Category: Cyclades islands (page 2 of 132)

20 alluring, authentic and quieter alternatives to the major tourist islands in Greece

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Tourlitis lighthouse ancient Kastro and mansions of Chora on Andros island

Port city of Ermoupoli on Syros island

Views of the Tourlitis lighthouse, the ancient Kastro ruins, and mansions overlooking the seaside at Chora on Andros (top photo); and the stunning port city of Ermoupoli on Syros (bottom). Andros and Syros are among 20 islands Greece Is magazine recommends as alternatives to crowded mainstream places like Mykonos and Santorini.

 

It’s understandable why many people planning a first-time trip to the Greek Islands quickly feel overwhelmed by the task of arranging their itineraries — there are so many isles to choose from, and all of them look and sound amazing based on pictures and descriptions in brochures, magazines and online travel sites.  How can you possibly tell which ones would be the best choices for what you would like to see and do during your vacation?

The dilemma of selecting ideal destinations doesn’t get much easier for repeat island hoppers, either, if they’re hoping to discover someplace new rather than revisit isles they have already experienced.

 

I had expected my bucket list of must-see islands would gradually shrink after each trip to Greece, but it keeps growing longer. Whenever we visit a dream destination, locals and fellow travellers tell us wonderful things about nearby places we haven’t considered before, and those inevitably get added to the list. 

I’m resigned to the reality that I won’t get to see everything I want unless I live well past 100!

But thanks to a helpful article published by the Greece Is magazine and website on January 3,  I will be able to quickly narrow down my options whenever I’m seeking islands that aren’t super-commercial or bursting at the seams with thousands of tourists and cruise ship daytrippers (something we’ve been striving to do on recent holidays!). 

view toward Ano Meria and the Panagia Church on Folegandros island

A view toward the village of Hora and the stunning clifftop Panagia Church on Folegandros, another island recommended as a great alternative to the busiest tourist isles

 

In the feature story 20 Alternative Islands to visit in 2020, writer Paulina Kapsali has profiled “off the tourist-beaten path” islands that will be ideal for avoiding the crushing summer crowds of perenially popular tourist magnets like Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes, Kos and Corfu.

Each of her selected destinations will offer a quieter, less busy and more authentically Greek island experience than any of the mainstream tourist draws, “whether you’re looking for a typical Cycladic island to enjoy without the hordes of tourists, a historically significant location that none of your cultured coworkers have heard of, or a remote place to spend days on the beach without the pressure of any human interaction” she says. 

 

The 20 islands that Kapsali singles out can be found in five distinct regions of Greece:

♦  the Lasithi area of eastern Crete, and Gavdos island south of Crete;

♦   the Northeastern Aegean islands of Limnos, Psara, Samothraki and Skyros;

♦ the Dodecanese islands Astypalea, Halki, Karpathos, Kastellorizo and Kasos;

♦  Kythira island south of the Peloponnese; and

♦ the Cyclades islands Andros, Folegandros, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Sikinos, Syros and Tinos.

The article includes a photo and brief description of each island, transport options to reach them, and links to any feature stories that Greece Is has published on that particular place. 

We have been to five of the spots Kapsali recommends  — Andros, Astypalea, Folegandros, Syros and Tinos — and I have illustrated this blog post with photos that we took on each of those islands.  Most of the other islands she suggests are already on our list for future travel.

Click here to read the full write-up of what Kapsali calls “20 island destinations you’ll be the first of your friends to visit in 2020.”

And if you haven’t already done so, be sure to bookmark the Greece Is website while you’re reading the article. I find it’s a superb resource for information about travel, culture and gastronomy in Greece, and I check it regularly for ideas, inspiration and advice.

pilgrims crawling uphill to Evangelistria Church on Tinos island

Pilgrims crawl a long uphill road to the Holy Church of Panaga Evaggelistria (visible at the top of the picture) on Tinos island

 

Chora and the castle on Astypalia island

Chora and the imposing castle on Astypalea island 

 

My favourite videos of Greece from 2019

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My Sifnos by Nikos Panou is my favourite video of 2019; it makes me smile and feel good every time I watch it. Panou deftly captures the essence of an amazing Greek holiday experience — the pure joy, wonder and exhilaration of exploring a beautiful destination (in this case, Sifnos island) and discovering the delights of its people, food, culture and atmosphere.

 

You know that December is drawing to a close when you see just about every media outlet — TV and radio shows, newspapers, magazines and websites — presenting lists and rankings of “the best” and the “top moments/ memories/ things/ whatever” of the year.  Seeing “best of 2019” features everywhere I looked inspired me to compile one myself this week while I was organizing the many hundreds of bookmarks I had accumulated on my web browser this year.

Rather than move links for my favourite videos into folders where I probably would forget all about them, I’m posting them here for my readers to enjoy (and to give me an easier way to find them for repeat viewing or future reference).

 

In Greece Story –The Best Places in Greece? Pawel Worsztynowicz captures striking aerial scenes from 28 beautiful places in Greece, including Athens, Sounion, Crete, Corfu, Meteora, Halkidiki, the Peloponnese, Skiathos, Skopelos, Symi, Santorini, Thirasia, Ios, Kos, Eubea, Rhodes and Zakynthos.  (Notes accompanying the video on YouTube provide a chronological list of locations shown.) Pawel compiled the film following nearly a year of travels across Greece, so you can just imagine the stories he can tell about the places he visited.

 

Out of the countless clips I have seen in the past 12 months, I have selected just over two dozen to highlight in this post. I liked these best of all either because they show sights and scenes familiar to me from our own past vacations, or because they depict destinations on my travel bucket list. All were released or published sometime during 2019, and none run longer than 10 minutes.

 

I have organized the clips into alphabetic order starting with the videos of Amorgos island, below, and continuing on page 2. Included are films of: 

♦ Andros

♦ Athens

♦ Corfu

♦ Crete

♦ Donoussa

♦ Hydra

♦ Ikaria

♦ Ios

♦ Karpathos

♦ Kavala

♦ Lesvos

♦ Meteora

♦ Milos

♦ Monemvasia

♦ Mykonos

♦ Patmos

♦ Samos

♦ Santorini

♦ Skopelos

♦ Syros

♦ Vatheia in the Peloponnese

I love The Island‘s dramatic cinematography, which superbly captures the mountain, coast and village scenery on Amorgos. This film by Igor Popović also contains excellent views of the incredible Chozoviotissa Monastery, built against the face of a cliff high above the sea.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed Amazing Amorgos, Greece, a delightful and entertaining aerial film in which Joerg Daiber captures the island’s magnificent sights and scenery using time lapse and tilt shift photography techniques. 

 

This film by I Viaggi Di Michele is narrated in Italian; however, you don’t need to speak or understand the language to enjoy the beautiful Andros scenery. Sights and locations shown in the 11.5-minute video include Chora, the Tis Grias castle, Tis Grias to Pidima and Achla beaches,  the Tourlitis lighthouse, Korthi Bay, Batsi village, the Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi and the Panachrantos Monastery, and the Pithara waterfalls. 

 

If there are any videos from 2019 that you enjoyed, but don’t see featured in this post, feel free to post their links in the comments section so other readers and I can check them out.

 

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Mykonos party and event calendar 2020

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Cavo Paradiso Mykonos 2020 season opening party announcement

Cavo Paradiso Mykonos May 16 2020 party announcement

Cavo Paradiso has announced the first two parties for its 2020 season. The opening party is set for Saturday May 9, and it will also be the club’s first Full Moon Party of 2020, with AnXid, Terry and Heavy G in the DJ lineup. The second party of the season takes place Saturday May 16 with Mark Code and MaPet on the DJ decks.

 

Saturday July 25 2020. That’s the day DJ Vasili TsiliChristos brings his annual Made in Mykonos party to the tony Nammos restaurant and bar complex at Psarou beach.  It’s the biggest single-night party to take place on Mykonos each summer. Check out the official aftermovie from the 2019 event (above) to see what it’s all about.

 

Beach party season starts Thursday April 23 at Tropicana

 

 

It’s off-season in Mykonos right now, and the island’s legendary party scene is on hiatus for the winter while bar, beach club and nightclub staff recover from the crazy-busy summer of 2019.

The 2020 opening dates for most bars and clubs won’t be announced until closer to spring, and detailed calendars for DJ shows and special events won’t be available until late May or early June. However, 180º Sunset Bar has announced that it will start its season on April 11, while Tropicana club at Paradise beach follows suit on April 23. Paradise Club and Guapaloca Bar (both at Paradise beach) are expecting to reopen in April, too.

 

Promotional image announcing the April 11 season opening of 180 Sunset Bar Mykonos

Saturday April 11 is opening day for 180º Sunset Bar

 

And as you can see in this post, dates have been set for the island’s biggest annual events — DJ Vasili TsiliChristos’s Made in Mykonos Party at Nammos in July, and the weeklong XLSIOR Mykonos Festival in August.

I will update this post with more opening announcements when they are released, so check back from time to time to see what’s new.

In the meantime, there is nightlife on Mykonos during winter months, but the party scene is much more low-key and geared to island residents with occasional events featuring local DJs and live performances by local and Greek musicians and singers. To see what’s happening during January, February and March, click on the link at the bottom of this article to view the promotional flyers on page 2 of this post.

 

Tropicana Mykonos aerial view photo from the clubs page on Facebook

Tropicana Mykonos party photo from the club page on Facebook

April 23 2020 is the season opening date for Tropicana club at Paradise beach, seen in the two photos above 

 

 

Paradise Club Mykonos party photo from the club page on Facebook

Guapaloca bar at Paradise Club Mykonos seen in a photo from the club page on Facebook

The exact opening date hasn’t yet been announced for Paradise Club (top) and Guaploca Bar (bottom), but the two venues are promising to launch their next party season sometime in April 2020.

 

The annual XLSIOR Mykonos Festival will take place August 19 to 26. It’s one of the biggest annual gay festivals in the world, and the biggest multi-day party event to take place on Mykonos each summer. Above is the official aftermovie for XLSIOR’s 10th anniversary celebrations in 2019.

 

XLSIOR Festival Mykonos August 20 Beach Party announcement

XLSIOR Festival usually doesn’t announce its party lineup until August, but in mid-February it released this image to promote the highlight of its 2020 program, the XLSIOR Beach Party.This event has been set for Thursday August 20 and will feature “a totally different concept that will blow your mind and get you dancing in the rhythm of the summer,” organizers say. 

 

Related articles:

♦  Mykonos parties, live music events & DJ shows during 2019

♦  What’s new on Mykonos for 2019

 

Please click on the link below to turn to page 2 and see events scheduled for winter 2020.

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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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