Sep 23

KOS – TURQUOISE WATERS AND ANCIENT HISTORY (ΚΩΣ)

The island of Kos is part of the Dodecanese group of islands, is the second most popular island after Rhodes and the third largest. Kos is the birthplace of Hippocrates, the founding father of medicine. Here you can visit the ruins of the ancient city and the castle. The view that unfolds in front of your eyes from the highest point of the old city is beyond magnificent.

Kos is only four kilometers away from the coast of Bodrum in Turkey, from where you can arrive by ferry. In summer (between May and October), there is a one way ferry ride departing towards Kos at 9 a.m. (the ticket costs 25 Euros per person for a single road), and a slow ferry ride for 50 Euros per person. You can reach the island by ferry from Kos within any other Greek islands. Travelling by ferry from Rhodes to Kos lasts between 2 and 8 hours and the ticket prices start from 30 Euros per person on the fast ferry, with special seats like those of an aircraft. The ferry from Santorini to Kos can make about 4 hours and 15 minutes and the ticket costs 28.50 euro per person for one trip at economic class.

There are flights from Athens to Kos. The flight duration is approximately 1 hour, and a ticket at the Aegean Airlines company starts from 126 Euros one way. In summer, there are direct flights from many European cities straight to Kos; for instance, TUIfly flies from Cologne, Basel, Hanover, Stuttgart, Bremen, Nuremberg, Munich, Frankfurt and Dusseldorf.

The climate of Kos

Summers are hot and dry, while winters are mild, which means that the island enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate. The average temperature in July and August is around 28ºC during the day and 22ºC at night. Summers are dry and rain is missing.

What to do in Kos

The main port, Kos, is the cultural and tourist center of the island. The whitewashed buildings are hotels, restaurants and several nightclubs; enough to ensure delightful spending a night on the town.

One of the attractions on the island is a fortress dating from the 14th century, located at the harbor entrance. History says that here is the birthplace of Hippocrates. In the center of it is there is an old plan-tree that is known as Hippocrates’ plane-tree Hippocrates. It is said that he used to teach the art of medicine under this tree. You can also visit the ruins of Asklepion, a temple dedicated to healing the sufferings.

The beaches of Kos

Kos is blessed with some of the most beautiful beaches in the Dodecanese islands:

Psalidi – has numerous beach bars, is located only 3 kilometers from Kos.

Kardamena Beach – 30 kilometers west of the city of Kos, very popular among tourists and well organized.

Marmari Limnaria – 20 kilometers from the city of Kos, is designed for practicing windsurfing beach.

Tigaki – 11 kilometers from Kos, with crystal water and shallow.

Kamari – is 45 kilometers from Kos town, is surrounded by high rocky peaks; part of this beach is not landscaped and is quite isolated.

Mastichari Beach – situated 27 kilometers from the city of Kos, is an exotic beach with white sand and emerald water; here you can practice windsurfing.

Lambi – only 3 kilometers from the city of Kos, well organized; rents umbrellas and sun beds.

Photo source:

Picture 1: jet2holidays.com; Picture 2: yourgreekisland.com; Picture 3: cheapholidays.com; Picture 4: cqmsjt.com; Picture 5: telegraph.co.uk; Picture 6: thomascook.com
Sep 19

THIS YEAR’S TOP FIVE POPULAR ATTRACTIONS IN SANTORINI (ΔΉΜΟΣ ΘΉΡΑΣ)

The views from the top of the rocks that will leave you breathless, whitewashed churches with blue domes and glittering treasures left by the extinct civilizations are just some of the reasons that make Santorini always present in the most prestigious touristic charts. Officially called Thira, sunny Santorini is undoubtedly the most beloved island of the Cyclades Archipelago, located in south-eastern Greece in the waters of the Aegean Sea.

Santorini is the place where the largest volcanic eruption in human history (from what we know so far) has taken place. If there was anything positive that came out from that terrible explosion is that it made possible the creation of several islands – a whole archipelago – out of one big island. At the same time it was also created the biggest attraction of the location: the island’s caldera. In addition, tourists who are fascinated by ancient history can visit the Minoan artifacts and ancient ruins buried by the eruption.

Known for dry white wines, picturesque beaches and nightlife, Santorini is a popular destination for visitors who want to relax, or have fun. Here’s a top five suggestion list of what to do and what to see in Santorini if you want to discover the archeologist within yourself:

1. Ancient Thera

Situated on high cliffs that face the sea between the beaches of Kamari and PerissaAncient Thera exposes ruins discovered in 1900. Ancient tombs, monuments, remains of houses, churches and fortifications represent a wide and representative post-Minoan display of artifacts. The Roman Baths, the Greek structures of the fourth century and the altar erected in the honor of Apollo, which is adorned with drawings of the eighth century, are absolutely remarkable and preserved in great state. In order to reach the ruins, visitors can climb by foot, straight from the beach or take the bus, taxi or their private car.

2. Therasia (Thirassia)

the island of Therasia is the perfect destination for tourists who want to enjoy the sunny atmosphere of Santorini. The largest of the five villages on this adjacent little isle, also called Therasia, has only around 150 inhabitants. It is accessible straight from the caldera via a rocky walkway. The little island has the same architecture as the picturesque Santorini and the population shares the same customs and traditions. Whether you visit it in a one day trip or that you decide to organize your entire stay there, Therasia offers visitors an authentic Greek experience on the island.

3. Pyrgos

It was once the capital of Santorini. The inner city is situated on a hill offering stunning views across the surrounding area. There are still remnants of a Venetian castle on top of this hill. Inside the castle walls there is a church which is believed to have been built in the tenth century. Relatively unchanged by the presence of tourists, Pyrgos site still has a good deal of medieval architecture. The village is surrounded by wineries that offer tours and free sessions of wine tasting. The wine reserved for dessert is called Vinsanto and is one of the best Greek products.

4. The Museum of Prehistoric Thera

Located in Fira, the capital of Santorini, the museum is the most important cultural attraction on the island. Opened in 2000, it holds treasures discovered on the Akrotiri site, including colorful frescoes. A representation of women picking saffron gives an insight into the life of that era. Blue monkeys are immortalized on other frescoes. Over time, in-depth researches have denied the existence of monkeys Santorini, which makes the existence of these frescoes a truly unusual purpose.

5. Kamari Beach

The biggest and most popular beach in Santorini is located near the village of the same name. The village and beach received its name from a small arch placed in between the rocks on the southern end of the beach, which represents a monument built in honor of the god Poseidon. This black sand beach is the most sought after on the island. It is crowded with hotels, bars and nightclubs. Besides sunbathing, scuba diving is also a popular activity.

But Santorini has a lot more to offer. It is a fascinating world-within-the-world and only a slice of Greece that, nevertheless, has its own identity. We shall help you discover other aspects of Santorini in future articles.

Photo source:

Picture 1: thetravelerschant.files.wordpress.com; Picture 2: santoriniholidaycars.com; Picture 3: santorinimytour.com; Picture 4: mygreecetravelblog.com; Picture 5: thetravelerschant.wordpress.com; Picture 6: weddings-in-santorini.com; Picture 7: roadfortwo.com

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 13

RHODES – SOME SAY IT’S THE BEST OF GREECE (ΡΌΔΟΣ)

Nicknamed the “Island of the Sun”, Rhodes is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Greece and the most popular of the islands that make up the Dodecaneselor archipelago. Experience the natural beauty of the island, exploring its ancient history, enjoy the nightlife or simply enjoy the famous Greek food and wine. Rhodes offers you everything that your can wish for.

Situated at a distance of 18 kilometers west of Turkey, right between Greece and Cyprus, Rhodes is the largest island in the Dodecanese group.

How to get to Rhodes

You can get there by air from Athens and arrive on the local airport in 45 minutes. Other domestic flights link Rhodes to Crete, Mykonos, Karpathos, Santorini, Kastellorizo and Thessaloniki. Another alternative is to reach it through the water, using the ferry that connects the most important Greek ports to Rhodes – Piraeus, Crete and other islands in the Aegean – and the ports in Turkey and Israel.

Weather

Probably the most beautiful island in Greece (but then again, who can properly decide?!) and the perfect choice for honeymoon, Rhodes has a mild Mediterranean climate. Summers are hot and sunny, and winters are mild and wet. During July and August, the wind turns Rhodes into the perfect place to practice windsurfing. The average temperature reaches 29º Celsius in the summer months, so it is not unbearably hot, regardless of the island’s position, down south in the Mediterranean Sea.

Colossus of Rhodes

Colossus of Rhodes is one of the 7 wonders of the world. It is a giant statue of the god Helios, situated at the entrance to the Port of Rhodes. The statue was built by Chares of Lindos between year 292 and 280 B.C. Ancient texts describe that structure was built around several stone towers, placed on a pedestal of marble near the entrance of Mandraki port, then beams of iron were placed on towers of stone and tiles of bronze attached girders to give shape of the human body. Colossus of Rhodes lasted only 56 years, but discutions regarding its reconstruction continue until today.

The Beautiful Beaches of Rhodes

Since the island has a very long coastline, there are many places where you can swim and sunbathe. Faliraki is the most famous beach, located only 14 kilometers from the capital city of Rhodes. Kalithea is also a beach that is well-known mainly for its medicinal hot water springs. Other beaches worth visiting are: Prassonissi, Traganou, Kalathos, Tsabika, Saint Paul and Afandou.

What can you do in Rhodes

“Old Town” or Medieval City is one of the most beautiful symbols of the island and has been included in UNESCO World Heritage. Here, visitors can admire Pili Elefterias, Byzantine Museum, Panagia tou Kastrou, the Mosque of Suleiman, Simis Square, Ippokratous Square, Grand Masters Palace, the Minaret in the old city and the Great Hamam, Archeological Museum, the Clock Tower and the famous Street of the Kings – Ippoton.

If you like nature and want to admire some superb specimens of butterflies, then spend a day in the woods and do not miss the Butterfly Valley. But for that you have to visit Rhodes between late May and September, so that you can really enjoy this unique place.

If you’re tired of sightseeing and sunbathing, you can practice water sports, play tennis, golf, or go horse riding. For those passionate about gambling in a casino there is such a place in Afandou.

Traditional Greek villages are truly picturesque. When visiting Rhodes, do not miss Filermios, Kritinia and Lindos, three of the most beautiful traditional villages of the island. White houses, narrow stones and ancient history creates an faqscinating and romantic atmosphere, just perfect for a holiday in two.

Photo source:

Picture 1: glasgowairport.com; Picture 2: wikimapia.org; Picture 3: tripadvisor.com; Picture 4: travelpassionate.com; Picture 5: commons.wikimedia.org; Picture 6: portesmagazine.com; Picture 7: survivingeurope.com; Picture 8: blog.forum-nexus.com; Picture 9: click.ro; Picture 10: tedytravel.com; Pucture 11: blog.greece-rentacar.com; Picture 12: ilgiramondo.net; Picture 13: holidaywarehouse.co.uk
Aug 25

ZAKYNTHOS THE GREEK ISLAND THAT HAS EVERYTHING (ΖΑΚΎΝΘΟΥ)

Zakynthos is the third largest island of the Ionian Archipelago and also has become a very popular destination among tourists. Beautiful beaches, charming places to visit and relaxing atmosphere make Zante (as it is nicknamed) a perfect choice for summer vacation.

Getting to Zakynthos

Being an island, Zante is served by ferries leaving from the continental side of the country and from other Greek islands. Ferries to Kefalonia leave from Agios Nikolaos, while the boats to Kilina (Kyllini) leave from Zakynthos town.

There is also an airport in Zakynthos, close to the resorts of Laganas and Kalamaki. It is both domestic and international flights. You can fly from Athens with Olympic Air, whose prices start from 78 euros per person, one way (during peak season). In summer, there are other low-cost airlines offering flights to Zakynthos.

What can you do in Zakynthos

Due to rainfall in winter, Zante is a lush island, known as the “Flower of the Levant”. A very good time to visit the island is between March and May, when everything turns green.

The island was hit by several earthquakes over time. But the main town was rebuilt and still retains the resemblance to San Marco Square in Venice.

Blue grottos are a must-see. Located in the north of the island, they are known for the turquoise color of the waters (especially in the morning). Tour operators offer guided tours in the area of these unique formations and caves.

The wreck of Navagio was brought ashore in 1981 and is now a tourist attraction known worldwide. Situated in a wonderful location, it offers excellent possibilities for taking creative pictures. The best snapshots can be captured on the platform next to the Agios Gergio Kremnao monastery. And for even more wonderful panoramas of the horizon, go to Cape Skinari in the north side of the island.

Climate

Zakynthos is blessed with a typical Mediterranean climate with hot summers and mild winters. It is known to be the sunniest place in Greece. In August, temperatures can easily reach 32º Celsius and humidity is quite high. To avoid high temperatures, plan your journey in May, June, September or October.

The wonderful beaches of Zante

Zakynthos has some of the most wonderful beaches in Greece. Agios Nikolaos is the best on the island. There you can find a bar and you practice a lot of sports: from water sports to sky diving and other extreme sports. Xehoriati beach is quieter and offers dreamlike landscapes and a lovely view from which you can admire Kefalonia from afar. There are two restaurants on the beach with fresh delicious food, where you can indulge yourself in traditional Greek meals.

Enjoy your time here and we assure you that you will want to return!

Photo source:

Picture 1: nstravel.ro; Picture 2: jinfotours.ro; Picture 3: zakynthosharmonyhotel.gr; Picture 4: itaka.pl; Picture 5: grecia.de-weekend.ro; Picture 6: sportychoco.ro/; Picture 7: paralela45.ro
Aug 12

THE MGNIFFICENT MASTIC TOWNS OF CHIOS (ΧΊΟΣ)

Discover the fantastic world of mastic (resin) cities in Chios island of Greece (Mastihohória), a fortified complex of settlements of rare beauty. The existence of these cities is closely linked to the “tears” of mastic trees that grow only in the south of the island. The Genovese built this complex to provide shelter to families who lived here and cultivated the trees. At some point during their occupation, they have also raised fortresses to protect their land. The massacre of the residents by the Turks destroyed the economic structure of this society.

The turbulent history of these cities reflects miraculously in the buildings’ architecture: for defense purposes, they were built offshore and surrounded by high walls, with a central tower; the last defense possibility if the walls were attacked by Arab pirates. The tower has no doors, but invaders could enter by using ladders, because the bridges were built of roofs. The streets were narrow and dark, with hidden alleys, which can not only make the invaders feel confused, but they were used as hideouts by locals, allowing them to quietly plan their attacks.

There are currently only 24 such settlements that have resisted the passing of time, many of which were destroyed by the catastrophic earthquake that took place in 1881. Some cities are still intact, including Mestá, Pirgí, Olympia, Kalamoti, Véssa Patrik, Vouno, Elati and Kini, forming impressive medieval towns. The recent restoration works performed on the old stone residences have contributed significantly to beautify the landscape, and managed to recreate the atmosphere of the times long gone.

Mestá is the best preserved fortified city in the complex. A tour of these places will give you a chance to admire three impressive castles, ancient churches and magnificent stone houses built side by side and linked by arches. In Pyrgos you will discover impressive black and white geometric decorations which adorn the exterior walls of the houses – the so-called “ksistá”. In Avgonima, the view will definitely captivate you, because this place is near the island of Psará.

Do not miss the medieval Olympic settlement ocated 31 kilometers south of Chios city. Stroll along the maze- like alleys of Kalamoti where you pass near two-story stone houses that remained intact over time. Kallimassiá was almost destroyed by the earthquake of 1881, but you can still find here ruins and medieval towers of local churches. Enjoy a cup of coffee in the square and get to know the friendly locals who are extremely eager to teach you how mastic is produced, respecting a practice 2,500 years old.

Photo source:

Picture 1: funkystock.photoshelter.com; Picture 2: funkystock.photoshelter.com; Picture 3: funkystock.photoshelter.com; Picture 4: funkystock.photoshelter.com; Picture 5: funkystock.photoshelter.com; Picture 6: funkystock.photoshelter.com
Aug 10

THE SURREAL SCENERY OF METEORA AND THE MONASTERIES AMONG THE CLOUDS IN (ΜΕΤΈΩΡΑ)

The monasteries of Meteora are positioned on the lordly peaks of sandstone pillars formed millions of years ago in the region of Thessaly. Most monasteries were built in the Middle Ages. The Greek word “Meteora”, which means “suspended in the air,” perfectly describes these remarkable buildings of the Greek Orthodox beief. The monasteries of Meteora are some of the most spectacular sights of Greece. And not just because they offers incredible views of the surroundings, but it also illustrates the unique perspective through a medieval monastic life.

Six of the original complexes are still inhabited by clerics who greet visitors from all over the world. The picturesque town of Kalabaka, located at the foot of cliffs, serves as a camp for those who want to soar to the top.

1 The Great Meteoron Monastery

The largest and oldest monastery of Meteora, the Great Meteoron Monastery is also the highest, located at more than 615 meters up. Founded by St. Athanasius, whose followers were exiled royal figures, Meteoron has always been considered the most prestigious. The huge complex includes a nuns’ monastery, dating from the XIV century, a small museum, a wine cellar and a shaded courtyard. For many visitors, a memorable image is that of the sacristy, where the skulls of those who lived in the monastery are being kept.

2 Holy Trinity Monastery

Serving as a place of filming for the James Bond film “For Your Eyes Only”, the 1981 Holy Trinity Monastery is probably the most recognizable of all the monasteries at Meteora. Situated on top of a lonely height, it is a real challenge for visitors. From the parking lot, they descend 140 steps to a ravine and then climbed another 140 steps to reach the monastery. Many believe that this route is worth the effort. Because of its vaulted rooms, completely restored eighteenth century frescoes and wonderful views, the Holy Trinity Monastery rewards visitors through an experience that can not be forgotten soon.

3 Varlaam Monastery

The second largest monastery in Meteora, Varlaam, gives an overview of the difficulty the monks have encountered when they built these sanctuaries on the rocks. It took 22 years to bring all necessary materials to the place where construction would begin. The tower that used a rope basket supply is present today in the museum. Until the twentieth century, the only way that visitors could reach the monastery was by being picked up with the same means of climbing. Today, 195 steps carved into the rock lead to the peak. Inside, you will admire the main chapel frescoes covering the walls, including drawings with apocalyptic themes.

4 Monastery of St. Stephen

The only visible monastery in Kalambaka, St. Stephen, was a place of pilgrimage since the XIV century, when Byzantine Emperor Andronicus Palaeologus visited and financed the original church. Built in 1500, the church houses in prezet the skull of Saint Charalambos, which is believed to have healing powers. The monastery suffered serious damage in the twentieth century: it was bombed during the Second World War by the Germans while several frescoes were damaged by the communists during the Greek Civil War. The monastery was practically abandoned until 1961 when it became a place for nuns. Dining room dating from the fifteenth century was converted into a museum, which showcases finely embroidered robes and tapestries. The road to the monastery is considerably eased by a bridge that connects it to the main road. The nuns welcome visitors and sometimes offer them embroidery manufactured with their hands.

5 Rousanou Monastery

Located relatively lower than its “cousin” from Meteora, Rousanou Monastery is easily accessible and a restored crossing  bridge over the stone walls will make the pass more exciting. Founded in the sixteenth century, the monastery was converted in 1988 into a place for nuns. The hospitable nuns welcome the visitors from the doorway create a stark contrast with the macabre scenes captured in the frescoes in the main chapel. The elated yards and gardens outside the monastery are a real bless during the hot Greek summer days and serve as perfect backdrops for those who want to take pictures.

6 Monastery of St. Nicholas Anapafsas

Being relatively small, the monastery of St. Nicholas Anapafsas is often overlooked during visits, although the complex is easily accessible and is definitely worth a visit. Monastery built in the fourteenth century holds some of the most beautiful frescoes of Meteora. The famous Cretan painter Theophanis Strelitzas adorned the main chapel with illustrations of biblical scenes representing lively images of monastic life in the XVI century. The road to Kastraki will lead the visitors to the base of the peak, where 150 steps are enough to reach the monastery.

Photo source:

Picture 1: twofootcreative.com; Picture 2: 2worldtrippers.wordpress.com; Picture 3: mikereyfman.com; Picture 4: piddling.deviantart.com; Picture 5: postcardsforjules.com; Picture 6: mikereyfman.com; Picture 7: geolocation.ws
Aug 04

FIVE MOST POPULAR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS OF THESSALONIKI (ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗ)

FIVE MOST POPULAR TOURIST ATTRACTIONS OF THESSALONIKI (ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗ)

The second largest city of Greece, Thessaloniki fascinates through its history and vivacious spirit. It is one of the best appreciated party cities in Europe, and it’s known for the flamboyant and glowing nigh life that it offers. There are a lot to say about this amazingly hip city, but let us begin with a top 5 of the most popular tourist attractions and symbols of the place, that visitor should not miss on their visit.

  1. The White Tower

The tall, circular White Tower placed on the beachfront, is the symbol of Thessaloniki, and is loaded with history. Originally it was part of the defense system of the city but after the demolition of most of the city walls, in the late 19th century, it remained by itself. In the Ottoman period it served as prison, being the scene of many executions and tortures, and it gained the “bloody tower” moniker, because the outer walls were filled with the blood of the victims. Fortunately better times have arrived and in order to clear this image, the tower was painted white and renamed as such. The White Tower name was kept until today, when it was turned into a museum that recounts the daily life of Thessaloniki, along the ages.

  1. Saint Dimitrios Church

This impressive church was built on the site of an ancient Roman baths, where legend has it that St. Dimitros was held prisoner and then executed and thrown into a well by Roman soldiers. It is a basilica with five intervals with a single hexagonal ship, known as the ciborium. The main attraction here is a mural mosaic consisting of six panels, depicting St. Dimitrios with the church builders and their children. The church is one of the largest and most important from a historical perspective in the whole city of Thessaloniki.

  1. Rotonda of Galerius

The oldest monument in Thessaloniki, Rotonda, is a huge circular building, which was originally a Roman temple, then a Christian church, then a mosque. Its walls have a thickness greater than 6 meters, and thanks to this detail the edifice has withstood numerous earthquakes that took place in the region of Thessaloniki. This magnificent cylindrical structure was built in the year 306 as part of a large palace, at the orders of the Roman Emperor Galerius, who intended to use it as a mausoleum or temple. During the next 1200 years, until the city fall into the hands of the Ottomans, the construction served as a church and in 1590 it was converted into a mosque. Fortunately, the mosaics that had survived until then were not affected by this change, as the Ottomans hadn’t taken them down, preferring to paint over them. Nowadays, the Rotonda is a museum.

  1. The Arch of Galerius

The Arch of Galerius (or Kamara) is the most distinctive Roman structure of Thessaloniki, and also the most popular tourist attraction, next to the White Tower. The Arch was raised as a triumphal monument in the honor of Emperor Galerius, to celebrate the victorious military campaign against the Persians in the year 298 and defeating their capital, Ctesiphon. In its original version, the Arch had four main pillars and four secondary. Today, only two of the primary and a secondary one have survived but visitors can admire the beauty of the sculptures representing scenes from the battles that occurred during those terrible times.

  1. Nea Paralia

The largest pedestrian area of Thessaloniky, located in the eastern district, is one of the best public projects that have been realized in Greece in the last 20 years. The narrow but very long promenade allwy covers a distance of about 3.5 km from the White Tower to Megaro Mousikis, offering a superb “buffer” zone between the city and the sea. It became the most popular promenade place of Thessaloniki and it also offers fun and leisure opportunities because bars and restaurants are strung along them.

Photo source:

Picture 1: blueairweb.com; Picture 2: enjoythessaloniki.com; Picture 3: ekathimerini.com; Picture 4: travelinmyfootsteps.wordpress.com; Picture 5: flickr.com; Picture 6: 188.164.203.167/greekorama; Picture7: youtube.com
Jul 22

SAMOS – THE ISLAND OF LIGHT AND MYTHICAL TEMPLES (ΣΆΜΟΣ)

Samos is a Greek island situated in the northern Aegean Sea, near Turkey’s coast, which stretches between the southern island of Chios, Patmos and northern Dodecanese island group. The island is the birthplace of Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras, the astronomer Aristarchus of Samos, who was the first to launch the idea that the Earth revolves around the sun.

How to reach the Island of Samos

The island can be reached by ferry from Turkey (Kusadasi). The journey takes two hours and the boat schedule works only during the summer season, starting from the second week of May. But there are also ferries that will take you to Samos from other Greek islands and from Athens (Piraeus). The trip from Piraeus lasts nine hours.

On the island there is an airport where planes landing daily from Athens and from other important cities and islands in Greece. During the summer season, several low-cost airlines, including Airberlin, Transavia, Jetairfly or SmartWings offers tourists flights to Samos.

Samos tourism season begins in May. You should know that Samos benefits from a Mediterranean climate, just like the other islands of the northeastern Aegean Sea. Moderate winds and low amounts of rainfall in summer make Samos an excellent holiday destination. The average temperature in summer reaches 27ºC in July.

What to do Samos. Samos is the place where you find Pythagoreion, the ancient fortified port, and the temple of Hera, included in UNESCO World Heritage. Pythagoreion is a port built during antiquity, with Greek and Roman monuments, including the Eupalinian aqueduct, also known as Eupalinos’ tunnel. It is only 10-15 minutes’ walk from Pythagoreion.

The Temple of Goddess Hera is located six kilometers from the old city. Today, there is only one column left from the entire building. There are known to have been many stages of construction of the temple, the first one dating from the 8th century BC. Between 570 and 550 B.C. a much larger temple was built, but 10 years later it was destroyed, most likely due to an earthquake. After that, a bigger temple was built in the west side of the ancient settlements. Unfortunately, it was never finished. During the Byzantine era, the Temple of Goddess Hera served as a stone quarry.

The beaches. The island offers plenty of beaches to explore, so swimming and sunbathing represent the core activities. Until May the water is cold, but afterwards wading becomes a pleasure. Gagkou Beach is the nearest beach to the City of Samos. It is 15 minutes’ walk from the port where ferries dock. Watch out for the stones and pebbles on the beach, but don’t get discouraged and keep in mind the fact that you can rent sunbeds. There are plenty of bars and cafes that will offer you a great variety of food and drinks to all lovers of the sun.

Photo source:

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Jul 15

GREECE AND HER ENCHANTING BEACHES (ΕΛΛΑΔΑ)

Because the weather is so hot today, we can’t think of anything else but holiday in the sun, waves and cocktails on the beach. And what other country would you think of for such an experience, but Greece and her thousands of beautiful islands, clear blue waters and good vibes?!

On our trip we shall check some of the most beautiful Greek beaches – although choosing among them is one of the hardest tasks you can think of – and see if we can make up our mind about where to go. You can write novels and talk for days about the fascination that Greece reveals, but we have to make up our mind and begin somewhere…

The first one that comes into our minds is Paradise beach. Just like the name suggests, this spot located on the magnificent island of Mykonos is truly Heaven on Earth. Especially tourists who want to party all night long by the water and sand will appreciate this place. Paradise beach awaits revelers from all over the world, herbalists, bohemian souls and anybody who wants to live a unique experience from sunrise until sunset and the other way around. Even if you’re not interested in partying, the water is warm and the sand on the beach is soft and golden. Food and drink abound here, and for guaranteed fun, better leave the children at home.

Balos Lagoon

One of the most beautiful beaches in Crete, Balos Lagoon is near the town of Kissamos. Placed between two islands, Imeri Gramvousa and Crete, the beach is accessible only by boat or by car. At Balos Lagoon you are greeted by a landscape of unparalleled beauty created by a group of rocks, surrounded by pink sand and turquoise blue waters. This is certainly the most photographed natural wonder in Greece, which attracts tourists each year. July and August are the busiest. When you come to Balos, do not forget to get yourself a snack, because in the small cafe on the beach, the offer is quite limited.

Lindos Beach

Rhodes is the place where Lindos Beach, known by the name of Pallas, where the sea blends in perfect harmony with the history of the Greek islands. Tourists relax on the beach while admiring a temple that was built in the fourth century B.C., within walking distance. Here you can splash in the water, or you can rent a canoe or a rowboat, if you want a lazy afternoon around. The small town also known as Lindos nearby reveals the whitewashed houses and cobbled streets. Try the local cuisine and buy souvenirs, while strolling around the area.

Elafonisi Beach

Elafonisi Beach is truly magnificent. Located on the island of the same name in the southwest of Crete, it is distinguished by pink and white sand and clear blue waters. Lifeguards ensure that everyone is safe in the low waters of Elafonisi and the tourists’ umbrellas protect them from scorching sun of Greece. If you want to explore the surroundings, you can go to Chrysoskalitissa monastery nearby or you can visit the Agia Irini lighthouse.

Navagio Beach

Isolated and putely magnificent, Navagio beach is the main attraction of a holiday spent in Zakynthos, the third largest island of the Ionian Islands. The beach is surrounded by rocks and here you have access only by boat. Once on Navagio, you’ll see the famous ship wreck, you’ll enjoy the clear blue waters and you can go sky diving, together with other tourists jumping into the sea from cliffs in the area. The beach is not landscaped and its rough natural beauty hasn’t been altered by the influence of man, and the boats carrying tourists even offer drinks and lunch on board, so everything is perfect.

Myrtos Beach in Kefalonia is as delightful as it is surprising. The pebbles of pure white are studded on the coastline, reaching the depths of the sea that has a surreal blue color. Steep mountains and high cliffs behind the beach add to the beauty of the landscape. For all these reasons, Myrtos was voted no less than 12 times, the most beautiful beach in Greece. Those who love Myrtos Beach come here for the sun, the sun and the sun. And, of course, the sea. Shadow is a rare bird in these places, and the only water sport that can be practiced here is swimming. In any case, sunbeds and umbrellas can be rented for a fee symbolic. If you come here it’s good to wear some more solid shoes, because what seems to be soft sand in the pictures, it’s actually pebbles that can create discomfort to your soles.

Greece is a magnificent place that needs to be discovered island by island, therefore, our trip to the realm of gods and eternal sun is not over.

Photo source:

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