Category: In the news (page 1 of 18)

Writers report on mood, hopes & fears at top Greece travel spots during & after the nation’s Covid-19 lockdown

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis

At his Greece Summer 2020 press conference on Santorini on June 13, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis formally announced Greece’s re-opening for summer tourism. Impressive backdrops for the international media event included views of the island’s clifftop village of Imerovigli (top photo) and a glorious sunset over nearby islands (bottom). Greece went into lockdown in late March to protect its citizens from the Covid-19 pandemic, and on June 15 began reopening its borders to tourism.

 

By mygreecetravelblog.com

 

“Greek tourism is back.”

Those words — spoken by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis during an international press conference on Santorini island June 13 — must have been sweet music to the ears of people around the world who have been hoping to holiday in Greece this summer.

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CNN examines Greece’s plans for 2020 tourism season in wake of Covid-19 pandemic

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CNN Travel report on Greece plans for summer travel season

CNN Travel has taken a look at what the summer tourism season might be like in Greece as the country re-opens after its Covid-19 lockdowns

 

Travel comeback?: Millions of people are on tenterhooks this month, wondering what will happen to their plans — and bookings — for summer and autumn vacations in Greece.

Many — including yours truly at mygreecetravelblog.com — have already had our spring holiday hopes dashed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We were supposed to fly to Greece a few days from now but, like hundreds of thousands of people who had booked trips to Greece for April, May and June,  Covid quarantines and travel bans put the kibosh on those plans.  

Millions more people who had scheduled trips for July, August and September are holding out hope that their holidays will still happen, now that Greece has announced a timetable to gradually re-open its economy, and to begin welcoming tourists back starting in July. But it’s still too soon for anyone outside Greece to know for certain if their vacations will in fact materialize, since Greece hasn’t yet determined who will be allowed into the country, or what sorts of tourism activities will be available.

 

 

Indeed, it appears extremely likely that some kind of medical testing will be required to gain entry into Greece (to show that travellers either have developed antibodies to Covid-19, or are not testing positive for the virus), and it also is likely that citizens from only a few select countries might be permitted to visit Greece initially. So while there is some promise that travel will resume in Greece this summer, it’s still a matter of wait-and-see for the all-important details.

What does seem clear, however, is that the Greek holiday experience could be drastically different from what regular visitors have experienced in the past — and what many first-time travellers might have been anticipating this summer, especially with regard to beaches and the legendary Greek nightlife. Because of social distancing requirements, for instance, crowded bars and party clubs could be out of the question for the foreseeable future, while organized beaches will have considerably fewer lounge chairs and umbrellas, with those available being spread 2 meters apart. (One beach bar on Santorini has already installed plexiglass screens between its sunbeds.) For their part, hotels and restaurants will have to adapt to stringent health and safety protocols as well as social distancing requirements.

To find out more, CNN Travel recently sent a team of reporters to Greece. They examined how Greece has handled the Covid-19 pandemic, and interviewed industry and government officials — including Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis — to see what the country’s post-pandemic travel season might look like.  Check out their May 7 2020 report, which consists of an article and a 4-minute video.

Hopefully more concrete information will come available within the next several weeks.

First vegan hotel in Greece, Koukoumi, set to open on Mykonos this summer

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 This 2-minute promotional video explains the inspiration and philosophy for the new Koukoumi Hotel, and features beautiful views of famous Mykonos landmarks and island scenery 

 

Holistic lifestyle hotel: The first — and only — authentically vegan hotel in Greece is set to open its doors on Mykonos this summer, promising to bring both “a breath of fresh air” in hospitality and a “new life philosophy” to the Island of the Winds.

Situated on a hillside near Ano Mera, in close proximity to Kalafatis, Kalo Livadi and other top southern coast beaches, the 4-star Koukoumi Hotel is a project of the Kontiza family of Mykonos. The property has been designed in traditional Myconian architectural style and boasts 14 “boho chic” suites, a  restaurant featuring ethnic, Mediterranean and Greek-inspired vegan and raw cuisine, a swimming pool, spa and fitness center, and its own fruit and vegetable garden.

“Koudoumi” is a Myconian word which translates as “sheltered from the wind” and “a cozy place for snuggling.” To stay true to its name, the hotel has been conceived as “a peaceful sanctuary” where sophisticated travellers can “enjoy life without harming animals, the environment, or [them]selves,” the Koukoumi Hotel website explains.

 

Rooms include spacious standard, superior and executive suites that can accommodate up to 3 guests each, as well as deluxe and master suites that can sleep two persons each.

The hotel restaurant will offer a completely vegan menu, and pledges that its delicious recipes “will challenge you to reconsider everything you believed about food before!”

The Koukoumi Spa has been designed as a “haven of relaxation”  in which guests can detox, de-stress and rejuvenate “with soothing massages, healing treatments for face & body or by using the sauna.”

The hotel also has an indoor fitness center, staffed by a personal trainer and sports nutrition advisor who can tailor cross-functional training programs to help guests develop their own specific physical fitness programs and wellness goals.

Reservations can be made through the online booking page of the Koukoumi Hotel website, or through the hotel’s listings on booking.com, TripAdvisor and Expedia.

Below are several renderings of rooms and hotel facilities; additional images and information can be found on the Koukouimi website and on the Koukoumi Facebook page. A number of photos also can be viewed on the hotel’s Instagram.

 

A rendering showing an exterior view of Koukoumi Hotel on Mykonos

A rendering of the swimming pool at Koukoumi Hotel Mykkonos

Koukoumi Hotel Mykonos fitness room

A rendering of a suite at Koukoumi Hotel Mykonos

A rendering of a suite at Koukoumi Hotel Mykonos

A rendering of a suite at Koukoumi Hotel Mykonos

Koukoumi Hotel Mykonos 2020 opening announcement

 

Lonely Planet’s April issue looks at ‘legendary’ Crete and 15 other Greek Islands

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Cover of the April 2020 edition of Lonely Planet travel magazine

The cover of Lonely Planet‘s April issue promises to help readers find a perfect Greek Island holiday destination

 

Island profiles: Wondering where to take a holiday in Greece if Covid-19 quarantines and lockdowns get lifted in time to permit a trip sometime during the summer or fall? If you think an island might be the best place to de-stress once the pandemic has passed, Lonely Planet magazine has some excellent suggestions for you to ponder.

The travel publication’s April 2020 edition spotlights a selection of 15 household-name and lesser-known isles in its cover feature, Find your perfect Greek Island: Secret experiences the locals love, from Anafi to Zakynthos

“Here we outline the most original slow-travel experiences across the Aegean and Ionian Seas, from local festivals to hidden beaches — and beyond,” writer Oliver Smith explains in his introduction to the 12-page guide.

The piece profiles Folegandros, Hydra, Symi, Tinos, Chios, Zakynthos, Paros and Antiparos, Sifnos, Milos, Skiathos, Anafi, Ikaria, Kea and Limnos, providing a brief island description, suggesting accommodations to consider, and noting how to reach each island. Beautiful, full-colour photos illustrate an enticing place or sight in each destination.

 

 

The magazine also includes Gods’ Own Country, a 12-page feature story about Greece’s biggest island, Crete. 

“Beyond the harbours and white-sand beaches of Crete lies a land rich in history and myth, home to deities and monsters from the Minotaur to the thunder-god Zeus himself. We embark on a quest to discover this island’s legendary legacy,” Christa Larwood writes in the article introduction.

Both articles are interesting reads, and the stunning photos that accompany them will certainly provide a welcome distraction from the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

If you can’t find the April magazine at a retail outlet or a library, you can order a copy or purchase a digital download for your tablet or smartphone directly from the publisher. 

Screenshot of Greek Island guide in the April 2020 edition of Lonely Planet travel magazine

Illustrated with enticing photography, the magazine’s Treasured Islands feature suggests 15 places to consider for a “slow travel” experience

 

Screenshot of feature article about Crete in the April 2020 edition of Lonely Planet travel magazine

The feature article Gods’ Own Country takes readers on a journey across Crete, from the scenic seaports of Chania and Rethymno to the Samaria Gorge, the Palace of Knossos, and the Lasithi Plateau.

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