Category: Greek Islands hotels (page 1 of 20)

Travel + Leisure magazine serves up a taste of Syros island

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Travel + Leisure magazine spotlights the architecture, culture and cuisine of Syros in its February 2019 issue

 

Appetizing island: “Island Escapes” is the theme for the February 2019 issue of Travel + Leisure, and Syros steals the spotlight as the only Greek isle on the menu of getaway destinations profiled in the magazine.

In a three-page article entitled “Beyond the Beach,” the prolific author /  journalist / travel scribe Eleni N. Gage describes her family’s first-ever visit to Syros, an island that doesn’t register on the radar for most North American travellers, who tend to gravitate to the tourist hotspots of Mykonos and Santorini.  (The majority of visitors to Syros hail from France and Skandinavia, Eleni writes, and they’re drawn by the island’s vibrant arts and culture events, its elegant Neoclassical architecture and its “incredible cuisine,” rather than the whitewashed villages and scenic beaches that lure the huge tourist crowds to other Cycladic isles.)

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Ermoupolis, the colourful capital and port town of Syros. “The fact that the island has a thriving city by the sea makes it alluring to those interested in life beyond the beach,” Eleni notes in her article.

 

Since Syros is one of our personal favourite places in Greece, I couldn’t resist buying the magazine when I saw the island mentioned on the front cover. I was curious to read what kind of impression Syros had made upon Eleni, whose feature articles about a number of destinations in Greece have appeared in top international travel and lifestyle publications.

Not surprisingly, she fell in love with Syros, too.

Island features and highlights described in her article include:

♦ a rich roster of annual arts events and festivals;

♦  stately “aristocratic buildings,” including the magnificent Town Hall and Apollon Theater,  in the visually stunning port town of Ermoupoulis;

♦ the seafront of the Vaporia neighbourhood of Ermoupolis, where Eleni had wonderful views of the palazzo-lined shore while she swam in the sea; 

♦ the hilltop village of Ano Syros, which was established during the 1200s; and

♦ restaurants where Eleni and her family dined (they had a memorable meal at one place we thought was excellent, too:  Peri | Tinos, on the Ermoupolis waterfront).

While we’re familiar with most of the places Eleni described,  I was glad she did mention a few we haven’t seen — they’re now on a list of things to do next time we travel to Syros.

My only disappointment was that the article wasn’t longer — I really wanted to read more about Syros. Nevertheless, it did made me yearn to go back.

Please click on the link below to turn to page 2, where I have posted some of our photos that show a few of the places mentioned in Eleni’s article.

 

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Saronic island sojourn: Photos from our holiday week on Poros

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One of our first views of Poros Town, seen during our short ferry ride to Poros island from the town of Galatas on the eastern Peloponnese coast

 

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And here’s how Galatas looked from a vantage point beside the white clock tower shown in the previous photo of Poros Town

 

Postcard pretty:  If we had to pick a theme to describe our 2018 spring holiday in Greece, “something old and something new” would suit perfectly.  The “something old” was a repeat visit to the historic town of Nafplio, one of our most favourite places in Greece, followed one week later by “something new” — our first-ever trip to Poros, one of the Saronic Gulf islands off the coast of the eastern Peloponnese. 

 

Nafplio and Poros proved to be an ideal pairing, not just because we enjoyed both destinations tremendously, but because it was so easy to use local transportation to move from the Peloponnese to the island (as usual, we did not rent a car for our holiday).

 

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The red marker pinpoints Poros island’s location in the Saronic Gulf archipelago between Athens and the eastern Peloponnese. We reached Poros by taking a bus from Nafplio (shown at the center-left side of the map) to Galatas, followed by a quick ferry ride from there to the island.

 

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A 250-meter-wide strait separates Galatas, bottom left, from Poros Town and the Sferia peninsula of Poros island. The area at the top of this image is Kalavria, the largest part of the island. Sferia and Kalavria were distinct, individual isles in ancient times, and now are divided by a short, narrow canal.

 

The regional bus system KTEL Argolida operates two daily bus trips  (except Sundays) from Nafplio to Galatas, a coastal town separated from Poros by a narrow strait.  The 5:30 a.m. departure was far too early for our liking, so we bought tickets for the 2:30 p.m. bus instead (at a cost of just €9 per person).

 

The bus left Nafplio on time, stopping en route at the entrance to the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus as well as at several villages before arriving at a crossroads where we transferred onto another bus for the remainder of the drive to Galatas. This part of the route was the most interesting and enjoyable, particularly as the road climbed through mountains and then emerged hundreds of meters above the scenic coast. As the bus descended the hillside highway, our seats on the left side of the vehicle gave us terrific views of the Methana peninsula, the Strait of Poros, and eventually Poros island itself.

 

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One of the coastal views from our bus trip from Nafplio to Galatas.  I shot this photo when our bus was about 10 minutes from Galatas.

 

The bus reached the Galatas harbourfront shortly past 4:30 p.m. , and let us out near the pier from which we could take a ferry to Poros Town, a mere 5-minute or so trip across the narrow Strait of Poros. We had time to purchase our ferry tickets (€1 per person one way), admire the excellent views of Poros Town, plus take a peek at some of the tavernas along the Galatas seafront before catching the next boat. The traditional Greek food being served to customers on the patio at Babis Taverna looked so delicious, we were tempted to stay for an early dinner and catch a later ferry to Poros instead (the boats ran every half hour, and water taxis also were available), but we decided to leave dining in Galatas for another time.

 

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Hotels and restaurant buildings along the waterfront strip at Galatas 

 

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One of the ferries that shuttles vehicles and passengers between Galatas and Poros each half hour throughout the day

 

The ferry crossing was as quick as expected, with superb views of Poros Town and its extensive seaside strip lined with shops, restaurants and hotels. When we disembarked at the Poros Town port,  we instantly spotted our accommodations, Dimitra Hotel, on the hillside overlooking the town’s waterfront street. It was just a short walk away, so within minutes we were settling into our room and checking out the great views. 

From a window and our balcony, we had good views of Poros Town, the edge of the island’s Kalavria region,  and the long string of mountains along the Peloponnese coast at the far end of the bay. The extensive panoramic views from the hotel’s large rooftop terrace two floors above us were even more striking, especially at sunset.  We could have sat and watched the scenery for awhile, but we were eager to get out and about to explore Poros Town. Since we would be staying at the Dimitra for three nights, we would have loads of time to enjoy the views. 

 

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Dimitra Hotel in Poros Town, where we stayed in a sea- and sunset-view room during our first three nights on the island

 

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Evening view of Poros Town from the rooftop terrace at Dimitra Hotel

 

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Sunset view from the terrace at Dimitra Hotel  

 

Please click the link below to continue reading and to see a random selection of photos from our week-long stay on Poros.

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The sweet sounds and looks of luxury at Canaves Oia hotel on Santorini

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This 2-minute film is the official 2018 promotional video for Canaves Oia on Santorini. The hotel looks amazing, and its outstanding scenic views show why Santorini is one of the world’s most famous islands.

 

Dreamy destination: Yesterday (February 23) was a terribly dreary day here in Toronto. The morning temperature was only 1 degree Celsius, a light drizzle was falling, and fog had enshrouded most of the downtown skyscrapers that usually crowd the skyline view from my windows. The dull light made me feel tired, and I kept wanting to crawl into bed. I desperately needed sunshine, but since there wasn’t any in the forecast, I started surfing the web to watch some videos of sunny places in Greece. That always perks me up on gloomy days.

I found the usual assortment of home-made travel clips and aerial videos shot by camera-mounted drones, all of which boosted my spirits a bit. However, the film that gave me the biggest lift was a marketing promo for one of the most exclusive — and expensive — luxury resorts on Santorini.

Entitled Luxury Never Sounded So Good, it’s the official 2018 video for Canaves Oia,  a stunning 5-star boutique hotel perched atop the caldera cliffs in Oia village. The resort is just as gorgeous as its incredible views and surrounding scenery, and it regularly wins awards and accolades from top travel magazines and websites, including TripAdvisor. It also has been profiled extensively on social media and in dozens of leading lifestyle, fashion, design and travel publications around the world.

 

 

With all that good press, Canaves Oia probably doesn’t need to advertise anymore. But I’m glad they do, since their videos are professionally produced, enticing to watch and — best of all — they make me feel, for a few minutes at least, that I’m back in Greece on vacation.

What I particularly like about this year’s promo film is that members of the Canaves staff and management team play starring roles, while the hotel and the exquisite Santorini scenery fill supporting background positions.

The video runs for just over two minutes, and is bound to put you into a luxuriously dreamy Santorini state of mind — especially if the weather sucks wherever you might be while you watch it. If you won’t be able to stay at the Canaves or visit Oia this year, watching the clip and daydreaming about being there is the next best thing. 

By the way, just in case you’re wondering: No, the hotel didn’t ask me to post the video on my blog. Nor did it offer to pay me or give me free accommodation if I did.  (I don’t have that kind of good luck, unfortunately).  I found the video while clicking around the web, and liked it so much I decided to feature it in a blog post. Santorini was one of the first Greek islands we got to visit, and it’s one of the reasons we fell in love with Greece and keep going back. I simply hope that sharing the film might inspire other dreamers and travel buffs to visit Greece some day, if they haven’t been there yet. 

And if you’re a fan of minimalist design and crisp white interior decor, click on the link below to see the sweet looks of luxury — a selection of tantalizing images I’ve collected from various galleries on the Canaves Oia website. There’s a few photos of the breathtaking views from the accommodations, restaurants, bars and swimming pools, too.

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Much ado about Milos

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Travel magazine articles about Milos

Two top travel magazines profiled Milos island this summer.  The article Milos’ Moment appeared in the May edition of the American Conde Nast Traveler, while Orange Crush was published in the UK’s Conde Nast Traveller in June.

 

Media darling: If you’re considering a visit to Milos in 2018, you might be wise to start making your holiday plans and hotel reservations ASAP — especially if you have your heart set on staying in any of the island’s upscale accommodations (which are in rather limited supply), or if you wish to spend time in the Skinopi village area, in particular.

The reason? Milos has been profiled numerous times this year by leading international publications and travel websites, some of which have hailed it as an “undiscovered” and “secret” Greek island “paradise.” With all the positive publicity — boosted by scores of shared posts on social media — I suspect there could be a surge in tourist traffic to Milos next year, and likely for summers to follow.

As for Skinopi, its favourable mention in three highly influential publications could turn the little-known settlement into a trendy new Greek Island getaway destination for upmarket travellers seeking seclusion, style and scenery.

 

 

I can’t explain why so many media have developed such keen sudden interest in Milos, or why some of the magazines think they have just stumbled upon a fabulous place few people know about. I first read about Milos in Greek Islands travel guidebooks back in 2004, and my partner and I went there in 2007, the same year another major travel magazine, Islands, published Milos Rocks, a cover story heralding the so-called “undiscovered” isle in the western Cyclades. Has Milos remained a hidden hideaway for the 10 years since Islands “discovered” it? Hardly. 

We went back for a second visit in 2011, while numerous friends and acquaintances have also made one or more trips there during the last seven years.  I have seen Milos included in Greek Island travel guides published since at least 2009 by major British publications, including The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and even Conde Nast Traveller, which that year highlighted Milos in a two-page “Best Beaches” write-up. Meanwhile, I have noticed steadily increasing interest in Milos on TripAdvisor and other travel forum sites in the last few years and, for my own part, I have published half a dozen posts about Milos here on the blog since 2012.

Although I won’t further debate whether Milos is indeed “secret” or “untouched,” I do believe it’s a remarkable Greek Island in many respects, and well-deserving of greater attention from travellers.  I could explain why by repeating some of my previous blog posts, but instead will let some extremely well-travelled writers describe why you should visit Milos yourself. Please click on the link below to continue reading on page 2.

 

Kleftiko coast on Milos

Sailboats at Kleftiko, one of the most popular coastal stops for round-the-island tours of Milos

 

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