Category: Great sunset viewing spots (page 1 of 10)

A guide to Kini, the laid-back beach village on Syros

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Above: Views of the Kini area from five different vantage points

 

What’s there:  My earlier post, Colourful Kini Bay on Syros island, was essentially a photo tour of the beautiful beach village area where we have stayed during two holidays on Syros. In this companion piece, I have compiled a mini-guide to Kini, highlighting accommodation and dining options as well as attractions and things to see and do in the immediate vicinity, based primarily upon personal experience.

I actually started preparing this article several years ago, following our second trip to Syros, but I never managed to finish the project. It languished in a folder of draft articles until this winter, when a Travel + Leisure magazine profile of Syros caught my attention and reminded me of the post I had never completed. Comments and inquiries about Syros from readers  of my blog gave me further impetus to have another go at writing the guide. Besides, it presented an opportunity to see what, if anything, may have changed and keep us up to date on what’s happening in Kini, since we do plan to go back.

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Kini is best known for beaches, food and  scenery, but it’s also home to two attractions that tourists can visit: the Agia Varvara Monastery (above) and a small aquarium and boat museum

 

While checking to see if familiar tavernas and accommodations were still around, I was pleased to discover that two new restaurants and a hotel have opened during the past couple of years — Aphrodite Boutique Hotel, Thalassa Beach Bar, and Aeriko Mezedopoleio.  Aphrodite and Thalassa have opened in centrally-located buildings that had been vacant and somewhat shabby-looking during both of our Kini holidays, so their reincarnations have spruced up the area and greatly improved the look of the village landscape. Aeriko opened two years ago in the premises previously occupied by Ammos Beach and Kitchen Bar.  (There’s more information on all three new places later in this post.)

I also noticed several hotels and studio rental properties have undertaken significant upgrades in the past two years, while others have been renovating this winter in preparation for the 2019 season.  The good news for travellers is more (and improved) choices for lodging, along with additional places to drink and dine. Happily, the changes have been for the better, and haven’t had a negative impact on Kini’s comfortable atmosphere and charm.  

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We have seen many remarkable sunsets from Kini (this one was from our holiday in 2015), with vivid sky colours that were more stunning than any we’ve seen on Santorini, the island that’s famous for sunset views.

 

The low-key, laid-back ambiance is what we personally enjoy about Kini, along with its scenic location, marvellous sunset views, sandy beaches, interesting walks and excellent restaurants. (Its close proximity to the island’s vibrant capital, Ermoupoli, is another appealing feature.) On both of our visits, Kini won our hearts as one of the most chill and relaxing places we’ve stayed anywhere in Greece.  In fact, we often muse about going there for an extended period — a couple of months in spring or fall, for instance — since we find it particularly inspiring for our creative pursuits of writing, painting and photography.

I know others share our appreciation for Kini just as strongly; online, I have chatted with a number of people who have made repeat visits and are planning to return this year because they love Kini for the same reasons. And when we have spoken to other tourists while we have been in Kini, everyone has commented about how much they were enjoying the place. We never heard anything negative.

Kini might not be your cup of tea if your ideal island getaway is a crowded and glitzy tourist magnet, like Mykonos, where you can spend all your time and money shopping in designer boutiques, dining at gourmet international restaurants, and partying at exclusive nightclubs and trendy beach clubs.  But if your goal is to rest and recharge in a peaceful, picturesque village with good Greek restaurants and nice sandy beaches, Kini could well be paradise. It’s my hope that the photographs, descriptions and personal anecdotes in this guide will give you a solid sense of what Kini has to offer, and will inspire you to consider including Kini in your future holiday plans if it does look like a place you would enjoy.

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Kini is situated on the west coast of Syros, approximately 9 km from the island’s port town and capital, Ermoupoli

 

 

Please click on the links below below to continue reading and see dozens of Kini photos.

Page 2 highlights Kini sights, attractions and things to do, with descriptions of local beaches, boat trips to remote beach areas, and scenic walks.

Page 3 spotlights places to eat and drink in the village.

Page 4 profiles hotels and many of the room and studio accommodations available at Kini.  

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Colourful Kini Bay on Syros island

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Evening view of the Kini Bay area, from a hill behind Lotos beach

 

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Houses and holiday accommodations on the hills behind Kini Beach

 

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Fishing boats moored in the small harbour at Kini Bay

 

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Overlooking Kini beach, bay and harbour

 

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A quiet morning at Kini Beach

 

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Waves reflect the golden hues of sunset above Kini Bay 

 

Photo tour: It seems I have stoked some interest in Syros.

After I posted that Travel + Leisure magazine had profiled Syros island in its February 2019 issue, a number of readers have been in touch to say they are now thinking about going there for part of their island hopping holidays this summer.

And since I had mentioned that Syros is one of our favourite islands, some asked if I could recommend a specific beach resort area for them to consider.

So far we have stayed twice at just one beach location — Kini Bay — and loved it, but we have been to a few other beach areas that are popular with tourists, including Galissas, Finikas and Poseidonia. We would probably choose to stay at one of those places on our next trip to Syros, simply for a change of scenery and the chance to to experience a different part of the island.

But I wouldn’t describe Kini or any of the others as “resorts” per se; rather, they are fairly small villages situated on or near sandy beaches and scenic coastlines, each offering a respectable selection of accommodations and restaurants. You won’t find strips of shops or nightclubs at any of these locations, but there are mini markets and grocery stores where visitors staying in studio apartments or villas can purchase food and sundry items they might need.

What we particularly enjoy about Kini Bay is its beautiful setting on a picturesque bay, where holidaymakers can relax on two sandy beaches — Kini and Lotos — or at nearby Delfini, which is reasonable walking distance from the village.  Galissas beach can be reached either by car or on foot (a hiking path that winds up and down hills high above the rugged coast), while boat trips to two isolated beaches north of Kini are offered in season.

I’ll tell you more about the area in a separate post I’m currently working on, but in the meantime I have gathered dozens of our pictures to show you why we have been so keen on Kini.

Please click on the link below to take a photo tour of colourful sights and scenes at Kini Bay.

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Mykonos parties, live music events & DJ shows during 2019

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Mykonos is the prominent supporting star in  the new music video Χωρις Εσενα, released July 23 by Greek singer Giorgos Tsalikis. During the summer, Giorgos and his band performed live at 4711 club for 65 nights. 

 

Looking for a list of party events in 2020? Check out my article Mykonos party and event calendar 2020.

 

Events during December

 

Live music events at The Dublin Mykonos on November 29 and 30 and December 1

The Dublin presents live music entertainment by Dimitris Drosinis on the evenings of November 29 and 30, and on the afternoon of Sunday December 1

 

Announcement for the Sunday Party at El Burro Mykonos on December 1

Apostolis G. will DJ the Sunday Party at El Burro on December 1

 

Promotional ad for the Wednesday night Karaoke Party at Rustic Grill Mykonos

Rustic Grill hosts its weekly Karaoke Party on Wednesday December 4 starting at 9 p.m.

 

Vegera Mykonos promotional ad for its parties with DJ Jerry on December 6 and 7

Vegera gets into the Christmas spirit with parties on Friday December 6 and Saturday December 7. The parties start at 10 p.m. and DJ Jerry will be playing the music.

 

Promotional ad for the Stand Up Comedy Night at Central Mykonos on December 7

Central hosts a live Stand Up Comedy show on Saturday December 7, featuring comedians Giannis Roussos, Alexandros Paspardanis and Konstantinos Bouras Bai’makos. Entry fee is €15 per person, and includes a drink.

 

Promotional ad for the Sunday Party at El Burro Mykonos on December 8

DJ Jerry will be on the decks for the Sunday Party at El Burro on December 8

 

Promotional image for the Tuesday Quiz Night events at Notorious Bar Mykonos

Notorious holds its Quiz Night on Tuesday December 10 

 

Promotional ad for the Wednesday night Karaoke Party at Rustic Grill Mykonos

The weekly Karaoke Party takes place at Rustic Grill on Wednesday December 11

 

Taverna Kandavlos presents live music on Friday evening December 13, and on the afternoon of Sunday December 15

 

Promotional image for a Latin Christmas party at Rustic Grill Mykonos on December 13

Rustic Grill hosts a Latin Christmas Party on Friday December 13

 

Wild Cafe Bar Mykonos presents Giannis Barbaris on December 14

Wild Cafe Bar presents a live performance by Γιάννης Μπαρμπαρής (Giannis Barbaris) on Saturday December 14

 

Promotional announcement for the December 14 Closing Party at Vegera Mykonos

Vegera is throwing its final party of 2019 on December 14

 

Promotional ad for Sunday DJ parties at Rustic Grill Mykonos

Every Sunday, DJ Nassia T. will play for the “artistic folk evenings” at Rustic Grill

 

Promotional ad for the V Bros rock music show at Central Mykonos on December 14

The V Bros perform at Central on Saturday December 14

 

Promotional image for the December 15 Sunday Party at El Burro Mykonos

DJ Apostolis G. will play for the December 15 Sunday Party at El Burro

 

Mokka Brunch Mykonos presents Tilemachos Zeis on Friday December 20

Singer Τηλέμαχος Ζέης (Tilemachos Zeis) performs at Mokka Brunch on Friday December 20

 

Promotional image for the DJ party at Rustic Grill Mykonos on December 20

DJ Nassia T plays for the party at Rustic Grill on Friday December 20

 

Taverna Kandavlos Mykonos live music events on December 20 and 22

Taverna Kandavlos once again presents live music twice in one weekend — on Friday December 20 at 9 p.m., and on Sunday December 22 at 3 p.m.

 

Rustic Grill Mykonos presents DJ Stathis on Saturday December 21

Rustic Grill presents DJ Stathis on Saturday December 21

 

Promotional ad for the Xmas Music Nights at El Burro Mykonos

El Burro launches its Xmas Music Nights on Saturday December 21

 

Central Mykonos presents Petros Veronis on December 12

Petros Veronis, Daniel Kousathanas and Marianna Sanguita A Roe will perform live at Central on Saturday December 21

 

Promotional image for El Burro Mykonos Christmas Parties December 24 and 25

DJ Jerry plays for the Xmas Parties at El Burro on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

 

Promotional announcement for the Raya Mykonos Christmas Party on December 29

Festive season celebrations continue at Raya on Sunday December 29 when it hosts a Christmas Party with music by DJ Giannis Oikonomou 

 

New Years party at Toro Loco My Bar Mykonos

Toro Loco will celebrate the arrival of 2020 with a New Year’s party on December 31

 

El Burro Mykonos New Years Eve Party announcement

El Burrow welcomes the arrival of 2020 with a New Year’s party on Tuesday December 31. 

 

~ See a listing of past events on page 2 ~

 

What’s happening: Mykonos is in end-of-season mode, with bars, clubs and restaurants either closing up shop or preparing to wind down operations.

As usual, the last weekend of September is closing party time for numerous establishments, including Scorpios, Moni, The Garden, JackieO’ Beach, and Elysium Hotel’s popular Sunset Cabaret.

Parties are continuing at many bars in Mykonos Town, however, and beach parties are still going strong at Paradise beach, where Tropicana will be open until October 20.

Page 2 of this post contains promotional flyers showing daily beach parties, regular weekly events and special event series. 

Page 3 lists events that have taken place since March, in case you’re interested in seeing what has already happened.

I update this post whenever new announcements are released, often several times per day, so check back regularly to see what’s new.

 

 

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Marathopoli: A mellow seaside town and ideal base for exploring southwestern Messenia

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Marathopoli and Proti island

An aerial view looking west toward the town of Marathopoli and Proti Island. The photo is from the website for Marathopoli’s Artina Hotel Nuovo, where we stayed two nights while visiting historic sites, towns and attractions on a road trip through the Messenia region of the southwestern Peloponnese .

 

Great location: I didn’t know anything about Marathopoli when our travelling companions suggested we use the small seaside town as a base during two days of our road trip in the Messenian region of the Peloponnese last spring. Quite frankly, I didn’t know exactly where it was or what was there, and I doubt I had even heard of the place before they mentioned it.

What we discovered when we got there, on Day 2 of our trip, was a quiet, laid-back town that was a perfect spot to unwind after busy days of driving, hiking and sightseeing. And, just as our friends had pointed out, it was very conveniently located. All of the major attractions we wanted to see — Methoni Castle, Voidokilia beach, the old castle of Navarino, and the town of Pylos — were less than 40 minutes away. Many more historic sites, beaches and natural attractions we didn’t have time to visit were within reasonable driving distances as well, including The Palace of Nestor; Golden Beach – Mati and Vromomeri beach; and the Valta waterfall,  Neda River, Polylimnio lakes and waterfalls, Gialova wetlands, and more. 

 

 

From a tourist perspective, Marathopoli isn’t a particularly remarkable town in and of itself. Although it’s located on the coast, the built-up area of businesses and residences is spread across flat terrain, so it doesn’t boast a naturally picturesque and scenic setting like the more famous Messenian hillside towns of Pylos and Kyparissia. Its streets aren’t as photogenic, since there are no cobblestone lanes lined with rustic old houses and impressive historic buildings to stroll around.

When we arrived at Marathopoli and passed through the main section of town on the way to our accommodations, we found a compact commercial strip with three supermarkets and several other shops catering to the local residents, a couple of cafes and tavernas, and a number of vacant storefronts.  The business area, which occupies just a couple of short blocks, is fairly basic and nondescript — it hasn’t been fancied up with boutique shops, hipster cafes and trendy wine bars geared to upmarket travellers. From what I recall, it didn’t have any shops selling T-shirts and tacky cheap souvenirs, either. The town seemed unassuming and refreshingly “non-touristy,” at least at the low season time we were there. (It could be a slightly different story during the peak travel months of July and August, though.)

 

Marathopoli main street

A Google Streetview photo of the business area along Marathopoli’s main street

 

However, Marathopoli does have an attractive pedestrian zone just off the main drag, where visitors will enjoy going for coffee, drinks or dinner, or to take walks with views of the sea and Proti Island.  One block, which leads from the main street toward the sea, has been pleasantly landscaped with brick and flagstone pavement, benches, planter boxes, and old-style streetlamps. Restaurants, a few shops and a bank occupy the buildings along both sides of the block. The street intersects with a flagstone-paved pedestrian walkway (Πεζόδρομος — pezodromos) that extends along the seafront all the way to the town harbour.  Locals refer to it in English as The Sidewalk, and it is the town’s go-to area for a good selection of fish tavernas, traditional Greek restaurants, coffee shops and bars, many of which have open-air patios along the seafront. We found the pedestrian areas incredibly quiet in daytime and early evening, but humming with people and activity at night, once all of the restaurants had opened.

 

a street in Marathopoli

Visitors will find a bank, shops and restaurants on this block-long pedestrian street which leads from the main road toward the seafront

 

Marathopoli seaside pedestrian promenade

The pedestrian promenade known locally as The Sidewalk overlooks the seaside and extends from the restaurant zone all the way to the town harbour

 

restaurant area in Marathopoli

The Sidewalk offers a variety of dining options, including cafes, fish tavernas, restaurants and bars, most of which have patios on the seaside

 

But The Sidewalk isn’t what draws tourists to Marathopoli. The two main attractions for visitors are Proti Island and Lagouvardos beach, both of which are easily accessed from town.  Proti is reached on excursion boats from the Marathopoli harbour, and offers swimming and cliff jumping at secluded Vourlia beach, trekking on a variety of island trails, rock climbing, snorkeling and scuba diving. Lagouvardos is a large golden-sand beach about 3 kilometers from town, and is popular for board and wind surfing, stand up paddle boarding, swimming and other water sports.  (More information about Proti and Lagouvardos will appear in an upcoming post.)

If you’re planning to travel in western Messenia and looking to stay in a mellow, realxed location with appealing attractions close by and plenty more within reasonable driving distance, take a closer look at Marathopoli.  For us, its location just couldn’t be beat. Our only regret was that we didn’t spend another night or two there; we never made it to Lagouvardos, and at the time of our late May visit the tour boats to Proti Island had not started operating.  But we did enjoy the town’s unhurried, low-key atmosphere, excellent dining, and beautiful sea and sunset views.

For additional information about the town and top attractions nearby, check out the official Marathopoli Tourist Guide as well as as Jessica’s excellent overview article, Marathopoli and the beautiful surrounding area in Messenia, Greece, from the Athens Coast lifestyle website.

To see more of Marathopoli, take a look at the aerial video below, then turn to page 2 where I have posted photos that we shot while wandering around the town and enjoying the almost traffic-free streets.

 

Aerial views of Marathopoli and Proti Island are featured in this 2-minute video by Nikos Tsiak

 

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