Category: Greece holiday May 2015 (page 2 of 5)

Heed the siren’s call for standout seafood & Greek food at Rafina

Share

Seirines restaurant at Rafina

Street view of Seirines (Sirens) restaurant on the harbourfront strip near the port of Rafina. (This photo, from the Seirines Facebook page, was originally posted on TripAdvisor with a 5-star rating by reviewer erythnul.)

 

Tempting tastes: If you find yourself feeling hungry while waiting for a ferry at Rafina port, or after arriving there on one, I recommend making your way directly to Seirines restaurant for a meal. You won’t be disappointed, especially if you enjoy fresh seafood.

Friends took us there for lunch last May when we had several hours to pass before catching a late afternoon ferry to Andros. They had assured us that Seirines would be a great spot to enjoy the first meal of our holiday after arriving in Greece on a long overnight flight from Canada, and they were absolutely right — it was perfect. With a harbour-view table on the taverna’s open-air terrace, and a nice variety of delicious seafood and Greek dishes, we could not have asked for a better “welcome back” to Greece.

The tremendously satisfying lunch and waterfront setting got our vacation off to a great start, and in retrospect may have been an omen of good food to follow  — over the next 16 days, we enjoyed the best dining of all our trips to Greece since 2004.

 

Our selection of dishes included feta, white fish roe dip (a richer and much less salty version of the pinkish-coloured taramasalata typically found on taverna menus), calamari, toasted bread, grilled calamari, grilled sardines, vegetable croquettes, and ouzo (for those of you who love ouzo or tsipouro, take note that Seirines is an ouzotsipouradiko, offering an extensive selection of the two spirits).

The dishes provided more than enough food for the four of us, and we barely managed to clear all the plates. Everything was good, but for me the fish roe dip and sardines were exceptional.  Although our friends picked up the tab and wouldn’t let me see the bill, they said the price for our lunch had been very reasonable. We will definitely go back to Seirines if any of our future travels take us through Rafina.

Seirines restaurant rAFINA

Seirines photo of platters with a selection of seafood and Greek food delights

 

But you don’t have to take only my word that Seirines is an ideal choice for dining near the port.  Check out the rave review that the New York City-based food blog Fritos and Foie Gras gave the restaurant in its photo-illustrated post, The Fish Lunch of My Dreams at Seirines, Rafina. (With its comments like “it’s impossible not to love this restaurant,” and “I would come back here in a heartbeat if I could,” you’ll see I have good company in highly recommending the restaurant. Be sure to click on the photos in the review to get a better look at the scrumptious dishes the writer enjoyed, including tzatziki, a country salad, a smoked and cured fish plate, and souvlaki-style shrimp.)

If you need more convincing, read the Seirines review in the article CB on the road: Eating in Rafina, which the international city dining blog Culinary Backstreets published less than two weeks before we discovered the restaurant.

You can read additional reviews on TripAdvisor, where Seirines is ranked as the #1 restaurant in Rafina.

Google Street View image of Seirines restaurant at Rafina Greece

This Google Street View image shows the close proximity of Seirines (left) to the Rafina ferry docks

Where to hit the beach at Batsi village on Andros island

Share

Batsi beach on Andros

The main beach at Batsi village on Andros is a long ribbon of golden sand that rings the northern shore of Batsi bay. I took this photo at the southeast tip of Batsi beach, near the town’s waterfront strip and harbour …

 

Batsi beach on Andros

… and shot this picture from a hill at the opposite end of the beach.  It takes just under 10 minutes to walk the full length of the sand.

 

Five strands: Travelling to Andros this summer? Batsi village is an ideal base for swimmers or sun worshippers who want to stay within walking distance of several beaches and still have a good variety of places to eat and drink.

The biggest, best and most convenient beach is right at Batsi — a long arc of golden sand that hugs the north shore of Batsi bay. Bars and restaurants are situated only steps away across the beachside road, while it’s just a short stroll from Batsi beach to the town’s main commercial area, which offers many more drinking and dining opportunities.

 

Four more beaches are within reasonable walking distance of the village, making Batsi a perfect location for beach loving visitors who won’t have a rental vehicle during their stay (which was the case for us during our visit in late May).

Kolona beach on Andros

Kolona beach is on a small bay directly opposite the village

 

Kolona beach is located directly across the bay from Batsi harbour (you can see the golden sand crescent from the town’s waterfront), and is about a 15-minute walk from the northwest end of Batsi beach. It’s a scenic walk the entire way, since the route provides extensive views of the entire village and bay area, as well as surrounding mountains and the coast beyond Batsi.

Heading south from Batsi, a 10-minute walk will bring you to Stivari, a strip of rental studios and apartments on a hillside overlooking a small bay. Stivari beach is a small pebble, stone and sand cove that’s more suitable for sunbathing than swimming, but it does offer impressive sea and sunset views, and it’s conveniently straight across the road from O Viomichanos / Stivari Gardens restaurant, where drinks and good food are served on a large tree-shaded terrace.

Stivari beach on Andros

Stivari is a small sliver of pebbles and sand a short walk south of Batsi 

 

From Stivari, a 5-minute walk up and over the adjacent headland takes you to the Aneroussa Beach Hotel, where a stone staircase near the hotel’s driveway entrance leads down the hill to Delavoyia beach. There actually are three small sandy coves here, separated by narrow outcroppings of smooth rock, and the hotel operates a cafe-bar on the biggest of the beaches.

 

Agia Marina beach is a further 5-minute walk past the Aneroussa. It’s a narrow band of brown sand with trees at the north end near the entrance to the excellent Agia Marina Taverna. The restaurant’s terrace overlooks the beach and is a great spot to sip a cold beer or dine on delicious home-cooked food while savouring the superb sea and sunset views.  (We had two outstanding meals of Greek cuisine here.)

 

Delavoyia beach and Agia Marina beach

Delavoyia (foreground) and Agia Marina (center right) are about a 20-minute walk from Batsi along a road above the scenic coast

 

This is a short video I shot showing afternoon, evening and sunset views of Delavoyia beach

 

There are even more beach-hopping options for travellers with their own transport — several excellent strands are located a short drive away, along the highway linking Batsi to the port town of Gavrio. I will be publishing photos of those beaches in a separate future post.

Click on the link below to see additional photos of all five beaches on page 2 of this post.

 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Our stay at Aneroussa Beach Hotel on Andros

Share

Aneroussa Beach Hotel

Thanks to the clifftop location of Aneroussa Beach Hotel 

 

Aneroussa Beach Hotel

we enjoyed exceptional beach, sea and sunset views … 

 

Aneroussa Beach Hotel

from our room and its very comfortable veranda

 

Didn’t want to leave: After three nights at Andros Town, we moved across the island to spend the next stage of our spring holiday at a hotel near Batsi, a popular beach resort area on the northwest coast of Andros.

This marked only the second time in all our travels to Greece that we have stayed at two different places on the same island (in October 2013, we similarly split our stay between a beach resort and town during our two-week vacation on Naxos.)

For accommodations, we chose Aneroussa Beach Hotel, which is located on the coast south of Batsi at the small but delightful Delavoyia beach.

We could not have picked a better place — it perfectly suited our personal travel tastes and accommodation preferences, and it quickly became one of our favourite hotels out of the more than three dozen we have stayed at in Greece so far. In fact, when it came time to move on after our scheduled 3-night stay, we didn’t want to leave, wishing we could have spent more time at the Aneroussa.

Please click here or on the link below to continue reading our review and to see a video and photos of Aneroussa Beach Hotel on page 2 of this post.

 

Aneroussa Beach Hotel photos on Flickr

My Aneroussa Beach Hotel album on Flickr contains 160 photos showing the hotel grounds, our room and terrace, the Aneroussa beachfront, and some of the hotel facilities. Click here to see the pictures.

 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Impressions of Batsi

Share

Batsi village on Andros

Batsi is a scenic seaside village on the northwest coast of Andros

 

Village views: When I told several regular travellers to Greece that we were planning a trip to Andros, they gave me two conflicting points of view about Batsi, a seaside village and beach resort on the island’s southern coast, about 6 km from Gavrio port.  Half of my acquaintances recommended we stay in Batsi, which they had personally stayed in and enjoyed. The other half warned me to avoid it altogether, and to stay only in or near Chora (Andros Town) instead. “Batsi has no soul,” said one. “It’s just a purpose-built resort with no character. It doesn’t feel very Greek there,” said another.

With my friends’ opinions about Batsi poles apart, I did more research and ultimately concluded that it was in fact where we should stay after spending three nights in Chora. But instead of choosing accommodations in the built-up area of Batsi, I booked us into a hotel at a scenic beach less than a 20-minute walk away. (I will be writing about the Aneroussa Beach Hotel in an upcoming post).

 

Batsi village on Andros

Approaching the harbour and the waterfront commercial strip of Batsi during the walk into town from our hotel

 

I felt apprehensive the first time we walked into Batsi, hoping we wouldn’t be disappointed. Happily, we weren’t — either then or on any of the other two times a day we visited the village. It’s pleasant, it does feel Greek, and it doesn’t have the artificial look and atmosphere of a resort specifically built for tourists (it’s not a place for shopaholics, though — they won’t find streets lined with trendy fashion boutiques or retail stores). We liked it — in all types of weather, no less. There was a mix of conditions during our May 28 – 31 visit — sunshine, clouds, strong winds and even a light rainfall — and we thought Batsi looked nice in all elements.

 

Click on the arrow in the middle of the image to see video views of Batsi from three different places along the bay.  A strong wind was blowing stormclouds over the area when I took the videos, and within a hour there was a short but light shower. Rain or shine, we thought Batsi looked beautiful.

 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Older posts Newer posts

You cannot copy content of this page