Category: Tourist attractions (page 1 of 30)

20 tantalizing reasons to visit Santorini island

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If Santorini is already on your list of places to visit, you’ve probably got a few main reasons for your choice — including the island’s world-famous sunsets and its breathtaking caldera scenery. But there are many additional features and attractions that make Santorini an appealing holiday destination, and local photographer, filmmaker and graphic designer Nikos Korakakis reveals them in his newly-released video 20 reasons to visit Santorini in 2020! 

Produced in collaboration with the Santorini Archive Project, the 3-minute film spotlights the island’s fascinating historic sites, incomparable geological features and extensive range of activities for visitors.  If you haven’t been considering Santorini for your next trip to Greece, the impressive images in Korakakis’s video might well inspire you to give the island a closer look.

 

Our Covid-19 quarantine travel reads: Feature profiles of Athens, Thessaloniki, the Peloponnese & mainland Greece

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Kastoria city and lake photo from Issue 6 of Sky Express airlines Fly magazine

Kokkoras Bridge in Epirus Greece photo from Sky Express airlines Fly magazine Issue 6

These striking photos of the city of Kastoria in northern Greece and the historic Kokkoros Bridge in Epirus are from The White Issue of Fly, the magazine of Sky Express airline. The  picture-packed issue spotlights visit-worthy mainland Greece destinations that aren’t on typical tourist itineraries.

 

Armchair travels: Since we can’t take our scheduled spring trip to Greece because of Covid-19 lockdowns and travel restrictions, we have been travelling there vicariously — by reading magazine and newspaper articles about destinations, hotels, attractions and a wide variety of aspects of Greek life and tourism. Armchair travel lacks the thrill and pleasure of actually going to Greece, of course, but it’s a heck of a lot better than brooding about the cancellation of our 2020 holiday plans while we’re cooped up in home quarantine.

On the positive side, our time catching up on articles published over the past six months has been well spent, introducing us to incredible places in Greece we weren’t too familiar with, and giving us ideas and inspiration for trips we hope to take once the pandemic has passed and Greece re-opens its borders to international visitors.

Since the articles and photo profiles could be interesting and helpful to readers dreaming about their own future trips to Greece, we will be sharing our “quarantine travel reads” in a series of  blog posts, beginning with this one.

Destinations and topics profiled in this instalment include:

♦ Thessaloniki and the Halkidiki peninsula;

♦ Athens

♦ the southern Peloponnese, including Costa Navarino, the Mani and Monemvasia; and

♦ Impressive towns, villages and scenic areas in mainland Greece

 

 

Upcoming blog posts will spotlight:

♦ stylish luxury hotels and hot dining spots in Athens, Crete, Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini;

♦ travel writer accounts of trips to Athens and various Greek Islands, including Evia, Milos, Paros and Symi;

♦ Cretan food and the Mediterranean diet;

♦ mini guides to Greek islands, and more.

 

Athens and the southern Peloponnese

 

Bloomberg News article on Greece travel destinations

Dimitsana, a mountain village in Arcadia, is among the places writer Nikos Chrysoloras recommends visiting in the southern Peloponnese

 

“…there will be so much Greek paradise for you when this viral outbreak is behind us” says Nikos Chrysoloras, whose article The Greece I long to visit isn’t on your average travel brochure was published by Bloomberg News on April 24.

Greece does indeed abound with places people would consider paradise, but Chrysoloras devotes his article to describing a travel itinerary that will let visitors experience the true essence of Greece first in Athens and its surrounding area, and secondly during a scenic road trip through the southern Peloponnese peninsula.

A must-see in the historical center of Athens, he says, is Monastiraki Square, which “epitomizes my country perhaps more than any island or beach.” He recommends two rooftop bars overlooking the square, from which visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the Parthenon and other historic monuments. “It’s the weight of millennia packed in the space of a single block,” Chrysoloras notes. He also recommends a day trip along the Athens Riviera and a visit to the clifftop Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, famous for its sensational sunset view, which he describes as “Greece, Profound.” He also suggests specific places to drink and dine, so visitors planning to spend time in the city would be wise to bookmark the article for easy reference once in Athens.

 

 

For the Peloponnese portion of his suggested roadtrip, Chrysoloras recommends starting off in the area around the Costa Navarino resort and the incredible Voidokilia beach (which I wrote about in my blog post A bucket list visit to Voidokilia), and then exploring the rugged Mani region. “It’s a mountainous terrain with stone-built villages and very narrow roads leading to pebbled beaches. This area is the land of the ancient Spartans, people as defiant as history suggests.” Again, Chrysoloras recommends places to stay, dine, hike, swim and enjoy a drink with a fabulous sunset view.

From Mani, the drive continues to the castle town of Monemvasia, whose “medieval alleys are full of mystery and wonder, like a set that Game of Thrones producers ought to have used.” On the way back to Athens from there, Chrysoloras urges a detour to Dimitsana — his mother’s home town — “one of the most characteristic specimens of the mountainous side of Greece. Surrounded by conifer trees, you can enjoy unspoiled traditional stone architecture and hike in the area’s beautiful forests and nearby villages.” Although worth a look nearby is Panagia, a now-deserted village where Chrysoloras recommends a taverna that serves outstanding traditional dishes. 

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading on page 2, where we discuss excellent magazine articles about Thessaloniki, noteworthy destinations in mainland Greece, and fascinating places to explore in Athens.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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Tourism video invites travellers to discover themselves — in the city of Heraklion on Crete

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A new tourism video aims to show travellers that whether they prefer to spend their holidays taking a leisurely look at local history, culture,  food and wine, or keeping a faster pace with outdoor sports activities, beach fun and lively nightlife — or maybe a mix of both — there’s an extensive range of exciting activities and fascinating attractions awaiting them in Heraklion

 

A newly-released tourism video is inviting visitors to “discover the other part of yourself” in Heraklion (often spelled Irakleio), the biggest city on Crete, in 2020.

Notes posted on the video’s YouTube page say the nearly 3-minute-long film “presents a vivid city with unique images in every corner, in every step. With flavors, sounds and aromas you’ll never forget!”

“Stroll around Heraklion, in its market and beaches, visit its archaeological sites, its monuments and its museums. Enjoy the authentic Cretan lifestyle and gastronomy. Feel how living like a true local here in Heraklion, really is! Discover all 5+1 civilizations that make Heraklion truly unique, so full of experiences that you will wholeheartedly enjoy all year round,” say the release notes.

Produced by the Heraklion Municipality Tourism Department, the film was published on January 7.

“We are waiting for you, here in the heart of the most important island in the Mediterranean, ‘where Crete begins’!” the video release notes say, quoting the city’s official tourism slogan.

 

 

Should you be interested in finding yourself in Heraklion this year, I’ve collected website links to a fistful of recent Greek magazines that spotlight things to see and do in Heraklion and its surrounding area. The articles are packed with superb photos and useful information about major monuments and attractions, events, and alluring places to enjoy  either traditional or contemporary Cretan food and drink.

The Greece Is | Crete 2019 special issue includes an insightful article about Knossos Palace (at page 72), a map highlighting top attractions to check out in the region beyond Heraklion city limits (pages 144-5), and recommendations for things to see and do during a 2-day city break in Heraklion (page 146). 

 

Screenshot of an article about Knossos from the 2019 Greece Is special Crete issue

In Knossos Uncovered, writer John Leonard recounts a visit to the Palace of Knossos, which he notes is “Greece’s most popular, best-known archaeological destination after the Athens Acropolis.”

 

Screenshot of a Heraklion feature article in the Greece Is 2019 special issue on Crete

A highlights map indicates “at a glance” places to explore in the municipal region beyond the city of Heraklion/Irakleio

 

Screenshot of an article about Heraklion in the Greece Is 2019 special issue on Crete

Heraklion is an ideal city break destination, and the Greece Is feature 48 hours in Irakleio is an excellent guide to help plan a short visit. 

 

 

♦  The just-published White Issue of Fly, the on-board magazine of Sky Express airline, includes a 7-page spread spotlighting key attractions, events and places near Heraklion, including the Natural History Museum, CretAquarium, Knossos Palace, the Messara Plain and Archanes village. The quick-read article is iIlustrated with beautiful photos by Perikles Merakos.

Screenshot of an article about Heraklion in Sky Express Fly magazine Issue 06

This photo feature from Sky Express airline’s Fly magazine highlights several noteworthy attractions in and near Heraklion

 

Issue 77 of Blue Magazine, the on-board publication of Aegean Airlines, includes a 13-page “guide to the good life in one of Greece’s most vibrant cities.” It spotlights two of Heraklion’s micro-breweries, various coffee shops where visitors can experience traditional Cretan cafe culture, restaurants offering either authentic island food or contemporary “creative” Cretan cuisine, as well as cocktail bars and lounges. The guide also describes the new Heraklion Cultural and Conference Center and an emerging “hot spot” district of the city that’s rapidly gaining popularity for its food and beverage offerings.

 

Screenshot of Aegean Blue Magazine Issue 77 guide to Heraklion Crete

A Blue magazine guide lists places to visit for coffee, cocktails, locally-brewed beer, traditional Cretan food and modern creative cuisine

 

♦ Heraklion gets feature coverage in two articles in the Summer 2019/Spring 2020 issue of Minoan Wave, the on-board magazine for the Minoan Lines ferry company.  In one, writer Olga Charami joins local resident Spiros Staridas, who has published a cultural map of Heraklion, for a fascinating tour of historically significant city sights most visitors would overlook (including segments of ancient city walls preserved inside two fashion clothing shops). The other is a short 3-page piece suggesting specific places visitors should consider dropping by for pastries, coffee, raki or cocktails, and either traditional Cretan cooking or contemporary Mediterranean cuisine.

Screenshot of Heraklion feature article in Minoan Wave magazine Summer 2019 edition

The article Heraklion: Hidden Charm takes readers on “an alternative walk” through the city’s historic center to discover “often-overlooked gems.”

 

Screenshot of a Heraklion dining feature article in Minoan Wave magazine

The short but sweet article Heraklion: Unfailingly Flavorful tells visitors where to taste delicious pastries and desserts; raki, cocktails and other beverages; and their choice of either traditional or modern Cretan cuisine.

 

Modern sculptures amid ancient ruins: An extra visual delight for Delos visitors this summer

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Photograph of an Antony Gormley iron sculpture displayed among the ruins on Delos island

Sculptures by Sir Antony Gormley, including this 2015 work entitled Connect,  have been installed on Delos island as part of a landmark  art exhibition on display this summer only 

 

Modern art on ancient site: After exploring the historic ruins on Delos three separate times between 2004 and 2010, I haven’t felt an urge to make a return trip to the island in recent years.  After all, the monuments and the island itself wouldn’t look noticeably different from my previous visits, so there wouldn’t be anything particularly “new” for me to discover. And besides, there are dozens of other major archaeological sites in Greece that I haven’t seen at all — so going to some of those has been a higher priority than  a fourth trip to Delos.

But this summer  I have really been regretting that I can’t get to Delos to see something that is in fact completely new and different, and available for viewing only during this year’s tourist season.

It’s a groundbreaking modern art installation called SIGHT, which features 29 iron “bodyform” sculptures that acclaimed British artist Antony Gormley has positioned among the historic Delos monuments and antiquities — on the island’s coast and harbourfront, atop Plakes Peak and Mount Kynthos, and in one of the galleries in the Delos archaeological museum.

 

Sir Antony Gormley and one of the sculptures in his SIGHT installation on Delos as seen in a photo from the NEON page on Facebook

Antony Gormley poses with his 2017 work, Reflect, on Delos island. The photo was shared on the Facebook page for NEON, the non-profit cultural organization that commissioned and organized the SIGHT exhibition.

 

The SIGHT exhibit is noteworthy for two key reasons: It’s the first time an artist has taken over the archaeological site since Delos was last inhabited 5,000 years  ago, and it’s the first time the Greek Archaeological Council has approved a contemporary art installation on the island.

It’s an historic art event I would certainly appreciate: I enjoy sculpture (from any era) and I would love to see some of Gormley’s work up close. Viewing his pieces on Delos — five of which were created specifically for this event — would give me fresh new perspectives of the island and its significant historical and mythical past. I have been intrigued and moved by photos of the sculptures I have seen on websites and social media, so I know that seeing the pieces in person would be a fascinating experience.

Unfortunately,  a trip to Greece isn’t possible for me before the exhibit ends. But if you are a fine arts and sculpture enthusiast yourself, and you will be visiting Mykonos (or Naxos or Paros, from which daytrips to Delos are also available) before October 31, don’t miss the unique opportunity to experience the island while the Gormley “bodyforms” are on display. 

 

 

SIGHT is a project that the Greek non-profit cultural organization NEON organized in collaboration with the Ephorate of Antiquities of Cyclades. The exhibition continues until October 31 2019.

Extensive details and information about Delos and the sculpture exhibit are available on the SIGHT page of the NEON website

Below is an 8-minute video in which Antony Gormley discusses Delos and the inspiration for his work, followed by photos of several of the sculptures displayed on the island.

 

 

From the NEON page on Instagram a photo of an Antony Gormley sculpture on the coast of Delos island Greece

 

From the NEON page on Instagram a photo of an Antony Gormley sculpture atop Mount Kynthos on Delos island Greece

 

Photograph of the Antony Gormley sculpture Cast III on Delos island

 

A sculpture from the Sir Antony Gormley SIGHT exhibition on Delos island seen in a photo from the NEON page on Facebook

 

From the NEON page on Instagram a photo of an Antony Gormley sculpture positioned in the ruins on Delos island Greece

 

An Antony Gormley sculpture on the coast of Delos island seen in a photo from the NEON page on Facebook

 

Photograph of the Antony Gormley sculpture Shift II from 2000 in the Delos Archaeological Museum

 

One of the Antony Gormley iron sculptures on Delos island in 2019

 

Promotional image for the Antony Gormley contemporary sculpture exhibition Sight on Delos island in 2019

 

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