Next stop Nafplio: It’s holiday time at long last, and my partner and I are now on our way back to Greece to explore part of a region we have never visited before — the eastern Peloponnese.
Our first destination will be Nafplio, the former capital of Greece, which is often described as one of the most beautiful towns in the entire country. We have heard so many good things about Nafplio, and the many impressive attractions nearby, that we figured it was high time we checked it out for ourselves.
I’ll post photos from Nafplio if I’m in a blogging mood while we’re there. In the meantime, I’m sharing this Stefanos Kyriazis timelapse film of Nafplio so readers who aren’t familiar with the town can see what it looks like.
Naxos: The island that will enchant you is a mesmerizing 4-minute area film by Naxos Times
Here’s an intriguing video of Naxos that’s unlike any I’ve seen before. Released just this week by Naxos Times, the 4-minute film features breathtaking aerial views of Naxos Town as well as Cape Agios Prokopios in the Stelida district of the island’s northwest coast.
What’s unusual is that the film captures Naxos in the golden light of daybreak and sunset, when the seas are smooth as glass and barely a soul is in sight anywhere in the town. There’s an eerie and almost haunting, mysterious atmosphere to the video, but that’s what makes it even more captivating and fascinating.
Kristoffer Clark’s beautifully-filmed Hellenic Republic video spotlights top attractions and stunning scenery from Athens, Mykonos and Santorini
Trip highlights: Readers of my blog occasionally write to say they found my website helpful or inspiring for planning their own trips to Greece. My favourite feedback message of all arrived just yesterday — and included a link to the wonderful video I shared above.
In a comment posted on my blog, Kristoffer Clark said he, his wife and some friends recently returned from their May 7 – 15 trip to Athens, Santorini and Mykonos.
“We loved it, we used your site to help plan our itinerary. Your site was a big help,” he wrote. “I love to make travel videos of my trips so i wanted to share our Greece one with you.”
It’s such a fabulous film that I can’t resist sharing it here, since I think it superbly captures the essence and tremendous beauty of all three destinations.
And what I like best, besides the gorgeous scenery, are all the smiles, laughs and happy faces in evidence as Kristoffer, his wife and friends enjoy and experience the sights and scenery of three amazing destinations I visited on my own first trip to Greece.
If you’ve been to Athens, Mykonos and Santorini before, watching Hellenic Republic will undoubtedly trigger many happy memories for you as well. And if you haven’t been to Greece yet, I’m sure it will quickly convince you that it’s time to go. What are you waiting for? Start planning!
A screen capture from the homepage for Hellenica, a French-language travel guide to Greece and the Greek Islands
Guide de voyage: Travellers who read and speak French can now research, plan and book their holidays to Greece and the Greek Islands through a comprehensive French-language travel website, Hellenica.
Created by the husband and wife team of Guillaume, who is French, and Eleanna, who is Greek, Hellenica.fr provides detailed and personally verified information, all in French, to help readers easily plan their own trips to Greece. The website includes descriptions of Crete and the six chains of Greek islands, and has search engines that website visitors can use to book ferry tickets, flights and accommodations. There’s also a section of trip reports illustrated with dozens of beautiful photos.
Guillaume and Eleanna developed the website to share their tremendous passion for Greece, and specifically to pass along information about their personal discoveries and favourite places.
Guillaume told me he’s been in love with Greece since his youth, when his parents took him to Matala, Crete during the 1970s; he says he has been visiting the country every year since. When he and Eleanna realized a complete Greece travel guide wasn’t available in French, they decided to launch their own.
Though Hellenica is packed with helpful information, readers who can’t find answers to their specific Greece travel questions are invited to ask Guillaume and Eleanna for assistance, either by email or through Hellenica’s Twitter feed. Responses are promised within 48 hours.
Vintage Greece: Sunday May 15 was a bizarre day here in Toronto, bringing us weather from all four seasons in less than 24 hours — snow flurries, sleet, rain, high winds and occasional breaks of sunshine. But it was nice and toasty inside a special events hall at the Royal Ontario Museum, where hundreds of people got to enjoy a taste of Greece for a few hours and forget they were actually in chilly Toronto.
The event was Taste of Greece: Brilliant Wines, Inspiring Food, Timeless Culture, and featured hundreds of product tastings offered by nearly 50 different wineries from all over Greece.
Some of the 500 people who packed a special events hall in Toronto to taste hundreds of wines from nearly 50 different Greek wineries (Photo from the New Wines of Greece Facebook page.)
Taste of Greece took place at a perfect time for me personally — just two weeks before I fly to Greece for my next holiday — and gave me some inspiration for wines to look for while we are exploring the Peloponnese.
But besides giving me and 500 other people a unique opportunity to sample dozens of Greek wines under one roof, Taste of Greece was providing support for a good cause.
Proceeds from the event, which was hosted by WineAlign and presented by New Wines of Greece, will assist the Friends of Boroume charity, a non-profit organization committed to reducing food waste and distributing surplus food to the needy throughout Greece.
Similar Taste of Greece events also were held in Montreal on May 11 and New York City on May 18.
For those of you Down Under, you’ll get your own chance to experience a taste of Greece when New Wines of Greece returns to Australia for the second time in June with events in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. Click here to see details on the New Wines of Greece website.
The Toronto wine tasting was one of 3 Taste of Greece events in North America this month — the other two took place in Montreal and New York City. Similar events will be held in Australia in June.
Wines produced by Manalis Winery on Sikinos (pictured below) are displayed on the winery’s open-air restaurant and events terrace, which offers spectacular views of the sea and nearby islands. Both photos are from galleries in the Manalis Winery website.
Cycladic vintners: Winery tours and tastings will be on the agenda for thousands of tourists visiting Santorini this year, no doubt because of the island’s worldwide fame for its local Assyrtiko varietal.
But while the Santorini wineries are attracting the warmest glow of international attention for now, several small wineries on nine other Cyclades islands could be basking in the limelight soon.
Earlier this year, the excellent culture and gastronomy website Greece Is published an informative article entitled 11+1 Unknown, Small Wineries in the Cyclades. Written by Nikoleta Makryonitou, the article notes that the wineries she mentions are among the smallest in the world, so they aren’t top destinations for wine lovers just yet. “Still, there has been a rise in the production of bottled wines and a turn to quality, which are creating high expectations for the near future,” she observes.
Her article profiles the following wineries, most of which will arrange tours or visits if contacted in advance:
♦ Moraitis Winery on Paros (the only one of the bunch that I have personally visited for wine tastings)
Click here to read Nikoleta’s full article, and be sure to bookmark it for reference should you happen to be island-hopping in the Cyclades this summer. The article provides contact telephone numbers for the various wineries so you can call them directly to inquire about available tours or to arrange visits.
Also take a good look around the Manalis Winery website, where you can view dozens of photos showing the breathtaking, to-die-for views from the winery’s restaurant terrace and special events veranda. People rave about the amazing views from Santo and other wineries on Santorini, but I think the images show that the views and scenery from Manalis are equally impressive.
The hillside terrace at Manalis Winery on Sikinos has spectacular views of the Aegean Sea and other islands (Photo from the winery website.)
This five and a half-minute Skyframe film features aerial views of Skiathos Town and some of the island’s stunning beaches and coastal scenery.
YouTube contributor Navi says this 24-minute video, Skiathos 2016, offers “a taste of what to expect when visiting the island of Skiathos” this summer
In Skiathos 2015, Alexandre Ingels takes viewers on an 11-minute aerial tour of the island’s lush landscapes and beautiful beaches
Inspiration & souvenirs: Going to Skiathos this summer? If you haven’t been to the island before, take a look at the videos I posted above — they’re bound to make you feel even more eager and excited to get there for your upcoming holiday.
If you’re one of the many lucky people who have already been to Skiathos, even for multiple return visits, the films are certain to evoke many fond memories of the time you spent on the island.
(The videos actually made me quite anxious to see Skiathos even though I’m not able to include it on the itinerary for my own upcoming trip to Greece.)
And while you’re on Skiathos, keep an eye out for the newly-published photo book, Kosmos Skiathos, by Dieter Seidel. With 120 photos of the island and descriptive text in German, Greek and English, it’s an ideal souvenir that will let you continue enjoying Skiathos long after you return home from your holiday.
Kosmos Skiathos – Κόσμος Σκιάθος – Cosmos Skiathos is a newly published 128-page photo book by Dr Dieter Seidel
“You can approach Skiathos in three ways: by plane, by boat – and with your heart,” says Seidel, who describes his book as a “confession of love” for the island.
“To me, Skiathos is the island of my dreams, my world. Nowhere have I felt as happy as I do here. I hope that my photographs of this wonderful island attest to that feeling,” he says.
The 128-page hardcover edition is published by Griechenland Zeitung and can be purchased at various locations on Skiathos and elsewhere in Greece. Look for Kosmos Skiathos at shops that carry the German-language Griechenland Zeitung newspaper and magazine, as well as at newsstands that sell foreign press publications.
Click here to see the Kosmos Skiathos listing from the publisher’s online shop.
Below are images, provided by Griechenland Zeitung, that show the book’s front cover as well as some of its inside pages.
The table of contents page for Kosmos Skiathos
The book features 120 gorgeous photos of the island
Sample pages from the chapter on Skiathos shores and bays
Enjoy aerial views of some of the wonderful coastal, mountain, valley and village scenery on Skyros in this 5-minute film by TreeZone
Real deal: Want to visit an authentic Greek island that isn’t a mainstream tourist magnet like Mykonos, Rhodes, Santorini, or even its nearby neighbour, Skiathos? Then have a look at Skyros, the southernmost and largest island in the Sporades archipelago. Skyros has everything you would want and expect from a great Greek island holiday destination — impressive landscapes and coastal scenery, inviting beaches, picturesque villages, historic sites, good food, and age-old local traditions — without the massive crowds and commerciality of other islands that have become household names around the world.
Though it is becoming increasingly popular with visitors from around the world, and has an international airport that receives direct charter flights from several European cities during July and August, Skyros is a relatively low-profile destination that isn’t even on the radar for most tourists planning vacations in the Greek islands.
In fact, there were only 3 question-and-answer threads posted on TripAdvisor’s Skyros travel forum in all of 2015, and just 10 in total since 2010. The Skiathos forum, by comparison, had more than 6,100 conversation threads as of mid-May 2016.
With so much going for the island, It’s rather surprising that Skyros doesn’t get more attention from travellers — especially considering that it gets good press whenever it’s mentioned in social and regular media.
Perhaps it’s a good thing Skyros hasn’t become hugely popular — that means it will remain a unique and special place to charm and delight those travellers who do venture off the main tourist paths to pay it a visit. (And that’s one of the chief reasons why Skyros is on my bucket list of islands to see.)
Built on the steep slopes of a craggy peak topped by a Byzantine fortress and a monastery, Chora village is a striking sight on Skyros (Photo from the Municipality of Skyros travel guide)
Please continue reading on page 2, where you’ll find more pictures and videos along with links to more than a dozen different websites with Skyros travel information and photos.
Rockfall risk: Since Santorini enjoys a worldwide reputation for superlative natural scenery, it’s not surprising that the island’s remarkable Red Beach regularly garners glowing accolades from international travel publications and leading lifestyle websites — along with ample attention on social media, where thousands of people have posted selfies that they shot on and near the colourful coastal attraction.
During my routine online work and research, I frequently find articles in which travel magazines and websites declare Red Beach to be one of the world’s “best,” “most beautiful,” “most unusual” or “most colourful” beaches, and recommend it as a “must-see” for anyone visiting Santorini. Photos of the distinctive strand, which is also known as Red Sand Beach, appear even more often on websites and social media pages dedicated to travel in Greece, and in particular for hotels and tour companies operating on Santorini.
What the articles, posts and photo captions rarely mention, however, is that Red Beach is a veritably perilous place to sunbathe, swim or stroll. In recent years, there have been several significant rockfalls and landslides from the crimson-coloured bluffs that rise behind the narrow strip of scarlet-tinged pebbles and stones, and geological experts believe it’s possible that more cliff sections could collapse onto the beach at any time. (There are anecdotal claims that two beachgoers were killed by a landslide a few years ago, but I couldn’t find any news reports confirming the fatalities or date of the accident.)
Red Beach is seen on a sunny April afternoon in a photo by TripAdvisor review contributor Chris B
In April, Facebook member Cecil Ramirez captured this photo of the imposing red stone cliffs that tower above Red Beach
Major rockfalls have occurred at Red Beach several times in the past decade. Two of the larger landslides are clearly visible in this photo shared on Facebook by Daena K Nicholas
Red Beach has been “closed” since August 2013 because of fears more landslides could occur, and since stones and boulders loosen and plunge from the cliffs on occasion. But warning signs like this one, shown in a Facebook photo by Jc Male, have not deterred thousands of people from going to the beach.
Sunbathers sit near the foot of one of the larger landslides, seen in a Facebook photo by Daniel Dias da Silva. Fences were installed to keep people from climbing the cliffs and landslip rubble because that could trigger further collapses of the rock face.
The safest way to see Red Beach is from the sea or from a distance on a hilltop vantage point like this one captured in a Facebook photo by Nikky Dudek
Please click on the link below to continue reading about Red Beach on page 2 of this post, where you can view videos and dozens more photos of this singular Santorini beach.
Written by an Athens-born blogger, the article notes that Athens offers “a very rich variety” of places to enjoy a night on the town. “Avoid the tourist traps and try out places a little further from the usual path,” the article advises.
To that end, it describes the top Athens party districts and how to reach them using the local public transit system and taxis.
Areas listed in the blog post include:
♦ Ag. Eirini Square
♦ Kolokotroni Street
♦ Glyfada, and
Be sure to bookmark the guide to keep on hand for your trip to Athens.
OPUS Inner Pleasure is one of many hot hangouts in the Glyfada coastal suburb of Athens. It’s a restaurant-cafe by day and a party club at night.