Sep 14

ONE-DAY TRIP TO ATHENS – HOW DO MANAGE AROUND (ΑΘΉΝΑ)

It is well-known the fact that Greeks are one of the most hospitable and full of life nations in the world; however, the tumult, the rhythm and the spirit of locals in Athens and across the region can become overwhelming at a time. Athens is a popular tourist destination because of its fascinating and rich ancient history and, in addition, for its boundless dynamism, becoming one of the most spectacular cities to visit in the Mediterranean region. Do you usually go to Greece to enjoy the dolce far niente on the islands? No one will blame you, but do not avoid the Greek capital. And if you feel you need a break from the hype and bustle of the city, you have a few suggestions for day trips in Athens, that will spare you the chaos and agitation. So this is what you can do during your stay there:

Aegina Island – is a favorite escape for locals and probably will become the same for you. The streets of the island are full of small restaurants and shops, while one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mediterranean is only a stone’s throw from this area. Nearby there is a water park, so the trip is great for little ones as well.

Epidavros – although it is one of the most modern cities of Greece, here you will find the most beautiful archaeological sites throughout the region, including Ancient Theater of Epidaurus. This place is a small port city, famous for its orange groves.

Hydra – easily reached from Athens, this beautiful island is worth visiting, as well as worth exploring everything it has to offer. The trip by ferry from Piraeus to Hydra lasts for about two hours, so it would be better to dedicate a full day to this trip. Since its arrival here, you will immediately notice the many taxis pulled by donkeys waiting for tourists who have just descend from the ferry.

Marathon – although locals do not see this destination as one of the most popular, it is still a good choice, being close to Athens, and it is very quiet and peaceful. Marathon is where Greece won the war against the Persian Empire, so it has a historical significance, besides the mythical link to the famous race of Pheidippides, who was sent to Athens to announce victory. For a relaxing afternoon, visit the dam and the lake that represents the main water supply of the city of Athens. In addition, there are small restaurants just down the road in the village of Oropos.

Lake Vouliagmeni- within an hour’s drive from Athens, there is the community around Lake Vouliagmeni, which offers some of the best beaches in the region and an excellent spa. Here are some restaurants where you can best serve huge delicious platters of seafood in the area. Nearby, there are the ruins of the Temple of Apollo. In addition, there are many buses circulating throughout the day all around Athens.

So, even if you have just one day, if you take our piece of advice and organize yourself wisely, you will cover most of the important sites of Athens.

Photo source:

Picture 1: lonelyplanet.com; Picture 2: athensguide.com; Picture 3: mcsmith.blogs.com; Picture 4: evermorecruises.com; Picture 5: greece.greekreporter.com; Picture 6: intelligenttravel.nationalgeographic.com; Picture 7: holidaygreece.eu
Sep 14

THE HIDDEN TREASURES OF MACEDONIA (РЕПУБЛИКА МАКЕДОНИЈА)

Despite the progress era that came after the war against Tito’s Yugoslavia, Macedonia is still relatively unknown in comparison with its Balkan neighbors, although it has much to offer to the tourists. Bordering Serbia, Albania, Bulgaria and Greece, the country has a multi-ethnic population and is surrounded by majestic mountains that will thrill you with their breathtaking scenery. Therefore, it will ring a bell to those of you who have a passion for climbing, skiing and many other amateur outdoor activities.

The history enthusiasts will not be disappointed, either. With a cultural heritage that has ties to Greece and Rome, and with 500 years of Ottoman ruling, the undiscovered treasures of Macedonia are in the process of being disclosed – an increasing number of archaeological sites reveal the significant discoveries of this fascinating country.

We have already focused on Skopje, the capital of Macedonia that is equally interesting and now we are heading towards three other tourist attractions that will certainly leave a strong impression.

Mavrovo National Park

Only an hour away by car from the city of Skopje, you will find Mavrovo National Park. The enchanting landscape and wilderness of the natural reserve make Zare Lazarevski resort within the region a very alluring area for walking, water sports and skiing.

Galicnik Svabda, the famous wedding festival that takes place in the town of Galicnik, is held every year in July. It is a competition between couples, in which one pair is selected and they will have the honor to marry in the traditional style of Galichka. Teskoto dance is a key part of the festivities: men in traditional clothing join their hands, then move them up and down in a certain coreography in the imposing sound of drums and horns. The festivity has a solemn aura, symbolizing the sufferings of the population throughout history and offers the chance to partake in processions of men and women, dressed in traditional Macedonian costumes.

Ohrid

Three hours south of Skopje, you will encounter Ohrid, which is the most beloved of Macedonian cities and is included in the UNESCO World Heritage. The city lies on the shore of Lake Ohrid, which dates back four million years ago and is one of the oldest lakes in the world. It is said that its waters are among the most clear and pure on the planet. A boat trip here feels like a water taxi ride, and is displaying the dreamlike landscapes of Ohrid city and Albania right in front of your eyes.

Ohrid has the characteristics of a maritime city, with fairs, restaurants and places where you can practice water sports. But it is also a place that is full of history and it hosts the National Museum. The museum houses antique and archaeological treasures, which cross all periods, from prehistory to contemporary times. The Roman amphitheater, which sometimes serves as the scene of concerts fills up with a vivid and artistic atmosphere, is worth seeing en route to Fort Samul, where the spectacular view of the city is portraying in front of your eyes.

Ohrid is surrounded by 365 churches – one for each day of the year. If you decide to climb the steep mountain, the ascention will lead you to monasteries and churches such as Sveti Jovan, dating from the 15th century.

If you’re not passionate about history and religion, there is always a part of town where joy and fun is in full swing: Kaneo Beach has an air of French Riviera, as sexy girls in bikinis being a regular here.

Both in town and around the lake, there are many possibilities of accommodation, from camping to modern hotels. Many tourists choose to stay in one of the many apartments offered for rent, which are easy to find if you have your backpack or suitcase that will make you look like a tourist, as you will receive accomodation offers from locals even on the street. During summer, you will have the chance to look at the stars on clear night’s sky of you go camping by the lakeside.

The pace of life here is calm, and locals are always happy to mingle with tourists, on topics related to politics and history of Macedonia. So you can engage in controversial discussions on the subject of the country’s name. Greece, Albania and Bulgaria, they all claim the name ‘Macedonia’, as Macedonia of today represents the famous place that has such a great historical significance. However, nowadays it is referred to as the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (FYROM).

Bitola

Bitola is a historic town with a distinct atmosphere, at the foot of Mount Baba. A long time ago, this place used to represent the administrative and economic center of Macedonia. Its importance is reflected in the name it had had, especially in politics, during Ottoman times, when it was known as the “City of Consuls”, reflecting the large number of consulates that were once here. Architectural beauties include the famous Clock Tower, and numerous mosques and churches.

Another significant piece of info is that Pelister ski resort, located nearby, is another attraction in winter, so you have plenty of reasons to visit Macedonia.

Photo source:

Picture 1: destinatii.eu; Picture 2: macedonia-timeless.com; Picture 3: gbtimes.com; Picture 4: tourismplaceinfo.com; Picture 5: macedoniaholidaysandtours.com; Picture 6: lonelyplanet.com; Picture 7: pinterest.com
Sep 14

A HOLIDAY FOR TWO – TERME ZRECE AND POSTOJNA CAVES, SLOVENIA (POSTOJNSKA JAMA)

If you are looking at an all green type of vacation and relaxation for a week of holiday in late summer, then take the advice of experienced travelers who offer you guidance and suggestions, and go to Terme Zrece in the eponymous town in northern Slovenia a few kilometers further from the motorway connecting Ljubljana with Maribor.

Slovenia is a small country with a wonderful scenery and despite the poor nightlife, at least in this area, take a week of the hectic life and dedicate it to yourselves, to your peace of mind and your physical and mental relaxation, all supported by a wonderful climate, beautiful sunny days, mitigated by the 400 meters of altitude that makes the temperature inviting.

The hotel absolutely comfortable, with well-furnished and spacious rooms, a kitchen that seemed fair. Hotel Terme Zrece offers various packages to the tourists who want to relax in their structure, with different types of massages available. It also offers the possibility to exploit without limits the two swimming pools with thermal water, one indoor and a second covered but in open air. Indoors are also present four different pools for the smaller tub and a spa, even for small children.

In the center, there is also a spa specially equipped for disabled people who come for these services and therapeutic treatments. In the basic package there are also includes two passes to Sauna village and gym that you can attend any time you want, and afterwards you can spend a couple of hours in the sauna and enjoy the steam rooms, or any other relaxation rooms.

If too much relaxing in this wonderful spa might get boring, take a one day trip to Rogla Mountain, where you can climb at an altitude of 1550 meters, which is no more than 15 minutes away from the hotel; here you can enjoy a 360 ° endless expanses of pine forests, that are green and fragrant, with a rich undergrowth of cyclamen. A natural wonder for lovers of peace and tranquility, in this period, the resort is being stormed by all lovers of skiing that suddenly pour into the valley during winter.

A tasty surprise is the craft beer brewed on the spot, which is truly exquisite, light and pure. The only downside is that it lasts a couple of weeks before it gets spoiled so you won’t be able to take home a significant amount, or else there’s the risk to not drink it in time and you will have to throw it away.

The small pond near the hotel is worth mentioning; you can reach it after taking on a bumpy little road, hidden among the pine forests, where locals often go fishing.

On the way back, you must not miss a stop to the famous Postojna caves. Near the large hotel you will find lots of shops, souvenirs, and, despite the obvious mercantile atmosphere, there are less visitors. If you want to have a relaxing holiday, this is the best option.

As for the cave themselves, they are a marvel. A train will lead you inside these caves that have over over two kilometers in length, and during this entire part, you are blessed with a guided tour in several languages, that will explain you everything that you need to know, for a distance of approximately 1.8 kilometers of wavy route, during which the spectacle of nature that surrounds you all around will distract you from your thoughts.

Photo source:

Picture 1: adriatransfer.com; Picture 2: packmeto.com; Picture 3: commons.wikimedia.org; Picture 4: terme-zrece.eu; Picture 5: mountvacation.co.uk; Picture 6: terme-zrece.eu; Picture 7: tripadvisor.com