheep’s milk yogurt with preserved quince. The five-year-old Acropolis Museum is consistently rated one of the top museums in the world, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art is set to move into a new building later this year. Even rough times have silver linings,” she writes in 36 Hours in Athens, published this week.

The article chronicles a weekend visit Joanna paid to the city, describing the various landmarks and tourist attractions she visited, the restaurants and bars where she ate and drank, and the shops and cultural centers she discovered.


36-hour weekend visit

The informative travel feature includes a map showing the locations of places referred to in the article, plus a “details” list of addresses and websites (where available) for the various venues.

The article is accompanied by the video I posted above, which includes insightful brief interviews interspersed with colourful scenes of city streets and attractions. The video was created by the team of Fritzie Andrade, Max Cantor, Chris Carmichael and Aaron Wolfe.

Click here to read the complete article by Joanna Kakissis in The New York Times‘ online travel section.


 Heteroclito wine bar Athens

One of the places The New York Times visited was Heteroclito cav & bar à vin, seen here in a screen capture from the newspaper’s 36 Hours in Athens video


Posted in Arts & culture, Athens, Bars & Cafes, Greece videos, Monuments & historic sites, Museums, Tourist attractions | Tagged | Leave a comment

2014 Greek holiday report Part 6: Off to Syros


Naxos Town

This was one of our final views of Naxos Town on May 24 2014, as we departed Naxos on the Aqua Jewel ferry



Ermoupoli Syros

bound for Ermoupoli, the port and capital city of Syros island



Parikia town on Paros

with a brief stop en route at Parikia. the main port and town on Paros



[Editor’s note: This is the sixth instalment in an ongoing series of photo reports about our 2014 spring vacation in the Cyclades and Athens. The previous posts reviewed our 5 days on Naxos. To see any or all of the earlier reports, click on the following underlined links:  Part 1 ; Part 2 ; Part 3 ; Part 4 and Part 5 .]



Saturday May 24


Moving on: It was another sunny morning, but we wouldn’t get to enjoy the beautiful weather. After breakfast, we had to pack, take a taxi to the port, and ride a ferry to Syros for the next leg of our 2014 Greek holiday.

We didn’t want to leave Naxos. After three consecutive visits here in the past 12 months (and three others in previous years), it almost feels like a second home, and the island has become our favourite holiday destination. And why wouldn’t it be? Naxos has everything we want for a vacation — Wonderful scenery, unpretentious attitude and laid-back ambience, friendly and hospitable local residents, delicious food, reasonable prices, and plenty of things to see and do. 

But it was time to move on and, much as we love Naxos, we were equally eager to visit Syros. We have heard countless good things about it during the past 10 years — including lavish praise from people who live on Naxos, as well as from other regular Naxos visitors. In fact, I can’t recall ever hearing anything bad about Syros. By all accounts, Syros could well be another island we would fall in love with and want to revisit again and again. And if, for some reason, Syros didn’t strike our fancy, Naxos would still be there for us.

We checked out of the Lianos Village Hotel and called for a taxi, which arrived shortly past noon. About 15 minutes later the driver dropped us off at the ferry quay, leaving us nearly 40 minutes to kill before our scheduled 1:05 p.m. departure to Syros on the NEL Lines Aqua Jewel ferry. We soon learned from one of the Naxos port officers that the Aqua Jewel was running about half an hour behind schedule, so we would have to cool our heels even longer than expected. We passed the time chatting with other travellers and taking photos of the port, Naxos Town and the Portara monument, but I kept wishing the boat would arrive so we could get on our way ASAP. I didn’t want to waste time waiting just standing around and waiting in a queue.


Lianos Village Hotel

We enjoyed this pool & sea view during our last breakfast at Lianos Village Hotel. We hoped we would have a good view at our next hotel, on Syros.



Naxos Town

I shot this panoramic photo of Naxos Town from the port while standing in line for our ferry to Syros. Click here to see the full-size image.



Naxos Town

Port view of the Venetian-era Castle, which dominates the Naxos Town skyline



Naxos Castle

Buildings and trees in the historic Naxos Castle



Naxos Port

A refuelling truck on the quay near the Naxos Star excursion boat, left, and the Express Skopelitis ferry. The Naxos Star offers day trips to Delos, Mykonos and some of the islands in the Small Cyclades.



Express Skopelitis

The Express Skopelitis links Naxos to the Small Cyclades islands of Koufonissi, Iraklia, Donoussa and Schinoussa, as well as Amorgos.



sailboat at Naxos Port

An excursion sailboat docked at the Naxos Port. I saw a group of passengers sitting on the rear deck, drinking wine and ouzo while watching the buzz of activity at the ferry quay, and wondered why they had not sailed to a secluded bay to enjoy their lunch in a quieter scenic location instead.



Naxos Town Hall

Port view toward the Naxos Town Hall (the large yellow building at center right). At left is the bow of the Express Skopelitis ferry.



Naxos ferry port

Waiting at the Naxos port in the long passenger “terminal.” It’s the only place on the quay that offers shade — but since it’s usually filled with people puffing on cigarettes, it can feel like a gas chamber to non-smokers.



Naxos port beach

Some ferry travellers prefer to wait along the main street near the port, either on benches or at some of the nearby cafes and tavernas. We have even seen people take a quick swim at this tiny beach before catching their ferry.



cafe at the Naxos port

Scooters and motorbikes parked next to the snack bar on the ferry quay



Naxos port snack bar

A table & chairs sculpture on the outside wall of the port snack bar



octopus drying at Naxos Port

Octopus drying in the sun on racks near the snack bar



Blue Star Delos ferry

Passengers on the Santorini-bound Blue Star Delos ferry watch as the ship docks at Naxos port. Our ferry, the Aqua Jewel, was supposed to arrive just as the Delos departed, but it was 30 minutes late getting to Naxos.



 the Portara monument

Ferry quay view of the 2,500-year-old Temple of Apollo on the Palatia peninsula next to the port. Also known as The Portara, the monument is a well-recognized symbol of Naxos island. 



 the Portara

The Portara’s marble door frame stands six meters tall



 Aqua Jewel ferry

Passengers in the queue watch as the Aqua Jewel maneuvers into docking position at the Naxos ferry port.



the Portara and Grotta area

Aqua Jewel view of the Grotta neighbourhood of Naxos Town (left) and the Temple of Apollo / Portara monument (barely visible at right)



Naxos Town

A view of Naxos Town as the Aqua Jewel sails out of St George’s Bay



Aqua Jewel ferry

Passengers on the open-air rear deck of the Aqua Jewel watch as Naxos Town and St George’s Bay recede into the distance



Please click on the link below to continue reading this report.  Page 2 includes more pictures of the Aqua Jewel, along with photos from our ferry port stop at Paros and our arrival at the spectacular port city of Ermoupolis on Syros.




Posted in Cyclades islands, Greek ferry travel, Greek Island villages and towns, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands hotels, Greek Islands photos, Naxos, Paros | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Syros: Our favourite new island destination


Kini Bay

Harbour view of Kini, a scenic beach resort area on the west coast of Syros



 Ermoupolis Syros

Ermopoulis, the marvellous port city and capital of Syros



Hits the spot: Our Greek holiday in May included a long-overdue first-time visit to Syros, an island in the Cyclades that has piqued our curiosity and been on our must-see list for the past 10 years.

We got our first quick peek at Syros back in May 2004 when the highspeed ferry we were riding from Athens to Mykonos stopped briefly at Ermoupolis, the port and capital city of Syros. We managed only brief glimpses of the city’s grand neoclassical mansions and its hundreds of colourful houses seemingly stacked one atop the other on the two steep hills behind the port, but we were intrigued — especially by Ermoupolis’s stark contrast to the brilliant white “sugar cube” architecture we saw everywhere else in the Cyclades.

We have briefly seen Syros during a couple of ferry rides since then, and also got a great bird’s eye view of it during a flight from Athens to Naxos in May. We finally got to set foot on Syros soil on May 24, and almost instantly fell in love with the island.

We spent our first two nights in the enchanting port city, Ermoupolis, followed by four nights at Kini, a village and beach resort on the west coast. We thoroughly enjoyed Ermoupolis, but we particularly loved Kini, and wish we could have spent more time in both places. In fact, we now consider Kini one of our favourite beach destinations in Greece.

I’ll be telling and showing you a lot more about Ermoupolis, Kini and other parts of Syros soon. In the meantime, I have posted a few more photos of Kini Bay below. Click here to see hundreds of additional Kini photos, and click here to see my Flickr albums for Ermoupolis, Ano Syros, Lotos beach, Delfini beach, and other places on Syros.


 Kini Bay

Hillside view of the Kini Bay harbour (top) and beach



Kini Bay

A view of the garden- and farm-filled valley behind Kini



Kini Bay

A view of Kini Bay from a hillside near the hamlets of Dani and Chrisonisos



Kini Bay

View from peaceful Lotos beach on the west side of Kini Bay



Kini Bay

Evening view of Kini village and beach



Sunset view from Kini Bay

Sunset view from our terrace at Kini Bay Rooms and Apartments on May 27


Posted in Cyclades islands, Great sunset viewing spots, Greece holiday May 2014, Greece holiday pic of the day, Greek Island villages and towns, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands photos, Syros | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Earth’s most romantic place: The Greek Islands


Milos sunset viewing

A couple relaxes with wine while enjoying the sunset views from Plaka village on Milos. With their superb sunsets and spectacular natural scenery, the Greek Islands are ideal destinations for honeymoons and romantic getaways.



Guest post by Jane Robert


Greece has more than 6,000 islands which are mostly huge chunks of rock located in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Only about 230 are inhabited, with just 80 having a population of more than 100 people.

The islands are grouped into six basic clusters:

♦ the Ionians to the west of Greece include the islands Zante, Kefalonia, Lefkas and Corfu;

♦ the Cyclades in the central Aegean contain Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, and Naxos;

♦ the Dodecanese chain in the east, near Turkey, comprises such islands as Rhodes, Kos, Symi and Patmos;

♦ the Sporades group in the northeast of Greece includes Skiathos and Skopelos;

♦ the north Aegean group, home to Samos, Lesvos and Thassos; and

♦ the Saronic Gulf islands, which include Aegina, Hydra, Poros and Spetses.

And of course there’s Crete, the biggest Greek Island of all, situated on its own to the south.


Plaka beach Naxos

A couple takes a romantic pre-sunset stroll along Plaka beach on Naxos



Getting to the islands

Couples that want a romantic getaway to spend their honeymoon or even to spend quality time with their loved ones should totally tour islands in Greece. The island scenes are spectacular and offer a serene and captivating mood for a romantic time.

One can reach all of the islands by ferry and some of the islands by plane from Athens (or on direct flights from other European countries as well). The ferry is usually crowded with many people crossing to the islands for different purposes. However, the ferry ride does offer an amazing look at the water.

Travelling to an island by plane is a thrill for every couple since one can enjoy a nice aerial view of the island they are going to tour. The passengers also get a memory of a lifetime when the plane descends over the sky-blue sea as it comes in for landing.


arriving at Santorini by ferry

Santorini’s breathtaking scenery is best seen from the top deck of one of the big Blue Star ferries that provide daily service to the island from Athens




Spending time on the islands

The vast coastlines on the Greek Islands offer couples a chance to hang out and enjoy the cool breezes from the sea. To access the beaches, one can walk, take a local bus, or go on a boat ride.

The beaches offer a serene environment for couples to enjoy themselves. With warm waters and white or golden brown sands (red or black on volcanic Santorini), the beaches are amazing places to spend one’s holiday. Endless parties, restaurants along the beachfront and regular evening events keep things lively at some beaches late into the night — and sometimes until dawn.

Scuba diving is available at most islands in Greece, and gives one the chance to view the under waters in style. The crystal-clear Mediterranean Sea offers an amazing view of underwater treasures for couples that are willing to give scuba diving a try.


Psarou beach

Psarou is one of several stunning Mykonos beaches where people can swim and soak up the sun all day, then dine and party late into the night



Famous Greek sights

Visitors to Greece always visit the amazing sights that are found on the various islands. These places hold the history of Greece and offer a good way to relax after long swimming hours.

The Venetian castle of Skopelos, which is reached by a narrow maze of whitewashed alleys, is home to the rich 13th century culture in Greece. The walk to the ruins gives one a view of the harbour and welcoming tavernas.

The Drogorati cave in Kefalonia offers a cool and extensive site of limestone formation with impressive stalagmites and stalactites. The caves are 60 metres deep — huge enough for people to host concerts in them.

If you are seeking a romantic place to spend your honeymoon or escape for a romantic getaway, be sure to consider visiting the Greek Islands.


ruins in Kos Town

Besides fabulous beaches, the Greek Islands boast impressive natural attractions as well as historic castles, monuments and ruins, like these remnants of an ancient city in the heart of Kos Town on Kos.



Jane Robert is a passionate blogger. She works on behalf of Australian Visa and has been writing content on the web professionally since 2010. An avid reader and blogger, she shares her experience through her articles on Travel, Culture, History, Lifestyle and many more.


Posted in Cyclades islands, Dodecanese islands, East Aegean Islands, Greek Islands, Greek Islands beaches, Greek Islands photos, Guest articles & posts, Ionian islands, Ionian islands, Sporades islands | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Fall foliage & autumn colours on Naxos


flower on Naxos

A flowering plant — possibly an artichoke — basks in afternoon sunshine in a field near Chalki village on Naxos on October 8 last year



Falling back a year: It’s unmistakably autumn here in Toronto. A week of sunshine and summer-like warm temperatures ended abruptly when Mother Nature sent us some cool wind and rain last Friday afternoon to remind us that the calendar says it’s October. Tuesday night she drenched us with heavy downpours, and Wednesday she blasted us with strong, cold winds that swept ominous dark stormclouds across the sky throughout the day. They didn’t pour rain, but the unceasing gusts of wind made walking outdoors unpleasant even during sunny breaks.

The weather made me wish I were somewhere else, of course — like on Naxos, where we spent the first two weeks of October last year. So when I got home from an uncomfortable walk in the chilly wind, I looked through the photos we had shot on Naxos on October 8 2013 to remind myself how autumn there compared.


Abundant greenery with hints of autumn

We had spent much of that day visiting several mountain villages, including Chalki, Kerami and Filoti. Although there was still abundant greenery everywhere, there were many signs of autumn in many places, too. Leaves on some trees were starting to change colour, while a few trees were completely bare already. Tall grasses in yards and fields had dried out, turning brown and crunchy. There was a definite fall look and feel, but it was warm and gloriously sunny, and it stayed that way for the duration of our trip.

That was our first-ever October visit to Greece, and we hope it won’t be our last. Early autumn usually is gorgeous there (though you can encounter some incredibly windy and wet weather on occasion), and if you don’t like tourist crowds, you’ll love the peace and calmness that prevails at this time. It’s an excellent time for hiking and sightseeing, and the sea is still warm for swimming.

To give you an idea of what autumn looks like on Naxos, here are some of the photos we shot last October 8. You can view full-size versions of each image, plus dozens more, in our Naxos October 8 2013 album on Flickr. Click here to view those photos.


a house in Chalki

Tall brown grasses in a yard beside a stone house near Chalki



fall foliage in Filoti

Scarlet leaves above a stone wall in Filoti



a footpath near Chalki

A footpath passes a field full of olive trees near Chalki



fall foliage in Chalki

Leaves changing colour on a plane tree next to a church in Chalki



a road in Kerami village

A blue door at a building in Kerami, a hamlet between Chalki and Filoti



trees in Filoti

Leaves were still a verdant green on plane trees shading the strip of cafes and restaurants along the main road in Filoti



a flowerpot in Chalki

A flowerpot on a doorstep in Chalki village



Church of Panagia Filotissa in Filoti

Fall foliage outside the Church of Panagia Filotitissa in Filoti



hillside near Filoti

Olive trees on a hillside below Filoti village



bougainvillea in Kerami village

A dazzling display of pink bougainvillea at a house in Kerami



on the highway near Filoti

The highway on the outskirts of Filoti



a church near Chalki

A blue-domed church near the highway between Chalki and Kerami



a house in Chalki

Tall brown grasses outside a house in Chalki



a building in Filoti

Red blooms beside a brown door in Filoti



a road near Chalki

Looking toward Naxos mountains from a road near Chalki



houses in Filoti

Houses on a hillside in Filoti



bamboo in Chalki

Bamboo beside a gate at a house in Chalki



berries on a bush in Filoti

Orange berries on bushes in a yard in Filoti 



olive trees in Chalki

Olive trees on a farm property near Chalki



fall foliage in Kerami

Fall foliage at a house in Kerami



trees in a field near Chalki

Cypress trees in the countryside near Chalki



a vegetable stand in Filoti

Fall vegetables, including huge squash (visible in the boxes at right), on display outside a food market in Filoti



cats in Filoti

Cats playing in a driveway near Kerami



a shed near Chalki

An old shed near the highway between Chalki and Kerami



a church belltower in Chalki

A church belltower in the countryside near Chalki



 valley view from Filoti

Valley view from a cafe terrace in Filoti



Venetian Castle in Naxos Town

A tree at the Venetian-era Castle in Naxos Town has lost most of its leaves



fall foliage in Filoti

Fall foliage on a porch in Filoti



tree in a field near Chalki

Brownish-orange grasses in a yard in Chalki



Filoti village

Houses and a blue-domed church on a hillside in Filoti



Platanos Cafe in Filoti

A table and chairs at Platanos Cafe in Filoti



fields at Filoti

Olive trees in the valley below Filoti



a yard in Chalki

A pathway and a stone wall on a farm property near Chalki



a footpath in Filoti

Along a footpath in Filoti



citrus fruit in Chalki

Citrus fruit on a tree near Chalki



old farm equipment in Chalki

Old machinery in a farm field near Chalki



greenery in Filoti

To me, the long, thin branches on this tree in Filoti evoke images of fireworks and water cascading over a waterfall



Platanos cafe in Filoti village

The exterior of Platanos cafe in Filoti 




tall grasses in Chalki

Tall brown grass twists through a rusty metal fence in Chalki



fall colours in Filoti

Fall foliage contrasts with greenery on a hillside in Filoti



fruit on a tree in Chalki

Fruit on a tree in Chalki



Mt Profitis Ilias near Filoti

Looking toward Mt Profitis Ilias from a road in Filoti



pine trees at Filoti

Pine trees in a forest on the outskirts of Filoti



highway to Filoti

Approaching Filoti on the road from Kerami



fall foliage on Naxos

Leaves changing colour in the countryside near Chalki



mountain scenery on Naxos

Mountain and valley scenery viewed from the bus to Chalki



palm tree in Naxos Town

A palm tree on the Naxos Town waterfront paralia



potted plants in Filoti

Potted plants on a house construction site in Filoti



countryside near Chalki

Fall foliage in the countryside near Chalki



Panagia Filotitissa church in Filoti

Leaves changing colour on trees outside Panagia Filotitissa church in Filoti



palm tree fronds

Fronds on a palm tree in a yard near Kerami



cafes in Filoti

Tree-shaded cafe terraces line the road through Filoti



fall foliage in Kerami

Fall foliage cascades over a stone wall in Kerami


Posted in 2013 destination of the year, Cyclades islands, Greece holiday October 2013, Greek Island villages and towns, Greek Islands, Greek Islands photos, Naxos | Tagged , | Leave a comment

British Airways & Edelweiss Air launching new direct flights to Greek Islands in 2015


a street in Kos Town

Landmarks and popular historic sites in the center of Kos Town on Kos island. British Airways will offer London to Kos flights starting next May.



More flights in 2015: It will be easier to travel from London and Zurich to several Greek islands next summer thanks to new routes announced recently by British Airways and Edelweiss Air.

British Airways will launch flights from London Gatwick to Rhodes and to Heraklion, Crete beginning in late April, and will add routes from London Heathrow to Corfu and Kos starting on May 1.

Meanwhile, Edelweiss Air will increase its service from Zurich to Heraklion starting on April 29, and will begin direct flights from Zurich to Corfu starting in June.


New BA destinations

In a new routes announcement on its website, British Airways says it will start flying from London Gatwick to Heraklion commencing April 26. Flights have been scheduled for Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. When I checked the BA website today, it was showing flights available at prices from £69 (one way).

Only three days after the flights to Crete kick off, BA will begin new service to Rhodes. Flights will start on April 29, operating on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The BA website showed one-way fares available from £109.

From May 1 to September 20, BA will fly four times a week from London Heathrow to Corfu. Flights were available today at prices as low as £83 (one way).

Also from May 1 until September 20, BA will offer two flights per week from London Heathrow to Kos. Tickets were available today at prices from £73 (one way).

With the new routes, BA will be flying to six different Greek islands next summer. As I reported in a January blog post, BA commenced twice weekly flights to Mykonos and Santorini this past spring. It will continue flying to those islands again in 2015.


New Edelweiss routes from Zurich

Edelweiss Air already operates summer flights from Zurich to Crete, Kos, Mykonos, Santorini and Rhodes. When Edelweiss recently released its summer timetable for 2015, it announced it will increase the number of flights to Crete starting on March 29, and will launch new routes to Corfu beginning June 16.

Flights to Crete will now be available up to six times per week, while during peak summer season there will be two flights weekly to Corfu.

Check the Edelweiss 2015 timetable for further details, and consult the airline’s website for fares and other information.


Posted in Air travel, Corfu, Crete, Dodecanese islands, Greek Islands, Ionian islands, Kos, Rhodes | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“I’m an Athenian too” campaign lets visitors show the world what they love about Athens


This Discover Greece video shows how its “I’m An Athenian Too” campaign lets Athens visitors stamp their personal “Athenian identity” on their favourite travel photos to share with the world — and possibly win them a trip back to Greece. Click on the arrow to watch the video.



Be an Athenian: It happens every time one of our holidays in Greece comes to a close: I’m at Athens International Airport, waiting for our flight home to Canada, yet part of me feels like Athens is a home I’m about to leave behind. It’s an intense, heart-felt emotion that gets even stronger if I start reviewing vacation photos on my camera in the departure lounge to pass time before boarding the plane.

The people who promote tourism to Greece understand that millions of other tourists feel exactly the same way, so they have created a clever new promotional campaign that invites Athens visitors to show the whole world what they love about the fabulous Greek capital city — using their own holiday photos.

Called “I’m An Athenian Too,” the campaign is an initiative of Discover Greece, conducted in collaboration with Athens International Airport.

The promotional program is based on a smartphone app that “lets you express the Athenian inside you” by sharing personal travel photos on social media. Users simply download the special app from the I’m An Athenian website, choose one of their favourite Athens photos, and then select a hand-drawn stamp to apply to the image to describe how it captures their feelings for the city. When they share their stamped photo on social media, the picture will automatically appear in the campaign, and their name will be entered into a contest to win great prizes, including trips for two to Athens.


I'm An Athenian Too

This image from the I’m An Athenian Too campaign shows some of the hand-drawn stamps that contest participants can attach to the Athens travel photos they plan to post and share on social media



If you’ve been to Athens and want to enter the contest, click here to obtain further details and to download the app.

For those of you who haven’t been to Athens before, here are some photos from the I’m An Athenian Too campaign that just might inspire you to book a trip to this amazing historic city:


I'm An Athenian Too

Three must-see Athens landmarks include the world-famous Acropolis and Parthenon plus Lycabettus Hill (upper right)



I'm An Athenian Too

A vine-shaded passageway in the National Garden, my favourite place to visit when I want a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown Athens. The 15-hectare National Garden is a tranquil oasis of parks, gardens and ponds located directly behind the Greek Parliament Building in Central Athens.



I'm An Athenian Too

The lanes, alleys and streets of the historical Plaka neighbourhood are packed with delightful cafes, bars, tavernas and shops



I'm An Athenian Too

Besides its energetic city core filled with museums, galleries, historic ruins, shops and restaurants, Athens boasts an amazing natural attraction — the Athenian Riviera, an extensive coastline dotted with beautiful parks, footpaths, beaches, marinas, restaurants, nightclubs, and spectacular scenery.


Posted in Athens, In the news, Popular Posts, Top Athens posts, Tourist attractions | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A handy visual guide to the Greek Islands


Greek Island Hopping Infographic


Are you thinking about visiting the Greek Islands for the first time? Or are you a repeat visitor wondering where to go on your next island-hopping holiday? There are hundreds of destinations you could consider, but this visual guide could help you narrow the myriad options down to a more manageable shortlist!

Provided courtesy of Ireland-based SunSearch Holidays, the infographic offers brief descriptions of islands that might appeal to you the most, based on your personal interests and preferences and the time of year you’re planning to travel.

Regular readers of my blog will be familiar with many of the recommended destinations already, especially in the Cyclades group of islands, from my numerous trip reports and photos. There are, however, a few specific additions I would suggest for the “Best For” section of the graphic (beneath the map of Greece), based on my own personal experience from a decade of island hopping vacations.

I would add Naxos and Milos to the list of islands that are best for beaches, and I’d mention Naxos as one of the best for cycling, too. And since its more than 300 restaurants make it a top travel destination for foodies, I definitely think Mykonos should be included on the list for food and drink. (In fact, my reports about Mykonos restaurants are among the most searched and read items on my blog, according to Google statistics.)

For more in-depth information about the Islands, pick up some Greek travel publications from your local library or bookstore, and take some time to explore Visit Greece, the official website of the Greece National Tourism Organisation.

Many thanks to SunSearch Holidays for allowing me to post their infographic!


Posted in Greek Islands, Tourist attractions, Travel guides | Tagged | Leave a comment

Mykonos 2014 restaurant update (Part 3)


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, 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 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, 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


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


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


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


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 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


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


 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


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 , , , | 1 Comment

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


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 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


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 –, 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


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


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


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


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


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