Category: Arts & culture (page 1 of 18)

Our Covid-19 quarantine travel reads: Feature profiles of Athens, Thessaloniki, the Peloponnese & mainland Greece

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Kastoria city and lake photo from Issue 6 of Sky Express airlines Fly magazine

Kokkoras Bridge in Epirus Greece photo from Sky Express airlines Fly magazine Issue 6

These striking photos of the city of Kastoria in northern Greece and the historic Kokkoros Bridge in Epirus are from The White Issue of Fly, the magazine of Sky Express airline. The  picture-packed issue spotlights visit-worthy mainland Greece destinations that aren’t on typical tourist itineraries.

 

Armchair travels: Since we can’t take our scheduled spring trip to Greece because of Covid-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions, we have been travelling there vicariously — by reading magazine and newspaper articles about destinations, hotels, attractions and a wide variety of aspects of Greek life and tourism. Armchair travel lacks the thrill and pleasure of actually going to Greece, of course, but it’s a heck of a lot better than brooding about the cancellation of our 2020 holiday plans while we’re cooped up in home quarantine.

On the positive side, our time catching up on articles published over the past six months has been well spent, introducing us to incredible places in Greece we weren’t too familiar with, and giving us ideas and inspiration for trips we hope to take once the pandemic has passed and Greece re-opens its borders to international visitors.

Since the articles and photo profiles could be interesting and helpful to readers dreaming about their own future trips to Greece, we will be sharing our “quarantine travel reads” in a series of  blog posts, beginning with this one.

Destinations and topics profiled in this instalment include:

♦ Thessaloniki and the Halkidiki peninsula;

♦ Athens

♦ the southern Peloponnese, including Costa Navarino, the Mani and Monemvasia; and

♦ Impressive towns, villages and scenic areas in mainland Greece

 

 

Upcoming blog posts will spotlight:

♦ stylish luxury hotels and hot dining spots in Athens, Crete, Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini;

♦ travel writer accounts of trips to Athens and various Greek Islands, including Evia, Milos, Paros and Symi;

♦ Cretan food and the Mediterranean diet;

♦ mini guides to Greek islands, and more.

 

Athens and the southern Peloponnese

 

Bloomberg News article on Greece travel destinations

Dimitsana, a mountain village in Arcadia, is among the places writer Nikos Chrysoloras recommends visiting in the southern Peloponnese

 

“…there will be so much Greek paradise for you when this viral outbreak is behind us” says Nikos Chrysoloras, whose article The Greece I long to visit isn’t on your average travel brochure was published by Bloomberg News on April 24.

Greece does indeed abound with places people would consider paradise, but Chrysoloras devotes his article to describing a travel itinerary that will let visitors experience the true essence of Greece first in Athens and its surrounding area, and secondly during a scenic road trip through the southern Peloponnese peninsula.

A must-see in the historical center of Athens, he says, is Monastiraki Square, which “epitomizes my country perhaps more than any island or beach.” He recommends two rooftop bars overlooking the square, from which visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the Parthenon and other historic monuments. “It’s the weight of millennia packed in the space of a single block,” Chrysoloras notes. He also recommends a day trip along the Athens Riviera and a visit to the clifftop Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, famous for its sensational sunset view, which he describes as “Greece, Profound.” He also suggests specific places to drink and dine, so visitors planning to spend time in the city would be wise to bookmark the article for easy reference once in Athens.

 

 

For the Peloponnese portion of his suggested roadtrip, Chrysoloras recommends starting off in the area around the Costa Navarino resort and the incredible Voidokilia beach (which I wrote about in my blog post A bucket list visit to Voidokilia), and then exploring the rugged Mani region. “It’s a mountainous terrain with stone-built villages and very narrow roads leading to pebbled beaches. This area is the land of the ancient Spartans, people as defiant as history suggests.” Again, Chrysoloras recommends places to stay, dine, hike, swim and enjoy a drink with a fabulous sunset view.

From Mani, the drive continues to the castle town of Monemvasia, whose “medieval alleys are full of mystery and wonder, like a set that Game of Thrones producers ought to have used.” On the way back to Athens from there, Chrysoloras urges a detour to Dimitsana — his mother’s home town — “one of the most characteristic specimens of the mountainous side of Greece. Surrounded by conifer trees, you can enjoy unspoiled traditional stone architecture and hike in the area’s beautiful forests and nearby villages.” Although worth a look nearby is Panagia, a now-deserted village where Chrysoloras recommends a taverna that serves outstanding traditional dishes. 

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading on page 2, where we discuss excellent magazine articles about Thessaloniki, noteworthy destinations in mainland Greece, and fascinating places to explore in Athens.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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Lesvos island stars in Dutch singer’s music video

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Danielle van Doorn filmed the video to her inspirational song Fly at Molyvos, Petra and other places on Lesvos island

 

Scenic backup: Lesvos island plays a co-starring role in Fly, a pop music video released this month (April 2020) by talented young Dutch singer/songwriter Danielle van Doorn.

The beautiful town of Molyvos, the historic Molyvos Castle, Petra village and numerous inland and coastal locations on Lesvos provide scenic backdrops for the 3.5-minute video which van Doorn made as a posthumous birthday gift for Justin G. Valk, who produced the studio recording of the song prior to his death two years ago from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Known professionally as JRedsun, Valk also produced van Doorn’s 2017 single, Leave Me Alone.

We recognized several of the video filming locations since we stayed in Molyvos and visited Petra and other places  during our first-ever trip to Lesvos in spring 2019, but I’m sure many more sites shown in the clip will be familiar to regular island visitors.

If you haven’t been to Lesvos before, the video will give you glimpses of some of the pretty town, coast and landscape scenery that await your discovery on this truly wonderful East Aegean isle.

How to visit Greece during your Covid-19 home quarantine

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Greecefromhome website screenshot

If you’re stuck at home in Covid-19 quarantine, you can visit and explore Greece through inspirational videos, dreamy photos and informative destination profiles on the new #greecefromhome website

 

Just because you can’t physically travel to Greece right now doesn’t mean you can’t pay it a visit and enjoy a Greek holiday experience in mind and spirit.

Like billions of other people around the world, you probably can’t go far from home — if you’re even able to leave it at all — because of Covid-19 quarantines, lockdowns and self-isolation measures. You definitely can’t go to Greece, because it’s totally off-limits to travellers for the time being. And while it’s far too soon to tell when countries will re-open their borders to visitors, you can still explore and experience Greece — and get ideas and inspiration for a future holiday there — by clicking over to #greecefromhome.

Launched at the beginning of March 2020, #greecefromhome is a multifaceted campaign that aims “to offer people from all over the world meaningful content from Greece during the Covid-19 crisis.” It’s a special initiative developed by the Greek government, its national tourism organisation, and a private sector tourism group that promotes Greece as a travel destination.

“[t]his is where we share our love for Greece – connecting you with Greeks doing amazing things on our YouTube channel and letting you experience the best of Greece right now, on Discovergreece.com. And if you work in tourism or any other sector, as an individual or business, you can learn new digital skills through a series of free courses in partnership with Google,” the #greecefromhome website explains.

To that end, the #greecefromhome web portal provides quick and easy access to a wealth of photos, videos and information about Greek culture, destinations and travel experiences. It includes:

♦ the Visit Greece channel on YouTube, which features videos spotlighting “Greek personalities and creators from around the world,” as well as “Greek-inspired music, mythology, cuisine, arts, crafts, fashion, sport and style” — and, of course, travel destinations and holiday activities and experiences;  

Greecefromhome website link to the Visit Greece YouTube Channel

Screenshot of two videos from the Greecefromhome website

Screenshot of two videos from the Greecefromhome website

Above: screenshots of the #greecefromhome website links to some of the hundreds of videos available for free viewing on the Visit Greece YouTube channel

 

♦ the Discover Greece tourism website, which is packed with inspiring images and information about “archaeological sites and museums, the glorious sea, the mountains and lakes, the villages and traditions, even gastro and walking tours – exploring, sailing, hiking, rafting, tasting, discovering” and other activities to keep you merrily dreaming about — and perhaps even planning — a future holiday in Greece.

 

Screenshot of Discover Greece website experiences homepage

Screenshot 01 of discovery tours on the greecefromhome website

Screenshot 02 of discovery tours on the greecefromhome website

Screenshot 03 of discovery tours on the greecefromhome website

Above: Screenshots showing some of the travel experience profiles available through links on  the #greecefromhome site

 

online training courses, developed by Grow with Google, that will help participants “learn about creating a digital marketing plan, using social media effectively, the art of storytelling,” and more. 

Screenshot of the Greecefromhome website digital skills learning channel

Screenshot of online digital training courses available through the greecefromhome website

Above: Screenshots showing some of the digital training courses available through #greecefromhome

 

While the goal of #greecefromhome is to keep Greece as a top of mind destination for whenever international travel resumes, it offers a great opportunity in the meantime for people to give their minds a break from the pervasive doom and gloom of the coronavirus crisis, and dream about going to one of the most beautiful places in the world. Hopefully, that will soon be possible once again.

Mykonos bar & club openings, parties & events in 2020

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Tropicana beach club Mykonos champagne showers party on Wednesday July 8

Tropicana holds a champagne showers party on Wednesday July 8

 

Sanctus nightclub Mykonos DJ event lineup for summer 2020

Sanctus has released its calendar of DJ events for this summer. The first party takes place Saturday July 11 with Brina Knauss on the decks, and it will be followed by parties each Saturday night until August 29.

 

Oniro Bar Restaurant Mykonos photo from its Facebook page

Oniro Bar/Restaurant opens the doors to its amazing sunset and Mykonos Town views on Wednesday July 15

 

Rustic Grill Mykonos presents The Dutch Touch on July 15

Rustic Grill presents The Dutch Touch on Wednesday July 15

 

 

Opening soon

 

Guapaloca Bar Mykonos photo from its Facebook page

 

 

Skandinavian Bar Mykonos 2020 grand opening announcement

 

Void nightclub Mykonos announcement for summer 2020 opening

 

4711 Mykonos nightclub season opening announcement for 2020

 

 

Regular events this summer

 

Tropicana Mykonos daily parties during summer 2020

Once again this summer, Tropicana holds beach parties starting at 4:30 p.m. every day, with host Sasa and music by DJs Argie, Terry and Mark Code

 

Tropicana beach club Mykonos Saturday event during summer 2020

Starting July 4, DJs Argie & Terry will play for the TropicanaLand Experience parties every Saturday at Tropicana

 

Super Paradise beach club Mykonos Sundays with DJ Vasilis Koutonias

Again this summer, DJ Vasilis Koutonias will be on the decks every Sunday at Super Paradise beach club

 

Baos Cocktail Bar Mykonos presents DJ Marios Ntoumis on Sundays during summer 2020

DJ Marios Ntoumis will be on the decks at Bao’s every Sunday this summer

 

The Phly Boyz bring their “uptempo musical vibes and jazzy feel” to Nammos this summer, appearing from July 2 to 24, August 13 to 28, and September 13 to 22

 

Wednesday July 1 update: What will the 2020 summer party scene on Mykonos look like? With the threat of Covid-19 still present, will there even be parties?

Those are the questions on people’s minds as Greece reopens to international tourism, and as the bars, clubs, shops, restaurants, hotels and service businesses on Mykonos continue to open.

The Greek government has imposed stringent safety measures to control the spread of Covid-19, and the regulations will have a huge impact on partying on Mykonos. In fact, they already have.

During the Holy Spirit holiday weekend in early June, Alemagou beach club threw a season opening party that drew a crowd of hundreds of people, packing the club’s bar and beach areas. Authorities reacted swiftly, closing down the club and fining its owners €20,000 for violating the coronavirus control regulations. The club appealed the penalty, and remained opened for several more days pending an appeal, but the government insisted it wouldn’t back down on its strict rules for business operations. Several beach clubs and nightclubs in Athens also were fined and shut down after police and inspectors found severe overcrowding and other breaches of coronavirus control regulations. The government ultimately decided the penalties had been too strict for first offences, and allowed the clubs to re-open after a 15-day closure. So the good news is that Alemagou is now open once again.

 With the government warning that it will enforce its rules strictly,  visitors should expect the Mykonos party scene to have more of a chill lounge ambiance, rather than a wild & crazy scene of people packed tightly into bars and clubs.  If you’re expecting to join crowds of fellow partying travellers when you go to Mykonos, you could well be very disappointed. To avoid disappointment, expect a low-key party vibe instead.

Another question people are asking is: Will the travel season extend later into the fall, to make up for the late start this year? It’s possible; however, bars and restaurants are still just opening up for the season, and haven’t even begun to think about when they will close their doors this year. Fingers crossed the travel season will continue throughout October — but it’s simply too soon to say if that might happen.

We will post information about club and party opening announcements here as further details are released.

 

 

Clubs & events still undecided about opening

 

Cavo Paradiso Mykonos party image shared on social media

Cavo Paradiso has shared this party photo on social media, with the caption: “We will be dancing together again!” Exactly when has not yet been announced, though. The club was supposed to hold its opening party on Saturday May 9 but that event, along with the rest of its parties scheduled for May, had to be cancelled because of Greece’s lockdown to foreign travellers during the Covid-19 pandemic. At present, Boris Brejcha and Steve Aoki are still set to appear in July, while The Chainsmokers are still on the roster for August. Cavo says it will not make any further summer DJ lineup announcements “until the end of May or until there’s a clearer picture” of what’s happening with this year’s travel season in light of the pandemic.

 

XLSIOR Mykonos Festival 2020 update announcement

The annual XLSIOR Mykonos Festival is still scheduled take place August 19 to 26, provided it receives clearance to proceed with its events.  An announcement will be made on July 15 to confirm if it will in fact take place. XLSIOR is one of the biggest annual gay festivals in the world, and the biggest multi-day party event to take place on Mykonos each summer.  XLSIOR celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019.

 

 

Related articles:

♦  Mykonos parties, live music events & DJ shows during 2019

♦  What’s new on Mykonos for 2019

 

Please click on the link below to turn to page 2 where you can see club openings and events that have already taken place this year.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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