Tag: tavernas (page 1 of 4)

Top Greece travel reads of 2019: Greek food and wine

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Screenshot of Aegean Blue Magazine Issue 80 article about Vegan food in Greece

“Long before it became a fashionable trend and part of a new philosophy, dishes without any meat or animal products were a fundamental part of Greek cuisine, and they remain so today,” says the introduction to an Aegean Airlines in-flight magazine article about vegan food.

 

Feta. Greek Yogurt. Plant-based cuisine. Local Greek Island specialties. Wine bars in Athens. Vineyards open to visitors. These are a few of my favourite things in Greece, and they’re also the subject of magazine and newspaper articles I found particularly informative and instructive to read in 2019.  If you love food and wine yourself, and have a trip to Greece in your sights for 2020 (or later), the publications I spotlight in this post will give you an advance taste of the culinary and oenophilic delights you can plan to experience.

 

The articles I have selected as best reads for 2019 cover some topics that interest me personally, and others that will be useful to people who have emailed me or asked questions on social media or online travel forums that I regularly follow, like the Greece forum on TripAdvisor.

For instance, there’s a question that has become increasingly common in the past couple of years: “Will I be able to find vegan food & restaurants in Greece?” The answer: “Absolutely!” Brand-new restaurants specializing in vegan cuisine have been popping up in Athens, Mykonos and other major tourist destinations in recent years, while many existing eateries have been adding a range of vegan dishes to their menus to meet rapidly rising customer demand. But even in off-the-tourist-path places, travellers won’t have any trouble finding delicious meals that haven’t been prepared with meat or animal products.

As writer Nana Daroti notes in the article Vegan: Made in Greece, which starts at page 110 in Issue 80 of Blue, the Aegean Airlines on-board magazine,  Greeks are devoted to vegetable dishes known generally as ladera, and which can be found everywhere from “summer seaside tavernas to mountain retreats.”

“Olive oil, vegetables, beans and grains play leading roles in Greek recipes, not because they’re fashionable, but because they’re encoded in the Greek DNA,” Daroti explains.

 

 

For me, a far more difficult challenge than finding vegan food is shopping for wine in Greece, and not just because the labels on many bottles are written only in Greek.  Since we’re not familiar with local varietals and vineyards, we can never be certain what might suit our palates, and often wind up choosing a bottle at random and hoping we like it. We’ve found some pleasurable hits that way, but also some sorry misses. Happily, buying wine should be considerably less confusing on future holidays thanks to Wine Plus Magazine, which devoted its 2019 summer edition (Issue 57, pictured below) to all things a visitor needs to know about Greek wine.

In a welcome message, Editor Maria Netsika says the issue takes readers on “a journey through the wines of Greece … a travelogue to pleasure.” The Wine Plus trip itinerary includes the regions of Thrace, Macedonia, Epirus, Thessaly, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Aegean islands, Ionian islands, and Crete, and visits not only the country’s leading vineyards, but also lesser-known wine makers. For each region, the magazine suggests “must try” and “must buy” local cuisine and food products, and provides directions to vineyards and wineries to help visitors plan their “oenotourism stops” in whatever area of Greece they may be travelling. Directories highlight specific regional wines, and conveniently include photos of the bottles.

Cover of issue 57 of The Wine Plus Magazine special issue on Greek wines

The Summer 2019 edition of The Wine Plus Magazine is a veritable encyclopedia of Greek wine, packed with everything you need to know about Greek grapes, vineyards, wine regions, production, and more.  

 

Please turn to page 2 to see more of my favourite articles about Greek food, wine and beverages from 2019.

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Moments in Molyvos: Sights & scenes from the marvellous castle town on Lesvos island

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View of the town of Molyvos on Lesvos island

Beach view of Molyvos town on Lesvos island

Harbour view of the town of Molyvos on Lesvos island

Views of Molyvos from a highway lookout point two kilometers south (top), from the local beach (center) and from the harbour jetty (bottom). Also known as Mithimna, the town is situated near the northern tip of Lesvos, and is one of the island’s premier attractions and visitor destinations. 

 

Cobblestone streets and lanes. Elegant stone and wood buildings with red-tiled roofs. Cozy cafes, bustling bars and traditional tavernas. Charming shops, chapels and churches. A picturesque fishing boat harbour and a long sandy beach. Byzantine and Ottoman-era historical influences. An imposing hilltop castle. Lovely views of the Lesvos coastline and the Northeast Aegean Sea, plus parts of the nearby Çanakkale province of northwest Turkey. Molyvos has all this and more — everything you’d expect from a town that dates back to 700 B.C.

 

 

This year, we visited Lesvos, and spent the first half of our island holiday — 8 full days and nights — at Molyvos. Initially, we were concerned this might be too long, but friends and regular Lesvos visitors assured us we wouldn’t get bored.  They were right, of course:  Molyvos suited us to a T. Its sublime natural and architectural beauty, comfortable atmosphere, historic character and friendly locals quickly showed us why Molvyos has legions of fans who faithfully return year after year. Molyvos has such an alluring charm, you just can’t help but fall in love with it.

If you haven’t been to Molyvos before, my collection of photos on page 2 of this post will give you a good impression of what you could expect to see while wandering around this marvellous town.

Please click on the link below to begin your tour of Molyvos!

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Art, food, fashion, hotels, shops, clubs, parties & more: What’s new on Mykonos for 2019

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Rizes Folklore Farmstead in Mykonos exterior photo from the business page on Facebook

Olive Tree Mykonos sunset view dining terrace photo from the restaurant page on Facebook

Blue Marlin Ibiza Mykonos beachfront photo from the official club page on Facebook

Mykonos Olive Oil Tasting photo from its official page on Facebook

Aegon Mykonos exterior photo from the hotel page on Facebook

Contemporary sculpture in the garden at the Blue Fusion Art Restaurant

Open air dining patio at Taverna Kandavlos on Mykonos

Moussaka photo from the Olive Tree Mykonos restaurant website

Apiro Mykonos hotel website photo of a standard triple room interior

Sea bass tartare dish photo from the I Frati Mykonos restaurant page on Facebook

Sanctus Mykonos photo from the nightclub page on Facebook

Fresh fish on the grill at Sealicious by Kounelas restaurant on Mykonos

Sunset view from Chill Out Lounge Bar Cafe at the Chill Out Studios on MMykonos

Nusr-et Steakhouse Mykonos photo from the restaurant page on Facebook

Evripides Art Gallery Art & Fashion Project with Dimitris Ntasios at 30 Kalogera Street in Mykonos

From the top: Rizes Folklore Farmstead & Restaurant; the seaview patio at Olive Tree restaurant; sunbeds at Blue Marlin Ibiza Mykonos beach club; a flight of sampling glasses at Mykonos Olive Oil Tasting; Aegon Mykonos hotel at Kalo Livadi; one of the artworks in the sculpture garden at Blue Fusion Art Restaurant; the patio at Taverna Kandavlos; moussaka at Olive Tree restaurant; inside a room at Apiro-Mykonos hotel; sea bass tartare at I Frati restaurant; a lounge at Sanctus after-hours nightclub; fresh fish on the grill at Sealicious by Kounelas; sunset view from Chill Out Lounge Bar Cafe; a signature Salt Bae steak at Nusr-Et; contemporary art and one-of-a-kind designer fashions at the Dassios boutique/Evripides Art Gallery.

 

New & noteworthy: Besides the iconic white Cycladic architecture, sparkling Aegean Sea and brilliant sunshine, there’s much to bedazzle first-time visitors to Mykonos — a dizzying array of glitzy shops, glam restaurants, bustling bars and chic accommodations among them. With dozens of new establishments opening on the island each year, Mykonos maintains its famously vibrant and exciting atmosphere for returning visitors and local residents alike.

This summer has been no exception, as I have discovered: More than thirty new enterprises that have set up shop in and around Mykonos Town, at some of the famous beaches and elsewhere on the island. The newcomers include places to eat, drink, party, shop and sleep, plus some enlightening and fascinating attractions and activities.

 

Among the noteworthy highlights of this year’s arrivals:

♦ A new beach club at Kalo Livadi, sunset boat party cruises to Rhenia island, and a really, really, really cool place to get an ice cold drink. And, for night owls, three new spots to party into the wee hours of the morning;

♦ Fun olive oil tasting workshops where participants can sample some of the best Greek extra virgin olive oils and learn how to pair oils with food to elevate flavours and make their home cooking shine;

♦ Four art new galleries and exhibition spaces — including one outdoors — showcasing contemporary Greek art and sculpture; 

♦ Over half a dozen boutiques and summer pop-ups offering fashionistas even more places to shop and browse exclusive designer clothing and accessories in Mykonos Town and at Psarou beach;

♦ A meticulously recreated Mykonian farmstead where tourists can experience what life was like on the island in the days before electricity and Internet, view folk art exhibitions, take cooking and bread baking classes, and dine on breakfasts and traditionally-prepared meals in the farm restaurant;

♦ A wide range of accommodations with lodging options ranging from rental studios and apartments to luxury hotels and beach resorts boasting suites and villas with private pools;

♦ A vast array of appetite-whetting places to enjoy food and beverages, including new coffee and dessert shops; street food cafes; vegan and healthy food eateries; and restaurants specializing in fish, seafood or sushi; meat dishes; pizza; crepes; breakfast & brunch; comfort food; and Greek, Italian, Mediterranean and international cuisine. 

iVisa.com

Starting on page 2, I have compiled profiles of the new businesses, complete with photos, videos and links to their websites and social media pages (where available) so you can learn more and follow them if interested. I have deliberately packed this blog post with images so that readers who haven’t been to Mykonos before can get a good grasp of what Greece’s most sophisticated, cosmopolitan and international island is all about.

And just in case you think Mykonos is only a place where people go to party, bear in mind that the island also happens to be a major dining destination. With more than 400 places to eat, it’s a foodie delight, offering not just traditional and gourmet Greek food, fish and seafood, but also contemporary, internationally-inspired cuisines from around the globe.

Since many of the newcomers to Mykonos this season are restaurants and cafes, I have included plenty of pictures to show some of the food they serve — appetizers, main courses, breakfasts and desserts. But here’s an important warning: Don’t continue reading if you’re the least bit hungry; otherwise, you could feel absolutely ravenous by the time you finish scrolling through all the food photos!

Crystal View Mykonos view photo from the rental property Facebook page

Healthylicious Mykonos breakfast dish seen in a photo from the restaurant page on Facebook

Displays inside the Philipp Plein boutique at Nammos Village shopping center on Mykonos

Venus Gallery at the Aphrodite Beach Resort Mykonos photo from Facebook

Sunset view from Apiro Mykonos Hotel

Yomamas street food restaurant Mykonos food photo from the restaurant page on Instagram

Mykonos Boat Club promotional image for its sunset boat party cruises to Rhenia island

Major J Breakfast and Branch patio photo from the restaurant page on Facebook

Bulgari pop up store on Mykonos seen in a photo from the Nammos Village shopping center page on Facebook

Street view of LAragosta Mykonos in a photo from the restaurant website

Jennys Summer Houses Mykonos grand villa room interior photo from the property website

Burger platter photo by Cantina Mykonos street food restaurant

Blue Fusion Art Restaurant Mykonos patio photo from the restaurants website

I Frati Mykonos wine racks photo from the restaurant Facebook page

Partying in dayglo faux furs at Ice Bar Mykonos as seen in a photo from the bar page on Instagram

Entertainment at Cirque Mykonos nightclub seen in a photo from the club page on Instagram

My Plate Mykonos chicken skewer dinners photo from the restaurant page on Facebook

From the top: The view from Crystal View rooms above Megali Ammos; a breakfast dish at Healthylicious; the Philipp Plein boutique at Nammos Village; Venus Gallery at the Aphrodite Beach Resort; a sunset view from Apiro-Mykonos Hotel; a breakfast meal at Yo’Mamas Street Food Cafe; partying on the Mykonos Boat Club cruise to Rhenia; the outdoor patio at Major J Breakfast & Brunch; the Bulgari boutique at Nammos Village shopping center; night view of L’Aragosta Italian restaurant; inside the Grand Villa at Jenny’s Summer Houses;  a burger platter at Cantina street food eatery; the patio at Blue Fusion Art bar & restaurant;  shelves of wine in the deli shop at I Frati restaurant; partiers wearing dayglo faux furs at Ice Bar Mykonos; one of the entertainment acts at Cirque nightclub; skewers of marinated & grilled chicken at My Plate Mykonos.

 

Please click on a link below to read about what’s new on Mykonos in 2019.

Page 2 profiles new bars, beach clubs, nightclubs and party boat cruises;

Page 3 presents new cafes and restaurants;

Page 4 looks at new attractions and activities, art galleries, and fashion shops.

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A guide to Kini, the laid-back beach village on Syros

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Greece, Greek Islands, Cyclades, Siros, Syros, Kini Bay, Kini beach, Kini village, landscape, coast, seaside, beach, Kini Beach, Kini Beach Syros, village,

Greece,Greek island, Siros, Syros, Syros Greece, Kini, Kini Bay, Kini Bay Syros,

Greece, Greek Islands, Cyclades, Siros, Syros, Kini Bay, Kini beach, Kini village, landscape, coast, seaside,

Greece, Greek Islands, Cyclades, Siros, Syros, Kini Bay, Kini beach, Kini village, landscape, coast, seaside, village

Greece, Greek Islands, Cyclades, Siros, Syros, Kini Bay, Kini beach, Kini village, landscape, coast, seaside, village, mountains

Above: Views of the Kini area from five different vantage points

 

What’s there:  My earlier post, Colourful Kini Bay on Syros island, was essentially a photo tour of the beautiful beach village area where we have stayed during two holidays on Syros. In this companion piece, I have compiled a mini-guide to Kini, highlighting accommodation and dining options as well as attractions and things to see and do in the immediate vicinity, based primarily upon personal experience.

I actually started preparing this article several years ago, following our second trip to Syros, but I never managed to finish the project. It languished in a folder of draft articles until this winter, when a Travel + Leisure magazine profile of Syros caught my attention and reminded me of the post I had never completed. Comments and inquiries about Syros from readers  of my blog gave me further impetus to have another go at writing the guide. Besides, it presented an opportunity to see what, if anything, may have changed and keep us up to date on what’s happening in Kini, since we do plan to go back.

Greece, Greek islands, Cyclades, Siros, Syros, Syros island, Kini, Kini Bay, Kini Syros, Kini village, monastery, Agia Varvara Monastery Syros,

Kini is best known for beaches, food and  scenery, but it’s also home to two attractions that tourists can visit: the Agia Varvara Monastery (above) and a small aquarium and boat museum

 

While checking to see if familiar tavernas and accommodations were still around, I was pleased to discover that two new restaurants and a hotel have opened during the past couple of years — Aphrodite Boutique Hotel, Thalassa Beach Bar, and Aeriko Mezedopoleio.  Aphrodite and Thalassa have opened in centrally-located buildings that had been vacant and somewhat shabby-looking during both of our Kini holidays, so their reincarnations have spruced up the area and greatly improved the look of the village landscape. Aeriko opened two years ago in the premises previously occupied by Ammos Beach and Kitchen Bar.  (There’s more information on all three new places later in this post.)

I also noticed several hotels and studio rental properties have undertaken significant upgrades in the past two years, while others have been renovating this winter in preparation for the 2019 season.  The good news for travellers is more (and improved) choices for lodging, along with additional places to drink and dine. Happily, the changes have been for the better, and haven’t had a negative impact on Kini’s comfortable atmosphere and charm.  

Greece, Greek islands, Cyclades, Siros, Syros, Syros island, Kini, Kini Bay, Kini village Syros, sunset, sunset view,

We have seen many remarkable sunsets from Kini (this one was from our holiday in 2015), with vivid sky colours that were more stunning than any we’ve seen on Santorini, the island that’s famous for sunset views.

 

The low-key, laid-back ambiance is what we personally enjoy about Kini, along with its scenic location, marvellous sunset views, sandy beaches, interesting walks and excellent restaurants. (Its close proximity to the island’s vibrant capital, Ermoupoli, is another appealing feature.) On both of our visits, Kini won our hearts as one of the most chill and relaxing places we’ve stayed anywhere in Greece.  In fact, we often muse about going there for an extended period — a couple of months in spring or fall, for instance — since we find it particularly inspiring for our creative pursuits of writing, painting and photography.

I know others share our appreciation for Kini just as strongly; online, I have chatted with a number of people who have made repeat visits and are planning to return this year because they love Kini for the same reasons. And when we have spoken to other tourists while we have been in Kini, everyone has commented about how much they were enjoying the place. We never heard anything negative.

Kini might not be your cup of tea if your ideal island getaway is a crowded and glitzy tourist magnet, like Mykonos, where you can spend all your time and money shopping in designer boutiques, dining at gourmet international restaurants, and partying at exclusive nightclubs and trendy beach clubs.  But if your goal is to rest and recharge in a peaceful, picturesque village with good Greek restaurants and nice sandy beaches, Kini could well be paradise. It’s my hope that the photographs, descriptions and personal anecdotes in this guide will give you a solid sense of what Kini has to offer, and will inspire you to consider including Kini in your future holiday plans if it does look like a place you would enjoy.

Greece, Greek island, Siros, Syros, Syros island, island, Google map,

Kini is situated on the west coast of Syros, approximately 9 km from the island’s port town and capital, Ermoupoli

 

 

Please click on the links below below to continue reading and see dozens of Kini photos.

Page 2 highlights Kini sights, attractions and things to do, with descriptions of local beaches, boat trips to remote beach areas, and scenic walks.

Page 3 spotlights places to eat and drink in the village.

Page 4 profiles hotels and many of the room and studio accommodations available at Kini.  

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