Tag: travel guide

Travelling to Thessaloniki? Read this magazine before you go — or while you’re there

Greece Is special Thessaloniki magazine issue

The cover of Thessaloniki, a free magazine published by the Greece Is online guide to culture, gastronomy and Greece destination experiences

 

Essential reading: A free magazine I picked up at the Athens International Airport in June, while waiting to fly home after my latest Greek holiday, has me wishing I could take a trip to Thessaloniki soon.

Entitled Thessaloniki, the 176-page glossy magazine is packed with dozens of beautiful photos and interesting articles describing the city’s fascinating history, its important cultural institutions, monuments and landmarks, its exciting arts, entertainment and food scenes, and much more.

 

 

The second-largest city in Greece, Thessaloniki is a dynamic port center and capital of the Central Macedonia region of Greece.

It’s “a cauldron of gods and heroes, civilizations and religions; a place where the old and new cohabitate fruitfully. You can sense it everywhere; during a stroll, at the markets and museums, in the architecture, food and music. It’s in the air!” says a welcome page message penned by Giros Tsiros. He’s the editor-in-chief of Greece Is, the wonderful culture and gastronomy website which has published several destination-specific magazine guides, like the one for Thessaloniki, during the past two years.

 

Thessaloniki waterfront

The historic WhiteTower and the long Thessaloniki waterfront strip are seen in a photo from the online edition of Thessaloniki magazine

 

I’m gradually working my way through the issue, learning about the city’s annual arts events and festivals, its popular port and waterfront areas, its thriving design community, its exciting  gastronomy scene, and nearby attractions like the scenic Halkidiki peninsula and the historic Mount Athos monastery. There are still many more articles for me to peruse, but already I’m amazed at the astounding variety of things to see and do in and near the city — almost overwhelmed, in fact, since there is just so much that has captured my interest. It makes me wonder why I haven’t heard more people talk about Thessaloniki, as well as ask myself why I haven’t made it a priority to go there.

But even though Thessaloniki is blessed with so many places to explore, one of the magazine’s contributors says that simply being in the city is an enchanting and enjoyable experience in itself — visitors don’t have to rush to all the tourist attractions or scour back streets for “secret” shops and restaurants and other hidden gems to discover what the place is all about.

“A great way to get to know Thessaloniki is to do nothing to ‘explore’ her, but instead just ‘be’ there. Just relax,” advises writer Rika Z. Vayianni, an Athenian who has been visiting Thessaloniki for decades. If you pause to linger and listen you will hear the city speak volumes, Rika notes in “The art of doing nothing,” the magazine’s introductory article. “Some of the things she will say, or show to you, will remain in your memory for a long, long time. Some of them will perplex you, take you out of your comfort zone. But the city does speak.”

With luck I will one day have the opportunity to listen as Thessaloniki speaks to me. In the meantime, I will be learning more about the city as I read the rest of the magazine articles over the summer.

 

Trigonian Tower in Thessaloniki

The Trigonian Tower in Thessaloniki’s Ano Poli (Upper Town) district, seen in a photo from the Greece Is website

 

If you will be travelling to Thessaloniki this year, or if you are considering the city for a future trip, be sure to pick up a copy of the magazine so you can get valuable background information, ideas and recommendations for your visit.

Thessaloniki is available at several locations in the city itself, as well as in central Athens and at the Athens airport. 

In Thessaloniki, you can obtain a copy at:

♦ the Kathimerini offices at 99 Tsimiski Street;

♦ the Archaeological Museum at 6 Manoli Andronikou Street; and

♦ the State Museum of Contemporary Art, 21 Kolokotroni St. 

In Athens, the magazine can be found at:

♦ the Kathimerini offices at 47-49 Panepistimiou Street, and

♦ the Acropolis Museum at 15 Dionysiou Areopagitou Street

Pickup locations at Athens International Airport include:

♦ Press Point

♦ Kir-Yianni Wine Bar

♦ Gate A, and

♦ the Athens Municipality information desk on the Arrivals level

If you can’t get to one of those locations, or if you’d rather read the magazine online, click here to access the collection of Thessaloniki articles on the Greece Is website.

Greece Is magazine distribution stands

Look for distribution racks like the one shown above so you can pick up a copy of Thessaloniki or other special edition magazines published by Greece Is

Greek Islands featured on covers of major travel magazines

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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New Ionian Islands travel guide available

Ionian Islands travel guide

The cover of The Ionian Islands online travel guide, published by the Greek National Tourism Organisation, features a photo of a sailboat anchored near Navagio beach on Zakynthos (Zante) island

 

 

Free download: A new online travel guide for the Ionian Islands is now available from visitgreece.gr, the official website of the Greek National Tourism Organisation (GNTO).

The 88-page guide features maps, useful phone numbers, descriptions of must-see sights and must-do activities on each island, plus dozens of gorgeous full-colour photos. It’s organized into seven separate sections: Corfu, Diapontia Islands, Paxoi, Lefkada, Kefalonia, Ithaca and Zakynthos.

The guide is available in English, German, Italian, Spanish, French and Russian versions. To obtain a copy of the guide, click on this link to the GNTO downloads page, scroll down, and click on the flag that represents the language you prefer.

Don’t be surprised if you start dreaming of a holiday in the Ionians after seeing just the first few pages of the guide! Below are two of the images that appear in the publication. click on each photo to view a fulls-size version.

 

G. Augoustinators photograph of Antisamos on Kefalonia island in Greece

The Ionian Islands guide credits photographer G. Augoustinatos for this beautiful image of Antisamos on Kefalonia

 

 

Porto Katsiki beach on Lefkada

The gorgeous sky-blue sea off Porto Katsiki beach on Lefkada. The GNTO guide credits this photograph to the Lefkada Prefecture.

 

 

On my bookshelf: Greek Island Hopping

Greek Island Hopping 2007 by Thomas Cook Publishing

The cover of my 2007 Greek Island Hopping guide by Thomas Cook Publishing

 

Great guidebook: It’s already five years old, but much of the information in my well-worn copy of Greek Island Hopping 2007 is still so relevant and useful, this is the first book I pick up whenever I need to plan a trip or find an answer for questions that friends or I might have about travelling in Greece.

Known as the Bible of Greece travel guidebooks, the Greek Island Hopping series is written and researched by Frewin Poffley, who packs an incredible amount of detailed and helpful information — along with maps, illustrations and photos – between the covers of each year’s thick paperback edition. (There are 720 fact-filled pages in my 2007 version.)

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