Category: Architecture & design (page 1 of 5)

Mykonos 2022: Our guides to travel season opening dates for bars, clubs, hotels, restaurants, activities and attractions, plus new arrivals on the island

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A Mykonos Photo Tour photograph of Mykonos Town at sunset

A sunset view of Mykonos Town captured by Mykonos Photo Tour

 

 

Updated on Monday April 18  2022

 

Open now and coming soon: If you’re planning to visit Mykonos in 2022 and are wondering what places will be open this season, and when, we’ve got that information for you.

We have compiled a series of articles to spotlight what’s happening on Mykonos this year, including exciting new arrivals; opening dates for hotels, bars, nightclubs, beach clubs and restaurants; as well as a listing of top activities and attractions.

For those of you who have been to Mykonos before, this collection of posts will show you what’s new for 2022, along with opening dates for your favourite hangouts.

If you have never been to Mykonos and are planning on paying it a visit for the first time, our series of posts will give you a preview of where you’ll be able to eat, drink, party and play — and will give you ideas for potential places to stay during your holiday. 

Mykonos bar and club openings 2022 lists the season start dates for cocktail bars, lounges and nightclubs;

Mykonos beach club openings in 2022  provides opening dates for bars and clubs at beach areas;  

♦ Season openings for hotels and other accommodations are included in Mykonos hotels, suites, studios and other places to stay 2022

Mykonos restaurants 2022 is our guide to fast food joints, Greek tavernas, international food restaurants, fine dining establishments and more;

Mykonos activities, tours and other things to do 2022 is a guide to activity and entertainment options other than swimming, sunbathing, shopping and partying; and

♦ our annual showcase of the island’s new bars, clubs, hotels and more can be found in Mykonos: What’s new for 2022.

 

 

 

 

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Crossing 600 years of history at the Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

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Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

The  arched stone Kremasti bridge spans a stream in bucolic countryside near the town of Agia Paraskevi on Lesvos

 

Walking back centuries: Unlike the other two tourist couples that showed up within moments of our own arrival, we did cross the Kremasti bridge when we got to it.

We couldn’t pass up the rare opportunity to walk on a hand-built stone viaduct that may have been built as long as 600 years ago. Rare for us, because bridges even just a century old are few and far between back home in Canada, so crossing an ancient span isn’t something we can do  any old day of the week.

However, walking on medieval bridges might be something those other people can do wherever they live, which would explain why they didn’t share our enthusiasm to get up close for a better look at Kremasti. The two women from the first car strode  to the edge of the olive grove at the north side of the bridge for a brief look-see, then promptly drove off in the direction of Stypsi village. The driver of the second vehicle walked only a few steps from his car to snap photos — from a spot on the road that didn’t offer particularly good views of the monument standing 30 meters distant.  His passenger didn’t even get out; she seemed more interested in something on her cellphone. Photo-taking finished, the man climbed back into the driver’s seat, made a three-point turn, and drove off the way they had come.

In less than four minutes tops, both couples had arrived and departed, probably adding a “been there, seen that” checkmark to their lists of historic sites they had “visited” on Lesvos.

We didn’t mind having the old bridge all to ourselves; we got to appreciate its elegant architecture and examine its impressive masonry and engineering without getting in the way — or in the background — of someone else’s selfie.  And on such a sunny and warm spring afternoon, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the fresh air and quiet beauty of the countryside, take a stroll through the lovely olive grove, and imagine how crucial the bridge would have been for regional travel in the centuries before motor vehicles? Oh, right — we can think of at least four people who would prefer not to! But we weren’t keen to hurry back into the car to see more of Lesvos through the windshield and side windows. We would get to do that during the drive back to our hotel in Molyvos later in the day. Instead, we took a nice, slow walk across 600 years of Lesvos history, and savored the experience of simply being there for awhile. Besides, we were on Lesvos, where rushing around just isn’t the way to see and enjoy the subtle beauty and character of the island.

 

Kremasti bridge location on Lesvos island

This Google map pinpoints the Kremasti bridge location in northern Lesvos, approximately 3 km northwest of the town of Agia Paraskevi. 

 

Google satellite view of Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

This Google satellite image shows the historic bridge and the modern-era road that carries motor vehicle traffic through the countryside of rolling hills to Stypsi village.

 

Our travel materials and guidebooks didn’t provide much information about Kremasti. Most said basically the same things: it’s “the largest and best-preserved medieval bridge in the eastern Aegean” (to quote our 4th edition copy of The Rough Guide to the Dodecanese and East Aegean Islands); it is widely believed to be have been built sometime during the period the Gattilusio family of Genoa controlled Lesvos (1355 to 1462); it crosses a stream which flows into the Tsiknias River; and it stands 8.5 meters tall at its highest point. (Curiously, no further dimensions, such as the length and width of the span, were described in any of the publications).  

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

 

When we searched online for more details on the bridge’s history, we discovered that some websites dispute the date of construction, saying architectural details suggest Kremasti may have been built more than 100 years after the Gattilusio era, most likely during the 16th Century.  Some sources also mentioned that, according to local legend, the master builder buried his wife’s body into the bridge foundations.

We didn’t have any luck learning how the bridge got its name, but we did find some insight in The bridge of Kremasti, an interesting article written by Perris P. Vougioukas and published in 2015 by the local news and information website Agia Paraskevi Only.  

Besides discussing some of the history and legend behind the bridge, Vougioukas provided some dimension statistics that we couldn’t find anywhere else. Like other sources, he noted the Kremasti arch reaches a maximum height of 8.55 meters, but he furnished additional measurement facts: the bridge opening is 14 meters, while the span’s cobblestone walkway extends for approximately 50 meters, and is 3.5 meters wide.

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

 

We had been curious about the bridge length because we wanted to know how far into the past we had wobbled along the uneven surface, where weeds and grasses sprout from cracks and spaces between the stones. Unfortunately, we couldn’t cross the entire span — a section of wire fence blocked access to and egress from the north side of the bridge. We didn’t realize this until we were almost all the way up and over the arch, having begun our crossing from the south. Clambering over or around the barricade would have been awkward and unsafe, so we wisely retraced our steps. Although it was a bit disappointing to wind up just one or two steps shy of a complete crossing, we got to spend twice as much time on the bridge, and enjoy the different views in each direction. 

(We couldn’t understand why the fence had been installed; there weren’t any signs indicating it was off limits, and none of our tourist guides warned that walking on the bridge was either unsafe or not permitted. We wondered if the owners of the olive grove simply didn’t want people like us ambling around their trees or having picnics on their property! Or perhaps they had blocked the path to prevent their sheep or goats from crossing onto the bridge and possibly falling into the stream. If any of our readers know the answer, please share it with us!)

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

Our visit to Kremasti bridge took place during a day-long drive to explore sights and villages in northern Lesvos. We also could have seen the bridge by walking, since there are well-established trekking routes in the area, but we chose to leave long hikes for our next trip to Lesvos. For any of our readers who might be interested in such a scenic walk during an upcoming trip to Lesvos, here are links we had bookmarked for two websites that provide detailed directions for walking routes that pass the bridge:

Walking in the valley of Tsiknias on the Trekking Trails Network of Lesvos website; and 

♦ the Napi – Kremasti bridge route on the AllTrails website

Below are a few more of our photos of the bridge and its surroundings:

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

The three photos above show the bridge as we approached and began crossing the span from its southern side

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

The view toward the olive tree grove at the north end of the bridge. Even from this point, we couldn’t see the thin wire fence that blocks access to the grove.

 

Olive tree grove near the Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

Olive tree grove near Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

olive trees near the Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

The three photos above show views of the olive tree grove at the north end of the bridge. The ground was carpeted with tiny white spring flowers.

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

From the edge of the olive grove, a glimpse of the bridge’s arch

 

a man stands on the Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

The stream beneath the bridge is a tributary of the Tsiknias River, which flows into the Gulf of Kalloni

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

Above: two views of the arched stone span

 

a man on the Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

The wire fence that blocks passage at the north end of the bridge is partially visible in this photo. 

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

Above: two views during our walk back to the southern end of the bridge

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

One final look at Kremasti, seen from the modern bridge that carries motor vehicle traffic across the stream

The Mermaid Madonna church at Skala Sykaminias on Lesvos

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Panagia Gorgona church of the Mermaid Gorgona on Lesvos

Panagia Gorgona church on Lesvos island

Panagia Gorgona Church on Lesvos

Three views of the church of Panagia Gorgona (the Mermaid Madonna), in photos from our visit to Skala Sykaminias on Lesvos

 

Greek island icon: Sometimes we learn fascinating facts and interesting background details about places we’ve been to in Greece long after we get home from holidays, rather than while we’re there in person, and this certainly proved to be the case for Skala Sykaminias village on Lesvos.

Mid-spring of 2019 found us staying in the beautiful town of Molyvos at the beginning of our first-ever Lesvos vacation — which coincidentally wound up being our last trip to Greece before the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted our annual travels.

During breakfast one morning, we were mulling where to go on a sightseeing drive that day. Our maps and guide books described nearby Skala Sykaminias as one of the most picturesque fishing villages on Lesvos, and other travellers at our hotel in Molyvos agreed, effusively praising it as “lovely,”  “charming,” and “not to be missed.” Since it was an easy, short drive from our accommodations, we decided to make the village our first stop.

We thought it was just as pretty as people had promised, in large part thanks to a quaint whitewashed chapel that gives the harbour much of its unique character and photogenic appeal. Built atop a large rock formation on one side of the port, the small, simple church is the standout feature of the Skala Sykaminias seafront.

 Like the handful of other tourists wandering around the village that late April afternoon, we made a point of popping by for a closer look at the little church. The door was locked tight, so we couldn’t look around inside, but we did enjoy pausing to take in the impressive views of the sea, harbour and village from the elevated position of the building and its adjacent terrace.

Panagia Gorgona Church on Lesvos

Panagia Gorgona church

Skala Sykamineas village on Lesvos

Top: Approaching steps leading from the harbour mole to Panagia Gorgona church. Center: Terrace view of the chapel, which is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Bottom: Terrace view of the harbour.

 

Some of our travel guides said the church is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and called Panagia Gorgona (the Mermaid Madonna), but they didn’t explain how or why it got that name. In fact, they didn’t provide any information about the village’s signature attraction at all, and very little about Skala Sykaminia, either, apart from saying it’s famous for its fish tavernas. During our various travels in Greece, we have seen shops, hotels and tavernas named Gorgona, so it didn’t strike us as odd that a seaside chapel might be called that, too.

It wasn’t until months after we returned home from our holiday that I came across some curious stories and interesting information about Panagia Gorgona and the Skala Sykaminias settlement, and learned that both owe much of their tourist fame to a novel published in 1949 by a locally-born writer, Stratis Myrivilis.

I had never heard of Myrivilis until I noticed his name in the excellent photography book, Aeolian Lesvos (Liza Evert, Constellation Books Athens, 1995), which I had purchased on the island as a personal souvenir from our trip. Captions for two of the book’s beautiful photos of Skala Sykaminias were excerpts from Myrivilis’s novel, The Mermaid Madonna, which is regarded as the writer’s best-known work.

The quote in one of the photo captions described how a group of masons had been travelling by boat to a village in northern Lesvos, where they were scheduled to construct a soap factory. En route, they encountered a sudden storm squall that nearly capsized their vessel. When the masons noticed a rocky crag on the nearby coast, they said a prayer: “Save us and we’ll build you a chapel.” The weather settled immediately, and the masons and boat crew safely reached the shore at Skala Sykaminias. “They tied up the vessel and carried out their vow. That’s why the little chapel looks so like a small oil shop.”

Intrigued, I searched online for more information about Myrivilis, and found an informative PowerPoint presentation that students at the junior high school in Petra, Lesvos, had prepared for an Erasmus+ project entitled Every child matters: refugees and immigrants in education (Ermasmus+ is an EU governmental program for education, training, youth and sport).

Greek writer Stratis Myrivilis and the cover of his book The Mermaid Madonna

Photos of Greek writer Stratis Myrivilis and the cover of his popular 1949 novel, The Mermaid Madonna, are seen in an image from a presentation the Junior High School in Petra, Lesvos prepared for an EU educational program

 

The slideshow provides a brief biography of Myrivilis, a 3-time nominee for the Nobel literature prize, and includes a synopsis of The Mermaid Madonna, the novel he named after the little chapel in Skala Sykaminias. The book tells gripping stories based upon the harrowing refugee crisis that took place in 1922, when Turks torched the coastal city of Smyrna and forced more than a million native Greeks to flee the Anatolia region (Smyrna was part of what is now the Turkish city of Izmir). Besides describing the arrival of refugees at Skala Sykaminias, Myrivilis tells the tale of the masons who built Panagia Gorgona, and recounts some local legends about mermaids and village residents.

One story relates how village inhabitants reacted to a little green-eyed girl who was discovered in a fishing boat, and believed to be the daughter of a mermaid who had seduced a fisherman. Elsewhere, the book describes how villagers began to worship a mural that a sea captain purportedly painted inside the church, depicting the Virgin Mary with a mermaid’s tale. (The painting disappeared from the church decades ago, if it even existed in the first place.)

 

Cafe table painting of Mermaid Madonna Church

The Mermaid Madonna church is depicted in a table-top painting at a harbourside taverna in Skala Sykaminias

 

I felt dismayed that we hadn’t known about Myrivilis and his captivating stories, or the Smyrna refugee connection to Skala Sykaminias, before going to Lesvos. I’m convinced all the background information I discovered afterwards would have enhanced our visit, giving us a much better appreciation for the history of the church and village. We probably would have scoured the seaside for signs of mermaids, and peered through the chapel window to try and spot where the famous mural may have been painted!

Though we didn’t realize it at the time, we obviously had fallen under the siren’s spell simply by going there.

As an insightful article in the Lesvos-based blog Smitaki Boulevard News observes, “Skala Sykaminia is the village of the mermaid, who in modern times, continues her ancient craft, by seducing tourists.” Indeed — her charms had certainly worked their magic on us. I can still feel them sometimes, gently trying to lure us back.

If a trip to Lesvos is in your future plans, be sure to heed the siren’s call and pay Skala Sykaminias a visit.

For more information and photos of the church and village, here are links to several online articles and social media posts:

♦   A detailed description of the Stratis Myrivilis story about the church is outlined in The Mermaid of Sykaminia post on the blog Smitaki Boulevard News Lesvos, which we mentiioned above;

♦ Photos of the chapel, including three pictures of its interior, can be seen on the Ι .Ν. Panagia tis Gorgonas – North Aegean Islands page of the Holy Archdiocese of Athens website of Religious Tourism Destinations;

The Mermaid Madonna post on the NixPixMix blog includes several photos of the church (inside and out) and the Skala Sykaminias harbour, as well as a modern painting that depicts how the legendary mermaid Madonna fresco may have looked;

♦ A few Instagram photos and brief descriptions of the stories about the church are included in the Travelgirl blog post The church of Panagia Gorgona on Lesvos became famous from the novel by Myrivilis.

Below are several more of our photos of the church and harbour:

Panagia Gorgona Church on Lesvos

Panagia Gorgona church

Panagia Gorgona Church on Lesvos

Panagia Gorgona Church on Lesvos

Panagia Gorgona Church on Lesvos

Church bell at Panagia Gorgona Church on Lesvos

Panagia Gorgona Church on Lesvos

Panagia Gorgona Church on Lesvos

 

Greece Is magazine profiles food, culture and fascinating places in and near Thessaloniki

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Cover image for Greece Is magazine 2022 Thessaloniki edition

The cover of the 2022 issue of Thessaloniki, a special-edition magazine published in November by Greece Is 

 

City spotlight: We’ve got some good reading to look forward to during our holiday season downtime, thanks to the latest magazine published by Greece Is — an issue devoted entirely to notable places, sights and historic attractions in Greece’s second largest city, Thessaloniki, and its environs.

The city is on our bucket list of places we hope to visit in Greece within the next several years, so the new magazine — released in late November — will be a helpful resource for researching and planning our visit, whenever it might happen.

The main stories in this issue that caught our attention include:

♦   “The city in five walks,” a guide that invites readers to “head down to the sea, stroll through the narrow streets of the city center, visit some old haunts and new spots, and explore options for culture, entertainment and food.”

♦   A “Foodie Guide” to “new and classic” places to enjoy wonderful food and drink;

♦   “In the Xinomavro Zone,” a road trip through the Amyntaio-Naoussa wine region;

♦   “The sound of the city,” a guide to the Thessaloniki music scene “from its glorious past to its superb present”;

♦   two articles showcasing art and architecture: “Timeless Byzantine City,” which examines some of the city’s Byzantine-era monuments, and “Memories & Mansions,” which takes a look at buildings in the historic Exoches area;

♦   “In the shadow of Athos,” a tour of the historic monasteries at Mt Athos;

♦   “Mt Olympus: The three peaks challenge,” an account of a one-day climb to the highest points “on the mountain of the gods”;

♦   “Aigai reaches new heights,” an article about a new world-class museum scheduled to open in 2022 at Vergina, site of the former capital of ancient Macedonia; and

♦   the feature piece “Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,” which profiles “southeastern Europe’s largest institute of higher education.”

 

Greece Is magazine foodie guide to Thessaloniki

Thessaloniki recently became the first Greek city included in the UNESCO global network of Creative Cities of Gastronomy.  The latest Greece Is magazine’s “Foodie Guide” spotlights some of the “new and classic” dining establishments that have helped put Thessaloniki on the world’s culinary map.

 

Not-to-be-missed reads for anyone planning to visit Thessaloniki in 2022 include:

♦   “New arrivals,” which offers a peek at two recently opened hotels, a gallery, a food spot and a new Aegean Airlines lounge at Thessaloniki International Airport;

♦   “The cool factor” — a collection of insider city tips and secrets shared by six local influencers; and

♦   “Always something on” — an agenda of upcoming major exhibitions and cultural performances.

While we can’t wrap our hands around a physical copy of the Thessaloniki magazine since we’re not in Greece at the moment to pick one up, we — and you — can conveniently access a digital version on Issuu.com to either read online or download.

Greece Is has previously published six other special magazine issues focussed on Thessaloniki. If you’re interested in reading any of those, you can find digital versions on Issuu.com.

The Greece Is publishing portal is one of our favourite sources of reliable advice, inside information and fascinating insights into Greece destinations, travel, culture, arts, architecture, food and much more.  If you’re not already familiar with the brand, here are links to its website, Instagram profile and Facebook page, all of which are filled with photos of beautiful places in Greece and links to a treasure trove of information to inspire and assist your travels:

Web: The main Greece Is online portal contains a vast collection of feature articles, photos, news items, blog posts, Greek product profiles, and more.

Instagram: @greece_is

Facebook: @my.greece.is 

Twitter: @MyGreeceIs

How Milos island wowed the world in 2021

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view from the Kastro peak on Milos island

boathouses at Klima village on Milos

Sunbathers at the Sarakiniko beach and coastal area of Milos island

Our own photos of three Milos island landmarks: the Panagia Thalassitra Church at Plaka village (top), colourful boathouses at the Klima fishing settlement, and  the surreal coastal rock formations at Sarakiniko

 

Milos’s moment: 2021 has been quite the momentous year for Milos, with unparalleled international publicity planting the island firmly into the minds and onto the bucket-list travel maps of millions of holiday-hungry people around the globe.

We told you this was coming.

In our blog post  Much ado about Milos four years ago (August 2017, to be precise), we described a noteworthy surge in interest in Milos, and we predicted its popularity would soar.

This year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, that’s exactly what happened: Milos was the Greek island people everywhere were taking note of, talking about, and visiting in person either for vacations or for corporate marketing photography and film shoots.

 

 

It wasn’t just travel blogs, vlogs and websites singing the island’s praises — Milos was the focus of attention in advertising campaigns for clothing, coffee and luxury goods;  social media posts by music and television stars; architecture and design publications; luxury hotel review websites; business and lifestyle magazines, and more.

 

the Kleftiko coast of Milos island in Greece

Once a hideaway for pirates, the coastal cliffs and caves at Kleftiko are now a popular stop for Milos sailboat tours

 

Among the Milos milestones of 2021:

♦ Readers of the most-read American travel magazine voted Milos the “No. 1 island in the world” as well as best island in Europe;

♦ One of the world’s best-selling music artists visited in the spring and posted photos from the island’s capital and one of its picturesque fishing villages to Instagram, where his account is actively followed by more than 200 million people;

♦ Its exquisite coastal scenery stole the show in major promotional campaigns for three of the world’s pre-eminent luxury fashion brands;

♦ The island played a starring role in a television advertising campaign for a popular coffee retailer;

♦ Architecture and home design magazines drew attention to Milos with profiles of a  contemporary “corral” residence ingeniously built to blend seamlessly into the island landscape;

♦ Hotel review websites trumpeted the arrival of two brand-new luxury accommodations that opened in June;

♦ International publications and leading travel blogs published laudatory profiles of the island’s appealing scenic attributes and attractions, and

♦ top travel vloggers enthralled YouTube watchers with videos spotlighting key Milos attractions and the splendid natural scenery.

 

windmills on Milos island

A cluster of windmills near Tripiti village. Some have been converted into holiday rental accommodations.

 

To see how and where Milos has made such an indelible impression this year, keep scrolling down through this post, and then Part 2 and Part 3, to view a wide-ranging collection of the feature stories and videos of the island that have appeared in mainstream and social media this year.

Below you’ll see the magazine whose readers chose Milos as best island in the world, along with Milos photos shared on social media by two top celebrities, plus island scenes from the major fashion and retail marketing campaigns that starred Milos.

In Part 2, we take a look at what writers said about Milos in their reports for travel magazines, blogs and websites, as well as in articles published by business, fashion, lifestyle and hotel periodicals.

Part 3 is a collection of Milos videos that were released in 2021 by filmmakers and international travel vloggers.

 

 

The photos and video images in our three-part series will show you  what all the Milos fuss is about — and why so many travel writers and videographers think you should pay it a visit soon.

Besides screenshots of the articles and reports, we have provided links to the publications and video producers so you can read and view more of Milos, and obtain additional information to decide if it’s the right place for you and your family to spend some vacation time. With scores of enticing photos and videos plus a plethora of practical information and travel tips, the links will be useful to bookmark for travel inspiration and holiday planning. 

Given the vast range of insights, opinions and perspectives provided by these different resources — including tips on times of day to see certain places, how to get there, what not to miss or what to to know before you go — this compendium could well become your ultimate travel guide to Milos.

But don’t wait too long! As some of the writers and vloggers point out, the island’s popularity is skyrocketing — so it’s best to see this off-the-beaten-path gem soon, before it becomes a busy mainstream holiday destination.

 

— Milos on magazine covers —

 

Travel magazine cover photos of Sarakiniko beach on Milos

Photos of Sarakiniko — the Instagram-famous “moonscape” beach and coastline on Milos — were prominently featured on the covers of Thalassea and Travel + Leisure magazines

 

Milos received cover treatment from Thalassea, the official magazine for Greek ferry company Hellenic Seaways, as well as Travel + Leisure, the most widely-circulated American travel magazine with nearly 5 million monthly readers. The front pages of both featured picture’s of the island’s renowned cliff-jumping spot, Sarakiniko.

Inside Thalassea, a two-page aerial photo of Sarakiniko illustrates the magazine’s “Reasons to Go” to Milos article.  “One look at Sarakiniko beach and you will be smitten for life,” the text reads, adding: “this is an island far out of the ordinary.”

You can find the article at pages 96-97 in the Summer/Autumn 2021 issue of Thalassea.

Meanwhile, the cover image for the October 2021 Travel + Leisure acknowledged Milos’s great success in the magazine’s Annual Reader’s Awards, which voted Milos as not only the best island in Europe, but also the No. 1 island in the entire world. (More on those accolades below.)

 

— Travel + Leisure readers’ best island awards —

 

Travel + Leisure Top 24 islands in the world 2021

Travel + Leisure readers honoured Milos by voting it the No. 1 island in the world this year

 

We weren’t surprised when we learned Milos has been voted top island in the world by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. We’ve been there twice, and know from personal experience why people enjoy it so much.

The voting took place from mid-January to early May of this year, and the magazine said participating readers “rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.”

To find out why Milos nabbed top honours, take a look at the short blurb in the T + L article The Top 25 islands in the world.

Milos had good company in the rankings, by the way. One of its close neighbours, Folegandros, earned the No. 2 spot, while perenially-popular Santorini took 13th place.

 

Travel + Leisure readers choose Milos as best island in Europe

Milos was “a closely guarded utopia,” writer Stacey Leasca says, until word got around that Travel + Leisure readers had voted it the best island in Europe and the world

 

In the wake of announcing that its readers had voted Milos as best island in Europe, and in the world,  Travel +Leisure published a report in which writer Stacey Leasca recounted her 3-day visit there in June.

Upon arrival, she recalls, it was “easy to see why previous travelers and locals alike would want to keep this place under wraps. Its rocky shoreline gives way to some of the most pristine crystal-blue waters I have ever laid eyes on. Its landscape is one sweeping hillside after another, dotted only by sparse vegetation, white-washed homes, blue-roofed churches, and a rogue goat or two. And its food is divine.”

Though their visit lasted only 72 hours, Leasca and her travel companion managed to see numerous key attractions including the port town of Adamantas, the villages of Plaka and Klima, the beaches Sarakiniko and Papafragas, the ancient catacombs, and others.

To see why she says “take T+L readers’ advice and go to Milos,” read her report The best island in Europe has stunning white stone beaches and some of the most turquoise water in the world.

 

— Justin Bieber’s Milos visit —

 

Justin Beiber on Milos island Greece

In photos shared with his 200 million fans on Instagram, singing superstar Justin Bieber is seen in a private boathouse dining room at Medusa cafe-restaurant in Mandrakia (left) and with his wife, Hailey, in Plaka village

 

Popular entertainers, movie stars and professional athletes wield incredible influence over consumer spending habits, which is why companies pay celebrities big bucks to endorse or advertise their products.  We can’t help but speculate on the value of the publicity that Milos received — for free –when international music superstar Justin Bieber shared photos from the island on his Instagram page in late June. Considering that the Canadian-born singer counts more than 205 million followers on Instagram, he brought Milos to the attention of an enormous audience of potential travellers, many of whom had probably not even heard of the island before.

Bieber’s private yacht cruise to the Cyclades islands was reported by media around the world, with some of the Greece-based reports  about his Milos visit including:

♦ the June 29 Greece Is magazine article Justin Bieber cruises the Aegean and feasts on sardines,

♦ the June 28 Greek City Times story Justin Bieber and his wife Hailey getaway to Greece in Milos.

♦ the June 29 2021 Greek Reporter article Justin Bieber’s new friendship with a 70-year-old Greek fisherman

♦  Justin Bieber went on vacation to Milos  and loved sardines, published June 28 by the Athens Voice Look mag

We think Bieber deserves some credit if there’s any bump in tourist traffic to Milos in the next year or two, and we’re pretty certain Medusa restaurant will top traveller lists of must-visit places to eat, as well — thanks to the Bieb’s headline-making lunch there. But he can’t take all the credit: Medusa gets more shout-outs from travel bloggers and vloggers in some of the reports and videos you’ll see below.

Between June 26 and 29, the singer posted posted from Milos and the Cyclades to the official Justin Bieber Instagram page, while he shared two images on the Justin Bieber Facebook page — which has 91 million followers — on June 28 and 30.

 

— Pedro Alonso’s Milos visit —

 

Instagram photo of actor Pedro Alonso on Milos island

Video screen capture of actor Pedro Alonso on Milos

Actor Pedro Alonso gazes across Milos from a hillside vantage point (top) after reading a monologue from a Spanish play in the island’s ancient open-air theatre (seen in this screen capture from an Instagram video of his impromptu performance).

 

About a week after Justin Bieber moved on from Milos, popular Spanish actor Pedro Alonso arrived for his Greek holiday.  Alonso is perhaps best known for playing the character “Berlin” in 36 episodes of the Netflix television series Money Heist, from 2017 to 2021.

On July 8, Alonso posted a video and several photos shot on Milos to his Instagram, which has more than 9.1 million followers. The video shows the actor at the island’s Ancient Theatre, reciting a monologue by the character Rosaura in the Pedro Calderon de la Barca dramatic play La vida es sueño. The photos included a shot of Alonso sitting at a lookout spot near the theatre, and a view of the seaside village of Klima.

The actor’s visit to Milos and Athens was described in the July 11 2021 Greek Reporter article ‘Money Heist’ actor Pedro Alonso mesmerized by Greece.

The acting monologue video and five photos can be viewed on the pedroalonsoochoro page on Instagram.

 

— Fashion campaigns filmed on Milos —

 

Milos scenery in Louis Vuitton Towards a Dream ad campaign

A Louis Vuitton promotional campaign spotlighted scenery on the Sarakiniko and Kleftiko coasts of Milos

 

Milos was one of two “dreamlike settings” that the iconic luxury brand Louis Vuitton selected as a filming location for its  2021 Towards a Dream advertising campaign (the other site was Jordan). Photo shoots took place at Sarakiniko beach and the Kleftiko coast, where photographer Viviane Sassen captured “spirit of travel” images that the company calls “an evocative ode to the inner child, set free in a reverie of otherworldly beauty and infinite possibility.”

“Rich in ancient history, the Greek island of Milos beckons to a group of children, inviting them to play among its stark shores and pristine waters. With their innocent curiosity, their silhouettes emerge from the landscape to convey a limitless sense of optimism and freedom,” says a description of the photoshoot theme.

You can view the full-size promotional photos and a short video at the Towards a Dream campaign page on the Louis Vuitton website.

Photos and videos also were posted between September 16 and 19 on the official Louis Vuitton Instagram page, which boasts more than 46.4 million followers.

Photos and a link to the Towards a Dream campaign also were posted September 17 to the Louis Vuitton Facebook page, which counts more than 24 million followers.

 

Dior models on Milos island Greece

Scenes from Plaka, Sarakiniko and Mandrakia figure prominently in photos shot on Milos for the Dior 2022 Cruise Collection (above), while a 3-minute video (below) offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Dior Magazine photo project. It includes commentary by some of the photographers along with views of magnificent Milos landscapes and the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion.

 

Another legendary fashion house, Dior, chose Milos as one of the principal shooting locales for its 2022 cruisewear collection and Dior Magazine Issue 36 (some filming also took place in Athens and at the historic Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion).

The cruise fashions were designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, who found inspiration in “classical Greece and mythical female goddesses and divinities.” It was only fitting, then, that Dior photographed its models at ancient Greek ruins and mesmerizing island landscapes.

For this campaign, Dior invited ten Greek photographers — Mara Desipris, Christina Dimitriadis, Marilia Fotopoulou, Efi Gousi, Maria Koutroumpi, Dimitra Lazaridou, Ria Mort, Lia Nalbantidou, Ioanna Sakellaraki, and Olga Stefatou–  to capture their personal visions of the cruise collection’s apparel and accessories. You can read a description of the project and see some of the photos shot by all 10 women on the Captivating Visions  page of the Dior website.

Campaign photos and videos also were posted in late November to the official Dior Instagram page, which has more than 38.3 million followers, and to the Dior page on Facebook, which reaches more than 18 million followers.

 

Hanro fashion photos shot on Milos island

Milos also was the shooting location for HANRO’s spring/summer clothing campaign 

 

Constant change and tumultuous current events have had a huge impact on society and individuals, leading many people to reassess their personal priorities and redefine what they consider quality of life. HANRO, a 130-year-old firm known for its fine men’s and women’s daywear, loungewear and nightwear, seized upon the global trend to “recharge” and  “reset” when it chose Milos as the shooting location for its spring/summer 2021 fashion campaign.

“One place that is the perfect setting for ultimate relaxation and revitalizing the soul is in the Greek island of Milos,” says a description of the HANRO marketing program.

“Unassuming and sublime, [Milos] defies the forces of nature and shows us just how much beauty can emanate from constant change. Every gust of wind dances differently on the sea; every wave traces new patterns as it laps on the sand. Each ray of sunlight changes the kaleidoscope of colours and the spirit of nature. The soft sandstone and volcanic rock is constantly sculpted by the wind. Nothing is ever the same as the day before, and yet this transience harbors a great sense of calmness and strength. It teaches us to appreciate the here and now, to live in the moment, and to simply exhale and let go.”

In contrast to its dominant role in the Louis Vuitton images, the Milos scenery provides a much more subtle backdrop for photos of the HANRO models, but looks inviting nonetheless. Photos and a promotional video can be viewed on the Spring Summer 2021 campaign page of the HANRO website.

 

— Nescafe television ad —

 

Greek actor Giorgos Lianos appears in a television ad for Nescafe coffee

 

Milos was the sun-soaked filming location for the light-hearted Nescafe Greece television campaign “Make your summer count,” featuring actor Giorgos Lianos.

The ad was filmed at various locations across Milos, with Sarakiniko beach making the most appearances in the minute-long clip. And, yes, the commercial includes scenes of people jumping into the sea from the Sarakiniko cliffs while Lianos stands on the edge and watches, with a Nescafe frappe in hand.

 

Continue reading about Milos at the links below:

Part 2: How Milos wowed the world in magazine, website and travel blog articles; and

Part 3: How Milos wowed the world in videos and travel vlog reports.

 

Luxury lodging: More new hotels, suites and villas opening on Mykonos in 2021

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Mykonos visitors can choose from a vast array of holiday accommodations, ranging from cozy studios to spacious designer villas and luxurious hotel suites with private pools. Here’s a look at several more of the island’s impressive new lodging options for 2021.

 

Bedrooms at some of the new hotels opening on Mykonos in 2021

Some of the beautiful new bedrooms where guests will enjoy resting and recharging after a day at a beach or a late night in the island’s legendary bars and clubs. Top row: Agrari Black Villas (left), Soleila villa, and The Elaia House. Second row: Once in Mykonos (left), Noima, and UBUD. Third row: Mykonos Euphoria Suites (left) and Kalesma. Bottom: Mykonos Earth Suites.   

 

Luxury of choice: Each year dozens of new accommodations open on Mykonos to sleep the steadily-rising numbers of tourists who flock to the island for spring, summer and fall vacations. In New hotels, suites and villas on Mykonos, we profiled 10 such newcomers, including Airbnb studio rentals, luxury hotels and vacation villas. Here, in Part 2, we shine the spotlight on 7 more properties that have already opened or will be opening their doors in 2021.

They include:

♦  Agrari Black Villas

♦  Noima Luxury Suites

♦  Bonzoe Homes & Villas

♦  Bill & Coo Villas

 ♦  Habitat Mykonos All-Suite Hotel

♦  UBUD Mykonos

♦  Panormos Bay Luxury Suites

Please click on the link below to see the profiles on page 2 of this post.

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New Kalesma Mykonos luxury hotel suites, villas & restaurant set to open in June

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Kalesma Mykonos hotel & villa complex sunset view

Kalesma Mykonos hotel & villa swimming pool

Kalesma Mykonos hotel suite terrace view of Ornos Bay

 Kalesma Mykonos, seen in renderings provided by the hotel, is comprised of 25 luxury suites, 2 villas and a signature restaurant showcasing Cycladic cuisine. A collection of whitewashed houses, the newly-built property occupies a hillside location overlooking Ornos Bay on Mykonos.  

 

Inviting newcomer: A unique collection of luxury suites and villas will make a distinctive mark on the Mykonos boutique hotel scene when it opens its doors this summer.

Kalesma Mykonos will bring chic designer digs, destination dining, “private experience concierges” and a traditional Mykonian village vibe to the Ornos area when it opens on June 1.

“Inspired by Cycladic architecture, combining tradition with contemporary elements, Kalesma is a design aficionado’s dream,” according to a property description brochure provided to me by the hotel.

Aerial image of a private terrace and pool at Kalesma Mykonos Hotel

An aerial view of the pool and patio at one of the Kalesma Mykonos suites. Each of the hotel’s accommodations has its own private heated pool.

 

With its Cycladic-style whitewashed houses that spill down a slope of the Aleomandra peninsula on the southwest side of Ornos Bay, Kalesma has been built to resemble a traditional island village.  Suites, villa and common area interiors will feature sleek minimalist design details, fashioned with locally-sourced materials. Each accommodation will boast its own private heated pool — a rarity on Mykonos.

The 25 suites are 680 square feet in size and can sleep either two adults and two children, or three adults. Each unit boasts a 970-square-foot terrace, furnished with poolside lounge chairs, and offers impressive, unobstructed sea views. “All accommodation features original artwork and expansive bathrooms with freestanding bathtubs and an outdoor shower on a private patio,” the hotel’s publicity brochure notes.

“Kalesma is also home to two spectacular, earth coloured private villas, one with two bedrooms and one with three. Ideal for entertaining or family holidays, both feature an open plan living room with cosy sofas, dining area and a fully equipped kitchen with pre-stocked food and wine fridges. A personal chef is available to villa guests if they wish to organise an intimate gathering or romantic meal on their terrace. Villas also come with their own fitness rooms complete with Technogym equipment. A stay in one of these private villas combines self-contained serviced residences, with access to exceptional hotel facilities and each will have a dedicated Villa Manager on call to coordinate guests stays,” the brochure adds.

When they’re not admiring and relaxing in the beautifully-designed private and public spaces, Kalesma guests will enjoy fabulous scenic views including beautiful Ornos Bay, the Aegean Sea, and both the sunrise and sunset.

Kalesma is a Greek word for “inviting,” and the hotel complex and its services have been meticulously planned to foster an inviting, welcoming ambiance and provide outstanding hospitality. “The look and feel of a traditional village is deliberate, as Kalesma is all about making guests feel at home and encouraging a neighbourhood vibe, enhanced by weekly intimate dinners,” the hotel description says.

Kalesma Mykonos hotel PERE UBU restaurant

Kalesma Mykonos hotel sunset lounge fireplace

Top: The al fresco patio for PERE UBU restaurant (there’s an indoor dining room as well); bottom: the outdoor fireplace at the Aloni lounge.

 

Kalesma’s centerpiece will be its restaurant and “social hub,” PERE UBU, whose menu will spotlight Cycladic cuisine incorporating seasonal local products.  Created by the owners of the acclaimed Pere and Ubu and Sea Spice restaurants in the glam Glyfada district of Athens, Kalesma’s PERE UBU will offer “a laid-back atmosphere during the day with chilled summer music, delicious small plates and light lunches. By night, it transforms into a sophisticated eatery, serving simple, elegant dishes showcasing the local produce alongside innovative cocktails keeping guests fuelled into the early hours.”

Open to the public, PERE UBU has been conceived as a destination restaurant whose inspiring cuisine and comfortable atmosphere  will entice visitors from across the island. However, the restaurant also will host intimate weekly dinners exclusively for Kalesma’s own guests. 

With an open fireplace, the Aloni Sunset Lounge is another common space that is expected to become a popular gathering spot for sunset viewing over cocktails or late evening conversation and nightcaps.

Additional amenities include a private on-site chapel for wedding ceremonies, and a boutique shop offering luxury brands, accessories and local products.

Aerial view of Kalesma Mykonos hotel

Aerial view of the Kalesma Mykonos hotel property

These aerial images show how Kalesma’s hotel, villa and common-area buildings have been designed in the distinctive white architectural style of the Cyclades islands, and positioned to resemble a traditional Mykonian village 

 

As part of the Kalesma hospitality team, private experience concierges will be “on hand to help guests discover the islands hidden gems including local eateries, exclusive boutiques and picture-perfect tiny churches. They can also arrange trips to some the island’s 25 beaches – from the hottest beach clubs to wide stretches of golden sand and secluded swimming caves, known only to the hotel’s private tenders. Private yacht charters and helicopter transfers are also available upon request for those who wish to truly push the boat out and experience the island from a different perspective.”

Please click on the link below to continue reading and see more images of Kalesma Mykonos on page 2.

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Above the rest: Panoptis Escape luxury villas set to open in May on a Mykonos mountaintop

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Aerial view of Panoptis Escape villas at Elia beach on Mykonos

From their lofty aerie overlooking Elia beach, guests of the Panoptis Escape villas will enjoy unrivalled 360-degree views of Mykonos and the sea, plus both the sunrise and the sunset.

Daytime aerial view of Panoptis Escape villas on Mykonos

Sunset view of Panoptis Escape villas on Mykonos

 

Peak perfection: An exquisite new mountaintop villa retreat will be opening on Mykonos this summer, promising “pure relaxation,” “laid-back luxury,” and exceptional personalized service  along with “breathtaking sunrise to sunset sea views.”

Perched on a rocky peak high above Elia beach, Panoptis Escape is an enclave of luxuriously-appointed boutique accommodations that include honeymoon suites and 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom villas.  While the villas can be booked on an individual basis, the complex can be reserved in its entirety as well. Featuring more than 1,900 square meters of indoor space, 2,500 meters of outdoor space, 12 swimming pools and 21 bedrooms that can sleep up to 69 people (42 adults and 27 children), Panoptis will provide a perfect private getaway space for a wedding party or large group of family, friends or business associates on a corporate retreat.

Panoptis is the 10th and newest 5-star property in the Myconian Collection luxury hotel and villa chain, owned and operated by the Daktylidis family of Mykonos. It is scheduled to open in May.  Five other Myconian Collection hotels are clustered on the same steep mountainside at Elia — the Imperial, Royal, Villa Collection, Utopia and Avaton. Panoptis overlooks these sister properties from its enviable summit position. 

 “Panoptis” translates as “where man meets his gods,” and villa guests could well feel like they’re in heaven as they savour the scenery and serenity at their lofty lair.

Each of the accommodations include “en-suite multi bathroom facilities and luxury toiletries and amenities, separated living rooms with mini kitchenette facilities, refrigerators, wine coolers, coffee machines and electric kettles and a fully equipped kitchen.”

The property features a welcome area, lounge, open-air bar, outdoor open-air kitchen with BBQ, restaurant facilities, and a wellness studio. Guests can relax on sunbeds on the Myconian Collection’s private section of Elia beach, and have access to spa facilities. Private vehicle parking is available, while a helipad can accommodate up to three helicopters for guests who arrive by air. A staff of 20 — receptionists, bar and kitchen personnel, housekeepers and maintenance crews — work on site.

Daytime aerial view from Panoptis Escape villas on Mykonos

Daytime (above) and sunset-time views (below) from one of the private swimming pools at Panoptis Escape

Sunset view from the Panoptis Escape villas on Mykonos

 

I can only imagine the fabulous impression Panoptis will make on visitors — and how amazing it will be for them to spend their vacation relaxing amidst such sumptuous surroundings and spectacular scenery. We have thoroughly enjoyed staying in two of the Myconian Collection properties — the Ambassador at Platis Gialos (our first hotel on our very first trip to Greece), and the Imperial — so we have an idea of what the Panoptis guest experience will be like. And we’ve already seen its breathtaking views with our own eyes. During our stay at the Imperial, we climbed to the top of the mountain above the hotel, and stood near the spot where Panoptis now sits. The views were outstanding, so I feel a tad envious of the lucky guests who will enjoy them from the comfort of private pools and patios at the Panoptis.

 

Seaview patio at Panoptis Escape villas on Mykonos

A seaview patio for one of the villas

 

Open air dining room at Panoptis Escape villas on Mykonos

An open-air dining space on one of the villa patios

 

Panoptis is a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and can be booked through its listing on the SLH website.

Please click on the link below to turn to page 2, where I have posted additional photos showing some of the villa interiors and outdoor spaces.

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