Tag Archives: athens

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

6 reasons why driving along the main Greek highway is not boring

20 Oct

The highway connecting the two largest Greek cities, Athens and Thessaloniki, is one of the most common routes in Greece. It is 500km (or 5 hours) long so you could probably use a pit stop or two.

Acropolis via www.seemous.eu, Thessaloniki via http://www.gtp.gr/

Acropolis via http://www.seemous.eu, Thessaloniki via http://www.gtp.gr/

This is why I have decided to write a post on the places where it is worth stopping on your way from Athens to Thessaloniki!

1. Kamena Vourla

Kamena Vurla via www.panoramio.com

Kamena Vourla via http://www.panoramio.com

The exact meaning in Greek may sound a bit funny, but this town is certainly worth paying a visit. 177 km from Athens and after a small diversion following the signs to Kamena Vurla, you will arrive to one of the most renowned Greek thermal bath sites. Here, the water is naturally high in Radon and other salts and minerals, making the thermal baths one of the most important in Europe. In the town centre you will find the Ippokrates and Asklipio health spas, while if you go a bit outside the centre towards the Knimi Mountain you will find a variety of thermal baths (Koniavati, Kallintika, Aphroditi). My personal suggestion would be the Aphroditi thermal baths: apart from the natural baths they also have a wonderful outdoor pool.

Extra tip: Don’t forget to stop at Thermopylae (just before Kamena Vourla) to see the famous battle site and the statue of Leonidas.

2. Karavomilos

This little village just next to the highway is famous for its tavernas and especially for the delicious, supersized burgers they serve! Choose the Gklatzounis taverna and make sure you order the beef liver apart from burger, they are both irresistible (and so are the prices!). If you are not a huge meat fan though, skip Gklatzounis and head towards the beach were you will find the Antonopoulos fish tavern, offering fresh and delicious fish and seafood.

3. Farsala

30 km from the highway, Farsala may be more a diversion than a pit-stop but it is worth making. Here they make a unique type of halva, named Halva Farsalon after the town’s name. Halva Farsalon can be found in different shapes and tastes in almost every dessert shop or bakery in the city center. Enjoy!

4. Ambelakia

Ambelakia village via http://www.lastoffertravel.gr

Ambelakia village via http://www.lastoffertravel.gr

In order to reach Ambelakia village you just need to take the left exit at the Tembi junction and continue straight for 5 kilometers. This village is known for the luxurious traditional buildings constructed during a very wealthy era during which the main professional occupation was fabric production and dying with a red pigment derived from the processing of parts of a plant called rizari (Rubia tinctorum). It also worth mentioning that the first ever professional cooperative was formed here in Ambelakia. Stroll around the picturesque paved streets of the village, surrounded by mansions and head to towards the Georgios Mavros mansion that is open to the public. The Saint George church and Folklore Museum are also worth visiting.

5. Rapsani

The wine and a local spirit called tsipouro from Rapsani are famous all over Greece. Some of the wineries are open to the public and I would totally recommend visiting one! The route through the vineyards may be adventurous, going uphill through narrow dirt roads, but it is a unique experience: the sensation of freedom and inner strength you feel admiring the breathtaking view is one you will never forget. Inside the winery one can see the local architecture and the traditional oak barrels.

Extra tip: On your way back to the highway don’t forget to stop at the canteen right on the junction to try authentic souvlaki and traditional sausages.

6. Palaios Panteleimon (Old Panteleimon)

Palaios Panteleimon is my favourite traditional settlement in Greece. It is situated at the foothills of Mount Olympus, 5km away from the new settlement and the highway. A walk around its picturesque streets is totally worth it, as you can find small shops with traditional local goods, while the wonderful sea view and paved central square will surely seduce you! Choose your favourite traditional cafeteria on the square and sip on Greek coffee served with a traditional Greek dessert called “glyko tou koutaliou” or “spoon dessert”!

Extra tip: On your way back to the highway visit Platamonas Castle, and if the weather is nice, head towards the beach and enjoy the wonderful blue-green waters!

Have a nice trip!

Labros Psomodotis

11 things to know before visiting Athens!

29 Sep

Some things to keep in mind before your visit to Athens

Here are 11 facts about Athens that you may (or may not) know already but it’s good to keep them in mind if you plan a visit in the capital of Greece!!!

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The best of Athens in 24 hours

15 Sep

The best things to do in Athens

Let’s say that for whatever reason, you find yourself in the capital of Greece. And for the same peculiar reason, you only have 1 day to spend in Athens. And you get nervous because one day is not much time to spend in Athens (well, one day is not much time to spend anywhere!) and you are desperately trying to pick the most famous landmarks to go and see. Well, on that topic, let me, as a local, propose to you some things to do in Athens and make the most out of your day; let me help you make this one day in Athens unforgettable!

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Discovering secret Athens through the eyes of a local

25 Aug

It’s the people that make a place
– Ruth Wiemer, Guest blogger

Discover secret Athens in our new website!

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Photo 1: Athens by night, Source Spiros Lioris, 500px

A couple of weeks ago I went to see a Greek friend of mine I met in London in Athens. I had no real expectations of Athens, apart from the fact that I would probably be confronted with a lot of history and historical monuments. But, oh – how wrong I was! Athens, albeit not the prettiest city in the world, is one of a kind.
I had the incredible luck of being with my own local Athenians – Stella and her amazing gang of friends.  Through her and her friends I saw things past the already impressive ruins, saw different sides to Athens rather than ‘just’ its glorious, but meanwhile dusty Ancient Greek past. Although we did do the typical touristic routes across town, the things that stood out for me was the hidden side of Athens that only locals could have showed me.
I went to eat in small traditional tavernas that had the best olive oil that I had ever tasted. Ate feta cheese, and other delicious Greek dishes that still make my mouth water when I think of it. I learned how to cook a Greek vegetarian lasagne dish, and make authentic Greek Salad with some weird, big crouton-like things. I learned about the political tension in Greece, not through the news, but through people directly involved in it.

food

Photo 2: “Ntakos”, a Cretan meze

I sampled some of the nightlife by going into “secret” bars that I, as an oblivious tourist would have just walked past, if I hadn’t been with Stella and her friends. I tried dishes that I wouldn’t have known existed. I walked past artistic streets lighted with hundreds of different lampshades instead of lanterns. It often struck me in Athens that a very dodgy looking place from the outside, could be spectacular from the inside.

Athens Photos

Photo 3: A for Athens bar restaurant in Monastiraki Square

I also went to the beach not far from Athens, and sipped on amazing cocktails in perhaps the most romantic bar I have ever been to. I went and saw a new release film in an outdoor cinema (who knew those still existed, right?), and wandered aimlessly through beautiful neighbourhoods, watching local vendors praise their goods.

Island

Photo 4: Island bar restaurant

For me, it is odd to be in a country, where you can’t read the signs. I speak 5 languages, and yet little good that did me in Greece, where I couldn’t even pick up the basics of conversation. But I found that a little English could go a long way, and if that failed, gestures, like anywhere was the universal language. From my experience, I found Greek people extremely hospitable, warm and eager to understand you.

Prior to my visit I had done some research on Athens by searching on Tripadvisor about good, and not too touristic bars and places to go. There were some suggestions, but I think I was incredibly lucky to be with locals, since they knew where the real authentic and excellent places were.  If you go, don’t go expecting great, green parks, and phenomenal architecture. You won’t find it. Go because you want a good time, good food, and good company. It’s the people that make the place.

Ruth Wiemer

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3 Remote Beaches in a hidden paradise in the Saronic gulf

18 Aug

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Photo 1: Agistri Island, Source Irene Vlachou, flickr.com

Read this article about the beaches of Agistri island at our new website!

How many times have you caught yourself daydreaming of being in a remote secret beach, enjoying yourself, far away from your responsibilities? And, how often was that beach just a second away from you?

It is summertime and whether you are from Athens, or you are just visiting Athens for a few days, you are probably already tired of its packed and noisy beaches. Agistri Island is the solution! Lying just an hour away from the port of Piraeus, it is the ideal destination for short excursion or a relaxing weekend; Agistri is a hidden paradise.

There are two ways to get there. The first option is to take the Flying Dolphin from Piraeus and arrive within an hour in Megalochori, the island’s new port. The second choice is for those of you that enjoy the trip and are not in a hurry: the ferry, where you can spend less than two hours on board overlooking the blue sea and emptying your mind and it is only half the price of the Flying Dolphin! The ferry takes you to Skala, the island’s capital.

But let’s keep it short and dive together in Agistri’s breathtaking beaches:

1. Aponissos Beach

The homonymous private islet located in the southwest of Agistri and almost attached to its coast, creates a stunning small cove.

aponissos_beach_1

Photo 2: Aponissos Beach, Source agistri-island.gr/

A unique combination of exotic colours, nothing less than an amazing remote beach, having nothing to be afraid of when compared with exotic seas from all over the world (8 Km from Skala)

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Photo 3: Aponissos Beach, Source Labros Psomodotis

Tip: Try the crab salad at the only tavern of Aponissos!

2. Small and Big Dragonera Beach

Going downhill towards the beach, you will introduce yourself to 2 astonishing vistas: on your right you will see the Small Dragonera and on your left the Big Dragonera…

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Photo 4: Small and Big Dragonera, Source agistri-island.gr/

I personally prefer the small one because you can have it exclusively to yourself and enjoy an almost private experience (if you are lucky enough to find some space..!), as it fits at most three groups of friends isolating them from the masses. Big Dragonera is equipped with sun beds, a canteen and attracts more people.

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Photo 5: Big Dragonera, Source Labros Psomodotis

Tip 1: For the most daring of you, Small Dragonera is suitable for nudism…!

Tip 2: The dense pine forest that covers the entire area makes it suitable for free camping.

3. Chalkiada Beach

Perhaps the most famous beach on the island is also the most hard to access; 500 meters from Skala, and after passing through a beautiful pine forest, starts a 20 meter descent which in some places requires caution. This pebble beach is gifted with magnificent crystal clear waters.

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Photo 6: Chalkiada Beach, Source alkyoni-agistri.gr

Tip 1: Wearing a swimsuit in this beach is considered a taboo… 😉

Tip 2: The area is suitable for free camping.

Tip 3: On your way back from the beach and after exiting the pine forest, dine at the hotel restaurant “Alkioni”; taste mouthwatering local dishes and, if you are lucky, you will have the chance to meet the awesome brother of the owner!

Labros Psomodotis

Do you need more info about Agistri island? Ask at the comments below!

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