Category: Greek Islands hotels (page 1 of 21)

Art, food, fashion, hotels, shops, clubs, parties & more: What’s new on Mykonos for 2019

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Rizes Folklore Farmstead in Mykonos exterior photo from the business page on Facebook

Olive Tree Mykonos sunset view dining terrace photo from the restaurant page on Facebook

Blue Marlin Ibiza Mykonos beachfront photo from the official club page on Facebook

Mykonos Olive Oil Tasting photo from its official page on Facebook

Aegon Mykonos exterior photo from the hotel page on Facebook

Contemporary sculpture in the garden at the Blue Fusion Art Restaurant

Open air dining patio at Taverna Kandavlos on Mykonos

Moussaka photo from the Olive Tree Mykonos restaurant website

Apiro Mykonos hotel website photo of a standard triple room interior

Sea bass tartare dish photo from the I Frati Mykonos restaurant page on Facebook

Sanctus Mykonos photo from the nightclub page on Facebook

Fresh fish on the grill at Sealicious by Kounelas restaurant on Mykonos

Sunset view from Chill Out Lounge Bar Cafe at the Chill Out Studios on MMykonos

Nusr-et Steakhouse Mykonos photo from the restaurant page on Facebook

Evripides Art Gallery Art & Fashion Project with Dimitris Ntasios at 30 Kalogera Street in Mykonos

From the top: Rizes Folklore Farmstead & Restaurant; the seaview patio at Olive Tree restaurant; sunbeds at Blue Marlin Ibiza Mykonos beach club; a flight of sampling glasses at Mykonos Olive Oil Tasting; Aegon Mykonos hotel at Kalo Livadi; one of the artworks in the sculpture garden at Blue Fusion Art Restaurant; the patio at Taverna Kandavlos; moussaka at Olive Tree restaurant; inside a room at Apiro-Mykonos hotel; sea bass tartare at I Frati restaurant; a lounge at Sanctus after-hours nightclub; fresh fish on the grill at Sealicious by Kounelas; sunset view from Chill Out Lounge Bar Cafe; a signature Salt Bae steak at Nusr-Et; contemporary art and one-of-a-kind designer fashions at the Dassios boutique/Evripides Art Gallery.

 

New & noteworthy: Besides the iconic white Cycladic architecture, sparkling Aegean Sea and brilliant sunshine, there’s much to bedazzle first-time visitors to Mykonos — a dizzying array of glitzy shops, glam restaurants, bustling bars and chic accommodations among them. With dozens of new establishments opening on the island each year, Mykonos maintains its famously vibrant and exciting atmosphere for returning visitors and local residents alike.

This summer has been no exception, as I have discovered: More than thirty new enterprises that have set up shop in and around Mykonos Town, at some of the famous beaches and elsewhere on the island. The newcomers include places to eat, drink, party, shop and sleep, plus some enlightening and fascinating attractions and activities.

 

Among the noteworthy highlights of this year’s arrivals:

♦ A new beach club at Kalo Livadi, sunset boat party cruises to Rhenia island, and a really, really, really cool place to get an ice cold drink. And, for night owls, three new spots to party into the wee hours of the morning;

♦ Fun olive oil tasting workshops where participants can sample some of the best Greek extra virgin olive oils and learn how to pair oils with food to elevate flavours and make their home cooking shine;

♦ Four art new galleries and exhibition spaces — including one outdoors — showcasing contemporary Greek art and sculpture; 

♦ Over half a dozen boutiques and summer pop-ups offering fashionistas even more places to shop and browse exclusive designer clothing and accessories in Mykonos Town and at Psarou beach;

♦ A meticulously recreated Mykonian farmstead where tourists can experience what life was like on the island in the days before electricity and Internet, view folk art exhibitions, take cooking and bread baking classes, and dine on breakfasts and traditionally-prepared meals in the farm restaurant;

♦ A wide range of accommodations with lodging options ranging from rental studios and apartments to luxury hotels and beach resorts boasting suites and villas with private pools;

♦ A vast array of appetite-whetting places to enjoy food and beverages, including new coffee and dessert shops; street food cafes; vegan and healthy food eateries; and restaurants specializing in fish, seafood or sushi; meat dishes; pizza; crepes; breakfast & brunch; comfort food; and Greek, Italian, Mediterranean and international cuisine. 

iVisa.com

Starting on page 2, I have compiled profiles of the new businesses, complete with photos, videos and links to their websites and social media pages (where available) so you can learn more and follow them if interested. I have deliberately packed this blog post with images so that readers who haven’t been to Mykonos before can get a good grasp of what Greece’s most sophisticated, cosmopolitan and international island is all about.

And just in case you think Mykonos is only a place where people go to party, bear in mind that the island also happens to be a major dining destination. With more than 400 places to eat, it’s a foodie delight, offering not just traditional and gourmet Greek food, fish and seafood, but also contemporary, internationally-inspired cuisines from around the globe.

Since many of the newcomers to Mykonos this season are restaurants and cafes, I have included plenty of pictures to show some of the food they serve — appetizers, main courses, breakfasts and desserts. But here’s an important warning: Don’t continue reading if you’re the least bit hungry; otherwise, you could feel absolutely ravenous by the time you finish scrolling through all the food photos!

Crystal View Mykonos view photo from the rental property Facebook page

Healthylicious Mykonos breakfast dish seen in a photo from the restaurant page on Facebook

Displays inside the Philipp Plein boutique at Nammos Village shopping center on Mykonos

Venus Gallery at the Aphrodite Beach Resort Mykonos photo from Facebook

Sunset view from Apiro Mykonos Hotel

Yomamas street food restaurant Mykonos food photo from the restaurant page on Instagram

Mykonos Boat Club promotional image for its sunset boat party cruises to Rhenia island

Major J Breakfast and Branch patio photo from the restaurant page on Facebook

Bulgari pop up store on Mykonos seen in a photo from the Nammos Village shopping center page on Facebook

Street view of LAragosta Mykonos in a photo from the restaurant website

Jennys Summer Houses Mykonos grand villa room interior photo from the property website

Burger platter photo by Cantina Mykonos street food restaurant

Blue Fusion Art Restaurant Mykonos patio photo from the restaurants website

I Frati Mykonos wine racks photo from the restaurant Facebook page

Partying in dayglo faux furs at Ice Bar Mykonos as seen in a photo from the bar page on Instagram

Entertainment at Cirque Mykonos nightclub seen in a photo from the club page on Instagram

My Plate Mykonos chicken skewer dinners photo from the restaurant page on Facebook

From the top: The view from Crystal View rooms above Megali Ammos; a breakfast dish at Healthylicious; the Philipp Plein boutique at Nammos Village; Venus Gallery at the Aphrodite Beach Resort; a sunset view from Apiro-Mykonos Hotel; a breakfast meal at Yo’Mamas Street Food Cafe; partying on the Mykonos Boat Club cruise to Rhenia; the outdoor patio at Major J Breakfast & Brunch; the Bulgari boutique at Nammos Village shopping center; night view of L’Aragosta Italian restaurant; inside the Grand Villa at Jenny’s Summer Houses;  a burger platter at Cantina street food eatery; the patio at Blue Fusion Art bar & restaurant;  shelves of wine in the deli shop at I Frati restaurant; partiers wearing dayglo faux furs at Ice Bar Mykonos; one of the entertainment acts at Cirque nightclub; skewers of marinated & grilled chicken at My Plate Mykonos.

 

Please click on a link below to read about what’s new on Mykonos in 2019.

Page 2 profiles new bars, beach clubs, nightclubs and party boat cruises;

Page 3 presents new cafes and restaurants;

Page 4 looks at new attractions and activities, art galleries, and fashion shops.

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All ferries to and from Mykonos now docking at the New Port

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Greece, Greek island, Cyclades, Mikonos, Mykonos, Mykonos Old Port, Mykonos New Port, Mykonos Town port, Tourlos, Tourlos port, ferry travel, ferry port, Mykonos ferry port, yachts, charter yachts, harbour,

This photo from one of our Mykonos holidays shows four charter yachts docked at the island’s Old Port at Mykonos Town (foreground), and a cruise ship berthed at the New Port in Tourlos, nearly 2 kilometers away by road.

 

Ferry straightforward: Where does my ferry arrive at  / depart from on Mykonos?

That question has vexed visitors for years, since the island has two ports — the original one at the Mykonos Town harbour (commonly called the Old Port) and a newer, substantially larger facility in the island’s Tourlos district (regularly referred to as the New Port, of course).

The standard answer used to sound simple enough: ferries that carry passengers and vehicles sail to and from the New Port, while smaller ferries that just carry passengers operate from the Old Port.  But since most travellers didn’t have a clue if the ship they were booked on carried vehicles or not, that advice wasn’t always helpful. Not surprisingly, many people missed their ferries because they arrived at the wrong port and didn’t have enough time to get to the right departure point.

Thankfully, the reign of ferry port confusion could soon be history:  As of Saturday April 6 2019, all ferry traffic to and from the island will use the New Port only.

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Greece, Greek island, Cyclades, Mikonos, Mykonos, Mykonos ports, Mykonos Old Port, Mykonos Town port, ferry port, ferry, tourists, ferry passengers, travellers, people

I shot these photos of travellers queuing to board passenger-only catamaran ferries at the Old Port in Mykonos Town several years ago. As of April 6 2019, the Old Port will no longer handle ferry traffic.

 

Greece, Greek island, Cyclades, Mikonos, Mykonos, ferry port, Mykonos port, Mykonos New Port, Mykonos new ferry port, ferry port, Tourlos, Tourlos ferry port, ferry travel,

One of my Mykonos holiday photos of the New Port at Tourlos.  All ferry ships will now arrive at and depart from this harbour.

 

I learned about this development from Mykonos news websites, but the reports were all in Greek and Google Translate offered an awkward translation. To make certain I wasn’t misinterpreting what I had read, I contacted the top ferry booking agency on Mykonos, Sea & Sky Travel, to confirm if the news was accurate. 

“Yes, it’s true. All the boats, including the small passengers ones , will be leaving from the new port from now on,” a Sea & Sky representative told me.

 

The news reports said the change was implemented by the Mykonos port authority, upon request by the Greek government ministry responsible for shipping and marine regulation, to eliminate confusion and help prevent passengers from missing their ferries.

It’s a welcome change, but I think some confusion may persist for awhile. For one thing, many repeat visitors have travelled to and from Mykonos on passenger-only catamarans that operated in and out of the Old Port. If they don’t hear the news, their travel plans could get screwed up if they head to the Old Port, out of habit, when leaving the island. For another, many first-time visitors won’t be aware of the change, or may have read outdated posts on the TripAdvisor travel forums, or other online travel sites, that describe the old distinction between the two Mykonos ports. Hopefully word will get out and fewer people will miss ferries this year. 

Greece, Greek island, Cyclades, Mikonos, Mykonos,Mykonos ports, Mykonos ferry ports, ferry, ferry travel, ferry travel to Mykonos,

This Google image shows the Mykonos New Port (top) and the Old Port at Mykonos Town (bottom), a 2 kilometer walk or drive apart. Also shown are the main pick-up and drop-off points for the Mykonos SeaBus, an inexpensive water taxi service that operates between the two ports.

 

Which leaves the next most popular question about ferry travel to Mykonos: How do I get from the port to my accommodations?

For a list of transport options, please click on the link below to continue reading on page 2 of this post, and to view photos of things visitors will see if they travel along the coastal road between Tourlos and Mykonos Town.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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Crete clinches 4th place ranking on TripAdvisor list of the world’s top destinations for 2019

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Greece, Greek islands, Crete,Crete island, Crete Greece, Chania, Chania Crete, harbour, port, lighthouse, Chania lighthouse,

Views of the historic Venetian harbourfront and the iconic lighthouse at Chania, a perenially popular travel destination in northwestern Crete

 

Crete shines: Millions of travellers around the world have spoken, and their positive reviews, ratings and comments have landed Crete island in 4th place on the prestigious TripAdvisor listing of the Top 25 destinations in the world this year.

The 2019 TripAdvisor Traveler’s Choice awards were announced this week (on March 26), lauding London as the #1 destination in the world, followed by Paris, Rome, Crete, and Bali in Indonesia. Last year Crete placed fifth, behind Bali. 

TripAdvisor is the globe’s largest travel website, containing listings for more than 156,000 destinations. Each year it presents its Travelers’ Choice awards to top international destinations, honouring the places that are most popular with people who post reviews on the website.

A press release announcing this year’s winners quoted TripAdvisor’s VP of Global Communications, Desiree Fish, as saying: “The Travelers’ Choice awards for Destinations recognize major cities and islands that continue to deliver an outstanding experience and are beloved by our global community of travelers.”

The news release explained that award winners “were determined using an algorithm based on reviews and ratings for hotels, restaurants and experiences in destinations worldwide over a 12-month period. The methodology takes into account quality and volume of reviews to surface destinations that consistently deliver the best overall experience for travelers.”

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Loutro village in southwestern Crete

 

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Looking along the spectacular southwestern coast of Crete from one of the many beaches near the town of Paleochora

 

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A taverna courtyard in the heart of the historic old town area of Chania

 

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Sweet Water Beach in southwestern Crete, between the villages of Chora Sfakion and Loutro

 

Greece, Greek islands, Crete, southwest Crete, Agia Roumeli, village, coast, mountains, Samaria Gorge,

A view of Agia Roumeli village, situated at the foot of the world-famous Samaria Gorge. Extending for 16 kilometers, the gorge is the longest in Europe and is one of Crete’s top tourist attractions.

 

We spent more than two weeks on Crete in late fall of 2017, and could easily see why it has been ranked among the world’s Top 5 travel destinations two years in a row — it truly delivers outstanding travel experiences. Crete has something to suit every traveller’s taste, style and budget: fascinating cities, towns and villages; vibrant resorts; breathtaking landscapes, stunning scenery and gorgeous beaches;  superb food and wine; significant historical sites and attractions; a diverse range of outdoor activities for all ages and lifestyles; myriad hotel and lodging options, and much more. 

Crete also claimed two spots in the list of the world’s Top 25 Beaches: Balos ranked #15, while Elafonissi took 21st place. Though both are situated in western Crete, the region in which we focussed our 2017 holiday travels, we never made it to either beach, so they remain on our bucket list of places to see. The island is blessed with a bounty of beautiful beaches, however, so visitors still have countless strands to choose from if they can’t get to Balos or Elafonissi.  (We saw many impressive beaches along the island’s southwestern coast.)

Greece in general fared well on other top rankings, particularly for hotels, where it won top honours in two categories. It nabbed the number 1 and 2 spots in the Top 25 all-inclusive hotel ranking, and it claimed the number 1 and 3 position on the awards list for the world’s Top 25 Small Hotels. Greece also achieved Top 25 rankings for best hotels, luxury hotels, best service, romantic hotels, family hotels, and bargain hotels.

I couldn’t help but chuckle when I read that Greece received TripAdvisor recognition for the world’s top two all-inclusive hotels because, in TripAdvisor’s own travel forums, regular visitors to Greece routinely advise travellers to avoid all-inclusive properties, urging them to stay at hotel or self-catering accommodations instead. In essence, the forum commentators claim Greece simply doesn’t do all-inclusives very well, and visitors don’t experience Greece if they stay at an AI resort. With this year’s awards, however, it’s quite clear that all-inclusive resort guests disagree! 

Greece, Greek islands, Crete, Crete island, beach, Greek beach, Elafonissi beach Crete, Elafonisi beach Crete,

Famous for its brilliant turquoise waters and pink-hued sand, Elafonissi beach is seen in an image from the Elafonissi page on the Cretico Blog.  Elafonissi ranked #21 on the TripAdvisor list of the Top 25 beaches in the world.

 

Balos Crete photo 02 by Antoine Nikolopoulos

Lagoons and sandy beach strips at Balos are seen in this photo shot by Antoine Nikolopoulos of Odyssey Art Photography. Balos ranked #15 on this year’s list of the world’s top beaches.

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading on page 2, where I have posted photos and rankings for the Greek hotels that placed in the world’s Top 25.

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

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Greece,Greek island, Siros, Syros, Syros Greece, Kini, Kini Bay, Kini Bay Syros,

Greece, Greek Islands, Cyclades, Siros, Syros, Kini Bay, Kini beach, Kini village, landscape, coast, seaside,

Greece, Greek Islands, Cyclades, Siros, Syros, Kini Bay, Kini beach, Kini village, landscape, coast, seaside, village

Greece, Greek Islands, Cyclades, Siros, Syros, Kini Bay, Kini beach, Kini village, landscape, coast, seaside, village, mountains

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.

Greece, Greek islands, Cyclades, Siros, Syros, Syros island, Kini, Kini Bay, Kini Syros, Kini village, monastery, Agia Varvara Monastery Syros,

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.  

Greece, Greek islands, Cyclades, Siros, Syros, Syros island, Kini, Kini Bay, Kini village Syros, sunset, sunset view,

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.

Greece, Greek island, Siros, Syros, Syros island, island, Google map,

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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