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The top 5 hotel-room-views in Greece!

4 Feb

1. Rocabella, Santorini

Photo Source decorandme.blogspot.com

Photo Source decorandme.blogspot.com

Built on the edge of the Caldera in Imerovigli, Santorini, Rocabella offers one of the most incredible vistas you will enjoy in your whole life. With studios overseeing the Aegean Sea and the volcano, it is situated in a unique location and it gives you an amazing and private spot to experience the world famous sunset and watch the sun dive in the Aegean while enjoying your cocktail or swimming in one of the swimming pools. Continue reading

Guilty Pleasures: Christmas treats from Greece (part 2)

23 Dec

1. New Year Cake (Vassilopita)

Vasilopita, traditional Greek New Year Cake. Photo source: cookoo.gr

Vasilopita, traditional Greek New Year Cake. Photo source: cookoo.gr

The New Year Cake, or Vasilopita for the locals, is a round cake or tsoureki (something similar to the French brioche) that is served after the New Year festive meal. What makes it different from a normal cake is a coin hidden inside. The cake is cut in equal pieces, one for each convive, and whoever finds it is considered to have good luck for the new calendar year.

2. Melomakarono

 Melomakarono honey cookies. Photo source: k-mag.gr

Melomakarono honey cookies. Photo source: k-mag.gr

Melomakarono is a dark, egg-shaped cookie immersed in honey syrup and sprinkled with walnuts. This succulent cookie with delicate notes of cinnamon, clove and orange peel is totally worth the extra hour(s) at the gym after the end of the festive Christmas period! (We dare you to eat to just one.)

3. Kourabies

Kourabiedes sugar coated butter cookies. Photo source:  lifeanddecoration.blogspot.com

Kourabiedes sugar coated butter cookies. Photo source: lifeanddecoration.blogspot.com

Another quintessential Greek holiday cookie is kourabies. Kourabiedes (plural) are butter cookies with brandy and crispy roasted almonds hidden under a veil of powdered sugar. An ideal treat for every hour of the day, especially next to a hot cup of black coffee by the fire.

4. Diples

Typical Greek Diples sweets. Photo source: sidagi.gr

Typical Greek Diples sweets. Photo source: sidagi.gr

Diples are deep-fried thin sheets of dough usually given the shape of a roll or a bow. They are then drizzled with honey syrup and sprinkled with cinnamon, clove and ground walnuts. Diples are a typical dessert in the Peloponnese and Crete (usually called xerotigana) and apart from the Christmas holiday season are also served at traditional weddings or special occasions.

5. Sesame Baklava

Sesame Baklava from Thrace, Greece. Photo by Funky Cook

Sesame Baklava from Thrace, Greece. Photo by Funky Cook

Traditionally, Baklava is made with nuts and butter. In this special Christmas dessert from Thrace, nuts are replaced with sesame and butter with olive oil, making it appropriate for the Greek Orthodox fasting period. A delightful alternative you must absolutely try if you visit Thrace!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and, if you decide to spend holidays in Greece (which we highly recommend), strength and courage for your post-holiday diet & workouts 🙂

Stella Printezi

Guilty Pleasures: Christmas treats from Greece (part 1)

19 Dec

1. Pork

 Pork casserole with quince and prunes. Photo source: tokouzinakitispareas.gr

Pork casserole with quince and prunes. Photo source: tokouzinakitispareas.gr

Pork is the Greek turkey; in most parts of Greece, pork is traditionally served on the Christmas table in various forms (most commonly roasted). My personal favourite is the slow-cooked pork casserole with quince and prunes. With the sour taste of the quince deliciously complementing the sweetness of the prunes, this sauce gives a whole new dimension to pork. An absolute must!

2. Pomegranate

 Pomegranate, goat cheese, greens and walnut salad. Photo source: sidagi.gr

Pomegranate, goat cheese, greens and walnut salad. Photo source: sidagi.gr

In the Greek tradition, pomegranates symbolize wealth, good luck and fertility. This is why Greeks crack a pomegranate in their house entrance every New Year’s Eve, and use it in various Christmas dishes. Our suggestion would be pomegranate, goat cheese, greens and walnut salad.

3. Cabbage Dolma (Lachanodolmas)

 Traditional Greek Christmas lachanodolma Photo source: k-mag.gr

Traditional Greek Christmas lachanodolma Photo source: k-mag.gr

This traditional dish is cabbage leaves stuffed with minced meat (beef & pork) and rice, covered with a deliciously rich egg & lemon sauce. It is said that lachonodolmas symbolizes baby Jesus in swaddling clothes, this is why it is traditionally served during Christmas.

4. Msoura

Msoura is a traditional Christmas meat trilogy from Thessaloniki; small pieces of pork, beef and chicken are slowly cooked in the oven and served with rice and vegetables.

5. Christopsomo

 Christopsomo traditional Greek Christmas bread loaf. Photo source

Christopsomo traditional Greek Christmas bread loaf. Photo source : mwsaiko.blogspot.com

Christopsomo in Greek means “Christ’s Bread” and it is an ornate bread loaf traditionally made by women at Christmas Eve and served along with other treats on the Christmas table. Although its ingredients are identical to those of your usual loaf of plain bread, its appearance is indeed very different: the dough is given a round or bagel shape and it is then decorated. Every decoration has its own symbolization; a capital B, cow or plough symbolize the traditional agricultural works, a house symbolizes a wish for good luck for the whole family, and vine leaves and olive leaves stand for the wish for a mild winter and warm summer.

6. Lalaggia

 Lalagia dough strips. Photo source: ethnos.gr

Lalagia dough strips. Photo source: ethnos.gr

Lalaggia are crispy fried dough strips usually served in Messinia. Depending on the region, they can either be sweet (seasoned with cinnamon and cloves) or savoury (plain or seasoned with star anise). Although they were initially a Christmas tradition, you can now find them all-year long in almost every Messinian bakery. Make sure you buy the large bag, because despite their looks, they are absolutely irresistible! Tip: Ask for the soft ones rather than the hard type.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, and, if you decide to spend holidays in Greece (which I highly recommend), strength and courage for your post-holiday diet & workouts 🙂

Stella Printezi

The best 10 places to discover the ancient Greece

8 Dec

1.The Parthenon
I guess the Parthenon needs no introduction; or guidance to get to! One of the most -if not the most- famous landmarks of Greece, the centre of the ancient and the modern city of Athens and probably the most visited site in Greece, offers the chance to be part of a majestic masterpiece of the ancient times and a place of great inspiration.

parthenon

2. Temple of Poseidon
The temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea in ancient times, is located in cape Sounion, the southernmost tip of Attica, close to Athens. The remains of the temple stand on a cliff, surrounded on 3 sides by the sea and offering a breathtaking vista of the Aegean sea! Also a popular short excursion from Athens. Don’t miss the sun diving into the endless blue of the Aegean!

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/137993176052772235/

3. Delphi
Once what was supposed to be the centre of earth, as the myth suggest, the site of Delphi is one of most important archaeological sites of Greece. Situated on the mount of Parnassos, offers an excellent opportunity for a trip not far from Athens which will also give you the chance to enjoy the breathtaking views from the site as well as explore the nearby area, full of pure nature as well as entertainment in the cosmopolitan village of Arachova, a few kilometres away!

delphi

4. Olympia

In Peloponnese you will find the birthplace of the Olympic Games. Among many individual sites of interest you will find the stadium where the games used to take place. This is also the place where the lightning of the Olympic flame takes place!

olympia

5. Epidavros
Epidavros, situated in Peloponnese, was a small city in the Saronic gulf. What Epidaurus is mostly famous for is the ancient theatre, built in 340 BC. It is probably the best preserved ancient theatre, with tremendous acoustics. It is still being used for live performances and plays; performing in Epidavros was and still is considered to be a great honour for actors and actresses!

Epidauros

6. Mycenae

Mycenae was a fortified city, situated in Peloponnese. Alongside with Tiryns, they were the 2 greatest cities of the Mycenaean civilization. Don’t miss the chance to walk through the ruins and be part of this ancient city! You can also combine your visit there with an excursion to the nearby picturesque town of Nafplio!

mykeneu

7. Akrotiri
Akrotiri is an ancient settlement in the island of Santorini which  was buried in volcanic ash after the eruption of the volcano of Santorini, thousands of years ago. The volcanic ash helped the preservation of many artworks. The astonishing part of this ancient city is that many of the items discovered in the small houses were found in the exact position that they were the time of the eruption, something that helped the archaeologists collect important clues of the way the inhabitants used to live! There is also the belief that Plato’s story of the Atlantis was inspired by what happened to Akrotiri!

akrotiri

8. Knossos
Knossos is another major archaeological site of Greece, located in the island of Crete and it is considered to be the oldest city of Europe. Walking through the ancient ruins, which are still standing in excellent shape, you will be amazed by the lively colours that the walls are painted in. A unique experience that can be combined with some relaxing days in the amazing island of Crete!

knossos palace

knossos

9. Vergina

Vergina is a small town in the northern part of Greece which is home of a very important archaeological site: Aigai, the first capital of the ancient Kingdom of Macedonia. There you will find the burial site of the kings of Macedonia and the tomb of Philip, the father of Alexander the Great!

vergina

10. Dodoni

In the northern part of Greece, close to the town of Ioannina, you will find Dodoni, an archaeological site that was the birthplace of many Greek speaking tribes. Among other things you will find a theatre and a stadium. From this site you will find an astonishing view of the mount Tomaros!

dodoni

Stavros Tsoukatos

5 islands – winter destinations you haven’t thought of

17 Nov

The Greek islands are not “closed” during winter time, time does not stop there! Although some of you might think they disappear shortly after September, they still stand over the blue waters all year round. Apart from those with very small population even during summer, all the rest enjoy a relaxed rhythm of life and a mild winter, with a bit more wind but little rain.

For some, the off season period is perhaps the best period to visit a Greek island because:

  • Many cafes and restaurants might be closed but the ones that remain open usually offer services of quality above the average since they serve fewer people than in the summer and mostly locals.

  • Prices for all services could be lower.

  • Museums and archaeological sites are working properly and without the hundreds of visitors one can enjoy them better.

  • It is easier to meet the authentic culture of each island which is probably the most enchanting experience one could live.

  • Joining locals in their gatherings is almost certain to happen and true friendships are more than possible to happen!

1. Crete

Rethimno during Winter via www.pinterest.com , Barbie

Rethimno during Winter via http://www.pinterest.com , Barbie

The largest island of Greece is waiting for you to visit throughout the whole year. The vibrant atmosphere in the 4 major towns guarantees that you will live a full experience even during the coldest times of winter. Head to Heraklion and pay a visit to the two archaeological sites located nearby: Knossos and Phaistos are the remaining of one of the oldest civilizations in Europe, the Minoan.

Explore the White Mountains (the greek name is Lefka Ori or Madares) near the town of Chania, stay in a mountain refuge, play with the snow and taste the authentic Cretan cuisine in front of the fireplace.

Leuka Ori via forum.snowreport.gr

Leuka Ori via forum.snowreport.gr

Admire the Venetian architecture and the famous Fortezza fortress in the town of Rethymnon and then practice some winter sports in the ski resort of Psiloritis, located in the Nida plateau, 70 km away from Rethymnon.

Fortezza Rethimnon via Leuka Ori via forum.snowreport.gr

Fortezza Rethymnon via forum.snowreport.gr

Psiloreitis ski resort via forum.snowreport.gr

Psiloritis ski resort via forum.snowreport.gr

Finally, visit the town of St. Nikolas to enjoy stunning panoramic view of the lake and the sea from the town’s waterfront!

Agios Nikolaos, Crete via www.thomson.co.uk

Agios Nikolaos, Crete via http://www.thomson.co.uk

2. Evia

The second largest island of Greece is located just an hour away from Athens and you can reach it by crossing a bridge within seconds. The island offers you numerous experiences. In the north of the island you will find the village of Edipsos, with the most famous thermal spa in Greece, whose fame dates back to the ancient times.

Edipsos via travelphoto.gr

Edipsos via travelphoto.gr

Thermae Sylla Wellness & Spa Hotel, Edipsos via www.greece.com

Thermae Sylla Wellness & Spa Hotel, Edipsos via http://www.greece.com

Located also in the northern part of Evia, the beautiful village of Kimi offers an astonishing vista over the Aegean sea.The whole island is well known for its physical beauties turning it into an ideal destination for sports in the nature like hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding.

Dimosari’s Canyon, Evia via www.anastasiahotel.com.gr

Dimosari’s Canyon, Evia via http://www.anastasiahotel.com.gr

Visit the town of Chalkida and observe the strange movement of the waters beneath the old bridge, result of a rare tidal phenomenon.

Chalkis bridge via www.flickr.com

Chalkis bridge via http://www.flickr.com

3. Corfu

Corfu, one of the most cosmopolitan islands of Greece, has an amazingly stylish town, great example of Venetian architecture. Walk to its famous alleys, visit the museum of Asian art to find wonderful exhibits and try the local cuisine.

Corfu via melissokomos.gr

Corfu via melissokomos.gr

Do not miss the chance to pay a visit to Achillion, once being the palace of Empress of Austria-Hungary Elisabeth of Bavaria, better known as Sisi. Achillion that has served as a casino in the past and now as a museum offers a beautiful vista over the Ionian Sea.

Achillion Palace via travel-around-greece.blogspot.com

Achillion Palace via travel-around-greece.blogspot.com

4. Syros

Being one of the most beautiful islands of the Aegean Sea, Syros is at the same time the commercial, administrative and cultural centre of the Cyclades islands. The Catholic and Orthodox elements that coexist harmonically on the island form its particular character. Ermoupoli, Syros’ largest town and capital of the Cyclades, is amphitheatrically built and stands out for its beauty with impressive neoclassical style mansions and magnificent churches.

Syros via www.cycladia.com

Ermoupoli, Syros via http://www.cycladia.com

Wander around the narrow streets of the upper part of the town and admire the unique Miaoulis Square with the impressive Town Hall designed by the German architect Ernst Ziller in the lower part. Visit the archaeological museum of the island where you can find exhibits dating back to 3,000 BC and attend a theatrical play or a concert at the Apollo Theatre, a miniature of La Scala in Milan.

Miaouli square via www.syroumelathron.gr

The Town Hall at Miaoulis square via http://www.syroumelathron.gr

5. Rhodes

Rhodes via https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=rhodes+google+maps&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x14950ae9895f8bfd:0x586d9037b4e902ad,Rhodes&gl=uk&ei=aLKIUuDwMIiJ4gTapYHoDg&ved=0CCwQ8gEwAA

Rhodes via rhodesmarket.blogspot.com

 The capital of Dodecanese islands is a famous destination year round. Rhodes, often called as the emerald island or the island of the sun, will welcome you warmly even the coldest days of the winter. You can find places of great interest all over the island: medieval and ancient castles, the valley of the butterflies and several museums. The medieval town of Rhodes, selected by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, combines Late Gothic architecture with local Aegean features and Muslim elements added later by the Turks, thus creating a blend that makes this medieval town triple special.

Grasp the opportunity to visit the baths of Kallithea, hosted in a magnificent restored building – unique combination of nature, incomparable monumental architecture and history.

Kalithea baths via www.travel-rhodes.com

Kallithea baths via http://www.travel-rhodes.com

Labros Psomodotis

11 Greek water paradises that will keep you away from the beach

13 Oct

1. Lake Orestiada, Kastoria

Kastoria is a magnificent town built on the side of lake Orestiada. A famous winter destination in Northern Greece, offers unique landscapes; take the road by the lake and walk in order to explore not only the lake but also the architectural magnificence of Kastoria. Don’t miss  the Panagia Mavriotissa Monastery, by the lake, hidden in the trees.

Kastoria via tiniakos.wordpress.com

Lake Orestiada via tiniakos.wordpress.com

2. Lake Prespa

Two beautiful lakes, located northern of Kastoria and shared by Greece, Albania and FYROM. There you will find many small traditional villages where you can eat fish from the lake.You can also explore the rich flora and fauna of the area. In the smaller lake you can walk to the Agios Achillios island and in the bigger one (which is the one shared by the 3 nations) you can take a small boat and go around and “see “the point where the 3 nations’ borders meet as well as symbols and icons of christianity painted on the rocks.

Prespes via aggelioforos.gr

Lake Prespa via aggelioforos.gr

3. Edessa waterfalls, Edessa

Well, I think the waterfalls of Edessa are the most famous in Greece! After falling down from 70m, the water ends in the river of Edessaios creating a majestic and quite imposing picture. You will have the chance to stand inside the waterfall without getting wet as there is a small bridge built in the inner part of the waterfalls!

Edessa via visit.com.gr

Edessa Waterfalls via visit.com.gr

4. Lake Plastiras, Karditsa

Plastiras lake is an artificial lake very close to the town of Karditsa. The landscapes being formed at this altitude offer amazing pictures. Plastiras lake (named after the politician who planned it and created it almost a century ago) is famous for the many activities it offers; canoe kayak, horse riding, trekking, mountain climbing and many more are offered in the area.

Plastiras Lake via hotelslimnisplastira.gr

Plastiras Lake via hotelslimnisplastira.gr

5. Pamvotida lake,  Ioannina

Situated in the town of Ioannina, Pamvotida offers an amazing, always nostalgic atmosphere and accompanied with the Mitsikeli mountain in the background, creates a unique picturesque landscape that has nothing to be jealous of the famous landscapes of the Alps.

Pamvotida Lake via laketour.gr

Pamvotida Lake via laketour.gr

6. Pantavrechi, Evrytania

Pantavrechi is an area close to Karpenisi that it is hard to reach (especially during the winter) but it’s totally worth to try! There you can go river trekking and enjoy the canyon where it is always raining (as Panta-vrechi means always raining in Greek); the reason for this is that there is always water coming down from the cliffs above the canyon! You can also go horse riding in the nearby river of Karpenisiotis!

Pantavrexi via travelstyle.gr

Pantavrexi via travelstyle.gr

7. Waterfalls of Neraida, Kithira

Walk through a small canyon and enjoy the magnificent beauty of this unique route from Mylopotamos village (which is the closest place to park your vehicle). You will also find abandoned watermills that used to operate years ago.

Waterfalls of Neraida via http://artcms.arttravel.gr/

Waterfalls of Neraida via http://artcms.arttravel.gr/

8. Neda waterfalls, Messinia

Neda is canyon in Greece, inside a heavy forest that will offer you an amazing experience! To walk (through the river at some parts!) the whole canyon you will need roughly 7-8 hours. There are 2 waterfalls but the best part is the route by the river that provides amazing views. Don’t miss your chance to swim in the river; although the temperature of the water is very low..!

Neda via http://www.in2life.gr

Neda Waterfalls via http://www.in2life.gr

9. Drimonas waterfalls, Eyvoia

In the northern part of Eyvoia you will find the waterfalls of Drimonas. Close to a small village that was built centuries ago, the place owes its existence to the monastery of the area. The path to the waterfalls starts from the road and after the 15m high waterfalls splits into 2 smaller ones, one leading to the monastery.

Drimonas via http://www.voriaevia.net

Drimonas Waterfalls via http://www.voriaevia.net

10. Melissani lake, Kefallonia

Melissani is a lake in a cave! And it is on an island, this of Kefallonia. Part of the cave collapsed in the past, allowing sunlight to spread in the cave and create amazing colours and a unique feeling to the visitor. Visit Kefallonia, take a boat tour in the lake and the experience will stay with you forever.

Melissani Cave via http://www.kefaloniataxi.gr

Melissani Cave via http://www.kefaloniataxi.gr

11.Polylimnio, Messinia

You will find 15 lakes (as the name of the area suggest, Polylimnio means many lakes), each one more picturesque than the other! You will have to walk through small paths on the mountainous surroundings in order to explore the area and take advantage of the elevated points for amazing vistas!

A foodie’s top 10 guide to Kefallonia

9 Oct

Find my recommendations for Kefallonia here Continue reading

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