Tag Archives: Monemvasia

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

Discover 12 colours in Greece!

27 Oct

1. Red

Red Beach in Santorini via luxetravel.com

Red Beach in Santorini via luxetravel.com

Next to the ancient town of Akrotiri in Santorini, is the Red beach, named red because of the lava -like landscape, and the vivid red, volcanic pebbles. Its unique background attracts many tourists; it can be reached by foot (just a couple of minutes walk from Akrotiri) or by boat.

2. Green

In the northern part of Greece, the national park of Pindos, or Valia Kalda, is a mountainous area, full of pure, untouched nature; heavy forests, lakes and rivers that start from this elevated area will offer to you a unique chance to meet nature at its best!

3. Blue

Simos Beach in Elafonisos via anakalypse.gr

Simos Beach in Elafonisos via anakalypse.gr

In the very small island of Elafonisos which lies just next to Peloponnese you will find Simos beach and the most amazing colour of water to dive in. It is quite famous for its camping which attracts loads of young people every summer.

4. Black

Volcano in Santorini by Stavros Tsoukatos

Volcano in Santorini by Stavros Tsoukatos

Between Santorini and Thirasia, in the middle of what used to be (some centuries ago) a round island, the (still active) volcano of Santorini offers a unique view of a great black mass thrown in the Aegean sea. You can visit by boat and walk on the volcano.

5. Grey

Meteora via aeroporika-eisitiria.biz/meteora/

Meteora via aeroporika-eisitiria.biz/meteora/

The translation would be “suspended in the wind”, and this is exactly what you will find in Meteora; standing hundreds of meters in the air, on top of rocky columns, you will see monasteries built many centuries ago. The accomplishment can only be described as impossible considering the infrastructure of the era (14th and 15th century) and the place they were built.

6. Purple

Kalogeriko near Ioannina via www.aggelon-kipi.gr

Kalogeriko near Ioannina via http://www.aggelon-kipi.gr

In the north of Greece, very close to Ioannina you will find many villages scattered in the mountains. Linking these small villages called Zagorochoria as a set, you will find amazing bridges that have been standing there for centuries, connecting this remote area. This particular 3-arch bridge was built in 1814 and it is called Kalogeriko (as it was funded by a monk from the monastery of the nearby village of Kipoi).

7. Orange

Voidomatis, in the region of Ioannina, is 15 km long and one of the cleanest rivers in Europe. In its path you will find many stone bridges built according to the traditional style of the area as well as the Vikos-Aoos national park.

8. Yellow

Sempreviva flower via rackcdn.com

Sempreviva flower via rackcdn.com

Sempreviva is a yellow flower which stays alive forever and you will only find it in Kythera, an island just South of Peloponnese. This flower is only one beautiful aspect of the many that the island can offer. The best way to get there is to drive to Neapoli and take a boat.

9. White

Panagia Chrysopigi via fotochef.ning.com

Panagia Chrysopigi via fotochef.ning.com

White is the colour of the aegean and more specifically this of Cyclades; and this accompanied with the blue of the sea creates an amazing atmosphere and a unique landscape in every island in Cyclades. This is the church of Panagia Chrysopigi in the island of Sifnos, one of the most picturesque landmarks of the island; a church on the sea…!

10. Silver

Nymfaio, in the northern part of Greece, is a village built in 1385 by Vlachs and still keeps the unique architectural characteristics; a must visit if you are in the area! It is also home of Arcturos, a non-profit organization working for the protection of the mountainous ecosystems with an emphasis on bears and large mammals.

11. Brown

Monemvasia via Meet the world in Greece

Monemvasia via Meet the world in Greece

In the southeastern part of Peloponnese you will find Monemvasia, a piece of land separated from the mainland after an earthquake a couple of thousand years ago! In this magic piece of land you will find amazing architectural achievements, an old castle and some amazing vistas of and from the castle!

12. Gold

Golden is the colour of the sunset; golden is the feeling of fulfillment while watching the sun going down after a long day experiencing all the beauty of this magical place; golden is the feeling you take with you back home after visiting Greece…!

Stavros Tsoukatos

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