Tag Archives: hidden

Discover the 4 seasons of Kastoria (part 1): Autumn

22 Sep

Kastoria in Autumn

The town of Kastoria via  i1.trekearth

Kastoria is a small, well hidden town in the Northwest side of Pindos, the largest Greek mountain range. Amphitheatrically built on a peninsula of Orestiada Lake, it may be its unique location that makes Kastoria so breathtakingly beautiful. While most Greeks have Kastoria in mind as a winter destination (probably due to the fact that it is close to many ski resorts), after visiting the city for the fourth time, each of them during a different season, I came up with the nickname weatherproof town. So, let’s briefly travel in and out of the four seasons in my beloved Kastoria…

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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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