Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 3)

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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A travel blogger’s first-time visits to Santorini and Mykonos

Fira Santorini panoramic image by Christine from Vancouver blog IMG_20150508_102459

A panoramic view of Fira, the capital and main town on Santorini

 

Octopus at Amoudi Bay Santorini image by Christine from Vancouver blog IMG_20150511_130719_hdr

Octopus at Amoudi Bay on Santorini

 

Do you wonder what it’s like visiting Greek islands for the first time? Especially as a solo female traveller?

Two fascinating trip reports by a travel blogger from Vancouver, Canada will give you excellent insight into the entire experience. (They’re also great fun to read even if you have already been to Greece yourself.)

Blogger Christine visited Santorini and Mykonos earlier this month during a two-week holiday — her first-ever trip to Greece. She posted a thorough account of her journey, complete with dozens of photos, on her Christine in Vancouver blog.

I love the reports not just because they show Greece through the eyes of an island-hopping “newbie,” but also since they include scores of food pictures and valuable information about costs and prices — important details that I think will be extremely helpful to others considering a trip to Greece.

Click here to read Christine’s report for her May 6 to 13 stay on Santorini, and click here to read about her May 13 to 19 visit to Mykonos.

The two photos from Santorini posted above, as well as the two photos from Mykonos shown below, are just four of the dozens of fabulous pictures you’ll get to see in Christine’s reports (you’ll be able to view her photos full-size in a slide-show format.)

Enjoy your trip to Santorini and Mykonos with Christine!

 

Mykonos Town streets image by Christine from Vancouver blog IMG_2819

Streets in the heart of Mykonos Town

 

Ornos beach Mykonos image by Christine from Vancouver blog IMG_20150516_135434_hdr

Ornos, one of the top “family” beach resort areas on Mykonos

 

The Giola lagoon on Thassos

Giola lagoon on Thassos island photo from Panoramio member Papadakis Ioannis

Panoramio member Papadakisioannis snapped this shot of visitors enjoying the Giola lagoon and the terraced seashore surrounding it

 

Last week I published a post profiling popular Greek Island swimming spots that don’t have sandy beaches. Here’s another one — the Giola lagoon on Thassos — which is arguably far more spectacular but also much more difficult to reach.

Carved into the southeast coast of Thassos, several kilometers from the village of Astris, Giola is a natural pool approximately 20 meters long and over 15 meters wide. It’s enclosed by rock terraces that rise up to 8 meters high, creating convenient platforms from which visitors can jump and dive into the crystal-clear water, which is regularly refreshed by waves from the sea.

A Huffington Post Travel article called Giola “epically beautiful and crazy cool to swim in,” while Condé Nast Traveller magazine from the U.K. hailed Giola as one of the “best swimming pools in the world.”

Although it’s a visually stunning place to sunbathe and swim, Giola is a bit off the beaten path and not quite so easy to reach. But getting there is all part of the fun. You can find directions to the lagoon, complete with photos showing parts of the driving route and the hiking path to the coast, in FeelGreece.com’s Giola listing, as well as in the Let’s Find Giola post from the Discover Thassos travel website.

Below is a Google Maps image showing the lagoon’s location, followed by photos offering views of Giola from several different perspectives.

To see more excellent photos of Giola, click here to view a gallery of nine excellent Giola photos posted by Galeria Foto member moxxu.

 

Giola lagoon location shown on Google map of Thassos

This Google image shows the Giola lagoon location on Thassos, an island in the Northeast Aegean Sea.  Giola is situated at a  secluded seaside spot around 4 km from Astris village. You can drive most of the way, but then you’ll have to hike a trail to reach the coast.

 

Aerial view of Giola lagoon on Thassos

An aerial view of Giola lagoon. This image is from the website for the Potos Hotel located at Potos, about 16 km from the lagoon. You can see two more excellent photos of Giola on the hotel’s website.

 

 Giola lagoon on Thassos image 2_1 from Alternatrips.com

This photo of the lagoon is from the Greece travel website Alternatrips.gr

 

Giola lagoon on Thassos island photo from abeachaday.com

The A Beach A Day web guide for beach lovers published this photograph of swimmers enjoying the lagoon. Even though Giola is refreshed by waves from the sea, its waters apparently are much warmer than the sea.

 

 Seaview photo of Giola lagoon by Flickr member Ivonka

This unique seaview photo of the Giola lagoon is by Flickr member Ivonka. It shows the terraced flat rocks surrounding the pool on the seashore — perfect for sunbathing.

 

Giola lagoon on Thassos photo by Flickr member Chrysanthle Ak

Flickr member Chrysanthie Ak posted this image of a sizeable group of people enjoying the lagoon both in the water and from the adjacent rocks

 

Giola lagoon on Thassos photo by Flickr member Remus Pereni

This image by Flickr member Remus Pereni shows people on the narrow rock ledge that separates the lagoon from the Northeast Aegean Sea

An aerial tour of Aegina

Take an exhilarating aerial tour of Aegina island in this 3-minute video from the AeginaGreece.com travel & information website

 

Want to see a Greek Island while visiting Athens, but don’t have time for an overnight trip? Consider hopping over to Aegina for a day.

Situated in the Saronic archipelago, Aegina is one of several islands that can easily be visited on a daytrip from the city. It’s just 20 kilometers from the Athens port of Piraeus, and can be reached in a mere 40 minutes on a Flying Dolphin ferry. (If you’re not keen on riding a hydrofoil, you can get to Aegina in around 75 minutes or so on a conventional ferry ship.)

But since there’s so much to see and do on Aegina, it’s a great spot to spend several days or longer, if you’ve got the time.

 

Explore the island in tours, on foot or by bicycle

The island is famous for its pistachio nut production, but it also boasts beautiful beaches, charming villages, and numerous historic sites and museums.  Organized sailing and on-land tours are available, but many of the island’s attractions can be visited on foot or by bicycle.

You’ll see many of those places in the video posted above, which was produced by the AeginaGreece.com travel website in the summer of 2014.

Directed, filmed and edited by Alexander Berg, the video shows the harbour at Vagia, the top of Mount Oros, the famous Aphaia temple, a small church in Vathi, the ancient site of Kolona, the areas around Portes, Agia Marina, Souvala and Agii, as well as “the waters south from Agia Marina, the view from top of Moni island towards Marathonas and Vrochia, Perdika, the cathedral and monastery of Agios Nektarios, the hill side of Palaiachora, the area around Mesagros, fields around Vagia, view from top of Moni island towards Perdika and area around and view towards the port of Aegina town.”

Consult AeginaGreece.com for comprehensive information on how to get to Aegina, where to stay, and what to see and do there.

 Aegina island

Aegina Town, the port and commercial center of Aegina island. The photo is from the website for Gritzas Cruises, one of numerous companies offering daytrips from Athens to Aegina and other Saronic islands.

 

Paradise Club owners saying goodbye after 10 years of making party history on Mykonos

Paradise Club Mykonos thank you banner

This banner was posted on the Paradise Club Facebook page March 16

 

End of an era: The owners of Paradise Club, one of the biggest and most popular party places on Mykonos, are bidding adieu to their business.

In a post to the club’s Facebook page on Monday March 16, Thomas Heyne and Mario Hertel announced they are saying goodbye after entertaining hundreds of thousands of people from around the world at the famous Paradise Beach nightspot.

“Dear Friends:  After 10 years and another phenomenal season in 2014 we announce our decision to say goodbye to Paradise Club Mykonos. We want to thank everyone who supported us in the last 10 years! Whats next? Stay tuned, we´re excited to announce our new project very soon! See you in Mykonos!” Heyne and Hertel say in their Facebook post.

Paradise Club has been one of the top party venues in the Mediterranean and in the world; last year, it was ranked #20 on the DJ Mag list of the Top 100 clubs in the world. DJ Mag has also rated it as “one of the 7 best clubs by the sea.” Many of the world’s most popular DJs have appeared at Paradise Club over the last decade.

 

Fans mistakenly feared club was shut down

The announcement did not indicate if the Paradise Club venue has been sold to someone else who will continue to operate it as a party club, or if Heyne and Hertel’s new project will be opening in the space instead. That sparked a torrent of Facebook posts from club fans expressing shock, dismay and disappointment at the news. Many assumed the announcement meant Paradise Club had closed its doors for good, throwing a wrench into their party plans for summer vacations they have already scheduled.

However, on Tuesday March 17 a post on another Paradise Club Facebook page announced that the venue will host its grand opening party on Wednesday May 20, indicating that the venue will continue to operate without Heyne and Hertel at the helm. The post also said the summer’s DJ lineup “is full of your favorite stars & will be announced soon. Get ready for summer 2015. It’s gonna be mad!!!”

I thought something might be in the works with the club since, for the past several months, its website has redirected visitors to the site for the San Giorgio Hotel, which Heyne and Hertel also own.

I will update this report once I hear any news about what Heyne and Hertel’s new venture will be.

Click here to see my list of Mykonos parties and special events that have already been announced for the spring and summer of 2015.

What I don’t like to see in Greece …

Athens International Airport I

… is one of the entrances to the departures level of Athens International Airport, since it means another Greek holiday is coming to an end. Unfortunately, we had to pass through these doors yesterday to catch a flight home after yet another stellar vacation in Greece. You’ll be hearing more about the time we spent on Naxos and Syros islands, as well as in Athens, in the weeks ahead.

 

 

Mykonos 2014 restaurant & club update (Part 2)

Funky Kitchen Mykonos

The bar at Funky Kitchen Mykonos, a new restaurant that opened recently in the Lakka district of Mykonos Town. The photo is one of several posted recently on Funky Kitchen’s Facebook page.

 

More openings: Several weeks back I posted photos and information about brand-new tourist-related businesses opening on Mykonos for the summer of 2014 (see my April 13 2014 report headlined: Remezzo club gets restyled into restaurant & bar as new places to eat, stay & play open on Mykonos).

Friends on Mykonos tell me the arrival of the new accommodation, bar and dining venues has heightened the positive energy and enthusiastic buzz that has been steadily building this spring as travel bookings indicate the island could see a whopping 40% increase in visitor numbers this year.

That excitement will continue to increase this week, and throughout May, as more of the island’s already-established restaurants and bars launch their season with opening parties and special events.

Here’s some information to update my previous report from last month:

 

 

Newcomers to Lakka Square

Located near the busy Fabrika bus depot, the area around Lakka Square in Mykonos Town has long been one of the island’s top destinations for drinking and dining. It’s home to a variety of hugely popular restaurants and tavernas, including Bakalo, Marco Polo Taverna, Mediterraneo, and Sale e Pepe, and is where the cavernous Space Mykonos nightclub was located.

This year has brought three noteworthy changes to Lakka’s vibrant restaurant and bar scene.

Space is gone, and a new venue — Dream City (DC) — has taken its place. DC kicked off the season on April 19 with a grand opening party featuring Melisses and Knockout, and threw another bash the next day with Claydee and Bang La Decks. During May, Dream City will be open only on Fridays and Saturdays, but after that will be party central every day for the rest of the summer.

 

Dream City Mykonos

This image was posted on Facebook to promote last month’s opening party for Dream City Mykonos, a new club in the old Space Mykonos space

 

 

Just around the corner from DC, Funky Kitchen has opened its doors and begun welcoming customers. The restaurant subscribes to the “slow food” philosophy in preparing its Mediterranean dishes from high-quality, locally-sourced products. Everything the restaurant serves is made in-house, from its bread and dips to its marmelade and sauces as well as its sweets, chocolate chili and cardamom ice cream. Funky Kitchen also boasts an extensive wine list and cocktail menu.

Funky Kitchen is situated at 40 Ignatiou Basoula street, next door to Marco Polo Taverna.

 

Funky Kitchen Mykonos

Street view of the new Funky Kitchen restaurant, which features Mediterranean cuisine prepared in line with the “slow food” approach to cooking

 

 

The third newcomer to Lakka Square is Noodle Mykonos, an Asian “fusion” restaurant with a noodle and sushi bar.

Noodle offers “quick, fresh and healthy” cuisine for on-site dining, take-out and delivery.

 

Noodle Mykonos

This map, from the Noodle Mykonos Facebook page, shows the restaurant’s prime location two blocks from the Fabrika bus depot

 

 

Noodle Mykonos

This photo of guests gathered outside Noodle Mykonos during the restaurant’s recent opening party was posted on Facebook.

 

 

Noodle Mykonos

Also from the Noodle Mykonos Facebook page, a snapshot of the menu

 

 

 Skandi Bar ready to rock

The Skandinavian Bar and Disco has been a veritable institution on Mykonos since 1978, ranking as one of the top places to party in the Greek islands every year since then. Its opening night event for 2014 takes place tonight (May 5), and the place will continue rocking all summer long.

 

Skandinavian Bar Mykonos

Opening party promotional image from the Skandinavian Bar Facebook page

 

 

Skandinavian Bar Mykonos

Skandinavian Bar posted this enthusiastic group photo on its Facebook page to promote the club’s opening party on Monday May 5

 

 

Kastro Bar launches new season

Also opening today is another popular bar that has developed a legion of fans and regular visitors from around the world since it opened in 1976 — Kastro Bar. It’s located steps from the famous Paraportiani Church and boasts great sea and sunset views.

 

Kastro Bar Mykonos

This photo of the Kastro Bar interior was posted on the Mykonos Facebook page today to announce today’s official opening.

 

 

 A Nice n Easy start at Kalo Livadi

 The Nice n Easy Bio restaurant cafe expanded from Athens to Mykonos last summer, and the island outpost became an instant hit. Nice n Easy Mykonos vaulted to the #37 ranking for Mykonos restaurants on TripAdvisor.com, supplanting Solymar as the trendiest eatery at Kalo Livadi beach. (Solymar had to settle for the #176 ranking on TripAdvisor’s Mykonos restaurant chart).

Will Nice n Easy duplicate its success in 2014? We may soon find out — it will be opening its doors on May 16.

 

Nice n Easy Mykonos

This photo was posted on the Nice n Easy Mykonos Facebook page to announce the restaurant’s official opening on May 16

 

 

Top beach eateries now open

Kalosta Restaurant quickly became one of the most popular new places to dine on Mykonos last year, vaulting into a high position on the TripAdvisor.com traveller reviews (where it is currently is rated as the #12 restaurant on the island.) It opened for a fresh season on May 7.

It joins several perennially-popular dining spots that have already opened for business at other beach areas, including Kiki’s Taverna at Agios Sostis, Aneplora at Kalafatis, Solymar at Kalo Livadi, Tasos at Paraga, Nammos at Psarou, Kostantis at Ornos and Hippie Fish at Agios Ioannis. Launching its season soon will be Fokos Taverna at Fokos beach, which has set its opening for May 15.

 

Kalosta restaurant Mykonos

This photo, from the Kalosta Restaurant Facebook page, shows part of the view of Panormos beach that restaurant guests will enjoy from the open-air dining terrace

 

 

Kostantis restaurant Mykonos

Kostantis restaurant is situated near the middle of Ornos beach. This photo of the beachside dining terrace appears on the Kostantis Restaurant Facebook page.

 

 

Mykonos Town hot spots

Fans of superb Italian food and fine wine will be happy to hear that Sale e Pepe is open for another season. The restaurant is located at Lakka Square and has won numerous accolades for its food and wine. It has been well-known for its wine list which is arguably the best on the island, and which has won acclaim from Wine Spectator magazine as one of the best restaurant wine lists in the world.

Lovers of authentic Neapolitan pizza will be delighted that Marechiaro is now open again, too.  Besides pizza, Marechiaro offers salads and appetizers as well as fish specials and rib eye steaks.  Pizza can be ordered for pick-up and take-away each day from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Last but not least, the world-famous Nobu Matsuhisa Mykonos started its second decade of business on May 9. Situated in the chic Belvedere Hotel, the restaurant celebrated its 10th anniversary last year.

 

Sale & Pepe Mykonos

From the Sale & Pepe Facebook page, a photo of the restaurant’s open-air dining terrace near Lakka Square in Mykonos Town

 

 

New disco & lounge at Taxi Square

Boogie nights return to Taxi Square on May 16 when the new lounge & discotheque @54 Club opens in the premises formerly occupied by the Ramrod Club gay bar.

The island’s newest nightclub is promising “Exclusive weekly parties full of the sexiest & most glamorous jet setting crowd and pumpin’ jamz to boot!”

The grand opening celebration starts at 7 pm.

 

@54 Club Mykonos

Bartender Tassos stands outside @54 Club, a new disco & lounge opening on the premises once occupied by the Ramrod Club gay bar. The club, located next to Taxi Square in Mykonos Town, starts its boogie nights with a grand opening party on May 16. The photo is from @54 Club’s Facebook page.

 

 

Greek dancing & music at Roca Cookery

Roca Cookery isn’t a new restaurant (it has been in business for nearly three years now), but I noticed they have added something new that will probably be as huge a hit with tourists as their excellent seafood dishes and Greek cuisine.

One evening each week, Roca Cookery will host a Greek dancing show with live music. The spectacles will take place on Tuesdays at 21:30 (9:30 p.m.).

For reservation inquiries, contact the restaurant by telephone at 30 2289 022955 or drop by in person. Roca Cookery is situated next to the Mykonos Archaeological Museum on the road above the Mykonos Old Port.

 

Roca Cookery Mykonos

A promotional image for the new Greek dancing and live music shows being held every Tuesday night at Roca Cookery.

 

50th annual Aegean sailing regatta starts today

Aegean Sailing Rally poster

The promotional poster for the International Aegean Sailing Rally, an annual competition that takes place from today through July 29.

 

Milestone event: Competitors from around the world will set sail today in the International Aegean Sailing Rally, the most prestigious sailing regatta in Greece.

Organized by the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club, the event was founded in 1964 and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

 

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Chasing butterflies

butterfly in Naxos Greece

A butterfly rests near Agia Anna beach on Naxos island. This particular species has the hallmark characteristics of a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

 

Winging it: Back in late April, when southern Ontario experienced an irruption of Red Admiral butterflies, I recalled the time our island bus tour on Paros skipped a scheduled stop at the famous Valley of Butterflies — because there were none to be seen.

That was back in mid-June 2005. We had signed up for a day-long Orbit Travel excursion that would take us to places right around the island, including an afternoon visit to Petaloúdes, the butterfly valley 6 km from the port town of Parikia. I’d read about the Valley in my Greece travel guidebooks; they described Petaloúdes as a Paros must-see attraction during summer months simply because of the staggering numbers of Jersey tiger moths that would swarm the area. We had been impressed with the Butterfly Conservatory near Niagara Falls, so we thought it would be neat to see an entire valley teaming with tiger moths.

Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.

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Arriving and departing Amorgos at sunrise

Sunrise at Amorgos Greece

The mountainous Amorgos coastline was in silhouette from a brilliant sunrise when we approached by ferry for our first-ever visit to the island …

 

Sunrise at Amorgos Greece

… and it was once again in silhouette when we departed the island, also at sunrise, several days later. Both photos show views of Cape Koutsogiani, the hulking dark mountain at right. Tiny Monopetra island pokes out of the sea a few hundred meters from the sheer cliff coastline of the Amorgos north coast.

 

Scenery silhouettes: During our island-hopping holiday in 2009, we arrived at Amorgos in very much the same circumstances as we departed several days later — watching the sunrise from the open deck of a ferry.

Our arrival on May 21 2009 is literally burned into my memory, probably because I was nearly blinded by the fiery, searing sun while I tried to take photos as we approached Amorgos on the Blue Star ferry ship, the Naxos.  I’ll never forget arriving at Amorgos for another reason: the horribly early start to our day.

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What is there to see in Mykonos Town?

A street in Mykonos Town

Staircases along a quiet residential street in Mykonos Town

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Lots to see: It’s that time of year when people are planning their spring, summer and fall vacations, and considering cruises and package tours for their first-ever trips to Greece. In the forums on TripAdvisor.com, travellers are asking for advice about what they will be able to see on Mykonos, especially if they only have limited time while their cruise ship calls in port.

Mykonos is famous not only for its sun-drenched sandy beaches and its frenzied party scene in July and August, but also for its charming and picturesque Mykonos Town, the island’s main settlement and one of the busiest and most popular destinations in all of the Greek Islands.

I sometimes describe Mykonos Town as “a small cosmopolitan Greek city by the sea” because it truly does offer many of the features that draw people to a sophisticated international city: fabulous scenery, wonderful architecture, outstanding restaurants, high-end designer shops, five-star boutique hotels, galleries and museums, and visitors from every corner of the globe.

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Greece holiday 2011: Way to go, kids! A hearty, warm welcome from the goats at Hermes Hotel

a goat on Ios

This goat was in a herd that gave us a warm welcome to the Hermes Hotel

 

Warm welcome: Checking into a hotel usually isn’t a memorable experience. Sometimes you get a friendly greeting from a cheery person at the reception desk, and sometimes you just get a grunt from someone who couldn’t care less about making a good first impression to a stranger from another country. And sometimes you really luck out, and get to see an entire herd of goats hurry up a hillside to welcome you to their island.

That’s exactly what happened minutes after we checked into the Hermes Hotel on Ios back in May.

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