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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

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Top 10 guide to light your way to Nafplion

20 Jan

Check out my recommendations for Nafplion here

A friend once wisely said that if you want to form an objective opinion for a destination, you must visit it at least three times during different seasons. I totally agree, only I would add just one extra parameter; perception, that according to some psychologists changes every 7 years on average. So, 1 destination, 3 times, different season each time, with 7 years in between… I am already starting to feel tired by doing the math! So let’s go on to something much more intriguing than mere mathematical operations!

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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

7 traditional villages you should visit when travelling in the Greek mainland

2 Dec

1. Nymfaio, Florina

Nimfaio Village via www.ethnos.gr

Nimfaio Village via http://www.ethnos.gr

Nymfaio has been often included in “The ten most beautiful villages of Europe” lists, and has claimed the UNESCO “Melina Mercouri International Prize” for the excellent management of the area’s cultural heritage and the surrounding natural environment.

Nimfaio via danezis.blogspot.com

Nimfaio via danezis.blogspot.com

Arcturos’s (NGO dedicated to the protection of brown bears and wolves) headquarters are situated just 1,5 km from Nymfaio and their sanctuary is open to visitors year round (depending on weather conditions).

Don’t miss the chance to visit the “Goldsmith, Folklore and History Museum”, with exhibits including authentic local furniture, traditional tools for jewellery making, and, of course, jewels. Before leaving the area dine at Thoma’s, a 5-star tavern in Amyntaio, a few kilometres away from Nymfaio.

2. Palaios Panteleimon, Pieria

Located at the foothills of the most famous and mysterious mountain of antiquity, Mount Olympus, the village of Palaios Panteleimon is renowned for its hospitable people. The village, also named “the balcony of Olympus” is an ideal destination for every season. Nature lovers and adrenaline enthusiasts will have the opportunity to choose between hiking, mountain biking, climbing, paragliding and off-road driving. After a day full of exhausting activities, relax in one of the traditional cafes (or kafenia in Greek!) on the main square and enjoy authentic Greek coffee prepared on the coals and served in a copper pot, always accompanied by a locally produced spoon sweet!

3. Palaios Agios Athanasios, Pella

Situated within short distance from the border between Greece and FYROM, Palaios Agios Athanasios has become a trending destination in the last couple of years due to its proximity to the ski centre of Kaimaktsalan. For travellers seeking relaxation, I wouldn’t recommend visiting Palaios Agios Athanasios during the winter season, but if you are in pursuit of cosmopolitan ski holidays rush to book one of the charming guest houses; from traditional cafes and taverns to luxury restaurants and nightclubs, you will find everything you need in this small village.

4. Zagorochoria, Ioannina

I would need more than 20 pages if I wanted to fully describe this corner of Greece. Zagorochoria is a set of 46 villages that meet the needs of every kind of traveller. Here you can find cosmopolitan villages, quiet villages, or even secluded villages, only accessible on foot! Either on the peaks of Pindos mountain range or hidden in the woods, each and every one of them will take you back to older times.

The hiking trail of Vikos gorge, part of the E4 European path, and Drakolimni (or “Dragon Lake”) are two places of incomparable natural beauty totally worth your time.

Beautiful spot in Vikos gorge via http://www.pinterest.com/pin/186829084515616237/

Beautiful spot in Vikos gorge via http://www.pinterest.com/pin/186829084515616237/

The local cuisine is amazing, its cornerstones being the pies (or “pita” in Greek), several traditional recipes with meat and spoon sweets. Pair your meal with a nice red wine made in the area, and spend your evenings drinking tsipouro, a strong spirit made by local producers.

5. Pelion

There are 24 villages on Mount Pelion, some of them hidden in forests of beech and chestnut trees and other on the coastline. During your visit in Portaria village, which is probably the most picturesque one, and after you walk its cobbled alleys, follow the “trail of the Centaurs”, a circular path of 2,7 km (approximately 1 hour), to get inspired by the ancient Greek mythology.

Portaria via pilionterra, Flickr

Portaria via pilionterra, Flickr

Before leaving Portaria, have some coffee and cake at the Cafe “Aeriko” while enjoying the magnificent vista over Pagassitikos bay. The cosmopolitan village of Makrynitsa, known also as the “balcony of Pelion” is located just 4km away from Portaria. Once you get tired by strolling through its picturesque streets with the small shops, head to the restaurant “Gefsokratoras” to treat your sense of taste with a delicious meal.

Makrynitsa; the balcony of Pelion via http://www.pinterest.com/pin/336995984586522246/

Makrynitsa; the balcony of Pelion via http://www.pinterest.com/pin/336995984586522246/

What is more, from horse riding in the woods and skiing to scuba diving in the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea, the area of Pelion can offer you numerous dreaming experiences!

6. Monemvasia

Perched on a rock thrown in the sea, Monemvasia gives the impression that the rock and the settlement were created together at once. Surrounded by walls and almost cut off from the mainland, the scenery will make you think that you just discovered a time travel machine! The entire old town looks like a museum, with narrow alleys and small squares while some buildings still retain their marble coats of arms, remnants of an era of wealth and glory.

At sunset, relax on the balcony of your hotel room, empty your mind and lose yourself among shades of red you’ve never imagined.

7. Vatheia, Laconia

Resembling an open-air museum of architecture in the heart of Mani, Vatheia remains untouched by time. A settlement positioned on a hilltop, Vatheia looks like an abandoned village since the permanent habitants are no more than a few dozen, living in tower-like mansions. The fairytale 2-3 -floor chateaus made of stone have very small windows, once used as ramparts during the war against the Turks or pirate invasions.

Many mansions have been renovated and are now charming guest houses. Don’t miss the chance to swim in the turquoise waters at the nearby beaches of Kapi and Exo Kapi.

Labros Psomodotis

Skiing down Greece; discover 9 amazing ski resorts

10 Nov

1. Parnassos

Being one of the closest ski centres from Athens (and the largest in Greece), Parnassos gets quite busy especially during the weekends in the winter. The nearby town of Arachova, full with modern bars, restaurants and cafes, attracts loads of people and is one of the most famous entertainment hubs in Greece during the winter!

Distance from Athens:180km

Ski runs: 21

Total length of ski runs: 22km

2. Kalavryta

Source http://4.bp.blogspot.com

Source news.gtp.gr

 

At an altitude of 2340m, in the northern part of Peloponnese you will find the 2nd largest ski center of Greece, this of Kalavryta, situated close to the town of Kalavryta. Due to its close proximity to Athens, this ski centre also attracts many people during the winter, who enjoy the 12 ski runs of different difficulties including a black one, this of Ino (1400m long), considered to be one of the most challenging runs in Greece.

Distance from Athens: 203km

Ski runs: 12

Total length of ski runs: 20km

3. Kaimaktsalan

Source http://2.bp.blogspot.com

Source e-xionodromika.com

Kaimaktsalan ski centre, very close to the border with FYROM and the traditional village of Palaios Agios Athanasios, offers 13 ski runs of different difficulties. From up there (2500m) you will also be able to enjoy the view of lake Vegoritida and the peak of mountain Olympos!

Distance from Thessaloniki: 139km, from Athens: 660km

Ski runs: 13

Total length of ski runs: 15km

4. Pelion

Source money-tourism.blogspot.com

Source money-tourism.blogspot.com

In the extremely picturesque and full of nature mountain of Pelion, in Agriolefkes, there is a ski centre, at an altitude of 1500m. What is really worth saying about this ski centre is that offers the opportunity to ski while enjoying the view of the…sea! Yes, that’s right, you can go skiing whilst admiring the Mediterranean sea!

Distance from Athens: 346km

Ski runs: 8

Total length of ski runs: 5km

5. Pertouli

The ski centre of Pertouli, near the uniquely beautiful village of Elati, is not a big one; on the contrary, with only 3 ski runs, is probably one of the smallest in Greece! Still, it is worth visiting if you are in this magnificent area and spend some time skiing in all levels of difficulty!

Distance from Athens: 375km

Ski runs: 3

Total length of ski runs: 2km

6. 3-5 Pigadia

3-5 Pigadia (pigadi meaning well in Greek!) is the ski centre of Naoussa in Northern Greece. In this unique location you will find many ski runs and the only ski centre in Greece with a system of artificial snowing to ensure that the quality of skiing will be at high standards throughout the winter season!

Distance from Thessaloniki: 108km, from Athens: 557km

Ski runs: 10

Total length of ski runs: 9km

7. Seli

The ski centre of Seli, near Veroia in the north of Greece, was the first established ski resort in Greece back in 1934. Still a famous winter destination, it attracts people from all parts of Greece and offers a variety of ski runs for the visitors in its well organized facilities.

Distance from Thessaloniki: 95km ,from Athens: 540km

Ski runs: 19

Total length of ski runs: 15km

8. Vasilitsa

Vasilitsa is another very famous ski centre in northern Greece which attracts many ski lovers. Situated near Grevena, it offers high quality facilities and you will find it full with skiers especially during the weekends as many people from the surrounding areas visit to enjoy the snow!

Distance from Thessaloniki: 216km. from Athens: 468km

Ski runs:18

Total length of ski runs: 22km

9. Falakro

The ski centre of Falakro is one of the most important ski centres of northern Greece and one of the biggest as it has 21 ski runs. Although the name of the mountain suggests that there is not much flora (as Falakro means bald!), the mountain is quite rich in nature and magnificent sceneries. The ski centre is situated in an advantageous position which stays covered with snow more months per year compared to other ski centres in Greece and as a result is quite popular!

Distance from Thessaloniki: 210km

Ski runs: 20

Total length of ski runs: 20km

Enjoy your winter vacations in Greece!!!

Stavros Tsoukatos

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!

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