Category: Water sports

Kalymnos keeps calling

Kalymnos summer 2016 (above) and Kalymnos island (below) are short videos that spotlight sights, scenery and summer activities on the Dodecanese island famous for its sponge fishing past and its present popularity as one of the world’s premier rock climbing destinations

 

Extra enticement: There are times I’m convinced that somebody in Greece is secretly monitoring my email and text communications so they can plant my social media pages with photos, news and videos about places mentioned in my conversations. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I have chatted with or messaged people about specific areas in Greece, only to see posts about those destinations suddenly appear on my Facebook page or Twitter feed soon afterward.

It happened again this week after a friend texted to ask if I have been to Kalymnos, which she has been considering for an island hopping holiday in the Dodecanese this year. I haven’t been there yet, but I was able to refer her to Kalymnos rocks!, a post I published last year to showcase a video that four young Scottish rock climbers made when they visited Kalymnos to test their skills on its world-famous cliffs. Exhilarating landscapes and scenery in the 4-minute-long film convinced me that Kalymnos is just the kind of island my partner and I would thoroughly enjoy — so I promptly added it to our travel bucket list.

 

 

Mere days after the text chat with my friend, two more Kalymnos videos curiously appeared in the news feed for the MyGreeceTravelBlog Facebook page, no doubt to tempt and tease me into wanting to visit the island even more. Sponsored by the Kalymnian Union of Attica, both clips were produced late last summer and show even more island sights and scenes than the fun rock-climbing film I previously shared on the blog. Since I have found myself contemplating a future trip to Kalymnos once again, I am sharing the clips here for the benefit of any readers who may be planning to spend some time on the island this summer.

Meanwhile, in text messages a few days ago, my friend and I discussed Kefalonia and Lefkada, as well as some destinations in mainland Greece. Sure enough, my social media feeds quickly filled with images and information about both islands and the other places we had discussed. Spooky? Absolutely! But maybe it’s just a goodhearted online spy who is simply trying to assist with my holiday travel planning. Whether it’s purely coincidental or not, don’t be surprised if I start blogging about how much I would like to see Kefalonia, Lefkada and certain other places this summer!

In the meantime, have a look at Kalymnos to see if it should be on your own Greek holiday bucket list.

 

 

Quietly spectacular Skyros

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.

 

Booking.com

 

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.

For instance, Skyros was cited as the best destination for alternative travel and holistic holidays in The Telegraph’s January 2016 feature The 19 best Greek islands, and was included in a piece the Independent published about Holidays for single travellers. Also in January, The Irish Examiner published A letter from paradise on the Greek island of Skyros, a journalist’s account of her writing holiday. And in 2015, Thomas Cook Airlines named Skyros as best destination for “healthy lifestyle holidays” in its profile of Greece’s top 10 islands.

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.)

Skyros photo from sail-la-vie.com

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.

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A bevy of beaches & coves on the scenic west coast of Andros

Andros island west coast

 Looking along the west coast of Andros from a vantage point near Liopessi beach outside the town of Gavrio. More than a dozen places to sunbathe, swim and participate in water sports can be found along the 7 km stretch of seafront between Gavrio and Agia Marina.

 

a cove near Kipri beach on Andros

The coastline includes alluring small bays, inlets and quiet coves, like this one with warm golden sands near Kypri ….

 

Agios Petros beach Andros

… as well as several fully organized beaches, like Agios Petros, where sunbeds, bars, tavernas and water sports are available

 

Beach tour: Our final full day on Andros (Saturday May 30) was blessed with a mix of sun and clouds, warm temperatures and a slight breeze — perfect conditions for soaking up some sun and taking a dip at one of the island’s beautiful beaches.

But we were feeling too restless to simply laze away the day on a beach — our Andros visit was coming to an end, and we wanted to see more of the island before moving on to our next destination. So we spent the afternoon walking along the island’s west coast to have a look at all of the beaches situated between our hotel and the port town of Gavrio 7 kilometers to the north.

It took us about 3 hours to trek from Aneroussa Beach Hotel to the Gavrio harbourfront, following the two-lane highway that winds along the coast. It was a good way to enjoy the wonderful weather while seeing 10 main beaches — Agia Marina, Delavoyia, Stivari, Batsi, Kolona, Kyprianos, Kypri, Chrissi Ammos, Agios Petros, and Liopessi — plus the numerous coves and inlets that dot the scenic shoreline. It also gave us a chance to see more of Gavrio, which we had glimpsed only briefly when we arrived at the island five days earlier.

Our original plan was to walk all the way back from Gavrio, too, stopping for a drink at one of the beach bars along the way. But by the time we finished a late lunch in Gavrio, the sky was almost totally clear of clouds and the sun felt considerably hotter than it had during our hike to the port. Rather than risk sunburns, we took a taxi to Batsi, then walked from there to the Aneroussa hotel’s bar on Delavoyia beach, where we rested our tired feet and cooled off with some ice cold beer.

 

 

Though 10 beaches was a lot to visit in one day — far more than we typically see on our Greek island walkabouts — there were many others elsewhere on the island that we didn’t get to check out during our short time on Andros. They included Achla and Vitali, both of which often rank at the top of lists of the island’s “best” beaches, and Tis Grias to Pidima, which is pictured on scores of Andros postcards and travel guides. No worries — we’ll try to see  them on future trips to Andros. 

Please click on the link underneath the next two photos to continue reading  on page 2, where you can see pictures of all the beaches we visited on our coastal walk. I have also included links to websites with Andros beach information for those of you who might be planning to visit the island soon.

 

Liopessi beach on Andros

Besides beaches and coves, there is a lot of interesting scenery to view all along the Andros coast — like this curious rock formation at Liopessi beach …

 

hillside on the Andros coast near Batsi IMG_8416

 … along with steep hills dotted with houses and studio apartment buildings, as well as some impressive villas on sizable mountainside estates. The highway between Batsi and Gavrio also passes several tavernas, where the fragrant aromas of Greek cuisine will tempt your tastebuds as you walk by.

 

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Why you should visit Paros

BEST OF PAROS from Art in Design-Alternative on Vimeo.

 

PAROS from Dimitris Christopoulos on Vimeo.

 

I never need an excuse to visit Greece, but in online travel forums I often see people asking whether they should go to certain places, or wondering why specific Greek destinations are popular.  They think they want to visit them, but they really don’t have a clue what they will get to see and do once they get there.

Paros is one of those places. Since it’s a stop on the busy ferry route between Mykonos and Santorini, the two most popular Cyclades islands, many travellers realize it would conveniently fit into an island-hopping itinerary. But is it the right island for them to visit? Does it have enough attractions to make it a worthwhile stopover for a few days?

I think these two films, which I found on Vimeo today, will help visitors determine if Paros is their kind of place. (I think the answer will most likely be “yes.”) I’ve already been to Paros (twice), but both videos made me want to go back again.

In case you need more convincing, click here to view my Paros Greece 2012 collection on Flickr, which features hundreds of photos from the picturesque harbour village of Naoussa, and several beaches in its surrounding area. Some photos of the main port town of Parikia, as well as the Yria Hotel and the scenic coastline near Parasporos beach, can be viewed in my Paros collection.

Naxos calendar packed with arts, culture, food, music, party & sports events for August

Dimitria Festival 2014

A promotional poster for Dimitria 2014, the 3rd annual Agrotourism Exhibition in Sangri village. The festival includes a variety of cultural events, including: photography, painting, knitwear and traditional antique shows.

 

 Month full of fun: On any given summer day, there’s plenty to see and do on Naxos — as I’ve described in numerous posts, including my comprehensive January 6 2014 report on Our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos.

But if you happen to be travelling to Naxos during August this year, you’re going to be spoiled for choice even more — the island’s calendar is packed with special celebrations and activities appealing to visitors of all ages, backgrounds and interests.

Events include painting, sculpture and photography shows; food festivals; religious feasts and celebrations; live music concerts and performances; live theatre; entertainment for kids; movie screenings; sporting tournaments and nightclub parties.

I outlined a few of the island’s special events, including those held as part of the annual Naxos Festival, in my July 3 post, Cyclades islands celebrate summer with festivals for food & wine, arts & literature, culture & sports.

 Website listings for all Naxos events in August

Further details about many more August celebrations and festivities can be found on the following Naxos information websites:

♦ The Domus Festival page on the Naxos Festival website contains a chart listing the performers that will be appearing at the Venetian Castle in Naxos Town;

♦  The Bazeos Tower website contains a listing of all exhibitions and live performances being held at the 17th-Century monument, which is situated 12 km from Naxos Town;

♦  The What’s On section of the naxos-web.com portal has a chart showing dates and venues for most of the events taking place on the island in August; and

♦ The Naxos and Small Cyclades website includes a detailed day-by-day list of events and activities not just on Naxos, but also on the nearby islands of Schinoussa, Koufonissia, Donoussa, and Iraklia; and

♦ the Naxos Festival Facebook page contains a wealth of photos and informational posts about the festival lineup.

Since most events take place during the evening or at night, Naxos visitors will have plenty of time to enjoy the island’s fabulous beaches and scenic towns and villages before taking in the entertainment.

On page 2, I have posted dozens of promotional posters providing information about many the August events. Click on the link below to continue reading.

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Fly over the Corinth gulf & canal!

A Greek Gulf from Panos Smirniotis on Vimeo.

 

Fun flight: While scanning through tweets by some of the people I follow on Twitter, I discovered a real gem of a film clip today — A Greek Gulf, an amazing aerial video by photographer Panos Smirniotis.

The 6-minute clip, which is posted on Vimeo, shows captivating coastal scenery in areas around the southeastern end of the Gulf of Cornith, including the Heraion Lighthouse, the Sanctuary of Hera, and the Vouliagmeni Lagoon in Perachora; the world-famous Corinth Canal; and the beach and resort at Loutraki.

I have seen the Gulf of Corinth a couple of times, but only from jet airplanes cruising thousands of feet high, so it was impossible to notice the delightful scenery passing beneath us. Although the places shown in A Greek Gulf are seen from the air as well, Panos’s camera skimmed closer to earth, capturing gorgeous high-definition views of the water, beaches and coastal landscapes in the Corinthia area.

The uplifting music that accompanies the video is Piano Dream, by Andreas Agiannitopoulos (aka DJ A).

To view the video, click the white arrow at the bottom left corner of the image at the top of this post.

Below is a Google map of Greece, on which I have circled the approximate area in which the film was shot.

 I suddenly have an urge to go for a swim in the Vouliagmeni lagoon!

 

Google map of Greece

 

 

2014 Greek holiday report Part 3: Videos of Plaka, Orkos, Mikri Vigla & Agia Anna on Naxos

Above is a brief video that I shot from the southern end of Plaka beach, near Orkos, during our May 22 bikeride along the west coast of Naxos. This and the six other short clips (below) accompany Part 3 of my trip report (posted above).

 

Orkos Bay

 

Orkos beach

 

Mikri Vigla beach and bay

 

Views from Kontos Taverna at Mikri Vigla beach

 

Kitesurfers at Mikri Vigla

 

Agia Anna beach, viewed from the pier at Agia Anna harbour

 

Windsurfers ride the waves at Naxos

Windsurfers catch some waves and late afternoon sun on St George's Bay near Naxos Town

We watched these windsurfers skim across Agios Georgios Bay (St George’s Bay) on a windy but sunny afternoon during our holiday on Naxos last October

 

Hersonissos’s hidden & not-so-secret treasures

church in Hersonissos Crete

This beautiful church…

 

 

Hersonissos Crete

… this dramatic mountain landscape …

 

 

Hersonissos Crete beach

… this inviting beach …

 

 

Hersonissos sunset

… and this spectacular sunset … are among the spellbinding sights and scenes featured in two promotional videos for Hersonissos Municipality in Crete

 

 

More than big resorts:  The Hersonissos area on Crete is one of the largest and most popular mass tourism destinations in Greece, known for its huge hotels and all-inclusive resorts, exuberant nightlife, and extensive entertainment attractions and activities that will amuse visitors of all ages. Hersonissos has everything — from golf to go-karting, hiking to bungee jumping, plus waterparks, aquariums, museums, shops, restaurants and nightclubs.

But even though it’s a busy contemporary destination for holidaymakers as well as thousands of people attending conferences and business travel events each year, Hersonissos abounds with appealing natural wonders, too, like gorgeous beaches, beautiful mountain and plateau landscapes, historical monuments and even traditional Cretan villages.

 

Popular resort area is near Heraklion

Hersonissos is situated approximately 25 km east of the City of Heraklion, which is easy to reach by flight or by ferry. Hersonissos is a little more than a 15-minute drive from the Heraklion airport, by rental car or taxi, and can also be reached by frequent local bus service from a depot near the Heraklion port.

Further information about the biggest tourist destination on Crete is available on the Municipality of Hersonissos website as well as on the Hersonissos section of the comprehensive explorecrete.com web portal.

Below are two promotional videos that were produced for the Municipality of Hersonissos by the video production and web design agency Blueroom. Both films feature fabulous video scenery, along with stunning timelapse photography by Stian Rekdal.

Don’t be surprised if you feel a strong urge to plan a visit to Hersonissos after viewing the videos — I certainly did! In fact, I spent a few hours searching for photos and information about Hersonissos immediately after watching the clips. Don’t know if we’ll get there this year, but Crete is among the islands we’re considering for our next Greek holiday. Check out the videos and see if Hersonissos is a destination you might enjoy.

 

The Land of Beaches and Experiences video highlights some of the top activities enjoyed by visitors to Hersonissos, including water sports, diving, horseback riding, golf, and the CretAquarium. The video also provides inviting glimpses of some of the area’s gorgeous beaches.

 

 

The Power of Legacy video celebrates the “hidden treasures” of Hersonissos, ranging from “people full of warm hospitality to unbelievable beauty that was left behind by past generations. Everything coated with natural beauty and traditional villages in which you can experience tasty home made Greek cuisine.”

 

Mild to wild watersports in the Cyclades

tubing at Mylopotas beach

Thrillseekers take a wild tube ride at Mylopotas beach on Ios

 

 

Take the tube: Going for a swim in the sea is the time-honoured traditional way to cool off and seek some relief from the searing summer sun in Greece. Activities on the water can help beat the heat, too, with tube rides and sports like kitesurfing and wakeboarding offering a wet ‘n’ wild workout for people seeking a much more active and exciting adventure.

But if you’re too timid to skim across the sea under sail or motor power, you can still have a blast watching a novice try one of the sports for the first time, observing experienced participants honing their skills, or seeing a professional make even the most difficult maneuvers look almost effortless.

Windsurfing, canoeing, sea kayaking, sailing, and stand up paddle boarding (SUP) are among the mainstream watersports offered at beaches on some of the islands in the Cyclades (as well as in other island groups and many places along the coast of the Greek mainland).

For people seeking more speed and excitement, alternative activities include jet skiing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, water tubing and banana boat rides. In some locations, kite surfing is available for enthusiasts eager to experience the thrills and adrenalin rush of an extreme water sport.

 

A kitesurfer skims across the choppy sea off Agios Prokopios beach at Naxos on May 23 2013

Mountains on nearby Paros island provide a backdrop to this kitesurfer skimming the choppy surf off Agios Prokopios beach on Naxos

 

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3 fun ways to cool off at a beach in Greece

It takes skill and strength, but kitesurfing lets you zip across the water and even catch some quality air time, as these enthusiasts demonstrate in a video I shot at Agios Prokopios beach on Naxos on May 23.

 

 

Tube rides offer speed and splash and the risk of an unexpected dip in the sea, as these riders discovered at Mylopotas beach on Ios. I shot this clip on May 21.

 

 

For people who prefer to stay close to shore and keep their feet on the ground, jumping and wading in big waves — like these at Agios Prokopios beach in Naxos this past May — can be just as fun and exciting. I shot this clip on May 23.