Category: Cool pools

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

Tolo beach IMG_3496

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

 

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

Hydronetta swimming spot on Hydra

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

 

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Imagine swimming with this view of Syros!

An infinity pool with an amazing view of the Kini Bay region of Syros island

 

I felt a tinge of envy when we saw the infinity swimming pool at this hilltop villa while hiking through the Danakos area of Syros island last week. The pool and adjacent terrace enjoy jaw-dropping views of the scenic Kini Bay region of Syros as well as Giaros island in the distance. The sunset views from the pool must be incredible since they’re spectacular even from sea level in Kini village. Below is a side view of the pool and villa. Click on the photos to see larger-size images.

 

 A villa with an infinity swimming pool on a hilltop in the Danakos area of Syros

 

 

Jackie O’ Beach Club is a classy new addition to legendary Super Paradise beach on Mykonos

Jackie O' Beach Club at Super Paradise beach on Mykonos

The Jackie O’ Beach Club & Restaurant opened July 1 at Super Paradise beach on Mykonos. The aerial photo below shows the new club’s location on the hillside overlooking the west end of picturesque Super Paradise beach. The pictures were posted on Facebook by club co-owner Carsten Stehr, who created the stylish new beach venue with business partner Michalis Sigounas. Click on the images to view them in full-size format.

 

Aerial view of the new Jackie O' Beach Club at Super Paradise beach on Mykonos

 

 

Club class: A stylish new restaurant and bar has opened at Super Paradise, one of the legendary party beaches on Mykonos.

Featuring Cycladic sculptural design elements in an amphitheatrical hillside setting at the west end of Super Paradise beach, Jackie O’ Beach boasts a large open-air bar, a 150-seat restaurant, private lounge areas, its own beachfront, swimming pool, jacuzzi and even a church.  A Sotris clothing and fashion accessories shop is also part of the complex, which opened on the site of the former Coco Beach Club (see my August 16 2011 post for a description of the old club, as well as photos of the location’s terrific views of Super Paradise beach and bay).

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Cool pools: Santa Maria Village hotel on Milos

Santa Maria village hotel

A quiet moment at the Santa Maria Village hotel swimming pool

 

September swims: For our fourth trip to Greece, in 2007, we decided to travel during the second half of September instead of taking our holiday in late May or early June as we usually do. We figured that, after a long hot summer, the sea would be comfortably warm and so would hotel swimming pools. At least, that’s what seasoned travellers had told us to expect, and that’s what I kept reading in the TripAdvisor.com forums.

But when we got to the first hotel of our island-hopping trip that September — the Santa Maria Village at the port town of Adamas, on Milos — we were shocked to discover that the swimming pool water was ice cold. Other guests who said they had been expecting to do a lot of swimming were also taken aback by the water temperature.

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Swimming laps & lounging at the Yria Hotel pool

Yria Hotel Paros

Paros’s Yria Hotel has a beautiful big pool that’s perfect for swimming laps …

 

Yria Hotel Paros

… plus a comfy poolside terrace that’s perfect for lounging and relaxing

 

Dreamy setting: Our only visit to Paros, so far, was back in June 2005, but I still recall how relaxed I got chilling out on the beautiful swimming pool terrace at the Yria Hotel near Parasporos beach.

I remember getting a drink from the bar and plunking myself down in a big wicker armchair near the pool, where I quickly drifted off into daydreams while watching the thin beige drapes in the sheltered poolside lounge billow in the soft breeze blowing off the nearby sea.

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Cool pools: Fab views of three Mykonos beaches from the pools at Petasos Beach Resort & Spa

Petasos Beach Resort & Spa Mykonos

The hotel restaurant building, plus rows of seaview lounge chairs and umbrellas, reflect in the almost-smooth-as-glass water of the main swimming pool at the Petasos Beach Resort and Spa at Platis Gialos beach on Mykonos

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Cool pools: The Naxos Imperial’s Figure 8-shaped swimming pool overlooking Agios Prokopios beach

Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa swimming pool

This pic from the Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa website shows the Figure 8 shape of the hotel’s swimming pool above Agios Prokopios beach

 

Swim in circles: One of the big changes we noticed on Naxos during our May 2009 visit was a brand-new resort just a few steps down the road from the Lianos Village Hotel, where we have enjoyed staying on our last two Naxos holidays.

We could see that finishing touches were still being applied to the five-star Naxos Imperial Resort & Spa, which had been built during the winter of 2008-2009. But the large luxury resort (it has a main building with restaurants, bars and spa facilities, plus six separate wings with single, double, triple and quadruple hotel rooms) didn’t appear to have any guests at the time. At least, there were none that we could see.
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Cool pools: Splash and dive through the ancient Portara monument at the Naxos Beach II Hotel

Naxos Beach II hotel swimming pool

The bottom of the oval swimming pool at the Naxos Beach II Hotel is decorated with a large illustration of the Portara, the island’s most famous monument

 

Good swims: Our all-time favourite swimming pool in the Greek Islands is the only one in which we actually got to  spend quite a bit of time splashing around without feeling like we were going to freeze. As I’ve mentioned before, we usually find the water in hotel swimming pools too chilly for swimming when we travel to Greece in the spring. We’ve found some pools to be too cold to our liking even in late September, too! But we didn’t have any complaints about water temperature in 2005 when we stayed at the Naxos Beach II Hotel during our first visit to Naxos.

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Cool pools: The Coco beach club pool & bar above infamous Super Paradise beach on Mykonos

Coco beach club Super Paradise Mykonos

Coco Beach Club‘s pool overlooks Super Paradise beach and bay

 

Beach view: Ask someone if they can name a “party beach” on Mykonos, and there’s a good chance they’ll mention Super Paradise. It’s not surprising, since Super Paradise has been one of the island’s most popular beaches for decades. But many people still think Super Paradise is a hedonistic destination primarily for gays and nudists, along with a smaller crowd of open-minded straights. Though it was the top Mykonos “gay” beach from the 1970s through the 1990s, times have changed and most of the gay scene has moved farther down the coast to Elia beach. Nowadays, Super Paradise draws a mainly straight crowd, but still sees its fair share of gay visitors — as well as beachgoers who love to frolic in the sun and sea au naturel.

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Cool pools: The curvaceous chilly swimming pool at the Rodos Palladium on Kallithea beach, Rhodes

Rodos Palladium swimming pool

A late afternoon view of the huge free-form swimming pool at the Rodos Palladium. The pool is just steps from Kallithea beach, 8 km from Rhodes Town.

 

Hot and cold: The biggest hotel swimming pool we’ve seen in the Greek Islands — so far — was the large free-form pool at the five-star Rodos Palladium hotel, just a stone’s throw from Kallithea beach on Rhodes.

We stayed at the Rodos Palladium on an island-hopping package tour during our first-ever trip to Greece back in 2004. The swimming pool and its spacious deck looked quite impressive from our hotel room balcony, and reminded us of some of the huge free-form pools we’ve enjoyed at resorts in the Caribbean and Central America. The big difference was the water temperature. Whereas we spent hours in the pool on our holidays to the southern destinations, we couldn’t even get in the pool at the Rodos Palladium because the water was so incredibly cold! Even after laying in the sun for a couple of hours, the water was too cold to bear. We weren’t the only ones who couldn’t get in — very few other guests could tolerate the cold temperature, either. Only a couple of people braved the chilly water, and didn’t stay in it for long.

The hotel also has an indoor heated pool, but the water temperature there was at the other extreme — way too hot! It felt like swimming in a giant hot tub, and the hot water wasn’t the least bit refreshing.  We didn’t get any photos of the indoor pool — the pool room was so steamy, it fogged up my camera lens — but we did take several pics of the outdoor pool, which appear below:

 

Rodos Palladium Hotel swimming pool

Looking across part of the outdoor swimming pool toward two of the Rodos Palladium hotel buildings … 

 

Rodos Palladium hotel swimming pool

… and looking to the right, from the same position, at another hotel wing

 

Rodos Palladium hotel swimming pool

Our hotel room balcony view of the Rodos Palladium swimming pool. Note the rows of dozens of lounge chairs and umbrellas at the far end of the pool. 

 

Rodos Palladium hotel swimming pool bar

The circular bar in the middle of the Rodos Palladium pool

 

Rodos Palladium hotel swimming pool at dusk

A view of the Rodos Palladium swimming pool and beach at dusk

 

Rodos Palladium swimming pool

An afternoon view of the pool. Three people are visible in the pool, probably the most we saw in the bone-chilling-cold water at any one time — even though the air temperature was rather toasty, hitting the high 20s Celsius.

 

 

Chill out! Truly cool Greek Island pools

Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool

The gorgeous swimming pool at the Honeymoon Petra Villas in Imerovigli is positioned on the Santorini caldera cliffside hundreds of feet above the Aegean Sea …

 

Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool

… with spectacular views of Nea Kameni, the volcano island

 

Deep freeze: There are two great ways to beat the extreme summer heat in the Greek Islands: go for a swim in the sea, or take a plunge in a really cool hotel pool. But depending on the time of season you travel, there’s a good chance the pool could be cooler, if not downright frigid. There’s also a chance the water in both the sea and the pools could be too cold for swimming altogether. At least, that’s been our experience.

We typically travel to Greece in May, and have always encountered hot weather — including brief but brutal heat waves on Naxos and Santorini that sent afternoon temperatures soaring to nearly 40 Celsius. But regardless of how hot the air temperature got, the Aegean Sea has always been too cold for us to swim. In fact, there have been times I couldn’t even wade in the water during visits to Mykonos, Naxos, Paros and Santorini because it felt like my feet started to freeze only seconds after stepping in. Even just dipping my toes in the water at Super Paradise beach on Mykonos one May was too painful because the water was so bitterly cold.

Surprisingly, our hotel swimming pools haven’t been much warmer. And sometimes they’ve actually been colder! I could count on one hand the number of times we were able to spend more than five minutes in a pool, and on just one finger the number where we lasted longer than 10 minutes.

Even when we travelled to the islands during the second half of September one year, we got to swim only twice — once in the sea (which was blissfully warm) and once in a pool (which was shockingly cold) — even though Greece had experienced blistering heat waves throughout the summer.

Are we disappointed that we haven’t been able to do more swimming in Greece? Maybe just a bit. We’ve had good times at plenty of island beaches, and we’ve enjoyed spectacular views from most of our hotel swimming pool terraces. Cooling off with an ice cold bottle of Mythos instead of a swim hasn’t been so bad!

I’ll tell you more about our pool and sea swimming experiences in upcoming “Chill Out!” posts. For today, however, here are pics of some of the cool swimming pools we’ve seen during our visits to Santorini.

 

Dana Villas in Firostefani Santorini

The cliffside swimming pool and whirlpool at Dana Villas in Firostefani

 

Dana Villas swimming pool

Another view of the Dana Villas swimming pool and terrace

 

Pegasus Suites Hotel Imerovigli Santorini

The cliffside swimming pool at Pegasus Suites hotel in Imerovigli …

 

Pegasus Suites Santorini swimming pool terrace

… has a terrace that juts over the island’s rugged volcanic cliffs

 

swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

Swimmers can watch ferry and cruise ships come and go from this sea view swimming pool atop the caldera in Firostefani

 

swimming pool at Firostefani on Santorini

 Another clifftop hotel swimming pool in Firostefani

 

swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

Yet another Firostefani pool terrace with views of cruise ships

 

a swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

A closer look at the Firostefani pool pictured above

 

a swimming pool in Fira on Santorini

A small caldera-view swimming pool on the cliffside in Fira

 

swimming pool in Imerovigli on Santorini

An air mattress floats in a cliffside swimming pool in Imerovigli …

 

Santorini swimming pool terrace

… while lounge chairs on the adjacent terrace overlook Skaros Rock

 

Kafieris Blue Apartments swimming pool in Santorini

The caldera-view swimming pool at the Kafieris Apartments in Firostefani

 

Kafieris Blue Apartments Firostefani Santorini

Another view of the pool at the Kafieris Apartments

 

Kafieris Apartments Firostefani swimming pool

The Kafieris Apartments swimming pool at night

 

swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

I’ve always loved the look of this pool and terrace at what appears to be a private villa on the cliffside in Firostefani …

 

swimming pool in Firostefani Santorini

… from above, the pool’s shape reminds me of an apple …

 

private swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

… there’s comfy cushions for lounging in the sun beside the pool …

 

Swimming pool terrace in Firostefani Santorini

… as well as lounge chairs and a shady nook nearby

 

private swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

The big palm tree next to the pool draws some attention away from the villa’s unique Cycladic architecture

 

private swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

Here’s another view of the palm tree and the pool …

 

private swimming pool in Firostefani on Santorini

… which has an infinity edge offering great views of the sea far below

 

Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool

The uniquely shaped and situated pool at the Honeymoon Petra Villas in Imerovigli offers some of the most stunning views in all of Santorini

 

Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool on Santorini

The swimming pool and terrace offer incredible views in several directions

 

Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool on Santorini

The pool is built into the cliffside hundreds of feet above the sea …

 

Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool on Santorini

… and has a shallow wading pool on the hotel level below

 

Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool on Santorini

A side view of the Honeymoon Petra Villas pool …

 

Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool on Santorini

… and some of the apartments built of volcanic rock from the island

 

Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool on Santorini

One final view of the Honeymoon Petra Villas swimming pool, this time from the clifftop footpath that leads to Oia in one direction, and to Fira in the other