Category: Photography

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.

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Skiathos holiday inspiration videos … and a new photo book to take home from the island

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This five and a half-minute Skyframe film features aerial views of Skiathos Town and some of the island’s stunning beaches and coastal scenery. 

 

In Skiathos 2015, Alexandre Ingels takes viewers on an 11-minute aerial tour of the island’s lush landscapes and beautiful beaches

 

Inspiration & souvenirs: Going to Skiathos this summer? If you haven’t been to the island before, take a look at the videos I posted above — they’re bound to make you feel even more eager and excited to get there for your upcoming holiday. 

If you’re one of the many lucky people who have already been to Skiathos, even for multiple return visits, the films are certain to evoke many fond memories of the time you spent on the island.

(The videos actually made me quite anxious to see Skiathos even though I’m not able to include it on the itinerary for my own upcoming trip to Greece.)

And while you’re on Skiathos, keep an eye out for the newly-published photo book, Kosmos Skiathos, by Dieter Seidel.  With 120 photos of the island and descriptive text in German, Greek and English, it’s an ideal souvenir that will let you continue enjoying Skiathos long after you return home from your holiday.

 

Kosmos Skiathos book by Dieter Seidel

Kosmos Skiathos – Κόσμος Σκιάθος – Cosmos Skiathos is a newly published 128-page photo book by Dr Dieter Seidel

 

“You can approach Skiathos in three ways: by plane, by boat – and with your heart,” says Seidel, who describes his book as a “confession of love” for the island.

“To me, Skiathos is the island of my dreams, my world. Nowhere have I felt as happy as I do here. I hope that my photographs of this wonderful island attest
to that feeling,” he says.

 

 

 

The 128-page hardcover edition is published by Griechenland Zeitung and can be purchased at various locations on Skiathos and elsewhere in Greece. Look for Kosmos Skiathos at shops that carry the German-language Griechenland Zeitung newspaper and magazine, as well as at newsstands that sell foreign press publications.

Click here to see the Kosmos Skiathos listing from the publisher’s online shop.

Below are images, provided by Griechenland Zeitung, that show the book’s front cover as well as some of its inside pages.

Kosmos Skiathos book

The table of contents page for Kosmos Skiathos

 

Cosmos Skiathos book

The book features 120 gorgeous photos of the island

 

Cosmos Skiathos book

Sample pages from the chapter on Skiathos shores and bays

 

If you’d like to see more videos of Skiathos, check out my February 25 blog post Revisiting summer on Skiathos, and my January 23 post Set your sights on Skiathos!

Naxos calendar packed with arts, culture, food, music, party & sports events for August

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Dimitria Festival 2014

A promotional poster for Dimitria 2014, the 3rd annual Agrotourism Exhibition in Sangri village. The festival includes a variety of cultural events, including: photography, painting, knitwear and traditional antique shows.

 

 Month full of fun: On any given summer day, there’s plenty to see and do on Naxos — as I’ve described in numerous posts, including my comprehensive January 6 2014 report on Our Top 15 reasons to visit Naxos.

But if you happen to be travelling to Naxos during August this year, you’re going to be spoiled for choice even more — the island’s calendar is packed with special celebrations and activities appealing to visitors of all ages, backgrounds and interests.

Events include painting, sculpture and photography shows; food festivals; religious feasts and celebrations; live music concerts and performances; live theatre; entertainment for kids; movie screenings; sporting tournaments and nightclub parties.

I outlined a few of the island’s special events, including those held as part of the annual Naxos Festival, in my July 3 post, Cyclades islands celebrate summer with festivals for food & wine, arts & literature, culture & sports.

 Website listings for all Naxos events in August

Further details about many more August celebrations and festivities can be found on the following Naxos information websites:

♦ The Domus Festival page on the Naxos Festival website contains a chart listing the performers that will be appearing at the Venetian Castle in Naxos Town;

♦  The Bazeos Tower website contains a listing of all exhibitions and live performances being held at the 17th-Century monument, which is situated 12 km from Naxos Town;

♦  The What’s On section of the naxos-web.com portal has a chart showing dates and venues for most of the events taking place on the island in August; and

♦ The Naxos and Small Cyclades website includes a detailed day-by-day list of events and activities not just on Naxos, but also on the nearby islands of Schinoussa, Koufonissia, Donoussa, and Iraklia; and

♦ the Naxos Festival Facebook page contains a wealth of photos and informational posts about the festival lineup.

Since most events take place during the evening or at night, Naxos visitors will have plenty of time to enjoy the island’s fabulous beaches and scenic towns and villages before taking in the entertainment.

On page 2, I have posted dozens of promotional posters providing information about many the August events. Click on the link below to continue reading.

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Cyclades islands celebrate summer with festivals for food & wine, arts & literature, culture & sports

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International Festival of the Aegean

A promotional poster for the 10th Annual International Festival of the Aegean taking place July 6 to 19 in Ermoupoli on Syros island.

 

Food & culture fests: I love travelling to Greek islands during low season, particularly in the spring, but that means I always miss out on major cultural and gastronomical celebrations that are held only during the summer.

Just in the Cyclades group of islands this month alone, a wide variety of food & wine festivals, painting & photography shows, arts & literature events and fun sport competitions will be taking place on Antiparos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Schinoussa, Serifos and Syros.

(Cultural events abound in other island groups, too, and of course there are scores of religious festivals throughout the country, many of which take place during the summer. But those are topics I’ll cover in future posts.)

Below is an outline of just a few of the festivities you can check out if you happen to be island hopping in the Cyclades between this weekend and the end of September. You’re in for a big surprise if you thought the Greek islands were only about picturesque villages, beautiful sandy beaches and gorgeous scenery!

 Click on the 2 in the link below to continue reading about activities on Antiparos, Santorini, Naxos, Paros, Schinoussa, Syros, Serifos and Mykonos.

 

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