Category: Tourist attractions (page 1 of 16)

Crossing 600 years of history at the Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

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Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

The  arched stone Kremasti bridge spans a stream in bucolic countryside near the town of Agia Paraskevi on Lesvos

 

Walking back centuries: Unlike the other two tourist couples that showed up within moments of our own arrival, we did cross the Kremasti bridge when we got to it.

We couldn’t pass up the rare opportunity to walk on a hand-built stone viaduct that may have been built as long as 600 years ago. Rare for us, because bridges even just a century old are few and far between back home in Canada, so crossing an ancient span isn’t something we can do  any old day of the week.

However, walking on medieval bridges might be something those other people can do wherever they live, which would explain why they didn’t share our enthusiasm to get up close for a better look at Kremasti. The two women from the first car strode  to the edge of the olive grove at the north side of the bridge for a brief look-see, then promptly drove off in the direction of Stypsi village. The driver of the second vehicle walked only a few steps from his car to snap photos — from a spot on the road that didn’t offer particularly good views of the monument standing 30 meters distant.  His passenger didn’t even get out; she seemed more interested in something on her cellphone. Photo-taking finished, the man climbed back into the driver’s seat, made a three-point turn, and drove off the way they had come.

In less than four minutes tops, both couples had arrived and departed, probably adding a “been there, seen that” checkmark to their lists of historic sites they had “visited” on Lesvos.

We didn’t mind having the old bridge all to ourselves; we got to appreciate its elegant architecture and examine its impressive masonry and engineering without getting in the way — or in the background — of someone else’s selfie.  And on such a sunny and warm spring afternoon, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the fresh air and quiet beauty of the countryside, take a stroll through the lovely olive grove, and imagine how crucial the bridge would have been for regional travel in the centuries before motor vehicles? Oh, right — we can think of at least four people who would prefer not to! But we weren’t keen to hurry back into the car to see more of Lesvos through the windshield and side windows. We would get to do that during the drive back to our hotel in Molyvos later in the day. Instead, we took a nice, slow walk across 600 years of Lesvos history, and savored the experience of simply being there for awhile. Besides, we were on Lesvos, where rushing around just isn’t the way to see and enjoy the subtle beauty and character of the island.

 

Kremasti bridge location on Lesvos island

This Google map pinpoints the Kremasti bridge location in northern Lesvos, approximately 3 km northwest of the town of Agia Paraskevi. 

 

Google satellite view of Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

This Google satellite image shows the historic bridge and the modern-era road that carries motor vehicle traffic through the countryside of rolling hills to Stypsi village.

 

Our travel materials and guidebooks didn’t provide much information about Kremasti. Most said basically the same things: it’s “the largest and best-preserved medieval bridge in the eastern Aegean” (to quote our 4th edition copy of The Rough Guide to the Dodecanese and East Aegean Islands); it is widely believed to be have been built sometime during the period the Gattilusio family of Genoa controlled Lesvos (1355 to 1462); it crosses a stream which flows into the Tsiknias River; and it stands 8.5 meters tall at its highest point. (Curiously, no further dimensions, such as the length and width of the span, were described in any of the publications).  

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

 

When we searched online for more details on the bridge’s history, we discovered that some websites dispute the date of construction, saying architectural details suggest Kremasti may have been built more than 100 years after the Gattilusio era, most likely during the 16th Century.  Some sources also mentioned that, according to local legend, the master builder buried his wife’s body into the bridge foundations.

We didn’t have any luck learning how the bridge got its name, but we did find some insight in The bridge of Kremasti, an interesting article written by Perris P. Vougioukas and published in 2015 by the local news and information website Agia Paraskevi Only.  

Besides discussing some of the history and legend behind the bridge, Vougioukas provided some dimension statistics that we couldn’t find anywhere else. Like other sources, he noted the Kremasti arch reaches a maximum height of 8.55 meters, but he furnished additional measurement facts: the bridge opening is 14 meters, while the span’s cobblestone walkway extends for approximately 50 meters, and is 3.5 meters wide.

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

 

We had been curious about the bridge length because we wanted to know how far into the past we had wobbled along the uneven surface, where weeds and grasses sprout from cracks and spaces between the stones. Unfortunately, we couldn’t cross the entire span — a section of wire fence blocked access to and egress from the north side of the bridge. We didn’t realize this until we were almost all the way up and over the arch, having begun our crossing from the south. Clambering over or around the barricade would have been awkward and unsafe, so we wisely retraced our steps. Although it was a bit disappointing to wind up just one or two steps shy of a complete crossing, we got to spend twice as much time on the bridge, and enjoy the different views in each direction. 

(We couldn’t understand why the fence had been installed; there weren’t any signs indicating it was off limits, and none of our tourist guides warned that walking on the bridge was either unsafe or not permitted. We wondered if the owners of the olive grove simply didn’t want people like us ambling around their trees or having picnics on their property! Or perhaps they had blocked the path to prevent their sheep or goats from crossing onto the bridge and possibly falling into the stream. If any of our readers know the answer, please share it with us!)

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

Our visit to Kremasti bridge took place during a day-long drive to explore sights and villages in northern Lesvos. We also could have seen the bridge by walking, since there are well-established trekking routes in the area, but we chose to leave long hikes for our next trip to Lesvos. For any of our readers who might be interested in such a scenic walk during an upcoming trip to Lesvos, here are links we had bookmarked for two websites that provide detailed directions for walking routes that pass the bridge:

Walking in the valley of Tsiknias on the Trekking Trails Network of Lesvos website; and 

♦ the Napi – Kremasti bridge route on the AllTrails website

Below are a few more of our photos of the bridge and its surroundings:

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

The three photos above show the bridge as we approached and began crossing the span from its southern side

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

The view toward the olive tree grove at the north end of the bridge. Even from this point, we couldn’t see the thin wire fence that blocks access to the grove.

 

Olive tree grove near the Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

Olive tree grove near Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

olive trees near the Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

The three photos above show views of the olive tree grove at the north end of the bridge. The ground was carpeted with tiny white spring flowers.

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

From the edge of the olive grove, a glimpse of the bridge’s arch

 

a man stands on the Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

The stream beneath the bridge is a tributary of the Tsiknias River, which flows into the Gulf of Kalloni

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

Above: two views of the arched stone span

 

a man on the Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

The wire fence that blocks passage at the north end of the bridge is partially visible in this photo. 

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos island

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

Above: two views during our walk back to the southern end of the bridge

 

Kremasti bridge on Lesvos

One final look at Kremasti, seen from the modern bridge that carries motor vehicle traffic across the stream

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.

 

Central Macedonia: A great four-seasons travel destination

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This is the lead video in a Central Macedonia tourism campaign that invites visitors to come “do something great.” The promotion includes four additional short films (see below) that will tempt travellers with fabulous photography of great things they can see and do in the region.

 

Greatness abounds: It’s widely known as the historic home of its king, Alexander the Great, in ancient times, but the mainland Greece region of Central Macedonia wants more people to discover that it’s also an incredible place for tourists to visit 365 days a year.

The region already attracts more than 7 million visitors annually, drawn to such internationally-known destinations as the city of Thessaloniki, the holy monasteries at Mount Athos, the beach-blessed Halkidiki peninsulas, and the tallest peak in Greece, Mount Olympus.

But Central Macedonia isn’t even on the radar for countless other people who have been to Greece, or who might be planning to visit, and aren’t aware there’s so much more to the country than Athens and the islands of Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes. Crete and  Corfu. To show those potential visitors why they should give Central Macedonia a closer look, the region has produced five promotional videos that highlight the vast array of vacation experiences available for all types of travellers and their holiday activity preferences.

With spectacular cinematography, the 2-minute videos showcase some of the region’s magnificent landscapes and natural scenery, exciting outdoor sports and adventure activities, arts and cultural attractions, beautiful beaches, and its traditional and contemporary cuisine. The sheer breadth of the region’s natural and human-created wonders may be an eye-opening surprise to people who aren’t familiar with this part of Greece.

The “Do Something Great” video, posted above, is the primary film for the tourism campaign. Published on YouTube and shared on social media platforms, it provides a general cinematic overview of Central Macedonia’s appealing travel attractions, while four other videos, posted below, shine a spotlight on destination features that appeal to specific visitor pastimes:

♦ Taste the Great! whets viewers’ appetites with images of mouth-watering traditional and contemporary cuisine;

♦ Sun the Great! displays brilliant scenes of gorgeous coastal landscapes to show that “nothing beats a sunny day on the beach”;

♦ Experience the Great! profiles some of the thrilling outdoor activities that sports enthusiasts can pursue, such as: mountain biking; skateboarding; surfing; rock climbing; scuba diving; alpine skiing; boating; and river rafting; and

♦ Admire the Great! spotlights cultural attractions, including: art galleries; museums; historic sites; monuments; memorials; churches, temples and monasteries; and music entertainment. 

 

Each of the videos is well worth watching, and the full series takes only 10 minutes to view. We don’t have a favourite to recommend; although we’ve notched half a dozen viewings for the food film, and at least two apiece for the rest, we enjoyed them all.

If you’re interested in learning more about the region after watching the clips, you’ll find the Central Macedonia travel website (pictured below) is a great place to start your research and holiday planning.

 

Central Macedonia tourism website

 

How Milos island wowed the world in 2021

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view from the Kastro peak on Milos island

boathouses at Klima village on Milos

Sunbathers at the Sarakiniko beach and coastal area of Milos island

Our own photos of three Milos island landmarks: the Panagia Thalassitra Church at Plaka village (top), colourful boathouses at the Klima fishing settlement, and  the surreal coastal rock formations at Sarakiniko

 

Milos’s moment: 2021 has been quite the momentous year for Milos, with unparalleled international publicity planting the island firmly into the minds and onto the bucket-list travel maps of millions of holiday-hungry people around the globe.

We told you this was coming.

In our blog post  Much ado about Milos four years ago (August 2017, to be precise), we described a noteworthy surge in interest in Milos, and we predicted its popularity would soar.

This year, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, that’s exactly what happened: Milos was the Greek island people everywhere were taking note of, talking about, and visiting in person either for vacations or for corporate marketing photography and film shoots.

 

 

It wasn’t just travel blogs, vlogs and websites singing the island’s praises — Milos was the focus of attention in advertising campaigns for clothing, coffee and luxury goods;  social media posts by music and television stars; architecture and design publications; luxury hotel review websites; business and lifestyle magazines, and more.

 

the Kleftiko coast of Milos island in Greece

Once a hideaway for pirates, the coastal cliffs and caves at Kleftiko are now a popular stop for Milos sailboat tours

 

Among the Milos milestones of 2021:

♦ Readers of the most-read American travel magazine voted Milos the “No. 1 island in the world” as well as best island in Europe;

♦ One of the world’s best-selling music artists visited in the spring and posted photos from the island’s capital and one of its picturesque fishing villages to Instagram, where his account is actively followed by more than 200 million people;

♦ Its exquisite coastal scenery stole the show in major promotional campaigns for three of the world’s pre-eminent luxury fashion brands;

♦ The island played a starring role in a television advertising campaign for a popular coffee retailer;

♦ Architecture and home design magazines drew attention to Milos with profiles of a  contemporary “corral” residence ingeniously built to blend seamlessly into the island landscape;

♦ Hotel review websites trumpeted the arrival of two brand-new luxury accommodations that opened in June;

♦ International publications and leading travel blogs published laudatory profiles of the island’s appealing scenic attributes and attractions, and

♦ top travel vloggers enthralled YouTube watchers with videos spotlighting key Milos attractions and the splendid natural scenery.

 

windmills on Milos island

A cluster of windmills near Tripiti village. Some have been converted into holiday rental accommodations.

 

To see how and where Milos has made such an indelible impression this year, keep scrolling down through this post, and then Part 2 and Part 3, to view a wide-ranging collection of the feature stories and videos of the island that have appeared in mainstream and social media this year.

Below you’ll see the magazine whose readers chose Milos as best island in the world, along with Milos photos shared on social media by two top celebrities, plus island scenes from the major fashion and retail marketing campaigns that starred Milos.

In Part 2, we take a look at what writers said about Milos in their reports for travel magazines, blogs and websites, as well as in articles published by business, fashion, lifestyle and hotel periodicals.

Part 3 is a collection of Milos videos that were released in 2021 by filmmakers and international travel vloggers.

 

 

The photos and video images in our three-part series will show you  what all the Milos fuss is about — and why so many travel writers and videographers think you should pay it a visit soon.

Besides screenshots of the articles and reports, we have provided links to the publications and video producers so you can read and view more of Milos, and obtain additional information to decide if it’s the right place for you and your family to spend some vacation time. With scores of enticing photos and videos plus a plethora of practical information and travel tips, the links will be useful to bookmark for travel inspiration and holiday planning. 

Given the vast range of insights, opinions and perspectives provided by these different resources — including tips on times of day to see certain places, how to get there, what not to miss or what to to know before you go — this compendium could well become your ultimate travel guide to Milos.

But don’t wait too long! As some of the writers and vloggers point out, the island’s popularity is skyrocketing — so it’s best to see this off-the-beaten-path gem soon, before it becomes a busy mainstream holiday destination.

 

— Milos on magazine covers —

 

Travel magazine cover photos of Sarakiniko beach on Milos

Photos of Sarakiniko — the Instagram-famous “moonscape” beach and coastline on Milos — were prominently featured on the covers of Thalassea and Travel + Leisure magazines

 

Milos received cover treatment from Thalassea, the official magazine for Greek ferry company Hellenic Seaways, as well as Travel + Leisure, the most widely-circulated American travel magazine with nearly 5 million monthly readers. The front pages of both featured picture’s of the island’s renowned cliff-jumping spot, Sarakiniko.

Inside Thalassea, a two-page aerial photo of Sarakiniko illustrates the magazine’s “Reasons to Go” to Milos article.  “One look at Sarakiniko beach and you will be smitten for life,” the text reads, adding: “this is an island far out of the ordinary.”

You can find the article at pages 96-97 in the Summer/Autumn 2021 issue of Thalassea.

Meanwhile, the cover image for the October 2021 Travel + Leisure acknowledged Milos’s great success in the magazine’s Annual Reader’s Awards, which voted Milos as not only the best island in Europe, but also the No. 1 island in the entire world. (More on those accolades below.)

 

— Travel + Leisure readers’ best island awards —

 

Travel + Leisure Top 24 islands in the world 2021

Travel + Leisure readers honoured Milos by voting it the No. 1 island in the world this year

 

We weren’t surprised when we learned Milos has been voted top island in the world by readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. We’ve been there twice, and know from personal experience why people enjoy it so much.

The voting took place from mid-January to early May of this year, and the magazine said participating readers “rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value.”

To find out why Milos nabbed top honours, take a look at the short blurb in the T + L article The Top 25 islands in the world.

Milos had good company in the rankings, by the way. One of its close neighbours, Folegandros, earned the No. 2 spot, while perenially-popular Santorini took 13th place.

 

Travel + Leisure readers choose Milos as best island in Europe

Milos was “a closely guarded utopia,” writer Stacey Leasca says, until word got around that Travel + Leisure readers had voted it the best island in Europe and the world

 

In the wake of announcing that its readers had voted Milos as best island in Europe, and in the world,  Travel +Leisure published a report in which writer Stacey Leasca recounted her 3-day visit there in June.

Upon arrival, she recalls, it was “easy to see why previous travelers and locals alike would want to keep this place under wraps. Its rocky shoreline gives way to some of the most pristine crystal-blue waters I have ever laid eyes on. Its landscape is one sweeping hillside after another, dotted only by sparse vegetation, white-washed homes, blue-roofed churches, and a rogue goat or two. And its food is divine.”

Though their visit lasted only 72 hours, Leasca and her travel companion managed to see numerous key attractions including the port town of Adamantas, the villages of Plaka and Klima, the beaches Sarakiniko and Papafragas, the ancient catacombs, and others.

To see why she says “take T+L readers’ advice and go to Milos,” read her report The best island in Europe has stunning white stone beaches and some of the most turquoise water in the world.

 

— Justin Bieber’s Milos visit —

 

Justin Beiber on Milos island Greece

In photos shared with his 200 million fans on Instagram, singing superstar Justin Bieber is seen in a private boathouse dining room at Medusa cafe-restaurant in Mandrakia (left) and with his wife, Hailey, in Plaka village

 

Popular entertainers, movie stars and professional athletes wield incredible influence over consumer spending habits, which is why companies pay celebrities big bucks to endorse or advertise their products.  We can’t help but speculate on the value of the publicity that Milos received — for free –when international music superstar Justin Bieber shared photos from the island on his Instagram page in late June. Considering that the Canadian-born singer counts more than 205 million followers on Instagram, he brought Milos to the attention of an enormous audience of potential travellers, many of whom had probably not even heard of the island before.

Bieber’s private yacht cruise to the Cyclades islands was reported by media around the world, with some of the Greece-based reports  about his Milos visit including:

♦ the June 29 Greece Is magazine article Justin Bieber cruises the Aegean and feasts on sardines,

♦ the June 28 Greek City Times story Justin Bieber and his wife Hailey getaway to Greece in Milos.

♦ the June 29 2021 Greek Reporter article Justin Bieber’s new friendship with a 70-year-old Greek fisherman

♦  Justin Bieber went on vacation to Milos  and loved sardines, published June 28 by the Athens Voice Look mag

We think Bieber deserves some credit if there’s any bump in tourist traffic to Milos in the next year or two, and we’re pretty certain Medusa restaurant will top traveller lists of must-visit places to eat, as well — thanks to the Bieb’s headline-making lunch there. But he can’t take all the credit: Medusa gets more shout-outs from travel bloggers and vloggers in some of the reports and videos you’ll see below.

Between June 26 and 29, the singer posted posted from Milos and the Cyclades to the official Justin Bieber Instagram page, while he shared two images on the Justin Bieber Facebook page — which has 91 million followers — on June 28 and 30.

 

— Pedro Alonso’s Milos visit —

 

Instagram photo of actor Pedro Alonso on Milos island

Video screen capture of actor Pedro Alonso on Milos

Actor Pedro Alonso gazes across Milos from a hillside vantage point (top) after reading a monologue from a Spanish play in the island’s ancient open-air theatre (seen in this screen capture from an Instagram video of his impromptu performance).

 

About a week after Justin Bieber moved on from Milos, popular Spanish actor Pedro Alonso arrived for his Greek holiday.  Alonso is perhaps best known for playing the character “Berlin” in 36 episodes of the Netflix television series Money Heist, from 2017 to 2021.

On July 8, Alonso posted a video and several photos shot on Milos to his Instagram, which has more than 9.1 million followers. The video shows the actor at the island’s Ancient Theatre, reciting a monologue by the character Rosaura in the Pedro Calderon de la Barca dramatic play La vida es sueño. The photos included a shot of Alonso sitting at a lookout spot near the theatre, and a view of the seaside village of Klima.

The actor’s visit to Milos and Athens was described in the July 11 2021 Greek Reporter article ‘Money Heist’ actor Pedro Alonso mesmerized by Greece.

The acting monologue video and five photos can be viewed on the pedroalonsoochoro page on Instagram.

 

— Fashion campaigns filmed on Milos —

 

Milos scenery in Louis Vuitton Towards a Dream ad campaign

A Louis Vuitton promotional campaign spotlighted scenery on the Sarakiniko and Kleftiko coasts of Milos

 

Milos was one of two “dreamlike settings” that the iconic luxury brand Louis Vuitton selected as a filming location for its  2021 Towards a Dream advertising campaign (the other site was Jordan). Photo shoots took place at Sarakiniko beach and the Kleftiko coast, where photographer Viviane Sassen captured “spirit of travel” images that the company calls “an evocative ode to the inner child, set free in a reverie of otherworldly beauty and infinite possibility.”

“Rich in ancient history, the Greek island of Milos beckons to a group of children, inviting them to play among its stark shores and pristine waters. With their innocent curiosity, their silhouettes emerge from the landscape to convey a limitless sense of optimism and freedom,” says a description of the photoshoot theme.

You can view the full-size promotional photos and a short video at the Towards a Dream campaign page on the Louis Vuitton website.

Photos and videos also were posted between September 16 and 19 on the official Louis Vuitton Instagram page, which boasts more than 46.4 million followers.

Photos and a link to the Towards a Dream campaign also were posted September 17 to the Louis Vuitton Facebook page, which counts more than 24 million followers.

 

Dior models on Milos island Greece

Scenes from Plaka, Sarakiniko and Mandrakia figure prominently in photos shot on Milos for the Dior 2022 Cruise Collection (above), while a 3-minute video (below) offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Dior Magazine photo project. It includes commentary by some of the photographers along with views of magnificent Milos landscapes and the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion.

 

Another legendary fashion house, Dior, chose Milos as one of the principal shooting locales for its 2022 cruisewear collection and Dior Magazine Issue 36 (some filming also took place in Athens and at the historic Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion).

The cruise fashions were designed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, who found inspiration in “classical Greece and mythical female goddesses and divinities.” It was only fitting, then, that Dior photographed its models at ancient Greek ruins and mesmerizing island landscapes.

For this campaign, Dior invited ten Greek photographers — Mara Desipris, Christina Dimitriadis, Marilia Fotopoulou, Efi Gousi, Maria Koutroumpi, Dimitra Lazaridou, Ria Mort, Lia Nalbantidou, Ioanna Sakellaraki, and Olga Stefatou–  to capture their personal visions of the cruise collection’s apparel and accessories. You can read a description of the project and see some of the photos shot by all 10 women on the Captivating Visions  page of the Dior website.

Campaign photos and videos also were posted in late November to the official Dior Instagram page, which has more than 38.3 million followers, and to the Dior page on Facebook, which reaches more than 18 million followers.

 

Hanro fashion photos shot on Milos island

Milos also was the shooting location for HANRO’s spring/summer clothing campaign 

 

Constant change and tumultuous current events have had a huge impact on society and individuals, leading many people to reassess their personal priorities and redefine what they consider quality of life. HANRO, a 130-year-old firm known for its fine men’s and women’s daywear, loungewear and nightwear, seized upon the global trend to “recharge” and  “reset” when it chose Milos as the shooting location for its spring/summer 2021 fashion campaign.

“One place that is the perfect setting for ultimate relaxation and revitalizing the soul is in the Greek island of Milos,” says a description of the HANRO marketing program.

“Unassuming and sublime, [Milos] defies the forces of nature and shows us just how much beauty can emanate from constant change. Every gust of wind dances differently on the sea; every wave traces new patterns as it laps on the sand. Each ray of sunlight changes the kaleidoscope of colours and the spirit of nature. The soft sandstone and volcanic rock is constantly sculpted by the wind. Nothing is ever the same as the day before, and yet this transience harbors a great sense of calmness and strength. It teaches us to appreciate the here and now, to live in the moment, and to simply exhale and let go.”

In contrast to its dominant role in the Louis Vuitton images, the Milos scenery provides a much more subtle backdrop for photos of the HANRO models, but looks inviting nonetheless. Photos and a promotional video can be viewed on the Spring Summer 2021 campaign page of the HANRO website.

 

— Nescafe television ad —

 

Greek actor Giorgos Lianos appears in a television ad for Nescafe coffee

 

Milos was the sun-soaked filming location for the light-hearted Nescafe Greece television campaign “Make your summer count,” featuring actor Giorgos Lianos.

The ad was filmed at various locations across Milos, with Sarakiniko beach making the most appearances in the minute-long clip. And, yes, the commercial includes scenes of people jumping into the sea from the Sarakiniko cliffs while Lianos stands on the edge and watches, with a Nescafe frappe in hand.

 

Continue reading about Milos at the links below:

Part 2: How Milos wowed the world in magazine, website and travel blog articles; and

Part 3: How Milos wowed the world in videos and travel vlog reports.

 

Crete city of Chania launches new tourism website

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New tourism website for the city of Chania on Crete island in Greece

Chania, the second-largest city on Crete island, introduced its new tourism website and travel promotion slogan — Chania: A City of Many Tales — on September 27 2021

 

New travel resource: If you’ve been considering a trip to the city of Chania on Crete island, whether for the first time or a repeat visit, there’s a new website you should bookmark  for your holiday research and planning. Launched in late September 2021 by the Chania Tourism Bureau, the site —  chaniatourism.gr — is chock full of information, descriptions, photos and maps that will assist travellers arriving for either a short city break or an extended vacation.

For people who haven’t yet been to Chania, or haven’t even had it on their travel radar, a few clicks through the website — starting with the “Why Chania” section — will quickly reveal why it’s a must-see destination, and in fact has been such throughout its rich and colourful history of 4,000+ years.

The website notes that, for centuries, Chania “has served as a nautical crossroad between three continents, a pole of attraction for powerful trade transactions and for Empires driven by intentions of conquest and expansion. Romans, Arabs, Venetians and Ottomans have marched, conquered and left a deep footprint, creating a modern, cultural mosaic on the architectural outlook of the city and a cosmopolitan feel at this remote corner of the Mediterranean.”

Chania also has been blessed with incredibly beautiful scenery and spectacular natural landscapes, ranging from stunning beaches, bays and coastlines to imposing mountains, gorges, caves and valleys. These unspoiled natural wonders, combined with the city’s abundant historical and cultural uniqueness, have made Chania an enticing year-round destination for travellers from around the world.

The city’s longevity and its endurance through eras of occupation and governance by foreign powers have left Chania with a richly storied history, which its tourism board’s new slogan — Chania: A City of Many Tales — invites visitors to discover,  while creating memorable stories of their own  as they explore, experience and enjoy the region.

 

Neighbourhoods section of the Chania Crete tourism website

The website’s Neighbourhoods: Little treasure islands page provides detailed descriptions, maps and photos of key spots in the old city and Chania’s modern suburbs — as well as suggested walking routes.

 

The tourism website will be informative and useful even to people who have been to Chania before, since it may reveal neighbourhoods, monuments, attractions and other points of interest they may have missed on their earlier visits.

One of the website features we were most pleased to see is the section entitled Neighbourhoods: Little treasure islands, which provides helpful information about nine significant and distinct parts of the city, along with maps and suggested walking routes that lead past important landmarks and points of interest. 

“Wandering around the different quarters of the city, feels like timelining backwards as if each decisive point in history is revealed like a layer,” the website says. “The Jewish quarter, the Turkish quarter, the Venetian harbor, the aristocratic neighborhood of Chalepa, the derelict industrial tanneries at Tabakaria, the coastal Koum Kapi and the beach town of Nea Chora, compose a colorful architectural and historical mosaic with complementary and contrasting characteristics, representative of the heritage each culture, era and economic stratum brought to the table.”

We’ve been to Chania twice, most recently in the autumn of 2017, and spent our entire time exploring the city on foot, wandering through streets and along harbour and seafront areas mentioned in a travel guide travel guide we had purchased in a local bookshop. We had a wonderful time, but our meandering definitely would have been far more enlightening and interesting with the website’s walking route maps (which pinpointed some noteworthy places we completely missed seeing.)

 

SCreenshot of the visit page of the Chania tourism website

 

Another excellent resource is the website’s Visit / An authentic experience section, which provides information and photos of highlight attractions within and close to the city, including:  monuments and top historic sites; beaches;  gorges and caves;  churches and monasteries;  museums and collections; and the Chania suburbs and nearby villages.

Be sure to check out the drop-down menu entitled “Don’t Miss,” which navigates to separate sections concerning such “unique experiences” as activities, local traditions and agritourism. The “local tips” page offers insights into local culture by suggesting things to see and do “where the people around you will be mostly locals.” 

Information on sports and both indoor and outdoor activities, as well as the world-famous Cretan Diet, can be found in other website sections.

 

To learn more about visiting Chania, follow these links to the tourism website and its related social media pages:

Web: Chania tourism

Facebook: @Chania.tourism

Instagram: @chaniatourism

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.

 

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