Category: Tinos

Islands suffer flood damage after heavy rain soaks the Cyclades

Stormwater flooding on Naxos

Stormwaters surged across fields, farmlands and roads on Naxos after heavy rain lashed the island on Tuesday. This picture of an overflowing stream appeared in a January 23 2017 photo report published by Naxos Times.

 

Muddy Naoussa waterfront street

After the Tuesday rains, this waterfront strip in Naoussa village on Paros was left a complete muddy mess. This was one of several photos that Kay Will shared on Facebook to show the aftermath of the storm.

 

Devastating downpours: Winter weather has been packing a powerful punch in Greece this month.

First it was unusually cold temperatures and snowfalls that struck much of the country during the first week of January (see the stunning pictures and videos in my recent posts Amazing winter wonderland scenes from Greece and Greece in white winter glory).

The mercury has since climbed and the snow in many places has melted, but Mother Nature wasn’t finished — she decided to pound some of the Cyclades islands with heavy downpours that lasted throughout the day on Tuesday January 24.

 

 

The rain, occasionally accompanied by hail, pelted Paros, Naxos, Tinos, Mykonos, Sifnos, Andros and other islands for more than 24 hours.

Paros was particularly hard hit by the storm and seems to have suffered the most water damage. There was extensive soil erosion as well as some landslides, and flooding caused widespread damage to farm fields, shops, homes, churches, vehicles, and roadways.  

According to a January 25 report on the local news website ParosIn, damage to some areas was so severe, the island’s mayor has written to regional authorities requesting they declare a state of emergency so that resources can be deployed to assist with the massive cleanup and repair work that must now be undertaken.

The news story noted that the mayor’s letter described severe damage in the municipal areas of Naoussa, Kostos, Lefkon, Archilocus, and Marpissa, as well as places in and around Parikia.

According to the Naxos Times, the deluge doused Naxos with so much rain that streams turned into “rushing rivers” that “drowned” farms and fields, and flooded some roads.  Near Koronida village, where wildfires had burned several weeks before, the water washing down the streams was black from all the soot being carried away, the January 24 Naxos Times report stated.

 

This short videoclip, shared by the Maistros Panormos Tinos page on Facebook, shows some of the rainwater damage at Rochari beach on Tinos

 

Click on the link below to continue reading and see more storm photos and video on page 2 of this post.

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Greece’s best destinations for budget travellers

Chora on Astipalia island

A Venetian castle towers above Chora village on Astipalea island. The quiet and unassuming Dodecanese island boasts beautiful scenery, some of which you can see in the video featured in my post Aspects of Astipalea.  

 

Budget friendly: Are you considering a trip to Greece this summer, but wondering where you can go to avoid draining your bank account paying for food and accommodations at expensive destinations like Mykonos and Santorini? Although it’s possible to holiday on a tight budget on both those islands. as well as other high-profile destinations, there are numerous alternatives that offer great Greek holiday experiences at considerably cheaper prices. You’ll find some excellent suggestions in the article Best low budget summer destinations in Greece, published by the informative and insightful travel website  HIP GREECE.

The article lists more than a dozen islands plus one mainland Greece resort area that won’t break the bank, and offers brief descriptions of highlight attractions at each place, with links to additional in-depth articles about some of the destinations.

The spotlighted destinations include:

♦ The Small Cyclades islands of Iraklia, Koufonissia (Pano and Kato Koufonissi), Donousa and Schinoussa

♦ Kythira

♦ Serifos

♦ Tinos

♦ Ios

♦ Ikaria

♦ Astipalea

♦ Lefkada

♦ Skopelos, and

♦ Parga, a picturesque coastal resort area near the town of Preveza in western Greece.

You can read the complete HIP GREECE article by clicking here.

 

 

We’ve been to three of the recommended islands — Astipalea, Ios and Tinos — and have had brief peeks at the Small Cyclades during port stops on a ride from Amorgos to Naxos on the Express Skopelitis ferry. We would agree that all are good choices for travellers visiting Greece on a budget. We haven’t yet been to the other destinations cited by HIP GREECE, but several friends have told us Kythira, Serifos and Ikaria are wallet-friendly, while others have said the same for the Small Cyclades. However, we were surprised that Naxos wasn’t mentioned — we have found it to be the most reasonably priced island of all we have been to so far and it remains one of our favourite places to visit in large part for that reason. (See my article  Our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos for further information about that wonderful island). 

Keep in mind that the main tourist period in Greece runs from late April until early October, with July and August being peak travel season. July and especially August also happen to be the most expensive months to visit, so if you’re on a limited budget, try to schedule your vacation for April, May, June, late September or early October, when prices tend to be much lower. Hotel rates usually skyrocket for August, and hostel, camping and cheaper basic accommodations typically tend to book up early in the year. If you can only travel during peak season, make arrangements for your accommodations as soon as possible to secure the lowest prices.

Chora village on Ios

Chora village on Ios is chock full of restaurants and bars, while the island is blessed with numerous gorgeous beaches including Mylopotas (which is walking distance from Chora) and Manganari.

 

Amazing winter wonderland scenes from Greece: Part 2

Kalavrita Ski Center in Greece

There is snow as far as the eye can see along the road to Kalavrita Ski Center in the northern Peloponnese. The picture was posted to the ski resort’s Facebook page on January 6 

 

Winter wonders: This is the second set of photos I’m publishing on the blog to profile remarkable winter scenery in different regions of Greece — images that have been shared on social media after much of the nation was struck by icy cold temperatures and some surprisingly heavy snowfalls during the 2016 Christmas holidays and up to the second week of January 2017.

Part 1 of the photo feature included snow scenes from Athens, Ioannina, Corinth, Chios, Evia, Rhodes, Sparta, Mystras, Skiathos, Skopelos and Skyros.

 

 

Here in Part 2 I have collected photos from Crete, Nafplio, Epidaurus, Thessaloniki, some of the Cyclades and Ionian islands, plus various locations in the Peloponnese and mainland Greece. Many of the photo captions include links to social media pages or websites where you can find countless more pictures of snowy sites in Greece. (It could be spring by the time you manage to finish looking at the photos on all of the links!)

Click on the link beneath the next photo to view the full series of pictures on page 2 of this post.

 

Winter stormclouds above Nafplio

One of my favourite Greece winter scenes is this spectacular photograph by Thanos Komninos, which captures dark, fluffy storm clouds swirling above and around the Nafplio Old Town and Acronauplia fortress, before leaving the town dusted with a layer of light snow. The photo appeared on the Nafplio Kalimera page on Facebook.

 

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Up-and-coming small wineries to watch and visit in the Cyclades

Manalis Winery Sikinos

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.

 

Manalis Winery Sikinos Greece

 

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. 

As I reported in a post on January 21 2014,  Wine Enthusiast magazine cited Santorini and two other Aegean islands in its listing of the world’s top 10 wine travel destinations for 2014. Not surprisingly, winery tours have long been ranked among the leading attractions on TripAdvisor’s chart of Things to do in Santorini. In fact, as of May 17, Santo Wines was the #5-rated attraction on the island, while the Venetsanos Winery and the Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum ranked in the top 20 out of almost 300 key attractions on Santorini.

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)

Moraitiko on Paros

Manalis Winery on Sikinos

♦ Korres Family Winery on Naxos

Konstantakis Cave Winery on Milos

Syros Winery on Syros

Mykonos Vioma Organic Farm & Vineyard on Mykonos

♦ Kipos Xydaki on Mykonos

♦ Tinian Vineyards on Tinos

♦ Fonsos Winery on Tinos

♦ Votsari Wines on Sifnos, and

♦  Chrysoloras Vineyards on Serifos

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.

Manalis Winery Sikinos

The hillside terrace at Manalis Winery on Sikinos has spectacular views of the Aegean Sea and other islands (Photo from the winery website.) 

Daytripping from Mykonos to Tinos

You can enjoy whirlwind visits to Mykonos and Tinos in this fun hyperlapse video by Alex Baker Photography

 

Easy excursion: People planning trips to Mykonos frequently ask me if it’s possible to visit other islands for either all or part of a day. It certainly is!

Each year, in fact, tens of thousands of people make the short half-day trip from Mykonos to Delos, an uninhabited isle which is one of the most significant historic and archaeological sites in all of Greece. (See my recent post Visiting Delos in 2016 for information about the many different ways to get there.)

The next easiest getaway for a day is to Tinos, which can be reached either by regular ferry service from Mykonos, or on tours organized by excursion companies. Unlike hip Mykonos, which is one of the most contemporary and “touristy” destinations in Greece, Tinos offers a more authentic Greek island atmosphere and visitor experience.

Tom DeBelfore photo of Tripotamos village on Tinos island

Tripotamos, one of 40 traditional villages on Tinos, is seen in a Tom DeBelfore photo from the Tinos, Kykladen/ Τήνος, Κυκλάδες page on Facebook. There’s nothing even remotely comparable to these villages on Mykonos.

 

Mykonos is popular primarily for its beaches, its sophisticated hotels, bars, restaurants and nightlife, its picturesque Mykonos Town commercial center, and its legendary status as one of the leading holiday and party destinations for the international “jet set” since the 1960s.

Tinos has excellent beaches, bars and restaurants, too, but it also boasts sights and features you won’t find anywhere on Mykonos, including fabulous mountain scenery, dozens of traditional villages and settlements, thousands of dovecotes, and the Church of Panagia Evaggelistria, the country’s most-visited Greek Orthodox pilgrimage shrine.  An important center for religion with a long history of marble carving and stone artwork, Tinos gives visitors the opportunity to see a traditional side of Greece that’s almost impossible to find amidst the glitz and glamour of the designer boutiques, trendy nightclubs and posh resorts that abound on Mykonos.

Our Lady of Tinos church

The Church of Panagia Evaggelistria (Our Lady of Tinos) is visited each year by thousands of tourists and Greek Orthodox pilgrims. This photo of the church appeared on the Facebook page for the local TINOS About magazine.

 

Because of their sharply contrasting attributes and attractions, the two islands might seem worlds apart. But since they’re separated by just a short ferry ride across a narrow channel, a daytrip to Tinos would nicely complement a longer stay on Mykonos (or vice versa).

So how can you get to Tinos? If you’re not comfortable arranging your own itinerary, drop into travel agencies or ferry ticket offices in Mykonos Town to inquire about times and prices for guided tours that might be available during your holiday. When you purchase tickets, make certain to ask where you catch your ferry — Mykonos has two ports! (The Old Port is right at Mykonos Town, while the New Port is located over 2 kilometers from town at Tourlos.)

If you would prefer to see Tinos independently, check with the Mykonos ferry ticket agencies for boat schedules on the particular day you’d like to do your daytrip. For years, the Theologos P car and passenger ferry has offered the most reliable and convenient round-trip ferry service between the two islands, with breakfast-time departures and mid-evening returns. Theologos P typically departs the Mykonos New Port around 7:35 a.m., arriving at Tinos Town 30 minutes later. You’ll be able to enjoy a full day of sightseeing and even dinner at a local taverna before sailing back to Mykonos on Theologos P’s 9:35 p.m. return voyage to Mykonos (it reaches the Mykonos New Port shortly past 10 p.m.).

 

 

Several other ferries operate between Mykonos and Tinos, but their later departures and earlier returns allow only a few hours on Tinos.  That’s still enough time to take a walk around Tinos Town and visit the island’s world-famous Our Lady of Tinos Church. But after getting to see Tinos for just three hours on our last vacation (see my previous post Our brief intro to Tinos for photos), we strongly recommend arranging as much time on the island as possible.

Friends who have done numerous daytrips say that by catching the Theologos P in the morning, they can take a taxi or bus to one of the mountain villages above Tinos Town, hike back down and spend a few hours sightseeing and having dinner in town. The return trip of Theologos P gets them back to Mykonos while the night is still young. Another possibility, they say, is to rent a car at Tinos Town and spend the day driving around to see some of the 40 villages, thousands of dovecotes and hundreds of chapels scattered across the island’s hills and mountainsides.

Dovecote on Tinos island

Thousands of impressive dovecotes can be spotted all over Tinos. This particular dovecote was renovated and converted into a private residence. (Photo from the tinos-tinos.com travel information website.)

 

If you want to get an idea of what Tinos is like (and also Mykonos, if you haven’t been there yet, either), watch the Hyperlapsing Tinos and Mykonos video that I posted at the top of this article. The 6.5-minute film will give you a speedy tour through the lanes and alleys of Tinos Town and Mykonos Town, and will take you to other parts of each island as well. It even shows some of the coastal scenery you’ll see on both islands during the ferry ride.

You can see more of Tinos in the video Tinos Greece 2015, below. It’s actually a slideshow presentation of photographs that YouTube contributor Lusko18 shot at numerous different locations on the island last year. 

 

This is a 5-minute slideshow of photographs shot by Lusko18 during a trip to Tinos in 2015

Our brief intro to Tinos

Tinos Town

With its distinctive rugged peak, Exomvourgo mountain dominates the scene as our ferry approaches the port at Tinos island

 

Ferry change: We got a brief introduction to Tinos during a short stopover for a ferry connection last May, and left the island wishing we had arranged to spend several days of our vacation there in between our visits to Andros and Syros.

We arrived at Tinos on the Superferry II from Andros shortly before noon on May 31, giving us sufficient time to explore part of Tinos Town and have lunch before returning to the port for our 3 p.m. ferry to Syros. So as soon as we disembarked the ship, we headed directly to the town’s main commercial area, a mere five-minute walk away.  

 

Donny B at Tinos port

At the Tinos port moments after arriving on a ferry from Andros. 

 

We were hoping to find a travel or ferry ticket office that offered luggage storage, so when we passed Epineio restaurant we asked one of the waiters if he could direct us to one. He called over his manager, who kindly offered to stow our bags inside the restaurant — at no charge — so we could explore the town unencumbered. When I promised we would soon return to have lunch, he said: “No obligation. Eat anywhere you like.” Minding our luggage, he explained, was meant as a small gesture of hospitality to welcome us to Tinos.  “We would like you to enjoy our beautiful island and we hope you will come back to stay here next time,” he said.

With that first good impression, we set off to walk around and see if we might be interested in returning to Tinos on a future trip to the Cyclades.

 

Epineio restaurant in Tinos

Epineio restaurant is situated on the side of a small square directly opposite the Hotel Lito and the Hotel Aigli 1876.  The manager let us leave our luggage in the restaurant while we walked around Tinos Town.

 

Considering that it was a Sunday, Tinos Town was far busier than we had expected — the streets and lanes near Epineio were teeming with people and actually were uncomfortably crowded in some spots. Then we remembered it was the middle of a holiday long weekend. Here we were, visiting one of the most popular Greek Orthodox pilgrimage destinations in Greece on the day before Holy Spirit Monday, so of course it would be busy!

Another surprise was that Tinos Town was significantly  bigger than we had been anticipating. I had imagined it to be a relatively small seaside village, like the port towns on Ios, Milos and Sifnos, but the port authority property was huge and the town extended quite a distance along the coast. This wasn’t a sleepy harbour village by any means, and we quickly realized we would get to see only a fraction of the town.  

Our plan was to stroll some of the streets, take a peek at the pilgrimage shrine that put Tinos on the map (the Church of Panagia Evaggelistria, also called Our Lady of Tinos), and then return to the waterfront area for a bite to eat.

Church of Panagia Evaggelistri

Tinos is famous for its Church of Panagia Evaggelistria (also called Our Lady of Tinos), built on the site where the Icon of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary was discovered after a nun had a vision about its location.  Thousands of Greek Orthodox pilgrims visit the shrine each year.

 

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A roller coaster ferry ride across rough seas in the Cyclades

 The Blue Star Paros ferry rocks and rolls in rough seas as it crosses the strait between Tinos and Mykonos around noon on April 9 2015

 

Greek Easter celebrations got off to a chilly, windy and soggy start yesterday for thousands of Greeks and tourists hoping to spend the holiday weekend with family and friends on islands in the Aegean.

A powerful storm system swept across the Cyclades and other archipelagos, thrashing islands with cooler than seasonal temperatures, heavy rains, and wind gusting to force 8 and 9 on the Beaufort scale. Photos and videos shared on social media showed flooded beach areas on Naxos and Paros, as well as large waves crashing ashore at Amorgos, Mykonos, Syros and Samos.

Rough seas forced the cancellation of numerous ferries scheduled to depart Piraeus port at Athens, and there were reports that some Olympic Air flights to several islands, including Naxos, were cancelled as well. The port authority of Heraklion, on Crete, also ordered the suspension of ferry service from that island.

 

Bigger ferries tried to battle the seas

Many people whose ferries weren’t cancelled probably wished they had been — including, I’m sure, many of the passengers who travelled on the Blue Star Paros from Mykonos to Tinos yesterday. The video that I posted above shows the ship battling its way through enormous waves in the straight between the two islands. The film, which was shot by someone on Tinos, shows the ferry almost disappearing from view as it crashes through swells several storeys tall. I couldn’t imagine what it was like being a passenger as the ship rocked, rolled and swayed in such tempestuous seas.

The Nissos Mykonos ferry yesterday managed to sail only partway through its route from Pireaus to Syros, Mykonos, Ikaria, and Samos. It made it as far as Mykonos when adverse weather conditions prevented it from continuing the journey to Ikaria. The ship instead returned to Syros for safe anchorage, but because of brutal wind and waves there, it took over an hour for the crew to dock the vessel. The ferry was carrying 430 passengers who had to spend the night in Syros and hope the ship could resume its voyage today.

Meanwhile, light snow and hail fell on parts of mainland Greece and mountainous areas of some islands.

The unusually severe Holy Week weather follows on the heels of what many Greeks say was the coldest and snowiest winter in memory, during which at least three separate storm systems battered the islands and mainland. You can view photos and videos of the winter storms in my posts on January 2, January 17, and February 14.

Wind, rain and cloud is expected to continue today but the forecast shows gradually improving conditions, with sunshine, for Easter weekend. Ferry service from Piraeus and Heraklion could resume later this afternoon (Friday April 10) if the weather improves.

 

This video shows the Nissos Mykonos ferry attempting to dock at Syros after it had to cut short its scheduled voyage to Samos because of the weather.

 

More weather woes as wind & waves thrash the Greek Islands

Portara monument Naxos

The ancient Temple of Apollo monument on Naxos is barely visible as winds carry sea spray up and over the Palatia peninsula. This amazing shot was one of three photos shared on Facebook by Manolis Lykouropoulos.

 

Wild winter: While it was the ongoing economic turbulence and political bluster in Greece that made headlines around the world this week, surprisingly severe winter weather conditions in many parts of the country were just as wild, crazy and unpredictable.

For several days, and especially on February 10 and 11, Mother Nature thrashed many of the Aegean islands and parts of mainland Greece with an unusually vicious torrent of wind, waves, rain, sleet, snow and cold temperatures.

The latest barrage of bad weather came slightly more than a month after a similarly brutal storm system brought icy temperatures, freezing rain and heavy snowfalls to many of the Greek Islands in early January (see my posts Wild winter weather wallops Greece and Snow scenes from the Cyclades to view photos and videos that were shared on social media during and after that storm).

 

Acropolis and Odeon of Herodotus Atticus in Athens

Snow falls on the Parthenon (top) while two pedestrians walk past the Odeon of Herodes Atticus next to the Acropolis in Athens. Flowmagazine posted this photo on its Facebook page February 11.

 

 

 

This week’s weather disturbances dusted Athens and surrounding areas with light snow, while various islands including Skiathos, Samos, Karpathos, Crete, Naxos and Tinos experienced either light flurries or significant snowfalls in some regions, particularly in mountainous areas. Freezing rain accompanied chilly temperatures in many places.

But it was relentless gale-strength winds that wreaked the most havoc, flooding popular waterfront tourist areas on Crete, Samos, Mykonos and Naxos.

Gusts registering force 10 and higher on the Beaufort wind scale raged across the Aegean, pushing powerful waves against coastlines, ports and harbours. Particularly hard-hit were the Chania harbourfront on Crete, the Little Venice seafront of Mykonos Town, the Naxos village of Apollonas, and the Long Beach area of Kokkari village on Samos, where seawater surged ashore, flooding streets, shops and restaurants and leaving muddy debris — and even the bodies of drowned animals — in its wake. The winds and water also caused extensive damage to the port of Evdilos on Ikaria.

Chania Crete floodwater damage

Waves and water damage at the Chania waterfront on Crete are shown in these photos posted to Facebook by βαγγέλης διαμαντακης 

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading page 2 of this post, which includes more news, photos and videos of storm activity and damage on several islands.

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Snow scenes from the Cyclades

Achim Eckhardt photo of snow on Tinos, as seen from nearby Mykonos island

This might look like Alaska or the Arctic, but it’s actually Tinos in the Cyclades islands of Greece. Achim Eckhardt shot this amazing photo from a vantage point on nearby Mykonos island after a severe winter storm passed over the Cyclades last week. Click on the picture to enlarge the image.

 

snow on Tinos

The storm dumped a thick blanket of snow up to 2 meters deep on some mountain areas of Tinos. This image of snowdrifts towering above a 4WD vehicle is a screen capture from a video posted on Facebook by Emmanuel Delasoudas from Tinos.

 

 

Snow wonder: Mention the words “Greek Islands” to people around the world, and many instantly think of the Cyclades, recalling iconic postcard images of rustic villages with white “sugar cube” houses clinging to steep slopes high above the sparkling Aegean Sea.

Last week those scenic towns and buildings looked breathtakingly whiter and brighter after a ferocious storm system swept rain, sleet, snow and below-freezing temperatures across the Cyclades on January 6, quickly transforming the region into a winter wonderland.

While some isles got dusted with a light blanket of snow that soon melted away, the storm thumped mountain areas of Andros, Tinos and Naxos with heavy snowfalls, leaving parts of those islands looking more like the Alps than Aegean islands.

 

Islanders shared dramatic storm images on social media

Residents quickly took to social media to post dramatic photos and videos of snow scenes that resembled winter images depicted on Christmas cards people exchanged during the holiday season. Though both shocking and delightful to many viewers who have only seen the islands in warm seasons, Cyclades residents pointed out that snowfalls, while rare, do occur about once or twice a decade — most recently in 2008.

But while the snow-laden islands look pretty in pictures, the storm had calamitous consequences for Andros and Tinos, which bore the brunt of the brutal weather conditions and received the heaviest snowfalls as the unexpectedly strong storm cut a wide swath across the Aegean. 

Authorities declared a state of emergency after an electrical grid failure left many residents on both islands without power and running water for up to four days, and snowplows had to be shipped from the mainland to clear roads to remote villages rendered inaccessible by the snow that measured two and a half meters deep in spots. Schools, shops and businesses were forced to close, while emergency personnel had to rescue senior citizens and ill residents who were snowbound in mountain hamlets. On Tinos, farmers suffered extensive snow damage to fruit and olive trees and greenhouses, while livestock breeders lost sheep and other livestock that perished in the cold.

What follows is a selection of photos and videos I have collected from social media, showing scenes from several Cyclades islands in the aftermath of the storm. I have endeavoured to credit the original sources for all images and videos; however, some photos were widely shared without naming the source. Please let me know of any inaccurate credits so I can make immediate corrections.

You can view additional photos of winter scenes in my January 2 2015 post Wild winter weather wallops Greece, and in my December 15 2013 post Greece gets winter, too!

 

  Andros

 

Leonidas Triantafyllakis posted this video of Apikia on January 6

 

 

Scenes from Apikia in a January 8 clip by Leonidas Triantafyllakis

 

 

Mixalis Karelis posted this on January 7. It shows views from a terrace in the midst of a heavy snowfall, but the location on Andros is not mentioned.

 

 Click on the 2 in the link below to open page 2 of this post. It contains dozens of startling snow photos and videos from Tinos, Mykonos, Milos, Santorini, Paros, Syros, Naxos and Sifnos.

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Summer hotel prices skyrocket 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 TripAdvisor.com. Prices seemed marginally higher than I remembered them being in 2013. As winter moved into spring, I received numerous private messages on TripAdvisor, and emails to my blog, from people seeking suggestions for cheaper accommodation because they were finding summer prices too high.

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

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

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

 Kos Town harbour

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

 

Things I love about Greece: Waking up to gorgeous views at hotels in the Greek Islands (Part 6)

Tinos island viewed from Hotel Tagoo Mykonos

The swimming pool terrace at Hotel Tagoo on Mykonos offers this view of Tinos island, a short ferry ride from the tip of Mykonos (right)

 

Oia Santorini viewed from Hotel Hermes on Ios

On a clear day, we could see the whitewashed clifftop buildings of the renowned Santorini village of Oia from our balcony at Hermes Hotel on Ios

 

Halara Studios in Plaka on Milos

Our terrace at Halara Studios in Plaka, on Milos, gave us this sweeping view of the Gulf of Milos and mountains on the western half of the island.

 

Three islands, three hotels, three superb views: Last month, our 2011 Greek Island holiday took us back to a favourite hotel on an island we have visited more times than any other place in the world; a different hotel on an island we visited back in 2007; and a hotel on an island we had previously seen only from a ferry. All three gave us superb views.

On Mykonos, we stayed at Hotel Tagoo for the third time in as many visits. We’ve been to Mykonos so often I can practically picture the views with my eyes closed, and I also never forget the scenery from the balconies and public areas at Hotel Tagoo. (If you’ve been following my posts about Greek Islands hotel views, you’ve already seen numerous pictures showing the wonderful views from Hotel Tagoo.) No matter how often I visit, I never get bored of looking at the sea and nearby islands, or the mountains, beaches and coastline of Mykonos itself. For this trip, I requested the same room we stayed in our first time at Hotel Tagoo — the cozy and semi-secluded #19, on the east side of the property — and I was glad it was available for our stay. Although #19 has only a partial sea view, rather than a full-on panoramic sea and island view like many of the rooms positioned at the front of the hotel, I like it because I always sleep exceptionally well in that room. I don’t know why, but I always wake up feeling more refreshed after a night in that particular room than in any other. What’s more, the afternoon sun doesn’t seem as hot or intense on room 19’s terrace, like it does on other balconies, so I can spend more time sitting there without feeling like I’m going to melt.

After several days on Mykonos we travelled to Ios for the first time. We had “seen” Ios several times before — through the windows of the FlyingCat 4 ferry en route to Santorini — but we had never set foot on it. We stayed at Hermes Hotel in Agios Ioannis, a hillside area high above beautiful Mylopotas beach, and just a short walk from the island’s main town, Chora. Although views from our hotel room balcony were partially obscured by a building in front of us, we could still gaze across the Aegean Sea and, if the skies were clear, see the whitewashed buildings in the village of Oia on Santorini. When we wanted completely unobscured views of Ios scenery, all we had to do was walk up one flight of stairs to the hotel’s breakfast room & bar, which had a comfy outdoor sitting area, or down several flights to the huge sea- and valley-view swimming pool terrace. (The pool was just being cleaned and filled during our visit, so we couldn’t take a swim, but we did enjoy the terrace for suntanning, taking in the scenery, and watching the hotel’s herd of goats in the field below.)

Our third island stop was Milos, which we had visited once before in September 2007. Last time we stayed at a hotel on the edge of the port town of Adamas; this holiday we wanted a complete change of location and scenery, so we stayed at Halara Studios, which is literally on the edge of the mountaintop village of Plaka, the capital of Milos. Being high up and on the edge meant we had outstanding views of farm fields, the Gulf of Milos, and the mountainous western half of Milos. If our visit had been just a few months later in the summer, we would have enjoyed incredible sunset views from the Halara Studios terrace, too.  Nevertheless, we won’t soon forget the scenery because on our last full day in Milos the island got thrashed by a vicious thunderstorm, and our terrace provided an excellent front-row seat for watching lightning strikes and the dramatic, dark stormclouds swirling over western Milos.

Below are photos of our views from Hotel Tagoo on Mykonos, Hermes Hotel on Ios, and Halara Studios on Milos.

 

Donny B at Hotel Tagoo Mykonos

Enjoying a glass of wine on the terrace for Room 19 at Hotel Tagoo Mykonos

 

Hotel Tagoo Room 19 terrace

The cozy terrace for Room 19  sits on the east side of the Hotel Tagoo property

 

Room 19 terrace at Hotel Tagoo Mykonos

Part of the view from the terrace for Room 19 at Hotel Tagoo Mykonos

 

Hotel Tagoo Mykonos Room 19 view

The terrace overlooks another nearby hotel and this old stone wall

 

Room 19 terrace at Hotel Tagoo Mykonos

It also overlooks the balcony for the room next door, but still feels fairly private

 

Hotel Tagoo room terrace view of the sea

Our terrace at Hotel Tagoo gave us a partial view of the sparkling Aegean Sea …

 

Hotel Tagoo view of the Aegean Sea

… which is a gorgeous blue in the morning but takes on a molten silver hue under the blazing afternoon sun. Sunglasses are definitely required to enjoy this view — the sunlight reflection is so intense, it’s almost blinding!

 

Hotel Tagoo Mykonos views

A late afternoon view of the sea from one of Hotel Tagoo’s many levels

 

Hotel Tagoo Mykonos view

When I’m in the Greek Islands, I enjoy watching cruise ships and ferries come and go … this is a view from the Hotel Tagoo swimming pool terrace of a cruise ship approaching the nearby port of Tourlos (also known as the New Port)

 

Hotel Tagoo view of Tourlos port on Mykonos

The hotel’s pool terrace has a good view of ships docked at Tourlos

 

Hotel Tagoo Mykonos swimming pool view

This is the view in the opposite direction, looking towards Mykonos Town

 

Hotel Tagoo Mykonos

From the pool deck, my camera can zoom in on three of the famous Mykonos windmills and the Paraportiani Church (right) near Little Venice

 

The view from Hotel Tagoo Mykonos

Looking straight ahead, there’s a fabulous view of the sea and nearby islands

 

Hotel Tagoo Mykonos views

An early morning view from the Hotel Tagoo swimming pool deck

 

Hotel Tagoo Mykonos swimming pool

A late afternoon view from the Hotel Tagoo swimming pool deck

 

Donny B at Hotel Tagoo Mykonos

Enjoying one last look at the view before leaving Hotel Tagoo to travel to Ios

 

Hotel Hermes balcony view

At Hermes Hotel on Ios, we could see the Aegean Sea and mountains near Mylopotas beach through our balcony doors

 

Hotel Hermes Ios Room 2 balcony view

The balcony for our room (Room #2) gave us this view of the Aegean Sea and a graceful palm tree on the hotel grounds below

 

Hotel Hermes Room 2 balcony view towards Santorini

From our Room 2 balcony, our cameras could zoom in on Santorini island

 

view from the door to Room 2 at Hotel Hermes Ios

We had this view of the valley when looking out the door to our room

 

Hotel Hermes main entrance

Sitting areas outside the Hotel Hermes reception entrance offered excellent views of the sea and parts of Ios; this was a popular place for hotel guests and other people to enjoy the scenery while relaxing with breakfast or a drink

 

Hotel Hermes seaview cafe and bar deck

One of the features we loved most about Hotel Hermes was its sea-view outdoor café-bar terrace where we ate breakfast or had an afternoon coffee

 

Hotel Hermes cafe-bar deck

Part of the amazing view from the hotel’s café-bar terrace

 

Hotel Hermes Ios cafe-bar deck

The café-bar deck was my favourite place to take in the views

 

Hotel Hermes Ios outdoor cafe-bar terrace

The café-bar terrace overlooked the sea and nearby valley …

 

Hotel Hermes view of the road to Chora

… had this view up the road to Chora, just 10 minutes away by foot …

 

the hillside between Chora and the Hotel Hermes Ios

… this view of the upper part of the valley near the hotel …

 

view from the cafe-bar terrace at Hotel Hermes Ios

… and this view of the lower valley and the scenic Ios coastline

 

Cafe-bar terrace view from Hotel Hermes Ios

Another view of the coastline far below the Hotel Hermes

 

view from cafe-bar terrace at Hotel Hermes Ios

The café-bar terrace had this view  of the mouth of Mylopotas Bay …

 

Hotel Hermes Ios cafe-bar terrace view

… and this view towards beautiful Mylopotas beach

 

Hotel Hermes Ios view of Mylopotas beach

Mylopotas beach is just a 15-minute walk down the hill from Hotel Hermes

 

Hotel Hermes view of Mylopotas beach

Another view of Mylopotas beach from the café-bar deck at Hotel Hermes

 

Hotel Hermes view of Drakos Fish Taverna

A camera zoom view of our favourite seaside drinking and dining spot at the far end of Mylopotas beach, Drakos Taverna (right)

 

Hotel Hermes Ios pool deck view

The swimming pool deck had views toward Santorini (visible under the clouds near the upper left corner of the photo) …

 

goats at Hotel Hermes Ios

… and was a great spot to watch the goats roaming the hillside below the hotel

 

Halara Studios Milos view of western Milos

On Milos, the front window to our room at Halara Studios gave us this scenic view toward the western half of the island …

 

Halara Studios Milos view

… while the window next to the kitchenette in our studio gave us this view

 

Halara Studios terrace view

However, the long terrace outside our room had the best views of all

 

Halara Studios Milos

In the morning, we would enjoy the view with a cup of coffee and, in the evening, savour the scenery while drinking a bottle of wine

 

Halara Studios view

When we weren’t hiking around Milos, I spent my time admiring the views

 

Halara Studios Milos view

This bucolic scene greeted us when we opened the door each morning

 

Halara Studios Milos

The hillside below us was lush and green, thanks to wet spring weather

 

Halara Studios Milos view

Mount Profitis Elias rises 748 meters on the west side of the Gulf of Milos

 

Halara Studios Milos view

The white building at left is a farmhouse; the other two buildings are churches that we visited during a morning hike to the seaside village of Klima

 

Halara Studios Milos

We snapped this photo of Halara Studios while hiking to the churches

 

Halara Studios Milos

Our studio was the one with the light blue-coloured window and door on the lower right-hand side, just above the MyGreeceTravelBlog.com logo

 

house on the hillside in Plaka Milos

Our terrace view included this hillside house, to our upper left …

 

houses in Plaka on Milos

… and this house, just a few feet to the left below our balcony

 

Halara Studios Milos view

This was the terrace view looking straight ahead across the Gulf of Milos

 

Halara Studios Milos views

Right below us is a wide expanse of farm fields on the east side of the Gulf

 

Halara Studios Milos view

Looking to the right, we could see the west coast of the Gulf of Milos all the way to Cape Vani, the point at the northwest tip of Milos

 

Halara Studios Milos view

Some of the mountains along the west coast of the Gulf of Milos

 

sailboat off the coast of Milos

A sailboat passes steep rocky cliffs on the west coast of the Gulf of Milos

 

Cape Vani on the northwest tip of Milos

I get a kick out of looking at Cape Vani on the northwest tip of Milos because I think it resembles a semi-submerged hippopotamus

 

view from Halara Studios Milos

Rays of sunlight stream through clouds above Milos one evening before sunset

 

Cape Vani on Milos

A ship passes behind Cape Vani at sunset on May 24 2011

 

Cape Vani on Milos at sunset

Another view of Cape Vani at sunset on May 24 2011

 

stormclouds passing over western Milos

Dark stormclouds threaten western Milos, but we felt only a few drops of rain before the storm system cleared the region

 

west coast of the Gulf of Milos

The west coast of the Gulf of Milos at sunset on May 24 2011

 

thunderstorm over western Milos

A severe thunderstorm lashes western Milos on the afternoon of May 27 2011

 

a thunderstorm over western Milos

Stormclouds above western Milos on Friday May 27 2011

 

Halara Studios Milos

The terrace view I hated to leave when we had to depart for Athens on May 28