Category: Karpathos (page 1 of 2)

Where to go in Greece: 9 Dodecanese island gems

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Kyra Panagia church on Karpathos

Kyra Panagia church is an island icon and one of the most popular tourist attractions on Karpathos. This photo is one of many posted in galleries in the Visitor section of the  Municipality of Karpathos website.

 

Dodecanese delights: Will you be travelling to one or more of the Dodecanese islands this year? Or are you just wondering whether this part of Greece might be the right place for you and your family or friends to visit on vacation? If so, keep scrolling through this post so you can bookmark links we have compiled for a variety of Dodecanese island travel articles that have appeared in magazines, newspapers and websites in recent months.

The Dodecanese, a group of more than 15 islands in the southeast Aegean Sea, have long been a popular holiday destination. Rhodes and Kos have always been the best-known and busiest islands of the bunch, but less-familiar isles in the chain have been gaining increased attention as pandemic-weary travellers seek holiday locations that offer authentic and traditional island experiences with fewer crowds and tourist trappings.

Articles in major international news publications, and reviews and reports posted on influential travel and lifestyle websites, have also been bringing lesser-known Dodecanese islands to the forefront.

Take Karpathos, Kasos, Kastellorizo, Halki and Symi as examples. They aren’t exactly household names that most people planning a first-time trip to Greece would instantly recognize, but more people around the world are aware of them now, thanks to a photo-packed travel profile that USA Today published just before Christmas 2021. The article, featuring 46 photos of scenery, attractions and residents from all five of those islands, almost got overlooked during the distractions of the holiday season. But since the beginning of this year, we have seen it being reposted and shared widely on social media pages, reaching ever-larger audiences — undoubtedly including people trying to decide where they should go for their holiday in Greece this summer.

You’ll find a link to the USA Today travel piece below, along with other interesting and informative articles we have collected and bookmarked for personal reading and vacation research. We think they’ll be useful for other travellers who are either planning trips to the Dodecanese, or are simply curious to read more about the region, since they cover diverse topics including: island descriptions; highlight attractions and activities; recommended places to eat and drink; cool places to stay; personal trip reports; and more. For convenience, we have grouped the articles based on the particular island destinations discussed in each piece.

 

— Karpathos, Kasos, Halki, Kastellorizo & Symi —

 

USA Today article on lesser known Greek islands

 

The December 21 2021 article Beyond Santorini and Mykonos: Explore the lesser-known Greek islands is the aforementioned USA Today pictorial report that is circulating on social media pages this month.  It’s essentially a gallery of 46 photos, each accompanied by an easy-to-read, one-paragraph caption that provides some insight into the specific island on which each image was shot. All but two of the photos were shot by travel writer/photographer Nick Kontis, who wrote the article text. 

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— Karpathos —

 

Karpathos island travel article in Aegean Blue magazine issue 86

 

Whenever we come across profiles of Karpathos, like this one from Aegean Airlines’ Blue magazine, we can’t help but shake our heads and ask why we still haven’t been there yet.  If you haven’t been to Karpathos, either, you might find yourself wondering the same thing once you read through this terrific 18-page guide and view the dozens of splendid photographs by Dionysis Kouris.

“This Dodecanese diamond is a folklore paradise with picturesque villages, locals who reverently uphold customs, world-class beaches and exciting changes of scenery,” says the subheading for the article Karpathos, Captivatingly Traditional

Written by Fotis Vallatos, the guide takes readers on a tour around the island, starting at the capital and main port, Pigadia, then moving on to visit charming villages, picturesque beaches and scenic fishing harbours, with stops at noteworthy sights and places — like ruins, churches or scenic lookouts — along the way. The article mentions the main attractions at each village, recommends tavernas and cafes to stop for a bite to eat (and sample local specialty dishes), and spotlights artisanal workshops, crafts and local products shops, museums and much more. For beaches, Vallatos describes the sand conditions and sea colours and clarity, taking note of areas that are sheltered from strong winds, or that offer shade from the afternoon sun. He also points out nearby amenities, such as beach tavernas or bars, and places of interest, such as chapels and archaeological or historic sites. The article also provides location and contact names for visitors interested in such outdoor activities as kite and wind surfing, diving, rock climbing, walking and hiking, trekking and fishing tours, and others.

Karpathos, Captivatingly Tradition appears at pages 256-273 in the August – October 2021 edition (Issue 86) of Blue Magazine. You can read it either online or by downloading a PDF version of the entire magazine. 

 

Karpathos article in the blog Wremer Travels

 

“A small piece of heaven” is how two travel bloggers from Norway, Tanja and Ørjan, describe Karpathos in an article published on their website, Wremer Travels, late last fall.

Their blog post Need a new favourite Greek island? Go to Karpathos! is a fun and informative read, explaining how the pair originally decided to visit Karpathos, and describing the beaches, food, villages and other features that have kept them coming back for more, including their favourite place to stay and their personal go-to spots for meals.  The post includes a YouTube video of kitesurfing and windsurfing on Karpathos.

We enjoyed the article for its tips and helpful advice for first-time visitors — they offer some welcome words of wisdom for driving around — and especially for its wonderful photos of enticing beaches, coastlines, mountains, and Olympos, the most traditional village on the island.  

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— Leros —

 

Travel.gr article on Lakki town on Leros island

 

Architecture and design enthusiasts might feel inclined to pay Leros a visit once they see the photos and read the historic details in this fascinating article published on the Travel.gr website last November 2.

In Lakki, Leros: The strange beauty of Greece’s weirdest town, writer Panagiotis Savvidis examines how the seaside town of Lakki wound up with a curious collection of public buildings designed in minimalist achitectural styles, including Art Deco, Bauhaus, Venetian and Renaissance elements.

“According to studies, Lakki seems to be the place with the most Art Deco buildings in one place, after Miami,” he notes.

The structures, many of which are presenting in varying states of serious disrepair, are what Savvidis calls the island’s “inheritance” from the years during which the Italians ruled the Dodecanese. Since Lakki is blessed with the largest natural harbour in the eastern Mediterranean, it was a key component of Mussolini’s master plan to control the region. To that end, he ordered the construction of a new town, called Portolago, to house a massive base for the Italian navy.  Besides military infrastructure, public buildings were required for administrative, medical and education services for the 30,000 military officers and families expected to live there. Prominent Italian architects were enlisted to design the settlement, and the result was the unique architecture, large squares and wide streets.

The article also notes how Thessaloniki-based film director Ioanna Asmeniadou-Fokka produced a recent documentary about Lakki’s history and architecture, and has been lobbying government to “to rescue, restore, and showcase the buildings.”

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— Kastellorizo —

Walking on Karpathos travel article by Aegean Blue magazine

Walking on Kastellorizo is a 4-page article written for Aegean Airlines’ Blue magazine by architect, hotel owner and local resident Marie Rivalant, who “extols the attractions of this lovely Dodecanese island.”

Marie describes how the island’s charming sights — such as the buildings around the harbour and the homes designed in neoclassical style — made her fall in love with and decide to permanently live on Kastellorizo. Even after several decades, she notes that this same scenery continues to fascinate her, as do the island’s historic sites.

“Kastellorizo has an abundance of monuments that can guide visitors through the centuries,” she says, listing monasteries, museums, a castle and other not-to-be-missed attractions. Marie also mentions a few of her favourite walking routes, and explains why “one of the best ways to discover Kastellorizo, without doubt, is by boat.” She also recommends the island restaurants, bars and coffee shops that she enjoys the most.

Marie’s article can be found at page 254 of Blue magazine Issue 86.

 

Greece Is special edition magazine on Kastellorizo island

 

“An island with more personality than square meters awaits visitors at the edge of the map,” says one of the pieces in Kastellorizo, a wonderful special edition magazine published in 2020 by Greece Is.

The issue is a definite must-read for anyone going to Kastellorizo, or even just thinking about paying it a visit sometime, since the 148 pages of  this insightful publication are packed with fascinating feature articles and hundreds of gorgeous photos that describe and display virtually everything there is to know about the island. It’s inspiring, informative and educational — an absolute gem of an island guide (but that’s always the case with all of the Greece Is magazines, in our opinion).

Even if a trip to Kastellorizo isn’t on the horizon for you at this time,  we think you’d probably find the magazine a delight to flip through simply to admire the beautiful colour images of island sights and scenery, as well as the intriguing black and white historic photos that accompany articles recounting significant moments in the island’s past.

If we had a copy of the print edition, we probably would leave it on our coffee table so we could peruse it more frequently, but we do look through the online version from time to time.

The web edition  — Greece Is Kastellorizo 2020 — is available on issuu.com, and can be downloaded as a PDF. Print issues are available to order from the Greece Is e-shop.

 

The Mediterranean Lifestyle magazine article on Kastellorizo island

 

It’s “a small place with a big history,” it has two names, and it was “made for hikers and history buffs.” Located at the easternmost corner of Greece, it’s a little island called Kastellorizo by some, Megisti by others. By either name, it sounds absolutely delightful in the article freelancer writer Jackie Humphries Smith penned for The Mediterranean Lifestyle magazine last summer. And it has looks to match, as you’ll see in the beautiful photos, shot by Jackie, that accompany the story.

Jackie and her partner, Joel Smith, are American ex-pats who live in the Mani region of the Peloponnese, where Jackie writes the blog TravelnWrite.

[Editor’s Note: When we were preparing this blog post, Jackie’s feature piece on Kastellorizo / Megisti had been available to read for free on the issuu.com online magazine platform; Jackie’s own website included a link to her article there. But back issues of The Mediterranean Lifestyle appear to have been removed from that site, and are not shown as being available to order in either print or digital versions from the magazine website. You might be able to find the magazine at your local library; check to see if they have Issue 13  in their collection.]

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— Kalymnos —

 

Kalymnos island profile in National Geographic

 

We found this July 28 2021 article from the UK edition of National Geographic an engaging and educational read, even though sport climbing on a Greek island mountainside isn’t something we could ever see ourselves doing on one of our holidays. Or maybe we could.  According to writer Maria Atmatzidou, there are “easily accessible” climbing routes on Kalymnos that are suitable for beginners and even families,  so there’s no reason novices like us couldn’t give the sport a try. 

Maria’s article,  How sport climbing is helping to revitalise a Greek island describes how Kalymnos has been capturing increased attention — and attracting holiday visits — from adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts around the world.

Maria explains how the island was left reeling by the decline and near-destruction of its traditional sponge fishing industry, but in recent years has extended its tourist season and become a top international draw not just for climbers, but also for “non-climbers who fish, dive or swim.” 

Though not climbers ourselves, we became interested in Kalymnos after seeing the island’s amazing mountain and coastal scenery in videos we shared in our previous blog posts Kalymnos keeps calling in 2017, and Kalymos island rocks! in 2016.  We still haven’t made it to the island yet, but we do hope to visit.

 

Red Bull Bulletin article on sport climbing on Kalymnos

 

Red Bull Bulletin writer Matt Ray visited Kalymnos — the “magical corner of the Dodecanese” — to challenge his abilities on the cliffs and do some chalk-dusted first-hand research for his article, A beginner’s guide to sport climbing in Greece

“Having gained a deserved reputation among elite climbers and enthusiasts, Kalymnos has a buzzing climbing scene. It’s chiefly centred around Masouri and its beach, but stretches across the whole island and beyond, taking in post-climb swims at ‘Pirate Beach’ (Kalamies) and extending to the crags of Telendos, an islet that sits off the west coast,” he notes.

Besides detailing the adrenalin rush of the climbs he undertook to improve his personal skills and techniques, Matt describes the “astounding” array of routes available on Kalymnos — 3,400 — and notes the island is ideal for solo climbers, since they’ll easily be able to find climbing partners on the island. 

He also points out the added bonus to climbing on Kalymnos: the island’s amazing sea views and scenery are “all the sweeter” from the top.

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— Kos —

Kos travel article in Aegean Blue magazine Issue 86

 

If you’re heading to Kos this year, we recommend you keep  Kos: Ancient history and exotic beaches handy during your holiday. It’s an excellent 14-page island guide that appeared in the August – October 2021 edition (Issue 86) of Blue magazine, the in-flight publication of Aegean Airlines. Compiled and written by Fotis Vallatos, it contains a wealth of tips and suggestions for things to see and do, as well as places to shop, dine and drink. It’s also richly illustrated with three dozen enticing photos, by Dionysis Kouris, that show people, places, food and scenery from all over the island. 

The guide includes a section on Kos Town, describing “majestic monuments of bygone times” — must-see archaeological sites, ancient ruins and the Castle of Neratzia — along with a list of nearly a dozen recommended “culinary stops,” plus cafes, cocktail bars and shops.  For beach enthusiasts, the guide highlights top strands along the northern and southeastern coasts,  as well as “the magical beaches” in the Kefalos area of southwestern Kos.

Another section suggests must-visit mountain villages, and tavernas where visitors can taste delicious local dishes. There also is a 1-page profile of local agricultural products, including cheese, wine, honey and organic aloe.

You’ll find the article on pages 238 – 251 at the link provided above. The full magazine is downloadable.

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 — Rhodes & Kos —

 

4 famous Greek Islands article in The Guardian

Rhodes and Kos are among the busiest and most popular destinations in Greece, but on both “there is tranquillity beyond the hotspots,” John Malathronas notes in Peace, antiquity and beaches: a guide to five famous Greek islands.

In his article, published September 14 2021 by The Guardian, John points out why Rhodes and Kos are tourist favourites, listing the top attractions and historic sites that draw hordes of visitors each season (for good reason). He then suggests quieter alternatives for visitors seeking places that are either off the beaten path, or that draw sparser crowds, while still offering unique experiences, great views and beautiful scenery. 

John’s report also includes recommendations for places to stay, eat and drink on each island.

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— Rhodes —

Rhodes has long been one of the top Greek island destinations for international tourists, so we weren’t surprised when it made news headlines in late January for two separate but equally noteworthy achievements in the travel industry.

First, the island earned two accolades in the Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice Awards for 2022, ranking at #3 in Trending Destinations — World — a category dedicated specifically to “places that are on the up and up,” and placing at # 11 in the Top Destinations for Sun Seekers — World group.

Rhodes was back in the news a second time in as many days when Greece’s South Aegean Region, in collaboration with TUI Group and the TUI Care Foundation, announced an ambitious initiative to transform the island into the world’s first sustainable tourism destination within the next five years. “The Rhodes Co-Lab” project aims to make Rhodes the global center for the study and development of sustainable models of tourism. Project details are outlined in the January 20 2022 Greek Travel Pages news report Rhodes begins 5-year journey to become first sustainable destination in the world.

Below are several mainstream magazine articles that explore Rhodes from the perspective of walking and cycling activities, luxury holidays and accommodations, and a “micro-living” vacation house.

 

BIKE magazine article on cycling on Rhodes

 

We know from first-hand experience that Kos is one of the most bicycle-friendly islands in Greece — we rented bikes for a day during our visit to that island in 2010. But we couldn’t recall seeing any cyclists on Rhodes the one and only time we were there, way back in 2004. And we don’t remember hearing anything about cycling on Rhodes in the years since. So we were intrigued when we saw the November 2 2021 BIKE Magazine article Rhodes: Your next cycling destination

The article was written by a journalist whose name, by pure coincidence, is Charlie Rhodes; he had been sent to the island for five days to report on the first-ever Rhodes Cycling Festival, and to observe a race held in conjunction with that event. He winds up being treated to “an unforgettable, authentically Greek week-long experience full of warm sun and breath-taking cycling spots,” and being pleasantly surprised by “just how utterly complete the island is as a cycling destination.”  Calling Rhodes “a cycling haven,” he says “I simply cannot recommend the island enough – and this goes for those looking for leisure, as well as those who are in search of a true physical challenge.”

The article is a good read even for people not interested in biking, since the writer talks about villages and attractions he visited, and great places he discovered to eat and drink — including The Old Monolithos Taverna. His report includes photos as well as a brief videoclip of scenic Lindos village. A brief companion article on the Rhodes Bike Festival provides additional information about cycling on Rhodes, and includes a short video with aerial views of beautiful Rhodes Town. 

 

Aegean Blue article Walking on Rhodes

“Rhodes boasts a plethora of paths that are perfect for hiking, mountain running and even mountain biking,” nature tour guide Giorgos Thyris says in Walking on Rhodes, an “Insider” article published in the June-August 2021 issue of Blue, the in-flight magazine of Aegean Airlines. “There are gems here, hidden beauties and unexploited Edens that only locals know, although they’re gradually being discovered by visitors, too.”

In his 4-page piece, which is illustrated with lovely scenic photos, Thyris provides vivid descriptions of several spectacular walking trails and hiking routes, and mentions some locations where rock climbing fans can challenge their skills. He also discusses such attractions as the Kournelo Cave and the Ancient Kymissala archaeology site, and explains why Rhodes is a popular destination for orchid enthusiasts from around the world.

You can read Thyris’s article by clicking on the link provided above; it will take you to the online version of Blue Issue 85, where you can download the full magazine to read at your leisure. Walking on Rhodes starts at page 220.

 

Rhodes profile in Luxury Lifestyle Magazine

 

In a trip report published in January by Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, Rebecca Underwood recounts her experiences during a visit to Rhodes prior to the Covid pandemic.  Though the article does spotlight a luxury hotel, it’s nonetheless a worthwhile read even for budget travellers since the writer describes visiting fascinating medieval sites and monuments, and the joy of simply wandering the ancient cobbled lanes of Rhodes Town, “Europe’s oldest inhabited medieval town” and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1988. 

Besides the major attractions she visited, including the Palace of the Grand Master, Archaeological Museum, Acropolis of Rhodes and Temple of Pythian Apollo,  Underwood describes her accommodations at the Kokkini Porta Rossa boutique hotel and a meal at the family-owned bistro, Tamam, on Georgiou Leontos Street.

Her report, The island of knights: A luxury travel guide to Rhodes,  also includes additional restaurant recommendations as well as suggestions for interesting things to see and do outside of Rhodes Town.

 

MoneyWeek magazine travel article on Rhodes

 

If your personal travel lifestyle and accommodation preferences lean toward 5-star luxury resorts, you’ll want to read this article when you research places to stay for an upcoming trip to Rhodes.

Rhodes: Where the sun god reigns supreme is primarily a report on the 5-star Amada Colossos Resort, which MoneyWeek’s wealth editor, Chris Carter, stayed in last October. His write-up was published on February 4.

The article caught our attention because the Amada Colossos is located in Kallithea on the eastern coast of Rhodes, just a short walk down the beach from the hotel we stayed in during our one-and-only trip to the island 18 years ago — the Rodos Palladium. It, too, is a 5-star hotel, so we were curious to read how the Amada Colossos compares.

Chris was booked into a luxurious executive suite, which boasted a living room and separate bedroom, along with a spacious modern bathroom that featured a sea-view window. He describes the suite’s features, of course, as well as the resort’s impressive selection of bars and restaurants, which include a main buffet dining room, and separate Greek, Italian and Chinese restaurants.  The resort also has a spa, as well as luxury villas with private pools and access to personal gazebos on the beach.

As Chris points out, the hotel reopened in 2018 after undergoing a major renovation and systems overhaul, highlighted by the addition of environmentally sustainable heating and cooling features, and a re-orientation of the suites to offer better views of the sea.

Besides the hotel, Chris talks about some of the noteworthy attractions in the immediate area and in nearby Rhodes Town, and recommends a “wonderful” taverna situated a 20-minute drive from away.

 

Lindos Grand Resort & Spa article in Forbes

 

Yet another Rhodes luxury hotel, the Lindos Grand Resort & Spa, has been profiled in travel media recently — by publications aimed at two completely different readership markets.

First up was business, marketing and investment publisher Forbes, whose lifestyle writer Duncan Madden describes the resort’s many impressive features in his November 2 2021 report, Lindos Grand: New adults-only resort and spa brings modern glamor to Rhodes’ ancient attractions.

Madden notes that the Covid pandemic led the 189-room resort to delay its opening until July of last year, although some of its amenities — including a la carte restaurants — won’t open until this season.

Though large in size, the resort was thoughtfully designed to match the look and feel of buildings in nearby Lindos village, Madden says. “Structures seemingly tumble down the hillside towards the sea, scattered carefully in close-knit clusters around the star of the show – a vast open air infinity pool, one of the largest in Rhodes, that beckons guests in with lingering views over the beach at Vlycha and Aegean Sea beyond stretching far to the horizon.”

He goes on to detail the interior design features and amenities of the suites, many of which boast L-shaped private pools, and describes the resort restaurants and its Evridiki Spa. He also recommends noteworthy historic sites that guests should be sure to visit both in Lindos and in Rhodes Town.

 

Lindos Grand Resort & Spa article in Hello Fashion magazine

 

The U.K. edition of Hello! Fashion followed with its own profile of the Lindos Grand.

In An Island Idyll, published in the December / January issue, the magazine says “The incredibly picturesque hillside village of Lindos and its nearby bays make Rhodes the perfect Greek getaway from spring to autumn.”

The article, written by Jill Wanless, recommends staying at the Lindos Grand, which she describes as “a stylish haven of relaxation” and “contemporary, eco-friendly hotel.”  She goes on to describe highlight features of the accommodations, and the restaurants and spa, noting the resort is “the perfect retreat for two or a girls’ getaway.”

For things to do beyond the resort, Jill suggests things to see and do in Lindos, as well as activities and sights — including vineyards — elsewhere on the island.

We read the article on Apple News, but have seen that the Hello! Fashion issue is available through Zinio and other online magazine services

 

Monocabin holiday home on Rhodes

If sprawling luxury resorts and big hotels aren’t your style, perhaps a hip little hideaway might be perfect for your visit to Rhodes.

The Monocabin is a miniature holiday home only 26 square meters in size. It’s an innovative, modular housing prototype which Mandalaki Design Studios developed in pursuit of a vision to create  an “affordable dream eco-house” that could be built almost anywhere in the world.

We learned about the cute and cozy Microcabin when we came across the article Holiday home of the week: a Monocabin for micro-living in Greece while scrolling through The Spaces magazine online. 

“Constructed using modular concrete panels that manage to look both modern while blending with the traditional architecture of the island, the Monocabin sleeps two people in close but cosy quarters. Inside there is the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom, while the outside terrace doubles as both sitting and dining room – Rhodes’ sunny climate makes eating outside the easy choice – as well as offering a work out area around the side,” notes writer Tish Wrigley.

The Monocabin is located in the town of Ialysos just 200 meters from the beach, and is available for holiday rentals, with a minimum 3 nights’ stay required. Full details about the concept house project, and contact information for booking inquiries, can be found on the Monocabin website.

 

Where to go in Greece: A video guide to 25 beautiful places

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25 most beautiful towns to visit in Greece is a 27-minute film from Lifestyle Hal

 

So many pretty places:  A new video from a popular travel blogger might prove inspiring and helpful to people who are hoping to visit Greece for the first time, but don’t yet have a clue where they would like to go.

25 most beautiful towns to visit in Greece was released January 22 by U.K.-based photographer/videographer Hal, whose Lifestyle Hal travel channel on YouTube has nearly 32,000 subscribers.

We think the film is worth checking out by would-be Greece travel newbies since it provides a good introduction to some of the country’s leading island and mainland tourist destinations.

The video clocks in at just over 27 minutes, profiling each place in its own distinct and succinct segment of approximately one minute apiece. Beautiful aerial and ground-level video footage is accompanied by a voice-over narration in which Hal describes key features and attractions which distinguish each destination.

We feel the video’s title is a bit of a misnomer, though, since the film focusses primarily on islands, rather than towns, with a pair of major archaeological sites — Delphi and Delos — included in the list, along with the magnificent monastery-topped rock formations at Meteora, and Sarakiniko beach on Milos island.  

The film doesn’t reveal any off-the-beaten-path hidden gems or secret hideaways — all of the places that Hal highlights are long-established, well-known tourist draws reachable on regular ferry or flight schedules or, in the case of a handful of spots on mainland Greece, along major roadway routes.  But all are beautiful and well worth visiting as we can personally attest, having been to 16 of the spots on Hal’s top 25 so far.

And even though we’re familiar with all of the destinations, we still enjoyed watching Hal’s video of gorgeous sights and scenery, and hearing his personal perspective on each place’s attractions and attributes.

 

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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Christmas greetings with a special touch of Greece

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Hellenic Seaways Christmas greeting 2015

The Hellenic Seaways ferry company extended holiday greetings on social media with this shiny red Christmas tree ornament decorated with a golden satellite view-image of Greece

 

Scenes of the season: My social media news feeds have been filled with hundreds of holiday greetings this week, but the ones that inspire me the most are Christmas wishes that include a photo or image of a place in Greece that I’ve either been to or hope to see someday. 

Just for fun, I have collected some of my favourites to share here on the blog.

Please click on the link below to turn to page 2 and see some of the Christmas greetings that have been spreading joy to me and many other Greece fans this festive season.

 

 

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Bumpy rides to blissful bays and beaches on Karpathos

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 Click on the arrow to take a ride to Kato Lako on Karpathos

 

My fascination with Karpathos continues — I keep spending some of my spare time viewing photos and watching videos of the island. I won’t get to see Karpathos on my trip to Greece this spring, but it never hurts to research places to visit on future vacations, right?

I thought I’d share several Karpathos videoclips that I enjoyed watching today. All four were posted online by YouTube member 365Roman, and I found them interesting because they show what it’s like to drive to some of the island’s sights and attractions, including gorgeous bays and beaches as well as charming mountain and seaside villages.

As all the clips confirm, some of the most breathtaking views and scenery in the Greek Islands are off the main tourist path and take some effort to reach. But it’s worth it — and it’s all part of the fun of exploring Greece.

So sit back, relax and enjoy your tours on Karpathos while someone else does the driving!

 

The ride to Forokli beach

 

Driving around the northern part of Karpathos

 

Touring the island’s southern regions

 

More weather woes as wind & waves thrash the Greek Islands

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Portara monument Naxos

The ancient Temple of Apollo monument on Naxos is barely visible as winds carry sea spray up and over the Palatia peninsula. This amazing shot was one of three photos shared on Facebook by Manolis Lykouropoulos.

 

Wild winter: While it was the ongoing economic turbulence and political bluster in Greece that made headlines around the world this week, surprisingly severe winter weather conditions in many parts of the country were just as wild, crazy and unpredictable.

For several days, and especially on February 10 and 11, Mother Nature thrashed many of the Aegean islands and parts of mainland Greece with an unusually vicious torrent of wind, waves, rain, sleet, snow and cold temperatures.

The latest barrage of bad weather came slightly more than a month after a similarly brutal storm system brought icy temperatures, freezing rain and heavy snowfalls to many of the Greek Islands in early January (see my posts Wild winter weather wallops Greece and Snow scenes from the Cyclades to view photos and videos that were shared on social media during and after that storm).

 

Acropolis and Odeon of Herodotus Atticus in Athens

Snow falls on the Parthenon (top) while two pedestrians walk past the Odeon of Herodes Atticus next to the Acropolis in Athens. Flowmagazine posted this photo on its Facebook page February 11.

 

This week’s weather disturbances dusted Athens and surrounding areas with light snow, while various islands including Skiathos, Samos, Karpathos, Crete, Naxos and Tinos experienced either light flurries or significant snowfalls in some regions, particularly in mountainous areas. Freezing rain accompanied chilly temperatures in many places.

But it was relentless gale-strength winds that wreaked the most havoc, flooding popular waterfront tourist areas on Crete, Samos, Mykonos and Naxos.

Gusts registering force 10 and higher on the Beaufort wind scale raged across the Aegean, pushing powerful waves against coastlines, ports and harbours. Particularly hard-hit were the Chania harbourfront on Crete, the Little Venice seafront of Mykonos Town, the Naxos village of Apollonas, and the Long Beach area of Kokkari village on Samos, where seawater surged ashore, flooding streets, shops and restaurants and leaving muddy debris — and even the bodies of drowned animals — in its wake. The winds and water also caused extensive damage to the port of Evdilos on Ikaria.

Chania Crete floodwater damage

Waves and water damage at the Chania waterfront on Crete are shown in these photos posted to Facebook by βαγγέλης διαμαντακης 

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading page 2 of this post, which includes more news, photos and videos of storm activity and damage on several islands.

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A beach tour on Karpathos

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Click the arrow to watch Marco Corradini’s video showing scenes from some of the best beaches on Karpathos

 

Beach guide: I have mentioned before that Karpathos is on my “must see” list of Greek Island destinations. I’m even more keen to visit Karpathos after discovering an excellent video tour of the island’s beaches today.

Entitled Karpathos, Greece: The most beautiful beaches, the 9-minute clip by Marco Corradini will introduce you to many of the island’s more than 50 scenic beach areas. Marco’s tour focusses on beaches in four main regions of Karpathos. Besides giving wonderful views of the strands, coastlines and the gorgeous turquoise and cerulean sea, Marco provides information on how to reach the beaches, describes if they have a sand or pebble surface, and notes if there are any facilities nearby, such as tavernas.

Marco calls Karpathos an “island of incomparable beauty, with high mountains and beautiful beaches with crystal clear water and amazing colors, the ideal place for a relaxing and exciting vacation!”

Fingers crossed I’ll find out for myself sometime soon.

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