Tag: villages

Tips & talk about Naxos: my interview with Hype Magazine

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Donny on Naxos

Enjoying the scenery on Naxos, one of my favourite Greek Islands

 

I love talking about Greece — that’s one of the main reasons why I write this blog, after all! — so I was delighted when Hype Magazine, the blog published by the U.K.-based Holiday Hypermarket, invited me to participate in a Q & A interview about one of my favourite islands.

I suggested talking about Naxos, since it’s not as well known as blockbuster destinations like Mykonos and Santorini, which receive the lion’s share of attention in the travel media.

Below is interview excerpt in which I describe  what I believe are three of the top places to see on Naxos. 

You can read the complete interview on the Hype Magazine site, where I answer questions and provide some personal “insider tips” about restaurants, cultural events, historic sites, beaches, island scenery, getting around Naxos, and more.

 

 

Hype Magazine: If a holidaymaker only has a few days on the island, what would you say is one thing he or she absolutely shouldn’t miss the chance to see and do in Naxos?

Me: Since it’s so big, Naxos can easily keep visitors entertained for a week or fortnight or even longer. But if you don’t have that much time available, aim to spend at least three full days and nights on Naxos. This is sufficient to comfortably explore what I think are the island’s top three ‘must see/must do’ features.

First is the port town, Chora, better known as Naxos Town. It has a bustling harbour-front promenade lined with dozens of stores, cafes and restaurants. Not to mention an Old Market district with cozy bars, coffee shops, stores and galleries nestled in a warren of narrow lanes. You can also expect an imposing castle which towers above the town. And St George’s beach, a long strand boasting soft brown sand and shallow clean waters – ideal for families with small children.

A short stroll from Chora’s harbour front is the Temple of Apollo monument. Also known as the Portara, this giant marble door frame is all that remains of a temple which was only partially constructed centuries ago. Since it’s on a hilltop overlooking the sea, it’s one of the best places on Naxos to watch a sunset, and to enjoy terrific views of Naxos Town.

The second must-see is one or more of the beautiful sandy beaches that extend, like a long chain, down the island’s western coast. Some, like Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna, have organized sections with rental sunbeds and umbrellas, as well as tavernas and bars close by.  At others, like Plaka, you’ll find some spots with sunbeds and restaurants nearby, but also incredibly long stretches of wide-open space and big dunes topped with tall grasses. All that space, and sand stretching for miles, are what draw many beachgoers to Naxos. St George’s and Mikri Vigla beaches also offer sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, kitesurfing and other watersports.

The third ‘must do’ is to visit one of the charming inland villages, including Chalki, and the picturesque mountain villages of Filoti, Apeiranthos and Koronos – no visit to the island would be complete without spending some time in at least one of them.

 

Plaka beach on Naxos

One of the things I love most about Naxos is being able to walk for miles along spacious, uncrowded beaches like Plaka (above), which extend one after the other down the isle’s western coast.

 

Want to read more about Naxos? Take a look at my popular article, Our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos, as well as other top Naxos posts from my blog. 

To see more of the island, check out my Naxos photo collection on Flickr.

An entrancing visit to Arcadia, the mythical land of Pan

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The Arcadian is a captivating short film by PanoVerino

 

Domain of Pan: Just two days ago, I published Experience Greece’s glorious off-season sights & scenery with winter walks and drives, a post packed with photos of beautiful winter scenes in Greece. The Arcadia region of the Peloponnese was one of the regions featured prominently in that post.

I just discovered a fascinating short video of Arcadia that filmmaker PanoVerino published the same day on the film and video sharing website Vimeo.com.

Entitled The Arcadian, the 3-minute film shows entrancing ground and aerial winter time views of impressive mountain and valley landscapes, breathtaking hillside villages and the extraordinary Monastery of Prodromos, which was constructed into the side of a sheer cliff face around the year 1167.

In notes on his Vimeo page, PanoVerino explains that “The Arcadian is a person who leads and prefers a simple rural life. According to Greek mythology, Arcadia of Peloponnesus was the domain of Pan, a virgin wilderness home to the god of the forest and his court of dryads, nymphs and other spirits of nature. It was one version of paradise, though only in the sense of being the abode of supernatural entities, not an afterlife for deceased mortals.”

The spellbinding scenery in Pan’s domain is beautifully filmed, and The Arcadian makes me eager to explore this scenic and mythical area of the Peloponnese, hopefully on our upcoming late spring trip to Greece. Give it a watch to see if the video has the same compelling effect on you.

[If the name PanoVerino sounds familiar, you may recall seeing his film Postcard from Mykonos Greece, which I shared in  my July 11 2015 blog post, A breathtaking video postcard from Mykonos. Take a look at the PanoVerino Vimeo page to see more of his marvellous films.]

Greece holiday 2010: Kos

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Bougainvillea in Kos Town

A giant wave of bougainvillea cascades over a stone wall in Kos Town

 

Starting point: Kos wasn’t on our travel radar for 2010 until I discovered it would be the easiest (that is, the fastest) island to get to after our overnight flight from Canada arrived in Athens. And when I realized it would be a convenient starting point for island hopping to Patmos and Samos, two islands we really wanted to see, I immediately booked two tickets to Kos on Aegean Airlines.

We spent only three nights on Kos, but that gave us enough time to relax and recover from jet lag, explore colourful Kos Town, and spend a day bicycling around, visiting the Tigaki area and the Asklepieion. (We had hoped we’d have time to take a day excursion to Bodrum, Turkey, but it just didn’t work out.)

Things we liked the most about Kos:

The ruins. At home, we can’t walk very far without passing a Tim Horton’s coffee shop or a McDonald’s. In Kos Town, you can’t walk very far without encountering historic ruins and monuments from centuries past, like the castle overlooking the harbour.

Cycling: Kos is a great island for bike riding! There are dedicated bicycle lanes on some of the main streets in Kos Town, and it’s an easy bike ride to some of the island’s beach areas, including Tigaki. We also rode the bikes to see the Asklepieion, rather than take the little tourist choo-choo train that makes regular trips from Kos Town.

What we liked the least about Kos:

We knew Kos would be extremely touristy and commercial, but we didn’t expect to be hounded and hassled as much as we were whenever we walked past restaurants in Kos Town, or strolled along the harbour past the excursion tour boats. I couldn’t begin to count the number of times restaurant staff actually came running — and I do mean running! — out to the street to urge us to stop in for a meal. Some even followed us part way down the street, with one fellow actually pestering us for nearly two blocks! It happened so often it was ridiculous, not to mention extremely annoying.

At some future date I hope to post a more detailed report of our short visit to Kos. In the meantime, you can find plenty of information about Kos at the kosinfo.gr website and on travel-to-kos.com.

 

St Constantine Hotel in Kos Town

We stayed at the St Constantine Hotel in Kos Town. Convenient location, pleasant & helpful staff, decent breakfast, OK room

 

a street in Kos Town

It took about 15 minutes to walk along this street to get from the St Constantine Hotel into the heart of Kos Town. The street is lined with shops, tavernas and cafes all the way.

 

fishing boats and tour boats in Kos Town harbour

Colourful fishing boats and tour boats in Kos Town harbour

 

a church in Kos Town

A huge church in Kos Town

 

tavernas and shops on a street in Kos Town

Tavernas and shops on the street leading to the big church

 

one of the beaches near Kos Town

The view toward Kos Town harbour from one of the beaches just a short walk away from the St Constantine Hotel

 

lounge chairs on one of the Kos Town beaches

Colourful lounge chairs and umbrellas on one of the Kos Town beaches

 

the palm tree lined street outside the castle in Kos Town

Palm trees line Finikon Avenue outside the Castle of Neratzia in Kos Town

 

the castle at Kos Town

Inside the Castle of Neratzia at Kos Town

 

the castle in Kos Town

Inside the Castle of Neratzia in Kos Town

 

A street in Kos Town

A street in Kos Town

 

ruins in Kos Town

There are archaeological ruins in Kos Town practically everywhere you walk

 

archaeological ruins in Kos town

More archaeological ruins in Kos town

 

Mary's House restaurant in Kos Town

Mary’s House restaurant in Kos Town, where we had an amazing dinner — friendly hosts and an absolutely wonderful food!

 

The bicycles we rented to explore Kos

The bicycles we rented to explore Kos, seen here at a stop along the coast during our ride to Tigaki and the Asklepieion

 

tall grasses near the coast on the way to Tigaki

Tall grasses near the coast on the way to Tigaki

 

dunes near the beach at Tigaki on Kos

Vegetation on dunes near the beach at Tigaki on Kos

 

one of the sandy beaches near Tigaki

Lounge chairs along one of the sandy beaches near Tigaki

 

The Asklepieion ruins near Kos Town

The Asklepieion ruins near Kos Town

 

Kos Town and Bodrum Turkey

The view toward Kos Town and Bodrum Turkey from the hillside at the Asklepieion

 

fishing boats in Kos Town harbour

Fishing boats in Kos Town harbour

Looking back on our previous holidays in Greece

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Fira village on Santorini

Fira, the main village on Santorini

 

Holidays past: From time to time I’ll be looking back at our previous holidays in Greece, sharing travel memories and posting photos from each of those trips. I’ll be starting off with our May 2010 vacation, which was in the Dodecanese and East Aegean islands. But I’ll also look back on our earlier holidays in the Cyclades, where we visited Santorini (above) three consecutive times. In the meantime, here are photos of three of the other main villages on Santorini:

 

Cliffside hotels in Oia Santorini

Cliffside resorts in the village of Oia on Santorini

 

Firostefani village on Santorini

Firostefani village on Santorini

 

Imerovigli village on Santorini

Imerovigli village on Santorini