Street view of Palia Agora, where a selection of scrumptious mezes topped off our enjoyable visit to Kyparissia
Fab food & drink: Take us to a town or village with sensational views and scenery, and we will probably like it. If there are archaeological sites, or historic buildings or places close by, we will certainly like it even more. Picturesque streets and interesting architecture? Beautiful beaches, majestic mountains or scenic seasides in the vicinity? A relaxed setting and laid-back atmosphere? Those are guaranteed to tick off even more boxes on our “like” list.
But a destination won’t completely win our hearts if we don’t go home with fond memories of restaurants and cafes. (We’re not foodies or wine snobs by any stretch of the imagination, but we do like to eat, we love good coffee, and we enjoy sipping some nice wine as well.) Since Kyparissia has many of the characteristics that make us happy on holiday — plus really good food and drink in particular — we couldn’t help but love our short visit there in May 2017.
What impressed us on the food & drink front were three places we discovered in the charming Ano Poli (Old Town) district of Kyparissia: a shop selling a wide range of local food items and other Made in Messenia products, a comfortable cafe-bar; and a delightful estiatorio – mezedopoleio. Conveniently and coincidentally enough, all three establishments were located just a stone’s throw apart on Eleni Chameri Street, the main road of Ano Poli.
Here’s a closer look at each:
Palia Agora’s beautifully decorated bar and dining room
A late lunch at Palia Agora was the highlight of our afternoon in Kyparissia. We took one of the tree-shaded tables in front of the restaurant and ordered wine and a selection of cold and hot mezes (small plates perfect for sharing), then sat back and relaxed while our meal was prepared. The local wine was delicious, and the food was amazing. In fact, it was one of the best meals of our spring 2017 vacation. Some of the standout dishes included the grilled pleurotus mushrooms, local sausage, pork slices accompanied by potatoes and pieces of oranges, the fava with olives and onions, and cheese balls rolled in chopped pistachios. Equally impressive was the friendly and efficient service. We would go back to Kyparissia just to have another meal here, the food was that good.
Not surprisingly, Palia Agora is ranked as the #1 restaurant in Kyparissia by TripAdvisor, and it recently received the 2018 Gold Award for Quality and Taste from the leading Greek gastronomy website estiatoria.gr
You can read over 200 customer reviews, and see more than 100 photos of the restaurant and its tasty dishes, in the Palia Agora listing on TripAdvisor. There are dozens of additional photos on the Palia Agora Facebook page.
The grilled pleurotus mushrooms (left) were divine. Also tasty were the cheese balls rolled in chopped pistachios, and served with a salad and pita.
From the restaurant’s Facebook page, a photo showing the Palia Agora sign, entrance and part of its streetside dining area
If you visit Palia Agora for a meal but sit outdoors as we did, make sure to take a peek inside the restaurant to check out the lovely decor and the interesting interior design details, like the light fixture above.
Street view of Algo-rithmos Cafe Bar, which occupies the ground floor of this beautiful building on Eleni Chameri Street
In addition to its streetside tables and indoor seating area, Algo-rithmos has an open-air balcony out back, where customers can enjoy views of Kyparissia and the sea
We stopped at Algo-rithmos for two coffee breaks during our walkabouts through the Old Town and to the Castle of Kyparissia. We sat at one of the tables out front, next to the street, both times, but we could have chosen to sit inside or on the town- and seaview veranda at the rear of the building had we preferred.
Though we only ordered coffees and tea, the cafe has a full bar serving beer, cocktails and other alcoholic beverages. Snacks and light food dishes are available, too. The shop interior is cozy and comfortable, with an eclectic interior design (there’s a bicycle, musical instruments and several bookshelves mounted on the walls, and a stack of hardcover books suspended from the ceiling in the middle of the room.)
The service was friendly and prompt, and we liked the music that was playing.
You can read more about the cafe-bar in the customer reviews posted on the Algo-rithmos listing on TripAdvisor.
This image, which Algo-rithmos provided for its listing on TripAdvisor, shows part of the cafe-bar interior
Travelling shopaholics won’t find many stores to browse in Ano Poli, but they will find it worthwhile visiting Messinia Gi, especially if they like to support regional artisans by “shopping local” for food, fashion accessories and other items to give as gifts or to take home for personal use or souvenirs.
Messinia Gi boasts an extensive selection of food, beverage, fashion and souvenir products made either locally or in the Messenia region. Food items on offer include sweets, healthy snacks, honey, packages of handmade pasta, olive oil, olives, herbs and spices, nuts and many more. General merchandise includes jewellery and other women’s fashion accessories, personal care products, and ceramics. (You can view dozens of photos of the shop’s seasonal and regular merchandise in the albums and posts on the Messinia Gi Facebook page, and see additional pictures on the Messinia Gi listing on TripAdvisor.
We picked up postcards and several local food items to bring home for friends and ourselves, including jars of delicious figs stuffed with nuts, while our friends walked out with several bags containing what looked to us like enough food to prepare a week’s worth of meals once they returned to Athens.
The pleasant young lady who was minding the store was very helpful in explaining the contents and sources of the various food items we were considering, and in making suggestions for products to try.
If you’d like to take home some tastes of Messenia, be sure to visit the shop while you’re in or near Kyparissia.
If you visit the Old Town, you’ll find a vast variety of local products at Messinia Gi. The made-in-Messenia items make great gifts or personal souvenirs. This photo of the storefront is from the Messinia Gi page on Facebook.
Local product displays are shown in this photo that Messinia Gi management provided for the shop’s listing on TripAdvisor. Below is another photo of the store interior, also from its TripAdvisor listing.
There is snow as far as the eye can see along the road to Kalavrita Ski Center in the northern Peloponnese. The picture was posted to the ski resort’s Facebook page on January 6
Winter wonders: This is the second set of photos I’m publishing on the blog to profile remarkable winter scenery in different regions of Greece — images that have been shared on social media after much of the nation was struck by icy cold temperatures and some surprisingly heavy snowfalls during the 2016 Christmas holidays and up to the second week of January 2017.
Part 1 of the photo feature included snow scenes from Athens, Ioannina, Corinth, Chios, Evia, Rhodes, Sparta, Mystras, Skiathos, Skopelos and Skyros.
Here in Part 2 I have collected photos from Crete, Nafplio, Epidaurus, Thessaloniki, some of the Cyclades and Ionian islands, plus various locations in the Peloponnese and mainland Greece. Many of the photo captions include links to social media pages or websites where you can find countless more pictures of snowy sites in Greece. (It could be spring by the time you manage to finish looking at the photos on all of the links!)
Click on the link beneath the next photo to view the full series of pictures on page 2 of this post.
One of my favourite Greece winter scenes is this spectacular photograph by Thanos Komninos, which captures dark, fluffy storm clouds swirling above and around the Nafplio Old Town and Acronauplia fortress, before leaving the town dusted with a layer of light snow. The photo appeared on the Nafplio Kalimera page on Facebook.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
A panoramic view of Fira, the capital and main town on Santorini
Octopus at Amoudi Bay on Santorini
Do you wonder what it’s like visiting Greek islands for the first time? Especially as a solo female traveller?
Two fascinating trip reports by a travel blogger from Vancouver, Canada will give you excellent insight into the entire experience. (They’re also great fun to read even if you have already been to Greece yourself.)
Blogger Christine visited Santorini and Mykonos earlier this month during a two-week holiday — her first-ever trip to Greece. She posted a thorough account of her journey, complete with dozens of photos, on her Christine in Vancouver blog.
I love the reports not just because they show Greece through the eyes of an island-hopping “newbie,” but also since they include scores of food pictures and valuable information about costs and prices — important details that I think will be extremely helpful to others considering a trip to Greece.
The two photos from Santorini posted above, as well as the two photos from Mykonos shown below, are just four of the dozens of fabulous pictures you’ll get to see in Christine’s reports (you’ll be able to view her photos full-size in a slide-show format.)
Enjoy your trip to Santorini and Mykonos with Christine!
Streets in the heart of Mykonos Town
Ornos, one of the top “family” beach resort areas on Mykonos