Category: Greece mainland (page 1 of 10)

Massive snowstorm gives Greece’s winter tourism campaign a big boost

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The Greece National Tourism Organisation released this video last month to kick off a campaign promoting the country’s mainland destinations for winter holidays. This week, a  massive snowstorm made international headlines and reinforced the campaign message that “Greece has winter, too.”

 

Snow wonder:  Was it simply good timing, a complete coincidence, or an incredible Greek drama directed by the mythical Greek gods at Mount Olympus?

Just days before Christmas, Greece’s ministry of tourism and its national tourism organization launched an advertising promotion to encourage winter tourism at destinations in mainland Greece — a campaign intended to show people around the world that there’s much more to experience in Greece than summer vacations on its famous sun-drenched islands.

The campaign was built around its centerpiece video, which we posted above. It begins with a press conference-style spokesperson greeting viewers with: “Dear World. We Greeks know that when you think of our country, you think of the islands, the sea, the endless summer. But today, we have a big announcement to make. It may sound confusing. You may be surprised. But Greece has a winter too!” 

The video goes on to show beautiful winter scenery and exciting outdoor activities at places in Central Greece, Epirus, the Peloponnese, Thessaly and West Macedonia. We were surprised that the film doesn’t mention or display any skiing or other alpine snow sports, even though mainland Greece does boast major ski centers — such as Parnassos and Kalavrita — along with 15 smaller but very popular alpine facilities.

 

Kalavrita Ski Resort in Greece

Kalavrita Ski Resort (Το χιονοδρομικό κέντρο Καλαβρύτων) in the Peloponnese, seen in a January 15  aerial photo  from its Facebook page

 

The promotional campaign was aimed primarily at Greece’s main travel markets — the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavian countries and Israel. But less than a month later, the message that Greece has a winter season reached countless millions of people around the world loud and clear — not through the video or advertisements, but rather thanks to some unexpected free publicity from Mother Nature on Monday January 24.

That’s the day a massive weather system walloped Greece, dumping record-setting heavy snowfalls that virtually paralyzed traffic and transport in Athens and many parts of the country. The unprecedented snowstorm and its immense visual impact made international news headlines across the globe,  with television and social media reports showing almost surreal snowfall images that confused, surprised — and astounded — millions of people who didn’t realize that it snows in Greece in winter, including sometimes in Athens and on the islands, too.

Given the widespread media coverage of the storm — including videos of people skiing along streets below the Acropolis of Athens — it seems clear the tourism campaign achieved its goal of showing people there’s a winter season in Greece, albeit inadvertently. 

Perhaps tourism officials might consider updating their campaign to include images and references to skiing, snowboarding and other alpine snow adventure sports. Before the Elpis snowstorm, Greek ski enthusiasts were raving about this season’s superb snow conditions, which some reports described as the best in decades.  Imagine how good the skiing and boarding is now, with even more snow. We think it would be a shame for people outside the country not to learn there is much better skiing to be found in Greece than on the roads beneath the Acropolis!

Below are a few of our favourite Instagram photos of Elpis snow on globally-recognized Athens monuments, along with an aerial video showing some of the city’s landmarks the day after the storm.

 

spirostheodorou photo of snow at the Athens Parthenon

 An aerial view of the Parthenon with snowy mountainsides in the background, by @spirostheodorou

 

engelvolkersgreece Instagram photo of snow on the Athens Acropolis

Snow-covered Acropolis and Theatre of Herodes Atticus, captured in an image by @alkisk_

 

ioanniskoskoutis Instagram photo of snow on the Acropolis of Athens

Overhead aerial view of the Acropolis, by @ioanniskaskoutis

 

@slavmk23 photo of snow on Anafiotika in Athens

@slavmk23 captured this image of the Anafiotika neighbourhood on the lower slopes of the Acropolis

 

@imikov photo of Dromeas The Runner sculpture in Athens

@imikov captured this marvellous image of snow collecting on Dromeas (The Runner), the famous glass sculpture by artist Costas Varotsos on Vassilissis Sofias Avenue near the Athens Hilton hotel.

 

 agispeterson Instagram photo of snow on the Athens Acropolis

The Acropolis and its recently-upgraded lighting system are seen in one of a series of sunrise images captured by @agispeterson 

 

imikov Instagram photo of snowy trees and the Athens Acropolis

The Parthenon, photographed through snow-laden trees by @imikov

 

katerinakatopis Instagram photo of snow on the Zappeion in Athens

A @katerinakatopis aerial photo of snow on the Zappeion Megaron and on Mount Lycabettus in the background

 

Καλημέρα Αθήνα – Καλημέρα Ελπίδα is a 2:25-minute aerial video by Up Stories showing views of snowy Athens landmarks the day after the Elpis snowstorm struck the city

 

Thousands more photos and videos are available online; if you’re keen to see more, here are links to several news and information websites that have published photo galleries of Elpis images from across Greece:

In pictures: snow covers Athens and Greek Islands by Greece Is;

Athens after Elpis snowstorm by Greek City Times;

Frozen fountains, snowed in Evzones, and blanketed Monastiraki by Greek City Times;

Snow blankets Greece’s ancient city of Athens; disrupts life by Greece High Definition;

The most beautiful snowy photos and videos from Greece by Greek Gateway;

Parthenon covered in snow as rare cold front hits Greece by Greek Reporter;

 

You might also be interested in seeing our own recent posts with photos from Greek islands that were struck by Elpis, and by a different storm, Diomedes, just a few days earlier:

After the Elpis snowstorm: Amazing Mykonos landscape photos by Leanne Vorrias;

The powdery white Mykonos beaches few tourists ever see;

After the storm: Snowy streets and landscapes on Samothraki island

Snow scenes from Thassos island

Central Macedonia: A great four-seasons travel destination

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This is the lead video in a Central Macedonia tourism campaign that invites visitors to come “do something great.” The promotion includes four additional short films (see below) that will tempt travellers with fabulous photography of great things they can see and do in the region.

 

Greatness abounds: It’s widely known as the historic home of its king, Alexander the Great, in ancient times, but the mainland Greece region of Central Macedonia wants more people to discover that it’s also an incredible place for tourists to visit 365 days a year.

The region already attracts more than 7 million visitors annually, drawn to such internationally-known destinations as the city of Thessaloniki, the holy monasteries at Mount Athos, the beach-blessed Halkidiki peninsulas, and the tallest peak in Greece, Mount Olympus.

But Central Macedonia isn’t even on the radar for countless other people who have been to Greece, or who might be planning to visit, and aren’t aware there’s so much more to the country than Athens and the islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes. Crete and  Corfu. To show those potential visitors why they should give Central Macedonia a closer look, the region has produced five promotional videos that highlight the vast array of vacation experiences available for all types of travellers and their holiday activity preferences.

With spectacular cinematography, the 2-minute videos showcase some of the region’s magnificent landscapes and natural scenery, exciting outdoor sports and adventure activities, arts and cultural attractions, beautiful beaches, and its traditional and contemporary cuisine. The sheer breadth of the region’s natural and human-created wonders may be an eye-opening surprise to people who aren’t familiar with this part of Greece.

The “Do Something Great” video, posted above, is the primary film for the tourism campaign. Published on YouTube and shared on social media platforms, it provides a general cinematic overview of Central Macedonia’s appealing travel attractions, while four other videos, posted below, shine a spotlight on destination features that appeal to specific visitor pastimes:

♦ Taste the Great! whets viewers’ appetites with images of mouth-watering traditional and contemporary cuisine;

♦ Sun the Great! displays brilliant scenes of gorgeous coastal landscapes to show that “nothing beats a sunny day on the beach”;

♦ Experience the Great! profiles some of the thrilling outdoor activities that sports enthusiasts can pursue, such as: mountain biking; skateboarding; surfing; rock climbing; scuba diving; alpine skiing; boating; and river rafting; and

♦ Admire the Great! spotlights cultural attractions, including: art galleries; museums; historic sites; monuments; memorials; churches, temples and monasteries; and music entertainment. 

 

Each of the videos is well worth watching, and the full series takes only 10 minutes to view. We don’t have a favourite to recommend; although we’ve notched half a dozen viewings for the food film, and at least two apiece for the rest, we enjoyed them all.

If you’re interested in learning more about the region after watching the clips, you’ll find the Central Macedonia travel website (pictured below) is a great place to start your research and holiday planning.

 

Central Macedonia tourism website

 

Mountain marvel: the grandeur of the Greek Alps

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Agrafa — The Greek Alps from above is a 6 -minute cinematic drone video by Nature Drone Makis Theodorou

 

Alpine awe: Here’s a video that may be a surprising eye-opener for many people around the world who mistakenly believe Greece is a country consisting mostly of islands with long sandy beaches, quaint seaside villages and colourful fishing boat ports.

Greece does boast such picturesque places, and in great abundance. But anyone who’s been there knows it’s a nation of mountains; in fact, as much as 80 per cent of the country is mountainous terrain. Mountain ranges and impressive peaks are distinctive topographical features of islands and mainland Greece alike — some of which even host ski resort facilities for winter alpine sports.

Yet millions of people hold the notion Greece is a tropical land of pristine white sand beaches stretching for miles along warm turquoise seas, similar to ones they’ve seen at Turks & Caicos, Anguilla or other islands in the Caribbean.  (You don’t have to spend much time reading online travel forum questions or social media posts to see how many people aren’t aware that Greece gets winter weather, or that its seas aren’t balmy bathtub temperatures throughout the year.)

To dispel that notion, we’re sharing this cinematic drone video that filmmaker Makis Theodorou published to his YouTube channel at the end of December 2021.

Agrafa — The Greek Alps from above has a running time of just over 6 minutes, and presents soaring views of some of Greece’s magnificent mountain ranges, snow-capped peaks, alpine lakes and verdant valleys.  (The Greek word “agrafa” translates as “unwritten” — a good choice for the video title, in our view, since most travel articles and videos focus on Greece’s beaches and seaside activities.)

In the event Agrafa whets your appetite for more videos of stunning Greece mountains and landscape scenery, have a look at the three dozen other breathtaking films on the Nature Drone Makis Theodorou YouTube channel.

A Christmas fairy tale in Sparta

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The Drop Cafe in Sparta Greece

Christmas elves have transformed The Drop Cafe in Sparta into a fairy-tale wonderland for the holiday season

 

All decked out: With snow on the ground and ski resorts opening in various parts of the country this month, it’s beginning to look at lot like Christmas in Greece. Especially in the Peloponnese city of Sparta, where festive elves have turned The Drop Cafe into a sensational Christmas wonderland.

The cafe describes itself as a “themed coffeehouse,” serving coffees, cocktails and deliciously decadent desserts  in a quirky yet cozy mansion-style living room space. The place delights in dressing itself up for special seasonal events, and for Christmas it goes over-the-top with fantastically festive decor.

This year, decorating duties were assigned to a team of exuberant elves who magically transformed the place into a dreamy setting that looks like something you would see in a Hollywood Christmas movie.

“Many times you may have wondered what it might be like to live in a Christmas fairy tale. The elves took care of that!” says the caption for a video The Drop Cafe posted on its social media pages on December 10, showing the sparkling lights and festive trim that adorn the shop from top to bottom, inside and out.

Besides going all-out with garlands, Christmas tree ornaments and twinkling lights, the multi-talented elves concocted a special Christmas cocktails list (the red velvet is one of the most popular drinks on the menu), along with heart-warming seasonal beverages like cinnamon apple tea and hot chocolate “bombs,” all of which pair well with the cafe’s scrumptious cakes and sweet treats.

You can bet that children will be thrilled by the display, which features countless lights and ornaments, stuffed animals, toy elves, a circus carousel and a giant Christmas cake, while adults are bound to feel like they’re experiencing Christmas as kids all over again.

The cafe unveiled its Christmas look in mid-November. We reached out to ask how long management plans to keep the decorations up, but haven’t heard back yet. If you’re within driving distance of Sparta, we recommend taking a roadtrip there ASAP to partake in some holiday cheer and experience a real-life Christmas fairy tale.

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The Drop Cafe

Likourgou 142, Sparta

Instagram: @the_drop_cafe

Facebook: @thedropcafebistrot

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Below are several photos of the cafe’s glowing and glittering holiday decor, all of which were shared on The Drop Cafe’s social media pages. Check out their Instagram and Facebook profiles to see more photos and videos of their Christmas garb, as well as their theme decors from this past Halloween, last Christmas, and seasons in between.

 

The Drop Cafe in Sparta Greece

The Drop Cafe in Sparta Greece

The Drop Cafe in Sparta Greece

The Drop Cafe in Sparta Greece

The Drop Cafe in Sparta Greece

The Drop Cafe in Sparta Greece

The Drop Cafe in Sparta Greece

 

Enticing video urges travellers to keep dreaming about going to Greece after the Covid-19 crisis

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Until the time is right, dream away! features 2 minutes of alluring natural scenery, monuments, and top tourist destinations in Greece

 

Dream on: Greece tourism officials have produced an inspiring video of sights, scenery and outdoor activities to encourage travellers to keep dreaming about taking a trip to Greece once the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

The 2-minute film,  Until the time is right, dream away!,  includes stunning aerial, ground-level and even underwater views of some of the country’s outstanding scenery, including mountains, rivers, valleys, beaches, coastlines, vineyards, monuments, historic sites, villages, cities and islands.

We recognized nearly two dozen places shown in the video — Chania, Loutro and Preveli on Crete, Corfu, Zakynthos, Mykonos, Paros, Santorini, Delos, Milos, Thassos, Skyros, Sounion, Athens and Thessaloniki — but couldn’t put place names to many more scenes that looked familiar.

The film may make you feel wistful, especially if the pandemic forced you to cancel plans to visit Greece this spring, as was the case with us. At the same time, however, it’s an inspiring reminder of all the amazing sights and places that will still be there, waiting to enthrall, excite and entertain us, once we can again travel to Greece.

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Related posts:

Greek tourism businesses urge travellers to ‘stay safe’ now, make plans to visit Greece later;

Beautiful places to see in Greece after the Covid-19 lockdowns and travel bans are lifted;

How to visit Greece during your Covid-10 quarantine;

Video spotlights spectacular Greece sights and scenery to send inspiring message

 

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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Island & mainland marvels: 38 spellbinding sights and places in Greece

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In Greece Places, filmmaker Pawel Worsztynowicz captures splendid sights and scenery from 38 marvellous spots around the country 

 

Stunning sequel: He’s done it again! Last year, filmmaker Pawel Worsztynowicz created an impressive video showing more than two dozen amazing places in Greece he had visited during nearly a year of travels throughout the country.

We included that film — Greece story — The best places in Greece? — in a blog post spotlighting our favourite videos of Greece from 2019. Running just over 2 minutes, Greece Story wowed us with spectacular views of some glorious Greek sights and scenes we recognized from our own travels, along with other beautiful places we haven’t yet had the chance to see for ourselves.

Pawel told us he had shot more video and thousands of photos during his time in Greece, so we kept hoping he would produce another short film sometime soon. We didn’t have to wait long — he let us know in mid-April that he had just published a new video called Greece Places, which we were thrilled to watch  and share here.

Locations shown in the film include:

♦ the Parthenon and the Old Temple of Athens in Athens;

♦ sites in Attica region, the Peloponnese and Halidiki;

♦ Evia island;

♦ Crete;

♦ Skiathos and Skopelos in the Sporades chain of islands;

♦ Corfu and Zakynthos in the Ionian islands;

♦ Ios, Santorini and Thirasia in the Cyclades; and

♦ Kos, Rhodes and Symi in the Dodecanese islands

You can see more of Pawel’s wonderful photography on his social media pages — @behind_the_seas on Instagram, and Behind the Seas on Facebook.

 

Beautiful places to see in Greece after the Covid-19 lockdowns and travel bans are lifted

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Filmmaker Anthony Venitis compiled drone footage from 30 places in Greece to create his “Proud to be Greek” salute to his country’s vast beauty

 

If you have had to postpone a trip to Greece because of the Covid-19 pandemic, filmmaker Anthony Venitis has a message — and a special 2-minute video — to share with you.

“Greece, as most countries, is under #lockdown but the time will soon come when our country will come back stronger and more colorful. The time will soon come when we will get to enjoy her beauties once more, together and united,” Venitis says in descriptive notes for an aerial video he has posted to his YouTube channel.

His film features drone video of 30 breathtaking Greek “beauties,” including historic monuments, mountains, beaches, harbours, tavernas, villages, olive groves, coastlines, lighthouses, sunrises and more.

The attractions and destinations with starring roles in the film include: the Acropolis of Athens and the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion; lighthouses at Gytheio, Andros, Mykonos and Kea; a shipwreck at Gytheio; scenes from the islands of Santorini, Milos, Lefkada, Andros, Kefalonia, Mykonos, Kalymnos, Aegina and Hydra; scenes from the Pelion and Peloponnese regions; plus Kalavryta, Sparta and Monemvasia. The video concludes with images of a Greek flag on a hilltop at Sparta. (A list of the places shown, along with the exact times they appear in the video, can be found in the descriptive notes on the YouTube page.) 

Are you planning to see any of these beauties for yourself when you can eventually take your trip to Greece?

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