Tag: taverna (page 3 of 6)

Greek Islands featured on covers of major travel magazines

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GEO magazine June 2014 cover

GEO magazine profiled Greece in its June 2014 issue with a cover photo of Mandrakia village on Milos and an “Escape” feature on the “Secret islands and archipelagos of Greece.” They’re obviously not secret anymore!

 

Summer reads: When I’m not in Greece I enjoy reading about it — in books, magazines, online travel forums and websites. Thanks to feature cover stories about Greece published by three major European travel magazines recently, I’ve got plenty to read while relaxing on my balcony this summer.

Here’s a look at what the three magazine cover stories say about Greece:

  GEO magazine June 2014

I discovered GEO magazine from France purely by chance — I was looking for another magazine at a newsstand when a photo on GEO’s bold green cover caught my eye. It was the picturesque harbour at Mandrakia, a fishing hamlet on Milos, under the headline: “Secret islands and archipelagos of Greece.” I couldn’t resist and bought the magazine after taking only a cursory glance at the contents.

It turns out there are 28 full pages of text and beautiful photos about several Greek islands including Kythera, Kalymnos, Milos, Santorini, Chios, Aegina, Tinos, Skyros, Folegandros and Rhodes. The stories aren’t travel guides — they don’t recommend hotels to stay in, for instance, or suggest the hottest restaurants and coolest beaches to visit. Some of the pieces provide brief descriptions and overviews of the destinations, while others take an insightful look into how the Greek Islands have been affected by the country’s devastating economic crisis. The sale of island real estate to foreign billionaires is considered in part of one report, for example, while another piece profiles people who have started new business ventures selling local agricultural products.

 Island village photo foul-up

 GEO magazine photo of Astipalea

Mon Dieu! GEO magazine mistakenly published this eye-catching photo of Chora village on Astipalea to illustrate a short piece about Chora on Kythera — another island in a completely different area of Greece.

 

One of the GEO feature’s excellent photos — spread across pages 36 and 37  — really piqued my curiosity. It shows a white-domed church rising from the middle of a huge stone castle perched on a hilltop. The slopes below the castle are stacked with white cube houses that descend to a row of derelict windmills. I instantly recognized the location — Chora village on Astipalea, a butterfly-shaped island in the Dodecanese archipelago. I had shot photos from almost the identical vantage point when we visited Astipalea in 2009. However, the picture accompanied an article about Kythera, which is part of the Ionian island group, and the text said the town in the photo is that island’s capital, also called Chora. (Most main towns on Greek islands are called Chora).

I haven’t been to Kythera yet, but I was absolutely certain the photo was from Astipalea. So I poured through my photos to confirm I was right (there’s more than 300 pictures in my Astipalea collection on Flickr). Sure enough, details in my pictures of Astipalea’s Chora matched the same features visible in the GEO image, which was credited to Velissario Voutsas /IML – Hemis.fr, a French photo agency. Obviously someone on the magazine staff had made a big boo-boo by purchasing the wrong stock image to illustrate the article!

(You can learn more about Kythera, and see photos showing what its Chora looks like, on the comprehensive Visit Kythera website.)

Photo flop aside, the GEO stories are compelling reads, and are bound to encourage people in France to consider island hopping in Greece on an upcoming vacation. Moreover, photos and information about Leros, Kalymnos, Chios, Skyros and Tinos will encourage travellers to visit charming islands that often get overlooked because they aren’t instantly-recognizable mainstream tourist destinations like Santorini, Paros, Naxos and Mykonos.

 Please click on the 2 in the link below to continue reading this report.

 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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Chrisospilia taverna’s colourful dining terrace on Folegandros

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Chrisospilia restaurant

A chalkboard menu lists dinner specials at Chrisospilia restaurant

 

Missed opportunity: The colourful open-air dining terrace at Chrisospilia restaurant caught our attention while we were walking around Chora village shortly after arriving at Folegandros island several years ago.  It was late afternoon and the restaurant wasn’t open at the time, but the chalkboard menu indicated that the evening dinner specials would include a variety of chicken, pork, lamb, pasta and risotto dishes, along with grilled shrimp and grilled octopus.

We meant to return for a meal, but Chrisospilia somehow slipped our minds while we were busy exploring the island, and we never made it there (surprisingly, we didn’t get back down the street where it’s located, even though we thought we had walked every lane in Chora at least twice.) 

It wasn’t until we were reviewing our trip photos back home, and saw several pics of Chrisospilia, that we realized we had forgotten to drop by for dinner. We had delicious meals at other restaurants, but their dining areas weren’t as attractive as Chrisospilia’s. We’ll try to check it out if we ever return to Folegandros. It has received a series of excellent reviews this year on TripAdvisor.com, which currently ranks Chrisospilia as the #11 restaurant out of 44 on the island.

 Chrisospilia restaurant

Scarlet and pink bougainvillea provide a colourful canopy for the open-air dining terrace at Chrisospilia restaurant

 Chrisospilia restaurant

Side view of the Chrisospilia restaurant terrace

 

2014 Greek holiday report and photos Part 2: Summer arrives for our first full day on Naxos

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woman on air mattress on Naxos

Ah, this is the life! A bikini-clad young woman catches some rays from the comfort of an air mattress floating on the calm waters at St George’s Beach. Naxos basked in gorgeous summery weather on May 20.

 [Editor’s Note: Full-size versions of all the photos that appear in this post can be viewed in the Naxos May 20 2014 album on the MyGreeceTravelBlog Flickr page.]

 

Tuesday May 20

Suddenly summer: When I woke up around 9 a.m., I almost felt scared to open the curtains to see what the weather was like. Would it be another day of clouds and rain, as had been forecast? Or would we get lucky and have a hint of nice weather instead?

We got lucky! There was sunshine and a bright blue sky — an absolutely gorgeous morning. It looked like our spring vacation was starting off the exact same way our holiday had begun last fall — with clouds and rain our first day on Naxos followed by sunny clear skies the rest of the trip. I couldn’t wait to to have breakfast outside — our first outdoor meal since we were in Greece last October.

I always love starting my day with a cup of coffee on the poolside breakfast patio at Lianos Village Hotel. With colourful gardens and a swimming pool just steps from our table, views of the beautiful blue Aegean Sea,  and a few of the neighbourhood cats lingering at our feet, the sun-shaded terrace is the place where I have enjoyed eating breakfast the most out of all our trips to Greece. The setting and atmosphere make me feel completely carefree, content and relaxed.  A little voice inside my head keeps repeating: “Kalimera! You’re on vacation! You’re in Greece!” I wish every morning could begin like this!

 Lianos Village Hotel

Sunshine and an almost cloudless sky greeted me when I pulled open the door and stepped onto our terrace our first morning on Naxos. This was our view looking south to Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna.

 

Please click on the number 2 in the link below to continue reading my trip report and view dozens of photos from our day on Naxos.

 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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2014 Greek holiday report and photos Part 1: Arriving at Naxos

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Lianos Village Hotel view

This familiar and favourite view of the Agios Prokopios beach resort area of Naxos was a welcome sight for our tired, jet-lagged eyes when we stepped onto our private terrace minutes after arriving at Lianos Village Hotel on May 19

 

 Never enough Naxos: Regular readers of this website will recall that we visited Naxos island twice last year and named it our Destination of the Year for 2013 because of its wide range of activities, sights and attractions and its wallet-friendly price appeal. Our list of 15 top reasons to visit Naxos has since become one of the most widely-read reports on the blog.

Well, we didn’t get our fill of Naxos so we made a point to return for part of our two-week Greek holiday this spring.

Below is the first part of an ongoing series of photo-illustrated reports about places and things we saw while we were on Naxos (later installments will feature our other two destinations, Syros and Athens). I will include some information about specific hotels, restaurants and other tourist-related businesses that were either open or closed since it could be helpful to anyone planning low season trips to the Cyclades. People frequently post questions in online travel forums, wondering if beach areas might be too quiet to stay at in May, and I’ve noticed the responses often give the incorrect and misleading impression that virtually nothing is open at the beginning of the tourist season.

 

Monday May 19

We arrived in Athens early in the morning of May 19 on an Air Transat direct flight from Toronto. It was our 10th time flying to Greece on this particular airline, and probably the best flight of them all — smooth and uneventful throughout the 9.5-hour trip.

Athens was cloudy and a cool 12 degrees Celsius when we landed, and weather reports were calling for similar overcast conditions and also rain at Naxos and other Cyclades islands.

Despite the cloud cover, visibility was excellent and we had superb views of Syros and Paros as we passed over both islands during our 35-minute midafternoon Olympic Air flight to Naxos. We also got a good look at the long western coast of Naxos as the plane banked over Mikri Vigla beach during its descent to Naxos airport. [See the post below this one for important advice about carry-on baggage for flights to Naxos and other small island airports.]

The air felt warm with a touch of humidity when we stepped off the plane and walked to the tiny luggage claim room at the right-hand side of the small terminal building. By the time our bags came off the belt it was drizzling, and the light rain continued throughout our 10-minute drive to Lianos Village Hotel near Agios Prokopios beach.

This was our fourth consecutive stay at Lianos Village, and we were happy to be assigned Room 83 — the same one we had stayed in last October (there’s more information about the room, as well as photos of it and its beautiful views, in my report about Our best hotel experiences of 2013.)

Please click on the number 2 in the link below to continue reading my report and view photos from our arrival day on Naxos.

 CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

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