Tag: Lesvos

Lonely Planet profiles NE Aegean plus 4 ‘secret,’ timeless islands

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Lonely Planet magazine

Greece gets front-cover prominence on the cover of the Lonely Planet newsstand issue for May 2018

 

The secret’s out: I had a strong hunch I might find something interesting to read about Greece when I walked into the magazine department at my local bookstore yesterday.  When I turned into the travel section, my premonition instantly proved accurate — standing at eye level on the front shelf was the latest edition of Lonely Planet, its cover graced with a photo of a blue-roofed Greek Orthodox church illustrating its “Secret Greece” feature story. 

In another pleasant delight, I realized I had seen that very same church in person — on Astypalea, during our island hopping holiday in 2009.

Astypalea is one of seven islands featured in Lonely Planet’s May issue and, in another curious coincidence, the article about it recommends staying in the very accommodations where we spent several nights: Fildisi Boutique Hotel

The magazine highlights two other islands we have been to — Hydra and Sifnos — and, in yet another surprising stroke of serendipity, spotlights four more that I had been seriously considering for our upcoming vacation: Lesvos, Chios, Ikaria and Kythera. (We have already made plans to spend our time in and within sight of the Peloponnese, but Lonely Planet suddenly has me wondering if I may have made a mistake.)

 

 

The main focus of the magazine’s Great Escape cover feature is the Northeast Aegean group of Greek islands; specifically, Lesvos, Chios and Ikaria. Stepping ashore on these particular isles “introduces olive farmers and wild honey, hidden villages and untouched beaches, and perhaps the secret to long life,” the feature story introduction says.

Reading the Lesvos profile quickly made me crave Greek cuisine, though I should have expected that given the article’s headline: “Savour the many flavours of Greece on Lesvos, from olive oil to ouzo and orange wine.”

The second feature story invites readers to “discover a centuries-old tradition of mastic cultivation and the fortress-like villages that grew rich from it” in southern Chios.

The third main article introduces Ikaria, one of the world’s unique Blue Zone locations where residents “enjoy longer lives than anyone else in Europe.”

One-page mini profiles for Astypalea, Kythera, Sifnos and Hydra appear in the magazine’s “Secret Greece” feature as examples that, “even in the well-known Greek island groups,” visitors can find “the odd place that’s little changed over the decades.” Each profile includes short thumbnail descriptions for “Why am I going?”, “Where should I stay?”, “What am I eating?”, and “What am I drinking?”

The island articles are all good reads, and just might entice you to consider the Northeast Aegean for a future trip to Greece, especially if you haven’t considered that region of the country before. (They probably will make you feel peckish for Greek food and beverages, too.)

See if you can find a copy of the magazine at your local newsstand before it sells out.

 

Even in severe winter weather, Greece’s scenic beauty shines through

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Little Venice Mykonos during January storm

Surf sprays two storeys high as roaring waves crash ashore at the Little Venice area of Mykonos Town, flooding the entire seaside strip of cocktail bar terraces. This photo was posted on the Mykonos LIVE TV Facebook page on January 18, the day gale-force winds raged across much of Greece.

 

Storm scenes: When wild winter weather swept across Europe this week, Greece wound up in the path of powerful winds that pounded some places, including Syros island, with gusts reaching as high as 122 kmh — the equivalent to force 12 on the Beaufort wind scale.

The fierce winds raged relentlessly on Thursday January 18, toppling trees on several islands, damaging one of the iconic windmills on Mykonos, and preventing planes from landing at Syros airport. The storm disrupted ferry travel and shipping, too, as rough seas forced the cancellation of many sailings as well as the closure of the ports at Lavrio and Rafina. At Piraeus port, the passenger ferry Panagia Agiasou broke away from its moorings during the tempest, while waterfront areas at Mykonos Town, and Kini Beach on Syros, sustained damage from massive waves that walloped the shore.

 

 

Although most residents stayed indoors to avoid the incessant blasts of wind, which made walking perilous and even driving difficult, some did venture out to observe nature’s fury and photograph the stormy conditions. I found numerous pictures and videos on social media showing skies filled with massive dark clouds, and huge waves crashing onto seafronts and beaches in Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Syros, Rhodes, Lesvos, Samos, Skyros, Skopelos, Ithaca, Paxos, Kefalonia, Nafplio, Athens and elsewhere. Many of the images showed that, even in ferocious weather, the scenic beauty of Greece’s coastal areas still stands out.

 

Nafplio photo by Nafplio Kalimera

Takis Vassiliou shot this view of the Nafplio waterfront and Bourtzi sea castle, and shared the image on his Nafplio Kalimera page on Facebook

 

Paros photo by Waves on the seafront at Parikia on Paros photo shared on Facebook by ΠΑΡΟΣ like Facebook page

Maria Alipranti captured sunlight illuminating stormclouds and waves at the Parikia waterfront on Paros. Her photo, and more than 20 others she shot, were shared on the ΠΑΡΟΣ like page on Facebook.

 

Stormy sky on Lesvos photo by Eleonaora Pouwels

Eleonora Pouwels photographed this scene of waves, stormclouds and sunset at Psiriara beach on Lesvos 

 

Please click on the link below to turn to page 2, where I have posted more photos and several videos that were shared on social media.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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5 reasons to take another look at Lesvos

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Aegean Airlines Blue magazine

The spring edition of Aegean Airlines’ Blue magazine features a cover photo of the town of Molyvos and its Byzantine-era hilltop castle on Lesvos island

 

On our list: Friends who haven’t yet been to Greece keep wondering why I find it so difficult to decide where we should go on our Greek holidays. They think that if you’ve seen one Greek island, you’ve seen ’em all, so they simply can’t comprehend why I spend so much time checking flights and ferry schedules to see if we could visit places in an island group we haven’t been to before, or perhaps explore the Peloponnese, Pelion or other parts of mainland Greece instead.

“Why not just stick to Mykonos or Santorini? The islands can’t be that different from one another,” one friend has remarked several times. It’s a reaction I find hard to fathom, particularly since she — and most of our other friends, family and acquaintances who have made similar comments — return to the exact same vacation resorts in Florida, California, Hawaii and Mexico year after year.

 

Friends have urged us to visit Lesvos

Although we do have favourite islands we’re always happy to revisit, we try to expand our horizons by going to new places whenever we can work them into our travel dates. We have a list of nearly a dozen islands that we’re eager to see in the next three to five years, but some aren’t easy to reach in May (our typical travel period) because of extremely limited or awkward ferry connections at that time of year.

However, one place we’re confident we will see sooner, rather than later, is Lesvos — an island we’ve been urged to visit by numerous friends who are well-travelled in Greece, and who understand how each destination there is special and unique.

Although we won’t get to see Lesvos when we return to Greece next month, I continue to read up on it from time to time — and so far I have been liking everything I have seen (I haven’t read a single negative comment yet). And when Aegean Airlines published a profile of Lesvos in the recently-released spring edition of its in-flight magazine, Blue, I honestly felt a strong tinge of regret for leaving Lesvos for a future vacation.

 

‘The island that has it all’

With an appealing photo of beautiful Molyvos village on its cover, Blue magazine invites readers to “Explore Majestic Lesvos,” and offers five key reasons explaining why “the island that has it all” deserves attention:

 

◊ The traditional cuisine

Article author Fotis Vallatos recommends several tavernas and ouzeris that serve scrumptious meals, including mezedes, fresh fish and other “delights from the sea.” They include Ermis and Kalderimi in the port town of Mytilene, Papeli’s at Agiasos, Baluchanas in Perama, Stratis Maganas’s ouzeri in Skala Neon Kydonion, Petri Taverna in Petri village, Mrs Maria’s canteen on Chrousos beach, and Ouzadiko tou Baboukou at the Molyvos harbourfront.

 

◊ Charming villages

“Many of the island’s hamlets remain untouched by development and tourism,” Vallatos notes, and certain driving routes — like the road from Mytilene to Plomari — pass through “enchanting landscapes and villages.”

“Agia Paraskevi is a wonderful traditional settlement. Mantamados is famous for its ceramics and dairy products, mainly cheese.  Molyvos is home to a magnificent fortress. the beautiful Sykaminia seems to have stepped out of an old movie, while Skala Sykaminias is where you will find the impressive Panagia Gorgona (Mermaid Madonna) Church, which is built on a rocky outcrop in the harbour,” he writes.

 

◊  Beautiful beaches

Vallatos points out that Lesvos can proudly lay claim to one of the country’s “most stunning” beaches, at Chrousos, and boasts many other “standout” strands, including the four adjoining beaches at Agioi Anargiroi, just past the Eftalou thermal baths.

 

◊  Unique bays

“Wonderful, off-the-beaten track fishing villages” are scattered along Gera Bay, while the Rodotihos, an Archaic stone wall measuring 50 meters long by 6 meters high, is a top attraction at Apothika.

 

◊  The petrified forest

Rounding out Vallatos’ convincing set of reasons for revisiting Lesvos is what he feels could well be “the country’s most amazing natural heritage site” — the petrified forest near Sigri village.

 

Baluchanas Taverna in Perama on Lesvos

The Baluchanas taverna in Perama. This photo, by Perikles Merakos, appears in Blue magazine’s feature article about Lesvos.

 

 

 

Superb food, scenery and local hospitality

But as anyone who has already been to Lesvos is bound to tell you, there are countless more reasons why the island is a must-see destination. One that I hear repeated most often is the welcoming, friendly nature of the local residents. The people, the food, the scenery and the history all combine to create an outstanding vacation experience that keeps drawing people back for more.

As one of my friends insists, “You will fall in love with Lesvos and keep coming back.”

That seems to be a sentiment commonly expressed online by repeat Lesvos visitors — as well as by people who loved visiting the island so much they moved there.

As TripAdvisor.com members RobandCarol posted in TA’s Lesvos travel forum in January, “BEWARE. Lesvos will capture your heart. Be it Molyvos, Petra, Anaxos or anywhere else on Lesvos. This island has a magical quality, even Aristotle was seduced.”

Other forum participants have agreed, saying Lesvos stole their hearts, too — and now they can’t wait to make their annual holiday trips to the island. Several have said they would love to move their, too, as RobandCarol did five years ago.

Click here to read the online version of the Blue magazine feature and see more Lesvos photos by Perikles Merakos.

For additional information about Lesvos, check out the websites Lesvos: The unspoiled beauty and Travel to Lesvos.

 

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