Category: Wildife and domestic animals

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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2board summer issue features food guide, hotel profiles + tour ideas for Athens & Chania

2board Magazine Gastro Guide

The July–September issue of 2board magazine features a gastronomy guide, suggested tours for Athens and Chania, and profiles of top boutique hotels

 

 Tons of great tips: If you’re passing through Athens International Airport anytime this month, be sure to grab a copy of the July–September issue of 2board magazine while you’re in the terminal.

The 212-page glossy publication is packed full of useful travel tips about hotels, restaurants, and attractions at a variety of destinations — information that could come in handy during your current travels in Greece, or for planning a future holiday.

2board is the official magazine of the Athens airport. Copies are available free of charge from magazine racks situated at various locations in the terminal building.

I always find a wealth of interesting information, travel ideas and helpful research material in 2board, and this summer’s edition is no exception. In fact, it’s one of the better issues, content-wise, that I’ve seen. (And, as always, it’s packed with photos of luxurious resorts, villas and restaurants I can only dream about visiting someday … but it’s still great fun to imagine what it would be like seeing these places and photographing them with my own camera.)

 

Gastro Guide to 10 top restaurants

Foodies will want to flip directly to page 21 for 2board‘s “Gastro Guide to Greece,” which profiles “Ten restaurants that do not simply dish up Greek high gastronomy, they consistently take it one step further.”

The guide highlights two acclaimed restaurants on Mykonos, three on Santorini, one each on the islands of Corfu, Crete and Rhodes, and two on the Greek mainland — one at Preveza and another in Halkidiki:

Etrusco at Kato Korakiana on Corfu;

♦ Old Mill at the Elounda Mare Hotel at Elounda on Crete;

♦ The Squirrel, one of the restaurants at Danai Beach Resort & Villas in Halkidiki;

♦ the dining room at Bill & Coo Suites & Lounge above Megali Ammos beach on Mykonos;

♦ the brand new White Star at Lakka Square in Mykonos Town;

♦ the restaurant at SESA Boutique Hotel at Kanali beach in Preveza;

♦ The Greek, a new dining room at the Sheraton Rhodes Resort on Rhodes;

♦ Selene in Pyrgos village on Santorini;

♦ Sea Side by Notos at Santorini’s Perivolos beach; and

♦ the dining room at the Grace Santorini hotel in Imerovigli.

The Gastro Guide includes full-page photos of the respective restaurants’ chefs and some of their tantalizing creations, along with suggestions of signature dishes to try if you get the opportunity to dine at one of these fine establishments. A word of warning: don’t read this article on an empty stomach, because the stunning food photos and descriptions of the unique dishes will instantly make you feel hungry!

 

Facebook page photo of the dining terrace at The Squirrel restaurant

The seaside dining terrace at The Squirrel restaurant in the Danai Beach Resort & Villas in Halkidiki. The photo is from the Danai Beach Resort Facebook page.

 Please click on the 2 in the link below to continue reading this report.

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Pic of the day: A white cat on blue steps

a cat on Ios island

A cat on Ios watches passersby from a staircase painted in the bold white and blue colours of the Greek flag

 

Island driving distractions: Sheep gridlock at Grikos and 4-legged highway hazards on Amorgos

sheep near Grikos Bay on Patmos

A flock of sheep approaches the main highway from a side road leading to the Grikos Bay resort area on Patmos island

 

Mass transit: One of the things we appreciate most about our Greek Island vacations is our temporary escape from the commuter chaos that clogs the city streets during the morning and afternoon rush hours back home.

That doesn’t mean we escape traffic problems altogether when we’re in Greece. It’s just that the ones we encounter are generally a lot more interesting and usually quite entertaining to see.

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Mule tidings: donkey tales from the islands

a donkey on a hillside overlooking the Skala, the port town on Patmos

This donkey enjoys a spectacular view of Skala, the port town on Patmos, from his hilltop vantage point on the edge of Chora

 

 

Donkey tales: Mules and donkeys can be a common sight on many of the Greek Islands including — not surprisingly — two of the country’s most popular tourist destinations: Santorini and Rhodes. If you visit Santorini’s capital town Fira, especially during a cruise, you’ll see scores of the animals working as taxis to transport tourists up and down hundreds of steps linking the small port to the town 220 meters above sea level (see my Don’t ride the donkeys! post above for more about that controversial practice). On Rhodes, dozens of donkeys are similarly pressed into service to lug lazy sightseers up the path to the Acropolis above Lindos.

On smaller isles that don’t draw huge hordes of tourists and cruise ship visitors, you’re more likely to see donkeys grazing in fields and yards while you hike or drive around. Sometimes you might not be able to see them, but you’ll clearly hear them — their boisterous braying can carry across a long distance. And at other times, you can wind up having a close encounter with one or more of the animals just when you least expect it.

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Taking a gander at some of the popular natural attractions at the harbourfront in Naoussa

geese at Noussa on Paros

Geese swim in the water below the stone bridge near the Naoussa harbourfront

 

Giggles and gaggles: The circular Venetian-era stone fort, the picturesque fishing harbours and the colourful sailboat and motorboat marinas are among the top attractions that draw tourists to the waterfront at Naoussa, the second-largest town on Paros.  But there are a few natural wildlife attractions that get their fair share of attention down by the seaside, too.

If you head over to the stone bridge and the little tree-shaded parkette near the excursion boat quay, you could wind up having a close encounter with some gaggles of gregarious geese that like to hang out in the general vicinity.

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Goose-stepping near the Naoussa waterfront

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Meow! My Greek Island cat photo collection is today’s featured album on Webshots.com!

cats in Samos Greece

Photo features: There are more than 692 million photos in hundreds of thousands of separate albums on Webshots.com, and today my “Cats and kittens in the Greek Islands” collection from 2009 was named Featured Album of the day! I have a second Webshots album of cats and kittens from 2011 which I published in an April 21 2012 post, and I am currently compiling a third from pics I took during my trip to Greece in May. I’ll post a link to that album once it’s ready for viewing.

My photos have been enjoying a good week on Webshots. On June 17, my pictures of Kolimbithres beach on Paros, which I had featured in the blog only one day earlier, were named Member’s Choice Beach Album.

Unfortunately, the company that owned Webshots decided to shut down the photo album website effective December 1 2012, so my albums are no longer available for viewing on that site. I have recreated them on the mygreecetravelblog.com Facebook page, however, so you can now view them there — even if you don’t have a Facebook account. To access the albums, click on the link provided under each photo below.

 

cats near Gagou Beach, Samos

This photo of two cats near Gagou Beach on Samos island is among dozens of cat and kitten pictures in my Cats in Greece #1 album on the mygreecetravelblog.com Facebook page.

 

Kolimbithres beach Paros

Dozens more photos of the beach and surrounding Kolimbithres area can be viewed in my Paros 2012: Kolimbithres Beach album on the mygreecetravelblog.com Facebook page.

 

Greece holiday pics of the day

geese on the waterfront at Naoussa

If you happen to hear a lot of honking on the road near the Naoussa waterfront in Paros …

 

geese in Paros

… it’s probably just the geese and ducks stuck in morning rush hour traffic!

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Cat tales: Our close encounters with cute kittens, cuddly cats and a few far-from-friendly felines

cats on Samos island

Two cats catch some early evening sun near Gagou Beach on Samos

 

cat in Milos

A cat in Adamas village on Milos watches us warily

 

cat in Mykonos

A drowsy cat reclines on a street near Little Venice in Mykonos Town

 

PLEASE TURN TO PAGE 2 FOR TEXT AND MORE PHOTOS

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