Tag: sunset (page 1 of 4)

Longing for Lefkada

Glimpses of gorgeous sights and scenes abound in Essence of Lefkada, a 2.5-minute film by Vimeo contributor Ambanja 

 

Three looks at Lefkada: For me, the worst thing about taking a spring vacation in Greece is what happens after I return home.

First there’s the typical post-holiday depression and disappointment that dig in deeply while I try to adjust to the reality of not being in Greece anymore. This “downer” mood tends to linger for months, and looking through our holiday photos often makes it worse (which is the reason why I typically don’t publish trip reports  or write about our vacations until later in the year.)

Then, over the next five or six months, I have to endure seeing countless pictures, videos and comments that people post on social media during their own vacations in Greece.  Many are familiar sights and scenes from places we have already visited, but most show and describe bucket list destinations that I dream about seeing some time in the future.  They instantly aggravate the symptoms of my post-holiday blues, and make me wish I could hop on a plane and fly back to Greece immediately.

Which of course is what happened when I discovered the three videos I have posted here.

 

 

The first film, Essence of Lefkada, was published in July, while the two videos below were posted online in late August. All show scenes from Lefkada which, along with all the other islands in the Ionian chain, is a destination on my lengthy “must visit” list. 

Lefkada is the favourite summer holiday island for a Greek-Canadian acquaintance who kept saying “you don’t know what you’re missing,” and frequently asked when we were finally going to go there. After watching these films, I now understand why he kept urging me to bump Lefkada higher up our list.

Give them all a look and see if they leave you wishing you could be on Lefkada right now, too.

 

Summer Dream is a 4.5-minute video by Jorde Angjelovik, showing aerial views of Lefkada landscapes, beaches and coastal scenery

 

Lefkada … in beauty is a 4.5-minute film by Drone Photography, capturing views of beautiful beaches and seasides on the island’s western coast

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.

 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Where to hit the beach at Batsi

Batsi beach on Andros

The main beach at Batsi village on Andros is a long ribbon of golden sand that rings the northern shore of Batsi bay. I took this photo at the southeast tip of Batsi beach, near the town’s waterfront strip and harbour …

 

Batsi beach on Andros

… and shot this picture from a hill at the opposite end of the beach.  It takes just under 10 minutes to walk the full length of the sand.

 

Five strands: Travelling to Andros this summer? Batsi village is an ideal base for swimmers or sun worshippers who want to stay within walking distance of several beaches and still have a good variety of places to eat and drink.

The biggest, best and most convenient beach is right at Batsi — a long arc of golden sand that hugs the north shore of Batsi bay. Bars and restaurants are situated only steps away across the beachside road, while it’s just a short stroll from Batsi beach to the town’s main commercial area, which offers many more drinking and dining opportunities.

Four more beaches are within reasonable walking distance of the village, making Batsi a perfect location for beach loving visitors who won’t have a rental vehicle during their stay (which was the case for us during our visit in late May).

Kolona beach on Andros

Kolona beach is on a small bay directly opposite the village

 

Kolona beach is located directly across the bay from Batsi harbour (you can see the golden sand crescent from the town’s waterfront), and is about a 15-minute walk from the northwest end of Batsi beach. It’s a scenic walk the entire way, since the route provides extensive views of the entire village and bay area, as well as surrounding mountains and the coast beyond Batsi.

Heading south from Batsi, a 10-minute walk will bring you to Stivari, a strip of rental studios and apartments on a hillside overlooking a small bay. Stivari beach is a small pebble, stone and sand cove that’s more suitable for sunbathing than swimming, but it does offer impressive sea and sunset views, and it’s conveniently straight across the road from O Viomichanos / Stivari Gardens restaurant, where drinks and good food are served on a large tree-shaded terrace.

Stivari beach on Andros

Stivari is a small sliver of pebbles and sand a short walk south of Batsi 

 

From Stivari, a 5-minute walk up and over the adjacent headland takes you to the Aneroussa Beach Hotel, where a stone staircase near the hotel’s driveway entrance leads down the hill to Delavoyia beach. There actually are three small sandy coves here, separated by narrow outcroppings of smooth rock, and the hotel operates a cafe-bar on the biggest of the beaches.

Agia Marina beach is a further 5-minute walk past the Aneroussa. It’s a narrow band of brown sand with trees at the north end near the entrance to the excellent Agia Marina Taverna. The restaurant’s terrace overlooks the beach and is a great spot to sip a cold beer or dine on delicious home-cooked food while savouring the superb sea and sunset views.  (We had two outstanding meals of Greek cuisine here.)

 

Delavoyia beach and Agia Marina beach

Delavoyia (foreground) and Agia Marina (center right) are about a 20-minute walk from Batsi along a road above the scenic coast

 

This is a short video I shot showing afternoon, evening and sunset views of Delavoyia beach

 

There are even more beach-hopping options for travellers with their own transport — several excellent strands are located a short drive away, along the highway linking Batsi to the port town of Gavrio. I will be publishing photos of those beaches in a separate future post.

Click on the link below to see additional photos of all five beaches on page 2 of this post.

 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Our stay at Aneroussa Beach Hotel on Andros

Aneroussa Beach Hotel

Thanks to the clifftop location of Aneroussa Beach Hotel 

 

Aneroussa Beach Hotel

we enjoyed exceptional beach, sea and sunset views … 

 

Aneroussa Beach Hotel

from our room and its very comfortable veranda

 

Didn’t want to leave: After three nights at Andros Town, we moved across the island to spend the next stage of our spring holiday at a hotel near Batsi, a popular beach resort area on the northwest coast of Andros.

This marked only the second time in all our travels to Greece that we have stayed at two different places on the same island (in October 2013, we similarly split our stay between a beach resort and town during our two-week vacation on Naxos.)

For accommodations, we chose Aneroussa Beach Hotel, which is located on the coast south of Batsi at the small but delightful Delavoyia beach.

We could not have picked a better place — it perfectly suited our personal travel tastes and accommodation preferences, and it quickly became one of our favourite hotels out of the more than three dozen we have stayed at in Greece so far. In fact, when it came time to move on after our scheduled 3-night stay, we didn’t want to leave, wishing we could have spent more time at the Aneroussa.

Please click here or on the link below to continue reading our review and to see a video and photos of Aneroussa Beach Hotel on page 2 of this post.

 

Aneroussa Beach Hotel photos on Flickr

My Aneroussa Beach Hotel album on Flickr contains 160 photos showing the hotel grounds, our room and terrace, the Aneroussa beachfront, and some of the hotel facilities. Click here to see the pictures.

 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Exhilarating sights and scenes from Santorini

Filipe Samora captured breathtaking Santorini sights in this spellbinding film posted on Vimeo. I loved watching the video and am sharing it here so you can enjoy the exhilarating images of this incomparably beautiful Greek island.

Steaming to Syros at sunset

Aqua Spirit ferry

The NEL Lines Aqua Spirit ferry departs Andros en route to Tinos and Syros on the evening of May 29 2015.

 

That’s the Spirit: While we were watching a beautiful sunset from our terrace at the Aneroussa Beach Hotel on Andros on May 29, a passing ferry caught my attention. It was the Aqua Spirit, one of several ships operated by NEL Lines, and I was surprised to see it in service. During the past year, many if not most of its scheduled sailings have been either disrupted or cancelled entirely because of mechanical problems as well as labour disputes by 500 seamen who claimed they had not been paid wages for months. In fact, just before we travelled to Greece in late May, online travel forums were peppered with posts by frustrated holidaymakers who wondered if they could rely on NEL Lines service for their summer island hopping itineraries.

NEL Lines has a 43-year history of shipping in Greece, but has experienced financial difficulties in recent years, reportedly teetering on the verge of bankruptcy at least once. Its frequent service disruptions have caused headaches for Greek citizens and tourists  seeking to travel between islands in the Cyclades. (The Aqua Spirit and its sister ship, the Aqua Jewel, operate on routes connecting nearly two dozen different isles in the Cyclades.)

 

New investors now running NEL Lines

Because of the continuing problems with NEL, Greece’s Coastal Transportation Council (SAS) met last Thursday (June 18) to determine if it would declare NEL in forfeit of its privilege to operate, and to decide if it would bar the company from running ferries in the Cyclades. As the Greek Travel Pages reported that same day, the Council did vote in favour of declaring NEL Lines in forfeit. However, it postponed its decision about banning the company from continuing to operate in the Cyclades after being advised that a new group of investors had taken over NEL and hoped to relaunch the firm once it had settled outstanding obligations to employees and government agencies.

The matter will ultimately be decided by Greece’s Alternate Shipping Minister, Theodoros Dritsas.

Greek Travel Pages said Hellenic Seaways has expressed interest in operating to the Cyclades from the Lavrio port in Attica in the event NEL is barred from providing the service.

Fingers crossed that the issue is resolved quickly …we have relied on NEL Lines for some of our Cyclades island hopping, and would have used them on our recent holiday had we been able to count on the Aqua Spirit sailing as scheduled.

 [Editor’s Update June 24 2015: Greek media have today reported that the Alternate Shipping Minister declared NEL Lines forfeit, thereby barring the company from operating ferries in the Cyclades.  Next step is for the Greek Shipowners Association for Passenger Ships (SEEN) to hold a process in which qualifying shipping companies can bid to win a 3-month operating permit for service to the Cyclades. For its part, NEL will be seeking new business opportunities to replace the lost ferry contract. Greek Travel Pages reported that NEL issued a statement saying: “The company is exploring ways to replace these revenues by leasing its ships for charter travel in Greece, or preferably abroad, granted that it has been proven that coastal shipping in this continuing and intensifying financial crisis is no longer a profitable business.”

[Update June 26 2015:  Greek Travel Pages has reported: “For the next three months the Greek coastal ferry operator Hellenic Seaways will run the route connecting the Western Cyclades with Syros and other islands of the Cyclades complex, according to a decision by the Greek Shipping Ministry.” In three months’ time, the government will open tenders for continuing service on the routes.]

 

Aqua Spirit ferry

The Aqua Spirit departs Andros on its way to Tinos and Syros

 

Aqua Spirit ferry sailing past Andros

Aqua Spirit steams across the horizon while we watch the sunset from our hotel near Batsi on Andros

And the sun sets on yet another fabulous Greek holiday

Donny B watching a sunset from Kini Beach on Syros IMG_2249

That’s me watching a brilliant June 4 sunset from Kini beach on Syros. We have returned home from our 12th consecutive trip to Greece, during which we visited Andros for the first time, paid a repeat visit to Syros, and ended our vacation with a brief one-night stay in the Glyfada suburb of Athens. It was one of our best holidays ever (quite possibly even the best), and I’ll be showing and telling you more about it in the weeks to come.

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.

A splendid Naxos sunset

Naxos sunset

Naxos resident Manolis Lykouropoulos captured this mesmerizing image of drama in the sky during sunset on March 5. If Manolis’s name seems familiar, that’s because I recently posted his terrific shot of the Temple of Apollo on Naxos during a vicious winter wind storm. You can see that photo in my February 14 report More weather woes as wind & waves thrash the Greek Islands. It’s the second picture from the top of the post.

 

25 tongue-in-cheek reasons why you shouldn’t visit Greece

Messinia Golden Coast

“Mediocre” views, like this one of the Messinia Golden Coast in the beautiful Peloponnese region of mainland Greece, is one reason why BuzzFeed recommends that travellers stay away from Greece. This striking photo is from the fantastic Visit Greece photostream on Flickr.

 

Just stay home: Are you tired of winter? Could you use a good chuckle? Want to see some superb photos to inspire your next trip to Greece?

Then click here to view the tongue-in-cheek photo feature 25 Reasons You Should Never Visit Greece, which was published this week on the news and lifestyle website BuzzFeed.com.

Featuring gorgeous photos from Visit Greece and other sources, the article addresses a number of modern “myth”conceptions about Greece, considering whether Athens “isn’t really that special,” if the country’s beaches are truly only “average at best,” and whether the views, scenery and sunsets in Greece are worth seeing at all.

The BuzzFeed piece gave me a much-needed good laugh today, while the spectacular photos took my mind off the snow and deep-freeze temperatures outside.

If you want to forget winter for awhile yourself, and learn 25 reasons why you really should visit Greece as soon as possible, be sure to check out the article.

 Windmills at Chora on Amorgos

Hectic places, like this crowded hilltop with windmills near Chora village on Amorgos, is another reason why travellers might want to avoid Greece, according to the website BuzzFeed.com.

Bay watching on Milos

Bay of Milos

Halara Studios view of the Bay of Milos and the island’s west side

 

Scenic viewpoints: Several readers recently asked about places to stay or visit on Milos to enjoy amazing views and scenery. On our last trip to the island we stayed at Halara Studios in Plaka village, where we had inspiring views of the Bay of Milos from our windows and from the long terrace outside our room.  (Plaka is the capital of Milos island.) Another option for accommodations is Studios Betty, about which I’ve heard good comments. It’s located only a few meters from Halara, and offers substantially similar views.

But the best vantage point on the island is Kastro, the summit of the peak that rises a few hundred feet above Plaka. If the thigh-burning uphill hike to Kastro doesn’t take your breath away, the views from there certainly will — especially at sunset. (If your legs and lungs can’t handle the hike all the way to the top, the terrace outside Thalassitra church part way up is a good viewing spot, too.)

And if you have mobility issues and can’t climb the steep stairs to either Thalassitra church or Kastro, head for the Korfiotissa church in Plaka. The wide terrace on the west side of the church offers marvellous views as well. Want to sit back and sip a drink or glass of wine while watching the sun go down? You can’t beat the patio at Utopia Cafe (see my April 4 2012 post about sunset watching from the bar.)

Below are several pics showing some of the Bay of Milos views from Halara Studios, Plaka and Kastro.  You can view additional photos in the Milos 2011 photo collection on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page.  Take a look, in particular, at the Halara Studios, Plaka village and Kastro at Sunset albums.

Also visit the Plaka Milos Facebook page for more photos and information.

 

Bay of Milos

Another Halara Studios view of the Bay of Milos

  Kastro view of Milos

Kastro view of Plaka village and the Bay of Milos

 

Kastro view of Milos

Kastro view of Plaka (right), Tripiti village (center) and the bay

 

Kimisi of Theotokou church Milos

The church of Kimisi of Theotokou (Assumption of the Virgin church) is a superb sunset viewing spot on Kastro, high above the Bay of Milos (left)

 

Thalassitra church Milos

Thalassitra church sits roughly halfway up the mountain peak between Plaka and Kastro. Its terrace is an excellent place to view the sunset if you can’t make it all the way up to Kastro. 

 

Steps to Kastro  on Milos

Looking down some of the steps on the mountainside below Kastro. At left is the Thalassitra church.

  Steps from Kastro to Plaka

A great view of the Bay of Milos from steps farther down the hill

 

Korfiotissa church in Plaka

The terrace at Korfiotissa church in Plaka is an excellent place to take in the sunset and the superb Bay of Milos scenery

 

View from Plaka Milos

An afternoon view from Plaka toward Cape Vani, the rocky point at the mouth of the Bay of Milos (upper left), and nearby Antimilos island

 

Sunset’s glow at Roditses beach on Samos

Roditses beach on Samos

The setting sun casts a warm golden glow on Roditses beach (foreground) and nearby Vathy, the capital and main commercial center on Samos island 

 

Roditses beach and Tasos Taverna

Roditses beach is about a 15-minute walk from Vathy, in a predominantly residential area with apartment buildings, elegant holiday homes, rental studio accommodations and a few hotels. It’s also the location of Tasos Taverna, whose open-air dining terrace is visible at upper left.

 

Roditses beach

Roditses is a rather unremarkable small beach, with a surface comprised mainly of stones and pebbles.  There are scores of beautiful and more scenic beaches on Samos, but Rodises is quick to reach on foot from Vathy,  and it’s suitable for some quiet time or sunbathing.

 

 Roditses beach

Two big apartment buildings on the hill behind Roditses beach

 

Roditses beach

Looking toward the Tasos Taverna seaview dining terrace, from the rocky southeast end of Roditses beach.  Tasos is the #1-ranked restaurant for Vathy on TripAdvisor.com, where reviewers praised the reasonably-priced Greek cuisine and the taverna’s views of Vathy Bay and the sunset.

 

sunset over Vathy Bay Samos

Although Roditses beach is far from spectacular, that’s not the case for the views from Tasos Taverna, where diners can watch as the sun sets in the distance beyond Vathy Bay

 

Older posts