Tag: Filoti

Fall foliage & autumn colours on Naxos

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flower on Naxos

A flowering plant — possibly an artichoke — basks in afternoon sunshine in a field near Chalki village on Naxos on October 8 last year

 

 

Falling back a year: It’s unmistakably autumn here in Toronto. A week of sunshine and summer-like warm temperatures ended abruptly when Mother Nature sent us some cool wind and rain last Friday afternoon to remind us that the calendar says it’s October. Tuesday night she drenched us with heavy downpours, and Wednesday she blasted us with strong, cold winds that swept ominous dark stormclouds across the sky throughout the day. They didn’t pour rain, but the unceasing gusts of wind made walking outdoors unpleasant even during sunny breaks.

The weather made me wish I were somewhere else, of course — like on Naxos, where we spent the first two weeks of October last year. So when I got home from an uncomfortable walk in the chilly wind, I looked through the photos we had shot on Naxos on October 8 2013 to remind myself how autumn there compared.

 

Abundant greenery with hints of autumn

We had spent much of that day visiting several mountain villages, including Chalki, Kerami and Filoti. Although there was still abundant greenery everywhere, there were many signs of autumn in many places, too. Leaves on some trees were starting to change colour, while a few trees were completely bare already. Tall grasses in yards and fields had dried out, turning brown and crunchy. There was a definite fall look and feel, but it was warm and gloriously sunny, and it stayed that way for the duration of our trip.

That was our first-ever October visit to Greece, and we hope it won’t be our last. Early autumn usually is gorgeous there (though you can encounter some incredibly windy and wet weather on occasion), and if you don’t like tourist crowds, you’ll love the peace and calmness that prevails at this time. It’s an excellent time for hiking and sightseeing, and the sea is still warm for swimming.

To give you an idea of what autumn looks like on Naxos, here are some of the photos we shot last October 8. You can view full-size versions of each image, plus dozens more, in our Naxos October 8 2013 album on Flickr. Click here to view those photos.

 a house in Chalki

Tall brown grasses in a yard beside a stone house near Chalki

 

 fall foliage in Filoti

Scarlet leaves above a stone wall in Filoti

 

 a footpath near Chalki

A footpath passes a field full of olive trees near Chalki

 

 fall foliage in Chalki

Leaves changing colour on a plane tree next to a church in Chalki

 

 a road in Kerami village

A blue door at a building in Kerami, a hamlet between Chalki and Filoti

 

trees in Filoti

Leaves were still a verdant green on plane trees shading the strip of cafes and restaurants along the main road in Filoti

 

a flowerpot in Chalki

A flowerpot on a doorstep in Chalki village

 

 Church of Panagia Filotissa in Filoti

Fall foliage outside the Church of Panagia Filotitissa in Filoti

 

 hillside near Filoti

Olive trees on a hillside below Filoti village

 

 bougainvillea in Kerami village

A dazzling display of pink bougainvillea at a house in Kerami

 

 on the highway near Filoti

The highway on the outskirts of Filoti

 

 a church near Chalki

A blue-domed church near the highway between Chalki and Kerami

 

 a house in Chalki

Tall brown grasses outside a house in Chalki

  Please click on the 2 in the link below to continue viewing the fall photos.

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Footsteps in Filoti

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Filoti village on Naxos

A view of Filoti village, captured from a video I shot while we were riding a bus on Naxos last October. Click the image to see a larger-size photo.

 

 

Filoti on foot: There are more than 30 different mountain villages on Naxos, but Filoti makes a bigger and more memorable impression than most when you approach by bus, by car or on foot.

That’s not just because Filoti is the largest village on the island, but because of its dramatic amphitheatrical layout across the lower slopes of Mount Zas, the tallest mountain in the Cyclades.

The village looks quite impressive when it first comes into view as you approach on the road from Chalki. The first time I caught a glimpse of Filoti eight years ago, I was so fascinated by the sight that I had to stop the car so I could get out and take a better look.  Seeing it for the second time last October, while walking there from Chalki, was equally as breathtaking.

 

Mountain road offers spectacular views of the village

But the village is even more spectacular to see from numerous vantage points on the road that climbs the mountainside high above Filoti en route to Apeiranthos and other hamlets to the northeast. If you’re driving a vehicle, there are a few lookout points where you can pull over and get good views of Filoti. But if you’re riding on a bus, you’ll get to see the village much better and for longer periods of time. We saw Filoti on four bus rides to and from Apeiranthos and Koronos last fall, and I was blown away by the views each time.

Although Filoti is a predominantly residential area, the road that runs through it is lined with taverna and cafés, a few shops and fruit markets, banks, a post office and various local businesses and municipal service offices. Top tourist attractions include the Panagia Filotitissa (Our Lady Filotitissa Church) and the Venetian-era Barotsi Tower, as well as a café-lined main square shaded by a giant plane tree.

 

Panagia Filotitissa  on naxos

Panagia Filotitissa, the Our Lady of Filotitissa Church in Filoti

 

 

A memorable visit to Panagia Filotitissa

Our favourite moment in Filoti occurred while we were taking photos outside Panagia Filotitissa. As I was snapping a picture of the church’s beautiful belltower, an elderly woman, dressed head-to-toe in black, quietly emerged from one of the church’s front doors and beckoned us to approach. She could speak only a few words of English, and I could understand even less of her Greek, but her gestures made it clear we were being welcomed to the church and urged to take a look inside. The interior is marvellous … if you ever get to Filoti, be sure to have a look inside the Panagia if the church is open.

There are a few photos of the church interior, along with more than 200 pictures of the town, in my Filoti Village album on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page.

Below is a video I filmed while we were walking through the village. The first minute of the clip shows the narrow lane that leads to Panagia Filotitissa, while the second half of the video shows part of a residential area we explored near the opposite end of the village. Although restaurants and shops are located along the flat (but slightly sloped) main road, the rest of the village is built on hillsides. That means you’ll have to do a lot of stair climbing if you want to wander around Filoti!

 

The first minute of this clip shows the walk to Panagia Filotitissa. The rest of the video shows some residential “streets” on the opposite side of the village.

 

Views of Naxos from the bus to Apeiranthos

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I shot this 5-minute-long video while we were taking the bus from Naxos Town to the mountain village of Apeiranthos last October 9.

 

 

Valley views: We rented a car during our second visit to Naxos back in 2006 so we could spend a day driving around the island and visiting a few of the nearly three dozen different mountain villages. Since I was behind the wheel on the ride up to the villages and had to concentrate on the road rather than the scenery, I didn’t get much of a chance to enjoy the impressive views.

I finally got that opportunity last October when we took the local bus to several villages, including Chalki, Filoti, Apeiranthos and Koronos, on three different days. Each time I got to watch the scenery pass by while somebody else handled the driving.

The stretch of road from Filoti to Apeiranthos was my favourite since it offers breathtaking panoramic views of the beautiful valley and mountain scenery, as well as Filoti village hundreds of feet below. And since we were sitting high up in a bus, we had a vastly better vantage point than we ever would have gotten had we been riding in a compact rental car again.

Above is a 5-minute video I filmed while the bus was climbing the mountainside above Filoti.  Please pardon the shaky filming — it was difficult holding the camera steady while the bus maneuvered along the many bends in the road. You’ll get to see Filoti village numerous times between the 1:40 mark and the end of the clip.

Enjoy the ride!

 

Greece is: Spectacular scenery. Beautiful beaches. Charming villages. Stunning sunsets. Historic ruins. Picturesque churches. Amazing Athens. And more…

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Chora village on Astipalea Island

The imposing Kastro (castle) towers above whitewashed mountainside houses in Chora, the main village on Astipalea island

 

A blue domed Church in Firostefani village on Santorini

Look familiar? This blue-domed Church in Firostefani village on Santorini has been pictured on countless postcards, posters, travel brochures and websites.

 

Elia Beach Mykonos

Sunbeds at popular Elia Beach on Mykonos overlook the sparkling Aegean Sea

 

Folegandros island

Spectacular cliff scenery on the north side of Folegandros island

 

The Panagia Church on Folegandros

The Panagia Church on Folegandros sits high above the island`s main village, Chora

 

Seaside fishermen`s houses in Klima Milos

Syrmata (fishermens houses) in the seaside village of Klima on Milos

 

A Cycladic style house on Naxos

A Cycladic-style house overlooking Agios Prokopios beach on Naxos

 

Venetian Fortress at Iraklion harbour

The Venetian fortress next to the old harbour at Iraklion on Crete

 

Sunbeds on a rocky point near Kalithea Bay

No sandy beach? No worries! In the Greek Islands, there’s literally thousands of miles of coastline with secluded coves and inlets…

 

beach chairs and umbrellas near Kalithea on Rhodes

…and countless more great spots to relax in the sun, fish, play or swim in the sea, like this rocky point near Kalithea Bay on Rhodes

 

Delos Island

Historic archaeological ruins on the hillside and seaside below Mt Kynthos on sacred Delos island

 

Little Venice on Mykonos Town

The “Little Venice” area of Mykonos Town is a perenially popular spot for tourists to enjoy a cocktail while watching a spectacular sunset…

 

A sunset viewed from the Little Venice area of Mykonos Town

…like this one, viewed from the Little Venice seaside

 

The Temple of Apollo on Naxos

The Portara (Temple of Apollo) is one of the symbols of Naxos island…

 

The Portara at the Temple of Apollo on Naxos

…and a popular spot for tourists to visit for sunset viewing

 

Knossos Palace on Crete

A tourist sketches at the Knossos Palace ruins on Crete

 

A view from Santorini at sunset

A view over the volcano island (Nea Kameni) off Santorini at sunset

 

Mikri Vigla beach

Not a soul in sight on the soft sands of Mikri Vigla beach on Naxos…

 

Achivadolimni Beach on Milos

or on the soft sands of Achivadolimni Beach on Milos…

 

Mikri Vigla beach on Naxos island

…or at Mikri Vigla beach on Naxos…

 

sparkling blue water in a bay on Milos island

…while the people in this boat have the sparkling waters of this entire quiet bay all to themselves on Milos

 

Fira village on Santorini

Fira, the bustling main town on the immensely popular island of Santorini

 

Kleftiko on Milos

The white cliffs at Kleftiko on Milos

 

the beach at Ammoudara Crete

Part of the long sandy beach at Ammoudara near Iraklion on Crete…

 

the beach at Ammoudara Crete

…and looking to the right along the same stretch of Ammoudara beach

 

Mykonos Town viewed from the northwest

Looking toward Mykonos Town from the northwest tip of Mykonos island

 

Mykonos Town

Some of the hillside hotels and houses overlooking Mykonos Town

 

Elia beach on Mykonos

Elia beach on Mykonos island

 

Elia beach Mykonos

Beach chairs and umbrellas on Elia Beach at Mykonos

 

Windmills at Chora on Astipalea

Windmills in the village of Chora on Astipalea island

 

The medieval castle in Rhodes Town

The medieval castle in Rhodes Town on Rhodes

 

Filoti village on Naxos

The mountainside village of Filoti on Naxos island

 

sailing at Milos

Going for an early morning sail on calm seas off Milos island

 

Chora on Astipalea

Chora, the mountaintop village on Astipalea island

 

Mountains in the distance off Vathi Bay on Samos

Mountains in the distance off Vathi Bay on Samos

 

Naxos Town on Naxos island

Naxos Town, the bustling main port town on Naxos Island

 

A rock formation in the sea off Milos

A rabbit shaped rock formation in the sea off Milos island

 

Platis Gialos beach on Mykonos

Platis Gialos beach on Mykonos

 

Temple of Apollo at the Asklepieion on Kos

Temple of Apollo at the Asklepieion on Kos

 

Super Paradise beach Mykonos

Looking down on Super Paradise Beach on Mykonos

 

The Chapel of Seven Martyrs below Kastro on Sifnos

Waves crash against the rugged coast below the Chapel of Seven Martyrs on Sifnos

 

Amoudi Bay on Santorini

Amoudi Bay below the village of Oia on Santorini

 

Gorgeous Agriolivadi Bay on Patmos

Beautiful Agriolivadi Bay on Patmos

 

pelicans at Nikos taverna in Mykonos Town

Pelicans, like these two seen waiting for a fish dinner at ever-popular Niko’s Taverna in Mykonos Town, are famous mascots of Mykonos island…

 

Paraportiani Church in Mykonos Town

…while the incomparable Paraportiani Church is another Mykonos landmark

 

a fishing boat returning to port at Egali on Amorgos

Seagulls trail a fishing boat as it returns to port at Egali on Amorgos

 

The village of Kastro on Sifnos

The village of Kastro on Sifnos

 

The Chozoviotissa Monastery on Amorgos

On Amorgos, the spectacular 900-year-old Chozoviotissa Monastery is carved into the face of a cliff, 300 meters above the sea

 

 

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