Tag Archives: greek islands

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

6 Holywood-class filming locations in Greece

25 Nov

We love Greece! You love Greece as well! Now, you may be thinking, “How can I like something that I don’t know?!”. Well, think again because it is highly likely that you have seen Greece in a movie!

1. Mamma mia

Mamma mia was filmed in 3 different locations in Greece; in Skopelos and Skiathos, 2 islands in the complex of Sporades, and in Pelion, a mountainous traditional area in Greece’s mainland. Highlight of the movie (and one of Greece’s as well!) the monastery of Agios Ioannis Prodromos in Skopelos, where the wedding takes place!

Agios Ioannis Prodromos church in Skopelos

Agios Ioannis Prodromos church in Skopelos

Skopelos Island

Skopelos Island 

2. Before midnight

Before midnight, probably the latest movie that has many scenes filmed in Greece, was shot in the region of Messinia, in Peloponnese. It includes scenes from the castle in Methoni, a extremely picturesque and well preserved area and also from Costa Navarino, one of the most luxurious hotels in Greece.

Methoni castle, Peloponnese

Methoni castle, Peloponnese

3. Captain Corelli’s mandolin

Captain Corelli’s mandolin was shot in Kefallonia island in the Ionian sea. You will enjoy the amazing beauty of Kefallonia and its traditional villages and at the same time the unique blue green colours of the beaches and the seas of the island.

Assos village in Kefalonia

Assos village in Kefalonia

Agnantia Boutique Hotel in Kefalonia via http://www.pinterest.com/pin/404690716486058911/

Agnantia Boutique Hotel in Kefalonia via http://www.pinterest.com/pin/404690716486058911/

4. Zorba the greek

Zorba the Greek (a name probably related with dance in your mind!), is a classic movie, shot back in the 1960s in the island of Crete and more specifically in the region of Chania with scenes in Apokoronas region and Akrotiri Peninsula. The famous scene with Anthony Quinn dancing on a beach at the rhythms of syrtaki, was shot in the beach of Stavros village!

Stavros beach in Chania, Crete

Stavros beach in Chania, Crete

Acrotiri peninsula in Chania, Crete

Acrotiri peninsula in Chania, Crete

5. The Big blue

Big blue was shot in the island of Amorgos, in Cyclades; showing some breathtaking images of the Mediterranean sea and the island.In the movie you will also see the monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa clinging to the cliffs, over the Aegean. There were also some scenes in Manganari beach which is located in the island of Ios.

Agios Pavlos Beach in Amorgos, Cyclades

Agios Pavlos Beach in Amorgos, Cyclades

Panagia Hozoviotisa in Amorgos, Cyclades

Panagia Hozoviotisa in Amorgos, Cyclades

6. For your eyes only

In this James Bond film you will find a couple of scenes shot in Greece; you will have the chance to enjoy the island of Corfu in the Ionian sea and also, the magnificent scenery of Meteora, where monasteries are built on the top of rocks standing hundreds of meters in the air!

Loggas Beach in Corfu Island

Loggas Beach in Corfu Island

Monasteries in Meteora

Monasteries in Meteora

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

A foodie’s top 10 guide to Kefallonia

9 Oct

Find my recommendations for Kefallonia here Continue reading

5 Sunset experiences you shouldn´t miss!

6 Oct

The first image that comes to anyone´s mind when they hear the word “Greece” is one of its most beautiful islands: Santorini! And there is a good reason for that; according to many, the unique view from Caldera offers the best sunset one could possibly imagine. Well, I am afraid I have to disagree. In my opinion Santorini’s sunset complements the infinite beauty of the island, but without the rest of the scenery it wouldn’t be that unique. And that is because Santorini is not the only Greek island offering impressive sunset experiences! To justify that I went through my electronic and mental photo albums and I present my findings to you… So turn the lights off, set your screen at the highest possible resolution and travel to all the shades of red:

1. Kalamitsi beach, Lefkada, Ionian Sea

Note that the official name of this beach is Aivali but it is widely known as Kalamitsi. Upon arriving in the village of Kalamitsi, turn left and descend through the olive groves. After 4km you will see a junction; take the road on the left and you will reach the beach within five minutes. You can enjoy the sunset either lying on the beach or from the exotic canteen that is amphitheatrically built above the coast. Reggae music, banana trees and the sound of waves on the rocks will offer you one of the most beautiful sunsets of your life!

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2. Anafi, Aegean – Cretan sea

First of all, you need to get some rakomelo (an authentic Greek spirit) or chestnut ice cream by “Ta plagia”, the first shop you meet on your left hand as you enter Chora. Then, take the road that passes by the village and leads to the west of the island. There is no chance of getting lost since the island has only two paved roads! Pick a spot with a nice view and enjoy the sun setting over Santorini!

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3 Ikaria, Aegean – Ikarian sea

After a swim in the stunning beach of Na in the western part of the island, pay a visit to the tavern of Na located just above the beach. Don’t miss the chance to taste their pasta with braised veal and a glass of local Ikarian red wine as you watch the sun setting between rocks!

Camera ikaria Camera Camera

4. Balos, Aegean – Cretan Sea

Balos is a mind-blowing (yet quite hard to reach) beach with wonderful blue-green waters. You can get there by boats departing from Gramvoussa but unfortunately they head back before sunset, so I suggest you drive the 8km dirt road to get to the beach. The road ends 3km before the cape but the perfectly preserved footpath is not difficult at all to follow. After 8 pm the colours of the sky will carry you away… Following the nightfall you will be accompanied by the crabs that come out of the lagoon’s shores. Do not forget a flashlight to help you find your way back to the car!

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5. Gaidouronissi or Chrissi, Libyan Sea

Quite a few travellers each year visit this tiny island south of Crete, home to a cedars’ forest since the ancient times. There is neither a settlement nor electricity on the islet, just a canteen on its south coast. You can take a boat from Ierapetra and return with the same one the next day. All you need for spending a night there is your sleeping bag; the rest can be found on the spot (like food, water, even friends!) since Chrissi is a popular free camping place not only for travellers but for local Cretans as well, and they are fully organized and charmingly hospitable! So after enjoying the blue waters go to the north beach (if you’re not already there) and wait for the sunset. Do not be surprised to see a group of people practicing yoga during sunset; classes are offered by a yoga teacher for free and of course you will be more than welcome to join! An experience not to be missed!

P1030285 P1030286    P1030293 χρυση P1030281

I am waiting for your own sunset photos, and do not forget to share the story behind them! Stories are what make the colours more vivid! 😉

Labros Psomodotis

Discover an island in the Cyclades different from the others

2 Oct
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Andros Island via androstours.com

Read about the island of Andros in our new website

Elina Kefala, guest blogger

Keeping in mind that Andros is one of the Cyclades Islands and having had already visited most of them when I made the decision to spend my summer vacation there, I was certainly not expecting to see something extremely different. However, my seven-day stay on Andros island proved me wrong and totally changed my mind; Andros is a noble, majestic island exuding a sense of culture and sophistication. Continue reading

10 + 1 reasons to visit Amorgos

8 Sep

Top things to do in Amorgos island

amorgos sunset

Sunset in Amorgos. Photo by Nikos Dessylas, flickr.com

Continue reading

Folegandros: great things come in small packages

1 Sep

What to in the island of Folegandros

I might sound a bit bold but it’s the truth: for me summer means Cyclades; take the ferry from Athens and go to any of the small pieces of paradise laying on the Aegean. Some people will find it hard to compare the barren and fruitless landscape of Cyclades with paradise in any given way. But all you need for your summer vacation, is waiting for you there.

So this year it was time to try something new; a small island in the southern part of Cyclades: Folegandros.

panorama folegandros 1 (1)

Photo 1: Panorama of Folegandros Island by Stavros Tsoukatos

Continue reading

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!

Why visit Greece?

9 Aug

Read the top reasons to visit Greece in our new website.

Having in mind that there are easy and difficult questions, why visit Greece is an easy question to answer! It would probably have a pretty straightforward answer a few years ago; or it could probably be answered with photos. But as it is (still) an easy question, let’s put some words down and try to summarize “why visit Greece”, in just a few lines.

1. No need for sacrifices: You can still discover the authentic and unique beauty of Greece on a budget.

167.-Falassarna-beach-West-Crete-GreecePhoto 1: Beach in the island of Crete

You don’t have to spend a fortune to discover the authentic Greece. Since you usually plan your holiday way ahead, booking early will always give you a head start and with low budget airlines travelling directly from Europe’s main hubs to quite a few international airports in remote areas, you can create value for your money. Enjoying Greece as a local means no group holidays and no group holidays mean freedom of choice. Especially if you have done some research before, you can make the most out of your time in Greece. Spending your holiday outside the sphere of mass tourism can be way cheaper; in this case, spending less means gaining more!

2. Do it your way: many different ways to spend your holiday.

lefkada stellaPhoto 2: Left, Porto Katsiki __ in the island of Lefkada, Right, Egkremnoi __ in the island of Lefkada

In Greece you can have your holiday exactly as you want it to be; from spending time partying and enjoying the all year round festive atmosphere in mainstream places, to spending time for yourself and your loved ones, in isolated places, enjoying peacefully and quietly all the magic that Greece has to offer to you; or even split your holiday and have both these experiences at the same place; isolating in mainstream places or partying in isolated places; and that is something hard to find elsewhere. So it is not the place that decides for you which way you will spend your holiday; it is you making the choice! As a result, Greece is an ideal place to spend your holidays with family, friends or both; whatever your company, it is guaranteed that you will have the time of your life!

3. The food experience: You can taste amazing new flavors accompanied with magnificent view. 1992-full

Photo 3: Restaurant in Athens with astonishing view of the Parthenon

Greece is an endless scenery of breathtaking views. Even in the most mainstream places, there is something to admire, something that can stand out and create an unforgettable picture in your mind. The relationship between Greece and food is well established and very long. Greek cuisine has many intense gastronomical experiences to offer and this is mostly due to the fresh ingredients used in the making of the dishes as well as the creativity and inspiration of the people producing them. Greece in not only about moussaka and souvlaki; every region in Greece has its unique local dishes based on different proteins and ingredients; it is not very easy to try them all but you should really have a taste of as many as you can in order to experience the breadth of Greek cuisine. The thing though about Greece is that for the Greeks, food is not just taste; Greeks can spend hours in a restaurant or a taverna, enjoying food with good friends, family, local wine and astonishing vistas, chatting, laughing and having fun. So going out for lunch or dinner is not just about eating; is about the fulfillment of all 5 senses.

 

4. Hospitality: Some things never change.

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Photo 4: Left, local in Greek island, Top Right, donkeys can be found in most of the Greek islands as a means of transportation, Bottom Right, festivals and celebrations (or “panigiri” in Greek) is typical in Greece where people of a community organize events to celebrate special occasions

The spirit of the people and the world famous Greek hospitality could not and will not be affected by any means of crisis. The spirit of the Greeks is deeply rooted in their hearts and minds. No matter how bad the situation looks, the way the Greeks live and treat their guests is extremely difficult to change; the warmth accompanied with a smile will always be there to welcome guests and make them feel comfortable and relaxed. 

5. The main reason though is intangible and not easy to transform into words.

It’s the combination of sunny weather, breathtaking views, variety and quality of the food, vivid and enthusiastic people, endless history all around you, pure nature that can be found in the most amazing places, smells of pure Greece; all these things that can satisfy all your 5 senses at the same time and make your experience in Greece, one to remember forever.

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Photo 5: View from hotel in Imerovigli, Santorini

Maybe the reason you should visit Greece is the combination of all the above; or none of the above; the reason for the latter is simply that you can’t really capture the feeling of Greece and the whole culture and put into words: having lunch by the sea, tasting the unique dishes and drinking local wine while admiring the endless blue; hearing the laughs and the lively conversations of the people around; no matter how many times you have been to Greece or how many years you have spent there, truth is that you can’t really translate this into words…

Despite whatever you might have watched or heard in the news the past few years, Greece, in its core, is still the unique place that used to be. No matter how severely the country was hit by the crisis, the land, the scenery, the people and the overall festive atmosphere little have changed, if any at all. And there are many reasons for which Greece is unique; almost a magical place. And we will help you discover that magic can happen in every single step you make in Greece…

Stavros Tsoukatos

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