Tag: village (page 2 of 6)

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

Share

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.  

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2 3 4

Colourful Kini Bay on Syros island

Share

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

Evening view of the Kini Bay area, from a hill behind Lotos beach

 

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

Houses and holiday accommodations on the hills behind Kini Beach

 

Greece, Greek Islands, Cyclades, Siros, Syros, Kini Bay, Kini beach, Kini village, landscape, coast, seaside, harbor, harbour, port, boats, fishing boats

Fishing boats moored in the small harbour at Kini Bay

 

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

Overlooking Kini beach, bay and harbour

 

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

A quiet morning at Kini Beach

 

Greece, Greek Islands, Cyclades, Siros, Syros, Kini Bay, Kini beach, Kini village, landscape, coast, seaside, beach, Kini Beach, Kini Beach Syros, beach, coast, sunset, waves, bay, sea,

Waves reflect the golden hues of sunset above Kini Bay 

 

Photo tour: It seems I have stoked some interest in Syros.

After I posted that Travel + Leisure magazine had profiled Syros island in its February 2019 issue, a number of readers have been in touch to say they are now thinking about going there for part of their island hopping holidays this summer.

And since I had mentioned that Syros is one of our favourite islands, some asked if I could recommend a specific beach resort area for them to consider.

So far we have stayed twice at just one beach location — Kini Bay — and loved it, but we have been to a few other beach areas that are popular with tourists, including Galissas, Finikas and Poseidonia. We would probably choose to stay at one of those places on our next trip to Syros, simply for a change of scenery and the chance to to experience a different part of the island.

But I wouldn’t describe Kini or any of the others as “resorts” per se; rather, they are fairly small villages situated on or near sandy beaches and scenic coastlines, each offering a respectable selection of accommodations and restaurants. You won’t find strips of shops or nightclubs at any of these locations, but there are mini markets and grocery stores where visitors staying in studio apartments or villas can purchase food and sundry items they might need.

What we particularly enjoy about Kini Bay is its beautiful setting on a picturesque bay, where holidaymakers can relax on two sandy beaches — Kini and Lotos — or at nearby Delfini, which is reasonable walking distance from the village.  Galissas beach can be reached either by car or on foot (a hiking path that winds up and down hills high above the rugged coast), while boat trips to two isolated beaches north of Kini are offered in season.

I’ll tell you more about the area in a separate post I’m currently working on, but in the meantime I have gathered dozens of our pictures to show you why we have been so keen on Kini.

Please click on the link below to take a photo tour of colourful sights and scenes at Kini Bay.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Winter views of Nymfaio, the pretty ‘fairy tale’ village in northern Greece

Share

This film by Studios Trasias captures breathtaking views of snow-covered Nymfaio, a traditional mountain settlement in the Florina region of northern Greece. It’s regarded as one of the most beautiful villages in Europe.

 

Alpine gem: When winter storms brought freezing temperatures and snowfalls to many parts of Greece this week, my social media newsfeeds quickly filled with photos and videos of snowy scenes from places as diverse as Ancient Messenia, Kalavrita, Meteora, Arachova and Thessaloniki, and such islands as Kefalonia, Evia, Skopelos, Skyros, Lesvos and Crete.

The winter wonderland scenery in many of the images looked impressive, but far more striking are the scenes in this film of Nymfaio, which I stumbled upon today while researching for another blog post I’m writing.

Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters on a ridge of Mount Vitsi in the northern Greece region of Florina, Nymfaio has been inhabited since 1385. It is often described as looking like something out of a fairy tale, and it has been named to lists of the most beautiful and most picturesque villages both in Greece and in all of Europe. From the opening seconds of the video, it’s easy to see why — Nymfaio looks simply picture postcard perfect under a crisp blanket of fresh snow. 

Though it’s a year-round travel destination, Nymfaio isn’t a place you can easily visit for a quick look-see — roughly a 7-hour drive north of Athens, it’s well off the main tourist routes in the southern half of Greece. (It’s much closer to and easier to reach from the cities of Ioannina and Thessaloniki, which are less than 2 hours’ driving distance.) But this alpine gem certainly appears to be well worth the trek, particularly for visitors who have already seen or who want to avoid the busy tourist magnets like Athens or the islands.

If you’ve become intrigued by Nymfaio and want to learn more about it, here are links to websites and blogs offering photos and detailed information about the village:

♦ the Nymfaio page on Greece Virtual will take you on a virtual tour of the village with its more than 20 panoramic / 360-degree photos;

♦ In April 2018, the Greek travel agency Fly Me to the Moon published a destination spotlight on Nymfaio on its blog;

♦ In May 2016, the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper highlighted Nymfaio in a feature list of the best places to visit in northern Greece;

♦ In a 2014 post, the travel blog Moco Choco profiled Nymfaio as one of the 10 most beautiful mountain villages in Europe;

♦ The Discover Greece article Nimfaio, The Mountain Nymph of Stone and Snow includes photographs and information about accommodations in and near the village, which the Greek tourism website describes as “one of the best winter holiday destinations in Greece”;

♦ the Visit Greece article A Fairytale Escape to Nimfaio in Florina includes photos and brief descriptions of the history, traditions and activities of what it hails as “a year-round charming destination.” 

 

Greece, mainland Greece, northern Greece, Nymfaio, Nymfaio village,

The red marker pinpoints Nymfaio’s location in northern Greece on this map from Google

Photo highlights from our trip to the Peloponnese and Hydra

Share

Monemvasia

The fascinating fortress town of Monemvasia, where we spent three days and nights in early June

 

Amazing experience: I only need one word to describe our first-ever visit to Greece’s Peloponnese region and  Hydra island this month: Wow!

We weren’t even halfway through our holiday when we noted that the trip was shaping up as one of our best vacation experiences ever in Greece. Now that we’re back home, recalling all the places and sights we encountered and sorting through our photos,  we’ve agreed that it was our favourite trip of all. 

The Argolida and Laconia districts of the Peloponnese far exceeded our high expectations, while a spur-of-the-moment trip to Hydra impressed us immensely as well. The sights and scenery everywhere we went were simply amazing.

 

 

 

We enjoyed exhilarating views of sparkling turquoise seas and mountains extending as far as the eye could see. We roamed around charming villages and towns, visited historic archaeological sites, and walked dozens of kilometers along scenic coastal paths. We saw vast groves of olive trees, thousands of citrus trees laden with fruit, and dozens of picturesque churches, chapels and monasteries. We explored ancient castles, even spending three nights in a fortress town and swimming in the sea below its formidable stone walls. And we drank good wine and dined on delicious traditional and contemporary Greek cuisine. 

I will tell you more about our trip in detailed posts to come, but will launch my 2016 trip report with a series of photos showing some highlight sights and scenes from our travels.

Please click on the link below to view the pictures on page 2.

 

the monastery of Elona

The Monastery of Elona, which clings to the face of a cliff on Mount Parnon, was a breathtaking sight during our drive from Nafplio to Monemvasia

 

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Glimpses of Gavrio, and a ferry ride from Andros to Tinos

Share

Gavrio port at Andros

Gavrio harbourfront

The harbourfront at Gavrio, the port village on Andros island

 

Au revoir, Andros: When we arrived at Gavrio port on Andros at the start of our Greek holiday last May, we barely even noticed the village. Already groggy from our transatlantic travel and jet lag, we were struggling to shake off more cobwebs after dozing periodically during the ferry ride from Rafina. 

I saw a few shops and tavernas when we stepped off the ship, and can even remember thinking “there doesn’t seem to be much here” when I took a quick glance around. We didn’t have time for a longer look since we had to focus our attention on a more pressing issue — fitting luggage for four people into the compact car our friends had rented.

Soon we were pulling away from the port and driving up a narrow lane that squeezed tightly between rows of whitewashed houses before widening into the two-lane highway that would lead us to Andros Town. As we rounded a bend on the outskirts of Gavrio, we got our first views of exhilarating Andros scenery — fields, beaches and the wide open sea on our right side, and to our left a long line of mountains extending far into the distance.  It was a beautiful sight for our sore and very tired eyes.

View from highway on outskirts of Gavrio Andros

The mountain and sea view from the outskirts of Gavrio, seen in an image from Google Street View. This is the highway that leads from Gavrio to Batsi and onward to Andros Town.

 

We got a better look at Gavrio when we walked there from Batsi on the final full day of our Andros visit. As we turned onto the waterfront strip, we discovered there was much more to the town than we had seen while disembarking the ferry five days earlier.

On arrival day, we had basically seen just half of Gavrio’s commercial district — the extensive port authority area with its parking lots, loading zones, and of course the quays for ferries and ships, as well as a few of the businesses along the main street nearby.  We had not noticed that the street continued farther past the port, lined on one side with tavernas, shops and ferry ticket agencies, and a flagstone-paved walkway on the sea side. It took longer than we had anticipated to stroll the entire length of the road, and we were surprised by the large selection of restaurants and cafes — we had not been expecting to be so spoiled for choice in finding a place to have lunch. 

Though not as scenic as some other port towns in the Cyclades, Gavrio isn’t an unattractive place — it just doesn’t have the pretty, polished veneer of upscale boutiques and trendy cafe-bars that draw  the big-spending tourist and cruise ship crowds to places like Mykonos Town. And while Gavrio may be conveniently located for quick easy access to a variety of good beaches (see my post A bevy of beaches & coves on the scenic west coast of Andros), we were happy we had chosen to spend our holiday time at Andros Town and Batsi instead, since we preferred their overall look and feel.

Mind you, we didn’t walk around any of the residential streets on the hills tucked behind the waterfront strip, so we didn’t get to see all of Gavrio. We may have been more impressed had we taken time to explore beyond the port and harbourfront.

Gavrio harbourfront

We didn’t get to explore the residential streets on the hill behind the commercial waterfront strip

 

The next day we got more glimpses of Gavrio during a taxi ride to the port, followed by panoramic sea views of all of Gavrio Bay as we stood on the outdoor decks of the ferry taking us to Tinos. It was a brilliantly sunny morning, and Gavrio looked picturesque as it glistened in the sunshine.  I’m sure we’ll be back sometime for another look around.

Click on the link below to see more photos of Gavrio, as well as pictures of the Andros coast that we passed during our ferry trip to Tinos. There also are photos of the ship that took us there, the Superferry II, as well as the western coast of Tinos.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

Naxos: The quietly traditional heart of the Cyclades islands

Share

Mike Andrew photo of a lane in Naxos Town

Shops line a narrow lane in the historic Old Market district of Naxos Town. Photo by Mike Andrew.

 

Sitting at the heart of the Aegean, can the unassuming and traditionally minded Naxos hold its own against its cosmopolitan neighbours?

 

Guest post by James Andrew

The shutters bang and clatter against the window. The howling, whistling noises coming from outside are more than a little disconcerting. The meltemi, the strong warming wind that blows constantly through the Aegean at this time of year, is definitely strong today.

Looking out of our villa window at the large, agriculturally rich fields, curious, twisted rock formations and, in the distance, the somewhat foreboding Mount Zas silhouetted against the dusk skyline, this all feels slightly alien. Certainly it’s a world away from the cosmopolitan and touristy island of Santorini from which we caught the ferry earlier in the day. No, this is very different. This is the much less visited and certainly less known island of Naxos.

Positioned at the heart of the Cycladic (or White) Islands, Naxos sits somewhat oddly next to its much-lauded neighbours Santorini, Mykonos and Paros. Whilst the island has gradually been building a fan base amongst Greece afficionados in the know, it still remains defiantly off the main cruise routes. Its main port in Naxos Town sees the arrival of daily ferries but no towering cruise ship behemoths like the ones that anchor in Santorini’s caldera.

The highest peak in the Cyclades, Mount Zas dominates the island. Breaking from the image of barren, volcanic lunar landscapes one most associates with this area of Greece, Naxos is blessed by nature. Green and verdant throughout, it defies convention. So, how would this island that lacks Santorini’s chic, polished veneer and Mykonos’ cool, hipster vibe reveal itself? Can it compete with its upmarket neighbours? We cracked the rattling shutters open and stepped into the wind to find out.

 

Fish Olive Creations Facebook page photo of Mount Zas on Naxos

A view of Mount Zas, Filoti village and Halki village (bottom). Photo by the Fish & Olive Creations art gallery and shop in Halki.

 

Please click on the link below to continue reading and view more photos.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2

The captivating coast, beach and village scenery at Kokkari on Samos

Share

Kokkari Village 2016 features breathtaking bird’s eye views of the scenic seafronts and harbour at Kokkari village on Samos 

 

Picture-postcard perfect:  We’ve got a lot of happy memories from our trip to Samos six years ago, and some of the best are from our visit to Kokkari one afternoon.

We had rented mountain bikes in Vathy for a day, and cycled to Kokkari to get a first-hand look at the village mainly because an online acquaintance had recommended it as a “must see” spot on the island. She warned me that it’s “super-popular” with tourists, but said we would love it nonetheless because “it’s just so gosh-darned pretty and picturesque — everything looks like a picture on a postcard.”

She wasn’t kidding when she cautioned us about the “touristy” side to Kokkari — we couldn’t believe the astounding number of bar, cafe and taverna signs we saw on the popular dining strip along the village harbour. (Take a quick peek at the photos in my posts Kokkari’s waterfront restaurant row, and What’s cooking in Kokkari? and you’ll see what I mean.) Although the signage suggested there might be cutthroat competition between the village’s dozens of eateries, we found Kokkari had a surprisingly laid-back atmosphere, and we didn’t encounter any of those annoying restaurant touts who try to coax and cajole people into patronizing some establishments on Naxos, Kos and Mykonos.

Gorgeous scenery and photo opps galore

My friend was absolutely right about the village’s picture-postcard appeal, too. There was gorgeous scenery all around, and photo opportunities galore — striking beach and coastal scenery, quaint lanes and alleys, the colourful village harbour, and the impressive backdrop of Mount Karvouris. We’ll certainly pay Kokkari another visit next time we’re on Samos.

The video I posted above, which was produced by the aerial photography firm Reel Drone, shows much of the village and coastal scenery that we found so captivating back in 2010 — even though it is, of course, filmed from a completely different perspective than tourists get to see while strolling around the area.

If you have been to Kokkari before, the video will probably bring back pleasant memories of your own. If you haven’t visited it yet (or haven’t even been to Samos), I’m sure you’ll enjoy the 2-minute aerial tour and find it inspiring for future holiday planning.

Kokkari website links

And just in case you might be thinking about a trip to Samos, the people at Reel Drone have offered the following helpful links to online information about Kokkari:

♦  https://www.facebook.com/Κοκκαρι-Δημοτικη-Κοινοτητα-1411154232520­339/

http://www.kokkari.gr/

 

Sizing up Stivari, the coastal settlement near Batsi village on Andros island

Share

Stivari settlement on Andros

The Stivari settlement overlooks a scenic coast and bay on Andros

 

Stivari settlement on Andros

The road through Stivari is lined on one side with buildings of reasonably-priced rental studios for summer tourists  …

 

sea view from Stivari area of Andros

… while the other side of the road offers wide open views of the sea, sunset, some small nearby islands and the Andros coastline

 

Batsi village on Andros

The beach resort village of Batsi is less than a 10-minute walk away

  

Studio suburb: There’s a lot to like about Andros, as we discovered during our first trip to the island in late May 2015 — and as I have already described in a series of Andros posts I have published in recent months.

Something else we really liked was the Stivari area, which we passed through several times a day while walking between our hotel and the beach resort village of Batsi.

Stivari is a small hillside settlement that’s basically a coastal “suburb” of Batsi, which is a mere 5- to 10-minute walk up the road.  There are more than a dozen different accommodation options right at Stivari or within close walking distance, and most of the rooms have nice garden or sea views from their balconies or terraces. The area has a popular taverna and a small shingle beach (actually just a few steps apart from each other), and is within a scenic 15-minute coastal walk of two better beaches, one of which boasts a superb seaview restaurant.

Stivari is a convenient base for Andros vacationers, especially those who don’t want to rely on a rental vehicle to get around  — it’s so close to all the amenities that Batsi village has to offer, yet still just far enough away to offer a little more peace and quiet than you’ll find in and around the village’s popular tourist center and beach.  

What we particularly liked about Stivari is the area’s impressive scenery: the surrounding steep hills are dotted with houses, villas and the accommodation properties; crystal-clear turquoise seawater sparkles beneath the rocky cliffs that line the coast; and there are beautiful island, sea, and sunset views from the hillsides and from the pebbly sand on Stivari beach. Whether we passed by in morning, afternoon or at night, there was always a pleasant and calming atmosphere  — though our favourite time was evening, when Stivari was bathed in the golden glow of the setting sun.

Please click on the link below to continue reading on page 2, where I have posted some of our photos of Stivari, and on page 3, where I have provided a listing of accommodations in the area, complete with photos and hotel contact information.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Pages: 1 2 3

Older posts Newer posts