Category: Popular Posts (page 1 of 33)

Mesmerizing timelapse video views of Athens after dark

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Here’s an intriguing video of Athens that I highly recommend watching — if you haven’t already seen it on social media, where it has been generating considerable buzz since its release yesterday (February 20 2018) by filmmaker / photographer Alexandros Maragos, 

City of Athens – A Portrait of a Changing Metropolis runs just under 5 minutes, and features “hyperlapse, timelapse and drivelapse cinematography of the urban area and the skyline of “το κλεινόν άστυ” / the glorious city,” a description on its Vimeo publication page explains.

Shot from such vantage points as rooftops, hills and mountains, the fascinating film captures stunning night-time scenes and images of the city center, the vast urban core, the international airport, the Parthenon, Acropolis and other monuments, and more.

The friend in Athens who sent me the video link called it a “marvellous” film to watch, and I agree that it truly is, showing the city from engaging and unique perspectives that I think will captivate visitors and city residents alike. (I’ve watched it several times already.)

I hope you will find it interesting and fascinating, too.

 

The quiet end of Divari, the mile-long golden beach in Messenia

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Divari beach on Navarino Bay

A bend near the northwest tip of Divari, also known as Golden Sands Beach

 

Divari beach on Navarino Bay

The shallow bay between Divari beach and Sfakteria Island

 

Delightful Divari: Sunshine, warm temperatures, two beautiful sandy beaches, a crumbling ancient castle and superb Greek food.  Combine those ingredients and you’ll cook up a perfect vacation day in Greece — as we discovered during our 2017 spring holiday in the western Peloponnese.

I recently wrote about our bucket-list visit to Voidokilia, one of the beaches we got to see on the third day of a  road trip through Messenia. The other beach we enjoyed was Divari (Ntivari in Greek), an enticing ribbon of golden sand that curves along the northwestern coast of Navarino Bay near the town of Pylos.   (I will tell you about the castle and food another time.)

Divari was the first stop on our agenda, since it would bring us close to a footpath leading to the ruins of the old Castle of Navarino,  a.k.a. Paleokastro, an historic site we were keen to explore. To get there from our hotel base in Marathopoli, we drove down the two-lane Kyparissia-Pylos highway (Route 9) to the village of Gialova, where signs directed us to the Divari access road. 

 

 

The beach extends a considerable distance — approximately 1.5 kilometers, in fact — and sections are visible from the dirt road that runs its full length. Evergreen trees, bushes, and dunes block some views of the beach, but open areas between the trees reveal plenty of tempting places to spread a towel or a mat. If you want to sit on a chair or under the shade of an umbrella, though, you have to bring along your own gear — unlike many popular beaches in Greece, Divari is not organized with rows of rental lounge chairs and umbrellas, and isn’t lined with beach bars and tavernas.

Please click on the link under the video below to continue reading and see more photos of Divari beach.

 

This aerial video by Manolis Gialyrakis features great views of Divari beach and a shipwreck close to the shore

 

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A bucket list visit to Voidokilia, the extraordinary Ω-shaped beach in the Peloponnese

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Voidokilia beach

I got my first in-person peek at beautiful Voidokilia beach from this breathtaking vantage point in the ruins of the Castle of Navarino …

 

Voidokilia beach

… and shot this picture two hours later while walking along Voidokilia’s amazing arc of soft brown sand 

 

My Omega moment: I’m a big fan of beaches, as you’ve probably gathered from perusing my blog posts. I love looking at them, walking on them, and of course taking photos of them. It doesn’t matter if they consist of soft sand, pebbles or stone; are situated in secluded coves, scenic bays or along lengthy stretches of coastline; or face onto calm water, rolling waves  or rough seas — they all make me happy. I can’t explain exactly why, but there’s something about beaches that makes me feel surprisingly calm yet incredibly invigorated at the same time. (Mountains have the same effect). It’s no wonder I love Greece so much: since the country is blessed with myriad beaches on its islands and mainland coasts, I feel great wherever I go. (Greece has mountains aplenty, too, but I’ll write about those another time.)

Although there are dozens of must-see places on my Greece travel wish list, only 13 are beaches per se (though many of the other spots are located at or near beaches I’d love to visit). All are stunning, some are world-famous, and each has  a unique appeal, distinctive feature or superlative natural beauty I want to witness in person at some point during my lifetime, even if only briefly or from afar.

My beach bucket list (no pun intended)  includes five on Crete — the Balos lagoons, plus Preveli and Vai, Matala, and Stefanou/Seitan Limania;  Navagio (better known as Shipwreck Beach) on Zakynthos; Porto Katsiki on Lefkada; Myrtos on Kefalonia;  Simos on Elafonisos island in the Peloponnese; Manganari on Ios; Papafragas on Milos, and Agios Demetrios on Alonissos. Though not technically a beach, the Giola lagoon on Thassos is right up there, too.

Until last spring, there had been 14 beaches I particularly wanted to see, but last May I finally got to visit the incomparable  Voidokilia in the Messenia region of the Peloponnese. 

 

 

Voidokilia first enthralled me in 2011 when  the Greek National Tourism Organisation published an aerial photo in the Beaches Album on its Visit Greece Flickr page. Voidokilia’s semicircular arc of light brown sand, strikingly similar in shape to the Greek letter Omega Ω, seemed surreal and almost other-worldly.  It looked too perfect to be natural. I instantly wanted to see it, but didn’t foresee having the opportunity anytime soon. We had been hooked on island hopping at the time, and didn’t have a Peloponnese holiday in our near-term plans. But in 2016 we finally made our first foray into that part of Greece, visiting several places in the eastern Peloponnese, and we paid the region a return visit last year to explore some of its southern and western reaches. I was excited when I discovered that Voidokilia was one of the top attractions on our scheduled driving route along the Messenian Gulf coast.

Since Voidokilia was the first bucket list beach I was going to see, I nervously wondered if it would live up to my lofty expectations.  But it  didn’t disappoint. If anything, it made an even better impression than I had imagined. I gasped when I first observed Voidokilia from a lookout point in the Navarino Castle, and when I later walked along its soft brown sand a short time later, and gazed  across the sparkling turquoise bay it encircles,  I felt like I was living a dream. I was utterly gobsmacked, as some Brits might say. I now like to describe the experience as a personal OMG moment — though I pronounce it O-Me-Ga instead of Oh-My-God (pun intended this time).  I savoured every second I was there, and now consider Voidokilia one of my favourite beaches anywhere in the world. I will go back again.

I did take plenty of photos, of course, but I’m not entirely happy with how they turned out — they simply don’t make Voidokilia look as stunning as it actually appears in person.  I suppose I was just too busy enjoying the moment and the captivating scenery around me to pay more attention to what I was doing with my camera. I have posted some of the images on page 2, so you can be the judge. But I really think you should just go and see Voidokilia for yourself. It truly is a marvellous sight.

Below is a video that I believe does do justice to Voidokilia’s striking beauty. Beneath that is a link to page 2, where you can see our photos as well as a few more videos of this fantastic place in the Peloponnese.

 

This 5.5-minute film from Studio Gaël Arnaud features stunning drone views of Voidokilia as well as the hilltop Paleokastro (Castle of Navarino) from which I shot some of my Voidokilia beach photos in May 2017.

 

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Mykonos parties and special events during winter 2018

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Toro loco bar Mykonos

Toro Loco presents The Sexy Vampire Party on March 14

 

~ Updated on Thursday February 22 ~

 

Off-season entertainment: Judging from questions posted to online travel sites, as well as messages I’ve been receiving in recent weeks, there is increasing interest in wintertime travel to Mykonos. 

Although most travellers accept that the weather won’t be favourable for beach activities and swimming, and realize that very few tourist-related shops, bars, restaurants and hotels will be open in winter, they seem more concerned about whether there will be any kind of nightlife to keep them occupied after a day of exploring Mykonos Town or taking hikes or drives around the island.

 

 

Contrary to what many people believe, there are parties on Mykonos in winter — after all, people who live on the island year-round do like to get out for a good time on occasion, too.  Unlike in summer, however, the winter nightlife is quite low-key, with parties taking place at only a few restaurants, cafes and bars that feature evenings with live Greek singers and bands or music provided by local DJs (many of whom also play at the island’s most popular clubs during the main “party months”of July and August). Events generally take place on weekends, typically between Thursday evening and Sunday night.

If you might be dropping by Mykonos this winter, check the party listing on page 2 of this post to see if anything special is happening during your travel dates.

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Mykonos bar, nightclub & beach club openings in 2018

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 180 Sunset Bar Mykonos

180º Sunset Bar re-opens the doors to its amazing sunset-view cocktail terraces on Sunday April 1

 

~ Updated on February 10 ~

 

Summer kickoff: Winter cabin fever must be setting in — I have begun receiving  inquiries from people wondering when bars and clubs will be opening on Mykonos for the 2018 travel season.

I couldn’t give any precise dates for specific venues until  January 10, when 180º Sunset Bar  announced that it will launch its season on Sunday, April 1. It’s the first Mykonos venue to announce its plans so far, but more of the island’s popular drinking and partying places should be releasing their summer opening dates in the next few weeks. Last year, most venues opened their doors in either late April or early May, and this year shouldn’t be any different, though some spots might open in time to celebrate Greek Easter weekend (April 6 to 9).

Guapaloca Bar and Paradise Beach Resort are also opening in April, which means that partying resumes at Paradise Beach in less than three months.

Guapaloca bar Mykonos

Daily prties resume at world-famous Paradise beach in April when Guapaloca bar starts its season

 

April 22 is opening day for Tropicana club at Paradise beach

 

I will update this post with additional information when other bars and clubs announce their official start dates.

People also have been asking if I know of summer job opportunities on Mykonos.

The hugely popular Scorpios club at Paraga beach issued a hiring notice in December (see below), while in early January the posh Principote Panormos Mykonos restaurant and bar complex at Panormos beach invited applications for positions there. If you’re interested, Panormos requests you send your photo and resume to: info@principote.com 

DK Oyster restaurant and bar at Platis Gialos also announced on social media that it is now hiring, and on January 22 the SantAnna Mykonos beach venue invited applications for summer associates (see below).

In February, Kalua bar at Paraga beach will be holding employee recruitment events in Athens and Thessaloniki in February (see below). 

If you’d like to work on Mykonos this year, your best bet is to email any bars and clubs that interest you to ask about job opportunities. Get those emails out ASAP — positions will get filled fast.

 

Scorpios Mykonos

Scorpios posted this hiring announcement on social media at Christmastime

 

 

SantAnna Mykonos beach club

The hottest new beach club on Mykonos last year, SantAnna at Paraga beach is recruiting staff for summer 2018

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