Τετάρτη, 18 Ιουλίου 2018

A Greek Summer Dilemma: Ionian Islands or the Cyclades?

It is summertime in Greece and vacation dates are set. It is the time lucky Greeks and visitors have to face one of the most pleasant dilemmas: Which island or islands? In the Ionian Sea or the Aegean? Island hopping in the Ionian or in the Cyclades?
It is a hard choice, as both groups of islands are truly beautiful in all aspects. Both can cater to families and romantic couples or to party animals and flirts as well.

The Old Castle of Corfu

The Islands of the Ionian Sea
Their natural setting is the main factor that makes the islands of the Ionian completely different from the Cycladic ones. Here, the rich greenery blends harmoniously with the turquoise of the sea and the blue of the sky, creating beautiful natural paintings.
On the Ionian islands, visitors who have traveled extensively around the world would often say that the turquoise of the cool, crystal-clear waters beat those of the Caribbean. The colors are fantastic, their combinations even more so, and if instead of pine the trees surrounding the beautiful beaches were palm, then one would say that these are the ‘tropical islands’ of Greece. Zakynthos is also one of the nesting sites of the loggerhead sea turtles.

The Shipwreck Beach on Zakynthos

The Ionian Sea beaches are famous and well-photographed: The Shipwreck of Zakynthos, the impressive Egremni and the turquoise Porto Katsiki of Lefkas, Myrtos of Kefalonia are just some of the beaches that are themselves a reason for a holiday in the Ionian Islands.
Then there is more: The unbelievable “white” waters of Antipaxos, the all-green islet when entering Paxos port, the little-known beaches of Ithaca which are one of the best-kept secrets of the island of Homer’s Ulysses, Marathonissi in the bay of Laganas on Zakynthos…these are just a few.

Entering the port of Paxos

Another great characteristic of Ionian islands is the Venetian presence in the architecture, the “singing” speech of many locals, the musical influences and the food. For centuries, the islands of the Ionian belonged to the Venetians and the western Mediterranean influence is still strong.
Foodwise, the Corfu pastitsa and sofrito are memorable dishes along with the island’s famous kumquat liqueur. Overall, all the Ionian islands have cuisines influenced by their Venetian ancestors.

The sun sets on Santorini

The famous Cyclades
When a foreigner speaks about Greece, chances are that the words Mykonos and Santorini will be included in the sentence. They are the two world-famous islands that every summer attract big names from the entertainment, business and sports worlds. Also, the pictures of the Mykonos windmills and the Santorini Caldera are on the cover of most tourist guides for Greece.
The “Spartan” beauty of the Cycladic islands is well known: Stone-paved alleys, whitewashed churches with deep blue domes, picturesque white houses and gorgeous sandy beaches where the blue of the sky reflects so majestically in the clear waters.

Party at Cavo Paradiso on Mykonos

The view of the sunset from Oia in Santorini, a dive in the deep waters of Amorgos where the movie The Big Blue was shot, the Red Sand Beach in Santorini that looks like a landscape on Mars, a wild party at Cavo Paradiso Club with a famous DJ on Mykonos, the ancient Temple of Apollo on Delos… these are some of the experiences that one person must have at least once in their lives.
The Cyclades are not only Mykonos and Santorini. There is Amorgos, Naxos, Syros and the picturesque “little ones” like Koufonissia, Irakleia or Donousa, with quiet, beautiful beaches for truly romantic settings.

The Livadi beach on Donousa invites you for a swim

The food in the Cyclades is also delicious. The San Mihali P.D.O. cheese of Syros or the naxos gruyere are world famous. The fava in Santorini is a unique local delicacy and so are the mouthwatering fried tomato balls. Mykonos has great sausages, while the xynotyri (sour cheese) of Ios is not to be missed.
Also, the great thing about the Cyclades group of islands is that there are 33 of them, all worth exploring. There is Paros, Milos, Sifnos, Serifos, Antiparos, Sikinos, Andros, Kythnos, Kea and the list goes up to double figures.
The choice between the Ionian and the Cycladic islands? It is a win-win situation. Both sets of islands are fantastic and why not visit one this summer and the other next summer? One wishes that all life’s dilemmas are like this.

Greek reporter Greece

Σάββατο, 7 Ιουλίου 2018

Thomas Cook to Invest €150M in Greek Tourism in 2018


Thomas Cook, one of the world’s biggest tour operators, has pledged to invest around €150 million ($173 million) in the Greek tourism sector this year.
At a news conference held on the occasion of the official launch of Thomas Cook’s new own-brand hotel concept named Cook’s Club in Hersonissos on Crete, CEO Peter Fankhauser reaffirmed the tour operator’s commitment to Greece.
He said the group had opened up four new destinations and added more than 34 new routes in the last two years, making it the biggest holiday company operating in the country.
Speaking alongside Greek tourism minister Elena Kountoura, Fankhauser said the company hopes to operate between 10 and 15 Cook’s Club hotels by summer 2019.
He estimated that the company will send three million tourists to Greece this year, up more than one third on two years ago.
“I’m proud to say that we are the number-one holiday company operating out of Europe into Greece and by the end of this season we expect to bring about three million holidaymakers to this fantastic destination,” Fankhauser said.
“Since 2016, we have opened up new regions to our customers including northern Greece; added new airline routes into the country and its many beautiful islands; and innovated with the launch of our two new own-brand concepts, Casa Cook and Cook’s Club,” he added.
GREEK REPORTER 

Κυριακή, 24 Ιουνίου 2018

Athens Day Trip: How to Spend Your Day on the Greek Island of Tinos


While visiting Athens this summer you are probably looking to figure out which of the nearby islands you should visit in an excursion from the mainland.
One island that is seeped in history and beauty is the island of Tinos. The island is laced with sacred religious and historic sites, history museums, and art museums – and dotted with charming authentic Greek villages. Let’s look at how you can spend your day visiting this island and what sites you want to be sure to put on your itinerary.
First off, one piece of advice when visiting this island is to rent a car. There is so much to see on this island and in order to set your own pace, driving from each destination point is the way to really enjoy yourself.
Start off in the town of Tinos, also called Chora, at the Church of the Virgin Mary, (the Panayia Evanyelistria Cathedral). This is the most popular attraction on this island. Even many Greeks visit this Church regularly and pray or give thanks to the icon, as it is known to be a source of numerous miracles.
Next stop on the itinerary – Pyrgos village, located just northwest of Chora. This quaint village transports you to another time with its traditional Cycladic architecture. Here you will find yourself strolling the whitewashed narrow alleys, visiting small churches and taking an endless amount of photos of the white-washed cubic houses with brightly painted doors and windows.
Here you will also find Museum of Marble Crafts – a must see on your trip. Afterall, marble has been a big part of the island’s history and its architecture. Tinos is the birthplace of many modern Greek sculptors; the best known is Giannoulis Halepas, from Pyrgos.
You can also enjoy a traditional meal in one of the town squares at a local taverna. The atmosphere and food are sure to be unforgettable!
Close to Pyrgos village is a great beach called Rohari Beach. Although it is an organized beach complete with a beach bar, you can also opt to chill out under the trees and relax on the sandy beach.
On your drive back to Chora you do not want to miss Kardiani village, which is located in one of the greenest parts of the island. The village is like a painting and it gracefully lies on the slopes of Mount Pateles. It’s only 16 kilometers northwest of Chora, so there is no reason to miss out on seeing this hidden gem!
The historic ruins on the island at the site of the ancient capital of Tinos at Xomburgo are a magnificant site. Also from here you will have great panaromic veiws of the Aegean Sea. You can stop here on your way to Chora to enjoy the views and snap some unforgettable photos.
Tinos is known for its amazing sunsets, so before returning to the mainland, why not have a Greek coffee at a cafeteria in Chora and enjoy watching the sun set and the night sky lighting up in an array of blazing oranges and reds – the perfect ending to an amazing day.

Κυριακή, 27 Μαΐου 2018

National Tourism Organization Invites 587 Bloggers to Promote the Beauty of Greece


Mykonos
For the third year, the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) is organizing a program of familiarization trips which intend to make a global touristic promotion of the country. The project intends to bring 587 foreign bloggers, journalists, and representatives of international travel agencies from 27 different countries in 167 familiarization trips scheduled until July to get to know and promote the 13 different regions of Greece, promoting Greek tourism abroad.
Athens, World Book Capital 2018
Athens.
The guidelines of the program are included within the framework of the National and Regional Tourism Policy of the country presenting Greece as a year-round destination. A project that is being implemented with enormous success and that sees the participation of the different regions and municipalities as well as actors from the touristic private sector.
The first part of the Familiarization Travel Program, approved by the Greek National Tourism Organization aims to promote less known Greek destinations to the global travel community, but it also includes a targeted promotion of different thematic touristic proposals which intend to attract visitors throughout the year.
Portara, Naxos (Courtesy of Gabi Ancarola).
Portara, Naxos (Courtesy of Gabi Ancarola).
Some of the important news outlets participating in the project include journalists from Great Britain (Travel Chanel, BBC, The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, Walk Magazine and Evening Standard), France (France 2, France 5), the German publishing group Tagesspiegel, the Austrian newspapers Krone Zeitung & Die Presse, the Belgian magazine Exclusief, the Romanian National Geographic Traveler, Romania’s state TV channel TVR. Private channels such as Antenna 1, Antenna 2, Canal D, Prima TV have also been invited to attend the trips. Bloggers from England, Germany, and Denmark, as well as leading travel agencies from Frace, Japan, China, Poland, The Netherland, Israel, and Romania, will also be part of the planned visits.
Patmos travel guide (digital format)
Patmos (photo courtesy Gabi Ancarola).
Different Chinese travel agents, a Chinese travel magazine Travel Agent Magazine as well as a blogger with over 4 million followers on the social media will be taking part in the first Thematic Aegean cruise. Finally, CNN Travel will be hosted on the islands of Chios and Patmos so as to work on the promotion of both destinations as gastronomic and cultural places to visit in Greece.

Πέμπτη, 24 Μαΐου 2018

Mykonos: More Than a Greek Party Island.


Port of Mykonos (Courtesy of The Tiny Book).
Centrally located in the Cycladic group of Greek islands, Mykonos is an extremely popular summer destination.
Known for its epic party atmosphere but also for sandy beaches, whitewashed Cycladic architecture and glamorous reputation, it regularly tops travel sites’ lists of Greek island destinations.

Plan your trip in Greece HERE 
However, there is more to the island than its fashionable side. Few people know that Mykonos has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Serene corners, culture and history are also part of the island of Mykonos and here are some of the best things to do on the island.
Windmills in the landscape of Mykonos

The Castle of Gyzi

Not many kilometers out of Mykonos Town, the ruins of Gyzi Castle represent an interesting point of history that the tells the legends of the island’s past. It dates back to the 13th century and was built on a hilltop to offer protection to Ano Mera, a rural village. The castle was abandoned during the years of the Ottoman domination and was used by pirates in the Aegean as a base. Views from the top of the hill allow visitors to discover the beautiful coastal landscape of Mykonos.

Little Venice

Little Venice
The district of Alefkandra, also popularly known as Little Venice offers – together with the Windmills – one of the best-known sights of Mykonos. The area took its name from the women who used to visit the area to wash their clothes (lefka).
The houses in Alefkandra are different from the ones in the town, being three-story buildings with a small door and colorful windows which face the sea. The resemblance this area has to Italy’s famous Venice earned the neighborhood its nickname. Long ago, the area was the place where captains and merchants used to live when not at sea.

Panagia Paraportiani

Panagia Paraportiani (Courtesy The Tiny Book).
While wandering the alleys of Little Venice, it is easy to reach the nearby iconic church of the Panagia Paraportiani, five churches built in a cross-shape design, with the most recent of them standing on top.
The white building stands proudly like a mountain of sugar close to the sea. This picture-postcard complex is the perfect place to take home amazing images of this Mykonos landmark.

Panagia Tourliani

Always close to the village of Ano Mera, Panagia Tourliani is a perfect example of ecclesiastical architecture. The monastery boasts a whitewashed facade and a colored dome while in its interior it is possible to admire a magnificent marble fountain.
The stunning wooden iconostasis in Baroque style was the work of skillful Italian artists. To visit the monastery it is necessary to call beforehand and agree an appointment.

The island of Delos

Delos and the Avenue of the Lions (Source Vijinn [GFDL from Wikimedia Commons)
According to Greek mythology, Delos is the place where Leto gave birth to Zeus’ twins, Apollo and Artemis. The island, which is one of the most important archaeological sites of the whole country, allows visitors to venture into ancient avenues lined up with temples, palazzi and impressive monuments.
The island also offers breathtaking views of the Aegean, especially during sunset. Ferry boats depart daily from the harbor of Mykonos and, for those interested in the history of the place, a guided visit to the island is one of the best investments they can do on their trip

Beaches of Mykonos

Paradise Beach
Mykonos’ beaches: they are many and all of them are well-known. From the glamorous port of Ornos to the crazy atmosphere of Paradise and Super Paradise, there are beaches for all tastes.
For those looking for a relaxed atmosphere, Cavo Psarou is among the most beautiful bays to visit. Azure waters and mountains as a backdrop offer the perfect frame for a relaxing time at the beach.
Families, on the contrary, rather visit the big Platys Gialos, home to different kinds of accommodation, local tavernas as well as a little port from where small parrots depart to visit more distant shores.
Among them, Elia is a long coastal strip of white sand, known for being the favorite gathering place of the LGTB community visiting Mykonos. However, families are also attracted by this corner of paradise since its large spaces and the private atmosphere make Elia a location where everyone is able to find a place of their own.

Diving

Coast of Mykonos (Courtesy of The Tiny Book).
Submarine activities and sports are less known but also form part of summer life on Mykonos. A colorful display of submarine life can be admired below the surface of the Aegean. Snorkeling and diving are a must in the area known as Paradise Reef. This reef hosts a huge variety of Mediterranean sea life among which are octopi, seahorses, sponges, starfish and barracuda. Locals say the best months to dive are late August and September when waters are warm after months of baking under the Greek sun.

Book online all travel services HERE 
source : Greek Reporter

Τρίτη, 22 Μαΐου 2018

Patmos, the Greek Island of Revelation, Features in New Film (video)



Patmos, the Greek Island of Revelation, Features in New Film (video)


A highly acclaimed documentary about the Greek island of Patmos and the world-famous monastery of St. John the Theologian will premiere in Greek cinemas later in May after successful screenings in Europe and the U.S.
Acceptance of Inheritance: Apocalypse Again by Christos Godas, will be presented to the Athenian public on May 29 at Mikrokosmos cinema.
A seasoned traveler, Godas experiences all the “the island of Revelation” has to offer, from the social scene at local haunts to the spirituality of the Monastery of St. John the Theologian and the Holy Cave.
The film which was recently screened at Stathakion, the hall of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, describes how the history of Patmos and of the Monastery, from the 1st century AD to the Roman era, Byzantium, Ottoman Empire and finally to modern Greece, shaped Western civilization.
It also highlights the fact that during Ottoman rule the Patmos monastery saved much of ancient Greek literature. Texts of Aristotle, Plutarch, of the three tragic poets and other great ancient classics are today found in the monastery’s library and museum.
source: Greek reporter.

Τετάρτη, 16 Μαΐου 2018

Escape the City for a Swim in Greece’s Lake Vouliagmeni



Vouliagmeni Lake (Source: C messier – Own work, CC0)
One of the most beautiful places along the Athenian Riviera is, without any doubt, Lake Vouliagmeni. Perfect during any time of the year, both for a restoring winter swim as well as for a summer escape from the bustling capital.
Any weather is ideal for swimming in the lake and to enjoy its deep blue waters. The sheer cliffs boast amazing views as well as pine forests all around the lake.
Another view of the lake (Source: Dim Philos [CC BY-SA 4.0 from Wikimedia Commons)
Once in the lake, swimmers find that the water temperature ranges between 22C and 29C (72-84F) despite the season and the weather outside. Besides this, the lake is also known for its therapeutic properties.
Lake Vouliagmeni is hidden in a very romantic scenario, surrounded by dramatic views. The lake is fed by subterranean natural springs which flow through a system of tunnels and caverns, also the source of myths and legends that captivate locals and tourists alike.
The lake at night.
The water, slightly salty in its composition, communicates with the sea, which means it is constantly refreshed and clean. While the lake used to be known and visited mostly by an older public, there is a trend for younger visitors who, during the past years, have started choosing the lake over the sea as part of a healthier way of life.
Only 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Athens, Lake Vouliagmeni is easy to reach. Moreover, there is private transportation available to reach the area. More information can be found on the lake’s website.
source :greek reporter.
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