Tag: beach (page 1 of 26)

Santorini sights and attractions– just as a tourist sees them

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 Pierre Marteau compiled this overview video of places and attractions he visited during a trip to Santorini in 2017

 

Eye level views:  I discovered a brand-new Santorini travel video on Vimeo today, and wanted to share it immediately so any of my readers planning a first-time visit to the island can see how it really looks in person.

Santorini 2017 is a 9-minute film that Pierre Marteau published on January 14. What I particularly like about the clip is that it wasn’t filmed with a drone, as so many Santorini videos tend to be nowadays. Although drones capture amazing aerial views of the island’s spectacular landscape scenery, no visitor is ever going to see it from the same perspective. On the other hand, Pierre’s eye-level video shows exactly how sights and attractions will appear as you look around while exploring the island.

Places shown in the video include:

♦  Santorini’s main town, Fira

♦  the traditional village of Pyrgos

♦  the black sand beach at Kamari

♦  the romantic and extremely picturesque clifftop village of Oia, which is perhaps the most famous place for sunset viewing in all the Greek islands.

The video also shows what you’ll see riding the cable car to the cruise ship and excursion boat docks in the Old Port below Fira, and while taking one of the popular boat tours to the hot springs and the nearby volcano island of Nea Kameni.  Of course, the video also captures views of some of the beautiful bougainvillea and flowers, colourful houses, iconic blue-domed chapels, and marvellous sunsets that together make Santorini one of the most-photographed places in Greece.

And you’ll see some of the island’s controversial donkeys and mules, which I hope none of my readers will ride while visiting Santorini. If you don’t know why you shouldn’t climb atop any of these animals for a ride up or down the caldera cliff paths, please read my post Don’t ride the donkeys! Why tourists should avoid taking the mule ‘taxis’ on Santorini

Note that Santorini 2017 is a compilation video that Pierre put together from several other clips he shot on Santorini. You can view all of those films — which show other top Santorini attractions, such as Akrotiri and Ancient Thera, on Pierre’s VIMEO page.

 

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 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

 

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

 

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 this week 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 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

 

 

Greece 2017: Our 4-day road trip in the western Peloponnese

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Voidokilia beach

Omega-shaped Voidokilia, in the western Peloponnese, was one of many beautiful beaches that took our breath away in 2017

 

All-new experiences: Two trips to Greece in 2017 gave us opportunities to expand our horizons and see diverse regions we had never visited before, including parts of the Peloponnese, one of the Ionian islands, Central Greece and southwestern Crete.

Our first vacation, from May 22 to June 7,  gave us impressive introductions to the western Peloponnese, Kefalonia, and Central Greece. The second holiday, from October 19 to November 6, took us along the spectacular southwestern coast of Crete.

With the exception of our arrival and departure days in Athens, plus a 4-night stay in Chania (which we had seen briefly during our first trip to Crete in 2004), every place and region on our itinerary was completely new to us, offering a tremendous variety of first-time experiences for accommodations, activities, dining and sightseeing.

Our travels took us to several spots we would absolutely love to revisit, along with many more we would be happy to see a second time if we find ourselves in the area once again. As for the few places that didn’t quite catch our fancy, our mixed feelings were simply due to the time of season we happened to be there — now we know when to return to enjoy them better. Happily, there wasn’t a single destination we disliked.  

 

 

Our spring vacation began with a  4.5-day road trip, with friends, through the Messenia and Elis regions of the southwest and northwest Peloponnese. We covered considerable ground in that time, moving at a much faster pace than we usually travel, but the goal was to give us a peek at a number of different places so we could find favourites to revisit for longer periods in future. After the Peloponnese segment of our holiday, a week-long visit to Kefalonia island and six days in Central Greece gave us time to relax and to comfortably explore towns and sites on foot rather than by car. 

On page 2 of this article, I have posted photos and brief descriptions of the main locations and key attractions we got to see during our car tour in the Peloponnese.  Pictures of the places we explored on Kefalonia and in Central Greece, and those we visited during our fall holiday on Crete, will appear in separate posts. Future articles will spotlight specific destinations in greater detail, and will profile hotels we stayed at and restaurants where we dined.

Please click on the link under the next photo to continue reading on page 2.

 

Kyparissia

Red-roofed houses in the attractive mountainside town of Kyparissia

 

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Instagram snapshots from our autumn trip to Crete & Athens

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Perivolakia beach on Crete

Striking scenery abounds at Perivolakia beach near Loutro village in southwestern Crete

 

Photo highlights:  When an opportunity to return to Greece arose somewhat unexpectedly last month, we couldn’t resist the allure of an autumn holiday — even though we would be travelling in off-season.  So we booked our flights to and from Athens and hurriedly began researching possible destinations to visit.

After considering a shortlist that included Lesvos, the Peloponnese and the Saronic Gulf islands, and heeding the advice of friends and online contacts who are knowledgeable and experienced with travelling in Greece in the late fall, we chose Crete for a 15-day island getaway. We followed that with a short stay in Athens prior to catching our flight home.

Technical issues including a broken laptop monitor prevented me from blogging during the holiday, but I did post dozens of photos and a few short videoclips on Instagram, and I have been adding more each day since returning from Greece.

You can view the images, even if you’re not an Instagram member, simply by clicking over to the MyGreeceTravelBlog Instagram page.

I’m planning to post further photos plus reports of the trip here on the blog once I’m recovered from jet lag and caught up on personal business.

 

Agia Roumeli village on Crete

Mountains rise behind Agia Roumeli, a small village at the foot of the world-famous Samaria Gorge in southern Crete

 

Sunset view from Paleochora

The gorgeous November 2 sunset, seen from Limnaki beach at Paleochora

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