Tag Archives: nightlife

Discover the 4 seasons of Kastoria (part 2): Winter

15 Dec

The second part of the post is meant to guide you around beautiful Kastoria during the season the city is mainly famous for: winter.

The hardest time of the year gives Kastoria a unique charm making it a very popular winter destination in Greece. The average temperature in the winter is +5ºC while it can be as low as -15ºC and so you will definitely need to pack your warmest clothes.

 The most famous phenomenon of the area is the frozen surface of Lake Orestiada (aka Kastoria Lake). In olden days the lake used to freeze almost every winter and the ice was so thick and hard that a large cart could easily traverse it.

Frozen Lake via vavelhaber.blogspot.com

Frozen Lake via vavelhaber.blogspot.com

If, however, during your stay in Kastoria you are not lucky enough to find the lake frozen, don’t worry; there is much more for you to do than just stand there and wait for the water to freeze! Here are my 3 best suggestions:

Koutouki

Choose one of the beautiful traditional “koutouki” taverns and try to get warm by drinking the local tsipouro spirit and tasting local meze. Tsipouro is a quite strong spirit, so it will help you stay warm during your stay in Kastoria (or keep you good company if you lack one!). For those that are not really fond of strong spirits, the area is also known for its red wine that makes a good match with local products like graviera cheese or the well-known Kastoria beans. My personal favourite tavernas are “Ouzo Therapy”, a modern, minimal restaurant with a wonderful view over the lake and “Tsipouradiko tou Thoma”, a traditional tavern whose menu can sometimes contain more than 120 different dishes!

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Ragoutzaria

If you are looking for an authentic festival to party the Kastorian way, then you need to visit Kastoria a few days after New Year’s.

Source pavlosdim.blogspot.com

Source pavlosdim.blogspot.com

From the 6th to the 8th of January the locals dress as Dionysus’ (the ancient Greek god of  winemaking and wine, ritual madness and ecstasy) followers or as members of the opposite sex, and celebrate “Ragoutzaria” in order to forget the hardship of life and especially of the year that just passed. Every group of people has its own band of brass instruments and live music is played loudly in every corner of the town from the morning until the evening that all groups meet in the town centre and celebrate together until dawn!

Σοθρψε live-avles.blogspot.com

Source live-avles.blogspot.com

Vitsi Ski Resort

Vitsi, just 22km from Kastoria, is one of the smallest ski resorts in Greece and although it is mainly used for training purposes, it is also open to the general public.

Source history-pages.blogspot.com

Source history-pages.blogspot.com

It is not well known (yet), so with a waiting time for the lifts of about 3-4 minutes you can enjoy skiing uninterrupted. So if you want to train for your favourite sport or play in the snow surrounded by a calm and majestic natural environment, then Vitsi is just the place for you! If the weather is nice you can also visit the nearby traditional village of Nymfaio (the road might sometimes be closed if the weather conditions are bad).

Labros Psomodotis

Secret Gateway to Greece: A Weekend in Halkidiki

19 Sep

Read about Ina’s experience in Halkidiki in our new website!

Ina Yulo, guest blogger

Like many people, Greece had been one of the places that I sought to discover while in Europe. Magazines, films, and travel shows really help in building up on the hype and magic that one expects when thinking about the country. This summer, I decided to spend a weekend there while visiting some Greek friends who I had met at university. Despite foregoing the majestic Greek islands that are immensely popular in the summer, I found that there were lots of hidden gems in the cities of Thessaloniki and Halkidiki region.
thessaloniki_sightseeing

Thessaloniki via secret-thessaloniki.com

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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

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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

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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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