Tag: Oia (page 2 of 5)

Greek Islands featured on covers of major travel magazines

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GEO magazine June 2014 cover

GEO magazine profiled Greece in its June 2014 issue with a cover photo of Mandrakia village on Milos and an “Escape” feature on the “Secret islands and archipelagos of Greece.” They’re obviously not secret anymore!

 

Summer reads: When I’m not in Greece I enjoy reading about it — in books, magazines, online travel forums and websites. Thanks to feature cover stories about Greece published by three major European travel magazines recently, I’ve got plenty to read while relaxing on my balcony this summer.

Here’s a look at what the three magazine cover stories say about Greece:

  GEO magazine June 2014

I discovered GEO magazine from France purely by chance — I was looking for another magazine at a newsstand when a photo on GEO’s bold green cover caught my eye. It was the picturesque harbour at Mandrakia, a fishing hamlet on Milos, under the headline: “Secret islands and archipelagos of Greece.” I couldn’t resist and bought the magazine after taking only a cursory glance at the contents.

It turns out there are 28 full pages of text and beautiful photos about several Greek islands including Kythera, Kalymnos, Milos, Santorini, Chios, Aegina, Tinos, Skyros, Folegandros and Rhodes. The stories aren’t travel guides — they don’t recommend hotels to stay in, for instance, or suggest the hottest restaurants and coolest beaches to visit. Some of the pieces provide brief descriptions and overviews of the destinations, while others take an insightful look into how the Greek Islands have been affected by the country’s devastating economic crisis. The sale of island real estate to foreign billionaires is considered in part of one report, for example, while another piece profiles people who have started new business ventures selling local agricultural products.

 Island village photo foul-up

 GEO magazine photo of Astipalea

Mon Dieu! GEO magazine mistakenly published this eye-catching photo of Chora village on Astipalea to illustrate a short piece about Chora on Kythera — another island in a completely different area of Greece.

 

One of the GEO feature’s excellent photos — spread across pages 36 and 37  — really piqued my curiosity. It shows a white-domed church rising from the middle of a huge stone castle perched on a hilltop. The slopes below the castle are stacked with white cube houses that descend to a row of derelict windmills. I instantly recognized the location — Chora village on Astipalea, a butterfly-shaped island in the Dodecanese archipelago. I had shot photos from almost the identical vantage point when we visited Astipalea in 2009. However, the picture accompanied an article about Kythera, which is part of the Ionian island group, and the text said the town in the photo is that island’s capital, also called Chora. (Most main towns on Greek islands are called Chora).

I haven’t been to Kythera yet, but I was absolutely certain the photo was from Astipalea. So I poured through my photos to confirm I was right (there’s more than 300 pictures in my Astipalea collection on Flickr). Sure enough, details in my pictures of Astipalea’s Chora matched the same features visible in the GEO image, which was credited to Velissario Voutsas /IML – Hemis.fr, a French photo agency. Obviously someone on the magazine staff had made a big boo-boo by purchasing the wrong stock image to illustrate the article!

(You can learn more about Kythera, and see photos showing what its Chora looks like, on the comprehensive Visit Kythera website.)

Photo flop aside, the GEO stories are compelling reads, and are bound to encourage people in France to consider island hopping in Greece on an upcoming vacation. Moreover, photos and information about Leros, Kalymnos, Chios, Skyros and Tinos will encourage travellers to visit charming islands that often get overlooked because they aren’t instantly-recognizable mainstream tourist destinations like Santorini, Paros, Naxos and Mykonos.

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

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Promotional videos mark a travel milestone — a full century of organized tourism in Greece

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The English-narrated video Greek Tourism. An eternal journey features stunning views of some of the most beautiful and famous sights and attractions in Greece

 

 

Significant Century:  With its long and storied history, Greece has been associated with tourism for what seems like an eternity. Not surprisingly, tourism is the country’s oldest industry.

“The Greek passion for travelling, for both knowledge and adventure, began long ago with Odysseus, the paradigm of the eternal traveller; with Herodotus, the first tourist and most famous story teller; and with Pausaniuas, who wrote the first travel guide 2,000 years ago,” narrator Donald Morgan Nielson notes in the promotional video Greek Tourism: An eternal journey

The five and a half minute film features utterly splendid video photography of spectacular scenery from the Greek mainland and some of the Greek islands, and is accompanied by soaring, uplifting music by Dimitris Papadimitriou. With a script directed by Andonis Theocharis Kioukas, the video was produced by QKas Productions for the Greece National Tourism Organisation (GNTO), and has been posted on the GNTO’s Visit Greece YouTube page.

 

From 10,000 tourists in 1914 to over 17 million in 2014

The video celebrates the 100th anniversary of officially-organized tourism in Greece. Back in 1914, respected Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos founded the first national service to oversee Greek tourism. That same year, 10,000 tourists visited the country, and the numbers just kept on growing from theret. They reached record proportions last year, when more than 17 million people visited the country — an all-time high. And even though it’s still early in 2014 and the main summer tourist season hasn’t even begun, Greece appears on track for another banner year.

There was an 8.4% increases in the number of international arrivals at Greek airports in January, February and March compared to the same quarter last year, while travel officials report that summer bookings from major markets like Germany and the USA have risen substantially. And with more than 150 new airline routes operating to Athens this season, along with numerous new international direct flights to Mykonos, Santorini, Crete and other islands, Greece appears likely to top its target of 18 million visitors by the end of the year.

Frankly, I’m surprised the number of visitors isn’t considerably higher. But once more people get to view Greek Tourism: An eternal journey, I’m sure they’ll consider planning trips to see the amazing sights and attractions for themselves.

Below is a slightly shorter version of the video which will let you enjoy Dimitris Papadimitriou’s inspiring music without the narration. Turn up the volume, sit back, and enjoy the 4-minute journey to “Greece … a small piece of heaven on earth.”

 

 

 

Pic of the day: Santorini village views from Oia

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This view from Santorini's Oia village takes in Imerovigli, Skaros Rock and Fira

The scenic village of Oia on the northwest tip of Santorini island is one of the most popular places in Greece to watch a glorious sunset. But Oia offers some great views of Santorini itself, including Skaros Rock with its distinctive flat, square cap (center).  Imerovigli, the highest village on Santorini, extends along the top of the cliffs on both sides of Skaros, while the island’s capital, Fira, is visible off to the right. Click on the photo to view a full-size image.

 

Santorini’s superlative scenery, on film

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A screen capture of the title page for the Santorini Freedom film by Aegean Films

A screen capture from Freedom, a fabulous 5-minute film by Vasili Pasioudis

 

Simply breathtaking: It has been available for online viewing on Vimeo for the past two years, but today was the first time I saw Freedom, a superb film showing Santorini’s spectacular scenery, and I just have to pass along the link so others can see it, too.

Produced by Aegean Films, the five-minute film by Vasili Pasioudis tries “to show that despite all the modern day craziness in this world, there are still corners of this globe one can run to, to forget about ‘things’.”

Watching the film certainly made me forget about everything else for five minutes — and then made me wish we were going back to Santorini during our upcoming Greek holiday this month.

Below, I have posted three more screen captures of scenes from Vasili’s film, just to tease you with a few examples of the simply breathtaking, gorgeous scenes you’ll see in the film. (Don’t forget to turn up your speakers … the film’s soundtrack features music by Darren Hayes & Daniel Jones of Savage Garden.)

 

 

Santorini Freedom film view of early morning sunshine on the village of Oia

Early morning sunshine on the incredibly picturesque village of Oia

 

 

Santorini Freedom film view of Skaros Rock and Imerovigli village

Skaros Rock and Imerovigli village

 

 

One of Santorini's fabled sunsets is captured in spectacular glory on the Santorini Freedom film

One of Santorini’s fabled sunsets, viewed from a clifftop café in Fira

 

 

A Santorini church on the streets of Toronto

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Oia church

This pillar advertisement for Celebrity Cruises, near the intersection of Yonge & Bloor Streets in Toronto, features one of the most frequently photographed churches on Santorini

 

 

Celebrity Cruises ad

There are hundreds of blue domed churches in Greece, but this one in the village of Oia stands out from the rest thanks to its distinctive coral-coloured belltower 

 

 

Picture perfect church: I think about Greece every day, but a cruise ship advertising campaign in downtown Toronto recently steered my thoughts to Santorini and the three times we’ve been to that particular island.

The “Celebrity’s Europe” poster ads for Celebrity Cruises featured one of the most photographed icons on Santorini — a blue-domed church with a coral-coloured belltower in the incredibly picturesque village of Oia, high above the wine-dark sea. The ads appeared on sidewalk pillars in different parts of downtown Toronto, and caught my attention whenever I went for a walk. The picture of the Oia church made me feel a tad wistful about our previous visits to Santorini, but also got me more excited to plan our next trip to Greece. (No, it won’t be a cruise — and we won’t be going back to Santorini.)

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