Category: Zakynthos

Where to find five of the best beaches in Greece

Shipwreck beach on Zakynthos island Greece

Majestic limestone cliffs soar above alluring light blue seas at Navagio Beach, seen in this image by Flickr member Cristi Sinca

 

Guest post by Christofer Adam

Are you counting the days till summer arrives? Can you not wait till your next holiday trip? Are you living and breathing for your next adventure? Then you are reading the right article! Since we know how important and desirable it is for you to swim in crystal clear waters, we have chosen some of the top beaches you can find in Greece — the country where the sea, sun and summer are taken for granted!

Follow our guide and get ready to have the most remarkable beach holidays!

 

Porto Katsiki, Lefkada

This famous golden sandy beach is located around 40 kilometres southwest of the island’s capital city, Lefkada Town. The magnificent hills surrounding this beautiful beach are well worth the effort it takes to arrive there – which involves an exhausting but adventurous hike of 80 steep steps! But before you follow the track, it might be a good idea to buy yourself a frappe (the famous Greek iced coffee) from the snack bars you can find at the top of the hill so that you won’t find yourself thirsty half way!  However, if you are not excited about this idea, there is always an alternative solution — just take one of the taxi boats available from the nearby towns of Nidri or Vassiliki for a magical journey. Porto Katsiki provides a range of water activities including swimming (of course!), sailing and surfing.

 Porto Katsiki beach

Porto Katsiki beach, seen in an image by JuzaPhoto member Robepate

 

Navagio Beach, Zakynthos

Situated on the north-west shore of the island of Zakynthos, Navagio beach — also popularly known as Shipwreck beach — is one of the most photographed beaches in the world. And this is not random at all, as the steep limestone cliffs, white sands, crystal clear waters and the incredible abandoned shipwreck stuck on the sand create an astonishing scenery. The location is also a favourite spot for base jumpers, as the view from above is mesmerizing! You can only access the beach by boat, unless you are a base jumper, in which case you can jump from the cliff and smoothly land on the soft sands!

 

Base jumping is the fastest way to reach extroardinary Navagio beach

 

Faliraki, Rhodes

With its golden sands spread for more than 5 kilometres, Faliraki beach in Rhodes is one of the most beautiful on the island. As a very well organized beach, Faliraki will keep you busy and satisfied with its wide range of services and activities provided. Umbrella and sunbed rental is available, while you can also find a variety of water activities such as bungee-jumping! Furthermore, the area doesn’t lack of any good restaurants, night clubs and cafeterias. Bear in mind that the beach gets crowded, so it’s a good idea to wake up early in the morning if you would like to secure yourself a spot near the shore. However, if you are on hangover from having too many cocktails the night before, then you can take a nap at the beach while sunbathing! Just remember to put your sunscreen on, as you don’t want to wake up later with sunburns! To check out some of the best places to stay in Faliraki, click here.

 Faliraki beach Rhodes

An aerial view of Faliraki beach, from the Discover Rhodes travel site

 

Golden Beach, Thassos

Golden Beach (Chrysi Ammoudia) is a long coast with golden sands, and it is without a doubt the most beautiful beach of Thassos Island. The shallow waters are so transparent you can see the bottom of the sea and all the little fish swimming there! The scenery is magnificent, as the beach is framed by little cliffs and green trees reaching down the sea, while Mountain Ypsarion arises over the bay, creating an irreplaceable view. As a very well organized beach, it is also a popular destination for families with small children. Check out the best places to stay near the beach by clicking here.

YouTube member Goran Tosic posted this 3-minute video showing a variety of views of gorgeous Golden Beach

 

Red Beach, Santorini

Situated in the most popular island of Greece, the Red Beach is famous for its unique colour of sands and the stiff red lava cliffs surrounding it. It is blessed with a beautiful sandy shore, clear blue waters and big rocks sitting around it, creating a magnificent scenery that would make you want to spend the whole day there! The beach is near Akrotiri area, and we suggest accessing it by boat which you can board from the areas of Perissa or Akrotiri. Otherwise, if you prefer walking and hiking, then you might as well reach the beach by foot, which is just 10 minutes away from Akrotiri.

 Red Beach Santorini

Santorini’s Red Beach seen in an image by Flickr member Alex Coppo

 

 Christofer Adam is a Content Marketing Executive at London’s leading Online Marketing Agency, passionate with Social Media, Creative Writing and the Travel Industry. Click here to view his profile on LinkedIn.

Timeless treasures of Zakynthos

Treasures of Zakynthos – A Timelapse Film from Maciej Tomków on Vimeo

 

I haven’t been to Zakynthos yet (or any of the other Greek islands in the Ionian Sea, for that matter), but I already know I would love it.

I’m drawn to islands that boast superlative scenery and, based on the scores of photos and videos I have seen, Zakynthos would not disappoint. With its stunning landscapes — verdant mountains,  soaring cliffs, picturesque towns and harbours, and especially its spectacular coastlines, Blue Caves and magnificent beaches — Zakynthos would tick off a lot of boxes on my list of favourite features for an ideal Greek holiday destination.

And if you saw my August 2 2014 post about Shipwreck Beach, you’ll know that Zakynthos is already on my bucket list of the places I most want to see in Greece.

The Treasures of Zakynthos video I posted above simply reinforces my strong belief that I would thoroughly enjoy visiting the island. The breathtaking film was produced, directed and photographed by cinematographer Maciej Tomkow, who captured astounding timelapse images of the island’s amazing natural treasures — its mountains and hills; sunrises and sunsets; towns and harbours; star-filled night skies; and its coastlines, bays, and beaches (Shipwreck plays a starring role, as you’d expect).

If you haven’t been to Zakynthos yet, either, I bet you’ll be adding it to your own travel bucket list after watching Maciej’s film.

Recognize these places?

Ikaria beach scene

Rugged cliffs and dramatic rock formations rise beside a beach on Ikaria, one of Greece’s East Aegean islands

 

It’s all in Greece!: From time to time one of my blog’s Facebook friends or contacts shares a link to a fun Where is this place? photo “quiz” that a Greek-language news and information website, e-fungus.gr, first published in November 2013.

Someone posted the link on Faceback again today and I thought I’d pass it along since the photos in it are so impressive and inspiring.

Entitled “Where is this place? Gia sou Hellas!”, the article shows a series of spectacular Greek destinations that people could easily confuse for places elsewhere in the world, like Hawaii, the Caribbean, Tibet, the Ukraine, the Alps, Jordan, and Bora Bora.

There are nearly 50 images of exceptional sights and remarkable scenery, including islands, mountains, beaches, castles, churches, fields, forests, coastlines and rock formations. I like viewing the photos every now and then to get ideas for places to visit on future holidays — though to date I have managed to see just 10 of the places on this particular list. Obviously, I need to get to Greece more often!

Click here to view the article and see how many places you’ve been to yourself, or that you might recognize as destinations in Greece. As the article introduction observes, “Heaven on Earth truly exists, and it is in Hellas, which is the correct name of Greece.”

I can’t wait to get back to heaven in May!

 Metereo Greece

A Greek Orthodox monastery crowns a tall crag of sandstone in the Meteora region of central Greece , near the town of Kalambaka

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 view of Navagio was posted on Twitter by Amazing Pictures

  Shipwreck beach

Panagiotis Zoulakis captured this amazing aerial perspective of the infamous Navagio beach shipwreck.  You can view the full-size photo, along with dozens of other outstanding images, on his photography website: www.pzoulakis.gr

 

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

 

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.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Ionian Islands travel guide available

Ionian Islands travel guide

The cover of The Ionian Islands online travel guide, published by the Greek National Tourism Organisation, features a photo of a sailboat anchored near Navagio beach on Zakynthos (Zante) island

 

 

Free download: A new online travel guide for the Ionian Islands is now available from visitgreece.gr, the official website of the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO).

The 88-page guide features maps, useful phone numbers, descriptions of must-see sights and must-do activities on each island, plus dozens of gorgeous full-colour photos. It’s organized into seven separate sections: Corfu, Diapontia Islands, Paxoi, Lefkada, Kefalonia, Ithaca and Zakynthos.

The guide is available in English, German, Italian, Spanish, French and Russian versions. To obtain a copy of the guide, click on this link to the GNTO downloads page, scroll down, and click on the flag that represents the language you prefer.

Don’t be surprised if you start dreaming of a holiday in the Ionians after seeing just the first few pages of the guide! Below are two of the images that appear in the publication. click on each photo to view a fulls-size version.

 

G. Augoustinators photograph of Antisamos on Kefalonia island in Greece

The Ionian Islands guide credits photographer G. Augoustinatos for this beautiful image of Antisamos on Kefalonia

 

 

Porto Katsiki beach on Lefkada

The gorgeous sky-blue sea off Porto Katsiki beach on Lefkada. The GNTO guide credits this photograph to the Lefkada Prefecture.